WASHINGTON - Three years ago, President Bush declared that he had "zero tolerance" for trafficking in humans by the government's overseas contractors, and two years ago Congress mandated a similar policy.
But notwithstanding the president's statement and the congressional edict, the Defense Department has yet to adopt a policy to bar human trafficking.
A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions and a final policy still appears to be months away, according to those involved and Defense Department records.
The lobbying groups opposing the plan say they're in favor of the idea in principle, but said they believe that implementing key portions of it overseas is unrealistic. They represent thousands of firms, including some of the industry's biggest names, such as DynCorp International and Halliburton subsidiary KBR, both of which have been linked to trafficking-related concerns.
Are you sure you want to go on the record as saying your client can’t reasonably be asked to fulfill their contract without resorting to kidnap and slave labor? Do you think that simply because Congress does not write such a ban into policy that such practices are less criminal?
Part of being a good lobbyist is explaining the facts of PR and political life to your client. If your client is such that they don’t understand that human trafficking is a line that can never be crossed, your have your work cut out for you.