President Obama Stresses Opportunity to Combat Trafficking Through Trade
Washington, D.C. — President Obama’s remarks today during a press conference that followed an official meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stressed the opportunity trade agreements present to combat human trafficking. Singapore is one of 12 partner nations involved in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a pending trade deal that awaits Congressional approval.
Human Rights First continues to call for prioritization of efforts to combat trafficking in all bilateral and multilateral talks, including trade agreements. It notes that the TPP could be a powerful tool to protect vulnerable workers, but only if the labor protections included in it are consistently and robustly enforced.
“Supporting efforts to eliminate human trafficking around the globe is an essential part of the United States’ work to be a world leader in the fight to end slavery,” said Human Rights First’s Annick Febrey. “Doing so will help those whom have fallen victim to traffickers, create a level playing field for businesses that are diligently working to eliminate forced labor in their supply chains, and ensure that vulnerable workers are not exploited in the future.”
Last year Human Rights First urged the President to ensure any trade deal made with countries that have received poor rankings from the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report are required to adopt provisions to promote and implement better anti-trafficking policies and practices.