Global Anti-Trafficking Auction Blog

Subscribe to our blog and join the conversation.

Combatting Trafficking and a “Pearl Experience”

By Mitzi Perdue

The earrings you see in this illustration are stylish, unusual, and beautiful. However, when you know the story behind them, I bet you’ll see them as being even more beautiful. 

They’re a donation to Win This Fight,  Stop Human Trafficking, and they’re part of a promise that Sally Jackson (not her real name) made to herself four years ago.  It’s a promise that involves #MeToo, heartbreak, a complicated moral decision, and a life  that’s ever since been devoted to helping and uplifting women.

Jackson and I are having breakfast at the Pelican Hill Resort in Southern California. We can look past graceful palm trees to see the calm Pacific Ocean.

“My Mom was an immigrant to the U.S. who came to this country with nothing,” begins Jackson, wiping away a tear.  “Despite being a single working mother of three, she became a very successful business owner.  She was very wary of my pursuit of the film industry but when she realized that I had forged my own path, and successfully, she gave me these earrings as a gift.”

As you can see when you look at the image of the earrings, the gift was an expensive one. The gems are real, and the earrings are worth considerably more than Jackson’s Prius.  Given their price, and even more, given that they were a gift from her beloved mother, Jackson says, “They’re the most precious thing I own.”

Why would Jackson part with something so meaningful and precious?

Jackson continues her story.  She did have the successful career her mother dreamed of for her.  She worked on countless movies, garnered 114 Academy Award nominations and scored several wins during her tenure.  She made millions for the company she worked for and she worked with some of the most famous stars in Hollywood.

However, at the height of her success, her boss propositioned her for sex and she refused.  “When I didn’t go along with what he wanted, he made sure I got all the worst jobs in the company,”  Jackson remembers, and as she speaker, her face growing pale, “This was prior to the #MeToo movement and I  felt like I had very few options.”

Her boss made it increasingly difficult for her to continue working in the company. She resigned and for months was unemployed.  It was a bleak and catastrophically depressing, anxiety-filled time. She was living off of her savings and at the end, she had only $13 left in the bank.

But then she got a dream job, one that turned out to be just right for her and she was happy again. But then the #MeToo movement erupted and Jackson was asked to face these demons once again.

Jackson continues: “Two of the women who worked for my old company knew why I had quit and asked me for help in fighting against the boss who had caused me to leave.  The man had been preying on the two women, and they felt that if we could  all join forces, we could stop this sexual predator.”  

At this point in the story, Jackson is crying freely.  After dabbing at her eyes with her napkin, she puts on dark glasses and continues.

She told her two women friends, “I cannot put my new husband through this We have been through too much pain over this and we’ve just bounced back from being nearly broke.”

Jackson made the decision to remain silent.  It was a wrenching decision, but the memories of the anxiety she had felt when she was eating up all her savings, coupled with the depression that went with it–those memories were still fresh.  That plus she had dozens of people working for her and she felt a deep responsibility to them. Supporting the two women who were being victimised would not only jeopardise everything she most cared about  it could also impact the people who were now working for her.

An outside person listening to her telling her story might feel that she had no choice but to remain silent. And yet, to this day she grieves that she didn’t help the two women who were suffering.

Even so, something good came from this wrenching experience.  She vowed to the two women and to herself: “I promise I will do more good for women in my silence, than I could have ever done by taking him down.” In the years since, because of that promise, she’s given her all to helping women.

Her work now is focused on impact investing, particularly investing in startups that promote structural change in major industries that promote the advancement of women and minorities.

Jackson’s story resembles the story of how a pearl oyster can produce a gorgeous pearl, but only when a grain of sand or other irritant starts the process. In the case of a pearl, the oyster protects itself from the irritation by covering it with layers and layers of nacre.  And thus a beautiful iridescent pearl is formed.

Sally Jackson regrets that she wasn’t there for her two former colleagues who were experiencing #MeToo. However, a beautiful (if metaphorical) pearl has been the result.  She’s spending the rest of her life helping all women.  

Donating the beautiful earrings to help stop human trafficking is just one aspect of how she is keeping her promise.  

Those earrings really, really are beautiful, right?

 

Mitzi Perdue is the organiser of Win This Fight, Stop Human Trafficking. Contact her at:  mitzi@winthisfight.org.

 

Restore NYC: a Model for Measuring Impact

By Mitzi Perdue 

Want some additional validation for why combatting human trafficking is worth it? Then read the story of Juanita Garcia. (As usual, we are not using a real name.)

 Juanita’s story is about hope, catastrophic betrayal, suicide-inducing misery, and then happiness, fulfillment, and the infinite satisfaction of knowing that today, she’s making lives better for others.

 Juanita’s Story

When Juanita was 23, life seemed to smile on her. She met a man who told her he loved her, and he showered her with gifts that were beyond anything her family could ever afford. He had told her that they’d leave Honduras together to make a life in the United States. She was in love and full of hope for a better life. 

