Hearing :: Labor Trafficking in Troubled Economic Times: Protecting American Jobs and Migrant Human Rights











MONDAY, MAY 23, 2011

REPRESENTATIVE CHRISTOPHER SMITH (R-NJ):  The commission will come to order.  
And I want to welcome all of you to today’s hearing, part of the Helsinki 
Commission’s ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking in all of its aspects, 
which go back to June of 1999 when I chaired the first commission hearing on 
human trafficking – really a tradition that continued under my good friend and 
colleague, Commissioner Cardin, when he was chairman and now co-chair.  This 
has been a bipartisan effort from the beginning, and it continues to this day.

Today our attention turns to labor trafficking, a modern-day form of slavery, 
exacerbated by the global economic downturn.  As with all forms of trafficking 
we must never lose sight of the victim, the truly human face of people caught 
up unwittingly in this multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise.  Having just 
participated in a conference entitled “Building Bridges of Freedom:  
Public-Private Partnerships to End Modern-Day Slavery,” I am acutely aware that 
in order to be successful in combating the scourge of human trafficking, we 
must strengthen the cooperation between governments and the private sector, 
particularly with regards to labor trafficking.

Each year, tens of thousands of victims are trafficked into the United States 
from throughout the world.  The United States has been at the forefront of 
efforts to combat human trafficking in all of its forms, including labor 
trafficking, following adoption of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 

Our government has undertaken the vast challenge of tracking slavery around the 
world.  We have developed strategic reporting tools such as the Trafficking in 
Persons Report, the list of goods produced with child and forced labor, and the 
findings on the worst forms of child labor.  And the world has taken notice.

I would note parenthetically, when I first introduced the Trafficking Victims 
Protection Act in 1998, a landmark bill that was signed into law two years 
later in 2000, the legislation was met with a wall of skepticism and outright 
opposition.  People both inside of government and out thought the bold new 
strategy that included sheltering, asylum and other protections for the 
victims, long jail sentences and asset confiscation for the traffickers and 
tough sanctions for governments that failed to meet minimum standards was 
merely a solution in search of a problem.

I vividly recall raising the trafficking issue at a gathering of 
parliamentarians meeting in St. Petersburg in Russia in 1999 and was met with a 
similar reaction.  Matter of fact, the Russians – several on their delegation 
thought that somehow we were seeking to embarrass them.  And I remember the 
Ukrainian representative very dismissively – and I remember – Ben, you would 
remember that – said, but they’re just prostitutes, as if somehow they were 
less than human.  It was a – it was really a very disturbing spectacle.

But the next year at the Bucharest OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, not only did we 
have virtually every one of the delegations joining in on the parliamentary 
supplementary item, as we called it, but the Russians spoke out, and the head 
of the Duma actually gave a speech in favor of the parliamentary supplemental 
item combating human trafficking.

As the special rep for human trafficking in the parliamentary assembly for the 
OSCE, I know full well considerable progress has been made.  I remain deeply 
concerned that of the 56 OSCE participating states, 20 will rank as Tier 2, 
with another eight placed on the Tier 2 Watch List.

Our efforts could not have been possible both within the OSCE as well as here 
in the United States without the invaluable contribution of civil society, who 
have helped us write the laws and, frankly, all subsequent iterations of the 
TPVA and other similar bills around the world.

Last week, we heard Deb Cundy of the Carlson Companies, which manages numerous 
hotel chains including the Radisson and Country Inns and Suites, explain how 
their employees were trained to spot potential trafficking victims and how that 
employee should notify law enforcement.  Christopher Davis of The Body Shop 
International detailed the extraordinary education and awareness program that 
they have initiated, coupled with a petition drive that has garnered 
approximately 6 million signatures worldwide.

As we reauthorize certain sections of the act – obviously some of the act, some 
provisions, are permanent law; others need to be reauthorized, and they expire 
in the end of September – civil society representatives have flooded my office 
and, I’m sure, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca’s office, who was at Rome at that 
conference and did a magnificent job, with some thoughts as to what they think 
ought to be done to improve and make more efficacious our policy vis-à-vis 

As we all know, traffickers prey upon those in poverty and those lacking even 
the prospect of a job.  I have visited trafficking victims’ shelters in 
countries throughout the world, including Russia, Nigeria, Peru, Romania, D.R. 
Congo, Ethiopia, Brazil, Bosnia, Italy and elsewhere.  I’ve seen the faces – as 
have so many of you who will testify and so many in the audience, and certainly 
members of our commission – seen those faces of the victims – women and 
children and men – robbed of their inherent dignity.

In Moldova, Catholic Relief Services documented that high school aged girls 
were disappearing, literally disappearing into human trafficking in large part 
due to the extreme lack of job opportunities in that country.  CRS created the 
Moldova Employment and Training Alliance, which encourage private sector 
companies to expand in rural villages.  And certainly, that has made a huge 
difference in that country.

As a destination country, we must recognize that here in our own – very own 
backyard, thousands of people are trafficked from all over the world to work on 
our farms, in our hotels, our restaurants and even to serve as domestic 
workers.  Well, even more shocking is that many of these labor migrants enter 
the country legally through their own immigration system, deceived by their 
traffickers who sold them a dream.

Indeed, this afternoon we will focus on various aspects of labor trafficking, 
including abusive and illegal business practices, as well as ways to better 
educate potential migrants of their rights.  Among other issues to be 
considered will be increased education and accountability, foreign labor 
recruiting practices and enhancing supply-chain transparency.  Labor 
trafficking remains the most prevalent form of human trafficking in the United 

U.S. funding for anti-trafficking efforts abroad have brought together labor 
inspectors, police, prosecutors, NGOs and faith-based organizations.  
Obviously, many challenges remain.  So it falls to us and likeminded people of 
goodwill everywhere to meet those challenges head-on and wage an unceasing 
campaign to eradicate human trafficking from the face of the earth.

Today we are joined by Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, director of the State 
Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.  He is joined 
by Dr. Gabriela Lemus, the Department of Labor’s labor representative to the 
Senior Policy Operating Group on Trafficking in Persons.

On our second panel, we will hear from the director of the Washington Office of 
the International Labor Organization, Ms. Nancy Donaldson; Ms. Neha Misra, 
special – specialist on migration and human trafficking for the Solidarity 
Center; and we have a very special guest in actress and activist Julia Ormond, 
founder of the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking – a very talented 
actress and a tireless humanitarian activist who was absolutely instrumental in 
getting landmark legislation passed in California on – to combat labor 
trafficking and to figure out the supply systems of companies through better 
transparency and by working with those companies.  So we will hear from that 
second panel after we hear from our very distinguished first panel.

I’d like to yield to a good friend and colleague, Mr. Cardin, co-chairman of 
this commission.

SENATOR BENJAMIN CARDIN (D-MD):  Well, to Chairman Smith, thank you very much 
for arranging this hearing.  I think it’s an extremely important subject.  I 
would ask that my written opening statement be made part of the record.

REP. SMITH:  Without objection.

SEN. CARDIN:  And I will just comment briefly.  It’s with great pride that the 
Helsinki Commission takes on dealing with the issue of trafficking, because it 
was this commission that first raised these issues.  And in the course of that, 
we conducted hearings; we sponsored resolutions at the parliamentary assemblies 
in order to get more international focus on modern-day slavery.  We took a 
pretty tough stand.  And Chairman Smith’s right.  Some of the initial reactions 
were less than sympathetic.

But we persisted.  And with the support of our delegation to Vienna, the United 
States had a united position to do everything we could to rid our societies of 
trafficking, the form of modern-day slavery.  Then the permanent council 
started to act, and we started to get some best practices shared by other 
states.  With the legislature and executive working in tandem, we were able to 
make significant progress.

I remember visiting some of the shelters, where we visited with the victims and 
were able to put a spotlight on the issue that those that are trafficked are 
not criminals but they’re victims.  And law enforcement needs to conduct its 
affairs mindful of who the real criminals are.  And we made more progress and 
were able to get special representatives, both in the parliamentary assembly – 
and, as you know, our chairman, Chairman Smith, is that special representative 
– and in the permanent council of the OSCE.

So we’ve made progress.  We have a game plan today to deal with trafficking.  
And the United States has shown tremendous leadership in the passage of not 
only our domestic laws, which are very strong, but also the reports that are 
now required to be filed.  These reports, I can tell you, have major impact – 
as I’m sure Chairman Smith would agree.  When ambassadors visit our office, 
that’s one of the first issues they’ll talk to us about, because they all want 
to – they don’t want to be listed as a watch state.

Our primary focus has been on sexual exploitation.  And I think that reason is 
somewhat self-obvious.  It’s a very serious situation around the globe, and we 
were able to make significant progress.  Labor exploitation’s a little bit more 
complicated, because there’s an economic issue here that has some legitimacy – 
at least people think there’s some legitimacy because of open borders and 
bringing in labor to help in your country.

I want to applaud Chairman Smith for holding this hearing so that we can take a 
look at trafficking related to labor issues, particularly in these very 
difficult economic times.

I want to point out that debt bondage for migration costs can amount to 
involuntary servitude or slavery.  And we need to take a look at how these 
matters are being financed, because they are being used to deny people their 
basic human rights.  I want to congratulate the Obama administration for taking 
this issue of labor seriously and the way that the Obama administration has 
coordinated the work within the Department of State and the Department of 
Commerce.  That’s what you need to do.  This is a matter that involves both of 
those agencies.  And I know they’re working closely together.

This is a very timely hearing.  For Congress, shortly we’ll be looking at the 
reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.  And in that act, I 
note that in 2008, in a matter that I helped draft, we put into that law 
additional tools for our consulate officers to be able to look at those who are 
requesting visas to come into the United States.  I’ll be interested in hearing 
from our witnesses today whether those efforts are paying off.  There’s 
training requirements that consular officers be able to identify circumstances 
that look like they’re trafficking.  How has that in fact worked?  Do we need 
to expand that training to other border officers and law enforcement officers?  
These are issues that I think we need to take a look at as we move forward to 
the reauthorization practices.

Our bottom line is, we want to see what other countries are doing.  We can 
learn from best practices of other countries in dealing with these issues.  And 
I think we need to share the success stories so that we can, in fact, at long 
last get rid of these labor abuses.  Working together, we can continue to make 
progress that we’ve made in the past so that we can eliminate all forms of 
modern-day slavery.  I look forward to hearing from the witnesses.

REP. SMITH:  Thank you, Chairman Cardin.  (I’d like ?) to yield to chairman of 
the Energy and Commerce Health Committee, a commissioner on our Helsinki 
Commission for many years, Joe Pitts.

REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPH PITTS (R-PA):  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  And as an 
original co-sponsor of the Trafficking in Persons Law and with you in the OSCE, 
putting forth these issues, I thank you for scheduling this hearing entitled 
“Labor Trafficking in Troubled Economic Times:  Protecting American Jobs and 
Migrant Human Rights.”  The issues involved in the exploitation of migrant 
workers, broad and on American soil, are of grave concern to the OSCE.  In the 
wake of a global recession, it is important that we continue our focus on human 
trafficking and migrant worker populations now more than ever.

While the United States has taken a lead on confronting and combating human 
trafficking, we must do everything we can to end the practice.  And this 
includes looking at ways to verify worker practices and conditions.  We must 
find better ways at enforcing our own policies.  Recent high-profile cases of 
violations have highlighted the need for a systemic verification process, one 
that is multilateral, including the help of foreign governments and 
organizations, and one that verifies from the bottom up, leaving no room for 
abuse throughout the supply chain.

So, Mr. Chairman, I thank you for holding this important hearing.  I look 
forward to hearing the ideas from our witnesses here today and hope that we can 
find concrete solutions to dealing with the problem of labor exploitation here 
in the United States.  And I yield back.

REP. SMITH:  Commissioner Pitts, thank you very much.  I’d like to now yield to 
a new member but very active member, Christopher (sic) Cohen.

REPRESENTATIVE STEVE COHEN (D-TN):  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  It’s a pleasure 
to be here, and I’m going to look forward to listening to the testimony.  
Ambassador de Baca was a counsel to the Judiciary Committee, which I serve on, 
and has quite an honorable and distinguished record.  Good to see you again in 
your position.  And Ms. Lemus has been at some of the greatest universities in 
this country, including the University of Memphis.  So it’s good to have a 
Memphis denizen, even if a short tenure with us today.

