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A Summary of Human Trafficking by the United States Government and the United Nations

 September 14, 2010

Relatives of these Nepalese people had been promised hotel jobs in Jordan, but were sent to Iraq to work as forced labor for Haliburton where they were kidnapped and killed. (photo by Jose More, Chicago Tribune)
Relatives of these Nepalese people had been promised hotel jobs in Jordan, but were sent to Iraq to work as forced labor for Haliburton where they were kidnapped and killed. (photo by Jose More, Chicago Tribune)

This article is a is a summarized collection of mainstream news articles and video clips speaking about the issue of the United States Government and the United Nation’s involvement in the human trafficking and sex slavery industries.

Issues explained include Hiliburton’s reliance on using human trafficking brokers for supplying slave labor in Iraq, and past issues of the US military contractor Dyncorp, NATO, and the UN’s involvement in human trafficking for sex slavery in Eastern Europe and Africa.

Video of Cynthia McKinney Confronting Donald Rumsfeld

This section details Cynthia Mckinney’s March 11, 2005 confrontation of Donald Rumsfeld broadcast on C-SPAN, including summarized supporting references for the issues of US Government involvement in human trafficking and trillions of dollars missing from the Pentagon.
  view individual page  |   view in popup windowRunning Time: 8 minutes 57 seconds  

In this nine minute video clip, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney confronts Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Halliburton’s subsidiary DynCorp’s involvement in human trafficking, the Pentagon’s unaccounted for Trillions, and the 9/11 wargames at the House Hearing on FY06 Dept. of Defense Budget, March 11, 2005.

View an in depth explanation of the issues Cynthia McKinney is speaking about, including an examination of the United States Government's involvement in human trafficking on the article A Summary of Cynthia McKinney.

Following is a partial transcript of this video, the full transcript may be viewed at:

“Transcript of Representative Cynthia McKinney’s Exchange with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, and Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Tina Jonas, March 11th, 2005”

Cynthia McKinney: “I watched President Bush deliver a moving speech at the United Nations in September 2003, in which he mentioned the crisis of the sex trade. The President called for the punishment of those involved in this horrible business. But at the very moment of that speech, DynCorp was exposed for having been involved in the buying and selling of young women and children. While all of this was going on, DynCorp kept the Pentagon contract to administer the smallpox and anthrax vaccines, and is now working on a plague vaccine through the Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program. Mr. Secretary, is it [the] policy of the U.S. Government to reward companies that traffic in women and little girls?”

Cynthia McKinney: “Finally Mr. Secretary, after the last Hearing, I thought that my office was promised a written response to my question regarding the four wargames on September 11th. I have not yet received that response, but would like for you to respond to the questions that I’ve put to you today. And then I do expect the written response to my previous question - hopefully by the end of the week.”

Donald Rumsfeld: “Thank you, Representative. First, the answer to your first question is, no, absolutely not, the policy of the United States Government is clear, unambiguous, and opposed to the activities that you described. The second question —”

Cynthia McKinney: “Well how do you explain the fact that DynCorp and its successor companies have received and continue to receive government contracts?”

Donald Rumsfeld: “I would have to go and find the facts, but there are laws and rules and regulations with respect to government contracts, and there are times that corporations do things they should not do, in which case they tend to be suspended for some period; there are times then that the - under the laws and the rules and regulations for the - passed by the Congress and implemented by the Executive branch - that corporations can get off of - out of the penalty box if you will, and be permitted to engage in contracts with the government. They’re generally not barred in perpetuity -”

Cynthia McKinney: “This contract - this company - was never in the penalty box. If you could proceed to my second question, please..”


Donald Rumsfeld:  “I'm advised by Dr. Chu that it was not the corporation that was engaged in the activities you characterized but I'm told it was an employee of the corporation, and it was some years ago in the Balkans that that took place.”

Cynthia McKinney: ”It's my understanding that it continues to take place, and..”

Donald Rumsfeld: ”Is that right? Well if you could give me information to that effect..”

Cynthia McKinney: ”I am sure you are interested in all the information that I have, and I will be more than happy to provide it for you.”

Donald Rumsfeld: ”Good, thank you.”

Halliburton / KBR’s past reliance on human trafficking for labor needs in Iraq

October 9, 2005 - The Chicago Tribune’s ”Pipeline to Peril” multi-part article

In October of 2005, the Chicago Tribune published a multi-part special report ”Pipeline to Peril,” reporting on Halliburton subsidiaries’ widespread reliance on making use of firms specializing in human trafficking for supplying cheap labor for meeting the demands of the privatization of military support operations in Iraq.

From the article:

”The 'Pipeline to Peril' series reveals how some subcontractors used deception and coercion to recruit foreigners to work on U.S. bases in Iraq. The series told the story of 12 Nepalese, some of whom thought they had gotten hotel jobs in Jordan. Instead, all 12 were sent to Iraq, where they were kidnapped and killed.”

