The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), in conjunction with an inter-agency task force on combating trafficking in persons recently published for public comment a set of “Anti-Trafficking Risk Management Best Practices & Mitigation Considerations.” The task force states that the proposed guidance was developed as a set of best practices and mitigation considerations to promote clarity and consistency in applying the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) provisions addressing Combating Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) (primarily FAR 52.222-50) and to help “contracting officers determine if a contractor is taking adequate steps to meet its anti-trafficking responsibilities under the FAR.”
While the proposed best practices contain relatively general statements of best practices and leave implementation to industry, they raise some interpretive questions, such as:
- (1) To what extent do the best practices imply that prime contractors should flow-down their CTIP policies to subcontractors, a practice that many contractors avoid?
- (2) Whether the listed mitigating factor of “notif[ying] to the US government immediately of any violations” fails to appropriately memorialize the continued right of contractors to conduct internal investigations to determine if credible information of a violation exists, as reiterated in the FAR Council’s “Discussion” in the final FAR CTIP rule issued in 2015?
Both of these issues have been the subject of prior comments on the proposed revisions to the FAR CTIP rules in September 2013. Those comments were cited by the FAR Council in the “Discussion” section of the final rule and improved understanding of the final rule in these areas. Comments on the proposed best practices are due on January 9, 2017.