Executive Order Signed Last Week Should Be 'First Of Several Steps' Taken Against Human Trafficking

New York Times editorial reflects on “a strong executive order aimed at ending human trafficking activities by government contractors and subcontractors,” announced by President Obama on September 25 “in a passionate address on the issue … at the Clinton Global Initiative.” The editorial states, “This should be the first of several steps to bolster the attack on a scourge that Mr. Obama described as ‘modern slavery.'” “Among other things, Mr. Obama should put the weight of his office behind a bipartisan bill in Congress, the End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act,” the editorial continues, adding, “The bill would strengthen the administration’s executive initiative by embedding into law safeguards against substandard wages, abusive working conditions and sexual and labor exploitation.”

“The legislation enjoys broad support among Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate, and its approval should be on the must-do list for the lame-duck session following the election,” which “should also include another critical measure to fight trafficking, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act,” the editorial states. Though this measure has “significant bipartisan support,” “the bill’s reauthorization has been stalled in the House by political wrangling over a separate issue of victims’ reproductive rights,” the New York Times says, adding, “Continued delay on this bill would hurt victims and send a terrible message to the world.” The editorial concludes, “If he is re-elected, President Obama will have the enhanced political muscle he will need to break the logjam” (10/1).