This is an important issue.  Slavery (in ?) any component is something we need 
to fight, and it needs to be something we do in a bipartisan fashion, because 
freedom is the bottom line, you know.  You know, there’s nothing left to lose.  
And we had a history in our country of slavery.  And sometimes we think of 
slavery simply as that form of the most heinous, direct, main line of slavery.  
But there are other forms.  There are temporary forms.  There are forms of – 
that we have, and we need to combat them and make employers just as liable for 
looking the other way, maybe not knowingly, but looking the other way when 
they’re beneficiaries of slave labor.  And we know that happens in this country 
and that whether they are landlords who have leased to people who are involved 
in labor trafficking, whether they are along the chain – I know we have 
products, and the California law goes along the chain to make people be aware 
that they will not be involved, and any producer of raw materials in the final 
product if they’re involved in the slave trade, that they won’t be allowed.  
They’ll be – I guess there’ll be sanctions in the California law.  I’d hope so. 
 And that’s what there should be.  We have that for product.  I know if you buy 
a guitar and it’s got any kind of a wood product in it that’s on the endangered 
list, you get in trouble for the final product.  We should have the same thing. 
 If wood is important, which it is in Brazil and the rainforests and all, it 
should be with human beings even more so.

I’m Jewish.  And Passover, which is our most – my favorite holiday, not just 
because of the food but because of the lesson that we were in bondage and that 
we should always be cognizant of any people who were in bondage.  And that’s 
just not building pyramids or doing cotton.  But that’s the folks we’re going 
to talk about here today.  And the Judeo-Christian ethos which we are all a 
product of needs to be adhered to, and we need to pass the most rigorous and 
strong laws that we can to protect everyone.

So with that, I thank the chairman for scheduling this committee meeting.  I 
look forward to your testimony.  I yield back the balance of my time.

REP. SMITH:  Mr. Cohen, thank you very much.  And quoting Janis Joplin there?

Let me just introduce our very distinguished panelists beginning with 
Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, ambassador-at-large of the Office to Monitor and 
Combat Trafficking in Persons.  In May of 2009, he was appointed by President 
Obama to coordinate U.S. government activities in the global fight against 
contemporary forms of slavery. He serves as senior adviser to the secretary, 
and directs the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in 
Persons was – which, as we all know, assesses global trends, provides training 
and technical assistance and advocates for an end to slavery.  Ambassador 
CdeBaca formally served as counsel, as Commissioner Cohen just said, to the 
House Committee on the Judiciary.  And at the Justice Department, he is one of 
the most country – of our country’s most decorated federal prosecutors, leading 
the investigation and prosecution of cases involving money laundering, 
organized crime, alien smuggling, official misconduct, hate crimes and of 
course human trafficking.  He was responsible for the conviction of dozens of 
abusive pimps and employers, and helped to liberate hundreds of victims from 

Then we’ll hear from Dr. Gabriela Lemus, who was appointed senior adviser and 
director of the Office of Public Engagement at the Department of Labor in July 
of 2009.  She represents the DOL at the Senior Policy Operating Group in 
Trafficking in Persons, the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status, and 
various interagency working groups on immigration policy.  Prior to her 
appointment, she was the first woman to hold the position of executive director 
at the Labor Counsel for Latin America’s advancement, from 2007 to ’09, as well 
as the first woman to chair the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda from 2008 
to ’9.  She served a three year – three year terms on the advisory boards of 
both the Washington Office on Latin America, or WOLA, and the U.S. Labor 
Education in the Americas Project from 2006 to 2009.

Mr. Ambassador, please proceed as you would – as you would like.

LUIS C. DEBACA:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  Good afternoon, everyone, and thank 
you for the opportunity to shed a light on the problem of labor trafficking 
both here in the United States and abroad.  As you have mentioned, the OSCE and 
the Helsinki Commission in particular has led on this issue, as on many others. 

In Rome last week at the conference that was dealing with some of these issues, 
especially issues of supply chain, the words of one of our panelists from 
Rabbis for Human Rights North America reminded me and suggested what you have 
said, Mr. Cohen, which is that we are in some ways in the 10th year of this 
fight since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.  But as the 
Western world, as people of faith and as those who reflect the Judeo-Christian 
values, that we are in year 3,500 of this fight, and we should be measured on 
it in that sense.
And unfortunately, 3,500 years later, estimates on the total number of 
trafficking victims in the world are as high as 27 million.  We know that the 
United States is a major destination, but we don’t know how many victims of 
labor trafficking there are specifically in this country, because it’s a hidden 
crime.  Victims are often afraid to come forward, or unable, sometimes because 
they fear the very officers that could help them. 

But the cases that have been uncovered tell us some things.  We know that labor 
trafficking is a problem that affects men, women and children alike.  Labor 
trafficking victims often suffer ongoing sexual abuse, as well as threats of 
physical violence, and that the cases now are uncomfortably identical to cases 
that the United States prosecuted in sharecropping in the 1930s, the railroad 
gangs of the turn of the century, or the padroni child begging cases of the 

Labor trafficking victims today are lured with the same types of promises – a 
good job and a better life – only to be trapped through their specific 
vulnerabilities.  For foreign workers, that’s often lack of documents, language 
or familiarity with their rights here in America.  For United States citizens, 
it’s often homelessness, mental illness or addiction.  Whatever the hook that 
the traffickers use, we must bring this cycle to an end once and for all.

As you know, the United States follows a(n) expansive definition of human 
trafficking that encompasses all of the actions in reducing a person or holding 
them in a condition of servitude, and so that means that the recruiter who 
feeds the victim into the system, and the end user who knowingly or recklessly 
profits from the abuse, are properly as guilty as the employer who enslaves the 
victim.  Our response is based on the internationally recognized “3P” paradigm: 
 prosecution, protection and prevention.   All of these victims are entitled to 
rehabilitation, and to see their abusers brought to justice.

We have seen progress over the last decade.  And across government, we are ever 
more united in this struggle.  More cases are being done both federally and at 
the state level than ever before.  And while victim identifications at time 
stress and strain our victim services response, NGOs and frontline law 
enforcement work to ensure a safety net when these people are found.

In particular, I’d like to praise my colleagues at the Department of Labor for 
their work both at home and abroad.  In the U.S. for instance, they’ve 
implemented a rule that strengthens protections for a particularly vulnerable 
group, the temporary H-2A agricultural visa holders.  My colleague Dr. Lemus 
will be able to highlight this and other actions that Secretary Solis has taken 
to confront this scourge.

But to ensure that these efforts do not fizzle out as they have at other points 
throughout the last 150 years here in America, we need to institutionalize our 
capacity, maintain our resources and ensure innovation across the whole of 
government.  And while every aspect can and must be addressed, I’d like to 
highlight one of the most innovative things that’s happening, and that is 

It’s basic economics that without demand, there will be no supply.   So we’re 
looking to engage on this aspect in both forced labor and sex trafficking 
alike.  The so-called sex industry is not a valid form of labor, and it poses 
its own unique challenges.  But there are commonalities in these areas, most 
notably the need to hold everyone accountable and to make the cultural change 
necessary that undercuts the demand for what the traffickers are using cruelty 
to supply.

Forced labor is prevalent in the production of a wide range of raw materials 
that we all come in contact, and probably came into contact at some point 
today, from cotton, chocolate, coffee, steel, rubber, tin.  Even reputable 
corporate citizens can profit from the abuse.

So, as you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, the cutting edge of anti-trafficking work 
is demanding that companies focus their attentions beyond the places where 
their products are manufactured and, instead, look at the source of their human 
capital, the methods of recruitment, where the raw materials are collected, 
harvested or mined.  Effective supply chain monitoring means going all the way 
down to that level.  We think that such research will enhance our understanding 
of supply and demand factors that affect those workers whose labor contributes 
to the downstream profits.  The aim is to find trafficking where it occurs, and 
that this knowledge will allow companies to join the Body Shop and Carlson 
Companies and others in running their business in a manner consistent with the 
“3P” paradigm.  

Removing the taint of slavery is better for everyone.  Take for instance what’s 
been reported from the berry patches of Sweden and Finland, Asian guest workers 
so abused that they were reduced to surviving on a soup made of whatever 
grasses they could gather and whatever crows they could shoot.  If a consumer 
knew the suffering of the hands that had picked those berries, we would hope 
that they would have been moved to act.

A conference last winter produced the Luxor Implementation Guidelines to the 
U.N.’s Athens Ethical principles, which seek to move beyond aspirational 
statements to the development of standard operating procedures, moving beyond 
principles to practice and implementation.  And to date, nearly 600 companies 
have adopted those guidelines.  That represents the future of the fight against 
modern slavery.

But of course, government’s role will remain central.  Our counterparts in 
Europe have increasingly recognized this problem which all too often has been 
confused as low-level labor abuses of migrant workers.  Today, with the 
leadership of the OSCE and the EU anti-trafficking directive, cases are on the 
rise.  Countries with active rapporteurs, such as Eva Biaudet, who used to be 
at the OSCE’s anti-trafficking unit, are seeing increases in trafficking 
prosecutions.  As in the United States, Europe has seen cases in factories, 
hotels, janitorial, agriculture, forestry, landscaping and domestic service.  

Here in the United States, the state of California recently enacted the law 
that you mentioned, Mr. Chairman.  And we’re looking forward not only to see 
how that law works in the real world, but also to hear from Julia Ormond who, 
without this – her activities, the legislation would never have been possible.  
We thank her for her vision and for her hard work in getting that law passed.

And we’re trying to, and we’re beginning to, apply those standards to 
ourselves.  Governments are some of the largest consumers in the world, and the 
United States government may be one of the largest.  We can use our leverage as 
consumers to curb the demand for forced labor.  We’ve taken steps in the U.S. 
government procurement and contracting policies to protect against human 
trafficking.  EEOC and the Department of Homeland Security, through this bog 
(ph), are co-chairing a working group on implementation of the Federal 
Acquisition Regulation to combat modern slavery and contributing factors like 
the demand for commercial sex.  And we will make sure that we work closely with 
this committee and with each of you individually as we start getting the 
recommendations back on how to best address the government’s purchasing to make 
sure that we have, as we (ask/act ?) of others, a slavery-free footprint.

We’re at a moment in the modern abolitionist movement when we need to ask, what 
are the next steps?  And over the last decade, the important tools have been 
put in place.  We have before us now the long, hard road of implementation and 
institutionalization.  And we believe that with the engagement of dedicated 
lawmakers and the commitment of the U.S. government, the next 10 years, both 
here at the OSCE and abroad, will be a decade of delivering on that which we 
promised almost 150 years ago with the issuance of the Emancipation 
Proclamation.  I look forward to working with you as we continue to deliver on 
that promise, and we appreciate your work.

REP. SMITH:  Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much for your testimony and your 

I’d like to now recognize Ms. Lemus.

GABRIELA LEMUS:  Thank you.  Chairman Smith, Co-Chairman Cardin and 
distinguished members of the commission, on behalf of the Department of Labor 
and Secretary Solis, I thank you for the opportunity to discuss the 
department’s efforts to combat human trafficking both domestically and 

Under the secretary’s leadership, the Wage and Hour Division, the Bureau of 
International Labor Affairs and the Employment and Training Administration work 
collaboratively to ensure that the department uses all available tools in the 
most efficient and effective manner to protect these vulnerable populations.  I 
am pleased to report to the commission our efforts.  

The Wage and Hour Division enforces some of the nation’s most comprehensive 
federal labor laws, allowing the agency to have a daily presence in American 
workplaces.  While Wage and Hour does not have responsibility to investigate 
trafficking directly, many of its investigations take place in industry marked 
by workers who are vulnerable to trafficking.  This means that Wage and Hour 
division is often the first federal agency to make contact with the workers who 
may have been trafficked or maybe otherwise employed under abusive conditions 
in violation of the law.  

Because of its focus on civil enforcement, criminal activity found in the 
workplace by Wage and Hour investigators may be referred to an appropriate 
authority as part of the standard Wage and Hour procedure.  After a referral is 
made, the agency’s assistance may be requested to compute back wages to ensure 
restitution on behalf of victims of trafficking, and to assess penalties 
against their employer.  Additionally, in its role of investigating workplace 
laws, the Department of Labor may detect evidence that a worker is a victim of 
certain criminal activity, including trafficking, that may qualify the worker 
for U nonimmigrant status.  

In April 2011, the department announced protocols to complete a certification 
that the individual petitioning for U nonimmigrant status is a victim of a 
qualifying crime and is, has been or is likely to be helpful in the 
investigation or prosecution of that crime.  The Wage and Hour Division is also 
a member of the Federal Enforcement Working Group, along with the Justice 
Department, the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  As part of the 
working group, Wage and Hour is participating in the development and 
implementation of the – a pilot federal anti-trafficking coordination team, the 
ACT team program.  The goal of the ACT team program is, one, to proactively 
identify and assist human trafficking victims; two, to develop victim-centered 
multidisciplinary human-trafficking investigations; and three, produce 
high-impact human-trafficking prosecutions resulting in the conviction of 

Finally, Wage and Hour also participates in several other outreach and 
partnership activities to share information and leverage community-based 
resources to more effectively inform workers about their rights and how they 
can file Wage and Hour complaints.  Such information can assist vulnerable 
workers, including those who may have been trafficked.

