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Cultural Readiness and Combatting Human Trafficking

The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD[P&R]) is responsible for the DoD Trafficking in Persons (TIP) program. The Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD[P&R]), is the Department lead. The Director of the Defense Human Resources Activity (DHRA) is the principal staff element of the Secretary of Defense for policy development, planning, resource management, fiscal, and program evaluation responsibilities. Within DHRA the Director, Policy and Programs Support is the Department coordinator.

According to National Security Presidential Directive 22, "Agencies shall review their internal structures, personnel requirements, capabilities, information systems, professional education programs, training procedures, legislative authorities, and budgets to accommodate the provisions of this directive . . . . Departments and agencies shall ensure that all of the appropriate offices within their jurisdiction are fully trained to carry out their specific responsibilities to combat trafficking."

Moreover, DoD has a zero tolerance policy for TIP. DOD Instruction 2200.01, "Combating Trafficking in Persons (CTIP)," published September, 2010, states, "Heads of Components will conduct an annual CTIP awareness training program for all members of their components."

Trafficking in Persons training for the DoD has been available online and in power point presentation since 2005.  Members of DoD are stationed across the globe. Since we are protectors and defenders of our nation's freedom, we need to be vigilant in our efforts to combat trafficking. TIP is linked to organized crime and its profits help fuel other illegal activity. It also contributes to the breakdown of law by undermining government efforts to exert authority and by threatening the security of vulnerable populations.

Furthermore, TIP threatens the national security of countries creating a destabilizing effect particularly in post-conflict and lesser-developed countries where the rule of law is more easily broken down. Left unchecked, traffickers can become a long term problem by buying their way into the economic, political and law enforcement communities. They may integrate security forces disrupting democratic transition and consolidation thereby creating more conflict.

As America continues its broad war against terror, the accountability of military, DoD civilians, and contractors working overseas is imperative. Contractors took advantage of the lawlessness of postwar Bosnia. This criminal behavior tarnishes America's reputation and disrupts the relationships with foreign governments. As defenders of peace and freedom, DoD needs to take action to stop this heinous crime.

Being culturally ready means understanding enough about the culture around you that you can help to prevent injustice like human trafficking.  Have you ever witnessed human trafficking?  How did you respond?

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