Archive for November 21, 2011

UKRAINE DOWNPLAYS HUMAN TRAFFICK RISKS, WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?

November 21, 2011

UKRAINE DOWNPLAYS HUMAN TRAFFICK RISKS, WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Ukraine, that once mighty component state of the Soviet Union, hasn’t seen much of the light of day of the new republic post-USSR. The once imperious and grand USSR was the world’s 2nd largest economy during its heyday, but historical mills have rolled on and the rugs under the feet of the Union peoples had drastically changed.

Badly sore on its feet for the dis-integration of that economic union, Ukraine had to scrounge for meager resources to re-start its sagging economy. It simply doesn’t have the experience to run a market economy, thus spawning mafia groups that took on every sector of the economy they can grab in a copycat of the Russian mafia.

Ukrainians, like their fellow ex-USSR folks, are compelled to seek for jobs overseas no matter what the mistreatment and risks they take. So desperate for cash are the Ukrainians that they’d opine a blindness to abuses and other mistreatments for the gainsake of pumping their cash-starved pockets.

What is your take of the Ukrainian downplaying of labor hazards overseas? Below is a report on the subject culled from the IOM.

[Philippines, 17 November 2011]

Source: http://www.iom.int/jahia/Jahia/media/press-briefing-notes/pbnEU/cache/offonce/lang/en?entryId=30789

Ukrainians Underestimate Dangers of Human Trafficking, Report Finds

Posted on Friday, 14-10-2011

Ukraine – The overwhelming majority of Ukrainians have a limited awareness of the dangers of human trafficking, a newly published survey suggests.
The opinion poll conducted by a market research company GfK Ukraine for IOM Ukraine was carried out among a sample of 1,000 respondents (representative of Ukrainian population 14 – 65 years old by administrative units, types of settlements and gender). It found that 70 per cent of the interviewees believed they were not personally at risk of being trafficked.
While the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians (92 per cent) said they were aware of trafficking for sexual exploitation and 82 per cent conscious of the fact that Ukrainians are being trapped into forced labour, it is their low economic status and previous successful migration experiences which determine the level of risk they are under. 9 per cent of the poll respondents said they were planning to go abroad in search of living. Almost 80 per cent of this group’s representatives would agree on illegal employment, 13 per cent are ready to work for any employer who would offer an attractive payment. Residents of the Central region are more inclined towards risky behaviour. According to GfK data, 36.6 per cent of Central Ukraine’s population have to save on food and clothes. Up to 16 per cent of the Central Ukraine’s residents have external migration experience.
“Although considerable numbers of Ukrainian migrants have experienced exploitation and abuse abroad, the poll suggests that many more are willing to engage in risky practices in their often desperate search for employment abroad,” says IOM Ukraine’s Chief of Mission Manfred Profazi. “This risk taking behaviour is often fuelled by migrants who have successfully escaped exploitation and have returned home with earnings.”
Another disturbing finding of the survey is that Ukrainians tend to accept mistreatment and even rights violations in order to keep their jobs. According to the poll, 24 per cent of all respondents said they were willing to accept penalties from their employer for making mistakes at work. Further 11 per cent would accept withholding of their salaries, a method regularly used by traffickers to coerce migrants into exploitation.
More than 110,000 Ukrainians are believed to have fallen prey to traffickers since 1991 and Ukraine remains one of the main countries of origin of exploited labour in Europe.
As part of efforts to reduce the vulnerability of migrants to trafficking and exploitation, IOM Ukraine recently launched a website (http://www.stoptrafficking.org/) aiming to raise general public awareness of the irregular migration dangers and foster further cooperation among all partners fighting traffickers who increasingly use the internet to lure their victims into situations of exploitation.
“This is why IOM and its partners are increasingly going online to combat human trafficking,” says IOM’s Profazi. “This means getting our awareness message across job searching sites and employment portals, which regularly contain false promises of easy work abroad.”
Since the start of its counter-trafficking activities in Ukraine in 1998, IOM Ukraine assisted almost 8,000 victims of trafficking, both women and men who suffered from sexual and labour exploitation mainly in the Russian Federation and Poland.
For more information please contact:
Varvara Zhluktenko
IOM Ukraine
Tel: +38-044-568-50-15
E-mail: vzhluktenko@iom.int

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US AID BUDGET CUTS, SIGNS OF THE TIMES!

