U.S. stalls on human trafficking
Pentagon has yet to ban contractors from using forced labor
It’s become commonplace for companies who’s primary client is the United States government to send their top officers into politics, and likewise, for career politicians to exit their civil service and fall right into a top post in an organization they’d befriended while in office. It’s even common now to watch these people during the course of their carreers move laterally between the commercial world and that of “public service.” Perhaps not surprisingly, this revolving door between the corporate world and the world of government is almost an exclusively Republican phenomena. It’s a world of favors and privilege; it’s why there is no-bid contracts and unverifiable paperless voting; why K-Street is really a class-5 river rapids and any moral lifejacket won’t save you from being swept away in a current of thousand-dollar-bills; it’s why Abramoff and Scanlon and what appears to be hundreds of others are all clinging to any plea bargain they can get like rats washed downstream in a flood.
So, really, it should come as no great surprise when we get the news that government lobbyists, contractors and even some government officials have recently stood in the way of new regulations aimed at curbing the proliferation of human trafficking among United States contractors (See Chicago Tribune link above). Sex and labor slaves have apparently become a very visible problem to the United States’ international image. Several American contractors have had legal issues in various countries around the globe regarding women and girls being bought and sold for sex by employees on location. These American contractors also continually hire out local sub-contractors to assist their various operations. Apparently many of these sub-contractors use human traffickers to supply their labor. Slave labor.
Just to keep this straight, some bad apple American emplyees are buying in-house sex slaves during their stay overseas. OK, pretty bad. Sick-souled miscreants who need to be locked up. OK. Fine. But beyond that, we see our Government (“We the people”) purchasing slave labor to be able to afford continued—mostly military—operations in various countries. And while it's being done through intermediaries, those intermediaries are government contractors like Halliburton and DynCorp International. Of course we know all about the link between certain privileged government contractors like, say, Halliburton and key Administrative officials like, say, Vice President Dick Cheney. See some pieces falling into place here?
Recently there has been legislation proposed to curb this alarming trend and make contractors officially responsible for the behavior of their employees (both proper and sub-contracted). This move is being met with great resistance by the contractors and thier lobbyists under the reasoning that the laws would be too costly and difficult to enforce. They claim that while they abhor sex-trafficking and slavery, the proposed regulations are just too poorly written from them to endorse. Meanwhile, proponents of the regulation movement have begun to back down under the pressure and, of course, our fearless leader, George Bush, aint touching this one with a ten-mile pole. Shocking, I know.
So, taking the long-view, we’ve got this administration who (barely) rode their big talk about morals and values into power through two highly-contested elections. Amazingly, they continue to pose as icons of holiness and piety throughout endless economic and political scandals. They’d like for us to see them as walking on water, but really, they sail their corporate-funded vessels across oceans of blood pushed by the winds of grief and misfortune. In all of history, it would be surprising to see such a thin line between the war mongers and the war profiteers. Well, maybe not all that surprising, but these guys are right up there with the best (or worst) of them. And now this. Slavery. After all the pining and crocodile tears that were shed convincing the American public that Saddam must go because of his inhumane, barbarous crimes to humanity, those same cheerleaders could apparently give two figs about ending inhumane barbarity in our own backyard.
What’s the lesson here? Morality is a great business to be in as long as it’s making you money, not costing any.