The Army & Air Force Exchange Service supports the Department of Defense’s initiatives to halt human trafficking, especially in Southwest Asian countries where Exchange stores operate. However, the problem of human trafficking is a worldwide issue, not just in countries where the Exchange operates stores.
Such trafficking jeopardizes the DoD and Exchange’s credibility and ability to achieve their missions, said said Thomas Ockenfels, the Exchange’s vice president of administration.
“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery,” Ockenfels said. “Thousands of men, women and children fall victim each year to human trafficking, a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. The issue is very important to the Exchange because our associates work in countries where there have been documented cases of exploitation of men, women and children for sex or labor.
Under the Combat Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) initiative, DoD investigates trafficking cases reported to the agency by service members, civilian employees, contractors and other people. DoD works with other agencies to investigate, prosecute and convict traffickers, and stop doing business with companies involved in trafficking.
To report possible trafficking cases, call the CTIP hotline, (800) 424-9098.
“The Department of Defense and the Exchange have as a zero tolerance regarding trafficking in persons,” said Roger Neumann, vice president of contingency plans and the Exchange’s CTIP program director. “We urge anybody who knows of possible trafficking cases to call the CTIP hotline as soon as possible.”
The Exchange’s “Basic Rights” for other-country nationals have been highlighted in the DoD CTIP program as leading the way to ensure fair worker treatment and guard against human rights abuses in government contracts. Exchange teams downrange conduct frequent checks for compliance, including talking to workers.
“We’ve taken a number of negative contract actions to address CTIP situations,” Neumann said. “We are watching, evaluating, and acting.”
All Exchange associates are required to receive mandatory training annually in recognizing human trafficking situations. CTIP General Awareness course T300 is available on LEX.
During the course, associates learn to identify common indicators of trafficking and how to report suspicious behaviors to authorities.
View a video from Anthony Kurta, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy about the evils of human trafficking.
For more information, read the Department of State’s 2018 Trafficking in Person’s Report.