Saturday, November 25, 2017

The international slave trade

I'm not going to share the awful photos going around the internet of the slave trade in Libya or the riots in Paris demanding that someone DO something about slavery after the CNN report. Modern day slavery is bigger than the 18th c. trans-Atlantic slave trade--about 21 million people; where was the outrage when it has been reported for years? In the U.S. we'd rather focus on microaggressions and reparations for events of 3 centuries ago.
The U.S. has a Trafficking in Persons law begun under President Clinton in 2000 and it is continually reauthorized. The 2001 TIP report names Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, and other countries as transit and destination areas for trafficked East European women. Also NGOs and Christian organizations have been battling both the sex slavery and labor slavery for years. Even the much maligned Glenn Beck has done extensive stories on this scourge. In 2000 when I wrote my retirement plan, I noted the international slave trade.
Unfortunately, if you look through the TIP 18 annual reports, you see it is a "monitoring" country by country report on what each are doing. No teeth. Like the bank robbery commercial. Or the Congressional "ethics" committee. Europe has its own "monitoring" organization with annual reports for modern slavery, called GRETA.
[2001] "The United Kingdom (UK) is a destination country for trafficked men, women, and girls. A Government-sponsored report estimates that up to 1,500 women and girls are trafficked into the UK annually for purposes of sexual exploitation from Eastern Europe and the Balkans, South America, Nigeria, Thailand, and Vietnam. Although there are no reliable data as to the numbers of victims, men, women, and children from the Indian sub-continent, Sri Lanka, Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, Romania, China, Congo, Angola, Colombia, and Ecuador also are trafficked to the UK; labor exploitation occurs primarily in agriculture, sweatshops, and industry." (2001 TIP report, State Dept)
[2009] Libya: "Both migrants and trafficking victims are routinely smuggled through Libya to Europe, especially to or through Italy and Malta, en route to various locations on the continent. Libya’s migrant population of 1.5 to 2 million represents about one-third of its overall population. Although precise figures are unavailable, foreign observers estimate that one-half to one percent of foreigners (i.e., up to 20,000 people) may be victims of trafficking. In some cases, smuggling debts and illegal status leave migrants vulnerable to coercion, resulting in cases of forced prostitution and forced labor;" (2009 TIP report, State Dept)
[2016] "The purpose of this Report is to enlighten, energize, and empower." (John Kerry, 2016 TIP report, State Dept)
So it seems it does take a war to end slavery, even one fought with impure motives and by people unclear about what they were doing, not just monitoring and annual task force reports.

Date: 06/27/2017 Description: 2017 Trafficking in Person Report. - State Dept Image.

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