Pentagon Official Caught in Human Trafficking Sting Raises Alarming Questions

pentagon official human trafficking
U.S. Geological Survey, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Department of Defense has experienced no shortage of bad press the past few years, with everything from poorly executed military operations, a lack of sound military strategies, dismal recruitment levels, and allegations of a force being molded into a left-wing war machine.

One agency housed at the Pentagon has had more media coverage than usual, thanks to some of its most senior officials’  behavior, which is inappropriate at best and criminal at worst.

From racially charged tweets from a former Chief of Diversity to participating in the vicious human trafficking system by exchanging sex for cash, the Department of Defense Education Activity is batting a thousand. Let’s look at the most recent hit to the DOD’s education arm of the War Department.

Just a massage is all

On November 15th, the Department of Defense Education Activity’s Chief of Staff for the Americas, Stephen Hovanic, was arrested in connection to an undercover human trafficking sting in Georgia. Specifically, Mr. Hovanic was arrested on a pandering charge.

Pandering is the act of purchasing sex from someone, in this case, an undercover police officer. The undercover operation resulted in 26 arrests.

Of those arrested, 12 were taken in for prostitution, ten for pandering, and four for pimping. A total of six individuals were identified as trafficked victims, meaning they had been tricked and, as such, forced into sex work.

Coweta County Sheriff spokesman Sergeant Toby Nix explains:

“Pandering is not a victimless crime, as the demand for prostitution drives the sex-trafficking market.”

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Mr. Hovanic would’ve undoubtedly been aware of the connection between pandering and human trafficking, given the extensive training all Department of Defense personnel have to undergo each year. In fact, there is a specific training titled “Combating Trafficking in Persons,” or CTIP training, that is not only required but closely tracked for completion.

This training contains a module specifically designed to cover the connection between participation in purchasing sex and the human trafficking system. According to Mr. Hovanic, he believed he was purchasing a massage from the undercover officer in a shady hotel room and not sex.

A rotten education

The Department of Defense Education Activity, or DoDEA as it’s referred to, oversees the education for the Department of Defense from Pre-K to 12th grade. That means the organization is responsible for the schools that educate servicemembers’ children.

The DoDEA covers 160 schools in 11 foreign countries, seven states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Mr. Hovanic has worked at the DoDEA for almost three decades.

A military veteran, he attended the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point. One can’t help but wonder how many other deviants are being groomed at America’s top military academies.

Further, the DoDEA seems to have a recurring issue with leaders participating in socially embarrassing behavior.

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Just last year, the former Chief of Diversity for DoDEA Kelisa Wing was removed from her position after a lengthy investigation into her divisive tweets on the then-monikered social media platform Twitter.

As a refresher, Ms. Wing wrote:

“…so exhausted at these white folx in these P.D. sessions this lady actually had the CAUdacity to say that black people can be racist too…”

Ms. Wing, while removed from her position, was not fired from the Pentagon. Time will tell what will happen to Mr. Hovanic.

Smell the corruption

It doesn’t take an expert in investigative journalism to uncover unsavory reports on Pentagon employees. A recent sting in the D.C. metro area found that many military brass frequent high-end brothels alongside their political and defense contractor counterparts.

Then, of course, there are the retired military brass who turn around to work as undocumented foreign agents with little to no consequences, only to bounce back into defense contracting or, even worse, administration officials. And yet, nothing much seems to get done about what is obvious: rampant corruption and an overall acceptance of unethical behavior from the Pentagon.

Has the machine gotten too big, or is the five sided building just big enough for it’s actual intended mission – to subvert the truth from the American people all while continuing the facade that the people they are charged to defend must continue to bank roll endless wars and defunct military equipment? 

USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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