Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Human Trafficking’

22nd August 2013

In what could be described as a watershed moment for United States-Myanmar relations, these two countries held their first joint human trafficking discussions officially dubbed the U.S.-Myanmar Trafficking in Persons dialogue. The discussions were held on August 1, 2013 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. Myanmar Police Chief Major General Zaw Win and United States Ambassador-at-Large for the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Luis CdeBaca headed the Myanmar and United States’ delegations. These events were reported in an August 19th Press Release from the American State Department. To quote from the recent State Department Press Release:

In-depth discussions covered a variety of human trafficking issues, including forced labor, sex trafficking, and the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers, with particular focus on the importance of employing a victim-centered approach to combating human trafficking, the need to show concrete results in holding to account perpetrators of all forms of trafficking, and the benefits of robust government-civil society partnerships. Both governments agreed the dialogue was very productive and pledged their continued commitment to enhanced cooperation in addressing this serious crime and human rights issue under the auspices of the United States-Myanmar Joint Plan on Trafficking in Persons.

Human trafficking is a serious issue to American policymakers as well as their counterparts in the various nations which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Many of the ASEAN members states (Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam) have struggled with human trafficking and have promulgated policies to thwart would-be traffickers and provide assistance to the victims of this insidious international scourge. It is promising to see the United States engaging Myanmar on this issue as recent history has seen Myanmar maintaining a rather aloof stance towards both the United  States and the international community as a whole. Hopefully, this recent meeting will garner further cooperation between the United States and the Union of Myanmar on this issue as the eradication of human trafficking would prove to be not only a benefit to the people of each of these countries, but also to the region and the world. It could be argued that by engaging Myanmar in a discussion of this issue the United States is not only highlighting Myanmar’s importance geopolitically, but also that country’s potential to curtail human trafficking on a regional scale. Should this meeting result in any decrease (whether large or small) in human trafficking, then this initial dialogue must be viewed as a success. Hopefully the day will come when human trafficking is no longer the problem that it is at this time.

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24th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that a Professor in the sovereign State of Utah has apparently filed a declaration regarding statements pertaining to the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the website of Talking Points Memo, TalkingPointsMemo.com:

A University of Utah professor who specializes in the study of affectional bonds and same-sex sexuality is accusing House Speaker John Boehner’s legal team of distorting her research. Professor Lisa A. Diamond, whose work was cited by the legal team arguing on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives that the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional, filed a declaration in federal court stating that the legal team “misconstrues and distorts my research findings, which do not support the propositions for which BLAG cites them.” The legal team chosen by Boehner, headed by former Solicitor General Paul Clement, quoted Diamond as writing that there “is currently no scientific or popular consensus on the exact constellation of experiences that definitively ‘qualify’ an individual as lesbian, gay, or bisexual” as support for their claim that sexual orientation isn’t immutable. “That is incorrect,” writes Diamond. “My quoted statement concerns the scientific and popular debates over the defining characteristics of LGBT individuals and it says nothing whatsoever about the immutability of sexual orientation itself…”

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to read this article in detail.

The provisions of DOMA currently result in a situation where same sex bi-national couples are unable to enjoy the same visa benefits as their different sex counterparts most particularly in the form of the K-1 visa, the CR-1 visa, and/or the IR-1 visa. Currently, proposed legislation such as Representative Jerrold Nadler‘s Respect for Marriage Act and Uniting American Families Act would ameliorate this situation, but passage of said legislation remains to be seen.

In news pertaining to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Secretariat of ASEAN is apparently releasing information regarding human trafficking. To provide further insight this blogger is compelled to quote directly from the official website of the Malaysian National News Agency website, Bernama.com:

JAKARTA, Aug 24 (Bernama) — The Secretariat of Asean on Wednesday made public the Progress Report on Criminal Justice Responses to Trafficking in Persons in the Asean Region, says Vietnam News Agency (VNA). The report highlighted achievements made by Asean during the past decade in the fight against human trafficking and its forthcoming challenges in the near future. It also underlined the need to perfect the legal system on transnational crimes, promoting regional cooperation, raising efficiency of verifying, prosecuting and convicting human trafficking criminals as well as protecting and helping victims. Addressing the ongoing 11 th Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) here, Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said that the report will provide a cooperation model for countries as well as other regions…

This blogger asks readers to click on the relevant links above to read more from this interesting article.

