Menendez Statement on Human Trafficking Crisis in Malaysia, Discovery of Mass Graves

Menendez Statement on Human Trafficking Crisis in Malaysia, Discovery of Mass Graves

NEWARK, NJ – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today released the following statement on the discovery this weekend of mass graves in Malaysia:

“The horror uncovered in Malaysia, where 139 graves and evidence of torture were found in what amount to prison camps, is yet another tragic example of the global crisis of modern slavery and a stark reminder of why we must take a strong stand against human trafficking where ever is rears its ugly head.

“These graves in Malaysia, like those discovered recently in Thailand, held the bodies of migrants from Bangladesh and Rohingya refugees fleeing appalling abuses in Burma who were seeking refuge and employment in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and beyond.  Highly organized criminal operations have sprung up to take advantage of these desperate refugees, extorting money from those whose families can pay and simply disposing of those who cannot.

“The international community has not done enough to combat the scourge of human trafficking. There are a number of countries that have failed to take the most basic steps to address their complicity in this human rights disaster.  These countries are listed at the very bottom of our State Department’s ranking of human traffickers.  

“It was with this ongoing crisis in mind that I, along with a bipartisan coalition of my fellow Senators, have called for a prohibition on fast track for the worst human trafficking countries.  I am pleased to say that provision is now in the trade legislation passed by the Senate and headed to the House of Representatives.  I urge our colleagues in the House to join us in denying privileged access to our markets to countries, like Malaysia, with the worst records on human trafficking.”