By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 8, 2014 – The Defense Department continues to train its workforce to identify human trafficking and plans to issue new acquisition rules to contractors aimed at preventing all forms of forced labor, acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine H. Fox said today.
Fox made the comments while attending a White House meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, a Cabinet-level group created to coordinate federal efforts to crack down on sex trafficking, forced labor and other types of human exploitation.
As part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, the Pentagon is required to take action against any contractor engaging in certain activities related to sex or labor trafficking.
Fox told the session the department is working with a sense of urgency on the matter, and will be publishing new acquisition regulations this year governing contractors with respect to human trafficking, and will be training department employees on how to implement the rules.
“We believe that as soon as they are published, we will be able to hit the ground running with a trained acquisition workforce,” she said.
Fox said the effort to identify and prevent human trafficking extends to U.S. commanders around the world. “We are injecting human trafficking scenarios into exercises that are run globally through our combatant commanders,” she said.
The Obama administration estimates that as many as 29 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking.