10 July 2015

Obama Just Whitewashed Malaysian Slave Trafficking

The Obama administration has just upgraded Maylaysia's human trafficking tier, despite the absence of any evidence of improvement:
The United States is upgrading Malaysia from the lowest tier on its list of worst human trafficking centres, US sources said on Wednesday, a move that could smooth the way for an ambitious US-led free-trade deal with the south-east Asian nation and 11 other countries.

The upgrade to so-called “tier two watch list” status removes a potential barrier to President Barack Obama’s signature global trade deal.

A provision in a related trade bill passed by Congress last month barred from fast-tracked trade deals Malaysia and other countries that earn the worst US human trafficking ranking in the eyes of the US State Department.

The upgrade follows international scrutiny and outcry over Malaysian efforts to combat human trafficking after the discovery this year of scores of graves in people-smuggling camps near its northern border with Thailand.

The State Department last year downgraded Malaysia in its annual “Trafficking in Persons” report to tier three, alongside North Korea, Syria and Zimbabwe, citing “limited efforts to improve its flawed victim protection regime” and other problems.

But a congressional source with knowledge of the decision told Reuters the administration had approved the upgraded status. A second source familiar with the matter confirmed the decision.

Some US lawmakers and human-rights advocates had expected Malaysia to remain on tier three this year given its slow pace of convictions in human-trafficking cases and pervasive trafficking in industries such as electronics and palm oil.


In its report last year, the State Department said Malaysia had reported 89 human-trafficking investigations in the 12 months to March 2014, down from 190 the previous year, and nine convictions compared to 21 the previous year.

In the latest year to March, Malaysia’s conviction rate is believed to have fallen further, according to human-rights advocates, despite a rise in the number of investigations. That reinforced speculation Malaysia would remain on tier three.

“I would be stunned if they are upgraded. They have done very little to improve the protection from abuse that migrant workers face,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division.
This decision has the effect of condoning slavery in Malaysia, and throughout the world.

Of course, this does not matter to Barack Obama, because is looking at the TPP in the Pacific, the TTIP with Europe, and TiSA* world wide.

*The TiSA is arguably far worse than the other two deals, and has as one of its goals to make financial, insurance, and investment regulation next to impossible.


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