Maloney Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Fight Human Trafficking
On August 3 at City Hall, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (D–Manhattan, Queens) announced the introduction of H.R. 2759, the Business Transparency on Trafficking & Slavery Act, which would require companies to disclose any measures taken to identify and address instances of human trafficking, slavery and child labor in their supply chains. The legislation would require companies to include such disclosures in their annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and would also be prominently posted on SEC and company Web sites for public access. Congressmembers Christopher Smith of New Jersey, Jackie Speier of California and Jim McGovern of Massachusetts cosponsored the bill.
Joining Maloney at City Hall were Councilmembers Dan Garodnick, Rosie Mendez and Margaret Chin along with Cheryl Queen, vice president of Compass Group, a food-services firm which has taken a leadership role in fighting slave labor in its supply chain; Executive Director of ECPAT USA Carol Smolenski and Ariel Zwang, CEO of the anti-trafficking organization Safe Horizon.
“Human trafficking is the slavery of the 21st century. It is estimated that nearly 12.3 million people are working in some form of forced labor worldwide. We have seen a global shift in trafficking in weapons and drugs to trafficking in children and humans. Drugs and guns can be used only once, but the human body can be used over and over again. We must use every tool available to help men, women and children around the world who are enslaved,” Maloney said. “American consumers make purchasing decisions every day, but very few Americans know that it’s virtually impossible to get dressed, drive to work, talk on the phone, or eat a meal without touching products tainted by forced labor. This bill serves as a step toward ending this devastating enslavement by requiring companies with more than $100 million in worldwide receipts to be transparent about their policies. We don’t tell companies what to do, we’re just asking them to tell us what they do. But in providing this transparency, we’re also empowering consumers with information that could impact their purchasing decisions.”
“The sad reality is that sexual exploitation and other forms of trafficking happen every day -and they happen right here in New York City. We as consumers and taxpayers should know that our money is not filling the corporate wallet by means of heinous activities like human trafficking, slavery, and child labor. One way we can be responsible consumers is by knowing that a company has in place policies that address this issue, ensuring that the supply chain is not marred by any form of trafficking,” stated Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, chair of the Council’s Women’s Issues Committee.