TPLF’s fiction says human trafficking down in Ethiopia by 8% in 2013: How does it know?By Keffyalew Gebremedhin.

September 6th, 2013 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLSA) at the end of August 2013 reported that in the 2012/2013 budget year, human trafficking – the smuggling of people out of the country by force or deceitful means – went down by 8.0 percent, i.e., from a high of 198,000 in 2011/2012 to 182,000.

After all these 22 years, one lesson has become a second nature for Ethiopians – the need to treat TPLF data with some caution. The regime has proved an ace in manipulating statistical information as the feed behind its political propaganda and its means of securing political mileage.

For instance, here the question should arise how MOLSA could know the exact number of trafficked human beings. Such figures usually are a matter of conjecture, especially in developing countries. Therefore, the truth is it does not have any idea of it. What it has done here is employ its craftiness and refer to the very number of the very people the government licensed to go and work as domestics in foreign countries as “trafficked human beings”.

As an evidence, see the 2013 US report on human trafficking. It says, “In 2012, MOLSA reviewed and approved 198,000 contracts for overseas employment, predominantly for women emigrating as domestic workers.” The Fana story states:

“በበጀት አመቱ በርካታ ስራዎች መሰራታቸውን በመግለጫው ላይ የቀረበ ሲሆን ፥ ከነዚህም መካከል ህገ ወጥ የሰዎች ዝውወር በ2004 ዓ.ም 198 ሺህ እንደነበርና በ2005 ዓ.ም ደግሞ ቁጥሩ ወደ 182 ሺህ ዝቅ ማለቱ ተመልክቷል።”

“While in the briefing statement the accomplishment during the budget year of numerous tasks has been indicated, notable of this is the gains made in fighting smuggling of human beings out of the country. This has helped lower the number of illegally trafficked humans from a high of 198,000 in 2011/2012 to 182,000 in 2012/2013.”

The reduction in the second figure is possibly due to the reduced number of domestic workers going to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

The reason for the regime to go into such scandal is because of its need for political propaganda, regime’s speciality. Clearly, this is intended to laud TPLF’s achievements. At the same time, it is also to show the United States that it is acting on its pledge, since Washington has been critical of the TPLF regime’s failure to “fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking”, according to successive reports of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor on the matter.

In 2013, the report accused the government of failure to provide appropriate consular services to Ethiopian workers abroad, which is seen amongst continued “weakness in government efforts”, along with its “limited assistance to trafficking victims.”

Part II

TPLF is hungry for some shoulder patting

Interestingly, the release of this self-congratulatory news story on Fana is with no regard to the fact that its information only comes just two months after the TPLF regime in June 2013 went public about illegality of human trafficking.

For that matter, it would be recalled that it did wrong diagnosis of the causes of problem at the time. This even aroused lots of criticisms at home and abroad – including from within the ranks of the regime itself. The prime minister and his deputy deliberately distorted cause and effect relations in Ethiopia’s human trafficking experiences. Their analysis, among others, reduced this danger to being mere fad in the youth, especially young girls.

Nonetheless, Fana reported that the new success of the regime comes from the population’s awareness of the anti-human trafficking campaign the government launched in June 2013. In its usual habit, it clearly showed that it did not care about what it wanted to do when the regime embarked on this project – for that matter under pressure from the international community, especially the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

Now Fana’s news report says that the TPLF campaign has enabled people to realize that they could be better off working and living in their own country. Ironically, however, it is taken as the case of empty stomach being told to persevere or victims of denial of justice finding comfort and conversion from teachings by the perpetrator of their problems.

In addition, the story also stupefyingly reported on the regime’s preparation to build shelter for the elderly on an area of 418 sq. m. to stop human trafficking of the elderly. It says this has contributed to this reduction – in a country where lies have become grits for the regime’s continued survival. Unfortunately, for it, this claim came a bit too early even before the said shelter is constructed.

Moreover, the news report speaks of contributions of other activities by the government in stemming the tide of human trafficking. This time it said it is by ending rural-urban migration through job creation in the rural areas. The report has not indicated what rural jobs have been created for these people. Bear in mind that in Ethiopia in the past five years, the regime has been busy whetting its foreign currency appetite after imposing on the nation the scourge of the massive land grab – estimated up to four million hectares and substantial dislocation of rural populations.

It is essential to point out that there are experts that speak about climate change already now affecting the highly densely populated Ethiopian highlands. One such expert is the Oxford University’s James Morrissey. He too is very cautious about this, possibly since Meles Zenawi has tried to thrive on it.

Mr. Morrissey says environmental change may very well be capable of forcing migration. His argument, however, is tempered by the fact that the other factors may induce more migration. In that regard, he carefully observes “factors other than environmental change will be important in mediating migration and that the majority of these factors will be located in social structures which regulate access to resources perceived to increase the chance of improving livelihood security post-migration.”

Against the interests of environmental protection, the opposite is happening in Ethiopia. Natural forest covers are unmercifully removed, huge populations across the country have and are being dislocate in Afar, Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, Oromia, urban areas of Tigray, and SNNPR to make room for domestic (mostly TPLF members) and foreign commercial farmers. This and the accompanying state violence has been driving people out of their villages and even to foreign countries.

The Ethiopia Observatory

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