Thursday, August 9, 2007


By Dr. Erick San Juan, D.Litt.

According to Ethan B. Kapstein, a Paul Dubrule Professor of Sustainable Development at INSEAD in Fontainebleaue, France and a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington D.C., most people think of slavery as a purely historical phenomenon. The truth and in fact, the practice thrives around the world today. Kapstein said that there’s a rise to a booming international traffic of human beings and with a covert connivance of some national governments. Most people that are being trafficked are deployed against their will. It’s much worst today than during the nineteenth century. He said that global slave trade is a product of the same political, technological and economic forces that have fueled globalization. The corrupt system offers too many incentives to criminals and outlaw states to market humans with or without sanctions.
Instead of the west leading the campaign to eliminate the practice, it discreetly contributes to the deepening criminalization of the overall world economy, sometimes operating in close association with corrupt officials around the world. Bilateral and multilateral agreements are violated thus defying the rule of law and circumventing it.
We will cite the U.S. as an example. The U.S. administration is so focused on its war on terror. Due to the clamor of the American people to bring home their soldiers back, so many of them are defiant in sending volunteers to fight in the Middle East especially in Iraq where the U.S. military is losing so many battles.
Covertly the “masterminds” within the Bush administration started recruiting warriors and workers from third world countries through its defense contractors.
Popular U.S. companies like Brown and Root (KBR), Bechtel, General Dynamics, Titan Corp., Critical Intervention Services and Parsons Project Iraq have been recruiting Filipino workers for various employments in Iraq through the internet (Phil. Star as reported by Mayen Jaymalin). It is an open secret that Black Water U.S.A. has been recruiting even enlisted personnels of our armed forces and the police force to work as body guards, security and enforcers in Iraq while others are legitimately recruited as “peace keeping” force through the government in coordination with the United Nations and the NATO.
The remuneration varies according to the workers expertise and capability. As incentive, some were allegedly promised citizenship in the U.S. if the recruit can complete its contract satisfactorily. As reported by Jaymalin, even our POEA and OWWA, local government units handling legitimate recruitment, said that “e-recruitment” has resulted in the flow of migrants from one country to another without passing through the usual system.
Recently, the illegal recruitment was exposed by an American medical professional, Rory Mayberry who has accused a Kuwait firm of recruiting 51 Filipinos for jobs in Dubai but was gypped and send to Iraq against their will to assist in building the U.S. Embassy complex in Iraq’s so called Green Zone. The worst part of Mayberry’s report was that the Filipinos are working at gunpoint under subhuman conditions.
Kapstein was right in his thesis that the modern global slave trade involves the use of deception and coercion to induce victims to cross borders in search of new jobs which is scarce in third world countries and if there’s any, it won’t rightly compensate a decent life for its citizenry. (Foreign Affairs, Nov. 2006)
These hapless victims are mostly recruited in poor countries where corrupt government functionaries are part of the conspiracy. The recruits were promised good jobs but most of the times the promise was meant to be broken. Upon arrival in the foreign land, they were stripped of their identity, travel documents were confiscated by their recruits and forced into the job.

We have so many laws and safety measure to stop such slave trade and illegal recruitment. As long as the nation is poor and has corrupt or weak governance, its citizenry becomes cynical and “beggars as the saying goes, are helpless and willing to risk their lives to survive”.

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