The New York Times said the following in an editorial:
Though much remains to be done, the Obama administration has begun meaningful new initiatives against human trafficking — a worldwide injustice that exposes more than 20 million poor and vulnerable individuals, especially women and children, to exploitation and degradation. The most notable of these is a strong executive order aimed at ending human trafficking activities by government contractors and subcontractors.
The order, signed by President Barack Obama on Sept. 25, contains an array of simple but potentially game-changing provisions that will help enforce the government’s existing zero-tolerance policy. These new rules forbid all contractors from charging new employees recruitment fees that often lead to indebtedness to loan sharks, misleading employees about living conditions and housing, denying access to passports or failing to pay transportation costs so employees can return home.
This should be the first of several steps to bolster the attack on a scourge that Obama described as “modern slavery” in a passionate address on the issue last week at the Clinton Global Initiative. Among other things, Obama should put the weight of his office behind a bipartisan bill in Congress, the End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act. The bill would strengthen the administration’s executive initiative by embedding into law safeguards against substandard wages, abusive working conditions, and sexual and labor exploitation. It would also impose criminal penalties and create other enforcement tools beyond the scope of an executive order.
The legislation enjoys broad support among Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate, and its approval should be on the must-do list for the lame-duck session following the election.
That list should also include another critical measure to fight trafficking, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. This statute, which also has significant bipartisan support, was enacted in 2000 and reauthorized in 2003, 2005 and 2008. Central to the nation’s anti-trafficking efforts, it aids in the prosecution of traffickers, imposing stiff penalties. It also offers important services and benefits to help victims rebuild their lives.
Regrettably, the bill’s reauthorization has been stalled in the House by political wrangling over a separate issue of victims’ reproductive rights. Continued delay on this bill would hurt victims and send a terrible message to the world. If he is re-elected, Obama will have the enhanced political muscle he will need to break the logjam.MORE IN Election Letters
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 971 AD, Southern Han war elephant corps defeated by Song Dynasty troops bowmen; in 1870, Montana, Marias massacre, U.S. kills 173 Native Americans; in 1941, Charles Lindbergh recommends neutrality pact with Nazis.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Bryanna Allen reports Castleton Downtown hosts open house, fire in Springfield leaves family without a roof of their own, suspected Bosnian war criminal trial goes to jury, Brent Curtis reports Rutland Town budget set to rise.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Bill in Legislature proposes naming beagle Vermont state dog; Associated Press looks back at year in opiate abuse; Shapiro's in Brandon soon to close after 75 years; probe shows illegal online gun sales booming.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1861, JEFFERSON DAVIS resigns from the U.S. Senate to become president of the Confederate States of America, in 1908, NYC passes law forbidding women from smoking in public; in 1968, B-52 crashes, loses H-bomb.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Aldermen debate request for $75K from Zamias Fund for Wonderfeet museum, Bryanna Allen covers CSC Spring Convocation, proponents of sugary drinks tax meet press at State House, Neal Goswami reports revenue forecast for state.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Oil prices continue to drop, good news for Vermonters who heat their homes with the stuff; Pawlet man still missing after one year, icy road make driving and walking sketchy propositions, funding for B&G Clubs announced.