Human trafficking is an inhumane act against fundamental human rights. It is sad but true that people are smuggled and traded like commodities and slaves. According to the report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC,) the most common form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation, which makes up 79 percent of human trafficking instances. The second form of trafficking is labor exploitation. The largest population involved in human trafficking is children. In some parts of Africa and Mekong region, children account for more than 50 percent of trafficking victims.

Due to the urgent situation of human trafficking problem, the U.S. House of Representatives is trying to pass the bipartisan bill called the Fraudulent Overseas Recruitment and Trafficking Elimination Act, also known as the FORTE Act.

The FORTE Act would ensure that provision of foreign assistance does not contribute to human trafficking. Instead, it would fight human trafficking by proving better transparency in the recruitment of foreign workers.

This act will make the government provide more transparency when hiring workers abroad, thus cutting down labor trafficking — the second largest exploitation. The act requires employers using foreign labor to notify the Department of Labor of recruiters’ identities annually. It requires the Secretary of Labor to maintain a list of contractors and U.S. consulates to receive complaints from the workers. It also makes requirements of foreign labor contractors who bring laborers into the U.S. to prevent trafficking, such as registration.

In short, the success of this bill means more clarity in labor contracts and more regulations over labor recruiters.

The crime of human trafficking is mostly underreported due to its underground nature. This act will bring the issue to the light, put more transparency in the labor market and effectively decrease labor trafficking. In addition to decreasing human trafficking in foreign countries, this act will also help to regulate the American domestic labor market.

Jing Xu

Sources: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, House of Representatives Foreign Affairs, Catholic Relief Services
Photo: Jamaica Observer