Rep. Levin Statement on Reports of Change in Malaysia Human Trafficking Ranking

Jul 9, 2015

WASHINGTON – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today issued the following statement following a report by Reuters that the U.S. Trafficking in Persons report will upgrade Malaysia to Tier 2 from Tier 3:

“Reports of a change in Malaysia’s human trafficking ranking are deeply disturbing. I will thoroughly review the rationale in the report when it is released. It is crucial that consideration of Malaysia’s record on human trafficking reflect the realities on the ground and not a glossing over of those realities to assist Malaysia’s participation in TPP. It is essential that expanded trade be based on standards and their implementation, not their evasion or erosion. As reflected in last year’s Trafficking in Persons report, there are several million migrant workers in Malaysia. Large numbers of them ‘are exploited and subjected to practices indicative of forced labor,’ such as workers on agricultural plantations, at construction sites, in textile factories, and in homes as domestic workers, according to the report.

“The Administration must focus its efforts on getting Malaysia to fully comply with international labor standards, because the human trafficking problem includes a forced labor problem, which is prohibited by the labor chapter envisioned for TPP. That’s why it is so important that we get TPP right, ensuring that Malaysia and other countries like Mexico and Vietnam correct their immense and deeply troubling worker rights deficiencies before Congress votes.”