November 21, 2011

US AID BUDGET CUTS, SIGNS OF THE TIMES!

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Overall budget appropriation pattern in the US Congress has shown an increasing cuts of aid to other countries. The US $4 Billions given each to Egypt and Israel were squeezed down a mere $3 Billions for both countries.

The rationale given by the mentally bankrupt US legislators is that priority for allocations should be domestic needs rather than those that fit foreign relations matters. Isolationism is creeping inside legislators more so the House of Representatives or ‘lower house’. In US institutional history, the term ‘lower house’ was used to label the House of Representatives to signify the low level of wisdom and competence of its members relative to the Senate.

Signs of the times, isn’t it? US hegemonism on the global terrain is now crashing down in a context that is increasingly moving toward multipolar power arrangement. Domestic demands for larger money inputs is ever rising at exponential rates while the debt levels are sucking down financial resources intended for more productive uses (pump priming) and social welfare.

Below is an analytical piece about the subject culled from the New York Times.

[Philippines, 16 November 2011]

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/opinion/sunday/no-time-to-get-stingy-about-foreign-aid.html?_r=2
No Time to Get Stingy
CAROL GIACOMO
Published: October 8, 2011
Spending for diplomacy and foreign aid has long been a favorite target of Congressional budget cutters. That’s truer than ever this year with the supercommittee looking for a $1.5 trillion reduction in the federal deficit. Why spend precious tax dollars overseas when the need at home is so great?
For the sake of national security, this country cannot afford to retreat from the world. Its investment in the State Department and foreign aid helps advance peace and stability by feeding starving people, providing access to doctors and medicines, opening new markets, promoting democracy, curbing nuclear arms and strengthening allies with military and economic assistance. It also gives Washington leverage.
There is a lot of public misunderstanding about foreign aid, which accounts for less than 2 percent of the federal budget. And the truth is, much of that money — too much — goes to American producers of food, medicine and weapons that are delivered abroad.
International affairs spending — on diplomats and embassies, aid to more than 100 countries and funding for the World Bank, the United Nations and others — declined after the cold war. It rose after 9/11, from about $32 billion in 2002 to $57 billion in 2010, largely because of obligations connected to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, aid to Pakistan and a greater investment in global health.
The trend is shifting again. As chart A shows, the budget was cut by $6 billion, or roughly 11 percent, in 2011, with a $2 billion reduction possible in 2012 if the Republican-led House prevails. The largest category of spending is direct economic aid, which supports global health programs, as well as efforts to reform economies, expand education and respond to disasters in Haiti, Japan and elsewhere. That type of spending was cut to $21 billion in 2011 from $25 billion in 2010.
Military and security aid to fight terrorism abroad, combat drug trafficking and underwrite foreign arms purchases and military training amounted to $8 billion in 2011. Israel gets about $3 billion annually, with money also going to Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. This is one category the House would increase. The State Department’s salaries, embassy construction and security, and contributions to international institutions make up most of the rest of the budget.
At least four critical areas would suffer disproportionately from cuts proposed by the House. The Obama administration opposes those cuts and is seeking limited increases. As chart B shows, food aid, which was $1.7 billion in 2011, would fall 28 percent to $1.2 billion in the House plan. A global health initiative, which is reducing malaria in Africa and preventing the spread of H.I.V./AIDS, under that plan would lose $700 million from its $7.8 billion budget. The United States Agency for International Development (Usaid), which oversees aid programs and ensures that funds are properly spent, faces a $400 million cut — and likely staff layoffs. Money for development projects like water filtration plants would be sliced by 18 percent by the House.
Savings squeezed from the State Department and foreign aid — which together are less than a tenth of the basic Pentagon budget — would be a tiny share of the $3.8 trillion federal budget. Yet the effects would be hugely damaging to American foreign policy. Washington needs resources to support new democracy movements in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. This is also a critical time in Iraq and Afghanistan, where demands for diplomatic resources are growing. National security has always depended on more than military strength. We need diplomats to anticipate problems and find nonmilitary solutions. The drive to cut diplomatic resources and foreign aid seriously harms our ability to do just that.
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