Through the Department of International Labor Affairs, it also plays a critical 
role in bringing to light the dark stories of human trafficking.  In December 
2010, the department released three new reports on child labor and forced 
labor.  Together, these reports demonstrate that from factories to farms, 
abuses of fundamental human rights, including human trafficking, still person – 
persist in the 21st century.  These reports are, one, the list of goods 
produced by child or forced labor; two, the list of products produced by forced 
or indentured child labor; and three, the ninth annual findings on the worst 
forms of child labor.  

Since 1995, Congress has appropriated over $839 million to ILAB for programs to 
combat international child labor.  This funding has supported technical 
assistance projects in more than 80 countries and reached approximately 1.5 
million children at risk of, or engaged in, exploitative child labor.  While 
the department’s technical assistance programs include stand-alone trafficking 
in persons projects, many also include multi-faceted projects to address other 
worst forms of child labor in addition to trafficking, because many of the most 
vulnerable workers in the United States are temporary foreign ag workers – 
agricultural workers, excuse me.  

ETA’s H-2A program is another significant locus in the department’s efforts to 
combat trafficking.  It is paramount that both workers in the United States and 
temporary foreign workers are provided with appropriate and adequate worker 
protections.  In March 2010, a final ruling addressing the temporary 
agricultural employment of H2A aliens in the United States became effective.  
The final rule includes enhanced mechanisms for protecting H2A workers, who are 
increasingly susceptible to the abuses of dishonest employers and their agents, 
such as foreign labor recruiters.  The 2010 final rule requires employers to 
contractually forbid foreign labor contractors or recruiters engaged in 
international recruitment of H2A workers from seeking or receiving payments 
from such prospective employees.  The 2010 H2A final rule enhanced enforcement 
provisions allow the department to investigate and sanction employers and their 
agents or attorneys where there is a violation of regulation provisions.  These 
penalties demonstrate the department’s commitment to strengthening the 
necessary enforcement of a law that protects workers who are unlikely to 
complain to government agencies about violations of their rights under the 

In conclusion, in today’s global economy, workers in any country are vulnerable 
to trafficking and labor rights abuses.  The department’s innovative and 
integrative programs help workers earn decent incomes, and prevent them from 
being abused and exploited.  This approach is a vital part of the 
administration’s goal of ensuring that globalization provides benefits and 
opportunities for workers everywhere, rather than triggering a race to the 

Again, thank you for the opportunity to testify today.  I’m happy to answer any 
questions the commission may have on the Department of Labor’s efforts to 
combat trafficking.  

REP. SMITH:  Thank you very much, Ms. Lemus.

Let me just begin the questioning, if I could.  Both you, Mr. Ambassador and I 
both referenced the important work that has been done by Julia Ormond as 
founder of the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking.  And Senate Bill 
657, which was signed into law, as you know, requires retail sellers and 
manufacturers doing business in California to publicly disclose their efforts 
to eradicate slavery – I’m reading from an op-ed written by Ms. Ormond – and 
human trafficking from their direct supply chains.  She points out that by 
January 2012, companies impacted by the bill will have to post on their 
websites what policies they have in place to ensure that their supply chains 
are free of slavery and human trafficking.

And my question is, this is a model bill.  Obviously there’s another 49 states 
and the District of Columbia that could follow suit, and obviously the federal 
government ought to be thinking along these lines as well.  And I was wondering 
what – your thoughts about the new law’s strengths and weaknesses, whether or 
not – and, you know, I don’t think we should wait until January of 2012 to see 
how well or poorly it’s working.  I do think it looks to bring business along 
for the ride, and so I would be interested in your thought on this piece of 

MR. CDEBACA:  Thank you, Mr. Smith.  We are – we are very excited about the 
California law.  We think that this is a very good way that one of the states – 
a state which, of course, if it were its own economy, certainly it would be 
part of the G-20, if not maybe even the G-8.  A state like California taking 
these actions is going to have a ripple effect to countries and companies all 
the way around the world, because anyone who is a multinational company worthy 
of the name is doing business in California.  One of the things that we see 
from our perspective – and I think we all look forward to hearing from Ms. 
Ormond and others on the specifics of the law – but what we’ve seen in talking 
to California, a real hero against the fight against traffickers in the 
attorney general’s office there, Kamala Harris, from her time when she was a 
state’s attorney in San Francisco, but also Jerry Brown, who’s gone from 
overseeing the training of law enforcement in California as the attorney 
general, to go after trafficking in a new way over the last few years.  His 
office has been very supportive of this.  So one of the things that we think is 
going to happen is that all of us, as consumers, as the State Department’s 
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, academics, et cetera, will be able to 
access this information and start figuring out what the companies are doing.  

I think the brilliance of this is that it doesn’t necessarily say – in our 
understanding, it doesn’t necessarily say what the particular policy that 
company has to have; they just have to have something.  And we think that that 
will then put it out to the marketplace of ideas.  It’s an innovative way to 
have a regulatory structure that actually brings the market to bear, so all of 
us as consumers can look at these companies and make decisions, and put 
pressure on them accordingly.

REP. SMITH:  I appreciate that, thank you.  Let me just ask:  A common theme in 
trafficking for labor exploitation is holding the victim in debt bondage 
through recruitment and migration fees.  Although the practice is illegal, and 
some countries have prohibited under its – prohibited it under international 
conventions, how can we do a better job in enforcing that part of this chain of 
degradation?  If you could –

MR. CDEBACA:  One of the things Congress did on its, I think, first day back 
after the end of the Civil War was pass a law that was called the “peonage” law 
– because of the term for debt bondage in Spanish – that made it clear that the 
protections of the Thirteenth Amendment didn’t just apply to the newly freed 
African-American slaves in the South, but applied to people all over the 
country.  So this notion of debt bondage as being one of our core anti-slavery 
ideals in the United States is key to our efforts.

One of the things that we’ve seen is that with the passage in the 2008 
reauthorization of the fraud in foreign labor contracting, we’ve seen our first 
convictions of that now in, I think, a case out of Kansas City where people 
were being brought over for janitorial services.  We think that that’s going to 
be a powerful tool because sometimes you can show that there was a debt, but 
you can’t show that the debt was then specifically used as a threat.  So we 
think that that fraud in foreign labor contracting provision of Title 18 that 
was in the TVPRA is going to help an awful lot.

Two other areas, though, that we think that we need to look at:  We’re working 
with countries around the world to try to – as the Department of Labor’s final 
rule on the guest worker programs here in the U.S. does – to try to strip the 
power of the labor recruiters to basically sell the chance to work in another 
country in exchange for the person’s freedom.  We see that as something that 
only when we are able to bridge the power differential between the source 
countries – your Bangladeshes, Philippines, Malaysia, et cetera, and the 
wealthy countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, other countries in the Persian 
Gulf – only when we are able to narrow that power differential will we be able 
to end this practice of debt bondage.

So for the first time just about a month-and-a-half ago, we were able to attend 
the Colombo Process, which is the sending and receiving countries – a 
multilateral forum.  They asked the United States to attend because I think 
they’ve realized that even though we were not one of the countries involved, 
that we had a particular voice.  And we’re going to use that as an avenue, as 
well as ASEAN and some of the other fora, to put that kind of pressure on the 
receiving countries.

REP. SMITH:  Thank you.  Ms. Lemus, back in July 11th and July 15th of 1996, I 
held two hearings on child labor.  Robert Reich testified; he made an 
impassioned appeal that we have to prioritize, we have to keep our focus.  
Then, we actually had Kathy Lee Gifford testify; she was embroiled in a problem 
of her line of clothing being made by sweatshops in Central America.  

But we actually heard from Wage and Hour – the administrator at U.S. Department 
of Labor, Maria Echaveste, who had just produced and spoked (ph) about the 
report “By the Sweat & Toil of Children,” and she made a very strong statement 
that without the participation of industry – and this was back in 1996 – 
because we have too few Wage and Hour investigators, too few people at the 
state and federal level, you just can’t enforce; you have to have buy-in fully 
by the industry – that our efforts would flounder without that.

And I’m wondering – that was back in 1996 – what is the industry doing now to 
be, you know, full-fledged partners in trying to combat labor trafficking?

MS. LEMUS:  Well, at the Department of Labor, part of what we’ve also tried to 
do is to increase the number of inspectors and ensure that they’re not only 
bilingual, but that they have had training around the issue of human 
trafficking.  As I said earlier, they are the first to come to the table and 
see, maybe witness where persons have been victims of trafficking.

On our end, we do about 26,000 inspections a year, yet there are approximately 
7 million employers.  So obviously, it’s a challenge.  And we do need 
assistance from the employers themselves to have buy-in that they wish to 
participate.  And we would say probably a good majority of them are going to be 
good actors.

Internationally, when we work with child labor issues in particular, what we’re 
noting is that those reports do have an effect – that countries – as you said 
at the beginning, the ambassadors – as soon as their reports come out, the 
phone calls at our international labor affairs office, they start streaming in 
quite steadily.  And it’s really an effort to partner with not only the 
countries but the businesses themselves to ensure that we are changing the bar, 
that we’re actually lowering the – or, I guess I should say raising the bar in 
terms of that participation with the private sector.

REP. SMITH:  Thank you.  Chairman Cardin?

SEN. CARDIN:  Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.  And let me thank both of our 
witnesses.  The 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report, TIP report, for the first 
time included an analysis of the United States, which I think many of us 
thought was a major improvement on the TIP report.  

Is it the secretary’s intent that the United States will be included in future 

MR. CDEBACA:  That’s correct.

SEN. CARDIN:  Good.  I’m going to make sure that is done because I think it is 
helpful.  But let me talk a little bit about your testimony – you were talking 
about the H-2A enforcement provisions – and I guess my question to you:  How do 
you enforce this?  You already pointed out that many of the laborers will be 
reluctant to come forward to talk about the circumstances out of fear.  Could 
you just share with us how you intend to enforce the provisions you talked 
about in H-2A program?

MS. LEMUS:  Through the Wage and Hour division in particular, we have engaged 
in a variety of local campaigns – or national campaign, I should say – but also 
state and local law enforcement and community-based types of task forces.  They 
belong – the Wage and Hour division belongs to about 25 taskforces across the 
country at the local level.

We also participate in the [47:46] (federal act team ?) program, which is 
looking right at this point – and my understanding is, they’re pilot programs – 
but they’re looking to really increase the level of cooperation across federal 
law enforcement agencies to really improve – we look at the three P’s as 
prevention, protection and prosecution; we kind of start on the prevention end 
of things because a lot of what we have to do is that educational piece.

We’re also engaged – and this is – it’s not a new program, but it’s something 
that we’ve reinvigorated:  We’ve re-engaged with a memo of understanding with 
the government of Mexico, for example, whereby we have signed a memo of 
understanding to basically ensure that workers that come in from Mexico are 
aware of the –

SEN. CARDIN:  But if I understand your H-2A restriction about the foreign 
employment agencies being prohibited from being compensated, is that what you 
said?  Did I hear you correctly on that?

MS. LEMUS:  The foreign labor contractors are not to receive any payment from 
an employee.  And it’s up to the employer to pay all fees, et cetera, and 
contractually state that they – in the contract with their agents – that they 
may not – I guess it would be charge them any fees.

SEN. CARDIN:  And again, how are you going to enforce that if you don’t have 
your own inspectors out, or some way of finding out what’s going on?  It’s 
wonderful to have cooperation, but I don’t think you’re going to have 
cooperation from unscrupulous foreign employment agencies or the workers who 
are afraid of losing their jobs.

MS. LEMUS:  That is correct.  So essentially, through – there’s an audit 
process through the employment training that actually certifies the visas.  
Prior to, they can – they look at the procedures of the paperwork if for any 
reason there are any types of violations whatsoever.  And there is a new audit 
process that began, I want to say, last year.  So it’s relatively new, but it’s 
something that’s been added.  So after the fact, they are continuously checking 
the information from the workers.  

The workers do come forward, not as often as we would like and not as well as 
we would like, so we’ve also increased our partnerships with local 
community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, et cetera, but also 
state and local law enforcement so that they can come forward as well.  
Sometimes, the workers do not wish to speak on their own behalves, and they 
have to have these third parties intervene, including, for example, the 

SEN. CARDIN:  Can either one of you follow up with us with how the ’08 
provisions about training consulars (ph) on the issuance of visas, how that – 
do we have any direct information on oversight as to how that has been enforced?

MR. CDEBACA:  Certainly, Senator.  One of the things that our consular officers 
now receive during ConGen, which is the basic consular training office – 
officers’ course – the trafficking victims identification, the indicators, et 
cetera, are now taught during the basic course.  So it’s not just kind of 
remedial training like it had been in the past.  Additionally, an online 
training course is available for the consular officers out in the field for 
updates and for keeping current.

  But one of the things that we’ve seen that is probably the best training is 
the repetition of the training.  You’re familiar with, in the TVPRA of ’08, the 
requirement that we work with the nongovernmental organizations to come up with 
a brochure that would be given to many of the work-based or employment-based 
visa, non-immigrant categories.  And that’s the “know your rights” brochure 
that is now given out.  It’s actually reviewed by the consular officer with the 
immigrant during the interview on the visa line.  

