Human Rights First Welcomes Regulations to Combat Human Trafficking in Federal Contracts

Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today said that the new White House regulations to implement the 2012 executive order regarding human trafficking are an important step in increasing the protection of vulnerable workers who are recruited to serve on U.S. military bases overseas. The regulations, which will be announced in detail tomorrow, require contractors to develop compliance plans that prohibit labor recruiters from charging any fees, to provide workers with written contracts in their native languages, to provide transportation for workers following the conclusion of their work, and to provide a procedure for workers to safely file complaints.

“We applaud the Obama Administration for taking bold action to eliminate human trafficking from U.S. military bases,” said Human Rights First’s Annick Febrey. “We urge the United States to continue to be a world leader in the fight to end the horrific global enterprise of modern slavery by working to implement policies and direct resources toward eliminating the business of human trafficking.”

In September 2012, President Obama issued Executive Order 13627 aimed at strengthening protections against human trafficking in federal contracts. The new regulations will help to safeguard many of the most vulnerable workers who are recruited mostly from south Asia and southeast Asia to serve on U.S. military bases in the Middle East. These workers are often recruited under the false promise of a high-paying salary in another country only to find themselves working in combat zones, making a fraction of what they were told with no access to their immigration documents and no way to get home.

The announcement of these new regulations comes as Human Rights First today hosted a working group comprised of prominent leaders from the business and financial sectors, law enforcement, the military, federal, state, and local government, and the civil rights community. The group met together to develop a multi-sector strategy to end human trafficking by disrupting the criminal networks that profit from it.

“Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world,” said General Charles Krulak (ret.), co-chair of the Human Rights First working group. “As long as the risks are low and the profits are high for the perpetrators of modern slavery, this human rights scourge will continue to grow both on our own shores and abroad. Government, business, and law enforcement leaders must begin to take action to change this equation so that we can put traffickers out of business once and for all.”

Human Rights First will host a media briefing breakfast tomorrow morning at 9:30 am in Washington, D.C. with members of the working group on combating the business of modern slavery to discuss their conclusions from today’s session, including recommendations for the U.S. government and business community to begin to dismantle this criminal enterprise.


Published on January 28, 2015


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