By Ron Jensen
More than 2 million allies have jonied the effort to stop modern slavery.
Foot soldiers, you might say.
The Defense Department has instructed military members to be vigilant for evidence of human trafficking.
This is not inconsequential.
A significant number of U.S. military members are stationed in nearly two dozen countries around the world–in Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific region.
But the warning from the Pentagon went out to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines stationed in America, too. And to its civilian employees worldwide, adding a million or so more pairs of eyes to the fight.
John F. Awtrey, the DoD’s director of law enforcement policy and support, pointed out in the press release, “While traffic victims generally come from the poor places in the world, their destination . . . is all over the world. A lot of countries where our service members are deployed have evidence of a lot of trafficking, and it’s here in the United States, as well.”
The military began training military members and civilian employees on how to spot evidence of human trafficking back in 2004 when military members were found frequenting places in South Korea that were involved in trafficking women from Russia and the Philippines.
Military members are, for the most part, well-trained at spotting something out of the ordinary. People who can spot disturbed earth on a dirt road in Afghanistan where a deadly bomb has been placed probably can be counted on to notice warning signs of human trafficking.
But this is a role we all can play. And so can our friends and family members.
We should obligate ourselves to know how to spot evidence of human trafficking and share that information with our friends.
The Pentagon release tells of a civilian employee at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, who had a meal once a month at a Chinese restaurant near the base. He noticed that the staff was new every time he visited.
He reported his suspicions and the FBI busted a human trafficking ring.
This isn’t a job only for the authorities or the folks who wear badges. This is something all of us can do.
The Pentagon points out that nightclubs, bars, spas, nail salons and dry cleaners are all places where people being trafficked are put to work.
And, just in case you do see something suspicious, the number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center is 1-888-373-7888.