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Combating Trafficking in Persons

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Debbie Marshall
  • 169th Force Support Squadron
     What is "Trafficking in Persons"? Textbook definition is: A modern day form of slavery, gateway to enabling crimes against the general populations and a form of crime against human rights. Trafficking in Persons (TIP) is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel a person to provide labor or services or commercial sex. TIP involves exploitation of all types. TIP can include elements of recruiting, harboring, transportation, providing or obtaining a person for the purpose of exploitation. The three most common forms of trafficking are: Labor Trafficking, Sex Trafficking and Child Soldiering.
     TIP is a worldwide problem posing a transnational threat involving violations of basic human rights. TIP is a leading source of profits for organized crime, together with drugs and weapons, generating billions of dollars in revenue. Trafficking in persons affects virtually every country in the world. The Department of Defense has a zero tolerance policy for TIP. Now, before you go and dismiss it as a crime that only happens elsewhere in the world, be aware that the Palmetto State has at least one article a month listed in the local paper.
      Why are we talking about it and why is it a military program? All members of the military and civilian employees have been charged with recognizing indicators of trafficking, and reporting what they have seen. Doing your part includes avoiding activities that encourage this heinous crime both in your travels and locally. If you believe that you are witnessing a trafficking operation you are responsible for reporting it to the local authorities, chain of command, Security Forces or OSI. 

     People who have been trafficked may:
         · Believe that they must work against their will
         · Be unable to leave their work environment
         · Show signs that their movements are being controlled
         · Be subjected to violence or threats of violence against themselves or against     
            their family members and loved ones
         · Suffer injuries that appear to be the result of an assault
         · Be distrustful of the authorities
         · Be afraid of revealing their immigration status
         · Be unfamiliar with the local language
         · Allow others to speak for them when addressed directly
         · Be forced to work under certain conditions
         · Be unable to communicate freely with others
         · Come from a place known to be a source of human trafficking

     One of our annual requirements is that all military and civilian employees complete Human Relations training; there is some pretty solid training embedded on TIP. Do your part and pay attention to your surroundings to assist with the crimes against human rights.
     McEntires' Combating Trafficking in Persons representatives are Capt. Ralph Cole (803-647-8286), and Chief Master Sgt. Debbie Marshall (803-647-8223).