Oilfield Fights Modern Day Slavery

In my 30 years in the oil and gas business, I have been a supporter of the development and growth of women in our industry. From the beginning, it was clear that the industry needed to advance better and faster and I was drawn to work for Varco because they clearly differentiated themselves in the area of diversity and inclusion, with strong principals around that area.

Over the last decade, I have taken the same foundational thinking and seen an area we can affect and change our society and improve our awareness of the most horrific reality hiding in plain sight in our communities. The arena of human trafficking and specifically sex trafficking is something I grew aware of as my wife learned and subsequently, I also learned and started to “doing something!” I had been around it, and unaware because our industry is in a target area of being a predominantly male industry and the other side of that coin is we have done nothing about unacceptable behaviors, that can at best can be described as turning a blind eye to the sexually oriented business. The lifeblood of these businesses is human trafficking which affects all ages and genders but has a majority target of men.

My wife and I have worked with an organization for a decade now, called Redeemed, which has been working on the recovery of American women from sex trafficking. The size and challenge of this criminal activity are astounding and seem unreal. I was utterly shocked, and my eyes opened to the problem. I quickly learned that many prostitutes are not necessarily willing. That predator’s prey on those that are most vulnerable, especially our children, at ages that I could not even contemplate. That they use manipulation, threats, and violence to coerce people into providing sexual services. That this happens at the pervasive strip clubs, massage parlors, in hotels, and on the streets all over our city, and the world. It doesn’t just happen to immigrants or in third world countries, that it happens to our own children and adults, rich & poor, no one is safe from the clutches of sex trafficking and awareness is critical, as an action is required.

I founded a group of professionals to get people to make small efforts, that can have big impacts using their professional skills to help organizations helping with the recovery of the traumatized American women. Around the same time, I started working with two friends who had visions to help the oil and gas industry become more aware of the problem. Together, Jennifer Hohman CIO of Seadrill, and Alexandria Alvares Garbasi, the COO for OVS, formed OGTAG, the Oil and Gas Trafficking Awareness Group. I joined them and have managed to rally over 20 operating companies and 25 service companies to start programs that institutionalize the industry fighting human trafficking.

I remain passionate about the work of making sure we have a balanced work environment with both the sexes and an array of backgrounds and cultures to take this fantastic industry further than it has ever been. Fighting trafficking remains a key part of giving back that I think our industry can keep evolving and standing on the right side of the crime of modern slavery.

I urge everyone in oil and gas to join OGTAG and take a position on behalf of those who are not in a position to fight for themselves.

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