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At least Congress agrees on something – stop aiding and abetting government contractors’ that profit from slavery

These people thought they had a job that provided a good wage, food and housing. They found out they had none of that.

Portman, Blumenthal Secure Inclusion of Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation in Defense Bill

Office of Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) – Washington, D.C.- Novemeber 30, 2012 – Yesterday, Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) secured inclusion of the End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act (S.2234) in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (S.3254).  Earlier this month, Portman and Blumenthal launched the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking.  The caucus will bring Senators together to combat human trafficking by promoting awareness, removing demand, supporting prosecution efforts, and providing appropriate service systems for survivors.

Despite the U.S. government’s zero tolerance human trafficking policy, investigations have found that human trafficking by government contractors and subcontractors who operate overseas is still an issue. For example, in 2011, the Commission on Wartime Contracting – an independent, bipartisan legislative commission established to study wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan – concluded that “[e]xisting prohibitions on such trafficking have failed to suppress it.” The commission also concluded that “evidence of the recurrent problem of trafficking in persons by labor brokers or subcontractors of contingency contractors.”

More than 70,000 third-country nationals work for contractors and subcontractors of the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

KGL – A Test Case on Sanctions?

Despite Ongoing Federal Probe, Pentagon Asserts Big Contractor Has No Iranian Ties

A Whistleblower Alleges Death Threats

Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport Company (KGL), a major U.S. military contractor, is facing renewed allegations that it is working with Iran, possibly violating U.S. sanctions. In the political climate where sanctions on Iran are one of the few things people can agree on, KGL may become a test case for what happens when a U.S. contractor violates those sanctions.

Adam Zagorin – (POGO) – April 4, 2012 – If there’s one thing most Americans support in foreign policy, it’s sanctions against Iran to halt its alleged drive for nuclear weapons. From President Obama to Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich, leading candidates all want to put the economic squeeze on Tehran and to signal their support for Israel. President Obama recently announced he will ratchet up sanctions on the country’s oil exports and declared a “national emergency” to deal with the Islamic Republic. The Senate will try to iron out its differences over anti-Iran measures in coming weeks, as bus stations around Washington, DC, are studded with advertisements questioning the President’s resolve on the issue.

In this politicized environment, the last thing any candidate or legislator would countenance is gobs of U.S. taxpayer money going to a military contractor caught doing business with the Islamic Republic. Indeed, Congress specifically addressed that possibility in 2010, when contractors were required to certify in writing that they have no ties to Iran’s sanctioned enterprises.

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GOP, Dems come together to fight human trafficking by contractors in Iraq, Afghanistan

Pete Kasperowicz – (The Hill) – March 27, 2012 – A bipartisan group of members from the House and Senate proposed legislation on Monday that seeks to crack down on human trafficking by contractors that the U.S. military hires for work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act is a reaction to reports from the Commission on Wartime Contracting and the inspectors general of the Defense and State departments that overseas contractors are known to engage in practices that are illegal under U.S. employee rights standards. These include seizing workers’ passports to trap them at a work site, lying about compensation, engaging in sexual abuse and generally keeping workers in a state of indentured servitude.

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