I have left the typos in without drawing attention to them. I fixed some of the formatting, and added double-space between paragraphs. Numerals appearing centered are page numbers from the transcript. From the pdf THE U.N. AND THE SEX SLAVE TRADE IN BOSNIA: ISOLATED CASE OR LARGER PROBLEM IN THE U.N. SYSTEM?:
INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
APRIL 24, 2002
Serial No. 107–85
[snip]THE U.N. AND THE SEX SLAVE TRADE IN
BOSNIA: ISOLATED CASE OR LARGER
PROBLEM IN THE U.N. SYSTEM?
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24, 2002
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL
OPERATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS,
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:20 p.m. in Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen presiding.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. The Subcommittee will come to order.
"To serve and protect." When we hear these words, we are immediately reminded of the ever-present commitment of police officers to the citizenry of their precint, their state, their country.
When evaluated within the context of a United Nations mission, the role of the policing force is to restore civility to war-torn regions; to restore trust in the rule of law and law enforcement officers; to afford human beings who have been victimized a sense of security to rebuild their lives. When this trust is broken, as it was in Bosnia, it begins to erode the foundation on which the future of those emerging nations will be built. Indeed, we cannot let the actions of a few taint the image and discredit the work of thousands of others from multiple countries whose commitment to what is right and just has helped restore hope to Bosnia and other places.
As a 21-year-old university student in Sarajevo, Nezira Samardzic, has said,"I cannot imagine peace without them. I am afraid that talk about only the bad side might prompt somebody to think the U.N. mission in Bosnia should be terminated,"
or as some U.N. officials have underscored, that it would generate further opposition to broader peacekeeping efforts in other regions.
I certainly do not support engaging in vast generalizations and broad indictments. Nevertheless, when such egregious human rights violations are being committed, when women and girls are being sold as chattel to then be used as sex slaves, even if it is just one victim we must stand up and defend them. We must condemn the traffickers and all who actively, or by omission or complacency, allow these deplorable acts to go unpunished.
As the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, it is this body's moral obligation to investigate the allegations raised against DynCorp by a courageous American, Mr. Ben
Johnston, and ensure that DynCorp, a major U.S. government contractor, is taking the necessary steps and implementing strict safeguards to ensure that what happened in the Balkans with DynCorp employees does not ever happen again anywhere. We, too, are here to protect and serve.
It is this Subcommittee's responsibility to exert oversight over the functions of the U.N. bodies and operations and address reports that U.N. officials sought to stymie investigations and cover up the involvement of the International Police Task Force in trafficking of human beings. As David Lamb, one of our witnesses today, has repeatedly stated, he and his colleagues routinely forwarded evidence of wrongdoing to the U.N. missions internal affairs unit, only to be told
"not to look too deep. It was just incredible to see the resistance we got. . . . I was trying to root out the corruption, but I could not get any support."
U.N. officials during a recent briefing asserted that allegations of sex trafficking by the international policing force in Bosnia were found to be false. However, in the same statement they admitted that members of the force were found to have been involved in the use of young girls' services and that sometimes the children were unwilling participants. As advocates for Human Rights Watch have said regarding the situation in Bosnia,
"Rape is a crime in any jurisdiction."
As Members of the U.S. Congress, we would also be neglecting our duties if we did not address the participation of U.S. nationals in such activities and the response from our government agencies. One would hope that we would not need to tell American contractors that they cannot buy and sell women. Unfortunately, it appears that we must do a better job of sending an unequivocal message that this behavior will not be tolerated.
[snip - to pg 27]
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. [snip] Mr. Johnston?
STATEMENT OF BEN JOHNSTON, FORMER DYNCORP EMPLOYEE
Mr. JOHNSTON. Yes, ma'am. My name is Ben Johnston. I am from Texas, and I am just going to tell a little bit of my story about what exactly happened to me while I was in Bosnia. I heard people speak earlier about the zero balance, you know, zero tolerance for anything going on over there and what is going on now, but I can assure you that the only zero tolerance DynCorp had was anybody that tried to stop them from doing the stuff that they were doing they got rid of because they had zero tolerance for anybody that would stand in their way of slavery.