He also told her the wonderful news that he already had a job lined up for her. There was a nice couple in Texas who wanted to hire her to look after their two children.

 Soon after Juanita and her boyfriend crossed the border together, his behavior toward her changed. He became emotionally and physically abusive, threatening to abandon her penniless in a country where she didn’t know the language if she didn’t comply with his wishes. To her horror, he handed her over to a trafficking ring, telling her they needed the money. As she later learned, her “boyfriend” had deliberately set her up. In fact, he made a habit of this kind of fraud, and he was part of a network of criminals who trafficked drugs, weapons, and sex slaves.

 For almost four years she was trafficked, forced to have sex with strangers up to 15 times a night. The victimizers told her if she tried to escape, they knew where her family was in Honduras, and they’d all be killed.

 She became pregnant several times, and each time miscarried after horrible beatings. And then one day, more than three years into this, when her trafficker was threatening her, she told him, “I just want to die.  You can kill me right now.”

 He didn’t, but the next morning, Juanita ran out of the home and found her way to a local hospital. Law enforcement quickly became involved and arranged for her to move to New York.

 They moved her out of Texas because they knew that she wouldn’t be safe in the area where she was trafficked. She ended up in a safe place in New York, Restore NYC.

 The community at Restore NYC walked alongside Juanita during her long road to recovery and freedom. She lived in their transitional safehome for a year and a half, also receiving counseling and enrolling in their Economic Empowerment program.

 Today, Juanita is working full-time as a member of Restore’s co-op staffing agency, she’s married, and has two children.

Best of all, Juanita also works part-time as an assistant facilitator in Restore’s Economic Empowerment program, helping other survivors who have been trafficked. She is a role model showing that restoration is possible with the power of community, even after such unimaginable suffering.

Why Restore Works

 Restore has an extraordinary record of success, and there’s a reason. As Dr. Amanda Eckhardt, the Executive Director, explains, “We know that survivors have the same degree of trauma as victims of torture or combat. This trauma impacts the body, soul, and spirit.  It takes a community for an individual’s life to be restored with dignity–and we provide that community.”

 Restore’s Motto: Pilot, Measure, Iterate

 Eckhardt goes on to say, “Trafficking is a dark, complex, and devastating problem, but we believe that restoration is always possible and we must act. We want to engage in innovative solutions to trafficking. We pilot new initiatives, we measure what works and what doesn’t, and then we iterate and make improvements. It’s all-important to see if we’re going in the right direction.”

 In the ten years Restore has been operating, it clearly has been going in the right direction.

 

  • Mental Health: The women who complete counseling services have the same mental health outcomes as the average woman.
  • Housing: 73% of the women have their own housing and are living independently in the community.
  • Economic Security: On average, a woman’s earnings increase by $20,000 in one year. In the first year of employment with one of Restore’s 27 business partners, 70% are promoted.

One of the biggest goals of Restore is that their graduates are no longer vulnerable to being trafficked. Today, 92% of those who have completed the program have no red flags that indicate risk factors for being re-trafficked.

Restore measures its impact, and the impact has been inspiring. 

 If you would like to support this important work, visit the Restore website: https://restorenyc.org or call at: (212) 840-8484.

 Mitzi Perdue is a  speaker. and author of the books, HOW TO MAKE YOUR FAMILY BUSINESS LAST, and 52 TIPS FOR PREVENTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Contact her at Mitzi@WinThisFight.org or call her at 410 860-4444.

KATIE FORD: FROM HELPING MODELS TO MODELING  FREEDOM

KATIE FORD: FROM HELPING MODELS TO MODELING  FREEDOM

By Mitzi Perdue

Katie Ford, former CEO of Ford Models, Inc., got a life-changing phone call in 2007.  She was invited to speak at the UN about human trafficking.

She wasn’t at all sure why the UN would want her.  At that point in her life, she hadn’t even heard the term, “human trafficking,” 

Ford decided to accept the UN speaking invitation, and that meant delving deeper into the issue. She learned that traffickers frequently offer the opportunity of a job and money, but that job doesn’t exist. People are duped. They are forced into a job that they didn’t agree to and forced to work without pay. This is otherwise known as slavery.

As Ford points out,  “How people are trafficked parallels how we brought in models. We offered them opportunity, including the opportunity to make a lot of money.” However, with Ford, there was no duping. Later, she learned that traffickers often use the lure of a career in modeling to recruit future victims.  

The traffickers’ approach was the polar opposite of what Ford, as an ethical person in the modeling business, was doing. She was about building careers and protecting young models, even including having the younger ones live in her home, where she could look out for their safety and welfare.

As she learned of case after case where young, vulnerable people had been enslaved and had their lives taken away from them, she came to a realization: “I can’t stand by and not do something.”

