Bill To Prevent Human Trafficking In Government Contracting Overseas Passed By Senate The legislation was introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Rob Portman (R-OH), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Al Franken (D-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Marco Rubio (R-FL)
PoliticalNews.me - Jul 01,2012 - Bill To Prevent Human Trafficking In Government Contracting Overseas Passed By Senate Homeland Security And Government Affairs Committee
(Washington, DC) - Ending Trafficking in Government Contracting Act of 2012 was passed by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee by voice vote. The legislation was introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Rob Portman (R-OH), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Al Franken (D-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) in March.
Despite U.S. government's "zero tolerance" human trafficking policy, investigations have found that human trafficking by government contractors and subcontractors who operate overseas is still an issue. For example, in 2011, the Commission on Wartime Contracting - an independent, bipartisan legislative commission established to study wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan - concluded that "[e]xisting prohibitions on such trafficking have failed to suppress it." The commission also concluded that "evidence of the recurrent problem of trafficking in persons by labor brokers or subcontractors of contingency contractors."
More than 70,000 third-country nationals work for contractors and subcontractors of the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Defense Department, State Department, and U.S. Agency for International Development also rely heavily on third-country nationals worldwide. Recently, the Defense Department and State Department Inspector Generals concluded that the government does not sufficiently monitor labor practices by U.S. contractors and subcontractors, who, by necessity, rely on a vast number of third-country nationals to do overseas contract work.
"Modern-day slavery by government contractors - unknowingly funded by American taxpayers - is unconscionable and intolerable," said Blumenthal. "Current law prohibiting human trafficking is insufficient and ineffective, failing to prevent or punish abuses. By increasing preventative scrutiny and investigation, this legislation will stop egregious human rights abuses on U.S. military bases, increasing security for our troops, and preventing waste of taxpayer dollars."
"A number of government investigations have identified a need to enhance existing protecting against human trafficking in connection with overseas government contracts," said Portman, the Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight. "Although the overwhelming majority of U.S. contractors are honorable and law-abiding, we need to ensure that the best practices adopted by those contractors become standard practice across the industry to prevent and detect exploitative labor practices that violate the values Americans hold dear."
"The exploitation of people through human trafficking is completely contrary to the values of freedom and human rights that America stands for. Our ability to encourage other countries to stop trafficking around the globe is undermined if we don't stop it under contracts that are paid for by our own tax dollars," said Lieberman, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. "This bill will ensure that the U.S. government, and its contractors and subcontractors, do a better job of halting these horrific abuses."
"American tax dollars should never be allowed to subsidize human trafficking. The exploitation of persons recruited by unscrupulous labor brokers and subcontractors who misrepresent pay, charge excessive recruiting fees, and often confiscate immigration and identity documents, cannot be tolerated in overseas