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CTIP--be aware of this significant issue

  • Published
  • By By Lt. Col. Reese Phillips
  • 934 AW Staff Judge Advocate
Like some of you, my initial reaction to Combating Trafficking in Persons was, "Oh great, yet another CBT and what does this have to do with our mission?" However, it's readily apparent that this is an extremely significant issue given the incredible effort the Federal Government, and especially the DoD, has put forth to curb these horrific crimes.

DoDI 2200.01 directed each service to formulate policy and guidance to educate and inform service members on CTIP in order to increase awareness so they could better identify and report suspected trafficking. AFI 36-2921 sets forth the parameters of the Air Force's CTIP program.

Originally, this was thought to be an issue that primarily affected service members serving OCONUS, but we now know that's not the case. Trafficking in persons is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel a person to provide labor, services or commercial sex. The most common forms are labor trafficking and sex trafficking While the most notorious examples of human trafficking involve sex trafficking, forced labor is the most widespread and may result when unscrupulous employers exploit workers made more vulnerable by high rates of unemployment, poverty, crime, discrimination, corruption, political conflict, or cultural acceptance of the practice.

Immigrants are particularly vulnerable, but individuals also may be forced into labor in their own countries. Victims can be found in any location or industry: factories, farms, construction, restaurants, mines, or personal homes. In fact, some of the firms performing Government contracts were found to be engaging in labor trafficking, which prompted the addition of standard language prohibiting this practice in Government contracts as well as additional screening actions such as requiring contractors to produce passports for their employees.

Sex trafficking cases can be some of the worst examples of human rights violations in the world. Young women are promised a career in entertainment upon signing an initial bogus contract only to find they are spending 14 hours a day being groped and fondled by men for what amounts to the equivalent of $1.25 an hour. They have no free time, may share a three-bedroom apartment with nine other women in a foreign country having long since lost control of their passport. It's hard to imagine a more helpless feeling. The next time you are completing your CBT on CTIP, use your imagination as to what might be going on in places closer than you think and pay attention to the information that will help you better identify and report these cases.