Last March, government contractors’ anti-human trafficking obligations were significantly expanded under FAR Subpart 22.17, Combating Trafficking in Persons, and its associated contract clause at FAR 52.222-50. Among other requirements, the amended FAR rule broadened the definition of trafficking in persons in government contracts, instituted new contractor reporting obligations, and implemented a number of additional compliance and certification requirements for certain contractors, such as the requirement to develop an “appropriate” compliance plan when contracts for the acquisition of services or non-COTS goods outside the United States exceed $500,000.
As Crowell & Moring analyzed here, the revised regulations left contractors facing a multitude of compliance challenges and open questions as they tried to institute “appropriate” compliance plans and policies to reduce the risk of the potentially serious consequences associated with violating the new rule.
In an effort to provide contractors with some clarity and guidance, yesterday, Verité launched the Responsible Sourcing Tool, a new website that will help contractors understand the risks of human trafficking in supply chains, and equip them with the tools necessary to implement effective compliance systems that detect, prevent and combat trafficking. Particularly of note, the website unveiled a model Compliance Plan Template, which is intended for use “specifically by companies that need to demonstrate compliance with the Combating Trafficking in Persons requirements of the [FAR] and submit certifications under 52.222-50(h) and 22.1703(c).”
The Responsible Sourcing Tool contains a number of other useful compliance resources and templates, including a sample code of conduct, sample vendor agreement, supplier self-assessments and case studies. The content was developed by Verité with the support and collaboration of the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and in conjunction with other State Department and U.S. Government agency experts.
In the face of a FAR rule that provides limited direction, these resources will assist contractors with meeting their anti-human trafficking obligations. However, contractors should be aware that the Government may now use these model policies and compliance plans as a benchmark when assessing whether contractors have satisfied their supply chain due diligence requirements.
It is important to remember that a contractor’s compliance with its obligations to combat human trafficking should not be considered a one-size fits all solution. Because of the risk-based approach required by the rules, certain situations may require more policies, procedures and/or controls to correspond to the risk of that environment.