Tuesday, January 27, 2009

US trade policy pushes Cambodian girls into prostitution, US foreign policy causes Cambodia to arrest them

Radio Free Asia has a sad article on young Cambodian girls being pushed into prostitution, made all the more horrific because it seems that US trade and foreign policy is exacerbating the trend. The US is working in a few ways that harm these young girls: they push for labor standards that make employing these girls legally more expensive, and thus they are left to professions not subject to the law. But more directly, they pushed for anti-trafficking laws that the Cambodian government interpreted as a directive to crack down on prostitution, driving prostitutes deeper into the underworld and away from the protection that legal tolerance provides to these most vulnerable of businesswomen.

In his NYT column two weeks ago, Nicholas Kristof did a good job of summing up the ways that US pressure on Cambodia's labor standards has decreased employment opportunities:

Cambodia has, in fact, pursued an interesting experiment by working with factories to establish decent labor standards and wages. It’s a worthwhile idea, but one result of paying above-market wages is that those in charge of hiring often demand bribes — sometimes a month’s salary — in exchange for a job. In addition, these standards add to production costs, so some factories have closed because of the global economic crisis and the difficulty of competing internationally.

The Radio Free Asia article explains how the worsening plight of prostitutes is thanks to US foreign policy, and how NGOs are willing partners in crime:

In February 2008, the Cambodian government began enforcing the new “Law on the Suppression of Human-Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation” after years of U.S. pressure to crack down on sex trafficking.

Human rights groups, however, say the law and its enforcement have made life harder for the women they aim to help.

Prostitutes caught in police raids are made to pay fines of up to U.S. $200 for their release, the 17-year-old girl said.

“They take us to district police headquarters and take our money. If we don’t have the money, we will be kept in custody for two or three days. So we have to run for our lives when we see police approaching us.”

“Police arrest us in the hope that the brothel owners will pay, but if we don’t have anyone to pay for our release we will be sent to one of the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). It’s o.k. to live at the NGOs, but then our families have nothing to eat,” she said.

“If [the NGOs] want to help me, they should also help my family. Otherwise I can’t quit.”

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO AMERICA'S FOREIGN POLICY'S OF THE NECON BUSH REGIME, TO MAKE THE WORLD IN AMERICAS IMAGE, THAT OF AN AMERICAN CHRISTIAN DEMOCRACY, MOLDING IT BY SYMBIOTICALLY WORKING WITH THE GOVERNMENT IN CONTROLLING THE MASSES, MUCH IN THE SAME WAY AS HERE IN THE USA!



THE TERRIBLE STATE OF THE WORLD IS BECAUSE OF THE AMERICA GOVERNMENT ALONGSIDE THE RELIGIOUS SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS IN TRYING TO PLAY GOD, IT IS A CONTINUATION OF THE CRUSADES AND INQUISITION!



"The Greeks...labored under the delusion that their democracy was a guarantee of peace and plenty, not realizing that unrestrained majority rule always destroys freedom, puts the minority at the mercy of the mob, and works at cross-purposes to the effective use of human energy and individual initiative." -- Henry Grady Weaver, "The Mainspring of Human Progress"

Raționalitate said...

I think that labor standards are generally supported by the Democrats, and counterproductive anti-trafficking fear mongering is a staple of both parties' platforms. Unfortunately these dangerous policies weren't the result of a fleeting presidency, but rather a systemic failure of government.