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Connolly's Legislation to Stop Human Trafficking in Government Contracting Passes Congress in NDAA

Connolly's bill to end human trafficking by government contractors and subcontractors passed the House Thursday night as part of the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. Read more.

Congressman Gerry Connolly’s bill to end human trafficking by government contractors and subcontractors passed the House Thursday night as part of the fiscal year 2013 defense authorization act.  The bill, now approved by the House and Senate, goes to President Obama for his signature.

Connolly’s bill was supported by a bipartisan coalition in both the House and Senate that successfully secured inclusion of the human trafficking bill in the larger National Defense Authorization Act.  This measure represents the most comprehensive legislative effort to date by Congress to address the serious problem of human trafficking by some government contractors and subcontractors operating overseas.       

“Today’s passage is a historic step toward ending the abhorrent and unacceptable practice of human trafficking by some U.S. contractors operating overseas,” Connolly said. “The trafficking of these workers violates our American values.  This new law will empower authorities to finally eliminate what amounts to modern day slavery by unscrupulous government contractors.”

Connolly is Ranking Member of the House Oversight subcommittee that oversees federal procurement policy.  He joined Subcommittee Chairman James Lankford (R-OK) in holding a series of oversight hearings investigating the abuse of foreign nationals employed by government contractors.  He then worked with Lankford to develop and introduce the End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act (H.R. 4259).

“Although the vast majority of contractors are honorable and responsible, our Subcommittee held hearings that revealed certain bad actors with contracts under the Department of Defense, State, and other Federal agencies, were engaging in serious human rights abuses, including the despicable practice of human trafficking,” Connolly said.  “These abusive acts include seizing workers' passports to trap them at a work site, lying about compensation, engaging in sexual abuse, and keeping workers in a state of indentured servitude.”

Connolly noted that enactment of the End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act will enhance and expand on President Obama’s Executive Order on Human Trafficking issued in September.  “The President is absolutely correct in stating that the fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time. These unsavory acts by some contractors and subcontractors amount to modern day slavery,” Connolly said.  “Recent experience demonstrates that our current laws are not adequate to prevent human trafficking.  Today’s passage of our bill ensures our Nation’s laws are strong enough to enforce our deepest held values.”

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