Topeka – Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D., announced changes Monday to the state’s contract and procurement process to include language encouraging vendors to disclose steps they are taking to prevent human trafficking.
The language applies to contracts and procurements of the Executive Branch, excluding the Kansas Board of Regents. Currently, the Office of Procurement and Contracts within the Department of Administration manages more than 3,000 contracts for the Executive Branch.
“This policy encourages all prospective companies wanting to do business here in Kansas to take steps to address human trafficking,” said Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. “Human trafficking is a national issue, and this is just one more step Kansas can take to prevent it from happening in our state.”
The Department of Administration will include the following language in all bid solicitations, which serves as a mechanism for the state to encourage good corporate citizenship to fight this societal scourge:
“The State of Kansas, as a matter of public policy, encourages anyone doing business with the State of Kansas to take steps to discourage human trafficking. If prospective bidders/vendors/Contractors have any policies or participate in any initiatives that discourage human trafficking the prospective bidder/vendor/Contractor is encouraged to submit same as part of their bid response.”
The decision follows steps taken in recent years by Executive Branch to combat human trafficking and raise awareness. Colyer has signed a proclamation designating January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
“The wholistic approach by state government aims to combat human trafficking whether it is serving victims, prosecuting criminals or engaging in other business activities to reduce the economic profit of human trafficking,” said Sarah L. Shipman, Secretary of the Department of Administration.
Shipman said as state contracts are re-bid this language will be incorporated into the new contracts awarded through the many hundreds of new bid solicitations initiated each year. This disclosure of information as part of the bidding process will provide another means of distinguishing between bidders and making contract awards, as well as encouraging vendors awarded state contracts to take actions to address human trafficking.
Joining Colyer and Shipman in the announcement were Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Freedom Now USA Executive Director Barry Feaker and Alan Cobb, CEO of the Kansas Chamber.
Since taking office in 2011, Attorney General Schmidt’s human trafficking efforts have been a four-pronged approach through prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership.
The efforts include stronger penalties and new laws allowing for civil damages in human trafficking cases, as well as a requirement that all commercial driver’s license holders obtain anti-human trafficking training and certification as a condition for obtaining or renewing a CDL.
“Kansas has been a leader in efforts to raise awareness of human trafficking whether it be commercial sexual exploitation or exploitative labor practices,” Schmidt said. “This new initiative complements those efforts and raises the bar for those wanting to do business with the State of Kansas.”