Combating Human Trafficking

  • Published
  • By Linda Ambard
  • 509 Bomb Wing violence prevention integrator
“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery,” said Anthony M. Kurta, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy. “It not only destroys the lives of those victimized, but also destroys countless families and poses a direct threat to the security and well-being of the entire world.”

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal activity in the world and it includes modern-day slavery, forced labor, forced prostitution and indentured slavery. The Air Force Instruction 36-2921 defines trafficking in persons as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by means of threat, use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse or exploitation.”

We may think human trafficking cannot happen in Missouri, but last year there were 388 substantiated cases. Most of which involved young American women.

For a rural area like Missouri, the potential for human trafficking is high. Every military member, civilian and contractor is required to take the annual training for Combating Trafficking in Persons because few of us are aware of how far this problem is reaching.

Military members need to be extra cautious while on a deployment or while living overseas where some illegal activities are considered legal in those areas. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, military members may still be prosecuted.

The top five sex trafficking venues come from online advertisements, residential brothels, hotel or motel based, commercial brothels and other venues. The labor cases involve traveling and sales crews, landscaping crews, health and beauty services, restaurant and food services and agriculture.

Possible signs of human trafficking include: signs of physical abuse, poor living conditions, living at a work site, being overly submissive or fearful, inability to speak without supervision, refusal to make eye contact, not being allowed to speak in English or being underpaid.
The Department of Defense has a zero tolerance policy regarding trafficking in persons.

If personnel see something that could be human trafficking, they should call the 509th Security Forces Squadron at 660-687-3700 or notify the U.S. AirForce Office of Special Investigates through the U.S. Air ForceEagle Eyes program by texting“AFOSI” plus the informationto 274637 (CRIMES).

Editor’s Note:
For more information, contact Linda Ambard, Violence Prevention Integrator at 660-687-7499.
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