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Working Together to End Trafficking

Filed in DOL, International Labor By on January 7, 2016

The International Labor Organization estimates that 21 million men, women, and children are in forced labor, the eradication of which is one of the great moral causes of our time. President Obama is committed to America remaining a leader in the global movement to end this terrible practice. That is why he proclaimed January 2016 National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month to encourage efforts to assist victims and combat human trafficking in all its forms.

This week, the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons gathered for its annual meeting to discuss the coordination of federal resources to strengthen our nation’s ability to combat human trafficking.

The Department of Labor is one of the 14 departments and agencies on the task force, and I was proud to represent the department at this meeting. We do important work to fight trafficking both here at home and overseas. One of our key initiatives on the international stage is the “Bridge Project (From Protocol to Practice: Building a Bridge to Global Action on Forced Labor).”

Deputy Secretary Chris Lu attends the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF). Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

Deputy Secretary Chris Lu attends the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

The Bureau of International Labor Affairs will award approximately $12 million over the next four years to fund the Bridge Project. The project was developed in close partnership with the International Labor Organization to implement the ILO’s new protocol and its supporting recommendation regarding Convention 29 on Forced Labor, which aim to advance forced labor prevention, protection and compensation measures around the world. The project will help raise awareness globally; invest in data collection to more accurately measure the problem around the world; implement measures to protect victims of forced labor and to provide them with access to remediation; and develop pilot projects in select priority countries, including Mauritania, Nepal and Peru. These pilot countries will serve as models for action we can take in other countries.

As the international community works to eradicate human trafficking, we know that the private sector is a key partner in any multi-stakeholder initiative. The Bridge Project will strengthen supply chain monitoring and law enforcement training and support a global supply chain summit focused on the role of business to address forced labor and prevent human trafficking.

At the Department of Labor, the Bridge Project is just one of many important steps we are taking to ensure that all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Chris Lu is the deputy secretary of labor.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Joan Goddard says:

    Does the Bridge Project and/or other efforts of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons work against labor trafficking in the United States as well as internationally? I hope so!

  2. Joan Goddard says:

    Now I see that there are links to info / reports throughout the year on efforts to combat labor trafficking in the U.S.
    Thank you!

  3. Stephen Lijek says:

    I am civilian contractor working on a military contract in Kuwait. To me it is ironic that the government talks like this on one hand, but is involved at the fringes of human trafficking with the other. The Forigin Nationals working in Kuwait for Kuwaiti companies paid to get their jobs, sometimes paid to travel here (and signed documents saying they didn’t pay to travel here), live in near squalid conditions, eat bad food. Yet these folks essentially run the military installations, protect the American Nationals like me off base, and protect US assets on base.
    Many of these folks have been on these military bases in Kuwait since their inception, since the early 2000’s. They have not received pay increases; their pay has actually decreased over time. I suspect US or the international corporations who use these folk by “partnering” with Kuwaiti companies are taking undue profits. The mantra is, “…leveraging multicultural values for the benefit of our customers.”
    Thirty years ago, during my father’s generation, bribery was the means for acquiring overseas contracts; now it is “partnership.” In my opinion the former method is much cleaner. Of course there’s always the other side of the coin: behind each Foreign National working out here there are hundreds, maybe thousands back in India, Nepal, Pakistan or numerous other countries waiting to take their place. Money’s still better than their country of origin. Apparently then it’s OK.