Pentagon’s anti-trafficking efforts need improvement

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For the past 10 years, the Pentagon has required a clause against human-trafficking on military contracts, but a review by the inspector general found almost half of current contracts were missing the clause, making it difficult to prosecute violations.

Prior to the enactment of the clause, U.S. contractors operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina were allegedly involved with sexual slavery and human trafficking, prompting a criminal investigation. In 2000, Congress passed legislation to hold U.S. contractor and military personnel more accountable.

The anti-trafficking clause allows the contract to be terminated immediately, without penalty to the government, if the contractor is found to be involved in human trafficking, sought prostitution or used forced labor. The inspector general reviewed 368 contracts awarded by the Navy, Army, Marine Corp. or Air Force and found that 47 percent were missing the clause.

“DOD contracting offices lack an effective process for obtaining information pertaining to trafficking,” the report said.

Contracting offices were occasionally unable to correct violations when the clause was absent. DOD contracting offices relied solely on self-reporting from contractors regarding violations.

FAST FACT: In 2002, a news report alleged that trafficked women from Russia, Eastern Europe and the Philippines were forced into prostitution in South Korean bars frequented by U.S. military personnel. In 2004, reports surfaced with allegations of forced labor and debt bondage against a U.S. contractor in Iraq.

Following are other new watchdog reports released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), various federal Offices of Inspector General (OIG), and other government entities.

MISC.

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) needs to better document its expenses on management and administration. The agency spent an estimated $3.8 billion in salaries and other expenses. (GAO)
  • A review of large rail systems by the Federal Transit Administration found that the safety culture, the level of safety awareness and commitment to safe practices, was low at some state agencies. The report attributes a low level of safety awareness at the Washington, D.C. transit agency as a contributing factor in the train collision in June 2009. (GAO)

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