October 14, 2020


Dear Reader:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce established the Task Force to Eradicate Human Trafficking, an advisory group made up of members who work with the federal government and the private sector to develop commonsense solutions and speak with one voice.

Human trafficking is a global problem affecting millions of people each year who are illegally lured into forced labor and sexual exploitation through force, fraud, or coercion. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates that human trafficking is second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime, generating billions of dollars a year in illicit profit. All victims of trafficking share one essential experience: the loss of freedom.

Industry has an important role to play. Businesses cannot do this work alone. The business community needs to partner with governments and non-governmental organizations to address the scope of this problem

Businesses face an economic, legal, and reputational risk if they engage in human trafficking. The task force develops toolkits, hosts forums, and engages in advocacy work to shine a spotlight on this problem.

According to the International Labor Organization, whereas 19% of victims are trafficked for commercial sex and make up a vast majority of illicit profits, incidences of forced labor are prevalent and widespread globally. To eradicate human trafficking, the task force addresses forced labor in supply chains and commercial sex trafficking.

To conduct sex trafficking, traffickers rely on the transportation and hospitality sectors for moving and controlling victims, giving these sectors a critical role as the first line of defense.

Regarding forced labor, repeal of the consumptive demand clause in 2016 heightened the need for businesses to be cognizant of labor risks.

The financial sector also plays a role in eliminating forced labor. Since 2018, financial institutions such as banks have been required by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to identify and report suspicious activity related to human trafficking.

Employers, in conjunction with social service providers, counseling firms, housing agencies, and skills-based training organizations, provide resources for human trafficking victims to heal. This work is done in conjunction with comprehensive social service providers and researchers.

As the leading voice of business, the U.S. Chamber plays a critical role in addressing human trafficking. This report outlines activities that the task force has undertaken. These resources include a description of toolkits developed with partners; event summaries; and an overview of the U.S. Chamber’s lobbying and advocacy efforts.

We hope that you will join us as we continue to grow this initiative.


U.S. Chamber of Commerce/ A21 joint toolkit: In conjunction with The A21 Campaign, whose mission is “to abolish slavery everywhere, forever,” the U.S. Chamber released the Stop Trafficking Now toolkit to educate businesses on how to detect and stop labor trafficking in their supply chains.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Truckers Against Trafficking Business Engagement toolkit: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), a nonprofit organization that educates, equips, empowers, and mobilizes members of the trucking, bus, and energy industries to combat human trafficking, produced this toolkit to raise awareness and train employees on the dangers posed by commercial sex trafficking and provide best practices.

Leading by Example: The Leading by Example publication focuses on how businesses are taking initiative to recognize the warning signs of human trafficking and how to stop it. This publication features company profiles of Deloitte, Marriott International, UPS, Freedom a la Cart, Polished Pearl, Selah Freedom/Selah Way Foundation, and Walmart. This pamphlet highlights strategies that businesses of all sizes can use to thwart this heinous crime.


Task Force Meetings

The Task Force to Eradicate Human Trafficking has hosted members-only briefings with high-ranking federal government officials including:

  • John Cotton Richmond, ambassador-at-large, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, U.S. Department of State;
  • Lewis Karesh, assistant U.S. trade representative for labor; Office of the United States Trade Representative, Executive Office of the President;
  • James W. McCament, deputy under secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and
  • Martha E. Newton, former deputy undersecretary for international affairs, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor, and currently, deputy-director-general for policy, International Labour Organization.

2019-2020 Events

In an interconnected world, human trafficking is a global problem that touches many industries and business relationships. Employers are and must be part of the solution.

The Task Force to Eradicate Human Trafficking, consisting of member companies from across a wide swath of industries, advises the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on meeting the challenges posed by human trafficking.

In 2019 and 2020, the Chamber hosted a series of events on human trafficking. At the first event on January 24, 2019, Best Practices to Combat Human Trafficking, speakers discussed business-led prevention and awareness efforts.

At the second event on September 24, 2019, Countering Human Trafficking, speakers highlighted how traffickers rely on the transportation and hospitality sectors for moving and controlling victims and delivering them for commercial sex or forced labor, giving these industries an important role as the first line of defense.

At the third event on January 15, 2020, Integrating Services for Trafficking Survivors, speakers emphasized how employers, in conjunction with social service providers, counseling firms, housing agencies, and skills-based training organizations, provide resources to help human trafficking victims heal.


