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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 8/14/15

Senators Ask For Evidence of Malaysia's Human Trafficking Improvement

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Message Paola Masman


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Senators are furious by last month's decision to upgrade Malaysia's human trafficking status. They are threatening to subpoena the Malaysian human traffic report documents unless they receive all communications related to the annual U.S. human trafficking ranking. To many, it is obvious that Malaysia's status was upgraded in order to be able to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership with ease.

It all is just too fishy. Secretary of State John Kerry had told reporters that Malaysia has improved with regards to their human trafficking. He signed off the report he received from the State Department without talking to anyone. This has angered Senators both Republicans and Democrats.

"This is possibly the most heartless, lacking of substance presentation I have ever seen about a serious topic. I don't see how anybody could believe that there was integrity in this process," said the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker.

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Democratic Senator Robert Menendez (D-NY) has raised suspicion about political interference with Malaysia's status upgrade. Menendez has called the committee to thoroughly review all the documents of the annual trafficking report and that if the State Department did not comply, he would subpoena the information.

Year after year Malaysia, along with other countries such as North Korea and Syria, have been put in the Tier 3 category which means that they have done little to nothing to improve their flawed victim protection regime. The upgrade to Tier 2 has no justification whatsoever except President Obama's agenda.

One particular group has voiced their suspicions loud and clear. "Any decision to upgrade Malaysia in the Trafficking in Persons Report is purely political and incredibly detrimental to combating human trafficking in the country. An upgrade lacks all credibility and fails the basic laugh test," said Melysa Sperber, director of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking. "Thousands of trafficked men, women, and children are in dire jeopardy each day in Malaysia: ignoring their plight in favor of trade relations is a slap in the face by the United States."

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Malaysia's cheap labor force make it an extremely attractive country for U.S. companies to move to in order to save on labor costs. Only the multinationals could benefit from such a deal.

The truth is that Malaysia's human rights issue hasn't gotten any better. If anything, it has gotten worse. In a study done by Verite, results showed that 32 percent of workers in Malaysia are engaged in forced labor. A whopping 94 percent reported that their passports were being held by their employer or recruitment broker, and 71 percent reported that it was impossible to get their passports back. Not to mention that more that half of foreign workers are not allowed to break contract without facing an illegally high fine, forfeiting total wages, losing their passport, or being surrendered to local authorities.

Don't be fooled by our so called "trusted" leaders. They have an agenda and need to pass the TPP. Call your Congresspersons and let them know that you don't support the TPP and that you don't support Malaysia's status upgrade!

 

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Paola Casale is a graduate of Otterbein University. She works for The Coalition for a Prosperous America as the Media Director who is in charge of overseeing that hidden news is uncovered. Paola meets with members of Congress in D.C. to discuss (more...)
 

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