Posts made in December 2019

Pimp Your Way to a Billion Dollars!

by Barclay Henderson

Jeff Epstein is a sordid, tragic but provocative story. A bright, good looking guy, Epstein owned seven multimillion-dollar homes and a private island. He traveled to these mansions in one of his two private jets. Keeping him company, celebs like Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Kevin Spacey, royalty, prime ministers, and other big wigs accompanied him on many occasions. 

How does a guy enjoy such success from a modest beginning? With that much to live for, why the need to assault, rape and injure very young girls, spend time in prison and finally commit suicide?

Is there any explaining a guy like this?

An addiction to sex? 

That’s possible but most of the guys I know who have a hot rod convertible seem to meet women without committing statutory rape. This guy had his own private Boeing 727.  

An addiction to power? 

Men abuse women for a feeling of dominance and surely there must be an element of that with Jeff. But again, one has to wonder why a billion-dollar guy with his jet, with friends in high places, would risk jail and suicide to enjoy and flaunt more power and dominance. 

How about extortion as a business model?

Even more worrying, did solicitation and trafficking young women become a business model to reach financial success? In other words, did underage girls give him access to a celeb Rolodex? Did his young girls allow Jeff access to royalty, and attract wealthy investment customers to his fund?

Were compromising film clips of moguls used for extortion and direct wealth transfer? The Epstein mansions were wired for active video-taping of the bedroom. What price would a mogul pay to preserve his reputation?

The Epstein criminal case was evolving, but with his death, it is closed. We will not hear testimony from Royalty, Presidents, Rothschild’s, film stars. None will be required to testify under oath. The unfortunate Prince Andrew is left to the paparazzi dogs. 

We all know enough “boys will be boys” and “sex is a victimless crime” excuses to become jaded. My inquiring mind doesn’t wish to know.

But with the Epstein case, if trafficking and pimping is a path to a billion-dollar success that is sobering. If heads of state, Ivy League Universities, Hollywood stars and royalty, all seem to have been enablers along a path to riches, it speaks to a depraved society.

I get the feeling of “a tripping point.” Like Lucrezia Borgias in the Vatican before the Reformation in 1517 or Rome after Nero and Caligula. 

 

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Author Barclay Henderson is normally a humorist, but he hates human trafficking. For more of his work (and it’s usually a brilliant combination of humor and philosophy), come to https://twitter.com/barclayhenders1

(Full disclosure: Barclay is my beloved brother.)

 

Prisons and Jails: A Fertile Recruiting Ground for Human Trafficking

When you think of human trafficking, here are two factors you may not have considered. Both of these factors involve the need for prison reform.

  1. 1.Too often traffickers target female prisoners on their release.  
  2. 2.Children of mothers who are incarcerated all too often end up in foster care. If they run away from foster care, which is a serious risk, they will be attractive prey for human traffickers.

Lets deal first with the issue of incarcerated women being trafficked after theyre released.  

Incarcerated women who Get Trafficked

Although what youre about to read is a composite, its based on real people, known to your author.  Ive met them because of a prison visit organized by the prison reform organization, Defy Ventures.

 So, lets suppose for a seriously unpleasant moment, that youre in a womens prison, and youve been there for five years. Youre in for attempted murder, and while normally youd be in for much longer than five years, in this case, youve been a model prisoner.  

You had an enormous incentive to be a model prisoner because you have a daughter you havent seen since she was seven. Making parole as fast as possible is the most important thing in your life. 

During your five years, youve spent almost every waking second thinking about her, wondering how shes doing, missing her, regretting that one terrible day which happens to be the worst day of your life, when you shot at your abuser because you just couldnt take one second more of his battering.

Today youve made parole and youre about to walk out of the correctional facility and leave the guards and the locked doors and the claustrophobia. However, once you walk out the door, youre up against a horrific problem.

Where are you going to find an apartment? Youre a convicted felon, one whos done time, and it seems that the only landlords who will consider you are slum landlords. They preside over rodent-infested, drug-infested, crime-infested, buildings where the heat goes off, the water may not work, and ceiling leaks go unattended. It’s a nightmare.

