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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.
David Isenberg – (Huffington Post) – May 3, 2012 – I confess: I have an interest in an unseemly topic. Last year I coauthored a report on the subject and testified before Congress about it. The subject is labor trafficking.
So let’s give credit where it is due. On May 1, the International Stability Operations Association, a leading private military and security contracting trade association and the American Bar Association hosted a Combating Labor Trafficking: Legal and Compliance Mechanisms in the Fight Against Forced Labor conference. The coordinating partners for the event were such major companies as DynCorp International, Triple Canopy, FSI Worldwide, and Principal Risk Solutions.
This is not, of course, a problem exclusive to the PMSCO sector but neither is it something that has happened only now and then either. Suffice it to say that it enough of a problem that this is the second conference ISOA organized on the issue, the first being seven years ago. The conference program guide minced no words in stating why a conference is necessary:
Labor trafficking is a disgraceful practice that plagues many country as well as international peacekeeping and stability operations. Poverty creates pools of desperate labor at high risk of human trafficking of all kinds, including forced labor. The problem is morally reprehensible but of such enormous complexity it cannot be solved by a single sector and must be addressed by stakeholders working in partnership from all sides — private, governmental, nongovernmental and humanitarians sectors; clients and employers
- More Secret Service sex secrets not-so-secret – (Click HERE for article)
- Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks on Human Trafficking for the Frank and Kula Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series – (Click HERE for article)
- Senators to inquire about gov. contractor angle in secret service scandal – (Click HERE for article)
- David Isenberg – The DynCorp “See No Evil” Monkey - (Click HERE for article)
- New Legislation Includes POGO’s Recommendations for Ending Human Trafficking in U.S. War Zones – (Click HERE for article)
Korva Coleman – (NPR) – April 26, 2012 – Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano pledged on Wednesday the investigation into Secret Service agents who allegedly hired prostitutes this month in Cartagena, Colombia, “will be complete and thorough and we will leave no stone unturned.”
According to the sources, Huntington was the agent in a seventh-floor hotel room in Cartagena who had a dispute over pay with an escort. ~CNN
The identities of two Secret Service supervisors who have been pushed out of the agency in the wake of a prostitution scandal have been revealed.
Lawrence Berger, the general counsel for the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said Thursday he is representing Greg Stokes and David Chaney. ~Secret Service supervisors involved in Colombia scandal identified
The Secret Service has yanked the security clearances of 11 members accused of bringing prostitutes to a hotel in Colombia ahead of last week’s pan-American summit, government officials with knowledge of the investigation said Monday. ~ CNN
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters that the military “let the boss down.”
Robert Burns – (The Associated Press) – April 16, 2012 – The top U.S. military officer said Monday the nation’s military leadership is embarrassed by allegations of misconduct against at least 10 U.S. military members at a Colombia hotel on the eve of President Barack Obama’s visit over the weekend.
“We let the boss down,” Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon news conference. He said he regretted that the scandal, which also involved 11 Secret Service agents accused of cavorting with prostitutes at the hotel, diverted attention from Obama’s diplomacy at a Latin America summit.
“I can speak for myself and my fellow chiefs: We’re embarrassed by what occurred in Colombia, though we’re not sure exactly what it is,” Dempsey added.
Dana Liebelson – (POGO) – March 28, 2012 – U.S. taxpayers unknowingly fund human trafficking in Iraq and Afghanistan because of poor contractor oversight–but bipartisan Members of Congress are cracking down on this deplorable crime. A new bill introduced on Monday in the House and the Senate incorporates many of POGO’s recommendations for stopping U.S. contractors and subcontractors from getting away with modern-day slavery. Some contractors may complain, but both versions of the bill deserve resounding support from the public.
The End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act (S. 2234 and H.R. 4259) is sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) respectively, along with many notable cosponsors. The legislation is the long-awaited response to a variety of reports from war zones over the course of several years—including the Commission on Wartime Contracting’s final report, which found “tragic evidence of the recurrent problem of trafficking in persons by labor brokers or subcontractors of contingency contractors.”
POGO Director of Investigations Nick Schwellenbach testified before a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on this issue in November.