A new federal law will hopefully ensure that diplomatic immunity doesn’t turn in to diplomatic impunity, according to Ambassador-at-large Mark Lagon, director of the office to monitor and combat human trafficking at the State Department. The law attempts to crack down on foreign diplomats who bring workers into the United States and then treat them as slaves.
According to the DC Examiner,
The human trafficking bill gathered congressional support after the Government Accountability Office released a report in July citing 42 cases in which diplomats, most of whom live in the Washington area and New York City, abused their household workers. There are likely many more cases, the report said, but they remain unknown to law enforcement because workers often fear U.S. authorities and the power of their employers.
The report cited gaps in the State Department’s review of the visas given to diplomats’ household staff and noted a failure to track the workers once they’re in the U.S. The lack of oversight, the report said, makes it easy for diplomats to hide behind their immunity as they underpay, mistreat and enslave their employees.
But the new law requires a tracking system be put in place and greater cooperation between the departments of State and Justice. New visa review standards will be implemented, including a requirement that officials who give out the visas meet with workers to inform them of their rights.
Diplomatic immunity has long been a problem for many of us in this area. Too many people are granted immunity and many who have it take advantage of this extension of international ‘good will’ by refusing to take responsibility for their actions and for thumbing their nose at our laws. Countries who have violations in human trafficking will risk having visas revoked. The law will go into effect sometime after the Inauguration. The fact that a human trafficking bill is even necessary speaks ill of the world.
We are almost 10 years into the 21st century. Why should this even be necessary? What is wrong with some of these countries? Does the rest of the world feel human trafficking is an acceptable behavior? Pathetic.