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Diplomacy in Action

A Closing Note From the Drafters of the Report


Trafficking in Persons Report
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 12, 2007
Report
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Vulnerable men enslavedand cast into the sea

The terms vary: trafficking, forced labor, involuntary servitude, slavery . . . but the basic elements are the same. Someone seeks a better life and takes a risk by accepting an offer of employment-often outside his or her country-and finds a hell of servitude instead. We have shed light on the most vulnerable-women and children-but in the modern age of exploitation through debt and deception, there are many men who fall prey to traffickers. This Report shows the servitude suffered by so many men who have taken risks for themselves and their families, but end up enslaved by labor recruiters and employers.

At the age of 22, Ko Maung left his home in Mon State, Burma with his new bride to find work in a neighboring country. The newlyweds dreamed of earning enough money to return to Burma and build a home for their children. Ko Maung's wife went to work in a fish-processing factory; he took jobs aboard fishing vessels that took him to sea for two to three months. In 2003, he accepted what, he thought, was a safe offer of work on a fishing boat for two years. "You stay here, he told his wife as he left. "I will come back with money and we can go back to Burma." Later, his wife was told he had died during the final months of the fishing boat's three-year voyage.

From accounts of survivors who made it back, Ko Maung and 30 other Burmese recruited to work on a fleet of six fishing boats died at sea from forced labor, starvation, and vitamin deficiencies. They had been forced to remain at sea for years, denied pay, and fed only fish and rice. Workers made repeated requests to leave the boats, but were denied. They requested medical attention but were ignored. As one after another grossly exploited man died at the end of the fishing voyage, their bodies were unceremoniously dumped overboard. They were used in forced labor until they could breathe no more. Those who survived were not paid for their work-which amounted to three years of enslavement.

This Report is dedicated to Ko Maung, who paid the ultimate price of slavery, and to his family whose dreams were crushed. Through the courage of his compatriots, and advocates who assist male victims of slavery, we have heard his voice of agony. We pledge to project his voice, breaking down the walls of indifference and corruption that protect businesses that rely on this despicable trade in disposable humans.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for joining us.

Rebecca Billings

Eleanor Kennelly Gaetan

Sally Neumann

Felecia A. Stevens

Kathleen Bresnahan

Paula R. Goode

Amy O'Neill Richard

Mark B. Taylor

Jennifer Schrock Donnelly

Megan L. Hall

Gayatri Patel

Caroline S. Tetschner

Dana Dyson

Mark P. Lagon

Catherine Pierce

Jennifer Topping

Shereen Faraj

Amy LeMar-Meredith

Solmaz Sharifi

Rachel Yousey Raba

Barbara Fleck

Carla Menares Bury

Jane Nady Sigmon

Veronica Zeitlin

Mark Forstrom

Jennie Miller

Andrea Smail

 



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