DynCorp / UN / NATO’s involvement in sex slavery

June 26, 2002 - An article by Robert Capps entitled ”Outside the Law,” speaks about KBR related sex slavery in Bosnia ( part 1 of 2 )

This June 26, 2002 article talks about Ben Johnson, a Dyncorp helicopter mechanic stationed in Bosnia who was fired for reporting coworkers who have been purchasing passports of women and girls as young as twelve years old who were being trafficked from poor Eastern European countries such Russia, Moldova and Romania for the purpose of forced prostitution.

From the article:

”Pending lawsuits allege that U.S. military contractors on duty in Bosnia bought and 'owned' young women. But the accused men have never been — and will never be — brought to justice.” ...

June 27, 2002 - An article ”Outside the Law,” speaks about KBR related sex slavery in Bosnia ( part 2 of 2 )

From the article:

”Investigators knew employees for U.S. military contractors in Bosnia bought women as sex slaves. But because of legal loopholes and bureaucratic confusion, no one was prosecuted.” ...

”In early 2000, the U.S. Army received information that private contractors working at a base near Tuzla, Bosnia, were purchasing women from local brothels. Some of the women may have been as young as 12, and some were being held as sex slaves, the sources alleged.” ...

”Investigations by the Bosnian police and the U.S. Army confirmed the gist of those reports, turning up significant evidence of wrongdoing by at least seven men — including at least one supervisor — employed by Reston, Va.-based DynCorp. Despite those findings, no one ever faced criminal charges or prosecution in either Bosnia or the United States.” ...

August 8, 2002 - Guardian Unlimited’s article ”UN 'Ignored' abuse at Kosovo mental homes”

From the article:

”Patients at United Nations mental institutions in Kosovo have been raped and physically attacked under the eyes of UN staff, held in 'filthy and degrading' conditions, and threatened with punishment if they report the abuses, according to a damning investigation published in New York yesterday.” ...

”In one case, a woman patient was raped after UN employees locked her in a room with a male patient because they wanted to 'calm her down,' while employees who observed another rape in a hallway said they did not intervene because the victim 'must have asked for it,' according to the independent campaigning group Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI), which produced the report.” ...

April 25, 2002 - London Telegraph’s report ”Teenagers used for sex by UN in Bosnia.”

UN Human Rights Investigator Kathryn Bolkovac

Summary of the article:

Human rights investigator Kathryn Bolkovac has filed a lawsuit against her employer, the US-based agency DynCorp, which is registered with the State Department to provide American police officers to work on humanitarian and peacekeeping duties. She claims that she was fired for exposing the sexual abuse of Bosnian women by her United Nations colleagues, and told a British employment tribunal that girls as young as 15 were offered for sex.

The former American policewoman claims she was sacked because she sent an email to Jacques Paul Klein, the chief of UN mission in Bosnia-Hercegovina, which highlighted the sexual exploitation of women by those who had been sent to protect them from the sex trade. She was demoted and removed from front line policing after emailing the claims that ”.. women and girls were handed over to bar owners and told to perform sex acts to pay for their costumes, and the women who refused were locked in rooms and withheld food and outside contact for days or weeks. After this time they are told to dance naked on table tops and sit with clients. If the women still refuse to perform sex acts with the customers they are beaten and raped in the rooms by the bar owners and their associates. They are told if they go to the police they will be arrested for prostitution and being an illegal immigrant.”

Giving evidence to the tribunal, Mrs Bolkovac said she had discovered ”extensive use of brothels” by UN police and other peacekeepers. She said she also found that international staff were helping local police to sell women for the sex trade and she feared this was being ”covered up.”

”The victims of trafficking were reporting extensive use of the brothels and other criminal acts by the international community and international police task force,” she said.

She claimed that Mike Stiers, the international police task force’s deputy commissioner, had flippantly dismissed victims of human trafficking as ”just prostitutes.”

This attitude led many members of the peacekeeping mission to believe it was acceptable to use sex slaves and go to brothels, she said.

Followup article:  July 8, 2002 - London Telegraph report ”Kathryn Bolkovac Investigator wins UN sex abuse case.”

From the article:

”A human rights investigator, who insisted she was sacked for exposing the sexual abuse of women in Bosnia by her United Nations colleagues, had her claim of unfair dismissal upheld yesterday.”

Oct 20, 2002 - New York Times article ”In Europe, Sex Slavery Is Thriving Despite Raids”

From the article:

”An intensive European operation conducted with American assistance to crack down on the trafficking of women for the sex trade has had mixed success, American officials say ... Over the past two years, both NATO soldiers and United Nations officials, including some Americans, have been implicated in the exploitation of young women held in sexual bondage.” ...

