US Defense Contractor Held Responsible For Sex Trafficking in Bosnia
Two DynCorp employees won recent legal victories after the defense-contracting firm fired them for reporting co-workers involved in sex-slave trade in Bosnia. The court actions, which took place in England and Fort Worth, Texas, suggest that the company did not move aggressively enough when reports of sex trafficking emerged in 1999, according to Salon.com.
While at least 13 employees have been sent home from Bosnia - seven of those fired - for purchasing women, many of them underage, or participating in other sex trafficking activities, none have faced criminal charges – despite large amounts of evidence. Employees of DynCorp and other private military companies are able to escape prosecution for crimes committed overseas because of protections granted under international treaties, the unwillingness of law enforcement systems in places such as Bosnia to police US contractors and because their actions fall outside the jurisdiction of US courts.
In England, Kathryn Bolkovac, who was fired after she sent an email to DynCorp and UN officials describing complicity in forced prostitution by international aid workers, was found by a tribunal to have “acted reasonably” while Dyncorp did not, according to Salon.com. “DynCorp is an enormous operation with strong ties to the US government,” Karen Bailey, Bolkovac’s legal representative said in a prepared statement. “She took on the big guns and won. The plight of trafficking victims is appalling and I’m glad that Kathryn’s case has done some way to bringing it to wider attention.” The tribunal ruled that DynCorp violated England’s whistleblower statute when they fired Bolkovac – a hearing is scheduled in October to determine what damages the company will face.
In Forth Worth, DynCorp agreed to settle a lawsuit late last week with Ben Johnson, who was fired after he reported that several fellow DynCorp employees purchased underage women. The case was settled two days before it was set to go to trial - the settlement amount is confidential. “This settlement wouldn’t have happened if DynCorp hadn’t, at least internally, accepted some responsibility for what happened in the Balkans,” Johnston’s Attorney Kevin Glasheen told Salon.com.
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .