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5 Ways the U.S Combats Human Trafficking in the Electronics Supply Chain

The United States government is ahead of other nations in eradicating human trafficking (trafficking in persons) from its supply chains. It associates with countries (Canada, UK, and Chile) that fully comply with U.S. regulations. It avoids countries that do not comply.  Countries that are making significant efforts to comply are put on the watch list.

Here are 5 ways the United States combats human trafficking:

1. Enforce federal contract compliance. Any company with a contract with the United States government must comply with anti-human trafficking requirements in the Federal Acquisition Regulations. Forced labor is banned. Charging of recruitment fees to workers and falsifying their documents are prohibited. If a contract exceeds $500,000 and involves services and supplies outside of the United States, the contractor must submit a certification annually to the contracting officer (in the United States) stating that it has implemented a compliance plan. If the contractor does not comply, it will lose government contracts, and will experience other unpleasant consequences. 

 2. Prevent supply chain risks . U.S. federal contractors must include in the compliance plan a program of assessing the risks of human trafficking in the supply chain. Risk assessments include identifying, tracking and preventing the incidents of human trafficking. All risks of human trafficking must be completely eliminated from the supply chain. Residual risks are not tolerated. Methods of risk assessment depend on the complexity of the global electronic supply chain systems, human trafficking networks, the contractor's role in the supply chain, the contractor's relationships with its subcontractors and the State Department's rankings of countries into three tiers. All results must be monitored regularly for program effectiveness. 

3. Close gaps trade policy gaps. To close the gaps in prohibitions against importing of goods made by forced labor, the U.S. Senate on February 11, 2016 passed an amendment to the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 644).  Existing regulations do not cover the importation of some goods that are not produced at high enough quantities to meet demand. The Senate received the bill a day after the House of Representatives passed it. The U.S. president is expected to sign the bill into law. Check CONGRESS.GOV for the status of the bill.

4. Partner on technical solutions. The U. S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons partnered with The Partnership for Freedom on the Rethink Supply Chains challenge. Private organizations and individuals proposed new tools and technological solutions for businesses, workers, governments or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on worker’s voices, recruitment and/or traceability.  On February 1, 2016, five finalists were selected to compete in the final round of competition. In April 2016, one grand prize winner and one runner-up will be awarded $250,000 and $50,000 to further develop their proposed solutions the United States could use to improve their efforts in combating human trafficking. 

5. Launch federal initiatives . A couple of federal initiatives are worth mentioning. The Office of Management and Budget plans to make available to federal contractors a model compliance plan to satisfy part of contracts requirements. The State Department plans to launch Verit é 's website called responsiblesourcingtool.org that will provide latest tools to combat human trafficking in federal and corporate supply chains. The website will be available soon. 

Let us know what you think about the current state of human trafficking and how your supply chain is working to address the problem in the comments section below.

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