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Human trafficking: modern-day slavery

(Courtesy Graphic)

(Courtesy Graphic)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Although slavery was abolished nearly 150 years ago, modern-day slavery continues to thrive, making it vital for the people of Vandenberg to know what to look for as to avoid becoming facilitators of what is known as human trafficking.

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

The 30th Equal Opportunity Office monitors Vandenberg's training program on human trafficking. 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 30th Security Forces Squadron, 30th Inspector General's Office and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. To report a possible case of human trafficking contact:

· 30th Security Forces Squadron: 606-3911
· 30th Inspector General's Office: 606-7417
· Air Force Office of Special Investigations: 606-1852

To report anonymously, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at