That was the beginning of the not-for-profit organization, “Freedom for All.” In the years since, the organization has freed people from all kinds of slavery.  The organization currently has nine on-the-ground partners in five countries, including the USA.

‘We picked groups where we could vet the work,” Ford points out. “They have enough systems in place where we could see the results of the money. I wanted groups where the amount of money we can give, which is relatively small, can make a big difference.”

The organization’s impact has made a huge difference.  “In the last 10 years, Freedom for All, has helped 28,000 people,” Ford points out. “When slaves are freed and given a little help, they can do well. They are accustomed to hard work.”

An Example of the Foundation’s Impact

A success story she enjoys talking about is a sample of her organization’s efforts in India.  A man was in debt to his employer and couldn’t leave until he paid his debt off. But since the employer wasn’t paying him, he had no possibility of paying off the debt.

To make a terrible situation even worse, the man’s children were going to be enslaved with the father and not allowed to go to school. 

Involuntary servitude, the kind where you can’t quit, is illegal throughout the entire world.  Freedom for All, with its on-the-ground partner, was able to free this man and get him a “ $500 reparations grant” from the Indian government, so that he could start a free life where he profited from his labor. 

Here’s what this man did with his new freedom. He was able to open a store. With the income from the store, he was able to move from sleeping on the ground of a straw hut to living in a nice stucco home with electricity.

Even better, his children escaped being slaves.  Instead, they got an education and today are attending university.  

“Freedom for All makes this kind of transformation possible,” says a pleased Ford. Fortunately, her work enables her to see this kind of change all the time. 

What Can We Do?

Ford encourages all of us to be a part of anti-trafficking efforts.  “Everybody can do something,” she points out. Make a donation.  “Any amount counts. Anti-trafficking is underfunded, and a $10 donation makes a difference.” If you would like to:

Mitzi Perdue is the organizer of the Global Anti-Trafficking Auction, and author of the book, 52 Tips for Combatting Human Trafficking. Contact her at: Mitzi@WinThisFight.org 

 

Nic McKinley

Using Counterterrorism Methods to Fight Modern Slavery

By Mitzi Perdue

Our expert is Nic McKinley, Founder and CEO of DeliverFund, a nonprofit, private intelligence organization that uses counterterrorism techniques to combat modern slavery. DeliverFund is made up of former elite intelligence operators from the CIA, NSA, FBI, and Navy SEALs. 

Interview with Nic McKinley

Editor:  There seems to be an explosion in human trafficking. Why?

McKinley: The problem has grown because of the Internet. The Internet allows scale, and to get a feeling for it, let’s look at the human trafficking issue through the lens of technology. In the days of the Pony Express, you could write a letter and it could take weeks or months to get it delivered, and the whole process was expensive. Today, you can send all the emails you want at a fraction of a penny and at the speed of light.

Editor: So, a person who wants to advertise sex on-line can reach hundreds of thousands of potential clients at almost no cost?

McKinley: Yes. The bad news is, traffickers can cheaply market their product to customers at a large scale at very little risk to themselves. The good news is, using technology and an understanding of black-market economics, we can introduce risk. We can make it more expensive for them, and we can disrupt their ability to reach the customers. 

Editor: How? 

McKinley: We make it more expensive for the trafficker. If the trafficker faces a lifetime in prison, word gets out among the traffickers. There’s now serious risk to the trafficker. 

And this brings us to black market economics. From a business point of view, how do people handle risk? 

The answer is, insurance. 

For the trafficker, insurance against going to jail means the trafficker has to spend more money on the “muscle” to control the girls, more money on bribing hotel employees, more money hiding what’s going on. Our goal is to make the transaction so expensive that the trafficker can’t make money on it. 

Editor: You played a role in taking down the infamous commercial sex trafficking site, BackPage.com. Is this part of making trafficking uneconomic for the trafficker?

McKinley: Yes, the traffickers’ Achilles heel is the Internet. The traffickers can’t make money if they don’t advertise on the Internet. Nobody stays in business if they can’t make money at it. We want to take away their ability to advertise.

Editor: How does DeliverFund use technology to bring this about?

McKinley: Our role is using our military and intelligence training to help law enforcement. Arresting human traffickers is the ultimate form of prevention, but keep in mind that the only people with the authority to arrest the human traffickers are law enforcement officers–so that is who we serve. 

We provide them with the technology tools and the cyber investigative techniques to be more effective in investigating and prosecuting human traffickers. Most law enforcement departments don’t have even one full-time human trafficking analyst or intelligence professional. We use our intelligence training to do the heavy lifting of finding the traffickers, and then we hand the information over to law enforcement. 

Interestingly, they validate and verify everything we give them. We work within the system. 

Editor: If someone likes your approach and wants to make a donation to DeliverFund, what would their donation make possible?