Human trafficking is a problem that many nations tackle with and it is genuinely reassuring to see the jurisdictions which comprise ASEAN (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) taking the time to analyze this issue as it is certainly a problem deserving of attention.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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31st July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that there are increasing instances of Western commentators discussing the Pan Asia Gold Exchange (PAGE). As these discussions can have implications for the wider business community it may be prudent to quote directly from an article written by Ned Naylor Leyland and posted on the website 24hgold.com:

Today was the inauguration ceremony replete with myriad ministers and mandarins from central and regional government. This initiative is supported at the highest levels in China with SOEs as shareholders, the support of the Beijing Gold Exchange and SAFE (State Administration of Foreign Exchange). PAGE are buying into the concept that leverage has its limits and that leasing must also be carefully monitored…The biggest bombshell however, is the offer of Rmb contracts for international investors, agreed by SAFE. The international part of the Exchange’s business is expected to be available by Q4…

This blogger strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks noted above to read this insightful article in detail.

Issues related to business and capital movement in the jurisdictions which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) have been of increasing interest to those who monitor international trade and geopolitics. Meanwhile, many in the business community would appear to be anticipating how the ramifications of further business in China will impact Greater Asia and the global economy. Hopefully, these developments will be beneficial for all concerned.

In news pertaining to American immigration, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is apparently trying to encourage further use of the T visa. To quote directly from the Daily Journal website, DailyJournal.net:

PHILADELPHIA — Federal immigration officials are working with authorities in Philadelphia and other cities around the U.S. to try to increase the use of a special visa to help victims of human trafficking, a visa that has been underutilized since its creation nearly a decade ago. At issue is the nonimmigrant “T visa,” which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials say is an underutilized tool that can be used to help victims of human trafficking who have been brought into the country — using deception in many cases — and then used as sex slaves or forced into other types of involuntary servitude. There is a 5,000 yearly cap on the visa, which allows eligible victims and family members to stay in the country up to four years. But fewer than 5,000 have been approved in total since it was instated in 2002…

The administration of this web log asks that readers click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to read this article in detail.

Unfortunately, the scourge of human trafficking has yet to be fully eradicated in either an international or national context. Hopefully, USCIS can effect some change to this situation through astute use of the T visa noted above. Meanwhile, as noted previously on this blog, there are other agencies of the United States government taking proactive measures to decrease incidents of human trafficking. Hopefully these efforts results in tangible benefits for all people since the issue of human trafficking is something which effects everyone.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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18th March 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Cambodian government has changed some of the regulations regarding registration of marriage in that Kingdom. To quote directly from a recent posting on the blog United Khmer:

MALE foreigners over the age of 50 have been outlawed from marrying Cambodian women in the country under new rules designed to crack down on sham marriages and human trafficking, the government said today.

Human trafficking is a serious issue in many Asian nations including those comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The posting went on to further note:

Foreigners who earn less than $2,580 per month are also barred from wedding local women, foreign ministry spokesman Koy Kuong told AFP, but the restrictions do not apply to weddings taking place overseas.

It would seem as though the Cambodian government is also attempting to make rules in an attempt to ensure that those Cambodian women marrying foreign men are more likely to be materially provided for.

It is increasingly common for both men and women from the United States of America to travel to Southeast Asian nations such as Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Malaysia, and Singapore for both business matters and pleasure. In some cases, American Citizens traveling abroad meet someone special and decide to bring their loved one back to the United States. Under such circumstances, it will likely be required that the foreign loved one obtain a United States visa.