I can’t say that it’s always a hundred percent – it kind of depends on what’s 
happening at that exact moment.  But one of the things that we’ve seen is, it’s 
got the 24-hour hotline on it, they have received upwards of a thousand calls 
since this went into place a couple years ago.  Some of those calls are general 
wage-hour type of calls, people wanting to know about housing conditions, 
people wanting to know about a whole host of worker rights.  But some of those 
calls are human trafficking calls.  And it’s something that we work with the 
Human Trafficking Resource Center and with these task forces the Department of 
Justice and ICE and others run to make sure that they respond when there’s an 
allegation that’s coming forth.

SEN. CARDIN:  Thank you.  Mr. Chairman, let me just point out:  I think it’s 
important that our staff really review the analysis of the United States in the 
TIP report.  Let me just point out one nuance here that was in this report 
dealing with benefits.  And as you know, immigrants, non-nationals, are 
entitled to very few benefits in this country.  And if they are certified as 
being a foreign victim, then they are entitled to certain benefits.

And even though there was a 250-percent increase in certifications for victims 
in the last year, there was no increase in funding for those programs.

We already have a relatively – well, we already have a hostile attitude in this 
country on benefits for non-nationals.  And we’re dealing here with an area 
where we have either potential victims or victims that it seems to me we need 
to conform to international standards as to how we deal with governmental 
services available to this class of individuals. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

REP. SMITH:  Commissioner Cohen.

REP. COHEN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  Mr. Ambassador, do we have – and it’s 
hard to quantify, but could you give me the three or four worst countries that 
are involved in the slave trade?

MR. CDEBACA:  Well, I think, Mr. Cohen, there’s a couple of ways to cut that 
particular orange.  Whether it’s the raw numbers, I think that most 
interlocutors that look at it certainly in the report indicates that South 
Asia, that South Asian countries continue to have perhaps the largest numbers – 
India, Nepal, Bangladesh, et cetera.  East Asia and the Pacific region continue 
to be of great concern as far as the numbers are concerned.

But one of the things that we often are trying to balance as far as saying, 
what’s the worst country that there would be to be a trafficking victim – and 
probably our heart goes out to most of the folks in the AF region, the Africa 
region, because you’re talking about countries that have so few functioning 
governmental structures, rule of law that’s not really there.  Even if there is 
an anti-trafficking law, even if they are active in the AU up in Addis, which 
does an anti-trafficking day for the African child – against child trafficking 
– on June 16th each year, that doesn’t necessarily mean it translates out into 
the villages, out into the places where these kids are enslaved, whether it’s 
in the cocoa plantations, whether it’s the fishing fleet on Lake Volta or 

So without necessarily going into a particular country in Africa, we think that 
Africa is deserving of a lot more of attention.  We can’t take our eyes off the 
prize as far as the countries that are continually of concern in East Asia and 
South Asia.  But we feel like the African child and the African men and women 
deserve to be free from slavery and involuntary servitude just as much as their 

REP. COHEN:  What I was thinking of – and I – (inaudible) – like it’s going to 
be difficult.  I was imagining that maybe Ukraine and some of the more Western 
countries might have had more of a involvement.  But if the State Department 
has any sanctions against countries, and if that could happen –

MR. CDEBACA:  This is something that is one of the – one of the tools in our 
tool chest:  We – each year with the trafficking report, the ranking of the 
countries from tier one down to tier three – following that tier three 
designation can come sanctioning.  And we’ve seen great movement, for instance, 
just in the last year from the government of Moldova, which was very publicly 
concerned that sanctions might kick in and that sanctions, not just the 
sanctions from the TVPA – but perhaps even more importantly, the TVPA requires 
the United States to vote against a country that’s on tier three in the IMF, 
World Bank, et cetera.

And in the Millennium Challenge Corporation, we’ve seen a lot of movement on 
countries who are concerned about their MCC money.  Because then you’re talking 
about some real money.  So we’ve seen just in the last year the government of 
Moldova, which doesn’t necessarily have it to spare, spend almost $900,000 on 
victim care.

Ukraine is still a problem, but not necessarily with its back against the wall 
the way it was 10 years ago because of the number of projects both at the OSCE, 
the United States government projects, AID, Justice Department, et cetera.  But 
we’ve seen that notion of sanctions, and the threat of sanctions, as something 
that is moving these countries.

REP. COHEN:  As a judiciary graduate, are there laws that we should be looking 
at in judiciary you can recommend to us to strengthen what the body of law is 
in our country?

MR. CDEBACA:  Well, one of the things that we look at each year in the minimum 
standards when we’re putting together the rankings of the TIP report is the 
sufficiency of the laws in these countries.  At the end of the day, what we’ve 
been very adamant on is that they have a law that’s not based on old notions of 
people being moved across international borders – that’s kind of the 1880s’ 
version of human trafficking – but rather focusing upon the enslavement, 
focusing on the abuse of the people so they can see them not as an illegal 
migrant but as a victim of slavery.

So through the ABA, through the International Organization for Migration, 
through U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime (ph) and bilaterally, just directly as 
the United States, we’ve been working with countries to try to get these modern 
anti-trafficking laws passed.  About 120 countries have done so since the 
passage of our Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which was one of the first 
ones and therefore the models.

But what we’ve seen in some countries is, they can have the best law on the 
books, but if they don’t go out and use it then it’s a failed promise.  So 
we’re having to come back in behind those laws, make sure that they mean 
something in the real world.

REP. COHEN:  How about laws here in our country, about employers or landlords 
who – tenants and/or employees that are involved either directly or secondarily 
in trafficking, labor trafficking?

MR. CDEBACA:  One of the most positive things about the 2008 Trafficking 
Victims Protection reauthorization was moving from a full-on knowledge standard 
to a reckless-disregard standard for those who profit from human trafficking.  
And so what we’re hoping is both the government – but then there’s also civil 
liability under the trafficking act, which means that a good plaintiff’s lawyer 
out there might take this and run with it.  

But that notion of going after the hotel owner who knows that the pimps are 
bringing the underage girls or the women into the hotel and profiting from 
that, if they’re knowingly looking the other way, if there’s a farmer – you 
know, when I was at the Justice Department, I prosecuted a farm-labor 
contractor who was putting a work crew onto the same fields that one of my 
predecessors had prosecuted somebody 20 years before.  And the farmer was the 
son of the man who had watched this other farm-labor contractor allow slavery.  

But at the time, we didn’t have this provision.  So the hope is, now this 
provision with the reckless disregard, that’ll be a way to hold, whether it’s 
farmers, hotel owners, et cetera, accountable in a new way.

REP. COHEN:  Is there confiscation of property involved with those laws?

MR. CDEBACA:  There is, although to date, most of the asset forfeiture has been 
against the trafficker, the direct trafficker, rather than somebody who’s 
knowingly or recklessly profiting from the trafficking.  But I think that 
that’s something that we’ve seen the civil rights division act very 
aggressively on.  It tends to focus one’s mind when the domestic servant – say, 
for instance, in a case that was prosecuted out of Wisconsin – a domestic 
servant who has been held captive in a house for 19 years ends up owning that 
house because the government comes in and takes it away from the people who 
enslaved her.  That gets a lot of attention, and it should.

REP. COHEN:  Yeah.  I think it should, too.  What do we have in the way of 
undercover operations?  Do we have any of those?

MR. CDEBACA:  One of the things that’s been tough about undercover operations 
is because we’re dealing with human beings, it’s kind of like doing the human 
experiment trials in a university setting:  The level of controls that one 
needs to have as far as a controlled purchase, or something like that, becomes 
very challenging.

But we have in the United States done a number of – and innovative and 
proactive law enforcement approaches that I’d certainly be happy to brief you 
on offline; perhaps we could have some of our colleagues from DOJ and ICE as 
well to talk about some of those things that are being done.

REP. COHEN:  I was just thinking – now, you were in judiciary, I guess, when 
Stephen Colbert came, when he did the migrant worker day – maybe we could get 
Geraldo and let him do that.

MR. CDEBACA:  (Chuckles.)  Well, it’s interesting because I think there has 
been some very effective undercover work.  I think I saw in the audience today 
Ben Skinner, who is a – in his book, “A Crime So Monstrous,” talks about how he 
basically set his stopwatch when he left his apartment one morning in New York, 
and within six hours he had bought a Haitian child for slavery.  And I think 
that that says a lot not only of what world we live in as far as involuntary 
servitude, but the kind of investigative reporting and the kind of undercover 
work that needs to be done if we’re ever going to break this.

REP. COHEN:  Thank you, and thank you, Mr. Chairman.

REP. SMITH:  (Inaudible, off mic) – Commissioner Cohen.  Let me ask just two 
very brief questions to Ambassador C. deBaca:  The J-1 visa program, as you 
know, brings in about 100,000 college students from around the world to work in 
the U.S.  Some work on the Jersey Shore, and they often do work in the summer 
resort industry.  And there have been increasing numbers of reports of abuse by 
third-party brokers and unsupervised businesses.  Associated Press did an 
exposé on this, as you know.

And my question is – and the national human trafficking hotline – let me just 
add this – has received, as I think you know, Mr. Ambassador, 369 calls from 
J-1 visa holders on the work and travel program from young people who are 
experiencing trafficking and other forms of exploitation from last summer 

Strip clubs and adult entertainment companies openly solicit J-1 workers even 
though government regulations ban students from taking those jobs that might 
bring the Department of State into disrepute.  And I’m wondering what could be 
done to stop the abuse of J-1 visas by labor recruiters and businesses, 
ensuring that students who come here have a safe and humane experience, and not 
one of exploitation.

And secondly, on China – and I do hope when the designations of tier three are 
listed that the department and your office is very seriously considering the 
designation of tier three for China both on the labor and sex trafficking area. 

But I’m wondering how – what kind of data calls you’ve gotten from the – and 
information from our embassy and other sources about the exploitations of a 
Chinese workforce.  We know there’s no OSHA protections whatsoever; they have 
in excess of 125,000 deaths directly attributable to occupational hazards.  
There’s no labor unions.  And those who argue for labor unions are summarily 
sent to the laogai and tortured.  

There is an MOU, as you know so well, that dates back to the George Bush – the 
first administration on prison labor, and it’s not worth the paper it’s printed 
on because it requires U.S. investigators to submit any complaint to the 
Chinese authorities, and then they investigate and report back to us.  There’s 
no on-site inspections, no independent verification.  And Chinese workers, as 
we know, get 10 to 50 cents per hour for work, and many are in sweatshop 
conditions dotted throughout all of China.

So if ever there was unfair trading practice, I think it is – and the 
exploitation of labor fits that bill.  Doesn’t that constitute labor 

MR. CDEBACA:  Thank you, Mr. Smith.  One of the things that of course, with the 
Summer Work and Travel Program – and this is something that when I have been in 
Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine and Russia, that we’ve been hearing about 
some of these concerns.  

At the end of the day, this is a program which I think, you know, millions of 
children, millions of students have been able to come in the United States over 
the last 50 years.  We think that it’s been not just a success story of U.S. 
public diplomacy, but had a lot to do with getting people behind the Iron 
Curtain to be able to understand who America was, who Americans were.  And we 
want to continue that with the countries especially in Eastern Europe.

One of the things that the department has done, because we recognize that the 
young age and limited sophistication of some participants have contributed to a 
potential vulnerability for trafficking initiatives that are targeted at the 
participants – and so to minimize the risk, early this year we issued an 
interim final rule – it’s April 25th of 2011 – in the Federal Register which 
makes some changes to the program, sharpens the program as far as a pilot 
program for the six countries:  Belarus, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Russia, 
Ukraine.  And these are the six countries, frankly, that our law enforcement 
agencies and our embassies and other had identified as those that should be of 

The program and the pilot is requiring a hundred-percent pre-placement in jobs 
– no bringing folks over through the program, and then getting them jobs here; 
a full vetting of all the jobs – job offers; and enhanced monitoring.  

But one of the things that the interim final rule explicitly did, because we 
thought that it needs to be in there in no small part – so then if someone 
brings someone over and does this, they might not just be violating the terms 
of the program, but depending on what promises or contracts were given, could 
be reached through visa fraud, fraud in foreign labor contracting, or even the 
trafficking statutes – is that no Summer Work and Travel participant can be put 
in any position in the quote, unquote, “adult industry,” and they can’t be put 
into domestic-servant positions in private homes.  Both of those are things 
that we certainly know make participants vulnerable to trafficking, and are 
basically a violation of the promise that the United States and the program is 
making to these parents overseas that their children, their students are coming 
to the United States to learn the best of us.

So we’re committed to policing this program and to not tolerating any of these 
types of abuses within it.

