Singapore in human trafficking watch list?!?!

That must be the joke of the day!! And this human trafficking watch list is created by the United States. How much credibility can one give?!

According to the report, "Trafficking in Persons Report 2010", Singapore is shamed under category 'Tier 2WL'. (WL stands for Watch List). So what does it mean? Take a look:
TIER 2 WATCH LIST

Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards, AND: a) the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing; b) there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or, c) the determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.


A little surprise that Singapore is very upset about it! Singapore Foreign Ministry is quick to dismiss the report as "more a political ritual than an objective study".

I like best this part:
"How, for example, can the US rank itself in Tier One when it is well known that the US has been unable to stem a flood of illegal workers, many of whom are trafficked by organised criminal gangs?" the ministry said.

"It has not been able to cope adequately with the problem and that is among the reasons why immigration is such a hot political issue in the US.

"The US should perhaps examine its own record more carefully before presuming to pronounce on other countries. Then its reports may be more credible."


Well said, Singapore Foreign Ministry. Well said!!

The United States has put allies Singapore and Thailand as well as Vietnam on a human trafficking watch list, accusing them of failing to prevent women from being forced into prostitution.

The move Monday opens the way for the United States to cut off some civilian assistance, although it usually functions as a way to pressure countries to take action.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has made women's and children's rights a signature issue, called human trafficking a "terrible crime" as she presented the State Department's annual report.

"All of us have a responsibility to bring this practice to an end," she said.

The report estimated that 12.3 million people were the victims of trafficking in 2009-2010, although it said there has been progress over the past decade.

The State Department added a number of Asian nations to its watch list -- Afghanistan, Brunei, Laos, Maldives, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Bangladesh, China, India, Micronesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka stayed on the list, unchanged from a year earlier.

North Korea, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea remained at the bottom level of countries that do not even meet the minimum standards on human trafficking.

Explaining the downgrade for Singapore, the report said that some women from China, the Philippines and Thailand are tricked into coming to the city-state with promises of legitimate employment and coerced into the sex trade.

The report said that while Singapore launched "some significant new steps" against trafficking, there were no "quantifiable indicators" that the government was identifying more victims or prosecuting more culprits.

The State Department said that Thailand was a source, destination and transit point for trafficking, with ethnic minorities and citizens of neighboring countries at particular risk of sexual abuse or forced labor.

Senator Jim Webb, who heads the Foreign Relations subcommittee on East Asia, had made an unusually open appeal not to place Thailand on the watch list.

Webb visited Bangkok this month and said US embassy staff disagreed with the intended downgrade as it could curb assistance for democracy and human rights programs in the wake of the kingdom's political violence.

The downgrade occurs "at a time when this type of aide is desperately needed to bolster political reforms in Thailand and to promote political stability," Webb said last week in a letter to Clinton.

The State Department recognized improvements in Pakistan, which was taken off the watch list, and Malaysia, which was on the watch list but lifted from the lowest category.

Pakistan "has dramatically increased the number of convictions and prosecutions for human trafficking, undertaking creative efforts to prevent bonded labor," Luis CdeBaca, the US envoy on human trafficking, told reporters.

Malaysian authorities "have acknowledged and begun to tackle their serious human trafficking problem, including intensified engagement with foreign governments," CdeBaca said.

From other regions, Cuba, Iran and Saudi Arabia remained in the rock-bottom category and the Dominican Republic was newly added.

Representative Christopher Smith, a Republican who authored the law that requires the human trafficking report, said that more countries should have been assigned the lowest rank.

"If we are willing to hold the Dominican Republic to account, as we should, it's outrageous that China, Vietnam and India get a free pass," Smith said.

Taiwan was upgraded and listed as fully compliant in efforts against human trafficking after starting new services for victims, CdeBaca said.

Australia, New Zealand and South Korea were also listed as fully compliant.

For the first time, the United States included itself in the report. It ranked itself in compliance.

Japan was listed as not fully compliant but making efforts. The United States put its close ally on the watch list in 2004 and 2005, embarrassing Tokyo into stepping up efforts to protect trafficked women.

From Yahoo! News, "US puts Singapore on human trafficking watch list".

Singapore has reacted indignantly to a US government report putting it on a human-trafficking watch list and bluntly told Washington to examine its own record on immigration.

The 2010 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report by the State Department listed Singapore, a staunch US ally, along with Thailand and Vietnam as countries that failed to prevent women from being forced into prostitution.

"We have read the latest TIP report. It is rather puzzling because the US has not satisfactorily explained how it had arrived at its conclusions," Singapore's foreign ministry said in a written reply to media queries on Tuesday.

"The Singapore government is committed to tackling the TIP issue, and our efforts in dealing with this issue have certainly not weakened since last year. We will respond in detail as appropriate in due course."

Thousands of women from poorer Asian countries such as China, the Philippines and Thailand work as call girls and bar hostesses in wealthy Singapore, a bustling port city where prostitution is legal in designated zones.

Explaining the downgrade for Singapore to the "Tier Two Watch List" where it sits alongside impoverished countries, the US report said some women were tricked into coming to the city-state with promises of legitimate employment but coerced into the sex trade.