McKinley: For $50, a donor can know that he or she funded discovering the physical location of a trafficked victim. $75 would fund mapping out a trafficker’s network. $100 funds finding out a trafficker’s online footprint. And $500 funds an intelligence report on a trafficker that can help put a trafficker away for life.

Editor: Do you have a final thought for us?

McKinley: We believe the ultimate prevention program is the elimination of human traffickers. Without them, there would be no victims of human trafficking. 

For more information on Nic McKinley’s work or to make a donation, go to https://deliverfund.org.

Dr. Jean Baderschneider

A Global Strategy to End Modern Slavery: Interview with Dr. Jean Baderschneider

Our expert is Dr. Jean Baderschneider, CEO and founding board member of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery. This organization is designed to catalyze a global strategy to end human trafficking and to increase the necessary resources from the public and private sector to fund it. Baderschneider was in the private sector for 35 years, coming from ExxonMobil as Vice President, of Global Procurement. She also has over 10 years of anti-trafficking experience and has served on the Board of a number of the key anti-trafficking organizations in the field.

 

Interview with Dr. Baderschneider

 

Editor: Give us some background on the scope of the human trafficking problem.

 

Baderschneider: The first thing to understand is that it is a big problem, and it’s everywhere, including in our own back yard. According to the Global Slavery Index, an estimated 40 million people are in some form of modern slavery. We are working to create better quantitative data tofully grasp the breadth and depth of human slavery.

 

Editor: Why has it become such an issue right now?

 

Baderschneider: Trafficking is extraordinarily profitable. According to a 2012 estimate, thiscrime generates at least a $150 billion a year in profits for traffickers, second only to drug trafficking. The combination of the number of people exploited and size of the profits has raised demand for action. The increasing number of focused awareness efforts, as well as new legislative, efforts such as the Modern Slavery Act are having an impact and creating platforms for action.

 

Editor: And other global trends that lead to more trafficking?

 

Baderschneider: Human trafficking sits at the intersection of many global trends, such as migration, organized crime, global supply chains, and so on.. Many people migrate because they have no other options and are looking for work. There are approximately 244 million migrants a year.While this can be a positive experience for some, it also results in large numbers of vulnerable people at risk of ending up in exploitative labor situations.

 

Editor: What are the obstacles that keep us from successfully combating it so far?

 

Baderschneider: The existing efforts and resources do not match the scale of the problem. The resources currently available to combat trafficking are in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but as I said, the traffickers are making $150 billion a year. That’s not a fair fight. In addition, efforts have been fragmented, uncoordinated, and limited by lack of data.

 

Also, you may be able to shut down trafficking in one place, but the traffickers immediately pop up someplace else, like a neighboring village. Instead of solving the problem, it has only been displaced.

 

Editor: How is the organization you head, the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, addressing the problem?

 

Baderschneider: Here’s our  three-pronged approach.

  • First, we have programs related to rule of law, designed to end impunity for all forms of trafficking.
  • Second, we have programs focused on sustaining freedom for survivors through recovery, reintegration and economic opportunity.
  • Third, we have programs focused on business engagement, including proactively engaging with the business community and its supply chains.

In the world today, there is about $70 trillion in procurement spending. If we can get corporations fully engaged and leverage their resources, it begins to become more of a fair fight. We want investors and banks to incentivize companies to meaningfully address the risk of slavery in their supply chains.

Editor: I would imagine that shining a light on a company’s slave-labor-fueled supply chain would be a powerful tool. No  company wants the reputational catastrophe of being outed for using slave labor in its supply chain.  Do you have a final thought for us?

Baderschneider: Yes, we are doing much more than there’s space for in your blog! Come to our website to see what else we’re doing. https://www.gfems.org

 

Mitzi Perdue is the organizer of the Global Anti-Trafficking Auction, and author of the book, 52 Tips for Combatting Human Trafficking, available on Amazon.

Rachel Lloyd

 Recovery, Dignity, and Helping Others after Being Trafficked

 Recovery, Dignity, and Helping Others after Being Trafficked

By Mitzi Perdue

 

If you were to meet Rachel Lloyd today, you’d see a leader known for improving the lives of young women who have been sex trafficked. The organization she founded, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), has helped thousands of girls and young women be restored to a life of dignity.

We’ll get into how this miracle gets accomplished in a moment. But first let’s take a look at Lloyd’s extraordinary journey from being trafficked herself to leading a movement that has transformed laws, attitudes and most of all, lives.

When Lloyd was 17, she left England and her abusive, alcoholic mother, hoping to start a new life in Germany. She arrived in Munich with enough money to pay for two weeks’ room and board. She assumed she could get a job waitressing.

However, there was a flaw with this plan. “I didn’t speak German,” she recalls, “and that meant I couldn’t get the kind of job I was counting on.”

At the end of two weeks, things were becoming desperate.  “I was about to be kicked out of my bed and breakfast, and that meant I’d have no place to go. I walked into a strip club and said I could dance. My plan was to do it to do it for a week, so I’d have enough money to pay for a ticket back to England.”

