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:
- Protect Workers Through Trade Policy and Enforcement of Core Labor Laws
- Protect Trafficking Survivors and Populations Vulnerable to Trafficking
- Promote Effective, Victim-Responsive Law Enforcement
- Build a More Efficient Government Response to Human Trafficking
Recommendations include enforcing the amended Section 307 of the Tariff Act, which empowers Customs and Border Protection to stop shipments of goods produced with forced labor at US borders; reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which strengthens and upholds federal anti-trafficking laws and calls for important anti-trafficking programming; reforming the guest worker visa program; separating labor enforcement policies and practices from immigration enforcement; and supporting the critical work of the Department of Labor’s International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) and the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) and Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP), which together work to build the capacity of foreign governments and civil society to better address egregious labor abuses like forced labor, human trafficking, and child labor.
Verité is hopeful that, with its colleagues in ATEST, we can successfully defend and perhaps even build upon the strong policy frameworks that both Democratic and Republican administrations and congresses have created over the past two decades.