President Obama announced an Executive Order to crack down on government contractors that had been accused of human trafficking. The executive order is a major step toward preventing human trafficking by contractors, but it doesn’t go far enough. We asked advocates to sign a petition asking the U.S. Senate to pass the bipartisan End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act (S. 2234) in order to stop taxpayer-funded modern slavery.
This issue was significant. For example, Vinnie Tuivaga, a hairdresser from Fiji, was one of the many victims who fell into the trap of modern slavery. Recruited to work in a luxury hotel in Dubai, she was instead trafficked to a military base in Iraq. She was forced to live in a shipping container, paid only a fraction of what she was promised, and was denied permission to leave. Meanwhile, the contractors kept the difference, effectively lining their pockets with the taxes of ordinary American families. U.S. tax dollars were never meant to fund perpetrators of modern slavery.
Almost 70,000 people signed the petition in 2013, securing that the End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act (S. 2234) was passed and helping to stop taxpayer-funded modern slavery. In January 2015, the U.S. Government issued an additional rule further strengthening measures to ensure government contractors are not linked to modern slavery, which includes human trafficking.