Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Obama's International Legacy: Watering down human trafficking report for political considerations

Covering up human trafficking for tyrants and despots worldwide

 (L-R) Obama joins hands with Burma, China tyrants & Malaysia's PM + Raul Castro
 Nice to see the mainstream media catching up and breaking an important story. Last week on July 28, 2015 this blog reported on how the State Department was undermining the integrity of the Trafficking in Persons Report by politicizing it when it took Cuba off the list of worse offenders. According to Reuters, in the Special Report: State Department watered down human trafficking report by Jason Szep and Matt Spetalnick, it is even worse that initially imagined:
In the weeks leading up to a critical annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders, human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions hadn’t improved in Malaysia and Cuba. And in China, they found, things had grown worse.
The State Department’s senior political staff saw it differently — and they prevailed.
A Reuters examination, based on interviews with more than a dozen sources in Washington and foreign capitals, shows that the government office set up to independently grade global efforts to fight human trafficking was repeatedly overruled by senior American diplomats and pressured into inflating assessments of 14 strategically important countries in this year’s Trafficking in Persons report.
In all, analysts in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons - or J/TIP, as it’s known within the U.S. government — disagreed with U.S. diplomatic bureaus on ratings for 17 countries, the sources said.
The analysts, who are specialists in assessing efforts to combat modern slavery - such as the illegal trade in humans for forced labor or prostitution - won only three of those disputes, the worst ratio in the 15-year history of the unit, according to the sources.
As a result, not only Malaysia, Cuba and China, but countries such as India, Uzbekistan and Mexico, wound up with better grades than the State Department’s human-rights experts wanted to give them, the sources said. (Graphic looking at some of the key decisions here: reut.rs/1gF2Wz5)
This may seem like another small compromise to having the U.S. Interests Section re-designated an Embassy in Havana but it once again returns me to the words of Vaclav Havel nearly six years ago. Back in 2009, President Barack Obama had backed out of meeting with the Dalai Lama due to an upcoming trip to China, Havel offered the following reflection on October 12, 2009 at the Forum 2000 conference:
I believe that when the new Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize postpones receiving the Dalai Lama until after he has accomplished his visit to China, he makes a small compromise, a compromise which actually has some logic to it. However, there arises a question as to whether those large, serious compromises do not have their origin and roots in precisely these tiny and very often more or less logical compromises.
 Now the State Department's human trafficking report will be taken less seriously than it may have been in the past and the authority of the United States on this subject is now lessened than it was before. What impact will this reduced authoritative and moral stature have on victims of the trafficking around the world? What other unintended consequences will it generate.

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