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Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

Secretary Kerry released the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report today.  Coinciding with the release came this story.

‘Sea Slaves’: Forced Labor for Cheap Fish

By IAN URBINA
  • Cambodian migrants hauled in the nets on a fishing boat in the South China Sea. A labor shortage in the Thai fishing industry is primarily filled by using migrants, mostly from Cambodia and Myanmar.
  • The living quarters on the fishing boats are typically cramped and the men sleep for short periods between hours of work.
  • San Oo, 35, was trafficked into Thailand from Myanmar and sold to a fishing boat. He was forced to work at sea for two and a half years.
  • Migrant workers unloaded barrels of fish at the docks in Songkhla. "Motherships" bring the catch to shore so that the trawlers can stay at sea.The crew on the Thai fishing boat included two dozen Cambodian boys, some as young as 15.

SONGKHLA, Thailand — Lang Long’s ordeal began in the back of a truck. After watching his younger siblings go hungry because their family’s rice patch in Cambodia could not provide for everyone, he accepted a trafficker’s offer to travel across the Thai border for a construction job.It was his chance to start over. But when he arrived, Mr. Long was kept for days by armed men in a room near the port at Samut Prakan, more than a dozen miles southeast of Bangkok. He was then herded with six other migrants up a gangway onto a shoddy wooden ship. It was the start of three brutal years in captivity at sea.

“I cried,” said Mr. Long, 30, recounting how he was resold twice between fishing boats. After repeated escape attempts, one captain shackled him by the neck whenever other boats neared.

Mr. Long’s crews trawled primarily for forage fish, which are small and cheaply priced. Much of this catch comes from the waters off Thailand, where Mr. Long was held, and is sold to the United States, typically for canned cat and dog food or feed for poultry, pigs and farm-raised fish that Americans consume.

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The political division at the New York Times has come under scrutiny and criticism in the past several days for faulty and inaccurate reporting about disagreement between the intelligence community and the State Department on classification guidelines.  This particular story, from a different division, seems pretty well documented.

We are accustomed to stories of women, especially young women and girls, being sold or kidnapped and held in sex trade bondage, but we hear precious little about other forms of modern human trafficking and slavery.

Clearly we need to feed our pets and livestock.  We do not need to do so on the backs of unpaid hostages in an unregulated industry.  It remains a mystery to me why some (men), when Hillary Clinton raised this banner,  called it a “soft” issue.  There is nothing soft about slavery.

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At the we say, “We’re all in this together.” Read Charles Blow’s NYT column this morning.

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Once again, Nicholas Kristof shows that he gets it!

THIS is what a male feminist looks like. Really! Thanks, Nicholas, for staying on these issues.


Women’s issues getting traction
By Nicholas Kristof March 13, 2009, 4:39 pm
For decades, the “serious” foreign policy issues were the likes of non-proliferation or trade rules, but a new agenda is emerging and the treatment of women around the world is high on it. We saw that with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee creating a subcommittee dealing with women — with Barbara Boxer chairing it. And now we see even more of that, with the White House creating a new Council on Women and Girls (in large part dealing with domestic matters) and the State Department naming a new position of special ambassador for global women’s issues. That job is going to go to Melanne Verveer, the head of Vital Voices, who has been a pioneer in the area and is passionate about seeing progress. The Washington Post has a good item about all this.

Women’s issues are rising on this new foreign policy agenda partly for reasons of simple justice. If human rights deserve attention, for example, they include not only the dissidents who are imprisoned for their politics but also the incomparably greater number of girls who are kidnapped into brothels or burned to death because their dowries are inadequate. But this isn’t just a justice issue. It’s also a matter of economic development. One of the things we’ve learned over the last 15 years is that you can’t fight poverty effectively unless you educate, emancipate and empower women, and bring them into the formal economy. So, with these new positions, onward!

Women’s issues getting traction

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