A few weeks ago Wall Street and the giant, multinational corporations got their way and pushed “fast track” through the Congress. This set up a special voting procedure for trade agreements – and only for trade agreements – that makes sure these rigged deals can get through Congress before the public can be organized to rise up in opposition.
However, one good thing did make it into this recent fast-track bill. The bill said the administration cannot go into a trade deal with any country that is a “Tier 3″ human trafficking (slavery) violator.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) requires the State Department to compile a Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report that ranks countries according to their compliance with certain TVPA standards. Countries are ranked:
Tier 1 if the fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards.
Tier 2 if they do not fully comply but are making significant efforts to come into compliance.
Tier 2 Watchlist if 1) they are Tier 2 and the number of victims is either very high or increasing; or ; or 2) they were Tier 2 the prior year and have no evidence of trying to fix that or; or 3) they had promised to take additional future steps over the next year.
Tier 3 if they do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making serious efforts to do so.
Malaysia was a Tier 3 country in the 2014 TIP report. The 2015 TIP report was supposed to be released in June but was delayed coincident with the passage of fast-track legislation with the slavery clause. The report was released Monday, and changes Malaysia’s TIP rating from the worst “Tier 3″ to a “Tier 2,″ even though there is little or no change in Malaysia’s actual performance.
Being a human trafficking country means real things to real people. For example, in late May Malaysian police found mass graves containing the bodies of 139 people, apparently trafficked migrant workers.
Continue reading: Did Obama Administration Downplay Malaysia Slavery To Grease Trade Deal?