Resolution on Combating Human Trafficking/Modern Day Slavery

Posted on: Friday June 14, 2013

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly has long dedicated itself to the justice issues that serve as the underlying causes of modern-day slavery, including global poverty, worker exploitation, immigration and migration, exploitation of women and children, and low wages;

Whereas 21 to 27 million people in the world today—men, women, and children—live in modern-day slavery, including debt bondage, forced prostitution, forced labor, and child soldiers, held to hostage to their employers through force, fraud or coercion, such threats of violence to family members, withholding of documents, unending cycles of debt, or sexual assault;

Whereas thousands of American citizens, legal immigrants and temporary workers, and undocumented workers have been trafficked within our own borders, in a wide range of industries such as agriculture, domestic work, forced prostitution, service industries, fishing, and construction;

Whereas the prevalence of slave labor in the supply chains of everyday products means that every person is unwittingly profiting from forced labor;

Whereas President Obama has made the fight to end modern-day slavery a priority of his Administration, making ending trafficking the mandate of the White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Community Partnerships and creating the Interagency Taskforce to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking to ensure that the Federal government's response to human trafficking is coordinated and effective as outlined in the report of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Building Partnerships to End Modern-day Slavery; and

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly has worked with other organizations in the Jewish community including T’ruah, the Rabbinic Coalition for Human Rights and American Jewish World Service to address root causes of human trafficking.

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call on the Obama Administration and Congress to implement the following measures to fight human trafficking, including:

  • Implementing the recommendations of the White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Community Partnerships, such as creating a National Call to Action on human trafficking, increasing resources for survivors of human trafficking, creating a federal certification for slavery in supply chains similar to organic certification or Energy Star, publicizing the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and producing toolkits for communities wishing to join the call to end trafficking;
  • Ensuring that comprehensive immigration reform includes regulation of foreign labor recruitment to ensure that those who seek temporary work in the United States are not vulnerable to trafficking (including portability of visas) and streamlining the current temporary worker visa system to close loopholes exploited by employers to bring workers to this country without basic protections;
  • Fully funding the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which sets out the government’s anti-trafficking strategy in prevention, protection of victims, and prosecution of traffickers, but which has never been fully funded; and
  • Ensuring that minors who are arrested for sex work (who are legally victims of human trafficking as set forth in the TVPA) are treated by the justice system as victims of trafficking and not as criminals.

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly encourage its members throughout the world to advocate for similar measures in their respective countries;

Be it further resolved that Rabbinical Assembly members work to educate their communities about modern-day slavery, including developing educational programs, volunteering with local service providers who treat victims of human trafficking, supporting worker justice efforts, and advocating with their elected representatives for increased funding for services for survivors of human trafficking; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly support the efforts of non-governmental organizations to end the root causes of human trafficking.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, June, 2013