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Why we're collecting stories of military recruiter abuses

Photo: / AFSC

Military recruiters work in schools and our communities to get young people to sign up for the military. They often target low-income students and students of color for enlistment. In some cases, military recruiters abuse their power. They harass recruits, lie about military service, make false promises, and even use or threaten violence. 

At the American Friends Service Committee, we've seen an uptick in people reaching out about the harm caused to young people by recruiters. Recently, we heard from a person who reported that a recruiter filled out a false application in their name, even after they told them "no." We also heard from a young person who was encouraged to lie on their application forms and go off of important medication to hide their medical history.  

This harassment and misconduct is not OK. Military recruiters who use tactics like these do not have the best interest of recruits at heart. It’s important for Congress and the Department of Defense to understand just how pervasive these experiences are.  

That's why we've reopened our Military Recruiter Abuse Hotline

This hotline, which has both a phone number and an online form, will collect reports of recruiter abuse and misconduct. Once we receive a report, we'll log it in our database. With the consent of those reporting, we will use the information to advocate for policy changes to stop military recruiter abuses. We will also connect those who have reported abuse with trained counselors when appropriate. Organizations like the GI Rights Hotline and the Center on Conscience and War are experts in helping people dealing with military problems. 

Young people should feel safe in their communities. Adults should be looking out for their best interests, not coercing them into enlistment, encouraging them to lie, harassing them, or otherwise causing distress.  

Do you know someone experiencing military recruiter abuse? They can report it by visiting www.afsc.org/hotline or calling 202-483-5370.

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About the Author

Tori Bateman is policy advocacy coordinator in AFSC's Office of Public Policy and Advocacy. She advocates for U.S. policy that aligns with AFSC's vision of shared security.