Thursday, February 14, 2013

Combatting Trafficking in Persons (TIP) - Part 2

Yesterday we discussed the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) prohibition against Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and the executive order (EO) from last fall intending to beef up the current regulations. Today we're going to pick up where we left off when we stated that the EO now requires contractors and subcontractors to maintain compliance plans and to post those plans in the workplace or on their websites. What is a compliance plan, how comprehensive does it need to be, and what should be included?

The first thing we learn about the required compliance plan is that it be "appropriate for the size and complexity of the contract or subcontract and the nature and scope of the activities performed, including the risk that the contract or subcontract will involve services or supplies susceptible to trafficking". Now this is about as subjective as you can get and we suspect that there will be plenty of discussion among contractors and their contracting officers as to what is appropriate in the circumstances.

Next, we learn that the compliance plan include an employee awareness plan. The employee awareness plan must be sufficient to inform employees

  • the policy of ensuring that employees do not engage in trafficking in persons or related activities (including those enumerated yesterday)
  • The actions that will be taken against employees for violation of such policy

The compliance plan must also include

  1. A process for employees to report, without fear of retaliation, any prohibited activities.
  2. A recruitment and wage plan that only permits the use of recruitment companies with trained employees, prohibits charging recruitment fees to the employee, and ensures that wages meet applicable host country legal requirements or explains any variance.
  3. A housing plan, if the contractor or subcontractor intends to provide or arrange housing, that ensures that the housing meets host country housing and safety standards or explains any variance
  4. Procedures to prevent subcontractors at any tier from engaging in trafficking in persons.

Finally, contractors and subcontractors must provide an annual certification it has a compliance plan and that to the best of its knowledge, has not engaged in any prohibited TIP activities.

You can expect to see amendments to FAR Subpart 22.17 to implement these new requirements in the near future.

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