As far as China is concerned, one of the things that we’ve seen in the last 
months in China is in the wake of their joining the Palermo Protocol is a 
little bit more of analysis from the Chinese academics, as well as some parts 
of the Chinese government, the IMOAT – I-M-O-A-T, which is the 
inter-ministerial anti-trafficking coordinating body – looking at what they 
need to do to come into compliance with the Palermo Protocol.  They have a way 
to go.

And we’ve talked to them about this; I’ve raised it when in Beijing.  
Especially, there’s been a problem of labor trafficking because up until 
recently – up till just this year – men were not included in the definition of 
trafficking, and unofficial workgroups were not.  If you were part of a work 
unit, then you could be considered a trafficking victim if you were a woman.  
But a man who is working in the underground economy would not have been covered 
by the trafficking laws.

So those cases that we’ve known about for the last five or six years – the 
horrible cases of the brick workers, the men in the blacksmith shops, the 
miners, et cetera, case after case after case coming to light – and having a 
lot of, you know – even with the issues of being able to get the word out in 
China, cases that have gotten a lot of attention in China, those cases legally 
were not part of their definition of trafficking.  So we’ve raised this with 
them, but we stand ready to continue to work with our Chinese counterparts on 
the law enforcement side especially as to what they need to do to address this.

One thing that we are seeing as far as some modicum of worker protection is for 
internal migration.  The Chinese government has been working with the 
International Labor Organization and others, so we’re seeing a little bit more 
as far as materials, know-your-rights type of things, kind of like what we’ve 
talked about for workers going to other countries.  But it’s the West-to-East 
pattern of internal migration in China, even to the point of having it – you 
know, deck of cards with all of the horrible things that could happen to you 
when you’re in Southeast China before anybody gets on a train.

But we certainly share many of your concerns, and we’ve raised many of these 
when I’ve had a chance to deal with our Chinese counterparts.

REP. SMITH:  Yeah, just a follow-up:  How difficult will it be for a 
corporation to live up to the spirit and letter of S-bill 657, the senate bill 
in California, when some of or many of its feeder parts are made or 
manufactured in China, where – as Harry Wu has documented over and over again, 
the great laogai survivor who is now a great champion of human rights here in 
the United States – since there’s no access?

And very often, a colonel by day is also the CEO of that particular 
corporation, and has the full protection of the government and the People’s 
Liberation Army so that it’s very hard to penetrate that corporate veil.  How –

MR. CDEBACA:  We think that the California bill will have a big impact.  We’ve 
seen companies in China respond when there have been other issues often, 
whether it’s lead in the paint or other adulterated materials.  But this is 
something that – Mr. Cohen’s point earlier about the wood in the guitar – 
unfortunately, sometimes it’s easier to test that wood and see that it’s an 
endangered tree; it’s easier to test the animal product and see that it’s from 
an endangered species than it is sometimes to look at a factory and see whether 
or not somebody was enslaved there.

So the level of inquiry that we hope that the California transparency act will 
enable us to proceed with – certainly, the hope is that we can put the freedom 
of a person at the same level as the pelt of some kind of exotic animal.

REP. SMITH:  Do you anticipate that the administration might suggest its own 
language that would parallel the California bill?

MR. CDEBACA:  I think that at this point, we definitely want to see how the 
California bill comes online.  We want to be supportive of the effort.  I think 
that we’d certainly want to work with you and others, if that was something 
that was under active consideration, whether for the re-authorization or 
otherwise.  But at this point, we’re very much looking to see what we hope is 
going to be the success of the California bill before we get into the middle of 
it, as it were.

REP. SMITH:  I will thank our two very distinguished witnesses for your 
testimony and for your leadership.  And thank you so much.

I’d now like to invite our second panel to the witness table, beginning with 
Nancy Donaldson, director of the International Labor Organization at the 
Washington office.  Before joining ILO, Ms. Donaldson was vice president for 
Dutko Global Advisors, where she was an advisor to the ILO Washington office 
from 1997 to ’05.  She was vice president for energy, education, technology, 
trade and international issues at the Downey McGrath Group.  Prior to that, she 
was in the Washington office, director for Women’s Action for a New Direction 
(ph), and a lawyer in practice – in private practice.

We’ll then hear from Neha Misra, who is a senior specialist on human 
trafficking and migrant worker programs for the Solidarity Center, an 
international worker-rights NGO based in Washington, D.C., and part of the 
AFL-CIO.  She has worked for many years in international policy, advising on 
migration and human trafficking issues.  She serves as a member of the board of 
directors for the Global Workers Justice Alliance, and as chair of the public 
interest committee for the North American South Asian Bar Association.

In addition to her position as senior specialist at the Solidary Center, Ms. 
Misra also serves as senior program officer in the Africa regional office.  Her 
expertise on global trafficking issues was initially developed in Indonesia, 
where she was the deputy country director and program manager for the Solidary 
Center’s Counter Trafficking Project.  She worked in Indonesia for over five 
years, starting with the Solidary Center as the director of its Democracy 

Before assignment in Indonesia, she worked in Bosnia on post-war elections and 
democracy, and in the U.S. as senior attorney advisor with the U.S. Department 
of State – Department of Justice, I should say.  While at DOJ, she also served 
as the president of the American Federation of Government Employees.

And finally, we’ll hear from Julia Ormond, who is an internationally admired 
and successful actress, and has played roles in numerous motion pictures and TV 
shows, including “Legends of the Fall,” “Sabrina,” “The Curious Case of 
Benjamin Button,” “First Knight,” and so many others.  And she was awarded an 
Emmy, I should say – in 2010.

Julia Ormond has an inspirational record of advocacy on human rights issues, 
and has been strongly involved in the issue of human trafficking since becoming 
aware of it firsthand – 
experience on the plight of trafficked women in Eastern Europe.

She also served in a number of roles in international NGOs, most recently as 
president of the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking, or ASSET, an 
organization she founded in 2007.  ASSET is an advocacy NGO dedicated to the 
systematic eradication of slavery chiefly through giving the victims of slavery 
a voice on their own.  The group was the leading sponsor of the California 
Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010, which we discussed with the earlier 
panel, which tackles slavery and human trafficking by requiring companies to 
report on the sources of their supply chains.

Previously in 1999, Ms. Ormond also co-founded FilmAid International, which 
aims to inform and empower refugee communities through film.  In 2005, she was 
named as the United Nations goodwill ambassador against slavery and 
trafficking.  She is no stranger to Capitol Hill, having previously testified 
in the House as well as before the California state legislature again on issues 
related to human trafficking.

So please, if you would begin first with Ms. Donaldson, Ms. Misra, and then – 
batting cleanup will be Julia Ormond.

NANCY A. DONALDSON:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Commissioner Cohen, and the 
members of the commission, for inviting me to testify today.  I am representing 
the International Labor Organization, which is a specialized agency of the 
United Nations.

Each year, millions of people leave their homes and cross national borders in 
search of better prospects and greater security for themselves and their 
families.  Ninety percent of all migrants are workers and their families.  
Migrants bring skills and initiative to advanced economies, to host countries.  
They also benefit origin countries, sending money home and transfer of 
technology and critical skills.

Today, we are here to discuss urgent problems often faced by vulnerable migrant 
populations and individuals – criminal trafficking and forced labor – and the 
actions that the ILO and others are taking to eradicate these abuses.  

Migrants are vulnerable to exploitation and discrimination.  In the extreme, 
irregular migration includes trafficking, smuggling, sexual exploitation and 
violence.  As ILO’s recent report highlights, forced labor today is the 
antithesis of decent work, and a global problem affecting almost every country 
in the world.

Traditional slavery is still found in some parts of Africa, while forced labor 
or coercive recruitment is present in many countries of Latin America, parts of 
the Caribbean, and elsewhere.  In Europe and North America, an increasing 
number of women and children are victims of traffickers who sell them into 
forced prostitution or sweatshops.  

The ILO estimates that there are at least 12.3 million persons in forced labor 
today.  Eighty percent, or 9.8 million people, were exploited by private 
agents.  Most victims are poverty-stricken people in Asia and Latin America of 
those figures.  Yet, over 360,000 women and men are in forced labor in 
industrialized countries – OSCE countries – trafficked for either labor or 
sexual exploitation.  Some 56 percent of all persons in forced labor are women 
and girls, and children under 18 years of age make up about half, nearly half 
of forced laborers.  

The ILO has taken up the issue of protecting domestic workers vigorously.  Last 
year, the ILO International Labor Conference began consideration of a workers’ 
– domestic workers’ convention.  It will be expected to take it up for the 
second round – final round in June of this year.  We very much appreciate the 
strong support of the United States in working on the domestic worker 
protections, and also the OSCE.

One principal responsibility of the ILO is drawing up and overseeing 
international labor standards.  Strong enforcement of labor standards worldwide 
levels the playing field for all workers, including American workers and 
industries.  In today’s globalized economy, international labor standards are 
also an essential component for ensuring that the growth of the global economy 
provides benefits to all.

The ILO has pioneered the development of international standards prohibiting 
forced labor and for the governance of labor migration and the protection of 
migrant workers since the 1930s.  Two of the eight core conventions among core 
labor standards set out prohibitions on all forms of forced labor.  There are 
also two conventions, 97 and 193, that govern migration for employment.  Also, 
in 1990, the U.N. International Convention on the Protection of Rights of All 
Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families was established.

The ILO has two specialized programs:  the International Migration Program and 
the Special Action Program to Combat Forced Labor, which provides technical 
assistance to ILO countries and partners with the challenges of labor migration 
and forced labor.  The ILO is promoting a global alliance with partner 
agencies, pooling their efforts to eliminate forced labor worldwide by 2015.  
The OSCE is a major partner in this endeavor, and we do a lot of things 

ILO’s International Migration Program supports ILO member states in combating 
discrimination against migrants and helping their social and economic 
integration.  Currently, the program is engaged in 14 technical cooperation 
projects either funded by or implemented in OSCE countries, working to develop 
effective migration systems and policies and to strengthen government 
institutions and educate migrants on their rights and the services available.  
ILO has been at the forefront of generating and sharing data and knowledge on 
these subjects to raise public awareness and increase pressure for action.  
ILO’s initial body of research was seminal, as it provided the basic facts and 
figures on modern forced labor, raising the global pressure for policy change.

I would like to emphasize that improving data collection on these issues is of 
paramount importance.  Significant gaps in understanding the quantitative 
dimension of forced labor and human trafficking remain.  I will say that the 
U.S. law has brought forward more data collection, which we think is extremely 

The ILO has developed and disseminated courses, guidances, training materials 
on key aspects of forced labor and trafficking.  And cooperation between the 
OSCE and the ILO on research and training has helped our economic partners to 
access important knowledge and expertise.

The ILO assists governments.  We work hand in hand with our 183 member 
governments in designing and implementing projects on the ground.  Through our 
Decent Work Country Programmes strategies, the ILO works with employers, 
workers and governments to set out agreed national priorities in the world of 
work.  Experience shows with – that with careful awareness raising, consensus 
can be built to include sensitive subjects such as forced labor among the core 
national priorities.

In Brazil, the ILO has been working with our social partners on the issue of 
forced labor and global supply chains.  The abolition of slave labor and the 
worst forms of child labor are a key priority for Brazil and their national 
agenda for decent work.  With grant support from the State Department, ILO 
worked with companies and continues to work with the government, companies and 
civil society to promote new understanding and strategies for engagement.  The 
key objective is to strengthen the global alliance against forced labor by 
reducing the risks of trafficking and forced labor facing Brazilian suppliers 
and international buyers.  And the (pact ?) that does the work on that – we 
work with seven tiers of suppliers just in Brazil sometimes.

I want to leave the commission with three key points.  One, good migration 
policies and the abolition of forced labor are challenges for every county, 
whether industrialized, emerging economies or less developed.  We believe that 
true gains in the governance of migration and against forced labor must happen 
in a multilateral context.

Two, the ILO takes a rights-based approach to these issues.  In that, we are 
very harmonious with this commission.  We are devoted to promoting social 
justice and decent work in recognizing human and labor rights.

Three, the governance of migration and forced labor deserves a 
multi-stakeholder approach.  The ILO works with governments and its strong 
social partners to reduce irregular migration and end forced labor and ensure 
protection of workers’ rights.  We have enjoyed fruitful partnerships with 
G/TIP, DRL and ILAB represented here today, and we respect and seek more ways 
to work with the Solidarity Center.  We are dedicated to continue working 
together with our social partners and advocates to improve migrants’ conditions 
and to end forced labor and human trafficking around the world.  Thank you very 

REP. SMITH:  Thank you very much, and thank you for the good work of ILO over 
these many decades.

I’d like to now ask Ms. Misra is she would proceed.

NEHA MISRA:  Thank you, Chairman Smith and Commissioner Cohen, for this 
opportunity to testify today.  I’d like to ask that my full written testimony 
be submitted to the record so that I can be very brief with you –

REP. SMITH:  Sure.

