New Human Trafficking Rules: Broad Scope, Uncertain Application

June 23, 2015

Contractors already have begun to notice the inclusion of the new human trafficking FAR contract clause, required to be incorporated into all new federal government contracts. The rule imposes affirmative duties on federal prime contractors as well as subcontractors.

Executive Order 13627 created a new government anti-trafficking policy. The policy prohibits employment practices such as failing to communicate terms and conditions of employment in a language accessible to the employee, restricting access to immigration documents, using employment recruiters who do not comply with local labor laws, and charging employee recruitment fees.

The resulting FAR provisions, implemented earlier this year, require all prime contractors to notify their employees and agents of the government’s new anti-trafficking policy, as well as disciplinary action that will be taken against individuals who violate the policy. Primes are required to flow down these rules in their subcontracts.

In addition, the new rules require contractors and subcontractors to create specific anti-trafficking compliance plans if they are awarded contracts meeting certain criteria. Specifically, compliance plans are required for prime contractors and subcontractors with contracts valued at $500,000 or more for the procurement of non-COTS supplies to be acquired outside the U.S. – or contracts for the procurement of services to be performed outside the U.S.

It remains unclear how the government will interpret and enforce these new rules. However, the administration’s focus on this issue and previous record of aggressive enforcement should make contractors err on the side of caution.

For more information on this or other government contracting issues, please contact the author, Christian B. Nagel, or any of the other government contracts attorneys listed.