(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Co-Chair of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking, and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) continued their legislative efforts to combat worldwide human trafficking and reduce the presence of modern-day slavery in business supply chains. The recent release of the U.S. Department of State’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons report, which places a special emphasis on human trafficking in the global marketplace, and a New York Times series on lawlessness on the high seas, including egregious instances of human trafficking, have illustrated the critical need for transparency in supply chains.
The Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2015 would require companies reporting more than $100 million in global receipts to report measures they are taking to eliminate human trafficking in their supply chains. Under the bill, businesses would provide this information in their annual filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as post anti-trafficking efforts on their websites, ensuring accountability to investors and consumers.
“Corporate complicity in human trafficking is a fact that consumers and investors deserve to know,” said Blumenthal. “This measure is about a disclosure duty concerning moral and possible legal culpability for modern day slavery. Countless victims, particularly women and children, are exploited by major corporations when they profit from human trafficking known among their suppliers. Consumers and investors can impact corporate conduct that condones or encourages human trafficking.”
“Trafficking in persons is an increasing threat around the globe, hurting woman, children, entire families, and those made vulnerable by economic or social circumstances,” said Markey. “Networks of criminals are getting rich turning people into profit. This bill would require companies to verify their supply chains are free from this practice and help prevent these bad actors from benefiting from criminal activity. It is an important, meaningful step forward. By improving transparency, consumers will be able to make informed choices and hold private companies accountable for engaging in modern day slavery.”
U.S. Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.) have introduced companion legislation in the House. Last week, Blumenthal reintroduced the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act of 2015 with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), legislation that would increase the United States’ ability to monitor and effectively combat sex and human trafficking across the globe.
Full text of legislation can be viewed here.