On top of that, you’re in one of the  many parts of the county where having a criminal history automatically disqualifies you from access to public housing.

And then theres the question of getting a job.  What decent job is available to you, now that youre a convicted felon? The data shows that it is already hard enough for women to reenter the workforce after a prolonged period out of the job market. You’re now discovering how hard it is to reenter the workforce after a prolonged period of incarceration.

Youre wrestling with these two realities, and as you take your first steps into the seemingly unreal and terrifying world of freedom, a seeming miracle happens!  By chance (except it wasnt by chance) you meet this warm and wonderful guy outside the prison gate who wants to help you!

Hes kind and gentle and reassuring.  He completely understands you and offers you a place to stay and a nice, non-prison meal.  Youre so grateful!

Unfortunately for you, hes a pimp.  He knows youre vulnerable, and although he started out as a Romeo pimp, he quickly turns into a guerrilla pimp.  In a matter of days, youre being sex-trafficked, and if you dont have sex with as many as a dozen strangers each night, hell beat, starve and torture you.

Children of Incarcerated Women Can End Up Trafficked

And what about your dream of reuniting with your daughter?  In the next couple of weeks, you learn from others who are being trafficked out why she never visited you in prison. She hated her foster family, ran away, and a trafficker found her and shes now living the same wretched life that you are.

Her chances of escaping the life” and your chances of escaping are less than 2%. If youre lucky, you may age out” of forced prostitution, but in the case of your daughter, the most likely outcome is shell die of an overdose, suicide, disease, or murder. 

As Marcus Glover, head of Defy points out, Traffickers have identified the prison system as fertile recruitment grounds for their stables.’”

When considering prison reform, keep in mind the prison and human-trafficking connection. Its real, its horrifying, if we care about human trafficking, it deserves our attention.

For more information on prison reform and human trafficking, contact Marcus Glover at marcus@mglovercapital.com or visit his website at https://www.defyventures.org.

 

Tahirih Justice Center – Protecting Immigrant Women

Human exploitation takes many forms, but all of them have one thing in common: exploiters prey on the vulnerable.  The Tahirih Justice center focuses on helping a particularly vulnerable group, immigrant women and girls.

Tahirih  has an impressive record of helping this group. Beginning in 1997, Tahirih has served more than 25,000 individuals who’ve fled trafficking and violence.

A senior staff attorney with Tahirih, Leah Chen Price, has an example of the kind situation Tahirih deals with.  Anna Santos is not the real name of the woman we’ll be talking about, but the details are entirely real.

Anna Santos and Her “Dream” Job

Santos grew up in the Philippines, and in her early twenties, she was a caregiver for a well-to-do woman in Manila. One day her employer told her about what seemed like a dream job.  Santos’s employer had a daughter in Burlingame, California, who wanted Santos to take care of her young family.

The pay was impressive compared to what Santos was earning in the Philippines, and Santos liked the idea of travel to America, all expenses paid.  Unfortunately, this would mean being away from her own two young children. 

However, the pay was so good that Anna felt it would be great to work there for six months, make some money to support her family, and then return home to the Philippines.

The dream job turned out to be a dream job, but it was a dream of the nightmare variety. Her job included having to get up at 4:00 am to clean, cook, do laundry, and take care of five people and 10 dogs. 

And her living quarters?  Her employers made her live in a garden shack with no heat or electricity.  They denied her medical care, demeaning her at every step, treating her like a domestic animal.  She was living in modern day slavery.

As she froze in her garden shack with only a thin blanket for warmth, can you imagine how much she must have missed her children and her country? 

Why Didn’t She Escape?

There were several reasons Santos didn’t escape. For starters, her employer would lock her in the house so she couldn’t.  But in addition, her employers also threatened her with the police. “You’re here illegally,” they’d point out. “We’ll have you thrown in jail!”  And of course they carefully nurtured in her a terror of all law enforcement.

Incredibly, this went on for 15 years. Eventually, a Good Samaritan from the family’s church learned of Anna’s plight and helped her escape. After she left the house, Anna was put in touch with various social service organizations that work with survivors of human trafficking, and ultimately the Tahirih Justice Center who assisted her with her immigration status.

