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Human trafficking: modern-day slavery

Senior Alman Heather R. Shaw - 30th Space Wing Public Affairs

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Human trafficking is the use of another human being for illegal purposes such as commercial sex and forced labor. Although human trafficking is generally committed knowingly, it can affect unknowing people who are unaware of the warning signs and unable to detect it.

"Members need to know that they can be prosecuted for human trafficking even if they are unaware that they are involved in this criminal activity," said Master Sgt. Michael Brown, 30th Space Wing Equal Opportunity deputy director. "Especially when traveling abroad, be aware of the type of establishments you are visiting, and know how to detect possible human trafficking activities."

Warning signs of human trafficking include secretive advertisement for services and restrictive access at brothels or other workplaces. Victims of human trafficking often are unable to speak the local language and can't move freely about the community or are often accompanied by a chaperone.

"It is vital that military, Department of Defense members and civilians, are aware of the warning signs before hiring individuals for work or before visiting high-risk businesses," Sergeant Brown said. "Just because businesses such as brothels are legal in many countries, if trafficking occurs, the member can still be prosecuted by the U.S."

Equal Opportunity offices monitor training programs on human trafficking and annual human trafficking training is included in the Human Relations training available on the Advanced Distributed Learning Service web site.

Reports of human trafficking are monitored by the Security Forces, Inspector General offices and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. To report a possible case of human trafficking contact, any of these organizations.

To report anonymously, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-3737-888.

Sept. 15, 2010