First of all, I have been doing aviation all my life. I have been fixing aircraft. I was in the military. I got an honorable discharge. I got out of the military. I was making $25,000 as a noncommissioned officer, and I was so trained that even when I joined the military they did not make me go to any aviation school; I just went to basic training and straight in. I have had the talent all my life. Then I went from $25,000 a year that I was making for the Army, and DynCorp said, here, come to Bosnia. You can make $120,000 doing the exact same thing I was doing.
I then went to Bosnia, and I saw that I was one of the less than a handful of the 30 or 40 people there that had an ANP license, which is a Federal license to work on the aircraft. So it concerned me some. And then I started seeing old men or just men with younger girls, and it was very, very obvious because I have had people ask me, how do you know they were below 18? Well, you just know. If a girl looks like a child, like a small boy, then you know she is under age.
Ms. MCKINNEY. Of if it is just an old man who is with a young girl.
Mr. JOHNSTON. Like now, I know of a 50-something-year-old man to this day that is a lead man for DynCorp in Bosnia that has a— she was a teenager just a year or so ago when I was there. He still owns her. He still owns her to this day. And the reason I know that, he lives right across the street from my wife, which my wife is a Bosnian. He lives right across the street from my wife. I have heard people say that they are getting married or he is engaged, and then when my lawyer asked about it, it was what is her father's name? I do not know. How do you spell her last name? I do not know. What date did you set? You know, he does not know. And he told me and others that he paid 10,000 marks for this girl because he bought her while I was in Bosnia, and he still owns her today.
So I do not know what this zero tolerance we were talking about earlier, but I have seen no zero tolerance, and I have not been debriefed or anything else concerning any of these issues from the State Department or anybody else.
There is my supervisor, the biggest guy there with DynCorp, videotaping having sex with these girls, girls saying no, but that guy now, to my knowledge, he is in America doing fine. There was no repercussion for raping the girl. I do not know if because he is in Bosnia Americans do not hold him accountable, we say, oh, that is okay, but when I was there as a soldier, and I was there as a soldier before I was there as a civilian, and I was there with IFOR—it was before SFOR. And while I was there I remember driving down the road, and I would see just the Bosnians raise their hand, and they would be so happy to see us.
And my wife tells me that when we first got to Bosnia that the joy was overwhelming, and then after DynCorp infestated it, all the people—because DynCorp lived off post, so they lived in the civilian houses whereas the soldiers did not. So DynCorp employees are living off post and owning these children and these women and girls as slaves. Well, that makes all Americans look bad. I believe DynCorp is the worst diplomats our country could ever want overseas.
I have had the community in Bosnia tell me that they were going to shut the road down going to Comanche Base and Main and stuff because they were just so sick of what Americans were doing to that culture. I had Bosnians that needed the money so bad that they had no money come to me and say, you know, I need the money, but I cannot have my family around that old guy and that child. I just cannot do it. It is so bad defending such a great country, and they just assumed that since the majority of DynCorp was involved in it, they think the majority of Americans do stuff like that, but that is not the case.
And then I went to my peers. I went to my supervisor and said, look, we have got to stop this. I told my supervisor, and he was the site supervisor—I told him I did not want to see the government van parked in front of another brothel. He did nothing. He still parked it there.
Ms. MCKINNEY. A U.S. government van?
Mr. JOHNSTON. Yes. I do not know if they leased it from the government, but it had U.N. big as—on the side of it. It was parked in front of the brothels and whatnot. It was such a boys' club because these guys are making so much money, and the economy— my wife's father was like an engineer in a coal mine, and he made 150 marks a month, which is like 75 dollars, and then these guys are making ten, $15,000 a month, and they are just polluting the whole society. But I never saw any zero tolerance for anything, never saw any honesty over there.