The report said that while Singapore launched "some significant new steps" against trafficking, there were no "quantifiable indicators" that the government was identifying more victims or prosecuting more culprits.

In its reaction, the Singapore foreign ministry said the annual US report "is more a political ritual than an objective study".

"How, for example, can the US rank itself in Tier One when it is well known that the US has been unable to stem a flood of illegal workers, many of whom are trafficked by organised criminal gangs?" the ministry said.

"It has not been able to cope adequately with the problem and that is among the reasons why immigration is such a hot political issue in the US.

"The US should perhaps examine its own record more carefully before presuming to pronounce on other countries. Then its reports may be more credible," the Singapore foreign ministry added.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has made women's and children's rights a signature issue, called human trafficking a "terrible crime" as she presented the annual report on Monday.

"All of us have a responsibility to bring this practice to an end," she said.

The report estimated that 12.3 million people were the victims of trafficking in 2009-10, although it said there had been progress over the past decade.

The State Department added a number of Asian nations to its watch list - Afghanistan, Brunei, Laos, Maldives, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Bangladesh, China, India, Micronesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka stayed on the list, unchanged from a year earlier.

North Korea, Burma and Papua New Guinea remained at the bottom level of countries that do not even meet the minimum standards on human trafficking.

From Sydney Morning Herald, "Human trafficking claims upset Singapore".

Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam all regressed last year in their efforts to battle trafficking of men, women and children for labor or commercial sex, according to the U.S. State Department.

The three Southeast Asian countries were placed on a watch list of middle-tier countries, putting them one level above the worst offenders such as North Korea, Myanmar and Saudi Arabia, the report said. Malaysia was upgraded from the worst ranking, while Cambodia and Pakistan were removed from the watch list.

The department’s 10th annual report grades 175 nations on their efforts to fight this modern form of slavery. The U.S. is listed for the first time, placed among those countries that are doing their best to comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the American law against human trade.

Singapore’s government showed an “inadequate response” to sex trafficking in the city-state with only two convictions last year, the report said. Thailand and Vietnam similarly made little progress in prosecuting trafficking offenders, it said.

‘Certainly Not Weakened’

“The Singapore government is committed to tackling the trafficking in persons issue and our efforts in dealing with this issue have certainly not weakened since last year,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an e-mailed statement. “It is rather puzzling because the U.S. has not satisfactorily explained how it had arrived at its conclusions.”

Thailand “has expressed its disappointment” with the report, foreign ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said by telephone. “We believe that the report did not give due recognition to Thailand’s efforts to address the trafficking problem,” he said. “Be that as it may, we will continue with our efforts to prevent and suppress the trafficking problem.”

Malaysia moved out of the worst tier with increased criminal charges against offenders, according to the report. Cambodian authorities made a “significant increase” in convictions over the past year, including a public official, and Pakistan boosted efforts to combat bonded labor, the U.S. said.

The U.S. is a source as well as a transit and destination country for people forced into labor, debt bondage and prostitution, according to the report. The work is predominantly in manufacturing, janitorial services, agriculture, hotel services, construction, nail salons, elder care, strip-club dancing and domestic servitude, the U.S. said.

‘Tears of Families’

“Behind these statistics on the pages are the struggles of real human beings, the tears of families who may never see their children, the despair and indignity of those suffering under the worst forms of exploitation,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a State Department event to mark the release of the report yesterday in Washington.

The International Labor Organization estimated there were 12.3 million victims of forced labor, sex trafficking, debt bondage and recruitment of child soldiers worldwide in 2009. In the same year, there were 4,166 successful prosecutions for trafficking, the State Department report said.

The U.S. report lists three tiers of nations. Among those in the bottom section -- nations that don’t comply with the law and make no effort to do so -- are Zimbabwe, Cuba, Mauritania and Sudan.

Japan, Israel and Oman are listed in the middle tier -- nations that don’t fully meet the law’s minimum standards yet are making “significant” efforts to do so. Oil-rich Qatar is listed in between the middle and lowest tier on a watch list of countries that don’t meet minimum standards and whose progress is less certain.

The trafficking report calls for better law enforcement, improved laws and more prosecutions for trafficking. The report changes each year and countries can move from tier one, where the U.S. and others are, to the bottom tier.

‘Political Ritual’

The Singapore government described the report as more of a “political ritual” than an “objective study.”

“How, for example, can the U.S. rank itself in tier one when it is well known that the U.S. has been unable to stem a flood of illegal workers, many of whom are trafficked by organized criminal gangs?” Singapore’s foreign affairs ministry said. “It has not been able to cope adequately with the problem and that is among the reasons why immigration is such a hot political issue in the U.S.”

This year, 22 countries were upgraded, including Djibouti, which moved from the second tier to the first, while 19 lost ground, such as the Dominican Republic, which slipped from tier two to tier three.

Sixty-two countries on the list have never prosecuted trafficking, according to the report.

“Most countries that deny the existence of victims of modern slavery within their borders are not looking, trying or living up to the mandates” of a United Nations protocol against trafficking, according to the State Department report.

From Bloomberg, "Singapore, Thailand Backslide in Trafficking Fight"./span>

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive