BRIC’s Complicated Bureaucracies and Our Complicity in Human Trafficking

What is it about the BRIC(K)(S) countries which are supposedly the economic powerhouses? They simultaneously have very complicated bureaucracies to work through in order for tourists to visit their lands.  Kazakhstan is among the list of eight nations which are coincidentally in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) structure.  Some would like to add Kazakhstan and South Africa to make it spell BRICKS but the first four letters is what is traditionally known in the world of economics as the countries to watch as they continue to flex their monied muscles.

To get visas and the wait time tourists are resigned to go through is the following for these difficult-to-get-to countries:

1) India – $76

2) Russia – $140 – 90 day wait

3) China – $130

4) Brazil – $140 one month

5) Bhutan – $20 – 3 months

6) Iran – $30 3 months

7) Kazakhstan – $40 – one month

8 ) Saudi Arabia – $500 (if you want to do the hajj, you have to have money, obviously)

Here’s what was originally written about Kazakhstan and the seven other countries :

Apply a month in advance.
Fee: $40

Why Go: Fictional Borat may have put Kazakhstan on the map, but it’s actually the ninth-largest country in the world by size and a place that combines Islamic, Western, and Soviet culture into an unusual mix. Adventure seekers come for the many mountains, which provide both trekking and skiing opportunities. Others come to explore the nomadic past of the Kazakhs and to see UNESCO World Heritage attractions, including petroglyphs and nature reserves that are home to such species as the rare Siberian white crane.

Why It’s Complicated: When it comes to visas, all the “Stans” can be tough, according to Habimana. For Kazakhstan, for instance, you need to write a personal letter of intent to the embassy in Washington, D.C., stating the purpose of your trip, the places you plan to visit, and your dates.

What to Do: Follow the instructions on the embassy’s website, and apply a month out from your trip (approval takes a couple of weeks). While the government enacted new rules in 2010 to try to simplify the process, what that means for tourists remains to be seen. Fans of bureaucratic garble will appreciate the official description of the changes, which are “aimed at further liberalization and streamlining of Kazakhstan’s visa regime.”

My young university friend just returned from the Not For Sale Global Forum in Sunnyvale, CA had many impressions that were exploding in her head after listening to about 50 speakers.  However, the main thing about the evils of human trafficking is that it revolves all around economics.  So, if there is any common thread among the BRIC countries, they appear to be one of the worst offenders when it comes to using people to build up their own economies.

We already know what happened to the Soviet Union when they forced their own people into labor camps to work off their being too wealthy (i.e. kulaks or Enemies of the People).  Those during Stalin’s time who were not of the correct political stripe or who told the truth were punished. They were forcibly sent to hardship posts in the gulags of Siberia and Kazakhstan. Unfortunately, many of the talented ones died.

So, the same can be written about these modern day, complicated countries that have too much paperwork and red tape to go through. The BRIC countries undoubtedly have bureaucrats who are pocketing the visa money. No surprise there with corrupt governments from the very top. They are also turning a blind eye to those traffickers who are bringing people in or out of their country illegally. Police are easily being bought off with huge sums of money so the trafficking of innocent people continues.

Westerners, who should know better, do not want to be a part of this complicity of trafficking by remaining unaware and silent on the subject.  How can we help? By traveling to these countries to see with our own eyes? As aforementioned, that becomes an arduous process money and time wise. Laws must be placed on the books, law enforcement must be mobilized to catch the predators in the BRIC countries and those victims who have been enticed and trapped free to return to their families and their lives before slavery. Maybe another way to avoid all the red tape is to be wise as shoppers and not buy products that have come out of BRIC economies?  Hmmm…I wonder if that will ever catch on in the U.S?

Hopefully we will not be part of the complications in human trafficking by our complicity of silence, ignorance and doing nothing?

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