Depending upon the unique facts of each given case couples may opt to apply for a US fiance visa (officially classified as a K-1 visa) or a spousal visa such as a CR-1 visa or, less commonly, a non-immigrant K-3 visa. Those couples who have been married for more than 2 years at the time of their admission to the United States are likely to see the prospective immigrant spouse admitted into the USA in IR-1 visa status.

The immigration process is a different experience for each couple and as the process evolves it also constantly changes. For this reason (likely amongst many others)  some couples opt to retain the assistance of a professional to provide insight into the protocols associated with United States immigration. Under those circumstances, those seeking advice and counsel are well advised to ascertain the credentials of anyone claiming to be an American attorney as only a licensed attorney from the United States is permitted to practice United States Immigration law.

For related information please see: US tourist visa.

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3rd September 2010

Those who read this blog on a regular basis may have noticed that the administration routinely posts information about efforts by various law enforcement authorities to discourage human trafficking. Unfortunately, as the world becomes increasingly integrated due to globalization the instances of human trafficking seem to be rising. This apparent increase could be due to the fact that there are more media outlets covering this issue, but this author believes in giving credit where credit is due and many of those apprehended by American authorities were caught thanks to the diligent efforts of American and international law enforcement agencies and organizations.

To quote a recent story from the Associated Press that this author found distributed on the internet by Google:

HONOLULU — Six recruiters were accused Thursday of luring 400 laborers from Thailand to the United States and forcing them to work, according to a federal indictment that the FBI called the largest human-trafficking case ever charged in U.S. history.

The indictment alleges that the scheme was orchestrated by four employees of labor recruiting company Global Horizons Manpower Inc. and two Thailand-based recruiters. It said the recruiters lured the workers with false promises of lucrative jobs, then confiscated their passports, failed to honor their employment contracts and threatened to deport them.

Once the Thai laborers arrived in the United States starting in May 2004, they were put to work and have since been sent to sites in states including Hawaii, Washington, California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah, according to attorneys and advocates.

Many laborers were initially taken to farms in Hawaii and Washington, where work conditions were the worst, said Chancee Martorell, executive director for the Los Angeles-based Thai Community Development Center, which represents 263 Thai workers who were brought to the U.S. by Global Horizons.

A woman who answered the phone at Global Horizons’ Los Angeles office refused to take a message seeking comment Thursday.

The six defendants include Global Horizons President and CEO Mordechai Orian, 45; Director of International Relations Pranee Tubchumpol, 44; Hawaii regional supervisor Shane Germann, 41; and onsite field supervisor Sam Wongsesanit, 39. The Thailand recruiters were identified as Ratawan Chunharutai and Podjanee Sinchai.

They face maximum sentences ranging from five years to 70 years in prison, according to the Department of Justice.

The penalties imposed upon those who engage in human trafficking activities can be severe. This is likely due to the fact that this activity often leads to many negative results as noted in the story above. Many of those who are smuggled from one country to another are forced to work under inhumane conditions that are considered to be illegal in many jurisdictions.

This author is pleased to see public resources being expended upon truly worthy law enforcement programs such as this. Thwarting the activities of human traffickers should definitely be a top priority for international law enforcement agents. Hopefully, arrests such as those noted above will discourage and deter individuals in the future as such activity has an extremely detrimental impact upon society as a whole.

It should also be noted that human trafficking is considered by US Immigration authorities to be a legal grounds of inadmissibility. Therefore a finding by a Consular Officer that an individual previously engaged in human trafficking may lead to visa denial in a pending immigration petition or application. Furthermore, this ground of inadmissibility is unlikely to be remedied through use of an I-601 waiver.

For related information please see: US Visa Thailand.

