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September 10, 2011

Forced labor in Vietnam

Today, some 40,000 men, women, and children are being held against their will in forced labor centers all over Vietnam. They are forced by the government to work for little or no pay. The daily work quotas are impossibly high, and when workers fall short of the target they are beaten with clubs, forced to kneel on sharp stones, denied food or baths, or held in an isolation cell. Even more shockingly, this is happening with full sponsorship of the government and for corporate profit. Much of the fruit of the labor is for export, including cashews, garments, mosquito nets, and soccer balls.

The centers are thinly disguised as providing treatment for drug users. But most of the victims are brought in on the basis of a single positive urine test or are picked up in "street sweeps." They become detainees, forced to stay for up to five years, without ever receiving a hearing or trial in a court of law.

Now the US and Vietnam are discussing a Trans-Pacific Partnership – a new free trade agreement that would give Vietnam benefits in its trade with the US. Tell the USTR that any trade deal with Vietnam should not move forward while Vietnam practices state-sponsored forced labor.

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Posted by cat at 01:53 PM