FORT BELVOIR, Virginia, Jan. 14, 2020 —
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Nearly 25 million women, men and children around the world are exploited through forced labor or commercial sex while traffickers profit from victims’ suffering. All it takes is one observant police officer, hotel worker or bystander to speak up and save a victim, according to the FBI, which works with partner agencies to stop traffickers.
“Traffickers rob countless individuals of their dignity and freedom, splinter families and threaten the safety of our communities,” President Donald Trump said in a 2020 presidential proclamation. “In all its forms, human trafficking is an intolerable blight on any society dedicated to freedom, individual rights and the rule of law.”
According to the Defense Departments’ Combating Trafficking in Persons Program Management Office, the crime, which often hides in plain sight, jeopardizes DoD’s mission. The Defense Logistics Agency complies with DoD policy that requires military and civilian employees to complete annual awareness training in the agencywide Learning Management System.
Gordon “Buzz” Hackett, DLA Installation Management director, said in a Jan. 13 blog that DLA supply chains for goods and services that support overseas contingencies are susceptible to victimizing child laborers and other vulnerable labor pools. Contracting and acquisition experts are trained to identify and report signs of human trafficking.
“The best way to fight trafficking is by learning as much about the organization or business DLA is working with, understanding local labor laws and enforcing the U.S. government’s position against trafficking,” he wrote.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. And almost 15 years ago, the United States adopted the United Nations’ Palermo Protocol, created to prevent, suppress and punish human trafficking, especially among women. Together, the programs establish prevention programs, create victim protections, and advance prosecutions under expanded criminal statutes domestically and globally.
Employees can help end human trafficking by following these steps from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Trafficking in Persons:
Know the signs – Learn the red flags and indicators of trafficking. Challenge common myths about trafficking with facts.
Report a tip – Contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline if you have concerns about a potential trafficking situation. Call 1-888-373-7888, text HELP to BEFREE (233733) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spread the word – Watch and share HHS’s Look Beneath the Surface.
Think before you shop – Calculate your slavery footprint and know which goods may be produced by child or forced labor.
Tell your friends – The U.S. government has zero-tolerance policies for employees, uniformed service members and contractors paying for sex. Learn more about the Federal Acquisition Regulations and human trafficking.
Volunteer locally – Ask anti-trafficking organizations in your community how you can support them.
Stay informed – Sign up for Department of Justice human trafficking news alerts.
Employees can also report human trafficking by contact the local police or the DoD Hotline at 1-800-424-9098.