Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

CTIP aims to stop traffic

by Airman Shawna L. Keyes
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


3/31/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C.  -- According to the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, the United States government considers trafficking in persons the criminal conduct involved while holding someone in compelled service.

Human trafficking is a crime involving the exploitation of someone for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.

The "Trafficking Victims Protection Act - Minimum Standard for the Elimination of Trafficking in Persons" was passed in 2000 and set the standard for the National Security Presidential Directive 22, issued on Dec. 16, 2002.

The act established a zero-tolerance policy and states that government agencies must be "fully trained to carry out their specific responsibilities to combat trafficking." Subsequently, the Department of Defense established the CTIP Program.

The DOD CTIP Program is responsible for enforcing the department's zero-tolerance policy and is focused on eliminating it within the DOD structure at home and overseas. Additionally, the program offers and tracks TIP awareness training, which is mandatory for all DOD military members and civilian employees.

"There has been a lot of effort made by the DOD to combat trafficking in persons," said Capt Jocelyn Mitnaul, 4th Fighter Wing Staff Judge Advocate assistant judge advocate. "The Combating Trafficking in Persons Program is a five-year program that's going to make measurable improvements and implement practices that will help decrease human trafficking and hopefully eliminate it."

The legal team at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is the local point of contact (POC) for the CTIP Program and making sure information is given out to the base populace through newcomers briefings and handouts.

"We've put flyers out across base, mainly at base agencies where a lot of people visit, like the Airman and Family Readiness Center, library, Base Exchange and Express," said Senior Airman Erica Smiler, 4 FW Staff JA paralegal. "The legal office is the local POC for making sure people are aware of who they can contact if they believe someone is perpetrating human trafficking or is a victim of human trafficking."

TIP is a problem that affects not only civilians, but also members of the Armed Forces, DOD civilians, contractors and subcontractors. This issue is both directly and indirectly participated in not just in the U.S., but abroad, as well.

"A common misconception when people think about human trafficking is that it only involves sex crimes," said Mitnaul. "There are many forms of compelled service that are considered human trafficking, including forced labor, that don't actually involve sex crimes or international transportation of people."

Mitnaul added that the DOD is committed to ending human trafficking because they recognize the severe consequences and furthering effects that it can have on national security. If TIP is not eradicated, it can lead to other illegal activities that can further promote trafficking.

"I encourage anyone who suspects trafficking in persons to report it," said Mitnaul. "When people come forward, it helps to eliminate human trafficking and mitigate this terrible crime."

For more information, visit the DOD CTIP website at http://ctip.defense.gov.  If you suspect human trafficking, report it to the DOD hotline at 1-800-424-9098 and http://dodig.mil/hotline.

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