(COMMON DREAMS) Andrea Germanos — Controversy over the State Department’s upgrading of Malaysia in its annual human trafficking report continues to swirl, with one organization charging that it shows the administration watering down human rights abuses in an effort to “further its corporate trade agenda.”
The latest Trafficking in Persons Report, released last month, has Malaysia downgraded from a Tier 3 ranking to a Tier 2 ranking. And, as the New York Times reported, that downgrade has impacts on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact:
Congress recently granted President Obama fast-track powers to complete negotiations on the deal, but it included a caveat that prohibited him from doing so with countries listed in Tier 3 of the State Department report — that is, countries that are not making a significant effort to combat human trafficking.
[…] Its upgrade this year to what is known as the Tier 2 watch list, an intermediate step that indicates a country is trying to tackle human smuggling, immediately drew the anger of critics, who sought to link the improved standing of Malaysia to the trade deal.