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At least Congress agrees on something – stop aiding and abetting government contractors’ that profit from slavery
Portman, Blumenthal Secure Inclusion of Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation in Defense Bill
Office of Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) – Washington, D.C.- Novemeber 30, 2012 – Yesterday, Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) secured inclusion of the End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act (S.2234) in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (S.3254). Earlier this month, Portman and Blumenthal launched the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking. The caucus will bring Senators together to combat human trafficking by promoting awareness, removing demand, supporting prosecution efforts, and providing appropriate service systems for survivors.
Despite the U.S. government’s zero tolerance human trafficking policy, investigations have found that human trafficking by government contractors and subcontractors who operate overseas is still an issue. For example, in 2011, the Commission on Wartime Contracting – an independent, bipartisan legislative commission established to study wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan – concluded that “[e]xisting prohibitions on such trafficking have failed to suppress it.” The commission also concluded that “evidence of the recurrent problem of trafficking in persons by labor brokers or subcontractors of contingency contractors.”
More than 70,000 third-country nationals work for contractors and subcontractors of the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
…the toxic culture of the military allows “open and blatant sexual harassment to occur on a daily basis,” and retaliates against its opponents…
…While the military claims a zero-tolerance policy and touts systematic reforms regarding rape and sexual assault, “this rhetoric has failed to change the misogynistic culture of the Army and has not resulted in any meaningful reform or reduction in sexual assaults”… – Military Accused of Nursing Culture of Rape & Retaliation
Halliburton senior vice-president and six others nabbed in prostitution sting
Clifford Pugh – (Culture Map) – October 12, 2012 – A Halliburton senior vice president and six others were arrested Thursday in an undercover prostitution sting in north Harris County. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office vice unit focused on suspects soliciting sex online and set up the sting operation from a motel located off I-45 and FM 1960.
David Isenberg – (Huffington Post) – July 11, 2012 – A bit over a year ago a report I co-wrote, documenting human trafficking and abuse of workers by Najlaa International Catering Services, a KBR subcontractor, was published by the Project on Government Oversight.
The internal company documents I uncovered revealed, among other things, that U.S. authorities were aware of the deplorable living conditions Najlaa workers endured back in 2008. To their credit both the U.S. government and KBR both worked to pressure Najlaa to fix things once they were alerted to the problem.
But, thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union, newly released documents reveal that the U.S. government and KBR were even more aware of the problem than previously known.
In July 2011 the ACLU filed a lawsuit demanding that the government release documents relating to the trafficking and the abusive treatment of foreign workers on U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case sought documents from the Departments of State and Defense that detail audits and complaints about military contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Joe Davidson – (Washington Post) – June 27, 2012 – A Senate committee wants to make sure Uncle Sam doesn’t act as an inadvertent enabler for international human traffickers and pimps.
With a voice vote Wednesday, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee preliminarily approved legislation designed, as its title says, to “End Trafficking in Government Contracting.”
When contractors submit proposals for government work overseas, they don’t include provisions for trading in humans or indentured servitude. But that apparently has been the case with some private firms operating on U.S. military bases in foreign countries.
“Modern-day slavery by government contractors — unknowingly funded by American taxpayers — is unconscionable and intolerable,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), prime sponsor of the bill. “Current law prohibiting human trafficking is insufficient and ineffective, failing to prevent or punish abuses.”
Says matter “not a systemic issue”
(C-Span) – Washington, DC - May 23, 2012 – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held an oversight hearing on the recent misconduct by Secret Service agents, entitled ”Secret Service on the Line: Restoring Trust and Confidence.”
The hearing examined whether there were warning signals before nine Secret Service employees were fired and three others disciplined for involvement with prostitutes in Colombia and what the Service can do to regain public trust.