Sunday, June 20, 2010

US State Department report on Human Trafficking.

On June 14, 2010, the US State Department released the Trafficking in Persons Report 2010.  As I intended to do before, I was going to use the Somaly Mam story as a springboard for a service learning element in my project.  She presented at UCLA in 2009.

There is a certain strength to the story, but the fact is that she always tells people about the level of personal harm this experience has done to her.  She also gets into discussion about poverty and class issues.  In SE Asia, class is a big player.  The other thing is that many of the governments in SE Asia are a Republican's dream.  Little to no regulation.  Little to no hinderances.  Shoot, you can drive the wrong way on a street, and no one will stop you.  There is in this sense, total freedom.  But total freedom also might mean total exploitation of your fellow human beings.  

According to Secretary Clinton the report focuses on several areas:
This year’s report highlights several key trends, including the suffering of women and children in involuntary domestic servitude, the challenges and successes in identifying and protecting victims, and the need to include anti-trafficking policies in our response to natural disasters, as was evident in the aftermath of this year’s earthquake in Haiti.
Remember, there was this case of some people trying to take the children out of Haiti to the Dominican Republic.  Because they were "missionaries," people were trying to give them a pass.  On the other hand, I could tell that there was something wrong.

According to the AP and the Huffington Post, Laura Silsby was convicted of child trafficking, but released to go back to the USA.   She still denies her role as a trafficker.  The problem is not just about missionaries who are out to kidnap children to convert them.  It is about economics, and greed as well.

What is very troublesome is that child trafficking for cases of adoptions is very high.  When the Andaman Ocean Tsunami of 2004 hit, Thailand blocked all adoptions coming out of those areas.  Orphanages were also closely monitored.  There are suspicions however surrounding the Moken and the undocumented Burmese.  Many believe these previously undocumented shadow populations were targeted for trafficking--they had no papers unlike Thais, so they could be forged.    

The bigger problem is that it isn't an isolated issue.  According to the Voice of America, trafficking happens in the United States.  Slavery still happens.  Much of the people come from economically distressed regions of the world.