A core element of Verité’s mission is to engage substantively with a full range of entities, organizations, and institutions, sharing insights and information to strengthen labor compliance internationally. Verité employees regularly participate in conferences, panels and roundtables, contributing to work on policy, developing new programs, and educating on labor rights abuses. This article presents a selection of events some of our employees have attended over the past six months.
On June 27, the US Department of State released its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. The TIP Report provides rankings and narrative assessments of the efforts of countries across the globe to combat and prevent human trafficking, forced labor, and other forms of modern slavery. Countries must improve their efforts to fight human trafficking to avoid the lowest ranking of Tier 3 and accompanying sanctions.
During these times of significant policy changes, we want to highlight our work with a coalition that is fundamental to addressing the issue of human trafficking. Since 2011 Verité has been a proud member of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST), a coalition of organizations working to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking in the United States and around the world. While eradicating modern-day slavery has always been a bi-partisan issue, the start of a new administration provides the opportunity to raise awareness about this vitally important issue and to educate new members of Congress and their staffs on what they can do. That is why every four years ATEST releases a memo to the administration outlining specific recommendations. ATEST’s report, “A Presidential Agenda for Abolishing Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking,” outlines four key areas of concern and 20 specific recommendations for the new administration. The four categories are:
Research and audits carried out by Verité have determined that both legal guestworkers and undocumented immigrants are extremely vulnerable to exploitation, including forced labor and human trafficking, in the United States. This vulnerability is heightened when laws protecting immigrant workers are weakened or go unenforced, as well as in areas in which there are crackdowns on undocumented immigrants, who are forced to go underground and seek employment through labor brokers.
Important changes take time – in this case a loophole in the US Tariff Act of 1930 has just been closed, with important implications for the protection of workers in severely exploitative working conditions.