However, she wasn’t even qualified for a job dancing. The manager did offer to pay her to be a hostess, the kind that encourages customers to have a drink with them.

She soon learned that having a drink with a customer wasn’t just “having a drink with a customer.” There was a back room where the high paying customers expected her to spend intimate time with them.

Her first night, an 80-year old man bought her a bottle of champagne. In return, she had to go the back room with him.  

After her “back room” experience was over,  she felt so dirty that she spent the rest of that night in the shower, “wanting to scrub my skin off.” The experience was harrowing, but it did mean that she had enough money pay her rent. 

Her plans to work at the strip club for only a week, didn’t work out.  The money was good, but her self-esteem was low, and it wasn’t much of a step to being sex trafficked. 

Her life became full of beatings, hunger, betrayal, violence, and terror. It was a nightmare.

 

After two years, she was able to get out of “the life,” with the help of a military family and a church on a US Air Force base in Germany. From there, she emigrated to the United States, got her GED, a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in Applied Urban Anthropology.

Her time of being exploited for commercial sex left her with a deep desire to help other young women.  She started GEMS in 1998, and in the years since, she’s helped mentor more than 300 girls and young women a year, helping them get out of “the life.”   In the last 21 years, she’s:

  • Created a place of safety and support for thousands of girls and young women 
  • Passed legislation that finally protects children 
  • Reached millions of Americans through awareness and cultural change efforts 
  • Created the survivor leadership movement 
  • Permanently changed the conversation and landscape on CSE (Commercial Sexual Exploitation) and domestic trafficking in the U.S. 

She sums up her life by saying, “Obviously there have been experiences I would rather not have had and pain I wish I hadn’t felt, but every experience, every tear, every hardship has equipped me for the work I do now. I get such deep satisfaction from knowing I’m fulfilling my purpose, that my life is counting for something; it puts all the past hurts into perspective. My pain has become my passion and I find true joy in my work, in my life, and in seeing ‘my girls’ fulfill their purpose too.” 

If you’d like to support girls and young women who are working to rebuild their lives after having been trafficked, visit Lloyd’s website: https://www.gems-girls.org/about-anything  And even better, donate.  Your donation can make an extraordinary difference in the lives of the many young women whose lives GEMS and Rachel Lloyd touch.

Mitzi Perdue is a business owner, speaker, and author of the books, HOW TO MAKE YOUR FAMILY BUSINESS LAST, and also 52 TIPS FOR PREVENTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Contact her at Mitzi@MitziPerdue.com or call her at (410) 860-4444 for more info about human trafficking education.

Dr. Ma

Prosecution of Trafficking in Taiwan

Prosecution of Trafficking in Taiwan: Why the Country Is a Standout

 By Mitzi Perdue

The U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report ranks countries according to how effectively they are combatting human trafficking.  The rankings range from:

Tier One, countries that are working hard and effectively to acknowledge and combat human trafficking

Tier Two, countries that are making significant progress towards achieving Tier One status

Tier Three, those that are not making significant efforts or progress in combatting human trafficking

If you look at the Wikipedia map of  how countries are doing according to this ranking, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trafficking_in_Persons_Report an interesting fact appears about Taiwan.  On this map, Taiwan is a bright green Tier One Country.  

Almost all of the countries nearby, are either yellow, signifying Tier Two, or a bright red, signifying Tier Three.  

What Is Taiwan Doing to Be Such a Standout?

According to Dr. Jenwha Ma, recently retired Deputy Head of Criminal Investigation Bureau, National Police Agency who currently work as Chief Security Officer in a Taiwanese enterprise, “The country has made prosecution it’s number one priority.”  

Making prosecution the number one priority has some immediate practical consequences.  The crime of trafficking too often goes unpunished because it’s often difficult to get the victims to testify.  In the absence of consequences, trafficking flourishes.

Increasing the Odds of Being Prosecuted

Taiwan has laws and systems for increasing the odds that a trafficker will pay a price.  For example:

In the past, when a trafficking victim was rescued, he or she might never testify against the trafficker. That’s because the trafficker could see to it that the victim was spirited out of the country before testifying. Today, law enforcement in Taiwan, works with the Taiwanese Immigration Department to ensure that the victim stays in the country until he or she has testified. 

Incidentally the problem just described happens in the United States, and Jeffrey Epstein is the classic example. In the case of the original prosecution of Jeffrey Epstein, one of the several reasons he got an absurdly lenient sentence was, most of the witnesses were moved overseas and were therefore unavailable to prosecutors.

Taiwan works to ensure that Epstein-type miscarriages of justice don’t happen. Keeping potential witnesses in the country is one reason prosecution of traffickers is becoming more effective. 

