(Washington, DC) – Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) this week advanced his comprehensive agenda to prevent egregious human trafficking violations by government contractors operating on American bases abroad in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.
Blumenthal advocated for three provisions to address this issue. Two were incorporated into S.1301, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which moved to the Senate floor, and Senator Blumenthal will work to incorporate the third provision into related legislation being considered by the Senate later this Congress.
Said Blumenthal, “This issue is critical for the safety of our troops abroad. The security of our men and women in uniform is compromised if our bases are filled with unauthorized foreign workers because of illegal trafficking. Modern-day slavery, unintentionally and unwittingly subsidized by American taxpayers, is indefensible. This law would prevent and deter serious contractor fraud that is wasting taxpayer dollars, endangering our troops, and causing egregious human rights abuses.”
A summary of the provisions are listed below.
· Combating Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts Amendment – Improves existing contract requirements to better prevent human trafficking on large federal contracts and subcontracts before it occurs, including requiring contractors to have specific plans that include informing employees of their rights and responsibilities like control of their travel documents, access to repatriation, and the illegality of hiring kickbacks. These plans will be used to evaluate contractor performance. Sen. Blumenthal worked with Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to champion the inclusion of this provision in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
· Enhanced Reporting Amendment – Requires the Department of Defense to make public information on all known trafficking cases through the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking's annual report to Congress. This will promote enforcement of prohibitions on human trafficking in overseas contracting and will help deter such conduct. This provision was incorporated into the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
· Criminal Contractor Trafficking Amendment – Expands existing law to classify as fraud human trafficking by federal contractors operating on overseas military bases and other federally owned properties. Blumenthal will address this issue in contractor accountability legislation that will be considered on the Senate floor later this Congress.