U.S. officials have acknowledged that human trafficking is a problem of “crisis proportions,” both outside and inside America’s borders. Yet despite professed intent to end this scourge, including with the help of a “zero-tolerance, one strike approach,” human trafficking remains a pervasive and ongoing problem in this nation. As part of ongoing efforts to combat the phenomenon, the ACLU and a coalition of anti-trafficking organizations submitted a written statement last week to the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council, urging the U.S. government to translate its words into actions.
The statement was submitted on the heels of a hearing entitled “Measures on Human Trafficking in the United States” before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In his testimony, the ACLU’s Steven Watt commended recent efforts by the U.S. government to close loopholes that enable human trafficking on federal government contracts, such as an executive order on human trafficking and a provision in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which codifies many of these essential protections. Still, Watt cautioned: