TPP Press Conference/Rally to Decry US Promotion of Malaysian Human Trafficking

On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, groups affiliated with Human Rights, Civil Rights, Religion, the Environment, among others, gathered at the Malaysian Embassy by the UN in NYC to to denounce
the Obama administration’s attempt to minimize ongoing, widespread human trafficking and forced labor in Malaysia in order to
advance the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement. On July 27th, the State Department upgraded Malaysia’s human
trafficking rating despite continuing abuses and deteriorating enforcement.

Human rights groups have called the move a cynical ploy
to ease passage of the TPP. Legislation in Congress would have barred Fast Tracking any trade deal with countries in the State
Department’s worst human trafficking ratings bracket, which until the upgrade included Malaysia. Some observers have furthermore
pointed out that trade deals like the TPP can actually create the conditions for human trafficking by encouraging race-to-the-bottom
labor standards.

The upgrade comes just two months after the discovery of human trafficking camps and mass graves in Malaysia. The event takes
place as the US pushed and failed to complete TPP negotiations in Hawaii, and also coincides with Secretary of State John Kerry’s
arrival in Malaysia for talks with ASEAN member states. Though Kerry promises to push the Malaysian government on trafficking,
the rally is being held to insist the State Department has already made its point—one that puts a poisonous trade agenda ahead of
human lives. Speakers at the press conference will also address how trade deals like TPP actually exacerbate the problem of human
trafficking in New York City and the environmental cost of forced labor in Malaysia with forced labor used in the unsustainable palm
oil and commercial fishing industries.

Additional Info:

Jamie Kemmerer, as MC, the Regional Coordinator, MoveOn NYC Councils
Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, Director of the Presbyterian Church Office of Public Witness in Washington, DC

Imam Aiyub Baki, Islamic Leadership Council of New York

Rev. Stephen Phelps, former Interim Senior Minister at Riverside Church in NYC

Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN USA

Shahid Comrade, Secretary General, Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum

Adam Weissman, Founder, Global Justice for Animals and the Environment

Mohiuddin Mohamad Yusof, World Rohingya Organizat


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