On January 5, 2016, President Obama kicked off the new year by issuing a “Fact Sheet” on interagency efforts to combat human trafficking that, among other things, describes the federal government’s efforts in the procurement and supply chain fields.
The Fact Sheet follows the President’s call in March 2012 to strengthen federal efforts. The President’s initiative led to the creation of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF). The PITF has brought together leaders from government, the private sector, law enforcement, victims, academics, and others. The purpose of the PITF is to “leverag[e] resources more effectively and develop robust whole-of-agency responses to combat trafficking.”
Among the initiatives described in the Fact Sheet are the following, which are particularly relevant in the supply chain field:
- The White House Forum on Combating Human Trafficking in Supply Chains brought together leaders from the private sector, NGOs, and the federal government to discuss the prevention of human trafficking in federal and private supply chains.
- Secretary John Kerry presented the 2015 Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for pioneering a zero-tolerance program that has eradicated human trafficking in the farms that participate in its Fair Food Program.
- The USAID has pioneered a new initiative called “Supply Unchained” to better identify and counter human trafficking in supply chains; USAID is also partnering with various NGOs in known trafficking countries.
- In April 2015, the Department of Defense held its largest ever Operational Contract Support Exercise to evaluate current policies aimed at combating human trafficking in its supply chains in the Pacific Command.
- The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council will soon release a proposed rule for public comment for a government-wide definition of “recruitment fees” to ensure that federal contractors eliminate these illegal payments in their supply chains.
- The recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) includes obligations on labor rights, including the elimination of forced labor and requiring legal reforms.
- This month, the State Department plans to launch an online resource, responsiblesourcingtool.org, to strengthen protections against forced labor in federal and private supply chains.
A link to the Fact Sheet is here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/01/05/fact-sheet-presidents-interagency-task-force-monitor-and-combat