- Former Reagan aide James Baker: President regretted apartheid veto
- Some donations to gay waitress who allegedly forged hate note refunded
- German President Joachim Gauck boycotting Sochi Olympics
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel: If you want to pay more for your doctor, you can under Obamacare
- Sen. Rand Paul: ‘I am seriously thinking about’ running for president in 2016
- Sleet, ice, deepfreeze hit large swath of U.S.
- ‘Welcome to the edge of freedom’: Biden’s boots touch down in DMZ
- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
Migrants’ poverty and desperation supply fodder for modern-day slavery
BANGKOK | The illegal sex trade gets most of the headlines about the underground business of human bondage, but the forced-labor racket is a largely untold story of modern slavery in Southeast Asia.
In one all-too-typical case, a group of frightened workers last week climbed out of a window at a Bangkok garment factory where up to 60 migrants from Myanmar worked and lived in four tiny apartments.
One of the workers told police that they were forced to work in the factory from 8 a.m. to midnight and paid less than $7 a month.
Two factory owners were arrested, and they tried to justify their actions.
“I detained them inside the factory to prevent their escape,” sweatshop owner Namee Sae Lee was quoted as saying.
The factory owners told investigators that the migrants were locked up and forced to work without a salary because each employee had to reimburse a $500 “recruitment fee” they had paid a human trafficker.
Human smugglers eagerly profit from migrant workers’ poverty, ignorance and desperation, including many unemployed men and women who beg to be smuggled abroad despite knowing the risks.
Forced labor, huge profits
Migrants pay huge fees and bribes to unscrupulous agents and officials to secure access to jobs. But they often end up working in wretched conditions, cheated out of their meager wages or arrested by authorities who squeeze them for cash or sex while imprisoning them before sending them back home.
More than 12 million people are exploited into forced labor around the world, with about 9.5 million in the Asia-Pacific region alone, according to the U.N. International Labor Office.
The illegal trade generates nearly $10 billion a year.
Human trafficking worldwide has entrapped up to 27 million people, according to the State Department. Most are forced into prostitution or other parts of the illegal sex business, but exact figures are unavailable.
Activists urge authorities who are serious in combating forced labor to follow the money to try to trace the fees employers pay to human smugglers.
“When high and often inflated recruitment fees leave migrants heavily indebted, they are especially vulnerable to abuse,” Chowdhury Abrar, chairman of the international relations department at Bangladesh’s Dhaka University, said at a conference last week on human trafficking in Dhaka.
“Cracking down on excessive fees and unethical recruitment practices will be a key ingredient to any reform,” he added.
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Craigslist killers: Police say newlyweds stabbed man for thrills
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- Dick Cheney: Family feud over gay marriage has been 'dealt with'
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- Sen. Rand Paul: Long-term unemployment benefits are disservice to workers
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Opinion, analysis, and musings on politics, pop culture, reinvention, and the resultant flotsam and jetsam floating around the right-of-center quadrant of the Left Coast.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!