MS. MISRA:  – and we can get to some questions.

REP. SMITH:  Without objection, so ordered.

MS. MISRA:  Okay.  Just – the Solidarity Center is an international 
labor-rights organization working in over 60 countries around the world, really 
appreciates the U.S. Helsinki Commission focus in this hearing on trafficking 
for labor exploitation and the focus on abusive, unethical and illegal business 
practices that contribute to human trafficking and forced labor.  We’ve seen 
firsthand how violations of worker rights and the lack of labor standards and 
protections for workers increase their vulnerability to human trafficking.  But 
we still see in the media and when you talk to the public about human 
trafficking, many times you’ll hear people talk about it as the crime of 
organized syndicates, criminal gangs and underground criminals, which, of 
course, is the case in many instances.  But we are also seeing increasingly 
around the world trafficking for labor exploitation happening in the context of 
legal structures of employment and business, with the traffickers being 
employment – employers and labor recruiters, and not gang members or members of 
organized crime.

And so, that’s what I want to focus on today in my testimony.  While 
trafficking for labor exploitation has many facets, several major trends in our 
globalized world endanger workers, particularly those at most risk in the need 
and those in the most need of protection.  In developed economies like the 
United States and Europe, we’re seeing an increase in the cases of trafficked 
immigrant teachers, nurses, construction and service-sector workers, all in 
destination countries with valid visas, shining a light on the structural 
failures within our economic and employment systems that increase immigrant 
workers’ vulnerability to severe forms of labor exploitation.  Multinational 
corporations, employers, businesses, labor recruiters and others exploit these 
structural failures.

Of particular concern to us – and Chairman Smith, you talked about (through ?) 
the Senate, and in the earlier testimony we heard some about this – are 
temporary labor-migration schemes.  Around the world we heard – hear these 
referred to as guest-worker sponsorship or circular-migration programs.  But 
these are increasingly being promoted by governments around the world to fill 
the demand for cheap labor.  In practice, these schemes create a legalized 
system and structure for employers to exploit workers and increase workers’ 
vulnerability to human trafficking and other forms of severe labor exploitation.

Such programs have been plagued by a long history of abuses, ranging from labor 
violations to visa fraud, debt bondage, involuntary servitude and trafficking 
for labor exploitation.  This includes, among many others, the U.S. H2 visa 
guest-worker program.  And we heard testimony from – our – the – our colleague 
from the Department of Labor about the H2A, but I would like to emphasize the 
H2B visa program; seasonal agricultural programs in Canada, such as the 
Canadian-Guatemala Program; seasonal agricultural programs in Europe such as 
Moldovan migrant workers going to Italy; and the kafala, or sponsorship system, 
in the Gulf Cooperation Council states.

In my written testimony, I go into detail about some of these abuses, and – but 
we already talked about that, so I’ll skip over that, but just want to 
emphasize two common themes that we see come out of these temporary-visa 

One of them, we talked about a little bit earlier is the role of foreign-labor 
recruiters or employment agencies sometimes also call foreign-labor 
contractors, and taking advantage of the lack of labor rights and inherent 
structural failures in these programs to exploit immigrant workers.  The other 
theme that we see is the need to provide greater protections to workers and the 
opportunities for them to report abuses and advocate for their own rights.

We’ve already talked a lot about the issues of debt bondage as some of the 
problems of foreign labor recruiters.  I want to get to some of the solutions.  
The Solidarity Center is a proud member of the Alliance to End Slavery and 
Trafficking, or ATEST, which is a coalition of 12 organizations including 
Julia’s organizations and many groups that are currently in this room.  And we 
have some suggestions for the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victim (sic) 
Protection Act of 2011 that would help increase regulation of foreign-labor 
recruiters that we think is key to ending trafficking.

In 2008, as you know, Chairman Smith, there were actually some of these 
provisions included in the House version of the bill.  And then unfortunately 
it didn’t pass the Senate, so it didn’t end up in the final version.  But we 
would really like to see it back into the 2011 version.  And what we’ve seen is 
a number of service providers in the United States have said that greater 
regulation of foreign-labor recruiters and eliminating debt bondage would go a 
long way to preventing human trafficking in the United States.

So we’re recommending, among many recommendations, first of all, strict 
elimination of fees, that no foreign-labor contractor agent or employee of a 
foreign-labor contractor should be allowed to assess any fee whatsoever, 
including visa fees, processing fees, transportation fees, legal expenses, 
placement fees and other costs to any worker.  And employers, if they paid this 
to the foreign-labor contractor, should not be allowed to pass this on to 

The other key element that we’re – that we would like to see in the TVPRA of 
2011 is greater disclosure, that workers are in the – in a written contract 
both in English and the primary language of the worker, the written contract 
disclose fully the terms and conditions of work; and the details of that are in 
our – in my written testimony.

Senator Cardin asked Ambassador CdeBaca earlier about some of the role of the 
consular officers.  And I have to say that that pamphlet that was mandated in 
2008, TVPRA, has made a great difference.  We have a number of service 
providers who specifically say that workers in the H2A program and others who 
have been given T visas to the United States say they found out about services 
through that pamphlet.  And so we think greater disclosure in workers’ 
contracts itself would really go a long way in helping to prevent trafficking.

We also think that registration of foreign-labor recruiters is key.  And our 
recommendation includes administrative procedures for the Department of Labor 
to register foreign-labor recruiters and that employers should be required to 
use a certified, registered labor recruiter or to face penalties.

The last two pieces that we’d like to recommend are enforcement – I mentioned 
that there would be administrative – that we recommend an administrative 
procedure within the Department of Labor, but that also workers need to be 
given access to civil remedies and rights to access U.S. courts to be able to 
enforce their rights.

And then finally, accountability; that workers must be protected from 
retaliation and employers must be held accountable for the actions of 
foreign-labor contractors that they hire.  One of the big things that we are 
seeing as organizations that work on human trafficking for labor exploitation 
in the United States is that the threat of deportation is unfortunately being 
used against workers to stop them from reporting violations and from getting 
benefits of the T visa program.  And we’ve actually seen a number of cases 
recently in the United States where it’s taken years for workers to be 
identified as trafficking victims and get T visas, and that threat of 
deportation being used against them in keeping them suppressed.

And so we would also like to recommend a change in the 2011 TVPRA that provides 
temporary immigration relief to whistleblowers, to workers who are – who raise 
the alarm about cases but that it might take them some time to be able to be 
found as victims of trafficking, so that during that time, they don’t have to 
fear deportation, they don’t have to fear threats; and instead, there can be an 
investigation done about the abuses that they’re raising.

Just the last thing that I’ll mention is – I know Julia’s going to talk a lot 
more about supply chains, so I’m not going to focus a lot on that – but that 
when I was looking at the – when I was asked to testify today and looking at 
the topic for this hearing, I thought it was important to mention another major 
trend in the global economy is the use of trafficking for slabor (ph) and 
slavery victims all along supply chains; and that when employers, whether 
they’re buyers, multinational corporations or others, demand cheap labor or 
unrealistic pricing structures, they should not be surprised to find severe 
labor abuses, including slavery in their supply chains.

Similarly, when employers contract out or hire unregulated subcontracted 
suppliers, they should not be surprised to find that there are trafficking 
victims in the production lines.  And when employers refuse to enforce or claim 
that it is too difficult to monitor adherence to core labor standards in their 
supply chains, they will find forced labor, debt bondage and other severe forms 
of labor exploitation.  And Julia, I know, will talk about the California law.  
ATEST is also advocating that it be included nationally in the TVPRA.  But the 
one thing that at Solidarity Center we’d like to point out is that we think 
that there needs to be – it needs to be looked at about how the U.S. does 
investigations abroad of products that are made with forced labor or slavery.

And just as an example, the Solidarity Center had a report in 2007 called “The 
True Cost of Shrimp,” which looked at the seafood-processing industry both in 
Thailand, in Bangladesh.  And we found severe cases of forced labor, human 
trafficking, debt bondage, especially Burmese migrant workers in Thailand.  As 
a result of our report, the U.S. Senate asked ICE to do an investigation about 
what was in our report.  And so ICE did what they call a “jump investigation,” 
and they went to both Thailand and Bangladesh to investigate.

The problem is that they have to notify, of course, the Thai government that 
they were coming.  And our partners on the ground reported that basically the 
supply chains are completely cleansed.  They had two weeks’ notice to know that 
they were coming.  The books were changed.  A lot of the Burmese migrant 
workers were sent off.  And we have a lot of anecdotes I could tell you about 
that, but that basically ICE said to us that they had to say that they did not 
find anything that was in our report there.  And it was basically because they 
had to let the government know.

And so we’d like to advocate to try to find a better way to do these 
investigations so that we ensure that products made with forced labor, human 
trafficking and slavery to not enter the U.S. market.

Thank you so much for this opportunity to testify.  I look forward to your 

REP. SMITH:  (Inaudible) – Misra, thank you very much for your testimony and 
your work.  And now, Julia Ormond, you’re recognized.

JULIA  ORMOND:  I learn something every time at these things.  I’ve learned so 
much from the previous testimonies.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and distinguished 
members of the committee and staff.  I initially engaged about the issue of 
slavery and human trafficking shocked and spurred into action by reports of sex 
trafficking.  Nothing then seemed to me more heinous than the repeated rape and 
violence that its victims endured.

The wide variety of the faces of slavery that I met – the first were 
California-based.  Other travels around the world took me to Russia, Ghana, 
Thailand, Cambodia, India and Europe, and provided me with a creepy and 
shocking perspective of how slavery pervades my own life, how I am unwittingly 
connected to it and ultimately connected to its systemic violence.  People 
often ask – it was a question that came up – where in the world is this worst?  
My answer is always in my home.

It’s simply not possible to sit easily in Los Angeles and forget the enslaved 
children I have met, children that I have walked away and left to an uncertain 
fate.  And what keeps me up at night, what haunts me, are all of the victims’ 
stories.  I’ll never forget the girl who crawled out of an eight-floor window 
for fear of her life in sex slavery.  But I can equally never forget the child 
enslaved in the fishing industry, who jumped ship into the Thai Sea to float on 
a barrel for two days and a night before being rescued because that was his 
safest option; or the child who was chained, whipped and scarred for life while 
maybe working on our carpets; or the child soldier forced to burn his village, 
kill his mother and rape his sister for someone else’s war; or the enslaved 
garment worker making my clothing or the footage of a Mayan agricultural slave 
in Florida picking my tomatoes.  These people are no less deserving of all of 
our compassion than those forced into sex slavery.  All victims of trafficking 
and slavery deserve our attention and our commitment.

In 2007, I founded the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking, otherwise 
known as ASSET.  ASSET’s an advocacy organization dedicated to eradicating 
slavery and trafficking through amplifying the victim’s voice and supporting 
systemic solutions.  I have come to define enslavement as when one person 
completely controls another person, uses violence or violent threat to maintain 
that control, exploits them economically and pays them effectively nothing.  
Trafficking is a process of enslaving someone.

Under the tenure of Ambassador CdeBaca, the 2010 Annual Report to Monitor and 
Combat Trafficking in Persons stated that more people are trafficked into 
forced labor than commercial sex.  Yet ask any member of the public what 
proportion of this issue is sex trafficking, and the usual response is about 80 
percent.  The International Labor Organization has recently stated that for 
every one person forced into the sex trade, nine people around the world are 
forced to work.

The forced labor of these victims taints many of the products that we purchase 
and rely on every day.  To quote the TIP report:  It is not possible “to get 
dressed, drive to work, talk on your phone or eat a meal without touching 
products tainted by” slavery.

The United Nations has repeatedly stated that trafficking has shifted from 
trafficking weapons to trafficking in drugs to trafficking in people, and now 
into children.  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has cited that the 
profits from trafficking in people into Europe has now overtaken the profits in 
the trafficking of drugs into Europe.  Yet, in the United States we spend more 
in one day still fighting the war on drugs than we spend in an entire year 
fighting the trafficking of people.

So we all have a role to play in supporting the solutions, and solutions, there 
are many.  Every single place I travelled to, I specifically sought out 
solutions that just await the resources to scale to meet a drastic need.

In order to resource the solutions, however, it’s vital to get the story 
straight.  And media can play a crucial role.  Sex will always sell, whether 
the story is good or bad.  But we need the media to cover the issue fairly, 
proportionately.  We need media outlets to set aside deliberate resistance of 
losing advertising revenue, and articulate how businesses can use their 
influence over supply chains to recreate the map to illuminate the worst areas 
of poverty in the world where slavery and trafficking can take hold.

As advocates, we need to do a better job articulating to the public the 
enormous challenges that today’s complex supply chains present to business.  We 
need to articulate that the CEO is most often not the criminal, that this is 
criminal activity tainting their supply chain most often around raw materials, 
but as we have heard today, on many other points of intersect along the supply 
chain, just as shoplifting is criminal activity occurring at the other end of 
the supply chain, at the point of purchase.  

