Friday, August 19, 2011

Slavery Bill to Hit Traffickers in NYC

Queens Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has introduced the Business Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act, which would require businesses that make an excess of $100 million worldwide to publicly disclose their hiring practices. The hope is that this will stop trafficking. Representative Maloney has sponsored numerous bills to combat human trafficking in the past.

Maloney Slavery Bill Would Hit Traffickers

By Jason Banrey

One Queens Congresswoman has spent her career campaigning against human trafficking and is not about to stop until she sees results.

Last Wednesday, standing on the steps of City Hall, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), announced the introduction of the Business Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act.

If passed, the legislation would require companies earning over $100 million worldwide to disclose an annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, revealing their employment practices to consumers.

According to Maloney, 12.3 million people are enduring “enslavement,” working in some form of forced labor worldwide.

“We have seen a global shift in trafficking in weapons and drugs to trafficking in children and humans,” Maloney said. “Drugs and guns can be used only once, but the human body can be used over and over again.”

Using the legislation as a tool to topple trafficking, the bill would also oblige companies to be transparent about their employment policies, Maloney said.

During Maloney’s tenure in Congress, she has been at the forefront in the fight against trafficking, cosponsoring numerous pieces of legislation such as the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support as well as the Human Trafficking Fraud Enforcement Act of 2010.

Although previous efforts have stalled in the capital, and this bill is still in the first step in the legislative process, Maloney seemed hopeful the legislation would see its way through.

The Congresswoman’s proposal was also backed by some members of the City Council.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she was proud to stand with Maloney and affirm her commitment to “stamping out human trafficking.”

“It’s time we stop thinking about trafficking-whether it’s labor trafficking, or sex trafficking, of adults or children- as someone else’s problem,” Quinn said. “This happens right here in New York and it happens to children and it is unacceptable.”

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-Corona) supported Maloney’s efforts to curtail the “sad reality” of sexual exploitation and trafficking.

Ferreras’ district has allegedly been plagued with issues of human trafficking, which has given rise to an increase in prostitution along Roosevelt Avenue in Elmhurst. She suggested that the proposed bill would develop transparency between companies and consumers.

“We as consumers and taxpayers should know that our money is not filling the corporate wallet by means of heinous activities like human trafficking, slavery, and child labor,” said Ferreras, chair of the City’s Women’s Issues Committee. “One way we can be responsible consumers is by knowing that a company has in place policies that address this issue, ensuring that the supply chain is not marred by any form of trafficking.”

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