ATEST Supports Key Trade Provisions to Combat Human Trafficking
For Release: May 15, 2015
The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) strongly urges members of the Senate to support key provisions contained in trade legislation that combat human trafficking and modern slavery.
In particular, ATEST strongly supports provisions (S.995, section 6(b)(6)) 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 also believes existing authority to prohibit the importation of goods made with forced, prison, or other exploitative labor should be strengthened. Recently considered trade legislation (S.1269, section 912) removes a pernicious loophole to this existing authority that allows for the importation of such goods if there is a “consumptive demand” for them. This means that American consumers can purchase goods made by forced labor without knowing it.
“In combination, these two provisions could play a key role in strengthening American leadership to combat human trafficking,” said David Abramowitz, Vice President for Policy and Government Relations at Humanity United, a philanthropic organization that supports ATEST’s work. “The American people do not want to buy products made through exploitation. Countries that are not committed to combating human trafficking should not get enhanced access to the benefits of trade agreements, and goods produced with forced and prison labor should not get access to U.S. markets. Human traffickers should not be allowed to misuse our open markets to exploit other people.”
“Senator Hatch, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, should work with the sponsors of these provisions, Senators Wyden and Menendez, to ensure that they are included in legislation that the President will sign,” said Abramowitz.
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. Learn more: http://endslaveryandtrafficking.org/. ATEST is a project of Humanity United.