Wednesday, June 07, 2006

US 2006 Human Trafficking Report out Today

Every June, the US produces its annual 'Trafficking in Persons Report.' Not all nations are included (the US does not include itself). Nations are divided into three Tiers and four categories: Tier 1 nations are doing everything they can to stop human trafficking; Tier 2 is divided into two categories: plain Tier 2 nations are trying to stop trafficking, but they could be doing more, while Tier 2 Special Watch nations are similar to Tier 2, but are suspect, and will be closely watched for improvement or decline; finally, Tier 3 nations have substantial human trafficking and are doing nothing about it.

Almost all countries are somewhere in Tier 2. Twenty six good friends of the US are in Tier 1 (I'm not sure what happened to Portugal: they were kicked off Tier 1 for some reason). All the Axis of Evil (Iran, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea) are in Tier 3, along with 8 other countries countries (out of about 150).

In 2002, someone from the US went to see a camel race. The UAE was put in Tier 3. No mention of the trafficking report appeared in any UAE newspaper, but the President announced that the use of underage child camel jockeys was banned with immediate effect, and all the children were to be repatriated as quickly as possible. Stories on the repatriation continued to appear in UAE newspapers throughout 2002, 2003, and 2004.

As a result, for the next two years, the UAE was somewhere in Tier 2. Then, in 2005, someone from the US actually went to see a camel race: The UAE was back in Tier 3.

This time, an apoplectic editorial in the UAE newspapers condemned the report, a difficult task, since the editorial could not actually mention the report, since it is not allowed to refer to anything critical of the UAE.

And, once again, the Federal Government announced that the use of child camel jockeys was strictly prohibited with immediate effect, and that all the children were to be repatriated as quickly as possible. Since the 2005 report came out, UAE newspapers have been running regular stories on the replacement of the children with radio controlled robot jockeys.

Today, the 2006 report came out, and the UAE is back in Tier 2, so the local newspapers were able to write a couple of stories about the report. (For example, they were allowed to report, in the Phillipine section of the newspaper, that the Phillipines had been moved up from Tier 2 Special Watch to plain Tier 2.)

I don't think it is particularly critical of the UAE, or inaccurate, to say that, while the UAE is making a good effort to stop human trafficking, it could be doing more, but sometimes UAE citizens are particularly sensitive to anything that might be perceived as being even slightly critical of their country.

I have no idea what it would take for the UAE to make it into Tier 1, although strictly enforcing the existing UAE labour laws would be a very good start. But at least the UAE is moving in the right direction.


Blogger nzm said...

Don't you think that all efforts thus far have been reactive rather than planning proactively, deliberately and consciously to make progress towards improvements?

Seems to me that if these issues weren't raised in global reports, then nothing would change.

10:30 am  
Blogger Dubai@Random said...

You're quite right: if the US report hadn't come out, we'd still have 5 year old jockeys racing camels.

This part of the world doesn't know what proactive means. They need to be told what is and what is not acceptable.

And, except for the UAE, this part of the world tends to ignore when the rest of the world says that what they're doing is not acceptable. At least the UAE responds.

12:49 am  
Blogger samuraisam said...

It wasn't the report that caused them to stop child jockeys, it was the HBO documentary by Ansar Burney (you can find it on there, pretty harsh at some points)

Using children as camel jockeys has been illegal in the UAE since 1980 under domestic and international legislation

and as you can see here people have been making a big deal of it for ages, only recently has anything been done about it.

8:48 am  
Blogger Dubai@Random said...

There had been reports and complaints before, but (as one of your links reports) it was immediately after the 2002 US Human Trafficking Report that the UAE announced an end to child camel jockeys. Your report (dated 2004) was probably instrumental in bringing attention to the fact that nothing had changed, so the UAE was again condemned by the 2005 Human Trafficking Report and it was immediately after that report that the UAE actually ended the practice.

Immediately post hoc ergo propter hoc isn't a particularly valid rhetorical argument, but it's the best I can do.

So I still think the proximate cause was the US Human Trafficking report, though it may not have been the ultimate cause.

6:26 pm  

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