Senate Passes Trade Provision to Close Trafficking Loophole
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today welcomed the Senate’s passage of section 912 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 ( S. 1269), a provision to strengthen prohibitions on the importation of goods produced by forced labor slavery. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act passed the Senate today by a vote of 78-20.
“While the U.S. government has long prohibited the import of goods produced with forced labor, a loophole remains for certain goods,” said Human Rights First’s Annick Febrey. “We strongly support this provision that would help to close this loophole and shut down the revenue stream for criminals profiting from human trafficking and other exploitative labor practices. We urge the House to quickly pass this provision so that it may be signed into law.”
Section 912 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act would strengthen restrictions on the import of goods produced with forced labor. Existing restrictions do not include the importation of some goods that are not produced at high enough quantities domestically to meet demand. Human Rights First advocated for a strengthening of these trade protections in it’s recent blueprint, “How to Dismantle the Business of Human Trafficking.”
As 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of passage of the 13th amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery in the United States, Human Rights First has joined together with prominent leaders from the business and financial sectors, law enforcement, the military, federal, state and local government, and civil rights community to urge the U.S. government to develop common sense policies to disrupt the business of human trafficking.