Win This Fight! Stop Human Trafficking Blog

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Learn to Code! In the Human Trafficking World, It’s a Great Idea!

 

We’ve all heard the snarky advice, usually given to people in the media whose jobs have disappeared: “Learn to code!”  But for those who have survived human trafficking, this normally unkind advice turns out to be almost unbelievably useful and valuable.

Survivors of trafficking today can have $90,000 a year jobs, thanks to learning to code. Jessica Hubley and Laura Hackney, co-founders of a coding training program and the software development company, AnnieCannons, pioneered this approach to helping survivors of trafficking. 

For a trafficking survivor, programming skills can bring economic security. And this means they’re no longer attractive prey for a trafficker.

The story behind AnnieCannons is interesting.  Hubley and Hackney met at Stanford and found that they shared an interest in combatting human trafficking. As part of their research efforts, the two women got to know the deeper reality of survivors of trafficking.

Hubley and Hackney quickly realized that any job training available to the women they met in the shelters was way below what many of the trafficked women were capable of.  

The two women realized that many of the trafficking survivors they met had two of the most important characteristics of successful coders: grit and smarts. The two friends calculated that if the survivors could learn to code, they could be making $75 an hour – or even much more. 

And yet too often, the only vocational training available to the trafficking survivors were $15 an hour jobs, such as cooking.  Hubley and Hackney decided to try to change things. With help from a couple of visionary philanthropists, they set up a coding bootcamp, taking formerly trafficked women from digital illiteracy to proficiency in coding and web design. 

Commercial coding bootcamps cost about $25,000 for about 10 weeks of instruction. AnnieCannons needs about a $10,000 donation to take a survivor through a 6 month bootcamp, but after completing it, a survivor can make $60,000 a year and, through practice and advanced workshops, increase that income to well over six figures.  Even better, 90% of the women who start the program complete it and end up with jobs, most of them working for AnnieCannons.

Learning to code isn’t for everyone. However, as Hubley points out “Almost everyone with an IQ of 130 or more can do it.  Someone who’s been a B-plus student can generally do it. The big requirement is sticking with it and practicing.”

In Hubley’s experience, survivors have already demonstrated grit in abundance just by surviving. “They were hacking life just to continue living. They survived when people were telling them every day that they were worthless. The grit that it took just to get through any day makes them extraordinary.”

However, grit by itself wasn’t enough to escape a life of being trafficked.  Hubley discovered  that, “Every single person sitting in one of our classes had already been rescued and sent to a shelter three to seven times. They’d tell us they had been rescued, sent to a shelter, and had ended up re-trafficked because they believed their traffickers, who said that they were worthless. When they faced zero viable economic opportunities, they had no reason to believe otherwise.”

Knowing how to code interrupted this cycle. Hubley points out that, “When they have economic stability on their own, all this changes.”

In the six years that AnnieCannons has been in existence, 51 survivors have gone through the program and are now economically independent. They can now think of themselves as professional women, not trafficking victims. Coding helps give them their lives back.

 In 2020, AnnieCannons is tripling the number of classes they teach.

If you or your business needs coding services, including web design, visit https://anniecannons.com.  If you’d like to sponsor a survivor scholarship, you can make 501(c)3 donations at anniecannons.org. Either way, you’ll be helping a trafficking survivor begin her new life.  

Molly Gochman: Using Art to Combat Trafficking

Can art combat human trafficking?

You already know the answer. 

Art has the power to reach beyond our rational brains.  At its best, art has the power to reach to the very core of what makes us tick. It can make us see ourselves differently and it can inspire us to action. When we say that art “moves us,” this is actually literally true; art can not only make us more aware, it can inspire us to behave differently. 

Meet Molly Gochman

There may be artists who are a better example of art moving us to take action, but in the anti-trafficking field, there aren’t many who are more effective than New York-based artist, Molly Gochman.

Her particular genius is, she translates the commonest of experiences, something that is a part of everyday life, into something transcendent. She creates something that once you’ve seen it, you can’t un-see it. 

After learning about the metaphor you’re about to read, your world is going to be at least slightly different. The world as a whole will be at least slightly better.

Cracks in the Sidewalk

The metaphor begins with cracks in the sidewalk. Any sidewalk. Anywhere.  Cracks in the sidewalk are part of everyday life, and we hardly ever notice them. 

Gochman’s artistry, her ability to make connections that the rest of us don’t see, resulted in her thinking one day, “We don’t pay attention to sidewalk cracks. They’re in plain sight, just like human trafficking!”

She knew that 40.3 million people live as slaves. “There are overlooked populations,” she says, “and these include refugees, immigrants, LGBTQ people, people of color, indigenous people, people with disabilities, women and girls, and children, and they are at risk of being enslaved, spending their lives being exploited for the profit of others.”

Like most of us, the idea of doing something about a problem so huge was daunting. For her, almost the biggest part of the problem of changing the conditions of those who are most vulnerable is, these individuals are there, but no one sees them.

Wanting to do something about what she considered almost unimaginably horrible, she asked herself, what could she, one individual, do?

Her answer was, as an artist she could help raise awareness. 

She started small.

She began pouring red sand into cracks in a sidewalk in Miami, at an art fair. She was doing this initially as a way to start a conversation with the people who were walking by. As she expected, people were curious about the strange sight of a grown woman pouring bright red, blood-colored sand into cracks in a sidewalk.

“Why are you doing this,” people would ask.

“It’s an art project to raise awareness about modern day slavery.” 

“I thought slavery had ended!” was a typical response, and pretty soon, a robust conversation was underway.

