Just in case you miss the news yesterday, here's the on-line version that I found...
Depicted from FOXNews.com
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration on Tuesday added seven nations, including several key U.S. allies in the Middle East, to its human trafficking blacklist for failing to halt what it called the scourge of "modern-day slavery."
Countries on the list are subject to possible sanctions for not doing enough to stop the yearly flow of some 800,000 people, 80 percent of them female and more than half of them children, across international borders for the sex trade and other forms of forced and indentured labor.
Among U.S. friends getting a failing grade were Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, which along with Algeria, Equatorial Guinea and Malaysia joined for the first time perennial offenders like Myanmar (Burma), Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria in the State Department's annual "Trafficking in Persons Report."
Sixteen states in all — four more than in 2006 — were given so-called "Tier 3" status in the 236-page survey of global efforts to combat trafficking in people, many of whom are seeking to escape poverty in Eastern Europe, South and Southeast Asia and are sold into the commercial sex trade, manual labor or mistreated as domestics.
Despite the additions, Secretary of State ('Condoleezza Rice') Condoleezza Rice said "more and more countries are coming to see human trafficking for what it is — a modern-day form of slavery that devastates families and communities around the world."
"We hope this report encourages responsible nations across the globe to stand together, to speak with one voice and to say that freedom and security are nonnegotiable demands of human dignity, and to say ... 'No one is fit to be a master and no one deserves to be a slave,' " she told reporters.
Countries with "Tier 3" ranking "do not fully comply with the minimum standards (to fight trafficking) and are not making significant efforts to do so," which makes them eligible for U.S. economic sanctions.
Most of this year's additions to "Tier 3" are Muslim or predominantly Muslim nations, many of which have the means to enforce foreign workers' rights and anti-trafficking laws.
"It is especially disappointing that so many wealthy countries in the Near East ... are on 'Tier 3'," Lagon said....
The complete list of "Tier 3" countries in this year's report is: Algeria, Bahrain, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Kuwait, Malaysia, Myanmar, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.
But Malaysia made its first appearance on "Tier 3" for its failure to protect and identify victims of trafficking, many of them Indonesian domestics.
"The Malaysian government needs to demonstrate stronger political will to tackle Malaysia's significant forced labor and sex trafficking problems," the report said.
(depicted from The Star Online)
‘US report one-sided’
By MERGAWATI ZULFAKAR
PETALING JAYA: The Government has brushed off a US State Department report, which claims Malaysia is among the countries with the worst human trafficking problems.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the report was one-sided.
“I don’t know how they can come up with that report. We can’t react to something that does not take into account what we are doing. It is unfortunate that they pass judgment on us,” he said yesterday.
Syed Hamid said the Government had taken a lot of effort to ensure the well being of foreign workers was protected.
“We are only answerable to our electorate and we protect the sovereignty of the country. This is not even a report compiled by the United Nations.
“No single country can act as the investigator, prosecutor and judge, against another,” he added.
The US State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report on Tuesday in Washington. It listed Malaysia as one of the 16 countries in the Tier 3 ranking, which includes Cuba, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Venezuela.
According to the report, countries with Tier 3 ranking “do not fully comply with the minimum standards (to fight trafficking) and are not making significant efforts to do so,” which makes them eligible for US economic sanctions.
The report said Malaysia was placed in Tier 3 for its failure to show satisfactory progress in combating trafficking in persons, particularly in the areas of punishing acts of trafficking, providing adequate shelters and social services to victims.
It said the Government needed to demonstrate stronger political will to tackle Malaysia’s significant forced labour and sex trafficking problems.
Malaysia was blacklisted despite the country having tabled in Parliament the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Bill in April.
The bill states that human trafficking will be an offence that carries a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of up to RM500,000.
It provides protection to victims and severely punishes those who trafficked, harboured or profited from the offence.
Economic sanctions are typically defined as restrictions maintained by a government with respect to economic activity with foreign countries or persons, particularly for foreign policy reasons. Common forms of economic sanctions include:
- comprehensive or partial embargoes on trade and investment;
- "blocking" or "freezing" of assets (prohibitions on dealings in property);
- suspension of government assistance for trade or investment (e.g., preferential financing);
- suspension of eligibility to participate in government procurement;
- denial of "normal trade relations," i.e., most-favored-nation treatment (import tariffs at highest standard rate); and
- rescission of preferential import treatment (e.g., Generalized System of Preferences).