May 2, 2003
The Honorable Richard L. Armitage
Deputy Secretary of State
Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Mr. Armitage:
We write to inquire about the Administration’s efforts to fight against the emergence of prostitution and human trafficking industries in post-conflict Iraq spurred by an influx of international personnel from the United States and other countries. Additionally, we seek information about how the State Department is working to ensure that U.S. contractors do not participate in prostitution or trafficking-related activities in Iraq or elsewhere.
The need for a strategy to prevent the emergence of prostitution and human trafficking in post-conflict Iraq is manifested by the experiences in post-conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. In both areas, prostitution and human trafficking were allowed to develop and thrive due to the arrival of large numbers of multi-national personnel involved in post-conflict reconstruction and peacekeeping. The United States and the international community failed to address these issues at the outset in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo and, as a result, today continues to struggle against the organized crime elements that control these industries. Such a scenario must not be allowed to develop in Iraq. Please provide us with information regarding the steps being taken to ensure that prostitution and sex trafficking industries will not develop in Iraq in response to an influx of international civilian and military personnel from the United States and other countries.
Our concern about U.S. contractors participating in prostitution or trafficking-related activities was recently heightened by the State Department’s award to DynCorp International of a contract providing up to 1,000 civilian advisors to help the Government of Iraq organize civilian law enforcement, judicial and correctional agencies. We are familiar with DynCorp’s role in recruiting and training American police officers to serve on the International Police Task Force (IPTF) in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We are also aware of the documented involvement by some DynCorp employees or agents in prostitution, human trafficking, and sexual misconduct and of DynCorp’s retaliation against those who endeavored to bring such misconduct to light.
At an April 2002 hearing of the House International Relations Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, David Lamb, a former United Nations Human Rights Investigator in Bosnia-Herzegovina testified that “the Department of State purposefully distances itself from U.S. IPTF members by hiring DynCorp as the middleman and makes no attempt to know anything about the activities of its IPTF officers who are serving as representatives and Ambassadors of the United States.” In order to dispel such concern and legitimate criticism, it is essential that DynCorp, as well as other such contractors, and their employees or agents, be held accountable to a code of conduct with associated consequences for unethical or improper personal conduct while under U.S. Government contracts. This need is made all the more essential when such contractors are operating in areas where they are unlikely to be held accountable under local laws.
Accordingly, we would appreciate receiving detailed information regarding the following:
1. Please provide detailed information regarding the vetting procedures being used to screen out potential DynCorp contractors who have been disciplined in the past for, inter alia, corruption or offenses of moral turpitude?
2. What is the time frame for deploying DynCorp contractors? According to published reports, DynCorp plans to have contractors deployed within a matter of weeks. How can a large number of contractors properly be screened in the short amount of time that DynCorp envisions?
3. What is the type and extent of training that DynCorp contractors will receive regarding trafficking in persons prior to deployment to Iraq?
4. How will DynCorp and other contract recipients ensure that their personnel do not participate in trafficking in persons, do not solicit or use the services of trafficked persons, and do not engage in other misconduct while abroad which would bring discredit to the U.S. Government? Will U.S. contractors be subject to a code of conduct that explicitly addresses these issues, and what penalties will result for individuals who violate such code? What supervisory mechanisms will be created in Iraq to ensure appropriate conduct by U.S. contractors?
5. If DynCorp personnel engage in such misconduct, or if DynCorp fails to properly supervise its personnel or fails to take appropriate disciplinary action when such misconduct comes to light, what ability will the Department of State have to hold DynCorp accountable for such actions?
6. In the past, DynCorp was awarded contracts from both the Department of State and the Department of Defense, among others, to provide personnel in the same location for different functions. Have the two Departments coordinated their efforts to ensure that DynCorp and other such contractors will be subject to the same requirements with respect to these issues regardless of the specific source of its U.S. Government contract? If so, please provide details regarding the manner of this coordination.
Following the war in Iraq, the United States has an important leadership responsibility. If members of the international community in Iraq are permitted to engage in illicit activities without facing strong consequences, while the U.S. and allied governments espouse a commitment to the rule of law, our efforts will be perceived as hypocritical. Furthermore, when U.S. Government representatives, including military personnel or recipients of U.S. Government contracts, engage with impunity in actions that allow prostitution and human trafficking industries to prosper, the efforts of Congress, the State Department, and other U.S. Government agencies are severely undermined in working to combat human trafficking internationally.
We look forward to learning of the steps you will take to address these concerns.