2020 Virtual Forums

Summary of May 21, 2020 Event

On May 21, 2020, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted a meeting with representatives of the A21 Campaign, Truckers Against Trafficking, and the White House’s Office of Domestic Policy Council.

Representatives of the A21 Campaign and Truckers Against Trafficking provided an overview of their co-branded toolkits with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Jennie Bradley Lichter, deputy assistant to the president, White House Domestic Policy Council, stated that the White House is coordinating the federal government’s response to anti-human trafficking initiatives. She said children are especially at risk for commercial sex trafficking during COVID-19 due to online exploitation, and that the departments of Justice and Health and Human Services held listening sessions among stakeholders to raise awareness.

Eliminating Forced Labor

Summary of July 30, 2020 Virtual Event

Eliminating Forced Labor Virtual Event, July 30, 2020

Michael Billet, senior manager of policy research, Employment Policy Division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, kicked off the Eliminating Forced Labor event on July 30, 2020, to commemorate World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

In his opening remarks, Glenn Spencer, senior vice president of the Employment Policy Division at the U.S. Chamber, stressed that businesses have an important role to play in detecting and remedying forced labor in supply chains. He said legislation that imposes reporting requirements for supply chain due diligence, such as the U.K. Modern Slavery Act. is of concern. This is because a one-size-fits all approach may hinder voluntary efforts by the private sector to take the lead against human trafficking.

Stefan J. Marculewicz, shareholder and co-chair, Business and Human Rights Practice Group, Littler Mendelson P.C., is chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Task Force to Eradicate Human Trafficking. The task force is an advisory group consisting of members who work with the federal government and the private sector to develop commonsense solutions and speak with one voice. He introduced Robert A. Destro, assistant secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State.

In his keynote, Destro spoke about the Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory issued by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Treasury, U.S. Department of Commerce, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He emphasized that employers may face penalties for a failure to conduct due diligence of their supply chains in Xinjiang province, China.

Gabriella Rigg Herzog, vice president of corporate responsibility and labor affairs at the United States Council for International Business, then led a discussion of federal government agency officials from DHS, Office of the United States Trade Representative, and U.S. Department of Labor, regarding implementation of the USMCA’s Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force.

James W. McCament, deputy under secretary, Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans, DHS, stated that in active investigations, there is tension between upholding a commitment to transparency and withholding information from impacted parties. He noted that having legal standards applied consistently is paramount for the business community. DHS is exercising its discretion in combating forced labor through, among other things, the use of withhold release orders.

Josh Kagan, deputy assistant U.S. trade representative for labor at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), said that if businesses raise concerns in countries where the U.S. has free trade or trade preference agreements, USTR will engage with other countries’ trade ministries to address the problem of forced labor systematically.

Marcia Eugenio, director, Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs at the U.S, Department of Labor, stated, “The Bureau of International Labor Affairs is a knowledge generator and not an enforcement agency. Other agencies rely on the information we provide to help them prevent goods made from child or forced labor from entering into the U.S. market.”

Jim Isajewicz. analyst manager, Thomson Reuters Special Services (TRSS), delivered a keynote, titled “Commercially Available Solutions for Disrupting Forced Labor Value Chains,” where he discussed how the private sector is leading the charge against human trafficking. TRSS uses intelligence mapping to identify owners of illicit massage businesses, locate domestic agricultural farm workers who are held in debt bondage, and detect suppliers in Xinjiang province, China, that engage in human rights abuses.

In closing, Isajewicz issued a call for action for private companies to take the following steps outlined below to end modern slavery:

  • Know your customers.
  • Know your suppliers and their suppliers too.
  • Look past the obvious.
  • Invest in tools and services to pull in disparate data to develop a comprehensive understanding of your entire supply chain.
  • Don’t settle for minimum compliance.

Sinead Bovell, founder and CEO at the Weekly Advice for the Young Entrepreneur (WAYE), leads WAYE Talks, a conversation with industry experts to learn how technology impacts business decisions. She interviewed James Wiley, chief operating officer, Counter Human Trafficking Compliance Solutions (CHTCS), to conclude the event.

CHTCS global risk assessment technology uses self-reporting questionnaires, coupled with data analytics and artificial intelligence to detect forced labor patterns, and displays this information visually through a heat map that is updated in real time.

Through its proprietary technology, CTCHS can predict population displacements and migratory patterns of vulnerable workers. According to Wiley, CHTCS forecasted the coffee crisis in the Northern Highland mountains in Guatemala and Honduras, and, in turn, the migratory routes of these farm workers to other regions of Central America and Mexico, where those farm owners were warned about the increased risks of forced labor.

