WASHINGTON, DC – The following is the official statement of Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa in response to a new State Department document that improves the Malaysian government’s standing in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. It was released at the same time that trade officials are currently meeting to discuss the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and could allow Malaysia to participate in the trade deal despite being on the human trafficking watch list.
“After weeks of rumors, this new TIP report confirms our fears that these real human rights concerns are not being addressed as seriously as they should be. The welfare of workers is at risk, and we must continue to push Malaysia to improve its anti-trafficking efforts rather than paving the way for it to participate in TPP.
“While negotiators are trying to finish up discussions on the TPP this week, America should not lose focus on what is truly important. Malaysia must come into compliance with international labor standards that ban forced labor before it is allowed to participate in this Pacific Rim trade agreement. Our standing in the world demands the U.S. to take such a position for those being exploited around the world.”