US President Barack Obama on Tuesday issued an executive order [text] to strengthen the federal government's zero-tolerance policy for contracting with groups and individuals involved in human trafficking. The order requires the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR) [official website] to take steps in the next 180 days to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation [text] to strengthen requirements for contractors' and subcontractors' hiring practices to ensure that their employees are not engaging in human trafficking. It also orders FAR to increase internal controls and oversight and enhance enforcement procedures.
Human trafficking is an ongoing issue in countries throughout the world, and countries have been struggling to enforce regulations against it. In July a federal judge in Hawaii dismissed human trafficking charges [JURIST report] against six executives accused of bringing 600 Thai nationals to the US, falsely promising them job opportunities and then forcing them to work on farms. In June a UN human rights expert urged [JURIST report] the international community to focus on the issue and released a report [PDF] recommending strategies for dealing with it. A week earlier, the European Union [official website] announced a plan to end human trafficking in Europe [JURIST report].