Anna Santos’s life is now entirely different.  “We’ve supported her as she has stabilized herself  financially, physically,  and psychologically,” says Price.  “Her life is now her own again. She has taken advantage of employment development assistance, mental health counseling, case management support, and she is now living on her own supporting herself.”

Possibly best of all, Santos not only got her own immigration papers, Tahirih’s attorney’s helped her reunite with her own children. They arranged to bring Santos’s children to this country on visas designated for family members of victims of human trafficking.  

The Problem Exists Everywhere

Price points out that although Santos comes from the Philippines, she could have come from almost any country. Tahirih deals with hundreds of cases of modern-day slavery and the victims come from every corner of the globe.

Price emphasizes that, “Human exploitation like this takes place in every city, and in every industry, whether construction, restaurants, massage parlors, child care, –any low wage job is ripe for it.”

Price loves her work.  “I feel so lucky to do this job. At times I don’t know how people find such an incredible amount of strength as they transform from victim to survivor. It’s an inspiration to work with people who have found so much strength and courage in spite of so much suffering.”

Tahirih Justice Center stands alone as the only national, multi-city organization providing a broad range of direct legal servicespolicy advocacy, and training and education to protect immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence.

 

To make a donation, go to https://www.tahirih.org or call Leah Chen Price at 650 270 2102.  

Mitzi Perdue is the founder of Win This Fight, Stop Human Trafficking.  She’s also the author  of 52 TIPS FOR PREVENTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Visit the website at WinThisFight.org or write to her at Mitzi@WinThisFight.org.

Let’s Talk about LGBTQ Young People

By Mitzi Perdue

Want an extraordinary statistic? One that is deeply disturbing and that may be even worse than it seems?

Forty percent of runaway and homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. That makes them prime targets for either survival sex or for being victims of sex-trafficking. 

Meredith Dank, a Consultant at the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, suspects that the 40% figure is an understatement.  As part of her research, she’s interviewed 289 youth who identify as LGBTQ, and as a result of her experience in the field, she believes that the 40% figure is outdated. She hopes that new research will be undertaken to update it.

The 40% statistic may be understated, but Dank is pleased that the subject of LGBTQ youth vulnerability is becoming more a part of the conversation.  “In the past, when people spoke about building awareness, when you brought up gender non-conforming youth, people didn’t want to discuss it further.”

However, the topic needs and deserves our attention. LGBTQ young people are particularly at risk.

 LGBTQ Young People at Risk

They’re at risk because they may be without a support system. Too often they’ve come from families with a history of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse or neglect. Or their families kicked them out because of their gender identity.

According to Dank, youngster who has been kicked out will have a tenfold increase in vulnerability. They may have “couch surfed” to find a place with friends to stay, or maybe they’re hungry.

The problem is, they have few options. And so they move to survival sex.

As one Spanish and black 19 year old female said, survival sex, “.. .is not as bad as sleeping under the bridge, it’s not as bad as going without food, it’s not as bad as walking around slanging [selling cocaine or other narcotics].”

  Preventive Services

 Dank wishes both society and the criminal justice system would rethink how we respond to the LGBTQ young person who is engaged in survival sex. They may not have experienced force, fraud or coercion but they nevertheless need assistance. 

Here are some recommendations for providing assistance for non-gender-conforming young people.

  1. When providing services, hire people who reflect the populations you’re serving,
  2. For trans youth, make sure they’re connected to health providers who know how to be with trans kids.
  3. Have available social workers with training in how to work with young people who are struggling with their identity or who are transitioning, 

Dank believes that with better preventive services, fewer young LGBTQ people would feel the need to engage in survival sex, and fewer would be vulnerable to being trafficked.

If you were to talk with Dank, you’d quickly get a sense that she cares deeply about the non-gender-conforming young people she works with. In fact more than that, she is in awe of them. “They are the most resilient people you’ve ever met in your whole life. They’ve faced things that you can’t imagine, and yet they’re still out there, making it!”

If want to read the research, go to:
https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/42186/2000119-Surviving-the-Streets-of-New-York.pdf