ChairmanWyden, Ranking Member Crapo, and Members of the Committee,It is an honor to appear before you today to address the issue of forced labor in global supply chains. My name is Martina Vandenberg and I serve as president of the Human Trafficking Legal Center, a human rights non-governmental organization dedicated to the eradication of forced labor. That goal, the eradication of forced labor, is a heavy lift.My colleagues and I frequently say that forced labor is a feature, not a bug, in global supply chains. The issue requires system-wide solutions, not just isolated prosecutions against individual bad actors. Criminal prosecutions have failed to curb forced labor around the globe, largely because there are almost no prosecutions. According to the State Department’s June 2020 Trafficking in Persons (TIP)report, there were just 1,024forced labor prosecutions in the entire world. Based on International Labor Organization (ILO) global estimates of forced labor, that is one prosecution for every 20,410 victims held in forced labor. The United States is no outlier. According to Department of Justice data, federal prosecutors indicted just 12 forced labor cases in the entire country in FY2019. And although extraterritorial jurisdiction has existed since 2008 to prosecute global supply chain forced labor cases with a nexus to the United States, federal prosecutors have never brought even one forced labor supply chain case that invoked extraterritorial jurisdiction.The result of this enforcement vacuum? Impunity. Complacency. Immense human suffering.
Read more here.