Another problem for law enforcement is, frequently a trafficked person may not speak the country’s language.  To counteract this, members of Taiwanese law enforcement go out of their way to ensure that interpreters are available whether the victim speaks, Japanese or Thai or Indonesian or any other language.

Still another problem with prosecuting traffickers is, where does the victim stay while waiting to testify? In the case of a prostituted girl, she may have no other marketable skills, and since she needs food and a roof over her head, she is at risk of being re-trafficked. 

Taiwan has an answer for this also. “In Taiwan,” says Dr. Ma, “we have safe housing run by the Immigration Agency. We call them ‘Protection Centers.’”

“While at the Protection Center,” continues Ma, “we look out for their welfare, and we give them occupational training.”  A stay in a Protection Center could last several months depending on the trial date and also  depending on diplomatic arrangements between Taiwan and the country they were trafficked from. 

Results

According to statistics from Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior, the total number of human trafficking cases in 2018 was 133.  Of these, sexual exploitation accounted for 71% and labor exploitation 29%

“Each case may have more than one person involved and arrested,” points out Ma, “The total number of suspects involved in the 133 cases is 433 individuals.”  

Dr. Ma’s statistic of 433 individuals is an impressive one because these are the people doing the trafficking.  Word spreads among the traffickers that there are consequences, usually in the form of jail time.  Prosecutions mean some people are put away and therefore not continuing to abuse their victims.  For other traffickers, the reality that they may be prosecuted is a deterrent.

Cooperation between Taiwan and the US

Dr. Ma is pleased with the close cooperation between the  US and Taiwan law enforcement agencies in fighting against international sexual and labor exploitation. The two countries cooperate on exchanging information. 

He wishes, however, that Taiwan could be a member of Interpol. Interpol is currently unavailable to Taiwan since the United Nations doesn’t recognize Taiwan as a nation separate from China. “This is a big problem,” explains Ma, “since it keeps us from cooperating with many countries. It means we are not in the ring of information, and we are late in receiving tips, whether about drugs or human trafficking.” 

He wishes this would change.

Contact us today to discover what you can do to increase human trafficking awareness.

__________________-

Mitzi Perdue is a business owner, speaker. and author of the book, 52 Tips for Combatting Human Trafficking.  Contact her at Mitzi@MitziPerdue.com or call her at 410 860-4444.

 

 

Conchita Sarnoff

The Jeffrey Epstein Story: Media and Cultural Rot


The Jeffrey Epstein Story: Media and Cultural Rot

By Mitzi Perdue

Want some sordid details about how the rich and powerful evade the law? 

This is a story uncovered by investigative journalist Conchita Sarnoff. There’s a good chance that a lot of what you know about the Jeffrey Epstein case comes either directly from Sarnoff’s writing, or from others who benefitted from her decade’s long research.

Sarnoff learned about the Epstein case in a roundabout way. She was researching the issue of sex trafficking in the United States when she stumbled upon the Epstein case.

Her interest began when she was at a dinner in Mexico City, January of 2006. A government official startled her with an accusation. 

 “You Americans are a bunch of hypocrites,” he told her. “You buy our drugs, sell us illegal weapons, and now you are stealing our children.”

Sarnoff was aware of accusations that our government had facilitated the sale of guns in Mexico, and that there is a drug epidemic in the US, but hearing that we in the United States were stealing children from another country to traffic them for sex was new and deeply disturbing. 

When she returned home to Washington, DC, she began to research the issue. Soon after, she met Deborah Sigmund, founder of the anti-trafficking organization Innocents at Risk.

 Sigmund arranged for her to meet the Italian ambassador who was hosting an anti-trafficking breakfast. There she met a  12-year old girl who had been trafficked from Mexico to the United States and ended up in Washington, DC.

Sarnoff came from what she describes as a “charmed childhood,” and had never been abused, but even so, she felt “… an instant identification with this child.” Meeting the little girl made the issue real to her.  

Sarnoff decided to investigate human trafficking further with the idea of producing a documentary on the subject. Soon she had enough material to write a book on trafficking. 

Her history played a large role in what happened next. She’s related to General David Sarnoff, founder of NBC.  Some of her friendships overlapped with Jeffrey Epstein’s and Ghislaine Maxwell’s social circle.

Because of these connections, whenA Epstein was found guilty in 2007, she had access to him and Ghislaine Maxwell. Through extensive research and guidance from neighbors and friends inside Epstein’s circle, she learned that Epstein’s crimes involved the rich, the powerful, the famous, and the royal. 

As Sarnoff revealed in her book TrafficKing, “The people implicated in the Epstein case ranged from Harvard University to the White House to Buckingham Palace.”

“I had known Jeffrey Epstein since the early 90s and met Ghislaine Maxwell around the same time,” she says. In 2010, after further investigation she did something that few other people could do. She telephoned Epstein and Maxwell to find their side of the story. She spoke to them both. 

Epstein warned her during one of their telephone conversations they were “probably being taped by the Feds.” Unmoved she continued the conversations. There was nothing to hide.

