U.S. Takes Action to Fight Human Trafficking

The New York Times reports the Obama administration is making much-needed strides in the issue of human trafficking – a modern day slave trade that effects more than 20 million people, mostly women and children, around the globe – including here in the U.S.

“Though much remains to be done, the Obama administration has begun meaningful new initiatives,” reads the article. “The most notable of these is a strong executive order aimed at ending human trafficking activities by government contractors and subcontractors. The order, signed by Mr. President Obama on Sept. 25, contains an array of simple but potentially game-changing provisions that will help enforce the government’s existing zero-tolerance policy. These new rules forbid all contractors from charging new employees recruitment fees that often lead to indebtedness to loan sharks, misleading employees about living conditions and housing, denying access to passports or failing to pay transportation costs so employees can return home.”

The news comes just weeks after delegates to the IAM 38th Grand Lodge Convention concluded a week of discussion and debate on a number of key international labor issues, including human trafficking. The Convention’s theme was “Hope For All Who Toil.”

Supporters argue the next two steps in combating the issue is for Congress to pass the End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act, a bill to safeguard against substandard wages, abusive working conditions and sexual and labor exploitation; and reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, a bill that aids in the prosecution of traffickers and imposes stiffer penalties.

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