by Brian Hagberg
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
9/22/2015 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- "Money
may be able to buy a lot of things, but it should never, ever be able
to buy another human being." -Secretary of State John Kerry
Indentured servitude, forced labor, modern day slavery, forced
prostitution, the sex trade, human trafficking or trafficking in persons
are all ways to refer to human trafficking, a very real and widespread
issue, that could be happening closer than one might think.
"[Human trafficking] is the second largest criminal activity in the
world," said Cecilia Smith, sexual assault victim advocate, adding that
the I-25 corridor is a heavy trafficking corridor.
The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team manages the Combat
Trafficking in Persons program, working closely with the Office of
Special Investigations and Security Forces to provide Schriever Air
Force Base personnel with the information they need to help combat
"Due to the seriousness of the crime-it is a grave violation of human
rights, it's [potential] disabling impact on our military readiness, the
Air Force has established a zero tolerance [policy]," Smith said.
According to the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report
2015, the Department of Justice initiated 208 federal human trafficking
prosecutions of 335 defendants, for fiscal year 2014. The DOJ
successfully prosecuted 184 of those defendants.
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." Examples include forced prostitution, forced
labor and debt bondage.
One area where military and Department of Defense civilian personnel
need to be extra cautious is on a deployment or overseas station, where
some of the activities associated with human trafficking, such as
prostitution, are legal.
"Even in those countries, you're still under the jurisdiction of the
Uniform Code of Military Justice so you can still be prosecuted," Smith
said. "Even though it may be legal in that country, don't participate in
those activities because you're [supporting criminal activity]."
Smith said personnel should be aware of their surroundings, both at home
and abroad, and watch for indicators of a possible trafficking
situation, including: signs of physical abuse, poor living conditions,
having to live at their work site, being submissive or fearful,
inability to speak to an individual without supervision, refusal to make
eye contact or constantly looking down, inability or not allowed to
speak English and being unpaid or paid very little.
"Trafficking victims are kept in bondage through a combination of fear,
intimidation, abuse and psychological controls," Smith said. "While each
victim will have a different experience, they share common threads.
Trafficking victims live a life marked by abuse, betrayal of their basic
human rights and control under their trafficker."
If personnel see something that could be human trafficking, they should
report it to SFS or OSI. For more information, contact the SAPR office