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Court to Decide if Military Rape Victims Can Sue Defense Dept. (Updated)

While military service is both an honor and a duty, and carries with it substantial risk to life and limb, the risk of sexual assault and abuse is one risk that no service member should fear. But with a third of all women and possibly a quarter of the men experiencing some type of sexual abuse, or trauma, it is clear that changes have to be made.~Catholic Online

This week, a landmark hearing will decide whether 28 women and men have a case against the military for alleged inaction on rape. If not, hundreds of plaintiffs are lining up for the next one. ~The Daily Beast

Noel Brinkerhoff – (AllGov) – November 17, 2011 – A federal judge (Judge Liam O’Grady) in Virginia is expected this week to rule whether 28 current and former military personnel can sue the Department of Defense for not taking action to curb rape in the armed services.

Filed against former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld, the lawsuit contends that Pentagon leaders allowed the violation of soldiers’ constitutional rights by failing to curb sexual assaults.

The 28 plaintiffs consist of 25 women and three men, all of whom allege they were raped or sexually assaulted by fellow soldiers, and that the Defense Department failed to do anything after the attacks.

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Trafficking in persons – DoD has an App for that but not much else

“Human trafficking by federal overseas contractors is widespread and never punished,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (Va.), the top Democrat on the panel. “Not a single case of human trafficking, sexual assault, wage theft or related crimes has been prosecuted by the Department of Justice, and only a single case has even been referred for prosecution by the Department of Defense. Neither the Army and Air Force Exchange Service nor any other component of DoD or the State Department has suspended or debarred a single federal contractor for human trafficking, even though such abuses are routine.”
~Joe Davidson, Washington Post, November 2, 2011

Agencies blasted for ignoring contractor role in human trafficking

Charles S. Clark – (GovExec) – November 3, 2011 – The State and Defense departments are doing too little to help prosecute criminals working for U.S. subcontractors who trick foreign nationals into indentured servitude and prostitution in and around Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, a House panel was told on Wednesday.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of desperate workers from nations such as Bangladesh, Nepal and the Fiji Islands in recent years have fallen victim to deceitful traffickers who lure them to war zones with the promise of steady work, but then force them to pay commissions and borrow from loan sharks before trapping them in degrading jobs in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Yet not a single prosecution or contractor termination has been documented, witnesses said, a state of affairs that agency representatives could do little to explain. Read the remainder of this entry »