Congress: Fight Human Trafficking By Not Paying For It Yourself
A bill passing its way through Congress would require large companies to report their efforts against human trafficking. Companies making more than $100 million annually would have to reveal any work they’ve done to ensure that forced labor did not contribute to their products, like audits or on-site inspections.
So companies that do the right thing get the honor of having Congress place bureaucratic requirements on them?
I don’t mean to be ungrateful, but as someone who tries whenever possible to buy slave-free products, this is insulting. Very few companies actually audit their supply chain or offer anti-trafficking training to their employees. Those that do usually market their efforts to people like me quite well. I can find them with a simple internet search and read about them through watchdog groups. I don’t need Congress to tell me about the good guys or to require time and energy from them that could be put into their humanitarian work. We even have databases that rank corporate labor practices and market slave-free companies, including Free2Work, Shop to Stop Slavery, and Chain Store Reaction.
Adding to its uselessness, under the new law a company’s attempts to combat human trafficking would remain voluntary. Regular offenders can continue to do what they do with impunity.
So not only would the good guys get the bad end of this stick, but the bad guys continue to get billion dollar contracts.
Here’s a radical idea for how Congress can stop human trafficking in the US supply chain: stop funding human traffickers. That’s right. Stop paying contractors who continue to run trafficking rings even after their crimes have gained international attention.
DynCorp, the security and defense contractor depicted in The Whistleblower for their human trafficking offenses in Bosnia, continues to work for the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan despite numerous testimonies of current human trafficking crimes and abuse of foreign workers.
In July, Congress passed an amendment to the Defense Department Appropriations Act prohibiting the use of department funds for human trafficking. The fact that we even need this bill to clarify things for us angers me as a taxpayer and person with a conscience. Human trafficking is a federal offense, but we need a law to reiterate that Congress can’t fund it?
It will be interesting to watch in the next few months what happens with DynCorp. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the government in late July, demanding under the Freedom of Information Act that the United States release its documents about the trafficking of persons in Iraq and Afghanistan by US contractors.
Will Congress release that information for the sake of transparency; and if the reports prove criminal activity, will they end all contracts with DynCorp or other offenders?
Caring about human trafficking is the new baby kissing for politicians. But action speaks louder than words, and certainly louder than useless regulations. If you want to make a difference, Congress, the answer is clear: end modern slavery by not funding it.