January 17, 2003 - London Telegraph’s article ”UN troops accused of 'systematic rape' in Sierra Leon”

From the article:

”Rebels, government troops and United Nations peacekeepers were all guilty of raping women on a systematic scale throughout Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war, a leading international human rights group reported yesterday.” ...

”The mutilation of civilians was a trademark feature of the 10-year civil war, but Human Rights Watch said sexual abuse was much more common in the unstable West African nation.” ...

”'The war in Sierra Leone became infamous for the amputation of hands and arms,' Peter Takirambudde, the head of Human Rights Watch’s Africa division, said. 'Rape may not be visible in the same way, but it is every bit as devastating.'” ...

February 9. 2003 - The Scotsman’s exclusive interview with UN High Commissioner for human rights in Bosnia Madeleine Rees, ”Bosnia sex trade shames UN.”

From the article:

”A SENIOR United Nations official is demanding that her colleagues involved in the sex trade in Bosnia should be stripped of their immunity and prosecuted ... Madeleine Rees, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bosnia, has broken ranks to demand that UN officials, international peacekeepers and police who are involved in sex crimes be brought to justice in their home countries ... Speaking exclusively to Scotland on Sunday, the British lawyer has also launched an outspoken attack on her former boss. She accuses Jacques Paul Klein, the former head of the UN Mission in Bosnia, of not taking UN complicity in the country’s burgeoning sex trade seriously enough.” ...

July 10, 2003 - The Independent’s article ”Dark Side of Peacekeeping.”

This article speaks about a number of incidents around the world involving UN Peacekeepers committing serious crimes and escaping punishment for those crimes, including the issue of sex slavery in Bosnia.

From the article:

”'There is virtually no dispute any more that the issue of trafficking arose predominantly with the arrival of the peacekeeping troops in 1995,' says Madeleine Rees, the head of the UN Office of the High Commission of Human Rights. 'This is not to say they created the market. Traffickers made sure they created the demand.'” ...

”UN peacekeepers remain under the exclusive criminal jurisdiction of their own national authorities and therefore have immunity from local prosecution. If the UN Board of Inquiry finds reasonable grounds for a charge of serious misconduct, it recommends that the peacekeeper is repatriated for subsequent disciplinary action in his or her own country.” ...

”Madeleine Rees says that only 24 IPTF officers have been repatriated to their countries for misconduct. 'No peacekeeper has been prosecuted,' she says. 'It’s outrageous that they can act with impunity. The UN has no authority to punish offenders; all it can do is try to ensure that the Code of Conduct is enforced, and that means repatriating when they offend. Proper investigations should be held and a file prepared so the accused can contest the allegations, and if it is shown that there is a prima facie case it should go back to the peacekeeper’s country for further investigation and a trial, or some form of disciplinary proceeding should take place. The other option would be for the member state to waive the immunity and do it there.' Peacekeepers commit such crimes, she says, 'because they can get away with it'.” ...

May 6, 2004 - BBC News report ”Kosovo US troops 'fuel sex trade'”

Amnesty International has exposed the UN and American NATO troops in Kosovo as using trafficed women and girls for sex, and some have been involved in the trafficking itself, as BBC news reports.

From the article:

”The presence of peacekeepers in Kosovo is fuelling the sexual exploitation of women and encouraging trafficking, according to Amnesty International .. It claims UN and Nato troops in the region are using the trafficked women and girls for sex and some have been involved in trafficking itself .. Amnesty says girls as young as 11 from eastern European countries are being sold into the sex slavery.” ...

Amnesty International’s 2004 report ”Kosovo: So does that mean I have rights?” is available for download in PDF format from Amnesty International’s website.

”Amnesty’s report, entitled 'So does that mean I have rights? Protecting the human rights of women and girls trafficked for forced prostitution in Kosovo,' was published on Thursday .. The report includes harrowing testimonies of abduction, deprivation of liberty and denial of freedom of movement, torture and ill-treatment, including psychological threats, beatings and rape ... The report condemns the role of the international peacekeepers.” ...

”It says that after 40,000 K-For troops and hundreds of Unmik personnel were sent to Kosovo in 1999, a 'small-scale local market for prostitution was transformed into a large-scale industry based on trafficking run by organised criminal networks'” ... ”The report claims international personnel make up about 20% of the people using trafficked women and girls even though its members comprise only 2% of Kosovo’s population.” ...

”Amnesty says Unmik’s own figures show that by the end of 2003, 10 of their police officers had been dismissed or repatriated in connection with allegations related to trafficking ... In the year and half to July 2003 some 22-27 K-For troops were suspected of offences relating to trafficking, the report says ... However, Kfor troops and UN personnel are immune from prosecution in Kosovo and those who have been dismissed relating to such offences have escaped any criminal proceedings in their home countries.” ...

