Blog: Migrant Labor

The highs and lows of the 2017 TIP Report

Last week, the U.S. Department of State delivered its annual Trafficking in Persons report. Though the report is much anticipated each year by anti-trafficking advocates, this year drew extra attention as the first report released by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the Trump administration, and in the wake of two straight years of allegations that political considerations had weighted some country rankings.

There is much in this report for which the State Department should be commended, in particular:

TPP Ignores Workers' Needs and Fails to Address Weaknesses from Past Trade Agreements

The text of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) finally became accessible to workers and the public last week, though insiders from more than 500 major companies have had access to the negotiation and writing process for years.

Obama Administration grants unwarranted TIP Upgrades

The State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) is a potent annual assessment of governments’ efforts to combat human trafficking that subjects the worst offenders to sanctions. At its best, it provides human rights organizations, unions, and others committed to the fight against human trafficking with a tool to hold governments accountable for their efforts to prevent this egregious crime, protect its victims and prosecute the offenders.

Respect, not restraints, for workers in Thailand's seafood industry

Workers in cages – that’s what reporters from the Associated Press found during a year-long investigation into forced labor in the global seafood supply chain. The workers were Burmese nationals, trafficked onto Thai-run fishing vessels working for an Indonesian firm in Indonesian waters, underlining the complex, global nature of the problem.

Advocate for migrant workers in Thailand under threat

ILRF is concerned about the most recent charges brought against labor rights activist Andy Hall by the Natural Fruit Company. Hall now faces four defamation charges (both civil and criminal) and two charges under the Computer Crimes Act. Natural Fruit is a Thai export company producing pineapple juice and dried fruit.

Burmese workers in Thailand organize, negotiate and win!

Protestors shutting down Bangkok to force the current government from power have grabbed international headlines this week. Meanwhile, efforts for a quieter revolution to improve the power dynamic between millions of migrant workers and their Thai employers took a significant step forward an hour south of Bangkok in Samut Sakhorn, one of the primary seafood processing areas in Thailand.

The U.S. Government Should Require Progress on Human, Land, and Labor Rights Prior to Reinstatement of GSP Trade Benefits for Burma

ILRF and other concerned organizations urge the Obama Administration to require concrete, measurable progress on labor and land rights and environmental protection in Burma before its trade benefits could be reinstated under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). In addition, the products of extractive industries and plantation agriculture should be excluded from any initial grant of GSP eligibility so a more deliberate path to GSP can be created for those sectors.

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