By Jim CunninghamFebruary 2, 2009
DONGDUCHEON - Col. Larry 'Pepper' Jackson and Area I leaders met with members of the Korean Business Leaders Forum Jan. 7 in the Mustang Club in Bosandong. The visit had three main purposes and several goals. The primary purpose is to further goals of being good neighbors while the U.S. Army is living and working in the Republic of Korea. The Red Cloud and Casey missions include community service outside the installations and include fostering a positive social engagement between the U.S. and Korean communities.
"We did some great things in 2008," Jackson said in his opening address. "I look forward to our working relationship and solving problems in 2009."
Among the goals of the meetings are combating prostitution and human trafficking, promoting good business practices and reaching mutual understanding and compliance with policies involving the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board.
"We have these meetings with the Dongducheon businessmen quarterly," said Ray Myers, USAG-RC Directorate of Emergency Services director. "We come together to discuss issues concerning the entertainment district or other businesses outside our installations."
Army leadership brought with them new large poster boards urging everyone to combat prostitution and human trafficking by being aware, identifying those involved and reporting them to the authorities.
"The business leaders do a great job," Myers said. "We put statistics up and discuss certain statistics because if we did not, we could not illustrate our objectives. We are basically here to reinforce our goals which are: combating prostitution and human trafficking, incidentally, they have been doing a great job of it, promoting good business practices, which include not serving
alcohol to minors, good order and discipline in the clubs, and lastly, good safety and health practices. All in all, we have a good relationship with these businessmen."
Part of the meeting explained the purpose of the AFDCB and how it works. The AFDCB reviews matters, which may adversely affect the health, safety, welfare, morale, or discipline of military personnel. The board will invoke off-limits restrictions when there is substantive evidence indicating some establishment or area frequented by military personnel presents conditions adversely affecting the health, safety, morals, welfare, morale, or discipline of Soldiers or military personnel.
The AFDCB will take action on the following:
Aca,!Ac Crime and misconduct (disorders and lack of discipline)
Aca,!Ac Prostitution and Human Trafficking
Aca,!Ac Sexually transmitted disease
Aca,!Ac Liquor violations
Aca,!Ac Racial and other discriminatory practices in clubs
Aca,!Ac Alcohol and drug abuse such as use, possession, or distribution of narcotics, marijuana, and dangerous drugs
Aca,!Ac Drug abuse paraphernalia
Aca,!Ac Criminal or illegal activities involving cults or hate groups
Aca,!Ac Illicit gambling
Aca,!Ac Terrorist activity
Aca,!Ac Impact of safety as related to disciplinary actions
Aca,!Ac Unfair commercial or consumer practices
Aca,!Ac Unsanitary and other adverse conditions in establishments frequented by Armed Forces personnel
Aca,!Ac Overcrowding or lack of control over building occupancy
Aca,!Ac Other undesirable conditions that may adversely affect members of the military or their families
The purpose of good business practice discussion allows U.S. Army leadership to communicate reasonable business practice standards to Korean business leaders with hopes of future success, Myers explained.
Good business practices also serve to enhance the safety and well being of Status of Forces Agreement members, combat prostitution and human trafficking, and reduce Soldier infractions in the entertainment district. These discussions do not bind Korean establishments; however,
infractions on issues discussed may result in an establishment being placed off limits to U.S. personnel.
Recent concerns pointed out during the meeting were fights and underage drinking, and reports of suspected prostitution, and incidents involving third-country nationals.
"We have a prostitution and human trafficking hotline," Myers said. "It is a single number for the peninsula so anyone can call if they see an indicator of prostitution or human trafficking. It does not mean anything is happening, it only means someone saw an indicator and made a call to the hotline. We had five hotline calls. I think this is a sign the system is working. It is hard to trend or analyze this information. We do not use the calls to trend or analyze what is going on in the village."
Until hotline calls are investigated, officials do not know if crimes are being committed, Myers explained. There were 22 assaults reported and seven counts of underage drinking this quarter in a military police report.
"We have the Civil Military Operations," Myers said. "We have the military police town patrol. These folks are out here every single night of the year. We have unit courtesy patrols who also are out in the village every night of the year."
Observations made by these patrols and statistics taken from the military police blotter are used to trend what is happening outside the post, Myers continued.
"Statistics do not always indicate what is happening in the clubs," Myers said. "A good portion of the incidents reported could have happened outside the clubs, so it is not an issue with the clubs and the club owners cannot control it.
"I think things are going great," Myers said. "From the interaction I have seen, I think our relationship and our interaction is getting better every quarter."
In most every matter brought before the board, the forum has been able to solve situations without putting any of the clubs on off limits status, Jackson said in his closing remarks.
"Based on those statistics I know we have a very good working relationship and are successful in our endeavors," Jackson said.