Later in her investigation when Epstein was exposed as a Level 3 Sex Offender, that is, one who was at high risk of re-offending, Sarnoff telephoned Judge Ruth Pickholz to find out why the Manhattan DA’s office had appealed his registration to a Level 1. 

She next contacted the Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, Jr., questioning his decision to appeal Epstein’s sex offender status.  She also relayed to him information on 11 parole violations she had learned about from Brad Edwards, a lawyer for the victims.  

As she continued investigating the Epstein story, she learned that he wasn’t only sexually abusing children; he was also paying at least one girl to service his rich and powerful friends-–the very definition of child sex trafficking. She told this to the attorney Brad Edwards and suggested that Epstein should be accused of sex trafficking.

IN 2008, she pitched her book, and in 2009, Random House Mexico signed a book deal. In 2012, however, they killed the deal. Richard Johnson, Page 6, New York Post, printed two stories about her book deal. 

https://pagesix.com/2014/11/05/author-faces-off-against-bill-clinton/

Newspapers which, as society’s watchdog, should have been all over this insider’s story, as they have been since November 2018. Instead they shielded and protected Epstein and his enablers while silencing Sarnoff.

https://pagesix.com/2015/12/01epstein-sex-scandal-book-clears-bill-clinton/

In 2010 and 2011, she pitched the book again. To her intense consternation, 27 publishers turned her down. Publishers and mainstream media outlets continued to ignore her. Sarnoff can’t know whether it was Epstein’s financial clout or his political connections, or maybe something else, but it wasn’t until 2016 that her book saw the light of day. 

 

“If the press and the media hadn’t sat on the story,” she said, “I wouldn’t have spent ten years of my life following this case and writing this book. More importantly, a trafficker would have gone to jail before he could harm even more victims.”

 

“I don’t believe in exposing all the dirty laundry in public ” she continues, “but what is happening to our country when we shield a predator like Epstein is dangerous to our children and communities.”

Her book, “TrafficKing” is available on her website CONCHITASARNOFF.COM  and on Amazon. It’s the story of how Sarnoff, despite being offered a bribe to stay silent, risked her life to expose the brutal reality of human trafficking and the Jeffrey E. Epstein case.

Sarnoff continues to lecture about human trafficking and is the founder of the Georgetown University Human Trafficking Research Center at the Walsh School of Foreign Service. She is also Executive Director of the Alliance to Rescue Victims of Trafficking. For more information about this anti-sex trafficking organization, go to atrvt.org.

Mitzi Perdue is the organizer of the Global Anti-Trafficking Auction. Contact her at Mitzi@AntiTraffickingAuction.com

Vanda M

Traffickers Target the Vulnerable; They Don’t Care If You’re Rich, Poor or In-between

Although traffickers prey on people who are vulnerable, you don’t have to be poor or come from a broken family to be vulnerable. Vanda M came from a solidly middle class, two-parent family.

Her father worked for a major hospital and her mother was a deeply religious woman whose approach to sex was close to Puritanical. How could it happen that Wanda could end up in the commercial sex world?

“I was a product of the rebellious 1960s,” Wanda begins her explanation. “I was a rebellious kid, and when my father told me, ‘I won’t pay for your college if you date a black guy,’ I immediately started dating a black guy.”

The rebelliousness was only part of what was going on in her life. “I was influenced by hallucinogens, and then there was a covert aspect of what my parents were teaching me. I remember watching my dad watching the Miss America contest.”

Vanda remembers how “…he was judging women by their boobs and butts. And my mother was really interested in my being pretty and able to attract a good provider.” Vanda learned that how she looked was an important value to her parents.

The Perfect Storm

Those factors played a role, but they became a perfect storm when tragedy struck her family. Vanda was 13 when her adored older brother drowned in the town reservoir.

Four years later, her father died in a car accident. There were no grief counselors back then, and the family didn’t have the tools for coping with their anguish.

In the case of Vanda, she acted out. She ran away from her private boarding school, and with $100 in her pocket, she ended up in Times Square, New York.  

She needed to support herself, and not finding any other kind of work, she got a job as a stripper. Surprisingly, it didn’t seem like a bad job. At first.

“I was a show-off,” she recalls. “I remember walking out to do my stripping.  I saw a man’s jaw drop and heard him say to the guy next to him, ‘Now there’s a woman!’” Given her parents’ emphasis on physical appearance, she liked this.

Vanda quickly found a boyfriend. As often happens with traffickers, he was positively brilliant in psychologically manipulating her, and quickly led her into the world of commercialized sex.  

“I left him nine times in nine months, but I was so needy because of the loss of my brother and father, that I kept coming back,” she remembers.

Finally, she was able to break loose for good. She called her mother, asking, “Can I come home and revamp my life?”  