Only by rediscovering the supply chain and influencing each step of it by 
encouraging best practices can we implement real solutions, can the NGO work 
with the CEO.  A supply chain without a policy of best practices is like a 
computer without virus protection:  You will most likely become infected with a 
virus or tainted by labor violations.

We need companies to come to the table and collaborate in finding better 
solutions to work with governments and the NGO community who can offer victims 
safety and rehabilitation, and can assist vulnerable communities.  We cannot 
accurately and efficiently access victims without the assistance of companies 
that influence infected supply chains.  

I think one of the most crucial pieces that I’ve learned is that this is a 
verification of a process:  Whether you are growing, picking, selling tomatoes 
out of Florida, or purchasing couture clothing, you will find slaves.  The 
point is that the better your practices along the supply chain, the less you 
will find them, and the better your practices, the better your response will be 
at that moment.

ASSET’s solution was to be primary sponsor of the California Transparency in 
Supply Chains Act of 2010, authored brilliantly by Senator Darrell Steinberg, 
who I have to thank deeply.  This law comes into effect January 2011, and 
requires major retailers and manufacturers operating in California with over 
100 million (dollars) in worldwide gross receipts to publicly disclose their 
efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chains.

This law will apply to just over 3,000 companies, around 4 percent of 
California companies who represent an umbrella of approximately 87 percent of 
economic activity in the state.  This new law is one small step in a long 
journey forged by others that ASSET joined.

I hope if it’s applied well that it will represent a watershed in the sharing 
of knowledge, and will enable active consumer, investor and other stakeholder 
engagement, will encourage a pooling of resources, and will get us closer to 
concrete, measurable results.

The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act will for the first time enable 
consumers to choose to support businesses that are creating best practices, 
using their purchasing power to encourage them to bring their expertise and 
knowledge of supply chains into the equation.  Investors can implement 
corporate governance and social responsibility practices, providing incentives 
to companies to elevate human rights and place them right at the heart of their 

In one sweep, it’ll educate companies unaware of a possible problem, not just 
of their own potential vulnerability but also the devastating impact of using 
company influence to drive profit up by forcing the prices of raw materials 
down to a level where labor violations and criminal activity and suicide are 
the outcome for the raw-material workforce.

It will create an environment where those companies already doing the right 
thing can more robustly and publicly turn it into part of their brand identity. 
 And for the next step in the process to occur, Congress should enact federal 
legislation disclosing the presence of slavery, trafficking and all forms of 
forced labor in the corporate supply chain.  

Post-globalization, where I have heard that the public trusts brands, 
identifies with brands more closely than government – the supply chain is the 
modern vehicle through which today we can spread liberal democracy throughout 
the world.

Thank you for listening.

REP. SMITH:  Ms. Ormond, thank you very much for your testimony, for being here 
again, and above all, for your advocacy that has led to enactment of this very 
important landmark legislation.

Let me just ask, if I could, Ms. Donaldson, you know, the assumption of 
goodwill or the potential of goodwill obviously undergirds the multilateral 
framework.  You know, you – obviously most, if not, all U.N., ILO, any 
convention has always a problem on the enforcement side.  That’s no fault of 
your own; it’s just the way it works.  But I think you said consensus can be 
built.  And I’m wondering if the transparency supply chain act of 2010 might 
not fit into a best practice that the ILO could include in its framework of 
best laws that needs to be shared.

I mean, one of the important aspects of when we did the Trafficking Victims 
Protection Act was to share and to share, invite best practices so we could 
improve our own law but also to give it out liberally.  And I remember giving a 
copy that John Finerty on our commission staff translated into Russian to a 
member of the Russian Duma, who then got some of it enacted in the Russian 
Duma.  We want plagiarism, in this case – (chuckles).  So I’m wondering if the 
ILO is looking at this as a best-practice law that needs to be shared with the 
world, including the 14 agreements that you – or the work you have going within 
the OSCE and elsewhere.

MS. DONALDSON:  We are very interested to see how this law is implemented.  And 
you know, we tend to see California as another country, just – (chuckles) – 
another economy.  And it’s very hard to be a big company anywhere in the world 
and not have California as one of your markets.  So in a way, it may not need 
to be passed in every state.

But yes, we want to share good practices.  And I might say, I see this as a 
part of a trend.  And it’s also because the USDA guidelines that have been 
issued by the Agriculture Department on best practices in agricultural settings 
– I see in my conversations with companies that across the board, there are 
different things coming up.  And maybe the most intensely discussed right now 
is actually around the conflict minerals.

But I hear companies, big ones, saying, well, the due diligence, that framework 
that the OSCE has raised, maybe we should use this in the context of forced 
labor or child labor.  So it’s creating a lot of cross-fertilization.  But I do 
have to say the California law, I think, kicked it to another level in terms of 
more recent legislation.

So thank you.

REP. SMITH:  Would you want to respond on that?

MS. ORMOND:  This was a little law that just, I feel, kind of got us out of an 
impasse.  It was a moment that we could capitalize on as an NGO thanks to the 
work that had been done by the ILO.  I think we actually did take some of your 
practices – (chuckles) – we took an amalgamation of best practices, but the law 
is designed in such a way that allows the corporation to come in with what 
businesses see idiosyncratically within their own supply chain.  Each industry 
has different, idiosyncratic problems that the NGO community can’t really sit 
from the outside and dictate to them.  Plus, they’ll bring a totally different 
mindset and innovation to finding solutions.

So the law is designed in such a way that we make suggestions as to best 
practices, we make suggestions in terms of talking to the ILO, but we also open 
it up to say, just – well, tell us what you are doing so that we can rate it.

REP. SMITH:  Commissioner Cohen does have to leave, so I’d like to yield to him 
for any questions.

REP. COHEN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I’ve got a 4:00 hearing – another 
ranking member – but I want to ask Ms. Ormond, who were the main opponents to 
your law in California?

MS. ORMOND:  (Chuckles.)  Thank you for landing me in it.  Well, let’s put it 
this way:  There was not a single business in California that supported it.  
And I think we were very lucky to have a governor who didn’t veto it, and who 
stood up and said, it’s – you know, I’m asked if this is a job-killer, and I 
don’t think it is.  I think it’s a lifesaver.  

I think there are challenges.  I don’t want to presume that people go into it 
with malicious intention; I think very often, there are stumbling blocks that 
because we’re not discussing it because there’s lack of transparency, we can’t 
get to the solution.  So within different industries, individual brands and 
companies aren’t actually sharing with each other what they’re learning.  

So I think as this – the first step is to sort of move industries – like, you 
have conflict minerals; you have the tech industries coming together to work on 
that.  And in a parallel, you have people sharing best practices around cotton. 

If we don’t – if we don’t move it forward in terms of raising it up, then I 
think it really has a devastating effect.  I think California Grocers 
Association –

REP. COHEN:  They opposed the law and fought it?

MS. ORMOND:  Yeah.  And it took me by surprise because I thought, well, isn’t 
this good for California?  Can’t they just verify immediately that their – 
can’t they verify more easily than somebody who’s reaching out to the 
developing world?  And I think we just haven’t really gotten to the bottom of 
how they deal with undocumented workers.  I think it made it difficult for them 
legislatively to answer to that, because we didn’t really deal with it.

REP. COHEN:  Did the chamber or any other organized groups of business, 
manufacturers, et cetera – did any of them come out and work against it?

MS. ORMOND:  Yeah.  

REP. COHEN:  They did?

MS. ORMOND:  (Chuckles.)  

REP. COHEN:  Yeah?  (Chuckles.)

MS. ORMOND:  Yes.  They did.  I mean, we went back and forth.  We had support 
from consumers and consumer rights – we had a terrific support from socially 
responsible investment firms that represented $42 billion.  And I think what we 
saw emerging was, the consumer is one stakeholder; the next consumer to engage 
through apps and writing letters and Internet and viral is the employee.  
Employees work better in an environment that they’re happier with; they’re more 
productive.  You can go to the investor; you can go to shareholders with the 
proxy votes.

And what we want the consumer to understand is that they are not – they are 
disempowered as an individual to a certain extent.  But you rally them as a 
force together, they will drive what happens down the supply chain because they 
will demand that supply chains be cleaned up, or they will leave that brand and 
go to someone who is doing a better job.

REP. COHEN:  Was the vote close on your bill?

MS. ORMOND:  Sometimes.  I mean, different – there were –

REP. COHEN:  Stages.

MS. ORMOND:  – different stages that we had to go through.  What I have always 
loved about this issue is that it’s a bipartisan issue.  It’s something that I 
will say in terms of the coalition, a task that we work on – it’s bipartisan.  
And it has to be, for longevity.  

What I do want to say about the bill is, I think it provides an engagement 
point for the consumer to actually physically take action.  There’s a lot of 
awareness that people – from an employee standpoint people can have; one little 
website that we participated in setting up sent off 97 – has now sent off 
97,000 emails to CEOs asking them, what are your practices?  And until – you 
know, they’ve got until January in 2012 to say “no response.”  

And I also – if I may, just a bit before you leave, I want to talk about how 
when a supply chain is tainted, it may be tainted by very few individuals.  But 
there’s one example – there’s a terrific documentary called “End of the Line” 
which looks to the decimation of the fish population.  Fishing is an industry 
that has a lot of issues.  One boat coming in with two loads of cargo – I wrote 
it down somewhere; I want to get it right – one of those boats can come up with 
– I think it was the entirety of Taiwan’s quota for one fishing season.

So one or two criminals can decimate and destroy a supply chain.  And I think 
that’s what we’re seeing in fishing; we’re talking about having 20 to 50 years 
left of fish.  It isn’t those that have been given a quota and are meeting that 
quota that are causing that decimation; it’s illegal fishing.  It is illegal 
deforestation that is causing huge environmental damage.  And if we don’t look 
to it, I believe that that is where this issue feeds all the way through to 
being an international security issue.

REP. COHEN:  I thank you for appearing before us, and your work, and the other 
panelists as well.  And I wish I had more time to stay here, but I’ve got to – 
a obligation.  I’ve learned a lot.  As you say you’ve learned, I learned from 
this committee.  And there’s no greater human rights champion than the 
chairman, and I will work with him on legislation to improve our work product.  

You asked me earlier, do we have an audience?  Well, you got a great audience 
here with Chairman Smith.

MS. ORMOND:  Thank you.

REP. SMITH:  Mr. Cohen, thank you very much, and thank you for your leadership. 
 Let me just ask a couple of other questions, if I could.  And I think 
Commissioner Cohen’s comment, or your comment – one of your comments – was very 
well-taken about a corporation – what corporations don’t do business in 
California – (chuckles).  I mean, it’s just about the world.  

But I do think there could come in 2012 some real issues of faithfulness on the 
part of the corporations.  And so the question would be, how do we ensure 
compliance with the mandates of the California law?  Would the federal law fill 
some gaps that perhaps dropped off as the legislation was making its way 
through, and would the additional firepower, if you will, of a federal statute 
further prioritize and ensure that these corporations are, indeed, being very 

We found even when we passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, I had to 
hold an oversight hearing right here, nine months later, to ensure that major 
provisions where it said you shall set up a TIP office, you shall establish a T 
visa – nothing in it said “may;” it all said “shall.”  

And even here, with the traditional separation of powers and the checks and 
balances that are obviously a very good thing, we had to have an oversight 
hearing – and I chaired it – to ensure that the major revisions were carried 
out.  Because delay is denial, and I would be very worried that some 
corporations will game the system, be inadequate.  

So what are the advantages of a federal law?  And do other states have to pass 
a law, or would that be – I mean, what corporations, again, like I said before, 
are not doing business in California?

MS. ORMOND:  Well, one of the things that we do have to do is get the list of 
who the 3,200 companies are from the attorney general’s office.  And I think 
that’s something, for instance, that you would want to put into federal law, 
that automatically the list of who is covered gets made public so the NGOs 
aren’t scrambling to do that math.

There’s a number of things.  I mean, for me what the bill does is move us 
forward a steps so that for instance we pave the way for a commission to come 
in.  Prior to the bill, the commission couldn’t verify it, or certify anything. 
 So it wasn’t possible to do it.

But I also think that we have to kind of slightly change the mindset.  I want 
to talk about fair trade a little bit, and how fair trade – I should rewind a 
bit – the greatest and most effective part of prevention is the alleviation of 
poverty, and providing people with alternative solutions.  And I feel that’s 
what fair trade goes in and elevates the process for people; they create 
communities who work together and keep each other on track.  And they then give 
a premium to the farmers once they have helped them get them to the level of 
being an export.

And mangos out of Haiti would be a great example – the mangos from Haiti that 
are sold in Whole Foods may well be something that elevates Haiti out of a 
really tragic circumstance.  And I think we need to move towards that.

