Bush OKs Human Trafficking.
As many as 800,000 people are bought and sold across national borders annually or lured to other countries with false promises of work or other benefits, according to the U.S. State Department. Most are women and children.
Poverty and lack of economic opportunity make women and children potential victims of traffickers associated with international criminal organizations. They are vulnerable to false promises of job opportunities in other countries. Many of those who accept these offers from what appear to be legitimate sources find themselves in situations where their documents are destroyed, theirselves or their families threatened with harm, or they are bonded by a debt that they have no chance of repaying.
While women and children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking for the sex trade, human trafficking is not limited to sexual exploitation. It also includes persons who are trafficked into 'forced' marriages or into bonded labor markets, such as sweat shops, agricultural plantations, or domestic service. The prevention of human trafficking requires several types of interventions. Some are of low or moderate cost and can have some immediate impact, such as awareness campaigns that allow high risk individuals to make informed decisions. Strong laws that are enforced are effective deterrents. Public sanctions by the United Nations and major nations of the world have also proven to be highly successful.
Over a year ago, several countries were named by the U.S. State Department as countries that allowed human beings to be bought and sold. Near the top of the list was Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In June, the State Department reported back to President Bush that 14 or these countries had failed to adequately address this market in human misery. This allowed Bush the option of imposing a vast array of sanctions on the fourteen slave-selling nations.
After serious deliberation - it must have been serious to take from June until near the end of September - President Bush decided Wednesday, September 21 to waive any financial or other sanctions on Saudi Arabia. He also imposed the same harsh penalty on Kuwait.
So, the next time I see a story about the modern-day slave trade in prostitutes, child sex workers or forced laborers in sweat-shops I will think God that I had the forsight to vote for "Anybody-but-Bush" in 2000 and 2004. In 2006, I'll vote for "Anybody-but-a-Republican." Who knows? It might even get counted this time.