Anti-Trafficking Provisions on the Horizon

In an Executive Order issued September 25 (effective immediately), President Obama has called for the inclusion of new provisions within the FAR.  These provisions are aimed at human trafficking –

“defined in section 103 of the [Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000], 22 U.S.C. 7102(8), to include sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age, or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”

Under the order, federal contractors will have to comply with a series of basic conduct requirements as soon as the new FAR provisions are drafted for inclusion (but no later than 180 days of issuance.  The provisions will include prohibitions against:

  • using misleading recruitment practices,
  • charging recruitment fees, and
  • destroying or otherwise denying access to identification documents.

The order continues about portions of contracts and subcontracts performed inside or outside the U.S. and requires contractors to pay return transportation costs at the end of an employee’s duty (to or from the U.S. depending on the employee’s country of origin).

There is also a general prohibition on contractors from engaging in “procurement of commercial sex acts, or the use of forced labor in the performance of the contract or subcontract.”

About midway through the order are the real requirements:

  1. an “awareness program,”
  2. a policy statement,
  3. actions to be taken against violators of the policy,
  4. a reporting process (without fear of retaliation) for violations,
  5. changes to the recruitment and wage plans, if necessary, to comply with the provisions of the clauses,
  6. a housing plan, if applicable, and
  7. procedures to prevent subcontractors at ANY tier from human trafficking (basically a requirement for a certification from the subcontractors that they are not performing human trafficking).

This last one jumps off the page when it mentions any tier subcontractors – certainly worrisome for large programs and conglomerations of projects (e.g. – construction).  The wording in the order is clear on the requirements and will definitely be a mandatory flowdown.  The clause(s) will apply to all contracts over $500k, unless a COTS product is involved.

About Marty Herbert

With 13 years of government contract administration, analysis, finance, and audit experience, I have established a firm baseline in ethics and a specialization in government contracts that has prepared me to become a subject matter expert in my field. I am currently working on enhancing government contracts management and compliance through workflow tools and product offerings - attempting to make the process proactive as opposed to reactive.
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