The Trump Administration has declared this month National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, calling on industry associations, law enforcement, private businesses, and others to work toward ending modern slavery and human trafficking. This proclamation follows the Administration’s efforts to combat human trafficking, which we have previously discussed here, and comes on the heels of an OMB memorandum released last fall aimed at “enhanc[ing] the effectiveness of anti-trafficking requirements in Federal acquisition while helping contractors manage and reduce the burden associated with meeting these responsibilities.”

Continue Reading Trump Administration Renews Focus on Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts

[A modified version of this blog post was published in Law360.]

Last month, Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced legislation to “improve the requirement to purchase domestic commodities or products” under the National School Lunch Program (the “NSLP”) and the School Breakfast Program (the “SPB”).  Even if this legislation fails to make it out of Committee, it signals a continued trend to strengthen the “Buy American” requirement under these programs.


Continue Reading Bipartisan Legislation Aims To Strengthen “Buy American” Requirement Under National School Lunch Program

The Department of State has released its 2017 Trafficking in Persons (“TIP”) Report.  As with prior versions of the annual report, the State Department reviewed efforts made by more than 180 countries to address the minimum Prosecutorial, Protective, and Preventative standards necessary for effective anti-trafficking measures, as these standards are outlined in the United States’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act (“TVPA”).

The release of the report is notable because it can directly impact contractors’ diligence obligations for supply chain review under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) Human Trafficking Rule (located at FAR § 52.222-50).  As we have highlighted in previous articles, for those contractors required to submit compliance plans to the government, such plans should be appropriately shaped to the “nature and scope of activities to be performed for the Government . . .  and the risk that the contract or subcontract will involve services or supplies susceptible to trafficking in persons.”  See FAR § 52.222-50(h)(2)(ii).  Additionally, as set forth in a recent proposed memorandum, which remains the clearest articulation of the government’s views on supply chain diligence obligations to date (covered in a prior post), contractors are expected to take steps to “identify high-risk portions of [their] supply chain[s].”


Continue Reading Department of State Releases 2017 TIP Report

Last Thursday, President Trump and his senior advisors met with representatives of organizations committed to fighting human trafficking. As reported by several news outlets (e.g., AP, NYT, and Reuters), the President stated during the meeting that he would commit the “full force and weight” of the U.S. government against what he views as an “epidemic” of human trafficking around the world.  He explained that he would “direct the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies that have a role in preventing human trafficking to take a hard look at the resources and personnel that they are currently devoting to this fight.”  He noted that these agencies “are devoting a lot, but we are going to be devoting more.”  The next day, President Trump appeared to reiterate his commitment on Twitter.

Continue Reading Trump’s Commitment Against Human Trafficking Brings Greater Uncertainty for Contractors

On December 7, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Labor, and the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Department of State, issued a proposed memorandum titled “Anti-Trafficking Risk Management Best Practices & Mitigation Considerations.”  The document is intended, at least in part, to “promote clarity and consistency in the implementation of anti-trafficking requirements” imposed by Executive Order 13627, Title XVII of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, and the implementing regulatory provisions applicable to all federal contractors at FAR 22.17 and FAR 52.222-50.  Although the guidance document is in draft form, it is important for contractors to consider closely because it (1) outlines the government’s contemplated expectations on anti-trafficking risk mitigation, and (2) informs agencies that they may immediately take the contents of the memorandum “into consideration in applying the anti-trafficking requirements in the Federal Acquisition Regulation.”

In addition to reiterating the basic requirements of the anti-trafficking FAR rule (which we have covered in other posts), the memorandum outlines a series of “best practices and mitigation considerations” designed to inform contracting officers’ assessments of whether contractors are effectively carrying out their compliance responsibilities.  Although the guidance states that it is “not intended to augment or otherwise change existing regulatory requirements,” it does specify that, in the event the government becomes aware of a trafficking violation, a contractor’s compliance with the practices identified in the guidance are to be construed as mitigating considerations weighing in the contractor’s favor.  
Continue Reading New Guidance on Contractor Risk Management Under the Human Trafficking Rule Released

This week, the Department of State (“State”), Verité, and other global NGOs, unveiled a sample human trafficking compliance plan and online resource to help contractors comply with the FAR’s anti-human trafficking rule (the “Rule”).  As we have previously summarized, the Rule requires contractors to implement a compliance plan for contracts exceeding $500,000 that are for non-COTS goods or services acquired outside the United States.  Because the final Rule included few specifics on compliance plan requirements, contractors have sought guidance regarding their responsibilities to implement a plan and perform supply chain due diligence.  The recently-released sample compliance plan and other web-based tools at ResponsibleSourcingTool.org appear to provide some guidance.

Continue Reading Sample Human Trafficking Compliance Plan Finally Released

The Department of State (“State”) recently announced the upcoming release of the model anti-human trafficking compliance plan. State and Verité, a global NGO, developed this highly-anticipated model compliance plan in response to the amendments to FAR 52.222-50, which require contractors to perform supply chain due diligence and implement a compliance plan for contracts exceeding $500,000 that are for the acquisition of services or non-COTS goods outside the United States.  Because the rule contains relatively little guidance regarding these requirements, the model could provide the contracting community much needed direction regarding supply chain due diligence and compliance plan obligations.
Continue Reading Human Trafficking Model Compliance Plan and Internet-Based Compliance Tools Set for Release this Month

On January 29, 2015, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) Council published the long-awaited  final rule (“the Final Rule”) implementing Executive Order 13627 and title XVII of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, significantly augmenting existing human trafficking-related prohibitions for Federal contractors and subcontractors.  The Final Rule is similar to the previously summarized proposed rule.
Continue Reading New Human Trafficking Rule Imposes Compliance Obligations on All Government Contractors and Subcontractors Starting March 2015