”The international community in Kosovo is now adding insult to injury by securing immunity from prosecution for its personnel and apparently hushing up their shameful part in the abuse of trafficked women and girls.” ...

June 29, 2004 - NATO Policy document: NATO Policy On Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings ( updated May 15, 2007 )

From the website:

”A zero-tolerance policy regarding trafficking in human beings by NATO forces and staff, combined with education and training, is required.” ...

”NATO will support and sustain further development of practical cooperation between nations and between NATO and other international institutions such as the UN, OSCE and International Organization for Migration. NATO will also consult with NGOs active in this field with a view to improving its existing mechanisms and measures for the implementation of the present policy.” ...

”NATO and non-NATO troop contributing nations will develop and implement various measures that discourage the demand by their military and civilian personnel that fosters all forms of exploitation of persons.” ...

”In the context of this policy trafficking means, the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat of use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purposes of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others, or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.” ...

”In order to ensure maximum effectiveness of the present policy, NATO nations commit themselves to ensure full national implementation of this policy. Non-NATO Troop contributing nations are expected to take similar steps upon joining a NATO-led operation.” ...

”NATO personnel serving at NATO Headquarters and its Agencies as well as those taking part in NATO led operations should continue to conduct themselves with regard to the highest professional standards and with respect to national as well as international law.” ...

December 27, 2005 - The Chicago Tribune article, ”US Stalls on Human Trafficing” ( registration required )

From the article:

”WASHINGTON - Three years ago, President Bush declared that he had 'zero tolerance' for trafficking in humans by the government’s overseas contractors, and two years ago Congress mandated a similar policy.

But notwithstanding the president’s statement and the congressional edict, the Defense Department has yet to adopt a policy to bar human trafficking.

”A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions and a final policy still appears to be months away, according to those involved and Defense Department records.

The lobbying groups opposing the plan say they’re in favor of the idea in principle, but said they believe that implementing key portions of it overseas is unrealistic. They represent thousands of firms, including some of the industry’s biggest names, such as DynCorp International and Halliburton subsidiary KBR, both of which have been linked to trafficking-related concerns.” ...

January 3, 2007 - The London Telegraph article ”Yet again, the UN shows itself unfit for purpose.”

From the article:

”It wouldn’t be the first time. If UN personnel have, as alleged, been molesting children in southern Sudan, they will be following in a long tradition of abuse. Around the world, UN officials have run smuggling and prostitution rings, stolen and sold supplies, and traded food for sex. Sometimes, the racket becomes institutionalised, as when UN contractors collaborated with Ba’athists on the oil-for-food boondoggle. More often, the organization is greedy and self-serving, but stops short of outright corruption. We learnt this week, for example, that the UN has voted £2.5 million to refurbish the secretary-general’s residence in New York (Ban Ki-moon and his wife are being put up in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria in the meantime).”

The reason that the UN so often behaves badly is, paradoxically, because so many people wish it well. Because the organization embodies the loftiest of ideals - peace among nations - it tends to receive the automatic benefit of the doubt. We are so fond of the theoretical UN that we rarely drag our gaze down to the actual one. The UN has therefore fallen out of the habit of having to explain itself and, in consequence, become flabby, immobilist and often sleazy.” ...

What is ”DynCorp”?

from the June 26, 2002 ”” article ”Outside the Law”:

”.. These firms— often referred to as private military companies or private military firms— provide an assortment of services to the armed forces and the U.S. government as well as foreign governments and international organizations, and it’s a rapidly growing business. In addition to mechanic units such as the one Johnston joined, DynCorp provides communications and weapons specialists to U.S. forces, crop eradication pilots to the State Department for use in South America, and police officers to the U.N.

DynCorp has a lot of company in this booming field. Kellogg Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton— of which Vice President Dick Cheney is a former CEO— is another major player. The company has run or currently runs U.S. military bases in such far-flung locations as Georgia, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Rwanda, Somalia and the Balkans. Some companies actually train foreign forces. The firm MPRI, which boasted to the Los Angeles Times that it has 'more generals per square foot than the Pentagon,' is in line for the contract to train the new Afghan army. As America continues its broad war against terror, these and other similar companies will be deployed to the Philippines, Afghanistan and anywhere else American, U.N. or NATO troops are sent.

In just 10 years, the private military industry has grown from a handful of companies to hundreds, with its income rising from millions of dollars a year to an estimated $100 billion a year, says Peter W. Singer, an Olin fellow with the Brookings Institution who has spent the last seven years studying the field.

”But with their growing influence come new questions about their role. Are they monitored well enough, and by whom? In countries without a solid civic, military or police infrastructure, whether Bosnia or Afghanistan, who can police them? Are they above the law, or acting as the law themselves? Critics contend that these companies often operate without oversight in distant and developing countries and aren’t subject to the scrutiny conventional military operations receive. Problems, they say, are inevitable.” ...

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