ATEST Applauds Provisions to Combat Human Trafficking in Menendez-Wyden Amendment to H.R. 1314
For Release: May 19, 2015
The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) supports the Menendez-Wyden Amendment on human trafficking and trade that will be considered during the debate on H.R. 1314, the Trade Act of 2015.
ATEST continues to support the existing provision in the Hatch-Wyden substitute for H.R. 1314 (section 6(b)(6)), originally proposed by Senator Menendez, that would prohibit countries that are not making significant efforts to combat human trafficking from receiving expedited consideration of trade agreements with the United States.
ATEST believes that the Menedez-Wyden Amendment also represents a positive step forward in the fight to combat human trafficking in the countries that are doing the least. Under the amendment, countries that are on Tier III in the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report would not receive expedited consideration of trade agreements unless the country has taken concrete actions to implement the principal recommendations for that country that are contained in the latest TIP Report.
“This approach strengthens U.S. leadership to prevent and end human trafficking around the world and protect the most vulnerable workers,” said David Abramowitz, Vice President for Policy and Government Relations at Humanity United, a philanthropic organization that supports ATEST’s work. “These provisions provide a new tool to promote real change and improve conditions for trafficked and exploited workers. We commend Senator Menendez for championing this important issue and for all those involved in reaching an agreement on the amendment.”
ATEST also believes that now more than ever is the time for Congress to introduce and consider legislation, similar to bipartisan H.R. 4842 in the last session of Congress, to require private sector transparency about efforts taken to eliminate forced labor, child labor and child sexual exploitation in their supply chain. As we move toward increased trade with certain countries that have poor records on these issues, the trade pacts entail commitments by those national governments, but transparency in the private sector is necessary to make those commitments a reality.
The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) is a U.S. based coalition that advocates for solutions to prevent and end all forms of human trafficking and modern slavery around the world. ATEST member organizations include: Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), ECPAT-USA, Free the Slaves, Futures Without Violence (FUTURES), International Justice Mission, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), National Network for Youth (NN4Y), Polaris, Safe Horizon, Solidarity Center, Verité, Vital Voices Global Partnership, and World Vision. ATEST is a project of Humanity United.