Transportation Industry Against Human Trafficking

Summary of September 24, 2020 Virtual Event

Transportation Industry Against Human Trafficking, September 24, 2020

On September 24, 2020, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce held the Transportation Industry Against Human Trafficking forum to highlight what employers are doing to raise awareness and educate the public in the fight against human trafficking.

Stefan J. Marculewicz, shareholder and co-chair, Business and Human Rights Practice Group, Littler Mendelson P.C., is chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Task Force to Eradicate Human Trafficking. The task force is an advisory group made up of members who work with the federal government and the private sector to develop commonsense solutions and speak with one voice. Marculewicz introduced Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), who gave a keynote.

Secretary Chao emphasized that as a member of the president’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, U.S. DOT is leading and supporting a range of anti-human trafficking efforts at the state, local, federal, and international levels. The agency has called upon transportation leaders to sign the Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking pledge. She concluded her remarks, saying that “we have over 500 pledges signed by transportation leaders, labor, and non-governmental organizations. The signatories have committed to train over 1.3 million employees to help fight human trafficking.”

Following the keynote, Kendis Paris, co-founder and executive director, Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), and Sherry Sanger, executive vice president, marketing, Penske Transportation Solutions, provided an overview of a partnership formed between their organizations. Penske has committed to certify its 5,500 logistic drivers with TAT-provided training. These individuals receive TAT-provided wallet cards to recognize indicators and when to alert law enforcement. According to Paris, TAT is working with law enforcement, including state patrol and state agencies, on how to identify human trafficking using a victim-centered approach.

Ed Mortimer, vice president, transportation and infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, then led a discussion featuring representatives of trade associations and non-governmental organizations about how the transportation sector has developed initiatives to raise awareness. For example, U.S. DOT awarded the inaugural “Combating Human Trafficking in Transportation Impact Award” to United Against Slavery (UAS) to create and complete a national survey of up to 20,000 respondents to measure prevalence. Results are expected to identify existing frontline barriers to recognizing signs of human trafficking and how to improve counter-trafficking efforts.

Elisabeth Barna, executive vice president, industry affairs, and senior adviser to the president and CEO, American Trucking Associations (ATA), spoke about ATA’s Man to Man Campaign. ATA’s 3.6 million professional truck drivers and 7.4 million individuals employed in the trucking industry act as ambassadors who are instructed to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline when suspicious activity is detected. These drivers are also engaged in ATA’s social media campaign to help communicate the trucking industry’s stand against trafficking.

Lauren Kane, vice president of communications, National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA), described how NBWA developed the distributors against human trafficking awareness initiative training module to reach 142,000 individuals employed by beer wholesalers. The module consists of a video featuring co-chairs of the National Associations of Attorney’s General Human Trafficking Committee and field experts. NBWA is requesting that distributors play this video as part of an employee’s onboarding process. The objective is to reach 10,00 employees by 2022.

Mar Brettmann, CEO and executive director, Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking (BEST), said that human trafficking is a global problem as “80% of the victims who were trafficked internationally crossed a border.” Airports and seaports play an important role as a line of defense. She mentioned a survivor that BEST rescued who came to the U.S. as a child with seven siblings from Bangladesh and was not stopped at the airport, even though the perpetrator was a white male. If this victim had been stopped at the airport, then her trafficking could have been prevented. To address the problem at the ports of entry, BEST instituted an online project at the Port of Seattle for the maritime industry and the airport.

Dave McCleary, founder, End HT Now and global chairman, Rotary Action Group Against Slavery (Rotary), stressed that Rotary has unique influence. Rotary formed the Rotary Action Group Against Slavery to align the interests of business leaders, educators, law enforcement, and legislators globally. Rotary has the ability to reach across the aisle to develop legislation and work with firms to reemploy victims. Owing to Rotary’s involvement in Georgia, Delta has hired human trafficking survivors to help get them back on their feet. In the transportation sector, Rotary educates local bus drivers on how to spot trafficking indicators.


Not Invisible Act

The U.S. Chamber achieved a significant victory on September 21, 2020, when the House passed S. 982, the “Not Invisible Act” on September 21, 2020, by voice vote, under suspension of the rules. On March 11, 2020, the Senate passed the bill by voice vote. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.

As part of the Chamber’s advocacy efforts, the Chamber wrote a letter of support, in both the U.S. Senate and in the U.S House.