What I also like about the California bill – people talk a lot about 
enforcement – the consumer’s going to enforce it.  Out of 3,200 companies, say, 
there are 50 who comply, and the rest don’t.  You’ve got 50 brands for people 
to switch to.  You don’t have to wait for the attorney general to do anything.  
You’ve already clarified who’s doing great work and who doesn’t.  

And I think that the federal bill will work.  We’ve – all the way through we 
had a collaborative approach to business, and that’s the only way that you 
could get to the solutions.  It can’t be done any other way.  And it will be 
fair and it will be reasonable and it will be doable for business.
REP. SMITH:  Yes, thank you.

MS. MISRA:  So, I just – I’m not an expert on this as Julia is, but I’ve heard 
a couple of things that I think is interesting.  One, we’ve heard that the U.S. 
Chamber of Commerce is not opposing a national federal bill on this, because 
they do want to see kind of the playing field leveled in the sense that it 
would apply everywhere in the United States and not just in California, which 
is an interesting and surprising result from this.  And I’ve also just been 
receiving a lot of emails from people about trainings that are already popping 
up.  The University of Delaware is doing a training for sourcing managers on 
the bill, and so there is already, you know, companies getting ready in 
figuring out ways.  

And then just from our perspective, we’re an allied organization of the 
AFL-CIO, and we’ve already had conversations with unions in the United States 
about kind of taking the role that Julia’s saying on consumers and holding 
people accountable.  We know who a lot of the big players are in the sectors 
that we know that there’s slavery, and sort of kind of start targeting them and 
making sure that that’s happening.  And, hopefully, it will – it will trickle 


MS. DONALDSON:  Just two observations.  I think we are going to see a real mix. 
 I’ve seen legal opinions online where the lawyers – corporate lawyers say, 
well, the way you could interpret this is, you just say have to say what you 
were doing on monitoring forced labor, and you can just say you’re not doing 
anything in particular and that’s how to suffice ?) the law.  And so you may 
see some of that.

I think that’s going to be difficult because of the reports, like the reports 
required by the TVPA, which say, well, these are countries where we think there 
may be risk of problems.  It’s a little harder if you’re sourcing from those 
countries to say, well, there’s no problem in our (supply chains ?) that we’ve 
ever seen, and that takes care of it.  

So there’s no question that interaction between state and federal law is 
important.  And I guess what I would say, we don’t take a position on 
particular laws, but we are collecting best practices.  We look forward to 
seeing what happens in this one.  And I do think that the mix of laws and 
strategies going on is having a really dynamic effect. 

And I will say one thing.  Once companies leave denial and go into what – “How 
could we do it?” and then they move to, “We have to do something” – when 
enterprise and its ingenuity comes into play, amazing things happen.  And I 
have to say, I’m getting excited about watching the companies that are at the 
front end of this, because they’re solving problems that no one else has quite 
seen, and that’s what we want more of.  And I do think it’s possible that that 
virtuous circle, spurred on by these different laws together, and maybe some 
federal laws as well, is going to create the process, is creating a process 
that we can partner with each other.  Because no one company can solve these 
problems, and no one country, and that’s why we say we have to really work 
together.  And the activists have an irreplaceable role.

Thank you.

REP. SMITH:  Let me just ask you with regards to your deadline or your goal by 
2015 of eliminating forced labor worldwide, who on the board would make the 
decision whether or not to incorporate the new California law into a best law 
practice that needs to be looked at by other countries?  It seems to me that if 
the U.K. and other countries were to – you know, the House of Commons passed a 
similar law, the House here, obviously, and the Congress – it would add an 
enormous pressure not just for reporting, but for accurate reporting, because 
the website would be scrutinized by not just California and the NGOs that are 
so concerned, like Julia Ormond’s group and yours, but it would be a – you 
know, it seems to be more hands pulling on the oar, the greater that ship will 
move and forced labor will be eradicated.

Who does that – makes that decision?

MS. DONALDSON:  Well, ultimately our body of countries (in/and ?) the 
international labor companies pass standards.

REP. SMITH:  Right.

MS. DONALDSON:  But we can do things much faster than that in terms of – 
because that takes time and consideration – to pull together best practices.  
And we are asked to advise countries all the time on how they might solve those 
issues.  And so I’d be happy to come back and let you know exactly what we are 
doing on that, because I would – I’ll inquire. 

REP. SMITH:  Is it something that if we were to put together a letter from 
members of the House and Senate asking that the ILO look to – both on a fast 
track and as – you know, 2015 is not far away – to look at bringing on line 
this very valuable – and I would say there’s nothing little about this, Ms. 
Ormond, as you said.  This is huge.  And one state the size of California could 
make all the difference in the entire world.  But if you could, you know, we 
would – we could put together a letter that would – that would try to get you 
to adopt it as a best practice, if you thought that would be helpful.

MS. DONALDSON:  Thank you.

REP. SMITH:  Let me just ask Ms. Misra with regards to regulating foreign labor 
recruiters.  I chaired a hearing some years back when we discovered in the 2003 
act, we put provisions in, in ’05, when we learned that U.S. corporations were 
often complicit, either indifferent or there was woeful ignorance, which is two 
different ways of being complicit, not wanting to know.

And in Iraq, we asked, I asked, a number of questions at two hearings that we 
held jointly with the department, with the Armed Services Committee, about 
labor recruiters, particularly in Jordan, bringing in all these people who were 
slaves working with U.S. taxpayer money.  And we keep getting assurances that’s 
been fixed – it’s been fixed.  I’m not convinced.  I’m wondering what you 
think, whether or not that has been fixed, if you could.

MS. MISRA:  Thank you.  We’re still hearing stories that it has not been fixed, 
and not just in Iraq, but also Afghanistan, that Jordan’s being used.  We’ve 
heard particularly of Nepali and Bangladeshi workers.  And then it’s also been 
very interesting with the Arab – 

REP. SMITH:  They were the same ones who were exploited previously and that we 
brought (attention to ?).

MS. MISRA:  Exactly.  

But it’s also very interesting now with the Arab Spring and the numbers of – 
you know, people have been talking about the refugees that are crossing the 
border from Libya and other places, but there’s huge numbers, as you know, of 
migrant workers who are in Bahrain, who are in Syria, who are in Libya and 
other places, and so their fate right now is very interesting.  And a lot of 
them are being told by the labor recruiters that brought them over there, well, 
there’s nothing that we can do now, and they’re – and they’re stranded.  And so 
it’s quite interesting.

And just the global economic crisis:  In the United Arab Emirates for example, 
there’s large numbers of Indian migrant construction workers who are stuck in 
the UAE; the jobs dried up because of the economic crisis and labor recruiters 
are refusing to send them back, and so a lot of them are just living in camps.

REP. SMITH:  With regards to the Transparent Supply Chain Act, I know how Julia 
Ormond feels.  Do you feel that there needs to be a federal law?

MS. MISRA:  Absolutely, yes. 

REP. SMITH:  I know you had some recommendations, but the biggest problem I 
think we might face would be a Senate 60 votes that would – might be hard to 

Do you have any recommendations on where it should be?  Should it be in the 
TVPA reauthorization?  You may have mentioned that earlier.

MS. MISRA:  Yes.  We actually – so the coalition that we’re a part of, ATEST, 
is recommending that it goes into the TVPRA.  We think in some ways that might 
be a little bit easier to have it as part of the package.  But also, a 
stand-alone bill, we would support both.  And so, you know, we’ve been having a 
number of conversations with different senators and different congress people 
about – 

REP. SMITH:  Have you found – and I did ask Ambassador Luis CdeBaca earlier 
whether or not the administration would present a model piece of legislation 
along the same lines as California.  

Do you think that might be forthcoming?

MS. MISRA:  I haven’t heard it coming from the administration itself.  I have 
heard of several representatives in the House that are putting that forward, 
and then our coalition, as I said, is supporting it.  But Julie would know that 
more specifically.

REP. SMITH:  Well, we hope the two meet.

MS. ORMOND:  I would say – I guess what I would just add is that I – in all 
honesty, I think the jury’s still out as to the best place for the bill, 
whether or not it be something that’s folded into TVPA afterwards.  But 
currently language that is being kicked around in terms of a federal bill is 
placing it under the auspices of SEC.  

And I think in terms of is it worth doing nationally, is it worth doing as a 
federal – I think the federal bill gives it more teeth and raises awareness of 
it throughout the U.S., and then the U.S. takes a leadership role.

But we currently don’t have the list from the attorney general.  So we need to 
do – we need to run the figures again.  Because if you’ve got 3,200 companies 
in California and nationally you would have 3,201, it would be nice to know, is 
it just once more?  Is – can we just go straight to the EU?
And I just want to say that I – it isn’t a perfect silver bullet.  It’s a 
starting point.  And I think it does remain to be seen how the community that 
works on this responds to it and gets imaginative around it.  But there 
definitely are stumbling blocks.  There are stumbling blocks around conflict 
minerals and rare earth minerals that only come out of the Congo.  There are 
stumbling blocks in terms of human rights in China and places we can’t get in.  
But I think it kicks the needle forward and challenges business to come up with 
– help us come up with a solution, don’t leave the table until we’ve made it.

REP. SMITH:  Thank you.


MS. MISRA:  May I just say one more thing also?  Just jumping over to the 
foreign labor recruiter provisions, since you’re talking about national versus 
stand-alone bills and folding into TVPRA, I know there’s been some discussions 
about having a separate bill on regulating foreign labor recruiters, and I 
really want to urge you and the House of Representatives to consider folding it 
into the TVPRA, because when it is a separate bill, it gets caught up a lot in 
comprehensive immigration reform and questions of that.  And we think, while 
those are important questions to address, if we address foreign labor 
recruiters from the perspective of it being a trafficking problem and being 
able to address it in the TVPRA, we may be able to get a lot further than if we 
had it be a stand-alone bill that kind of got caught up in the comprehensive 
immigration reform. So – but thank you for letting me jump that little piece –

REP. SMITH:  No, if you could answer, because you worked extensively in 
Indonesia and elsewhere –

MS. MISRA:  Yes.

REP. SMITH:  How do you recommend we pierce a place like China, where a person 
even doing investigations into this kind of heinous activity could land 
themselves into prison for 10 or 15 years and be subjected to torture?  Even 
the corporations often do a “see no evil, hear no evil” mind-set about the 
sources of their materials, because they don’t want to be kicked out, they 
don’t want their industry nationalized and they don’t want to face potential 
jail time.

MS. MISRA:  Absolutely.

REP. SMITH:  I’m wondering how – I mean, will – on the websites, might there be 
a big gap when it comes to China especially?

MS. MISRA:  Yes, and I – and I wonder about that too.  I will say, the 
Solidarity Center has a China office that we call where we specifically work on 
worker rights issues in China, and so I’m not the expert on that.  

But I will say one of the things that we are seeing is that we’re increasingly 
seeing worker actions.  You wouldn’t necessarily call them the same that – as 
you see in the U.S. as strikes and other things, but we are seeing workers who 
are having many one-day strikes, taking to the streets, demanding more rights 
in the factories where they’re working.  And that -- we really think that that 
– the U.S. really needs to be supporting those efforts that we are seeing of 
workers trying to speak out for themselves and enforce their own rights and do 
more in that regard.  And I know our office would love to come talk to you more 
about that.

REP. SMITH:  Thank you.

Would anyone else like to add anything before the hearing concludes, Ms. Ormond 
or – yes.

MS. DONALDSON:  This is on an earlier subject, but I thought I could just 
mention one of the things that ILO’s been doing recently – I think it was maybe 
in December – we had a conference in the Gulf states, and it was primarily 
focused on embassy staff, economic officers from various embassies.  And we 
were – I think we were looking in particular in the labor trafficking issues 
from Nepal.  But it was a very interesting way to have countries – and I 
wouldn’t be surprised if the U.S. was involved as well, but other countries 
there as well – to develop a network of representative officers to work with 
each other to spot illegal-labor processes.  And it was very productive, so 
we’re looking at how to do that in other places, too.  And so the requirements 
that have happened as they were discussed, and Ambassador CdeBaca was talking 
about, just to let you know, that’s something that can be built on, because if 
that’s their responsibility and they’re talking to counterparts, then it 
creates a different level of looking at it.

REP. SMITH:  (Inaudible.)

MS. ORMOND:  Just to say thank you.

REP. SMITH:  Thank you.

I want to thank our very distinguished witness.  I do believe that S.657 is an 
historic bill that will have overwhelmingly positive consequences.  So, I thank 
you, Julia Ormond, for your extraordinary leadership in crafting and using your 
persuasive powers, which are very real and compelling, to get that legislation. 
 And I think you gave great, I think, accolades to the Senate, sponsored the 
president pro tem.  And I think that was a very – you know, it does take a 
lawmaker, but it does take people just like you and our two other distinguished 
witnesses to make all of this happen.  So I thank you sincerely for your 
extraordinary leadership.

MS.     :  Thank you.

REP. SMITH:  The hearing is adjourned.