What are US advocates doing to stop slavery worldwide?
Since 2008, the coalition has been a leading force to influence US policy and funding to prevent labor and sex trafficking, hold perpetrators accountable, ensure justice for victims and empower survivors with tools for recovery.
Earlier this year, Atest successfully advocated the renewal of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the cornerstone of the United States’ anti-trafficking efforts. Coalition members are also pressing the US government to take five key actions, outlined in The Path to Freedom: A Presidential Agenda for Abolishing Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, a report released in December 2012 for the Obama Administration.
What the US government needs to do now:
1. Embrace an innovative, focused and comprehensive approach to combatting human trafficking, forced labor, and other forms of modern-day slavery around the world.
Atest recommends that President Obama designate 15 focus countries, in consultation with local and international anti-trafficking organisations and national governments, to design and launch comprehensive strategies to secure relief for victims, deter and prosecute perpetrators, provide care and reintegration, and sustainably and measurably eradicate the crime of trafficking. In combination with other donors and multilateral institutions, this approach could have a major impact on human trafficking and modern-day slavery around the world.
2. Promote transparency and accountability in government and private sector supply chains and other business operations.
Atest is calling for national legislation that would require companies that do business in the United States, wherever they may actually be based, to disclose the steps they are taking to eliminate human trafficking and modern-day slavery within their supply chains. The coalition is also calling on the government to enforce requirements for business transparency in relation to conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is urging the US government to adopt strong protections to ensure that government procurement of goods and services in the United States and abroad, including recruiting of foreign labor, is free from trafficking and modern-day slavery.
3. Re-focus US development assistance to countries to encourage prevention of human trafficking.
Development programs can and should be leveraged to prevent human trafficking – a threat to human rights and to sustainable development. Atest is urging the US government to integrate anti-trafficking and anti-slavery measures into the planning, design, implementation and evaluation processes of foreign assistance programs across sectors to accomplish this shared objective.
4. Provide adequate funding to enable federal agencies to successfully carry out domestic and international anti-trafficking programs.
Atesthas called on the US government to develop a long-term plan to support significant funding increases to combat modern-day slavery. Full funding for victim services, law enforcement activities, international diplomacy and grants, and awareness and prevention activities across the full range of federal agencies involved is critical to advancing the fight against human trafficking.
5. Promote US leadership through the annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.
The U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Office (J/Tip) plays an essential role in raising the visibility of human trafficking and modern-day slavery around the world – as well as identifying specific gaps and weaknesses that governments need to address. Including the United States.
The annual Trafficking in Persons Report, prepared by J/Tip, is a thorough and credible resource for all who follow this issue, and its tiered ranking system has contributed substantially to encouraging government reforms in many countries. Atest encourages President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to ensure greater cohesion among J/Tip, regional bureaus and US diplomatic missions around the world to guarantee a candid assessment of the failings of foreign government and improve the chances of success of J/Tip diplomacy.
For more information: Atest advocates for lasting solutions to prevent labor and sex trafficking, hold perpetrators accountable, ensure justice for victims and empower survivors with tools for recovery. Find out how at www.endslaveryandtrafficking.org.