Background and Purpose
As a firm that works in the field of gender integration and supports programs in gender equality, Cultural Practice, LLC has zero tolerance for corruption or unethical behavior, including sexual harassment. We maintain robust compliance and ethics programs that are aligned with our corporate values. Key elements of CP’s programs include written compliance standards and procedures, ongoing employee training, regular monitoring of compliance program effectiveness, a reporting process for complaints and concerns, corrective disciplinary actions for noncompliance, and investigation and remediation of problems. CP’s leadership understands the importance of anti-trafficking and anti-corruption initiatives and has devoted the resources sufficient to ensure compliance.
Cultural Practice, LLC (CP) has developed this Anti-Trafficking Compliance Plan (“Plan”) in accordance with the U.S. Government’s zero-tolerance policy regarding trafficking in persons by government contractors and award recipients, as set out in FAR Subpart 22.17 and 52.222-50(h), and in USAID Standard Provision M20 for U.S. Nongovernmental Organizations (“Anti-Trafficking Provisions”).
The purpose of this Plan is to set out CP’s policies and procedures for:
- Making CP employees aware of the conduct prohibited under CP policy and the Anti-Trafficking Provisions and the actions that may be taken against employees for violations;
- Employing fair recruitment, wage, and housing practices; and
- Preventing prohibited trafficking activity by suppliers, subcontractors and subrecipients, and monitoring, detecting, and terminating those who engage in such activities.
This Plan sets out CP’s baseline standards for anti-trafficking compliance and applies presumptively to all U.S. Government contracts, subcontracts, cooperative agreements, awards and subawards. However, it may need to be adapted or modified for projects that are larger, more complex, or involve greater risk of trafficking activity. For all contracts and awards with an estimated value of $500,000 or more, or involve activities outside the U.S., Project staff must examine each one individually to assess the risk of trafficking activity, based on factors such as the number of non-U.S. citizens to be employed and whether the contract or award will involve services or supplies susceptible to trafficking in persons. Project staff must adapt or modify the Plan as necessary to ensure that it is appropriate to the size and complexity of the contract or award and the nature and scope of the activities to be performed.
Employee Awareness Program
CP has adopted a policy on Combating Trafficking in Persons (“Policy”) that reflects the Anti- Trafficking Provisions’ provisions prohibiting trafficking-related activities, describes the actions CP may take against employees and agents who violate the Policy, and sets out the procedure for reporting and investigating Policy violations. The Policy is also summarized in CP’s Employee Policy Handbook.
CP policies and procedures prohibit human trafficking and forced and child labor, promote child protection, and define vetting requirements for vendors relating to trafficking, corruption, and other human rights-related concerns. The obligation to adhere to the Code of Conduct extends to all project partners and stakeholders. All project implementing entities, including sub-contractors, grantees, government partners, and vendors, have access to the Plan on CP’s website. The Plan further emphasizes and explicitly prohibits corrupt practices of any kind related to human trafficking, forced and child labor. Disciplinary actions for noncompliance with CP corporate and project-specific policies and procedures and will be clearly explained in the employee handbook.
CP also keeps these documents on its shared computer at CP headquarters and in its cloud-based filing system, where they can be accessed by all CP personnel at any time. Upon initial adoption, all CP personnel will be notified of the new Policy via a company-wide email containing a link to the Policy with instructions to access and review the Policy. Thereafter, CP will send annual email reminders to all personnel directing them to review the Policy and summarizing any Policy updates.
All new personnel are required to read and acknowledge the Policy at the time of hire, including its anti-trafficking provisions. CP also periodically conducts specialized ethics training on an as-needed basis. Our training emphasizes that corruption is not limited to financial or material gain, but also extends to abuse of position, conflicts of interest, cronyism, and influence by gifts or hospitality.
CP partners are responsible for managing the Ethics and Compliance program, with the assistance of its subcontracted human resources firm. The partners consult regularly to monitor personnel issues and constantly work to ensure that corruption is avoided or quickly and efficiently identified and remedied, conferring with the HR firm to resolve questions as they arise.
CP works with its stakeholders to fully understand the risks faced by the organization and then tailors compliance measures to address those risks. These risk assessments include evaluations of vendors, suppliers, and recruiting agents regarding the possibility of violations of the prohibition on trafficked person or forced or child labor. CP’s risk assessment of vendors and suppliers also includes the company’s hiring practices and use of labor recruiters. Allegations or suspicions of potential violations are promptly investigated, remedied, and, if required, reported to appropriate government officials.
