Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Slavery in the 21st Century

You'd think that slavery is dead, that all the rantings of the African-Americans are just leftovers from history.

Not true.

A friend from Myanmmar contacted me on Friday. I of course, am ecstatic. Having spent 2 months in the place, and experiencing first hand the lovely people and the fucked-up government, I am always excited when I hear any of my old colleagues who took such good care of me when I was a measly intern escape the place.

When I met my mate for dinner. The story came out. And believe me, I was angry beyond words. Not just pissed. Not just fed-up. But a cold, intense flame ignited, and slowly grew hotter as he carried on with his story.

To come to Singapore, my friend paid $3,700 to an "agent", who's suppose to get him an employment pass and a job in Singapore. To the average Burmese, that's 1 ENTIRE year's salary. To raise that amount, he borrowed the bulk of it from money lenders, and his family raised the rest.

In Singapore, he got his employment pass. But his employer fired him and revoked his pass 2 months into the job. Since then the "agent" arranged a 1 month part time job for him, where he made minimal wage, put him up in a tiny apartment somewhere about town where he pays $130 a month to share a sleeping space with thirty. That's right folks, 3 0 other people. 1 toilet.

He hardly understands English, can barely communicate, much less navigate the intricacies of the Singapore Immigration Laws. He is trying his best to find a job that'll sponsor his employment permit, and he's just a tad too innocent, even for Singapore society.

I looked through all his documents over dinner. All he had are 2 phone numbers for his so-called "agent". After the first job, all the agent did, was to get him an extension on his social visit pass, and made him to a stint as a waiter, albeit illegally.


To me, this is the equivalent of trafficking in human currency. Bringing a person to a foreign land, leaving him to die. And forcing him into a corner like this, then ditching him.

Devasatating another human's life like that, earning blood money, I don't know how they sleep at night.

But when I finally hunt them down, somebody will pay.


Sexual Innuendo said...

Your friend is certainly just one of many being exploited this way by those human traders.

More has to be done to clamp down on such unethical practices. Problem now is, its just unethical, not illegal. Sadly, no one will notice till something goes horribly wrong.

princessgx said...

Sounds really bad! Singapore is always open to foreign talents and if he is well-qualified, should be able to help him find a job somewhere. Hopefully...

Vandalin said...

SI - I am tempted to play God and serve old-testament style, kick-ass-take-names style vengence to the people involved. Know anyone in MOM?

Princessgx - If he's well qualified, he should have some way to fend for himself, or at least have some street smarts. He doesn't. He is a complete innocent.

gen4sure said...

eh.. my 2 cents worth..

u SHOULD NEVER go to MOM direct!!!!

go to some forum, paste up a link conversation... get a lawyer's advice... and THEN the govt fm UP above will come down and catch the bugger..

THAT is how things work..dun go down up...it will NEVER work...

Birkenstocker said...

Those b#$%@$*DS!!! They must be handicapped, born without a conscience. Jus help yr friend get a job, those pple in MOM wont do much. Government should come up with a policy or something to prevent such crappy dishonest $@^#% from operating, like revoke their licence or something.

Vandalin said...

gen4sure - if I get kicked outta singapore, think Oz will take me in as a PR?

birkenstocker - tried to get him a job, but I couldn't. Not with the timeline I had to work with. He's going outta Singapore tomorrow. Now, to find the assholes and hunt them down.

Anonymous said...

i always thought u're a frivolous twit whose sole intention in life is to get into other people's pants when very quite done with yours. Every once in a while I'm surprised by an expression of valour. You're not that sucky afterall.... hiak hiak

Vandalin said...

anon - oh trust me, there is more than just that one aspect that I show. Both heads work VERY well, I'll have you know.