Government complicity is the main reason why Moldova for the first timehas been put on the human trafficking blacklist. Moldova is the onlyEuropean country on the worst-offenders list, revealed on Wednesday bythe American government. Nations on the list could face sanctions,including the withholding of some aid by the United States. .
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Tiraspol Times) - Moldova has been given a failinggrade in this year's Human Trafficking report, as evidence ofgovernment complicity in the slave trade has placed the country on aworldwide blacklist which tracks forced labor and the sex trade.
Human trafficking is now worse than ever in Moldova, Europe'spoorest and most corrupt country. For the first time since it beganissuing reports on the trade of people trafficking, the government ofthe United States has blacklisted Moldova as a "tier 3" country.Washington is now also pondering sanctions against Moldova for itsactive involvement in what the U.S. calls "modern day slavery."
Moldova is the only European state to appear on the United Statesblacklist of countries trafficking in people. That classification meansthe United States could withhold aid that is not humanitarian ortrade-related, as well as impose sanctions unless Moldova takes stepsto halt the trade in human beings.
The "Tier 3" blacklist is contained in the US State Department'sannual Trafficking in Persons report, released in the U.S. capitalWednesday. Also on the Tier 3 list alongside Moldova are Sudan, Syria,Iran, Myanmar and Cuba.
The report analyzes efforts in 170 countries to combat traffickingfor forced labor, prostitution, military service and other purposes.
- Moldova downgraded to worst-offenders list
In introducing the report, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saidhuman trafficking deprives people of their human rights and dignity and"bankrolls the growth of organized crime".
The U.S. has formally classified Moldova as a “tier three” countryunder the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protections Act starting this year.Tier three is the lowest possible rank and refers to countries thatfail to satisfy the minimum conditions required. The U.S. Department ofState in the 2008 Trafficking in Persons Report released Wednesdaycites government involvement in people trafficking in Moldova as themain reason for its downgrade.
According to the U.S. State Department, "Moldova fell to Tier 3 forthe first time, reflecting its government’s failure to tackletrafficking related corruption as reflected in the handling of severalhigh profile cases of complicity by government officials intrafficking. This failure created a significant impediment to thegovernment’s ability to fight trafficking overall."
The U.S. wants Moldova to address "complicity by governmentofficials and, furthermore, to improve law enforcement and victimprotection efforts." All of these are areas in which Moldova, as afailed state, is not in compliance with the sort of standards that areobserved to a much larger degree in 'de facto' independent Transdniestria.
- Government involvement in human trafficking
With Moldova now on the worst-offenders list, the Moldovangovernment's involvement in trafficking-related corruption is becomingknown across its borders as well.
" - I am not surprised that Moldova finally found its way into theworld's lowest ranking of the annual 'Trafficking in Persons' report,"says says Marius Oroveanu, a freelancer for The Tiraspol Times & Weekly Reviewwho has specific knowledge of Moldovan government involvement in thecountry's trafficking networks. "Fortunately, the situation is muchbetter in Transnistria and I know that every single one of the localanti-trafficking groups and NGOs will completely agree with me on this."
The director of the State Department's human trafficking monitoringoffice, Ambassador Mark Lagon, says that U.S. intelligence estimatesare that some 800,000 people are trafficked across internationalborders each year, 80 percent of them women, and that millions more areexploited within their home countries.
Lagon also says the cases of the Tier Three countries will bereviewed later this year for possible U.S. sanctions. Whether this willdampen Moldova's booming slave industry remains to be seen.
It is estimated that half of Moldova's working-age population hasalready left the country, many of them living abroad as illegalimmigrants. (With information from Voice of America)