POLITICS

The U.S. Wants To Trade With A Country Where Slavery Looks Like This

Malaysia's grim human rights record has become a problem for the Obama administration as it tries to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a wide-ranging trade pact between the U.S., Malaysia and 10 other countries that border the Pacific Ocean.

Last week, the Senate passed legislation to bar the United States from taking part in a trade deal with countries that engage in slavery. The White House wants that language removed from the bill, because even though Malaysia is a hub of human trafficking, it is close to the Strait of Malacca, a key shipping route for global trade.

This week, though, Reuters published a series of photos of abandoned human trafficking camps in Malaysia that serve as a stark reminder of what goes on there -- and what kinds of countries the United States is willing to do business with.

  • Human bones are seen near abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border at Bukit Wang Burma in nor
    Damir Sagolj / Reuters / Corbis
    Human bones are seen near abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border at Bukit Wang Burma in northern Malaysia. Malaysian police forensic teams, digging with hoes and shovels, began the grim task on Tuesday of exhuming the bodies of dozens of suspected victims of human traffickers found buried around jungle camps near the Thai border.
  • Policemen take position near the abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border at Bukit Wang Burma
    Damir Sagolj / Reuters / Corbis
    Policemen take position near the abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border at Bukit Wang Burma in northern Malaysia
  • Combination picture shows clothes photographed near abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border
    Damir Sagolj / Reuters / Corbis
    Combination picture shows clothes photographed near abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border at Bukit Wang Burma in northern Malaysia.
  • Forensic policemen carry body bags with human remains found at the site of human trafficking camps in the jungle close the Th
    Damir Sagolj / Reuters / Corbis
    Forensic policemen carry body bags with human remains found at the site of human trafficking camps in the jungle close the Thailand border after they brought them to a police camp near Wang Kelian in northern Malaysia
  • A policeman watches over abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border near Wang Kelian in norther
    Damir Sagolj / Reuters / Corbis
    A policeman watches over abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border near Wang Kelian in northern Malaysia.
  • Clothes hang on trees near abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border at Bukit Wang Burma in no
    Damir Sagolj / Reuters / Corbis
    Clothes hang on trees near abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border at Bukit Wang Burma in northern Malaysia.
  • A policeman monitors as forensic experts dig out human remains near the abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close
    Damir Sagolj / Reuters / Corbis
    A policeman monitors as forensic experts dig out human remains near the abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border at Bukit Wang Burma in northern Malaysia.
  • A policeman holds his weapon at abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border at Bukit Wang Burma
    Damir Sagolj / Reuters / Corbis
    A policeman holds his weapon at abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border at Bukit Wang Burma in northern Malaysia.