US envoy to visit Malaysia amid questions over mass graves

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. envoy on combating human trafficking will visit Malaysia next week amid complaints that the Southeast Asian nation has failed to investigate properly alleged official complicity over mass graves of suspected trafficking victims.

The State Department has faced a barrage of congressional criticism after Malaysia, a key U.S. trading partner, was kept off a blacklist of countries that fail to meet minimum standards against modern-day slavery.

Susan Coppedge, ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat human trafficking, will meet Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi during her two-day visit to the main city Kuala Lumpur starting Monday.

Spokeswoman Mai Shiozaki said Friday that Coppedge also will meet with senior officials in the attorney general’s chambers and the prime minister’s office, and host a round-table with nongovernment groups.