And you would never think it, would you? Especially coming from the administration of the nation’s first black president. This seems to be why Obama sidetracked us all by rallying the people against the Northern Virginia Battle Flag, which was later adopted as the Confederate Flag. It’s all about distracting the people from things that really matter.
Human trafficking is the modern form of slavery and it largely goes unnoticed by common people going about their day. It is a stain on the already unkempt aprons of the leaders of the nations.
The establishment has made more than one attempt now to thwart attempted human trafficking reforms within the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which, like 99% of other legislations introduced, probably hasn’t even been fully read and shouldn’t be initiated.
Earlier in June the news started breaking about Obama and everyone else rallying against a flag, but before that, note was already taken of the Obama administration’s stance on modern slavery.
This Huffington Post article by Zach Carter explains:
…a seemingly uncontroversial human rights provision authored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is giving the administration serious headaches as it attempts to win over skeptical members of its own party. Last month, the Senate Finance Committee approved a Menendez amendment that would bar the administration from fast-tracking trade deals with countries that tolerate human trafficking. The measure passed 16 to 10 with bipartisan support.
But the State Department has long included Malaysia on its list of countries with serious human trafficking violations, as its government effectively tolerates slavery, including sex slavery. Forced labor is particularly prevalent in the Malaysian electronics industry, according to a September report from the nonprofit group Verite.
Malaysia is one of the 11 nations involved in the TPP talks. If the Mendendez amendment makes the final bill, Malaysia would have to be exiled from the TPP.
That puts the administration in the awkward position of figuring out how to strip out an anti-slavery provision from the fast-track bill, even as it insists to Democrats that TPP includes robust labor protections that will prevent the deal from rewarding countries that abuse their workers. Alternatively, the State Department can simply remove Malaysia from its list of countries that tolerate human trafficking when the list is updated in June. That move would significantly undermine the integrity of U.S. human rights efforts, however, since the American ambassador to Malaysia said just last month that the country’s government has not been serious about prosecuting human trafficking.
…But human rights experts say allowing Malaysia to benefit from expanded trade with the U.S. would effectively reward its government for years of inaction on human trafficking concerns raised by the State Department. Human trafficking problems have actually intensified in Panama and Colombia since the Obama administration enacted free trade agreements with those countries in 2011, according to Human Rights Watch.
Another article by the same author:
The Menendez language, which passed the Senate Finance Committee on a bipartisan 16-to-10 vote, would bar trade pacts with countries on the Tier 3 list from receiving fast-track status. Fast-track authority bars Congress from amending trade deals negotiated by the executive branch, subjecting them to a straightforward up-or-down vote.
Obama and Republican leaders are engaged in negotiations aimed at watering down or eliminated the Menendez language, which is included in the fast-track bill the Senate is currently considering. The administration contends it will not be able to improve labor conditions in Malaysia if the country is blocked from participating in TPP.
And as evidenced in this Mother Jones article by Samantha Michaels, the State Department did exactly what Zach Carter of the Huffington Post said they could do. By early August, we found out that they removed Malaysia and other countries from the tier 3 list of countries with human trafficking violations!
…they tried to put Malaysia, Cuba, and China on the Tier 3 “blacklist,” a level reserved for countries with the worst records that can trigger sanctions. (Instead, they were placed on the Tier 2 “watch list,” a category for countries needing special scrutiny but still judged to be making significant efforts to meet minimum standards.)