Trafficking in Persons Compliance

Trafficking in Persons Compliance

Relief International (“RI”) has a strong, ethically-based program to protect beneficiaries during all interactions with our organization, programs and staff.

RI has adopted a zero tolerance policy regarding trafficking in persons (TIP). RI’s leadership understands the importance of counter-trafficking initiatives and has devoted sufficient resources to ensure compliance. The Global Assurance, Human Resource, Programs and Grants units have led the organization’s efforts to draft the policy in the wake of updated Federal Acquisition Regulations.

In summary, the policy prohibits individuals from:

  • Engaging in trafficking in persons

  • Procuring commercial sex acts

  • Using forced labor in the performance of the award

  • Directly supporting or advancing trafficking in persons

RI’s TIP policy does not distinguish between severe and non-severe forms of TIP activities and therefore its employees are held to the highest standard of not engaging in or supporting any form of trafficking.

RI’s plan consists of four pillars: awareness, prevention, recognition and reporting.

Applicability

RI’s TIP policy applies to all employees, including direct employees, consultants and volunteers. It also applies to subrecipients whose contracts are valued at over $500,000. Where applicable, RI includes the relevant FAR/CFR clauses in all subcontracts/subagreements with subrecipients.

RI’s Program Development Unit (PD) will share the responsibility of (1) ensuring that counter-trafficking policies are known to third parties, (2) vetting third parties and (3) obtaining certifications from third parties at the proposal stage. Third parties include suppliers, subawardees and subcontractors.

Responsibility to Keep Beneficiaries Safe

As one in four trafficking victims are children, this new TIP policy complements RI’s longtime Child Protection Policy. RI believes in a world where children face so many threats of harm, it is our duty to ensure that we, as an organization, do not contribute in any way to harming or placing children at risk. Our Child Protection Policy, Policy on Reporting and Investigating Misconduct and Personnel Code of Conduct, among others, provide the framework for the organization’s responsibility to keep children and other beneficiaries safe, ensuring that no beneficiary comes to harm as a result of their engagement with us, whether that be via their interaction with staff and those who represent us or their participation in our programs, activities and fundraising or advocacy campaigns.

RI strives to create a professional culture where all employees are aware of issues that face beneficiaries in the countries where we work, affirmatively prevent harm and protect them, and report concerns so that RI may effectively respond.  We anticipate that employees will easily adapt to compliance with the new TIP policy which similarly promotes: (1) awareness, (2) prevention, (3) recognition and (4) reporting.

Trafficking in Persons Compliance Plan

Awareness – All RI employees will be required to attend orientation introducing the policy and promoting awareness of trafficking activities. As a result of the orientation, staff will be able to define trafficking in persons; identify where TIP occurs around the globe; describe the roles and motivations of parties involved in TIP; understand the legal framework governing TIP; state what USG clients expect from RI employees to combat TIP; explain RI’s TIP compliance policy; and know the steps to prevent, recognize and report trafficking activities.

It is our goal to conduct the awareness training in each CO once a year. Employees of subrecipients whose funding exceeds $500,000 will also be invited and encouraged to attend the training.  It is our goal to have the presentations translated into Arabic and French and to train TIP trainers to conduct the awareness training in these languages by the end of FY 2017.

Prevention – RI already has several standards and controls in place to ensure compliance with the TIP policy, including the Personnel Code of Conduct. The Human Resources (HR) team has recruitment policies that prohibit the use of any fraudulent or misleading recruitment practices. RI does not charge recruitment fees to any candidate. Employees hired in COs are paid per established salary ranges that meet or exceed local labor law. All employees are presented a written employment contract in the official language of that country.

RI and CO staff in grants, finance and procurement shall screen all subrecipients, consultants and suppliers to ensure that they do not appear on the USG Excluded Parties List (sam.gov), the UN Consolidated List or the OFAC Sanctions List (U.S. Department of Treasury). During the course of a subaward, the RI CO grants, finance and procurement staff conducts regular audits of subrecipient offices.

Recognition – RI International USA is committed to working only with subrecipients and vendors that adopt a zero tolerance policy when it comes to Trafficking in Persons. As part of the training, employees will be trained to recognize trafficking in its various forms. Project staff will provide monitoring and oversight of project sites to ensure that project activities in no way—directly or indirectly—support trafficking activities. RI will review compliance plans submitted by subrecipients (where required), provide feedback and monitor for compliance.

Reporting – It is a priority of RI that the organization and its employees act ethically and legally. It is therefore very important that any illegal activity or violations of the Trafficking in Persons Policy be promptly brought to the organization’s attention. All RI employees, subrecipient employees and suppliers are required to report suspected trafficking-related activity to RI.

Reporting may be made in one of several ways:

(1)  Any supervisor in his/her reporting line;

(2)  A member of the Senior Management Team;

(3)  The CEO/President;

(4)  IAIA ([email protected] or +1-323-932-7888); or

(5)  Global Trafficking hotline 1-844-BE-FREE

An employee who has any questions regarding this Code or its application to a particular situation should discuss these concerns with any of the persons listed above. RI employees may report illegal acts or a violation of this policy anonymously. However, anonymous reports must contain enough detailed information to permit the organization to investigate.

It is RI’s policy to promptly and appropriately investigate reports of illegal activity or violations of the Trafficking in Persons Policy. RI employees must cooperate with these investigations. It is a violation of this policy for RI employees to prevent, hinder or delay discovery and full investigation of illegal acts or violations of this Code. To the extent practicable under the circumstances, RI will take reasonable precautions to maintain the confidentiality of those individuals who report illegal activity or violations of this Code and of those individuals involved in the alleged improper activity, whether or not it turns out that improper acts occurred.

No reprisals or disciplinary action will be taken or permitted against employees for good faith reporting or cooperating in the investigation of illegal acts or violations of this policy. It is a violation of this policy for any RI employee to punish or conduct reprisals against another employee for making a good faith report or cooperating in the investigation of illegal acts or violations of the TIP Policy. Employees who violate the policy or commit illegal acts are subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Employees who report their own illegal acts or improper conduct, however, will have such self-reporting taken into account in determining the appropriate disciplinary action.

Supply Chain Accountability

Each USG-funded project valued at greater than $500,000 will draft its own plan for compliance with the counter trafficking policy, taking into account the size and complexity of the award, scope of activities, number of non-US citizens employed and risk of susceptibility to TIP.  These plans will include a wage plan and a housing plan where applicable.

A supplier or subrecipient’s award may be suspended or terminated for violation of the TIP policy. Any termination for this reason will be reported as required by FFATA.

 

References

48 CFR 52.222-50 – Combating Trafficking in Persons (January 2015)

FAR 52.222-50 – Combating Trafficking in Persons (March 2015)

FAR 52.222-56 – Certification Regarding Trafficking in Persons Compliance RI (March 2015)