It was just a big boys' club. We had guys over there that did not know how to fix aircraft. The slogan for DynCorp, hangar talk, as we say, is you need a warm body. There was mechanics over there that would leave washers on top of helicopters, spin up the blades, the washers fly into the blades, destroy the blades worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, throw into buildings, which could have killed somebody. Those guys are still working there.
They fired me, though. They fired me for only—the only reason they fired me was because I told on them, and I broke up their little boys' club. That is the only reason. My performance evaluations are excellent. My work was excellent. I have been in aviation since I was handing up a wrench to my dad since I have been a child. In fact, I still live on an airport. But there is just big, big problems over there. I hear a lot of people saying, oh, we are doing this, and we have zero tolerance for this, and this is like this, but I just do not see it. In the depositions in my case I hear a guy say, ‘‘Oh, yeah, I have got my girl, but she was a waitress at the brothel. She was not actually a prostitute,’’ whereas just a year before, in a sworn statement to CID, he said he met her while she was touring Bosnia. And this is a big lead man for DynCorp that still works there right now. He lied on a sworn statement, or he lied in his deposition about this girl that he paid—but he is still there, and she is still there.
So it is just real confusing to me what we are doing. That is really all I have to say unless you all have any questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Johnston follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF BEN JOHNSTON, FORMER DYNCORP EMPLOYEE
This is only a very short piece of a very long and arduous time in my life. My name is Benjamin D. Johnston and Dyncorp employed me for around one year and a half. I’ve been asked by congress of the United States of America to relay some of my experience and the knowledge I have regarding the sex slave trade in Bosnia and the unfortunate participation of Americans in that field. During that time, I witnessed some of the most atrocious things I’ve ever seen. Dyncorp was involved in slave trading of young girls as well as a number of fraudulent acts.
The same day I received my Honorable Discharge from the United States Army I started working for Dyncorp. I was approached by Dyncorp while I was still in the Army and they knew quite well of my excellent military record as well as my talent in aviation. I left Illisheim, Germany for Tuzla, Bosnia where I was to work doing the same thing as I did so well for the military, aircraft maintenance. When I arrived in Bosnia after a short time I noticed some strange behavior from my Coworkers. I would see young girls walking around the town with older guys I worked with. These men would have their hands on these girls as they walk. The longer I stayed in Bosnia the worst these men acted. Finally one day I heard a something to the effect of DynaCorp employee brag that his girl wasn't a day over twelve. I reported this all to the CID of the Army. I also reported the problems to my supervisors and co-workers, but all stayed the same in DynCorp’s little Bosnian Boys Club. For going to the CID I was fired, put in protective custody and have had my name thrashed by Dyncorp. The military is doing a wonderful job over in Bosnia looking very professional and getting the job done. Dyncorp on the other hand gives us an example of the worst diplomats our country could possibly have overseas. The companies van would be outside the whorehouses every night, Dyncorp personnel had young children living with them for sex and house choirs. Many Dyncorp employees would brag of their sex escapades. My own sight supervisor was deeply involved in all of this.
There is no way I can write all of this down for you, there is to much to mention. The United States of America can no longer let these types of actions go unpunished. I believe the military is doing a wonderful job around the world and I hope we can stop companies like Dyncorp from giving this great country a bad name.
Mr. SMITH [presiding]. Mr. Johnston, thank you very much.
I encourage you to do an internet search on DynCorp (often Dyncorp in the press) and its sex scandals in the Balkans.
No sooner did I post this, and I went to Angel's blog. Keep in mind Mr. Johnston's comments contrasting the despicable conduct of these contractors with his perception of our military. With very few but well-publicized exceptions, our military has a sense of honor and decency, and serves our country well. See Angel's tribute to our uniformed personnel.