Supply Chain Due Diligence and Safeguards
CP’s procurement process involves making CP’s anti-trafficking policies known to suppliers and recruiting agents and for flowing down the trafficking-related requirements contained in CP’s contracts with the federal government to both subcontractors and recruiting agents. These principles are communicated by the relevant project officer. Where applicable, CP includes the Federal Acquisition Clauses regarding Human Trafficking (FAR 52.222-50 and 52.222-56) or similar requirements from Federal assistance awards in all subcontracts and in all contracts with recruiting agents. Whenever subcontractors are required under these requirements to submit a certification, CP shall require submission prior to the award of the subcontract and annually thereafter.
At the proposal stage, anti-trafficking and other human rights-related vetting of third parties will be completed by CP’s Subcontract Sourcing team. CP follows the guidance in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and prioritizes for attention those suppliers with a profile presenting the most significant risks of adverse human rights impacts, whether based on the specific operations or operating context, the goods or services involved, or other factors.
Based on the results of this risk assessment, certain providers may require heightened pre-contract due diligence, as well as post-contract monitoring. For certain projects believed to be a high risk, additional vetting of subcontracts may include requesting and reviewing subcontractor compliance plans prior to subcontract award to ensure they include adequate monitoring procedures. During contract performance, any indication that vendors or suppliers are potentially engaged in trafficking-related activities will be investigated.
Periodic audits may also be implemented for providers of goods and services that are more susceptible to trafficking and forced labor. CP is responsible for the compliance of our vendors and subcontractors, and any government-directed payment withholding for non-compliance will be against our (prime) contract. CP’s Accounts Payable function and the Project Manager are responsible for ensuring payments are withheld for non-compliance with the prime contract.
CP has multiple mechanisms in place that permit employees and others to report violations of the Code of Conduct or other human rights concerns safely and without retribution. CP maintains an anonymous helpline which is a dedicated, confidential phone line that is monitored by CP’s Managing Partner.
The CP ethics office also has a dedicated, ethics e-mail address (email@example.com). The Helpline and ethics e-mail addresses provide a means through which CP employees can seek advice and guidance on the CP Code of Conduct and CP policies and procedures, as well as a means to ensure that instances of improper conduct or other irregularities are reported, investigated, and resolved. Employees may also contact the Global Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-844-888-FREE or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All reports of suspected ethics violations are investigated and, if a violation is confirmed, appropriate action is taken. That action may include disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment with CP and disclosure to the relevant enforcement authorities.
CP prohibits retaliation against an employee for reporting a suspected violation. Employees who engage in retaliatory behavior will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment with CP. It is each employee’s obligation to report known or suspected violations of these policies. If an employee fails to report a suspected violation, he or she could be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. CP will follow all legal requirements regarding the reporting of suspected trafficking or other violations of the law, including, where applicable, disclosures to contracting officers, the Office of Inspector General, or law enforcement.
To encourage self-reporting of potential violations of laws, requirements, and established processes, project staff are provided detailed information regarding confidential reporting mechanisms and safeguards in place to protect against retaliation or reprisal. Access to confidential reporting mechanisms, including CP’s anonymous helpline referred to above, is made available to all project implementing entities, including sub-contractors, grantees, government partners, and vendors.
Monitoring and Audits
CP monitors vendors and suppliers and will conduct enhanced monitoring of vendors and suppliers that may be susceptible to trafficking and/or forced labor. Audits are performed based on known or suspected risk factors associated with vendors or suppliers. CP will fully cooperate with the government and enforcement agencies to conduct audits and investigations on anti-trafficking compliance.
Where misconduct is uncovered through an internal investigation, third party audit, or otherwise, the misconduct is remedied through corrective action and preventive measures are implemented to reduce the risk of recurrence.
CP will cooperate with all legal requirements regarding policy transparency that call for companies to disclose their efforts to ensure that their supply chains are free of forced labor and other trafficking-related activities.
Cultural Practice Anti-Trafficking Compliance Program References:
- FAR 52.222-50 — Combating Trafficking in Persons (Mar 2015) and 52.222-56 Certification Regarding Trafficking in Persons Compliance Plan (Mar 2015)
- CP Employee Handbook Sections on Harassment and Ethics