Human Trafficking Legislation Added to Defense Bill

Legislation calling for an end to human trafficking by government contractors has been attached to legislation authorizing Defense Department programs for the coming fiscal year, thanks to efforts by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

“Modern-day slavery by government contractors – unknowingly funded by American taxpayers — is unconscionable and intolerable,” said Blumenthal, who co-chairs the bipartisan Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking with Portman.

The federal government has an official “zero-tolerance” policy on human trafficking, and President Obama signed an executive order in September that prohibits government contractors and subcontractors from engaging in activities tied to trafficking, such as charging employees recruitment fees.

“Current law prohibiting human trafficking is insufficient and ineffective, failing to prevent or punish abuses,” declared Blumenthal. “By increasing preventative scrutiny, investigation, and prosecution, this legislation will stop egregious human rights abuses on U.S. military bases, increasing security for our troops, and preventing waste of taxpayer dollars.”

The legislation would attempt to improve accountability by requiring contractors to report trafficking-related misbehavior by subcontractors to the inspector general of the agency or department retaining that contractor’s services. The inspector general could then investigate the issue. It also expands the ability to punish contractors for fraudulent labor practices.

Learn more at Kelly Catalfamo’s Barre Montpelier Times Argus article: Human trafficking legislation added to defense bill.

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