Harmony between Government and Business Means Chaos for Traffickers

In September 2014 President Obama announced that the United States would create a National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct (NAP). As part of the process, participants are publicly submitting recommendations for incentivizing responsible business conduct.

The Administration hopes the NAP will combat corruption and discrimination against vulnerable communities as well as global human rights concerns, such as modern day slavery.

As the largest buyer of goods and services in the world, the U.S. government has a responsibility to keep its supply chains free from human trafficking. Despite laudable efforts, the United States hasn’t weakened this illicit business. Through forced labor, debt bondage, and all the forms modern slavery takes, criminals are netting roughly $150 billion per year in profits. To slow the growth of this rapidly expanding criminal enterprise, the NAP is vital.

As a participant in developing the NAP, Human Rights First submitted recommendations to keep anti-trafficking efforts at the core of the plan. By addressing key gaps in standard business practices, traffickers will no longer benefit from the widespread impunity they currently enjoy.

The National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct should include:

  • A commitment to enforcing existing regulations and a plan detailing how to do so and which agencies will be responsible for enforcement, especially concerning the anti-trafficking provisions in the Federal Acquisition Regulation
  • A clear definition of what constitutes a recruitment fee, which will protect vulnerable workers during foreign labor recruitment
  • A strategy to foster anti-trafficking practices among U.S. trade partners by leveraging purchasing power to influence other countries to prioritize policies that combat human trafficking.
  • A resolution by the U.S. government to work with businesses to develop best practices for identifying forced labor and how to proceed with suspected cases
  • A roadmap for partnering with the private sector and local, state, and federal government agencies to identify human traffickers and enablers

Check out these links for more information on Human Rights First’s recommendations for the National Action Plan, how to disrupt the business of human trafficking, and the impact of lasting coalitions of law enforcement, prosecution, and business leaders.

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Published on May 1, 2015

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