Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
February 22, 2007
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) is modern-day slavery, a crime that is brutal, dehumanizing and a multi-dimensional threat to international security. Human trafficking is linked to organized crime, undermines peacekeeping efforts, and is incompatible with military core values. Any nation serious about ending human trafficking must begin by ensuring that its own uniformed employees lead by example by helping combat modern-day slavery at home and abroad.
Historically, profiteers of both labor and sex trafficking have targeted international military organizations. Labor traffickers sometimes try to exploit military contract opportunities. Sex traffickers often prey on individual peacekeepers and servicemen with solicitations of commercial sex. While the vast majority of military personnel conduct themselves honorably, a number of recent trafficking in persons cases have occurred in connection with international military organizations.
Typically, commercial sex sellers conduct activities, such as pimping or maintaining brothels, in districts frequented by service members. These activities also provide cover for sex trafficking - the recruitment or use of, especially women and girls, for commercial sexual exploitation.
Where prostitution is legal or tolerated, there is a greater demand for human trafficking victims and, typically, an increase in the number of women and children trafficked into commercial sex slavery. Of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked across international borders annually, 80 percent of victims are female, and up to 50 percent are minors. Hundreds of thousands of these women and children are abused in prostitution each year, including many who are used in prostitution near military bases.
Peacekeepers and service members who engage in commercial sexual exploitation put themselves at risk of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, which jeopardizes the readiness of their unit.
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