Contractors Seek Changes in Bill to Curb Human Trafficking

July 9, 2012

A bill to impose new requirements on overseas contractors to help prevent human trafficking in war zones cleared a key Senate panel Thursday, but at least one contractor group is arguing for adjustments before the bill goes to President Obama's desk.

The End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act (S 2234), sponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, advanced by a voice vote of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. A companion version passed the House in May as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

The legislation would require companies with government contracts of more than $1 million to implement compliance plans to prevent human trafficking by policing against subcontractor practices of destroying or confiscating passports; misrepresenting wages or work location; using labor brokers who charge exorbitant recruiting fees; or supporting the procurement of commercial sex acts. It would require contractors with "credible evidence" of such abuses to notify their inspector general and would codify new requirements for remedial actions, including possible employee termination, suspension or debarment of the offending contractor. 

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