An Amazingly Together Woman

Revamping her life worked. She started college, studying criminal justice, but before finishing, she left to become a full time stand-up comic.  

Her career since then has been a success, but she felt it took a lot of effort to become the person she is today. “I read everything I could find on personal improvement, I meditated, I took courses.” She even read philosophers and famous scientists.

Today, Vanda is one of the most “together” women your likely to come across. It took her some hard work to get to where she is today, and she’s living proof that people can have a life of dignity and respect and love even after a seriously dark time.

Maybe it would be fair to describe her as the living embodiment of the saying, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” She jokes about how her mother once told her, “Vanda, why do you have to learn everything the hard way?”

When asked if she has a tip, garnered from her life’s experiences, she says, “Teach boys to satisfy their sex desires without ‘stealing sex.’ Don’t get sex by using pills or getting a woman so drunk she doesn’t know what she’s doing.”

 Instead, she hopes young men and young women will learn to be decent people. That means becoming the kind of person who can earn a real relationship with a deserving partner.

Vanda W is writing a book on her experiences that’s coming out in 2020. Come back to www.AntiTraffickingAuction.com/blog for an alert for when it’s published, as well as to learn more about anti-trafficking organizations.

 

 

A System for Protecting Children from Trafficking

Lamont Hiebert

Lamont Hiebert

 

You want your kids to be safe, right?

“Start early,” warns Lamont Hiebert. “Traffickers have been known to start grooming children as young as eight years old.” As Program Director of UNITAS, the New York and Serbian-based anti-trafficking organization, he has more expertise on this than most people. 

He’s seen that traffickers can be patient and strategic about gaining the confidence of their targets. Let’s say we’re talking about a boy.  He could be ten or 12, and one day an older boy he knows and looks up to tells him, “Here’s $100, get your mom a bag of groceries.”

The boy is thrilled.  As Hiebert says, “Can you imagine how good he feels?  He’s a hero!”

The older boy stays in touch with the boy, acting like a mentor, doing small favors for him.  Then one day, when the boy is a couple of years older, his “friend” says, “Hey, I need a favor.  Run this errand for me.”

The errand involves something illegal, and the boy knows it, but he wants to look good to the older boy and agrees.  Helping out his older friend and getting paid for it becomes a habit.

So where does this lead?  Soon, the older boy asks him to help recruit girls for trafficking. He’s on his way to a life as a pimp.

Hiebert knows countless stories like this, but here’s what he does with them. He and his colleagues have created what must be one of the most comprehensive school-based trafficking prevention programs in the United States. Maybe in the world.

Tonya Turner

“It’s based on the lived experience of survivors,” his colleague, UNITAS Education & Training Director Tonya Turner explains. Kids relate to what others have gone through, and they learn the tools to recognize the threats and to resist them.

One of the truly impressive approaches UNITAS uses is comics. One of the comics, for example, tells of a high school girl who’s lonely and meets a guy on Instagram who truly “gets” her.  The story is gripping and relatable as you watch her fall in love with the guy.

The guy wants pictures of her naked, and she ends up going along with it. But then she tries to back off and doesn’t want to send him the more revealing pictures he’s demanding. He texts back that if she doesn’t send him even more explicit photos, he’s going to send all the photos she ever sent him to her whole school. “Everyone @ school will see yr a slut with tiny boobs and a fat stomach.”

The entire course is realistic, at times gritty, but the young people who take the course learn enough to be highly vigilant against the traffickers.

Todd Cavaluzzi

UNITAS Executive Director Todd Cavaluzzi has suggestions for things you can do to help prevent trafficking:

  1. The first thing you can do is to learn and spread the word.  
    • Keep seeking out information from reputable sources online like our website (www.unitas.ngo), as well as other organizations like Polaris, ECPAT, and Love146.
    • Then spread the word and help educate others in conversations with family and friends and colleagues to make sure that more and more people know what is going on with this important issue. Here is a link to seven downloadable infographics that help explain human trafficking in the US.  Download them, share them, post them, print them, whatever you need to do to help explain this complex issue to your family, friends, and colleagues.
    • Use this link to our digital comics that you can view and share with your social network. The comics  help make human trafficking easily understood even by kids. The latest installment deals with the issue of sextortion and how kids can get trapped by emailing sexy pictures of themselves to someone they think they know.
  2. The next level you can go to is to donate your time, energy and resources to anti-trafficking organizations that are doing good, smart, work to fight human trafficking.
  3. Finally, you can get involved directly with kids who are at-risk for being trafficked, by becoming a tutor, a mentor, or even a big brother or big sister and just being there for them.

 Visit Unitas at www.unitas.ngohttps://www.linkedin.com/company/unitas-north-america/ or write to Todd Cavaluzzi at: todd@unitas.ngo

Author Mitzi Perdue is a speaker, author, business owner, and organizer of the Global Anti-Trafficking Auction. She is dedicated to helping people learn how to prevent human trafficking.