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3rd June 2010

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as the name suggests, is tasked with, among other things, monitoring US internal and external security mainly from the perspective of Immigration. One component agency of the Department of Homeland Security is the US Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP). This agency is tasked with securing US Ports of Entry by monitoring those entering the USA in order to counter possible terrorist threats to the American people. In a recently promulgated press release, the Department of Homeland Security announced that new cooperative measures have been initiated in concert with the French Republic. The following is an excerpt from the aforementioned press release:

Washington, D.C. – Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced that the United States and France have established an arrangement to implement the Immigration Advisory Program (IAP)–which allows for the identification of high-risk travelers at foreign airports before they board aircraft bound for the United States–at Paris’ Charles De Gaulle International Airport. “Terrorism is a global threat that requires an international response,” said Secretary Napolitano. “This collaboration will enhance both the United States’ and France’s capabilities to protect our immigration systems as well as the global aviation network from abuse by terrorists and transnational criminals.” IAP allows specialized U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel posted in foreign airports to utilize current targeting and passenger analysis information and/or an assessment of passengers’ documentation to identify high-risk persons bound for the United States and make “no board” recommendations to carriers and host governments. The arrangement–formalized over the weekend by DHS Assistant Secretary for Policy David Heyman and French Minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Mutually-Supportive Development Eric Besson–will help combat the use of fraudulent travel documents, prevent terrorists and other criminals from entering the United States, disrupt human smuggling and strengthen cooperation between CBP and French officials. A formal signing of the IAP arrangement will follow in August.

Advocates for The International Advisory Program (IAP) seem to hope that the program will streamline the process by which government personnel identify possible threats in the form of criminals entering the USA. Of particular interest is that the program seems focused upon deterring and suppressing the use of false travel documents. It would also appear that new initiatives will be undertaken to decrease human trafficking to the USA. This has become an ever-increasing concern among immigration officials as more foreign nationals attempt to enter the USA illegally through use of organizations that attempt to “smuggle” them through US ports. This author applauds the efforts of officials in both the USA and France as they attempt to better ensure the safety of international travelers.

For information regarding US Immigration from Thailand please see: US Visa Thailand or K1 Visa Thailand.

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25th May 2010

As the world becomes ever more integrated due to economic globalization international organized crime has increased. One issue that has become increasingly concerning for law enforcement agencies around the globe is human trafficking. Many of the people in less developed nations wish to travel to wealthier industrialized countries in order to enjoy the benefits of relatively higher wages. This leads to the growth of “human smugglers” who specialize in assisting illegal immigrants by transporting them from their home country to their desired destination. Unfortunately, a great deal of evidence has been brought to light which suggests that many of these immigrants are placed in conditions which could easily be described as inhumane and many of them are further forced to work under difficult conditions in order to pay back their smugglers for transporting them to their new country.

Recently, the website ThaiVisa.com posted the following:

“Two Japanese men have been arrested in Thailand on suspicion of people smuggling, a police spokesman said Tuesday. The first man, identified by police only by his surname, Bekku, was arrested Monday when he tried to renew his visa. The second man, Tanaka, was arrested later at his apartment in Bangkok. The pair, both in their 60s, are accused of involvement in smuggling people from Thailand and its neighbouring countries. ‘They were arrested on warrants issued by the Japanese police on charges of human smuggling,’ said the spokesman, Major General Manoo Mekmok.”

Under Section 212(a)(2)(H)(i) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act:

Any alien who commits or conspires to commit human trafficking offenses in the United States or outside the United States, or who the consular officer, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, or the Attorney General knows or has reason to believe is or has been a knowing aider, abettor, assister, conspirator, or colluder with such a trafficker in severe forms of trafficking in persons, as defined in the section 7102 of title 22, is inadmissible.

Clearly, United States Immigration law takes the issue of human trafficking very seriously as it should since human trafficking is a major issue that causes many deaths each year while concurrently undermining the foundations of international law. Furthermore, those who are found guilty of offenses involving human trafficking are likely to be found inadmissible to the United States of America indefinitely as this ground of inadmissibility cannot be remedied through use of an I-601 waiver.
To learn more about US Immigration please see: US Visa Thailand.

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