NEW KABUL COMPOUND, Afghanistan -- (Jan. 28, 2016) Contracting officers operating in a contingency environment may find themselves in countries with widespread poverty or weak central governments, which may create conditions for people who are in desperate situations and vulnerable to be subject to human traffickers.In a memo from the Secretary of the Army, Army officials warn that trafficking in persons is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world. A grave violation of human rights, it is a worldwide criminal threat to security, civil rights and stability, and a direct threat to national foreign policy goals. Trafficking in persons undermines and degrades military readiness and will not be tolerated in the Army.The 925th Contracting Battalion deployed from Fort Drum, New York, to Kabul, Afghanistan, in October 2015 in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel. During the one-year deployment, Soldiers from the battalion and the Regional Contracting Center-Capital are synchronizing operational and contract strategies to support the mission of Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.While CSTC-A efforts to train, advise and assist Afghan security institutions to develop a variety of capabilities to include a rule of law, Afghanistan remains designated by the U.S. State Department as a Tier 2 country in human trafficking. This rating is designated to countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, but are making significant efforts to comply with minimum standards.Forced labor, child labor and sexual trafficking are the most common forms of trafficking in Afghanistan, according to a July 2015 Trafficking in Persons report by the secretary of state. Since the arrival of the battalion in Afghanistan, members from the 925th CBN have been proactive in preventing human trafficking through increased awareness. The battalion has placed a Contractor Bill of Rights in high traffic areas, such as break areas and dining and laundry facilities, to keep contractors informed of their rights as contract employees working in U.S. facilities. Supplementary literature is also displayed providing reporting guidelines for those who suspect human trafficking. These postings are written in English, Dari and Pashto.In addition to keeping contract employees informed, Staff Sgt. Jason Rinehart, the battalion contracting officer representative manager, ensures all contracting officer representatives are able to spot the signs of human trafficking. He's educated and trained the CORs to be on the lookout for indicators of trafficking in order to report any suspected incidents immediately.A presidential proclamation designated January 2016 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, culminating in National Freedom Day on Feb. 1. Maintaining a heightened awareness of indicators that lead to such practices are critical not only in a contingency environment but also in nations around the world and our own communities.