Summary of S. 982, “Not Invisible Act of 2019”

The bill directs the Secretary of the Interior to designate an official within the Bureau of Indian Affairs–Office of Justice Services (BIA–OJS) to coordinate prevention efforts, grants, and programs across offices within the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the DOJ, and other federal agencies that operate programs to address the murder, trafficking, and recovery of missing indigenous men and women on Indian lands and in urban centers. These interagency efforts include the following: DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs, the Office on Violence Against Women, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, the Office of Tribal Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other federal agencies as needed.

The Act establishes that no later than 120 days after the date if enactment, a Joint Commission on Reducing Violent Crime Against Indians within the DOI is established, composed of federal and tribal community representatives. The bill directs the Joint Commission to publish a report containing recommendations for the Secretary of the Interior, and the Attorney General, outlining actions both departments can take to help combat violent crime against Indians within Indian lands.

These recommendations include:

  • Administrative changes to identify, report, and respond effectively to cases of missing persons, murder, and human trafficking of Indians within Indian lands;
  • Best practices for tribal, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to follow in combating violent crime against Indians within Indian lands, including missing persons, murder, and human trafficking; and
  • Guidance on how to address any gaps in services for Indian victims of violent crime.

No later than 90 days following publication of the Joint Commission’s report, the law requires the Secretary of the Interior, and the Attorney General, to publish written responses to the Joint Commission’s recommendations. The Commission would terminate on the date that is 2 years after the date of enactment.

Federal Legislation

  • Providing status updates on anti-human trafficking federal legislation: Especially concerning is legislation that imposes reporting requirements on employers, such as S. 4241, the “Slave-Free Business Certification Act of 2020,” introduced by U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), that would require companies with annual worldwide gross receipts of $500 million or more to investigate and report on forced labor within their supply chains. The bill includes a significant enforcement mechanism that allows the Secretary of Labor to assess penalties for noncompliance. Specifically, the Secretary of Labor can assess civil damages up to $100 million and punitive damages up to $500 million for failure to comply with the Act’s audit and reporting requirements. The Chamber opposes this legislation.
  • Xinjiang province legislation: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce “strongly condemns human rights abuses, including the persecution and detention of the Uyghur ethnic minority in China,” however, the organization opposes H.R. 6210, the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act” and “H.R. 6270, the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act” on the basis that these bills are “ineffective and may hinder efforts to prevent human rights abuses.” A summary of the bills are provided below:

H.R. 6210, Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

The bill would ban goods from China’s Xinjiang region or produced from forced labor practices from entering the U.S by making it U.S. policy to assume (a "rebuttable presumption") that all goods manufactured in Xinjiang are made with forced labor and therefore banned under the Tariff Act of 1930, unless the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection certifies that these goods are known to not have been made with forced labor.

Among other things, the bill would also:

  • Impose sanctions on foreign individuals responsible for forced labor and violating U.S. laws related to forced labor imports for an individual who “knowingly engages in” forced labor of Uyghurs.
  • Require U.S.-traded companies to disclose whether they engaged in certain activities in the region to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Direct the U.S. State Department to submit to Congress a determination on whether forced labor practices against Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang can be considered crimes against humanity or genocide.
  • Direct the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force to submit to Congress a strategy that outlines federal enforcement plans related to imports from Xinjiang.

H.R. 6270, Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act of 2020

No later than 180 days of the bill’s enactment, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would have to issue rules requiring U.S.-traded companies to disclose in their annual reports or proxy statements whether they or any affiliate import—directly or indirectly—engaged with an entity to import goods or materials sourced from or made in the Xinjiang region or in forced labor camps.

Among the goods covered by the bill would be manufactured goods, including electronics, food products, textiles, shoes, and teas, or manufactured goods containing materials that originated in the Xinjiang region or are sourced from there.

Companies also would need to disclose the nature and extent of the commercial activity related to such good or material; gross revenue and net profit, if any, attributle to the goods or materials and whether they intend to continue importing them.

The SEC would post disclosed information on the agency’s website.

The SEC would conduct an annual assessment and report to Congress annually on compliance with the disclosure requirements.

The Comptroller General of the U.S. would report to Congress and “periodically” review the effectiveness of the SEC’s oversight of the disclosure requirements.

International Legislation

Legislation mandating human rights due diligence and modern slavery disclosures is also continuing to emerge in a number of countries around the world, adding challenging new obligations for multinational companies operating across jurisdictions with increasingly complex supply chains.

The Chamber is keeping tab of pending developments, specifically following the Australian Modern Slavery Act, the U.K. Modern Slavery Act, and Switzerland’s Responsible Business Initiative.