President Bush decided Wednesday to waive any financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia, Washington's closest Arab ally in the war on terrorism, for failing to do enough to stop the modern-day slave trade in prostitutes, child sex workers and forced laborers.
In June, the State Department listed 14 countries as failing to adequately address trafficking problems, subjecting them all to possible sanctions if they did not crack down...
...In addition to Saudi Arabia, Ecuador and Kuwait — another U.S. ally in the Middle East — were given a complete pass on any sanctions, Jordan said. Despite periodic differences, oil-rich Saudi Arabia and the United States have a tight alliance built on economic and military cooperation...As many as 800,000 people are bought and sold across national borders annually or lured to other countries with false promises of work or other benefits, according to the State Department. Most are women and children.