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.
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.