Contractors Engaged in Human Trafficking Subject to Debarment

September 25, 2012

President Obama signed an order Tuesday giving agencies authority to investigate, suspend and debar contractors for human trafficking.

Agencies currently rely on contractors to self-police and report human trafficking activity to contracting officers. Investigations by government watchdogs such as the Project on Government Oversight and the Commission on Wartime Contracting have found recurrent human trafficking problems by “labor brokers” or subcontractors of war-zone contractors.

“As the largest single purchaser of goods and services in the world, the United States government bears a responsibility to ensure that taxpayer dollars do not contribute to trafficking in persons,” Obama said in the executive order.

The order will take effect in six months.

The order prohibits contractors, subcontractors and their employees from trafficking-related practices, such as misleading or fraudulent recruitment practices, charging employees recruitment fees and destroying or confiscating an employee’s passport. Contract clauses will be added requiring contractors to cooperate with federal audits and investigations probing illegal trafficking in persons, the procurement of commercial sex acts or the use of forced labor.

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