This initially small project grew. It touched a nerve. The more people learned about Gochman’s 

Red Sand Project, the more the idea of pouring red sand in sidewalk cracks spread. Other people began doing it.  

Today, Red Sand Project is a participatory artwork that uses sidewalk interventions and earthwork installations to create opportunities for people to question, connect, and take action against vulnerabilities that can lead to human trafficking and exploitation. 

As Gochman puts it, “We do this to recognize those who are overlooked. We invite individuals to take the time to fill a sidewalk crack with red sand and to then document their sidewalk transformations on social media using #RedSandProject. 

“The intention is to encourage us all to not merely walk over the most marginalized people in our communities—those who fall through the metaphoric cracks.”

And where is the project today? With the help of Stardust Arts Foundation, in this past year alone the Red Sand Project team has mailed more than 22,000 Red Sands Project toolkits, and supported over 45,000 people doing Red Sand Project events. Since its founding in 2014, “more than a million people have come into contact with it,” Gochman says, her voice seemingly registering amazement at this fact.

It’s reached a million people, and the project continues to grow.  For more information, visit the website, https://redsandproject.org

Mitzi Perdue is the founder of the anti-trafficking organization, WinThisFight.org and author of 52 TIPS FOR PREVENTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Contact her at Mitzi@WinThisFight.org or call her at 410 860-4444.

 

Looking for an Education about Sex Trafficking? Here’s an Answer

Would you like an overview of human trafficking in America? Would you like a report that manages to be not only comprehensive, but also brief? And that has the most recently available information and statistics?

Jeff Keith from Guardian Group has an answer for you. He and his colleagues designed the 15-page report, 2019 Human Trafficking in America, and according to Keith, they did it, “To create a tool that enables people to get information in one place without having to seek it out. We sourced it from well-done research projects and then added to it our own analysis of the problem based on 10 years of experience.”

He goes on to say, “Our goal was to make it human and personal, and not just about statistics.  We wanted to avoid ‘paralysis by analysis,’ where you get so many statistics that you take away the person behind it.  This report isn’t just statistics, it’s about someone’s loved one, or maybe a community member.”

Keith also had another goal.  “We wanted to re-educate people and show people what’s really happening. People may watch the movie Taken or Pretty Woman, and think that’s how it happens here, but typically that’s not the case.”

To get a feeling of how different trafficking is likely to be from what you see in those two movies, read this quote from page 4 of the report:

“The pimp/traffickers monitor social media or dating sites for potential victims. They look for a vulnerability or a problem they can solve. Posting “my mom is the worst” on your Facebook page offers a predator the opportunity to swoop in and become the victim’s hero. They may also recruit victims at places teens hang out such as: parks, malls or outside shelters for runaway and homeless youth. Pimp/traffickers view humans as a product to be sold.”

In creating this report, Guardian Group members wanted not only awareness, they wanted impact.  Keith is pleased to report that already there have been amazing impacts.

“For example,” Keith says, “within a few weeks of a training session where a lot of the information in the report was communicated at a local hospital, members of the staff in the Emergency Department experienced a truly impactful result.”

Keith goes on to explain that shortly after the training session, there was a motor vehicle accident that occurred. The woman that was in the car accident had to be put on an automatic 24-hour hold due to her injuries. During that time a nurse and social worker both noticed several red flags.

  • The young woman’s story changed various times.
  • She would not make eye contact.
  • She was very afraid of the man that had been driving the car.

The hospital staff notified Law Enforcement and a multiple jurisdictional trafficking case was opened. The young woman was returned safely to her family.

Keith believes that the more people who read this report, the more impact it will have. To download a .pdf of 2019 Human Trafficking in America, go to Guardiangroup.org, click on Community under the Training tab, and then scroll down to Human Trafficking In America Report.

 

Elizabeth Peyton-Jones

A Threat in the Fashion Industry–and What Can Be Done about It

 

The Jeffrey Epstein case brought to light one of the ugliest secrets of the fashion world. In too many cases, a pretty girl is offered a glamorous and lucrative career in modelling and ends up being trafficked.

Traffickers Use Modeling as a Lure

That’s what happened to at least some of the young women who ended up servicing Epstein and his friends. In the view of Elizabeth Peyton-Jones, founder of Responsible Trust for Models (RTM) “Fashion is a global industry with no borders and no controls, and this makes it is easy to use and abuse the system.”

Peyton-Jones has an impressive and effective approach to addressing the issues in the model industry which are hiding in plain sight, like the abuse of power and the ability for predators to use model agencies as scammers or worse, trafficking and money laundering.

As she puts it, “The modeling industry attracts children who wish to work as models. They are self-employed which means they fall through the cracks. It is not up to them to change the abuse; it is up to the adults in the industry to see what is wrong and change it.” 

She goes on to say, “We at RTM wish to aid in protecting the vulnerable within the industry by creating a globally recognized standard, one that’s  awarded to model agencies, and that will allow  ethical agencies to step up and show best practice and alert brands as to which agencies are best to source their models through.”

Abuse Hiding in Plain sight

We’ll get to Peyton-Jones’s ideas on improving the safety of models in a moment. But first, let’s take a look at a typical case of how models can be exploited. It’s the case of Larisa Popova. That’s not her real name, but the events described did happen.

“At age 16,” begins Peyton-Jones, “Popova was a young, beautiful, eager and impressive Russian girl.”

Her fabulous looks attracted a European scout who was in Russia looking for ‘new faces’ for their internationally renowned brand. “They loved her look so much they decided to sign her to an agency in NYC with the intention she would be their next new prodigy,” says Peyton-Jones. This young girl had a ‘Mother Agency’ in Russia who was supposedly taking care of her.

Popova, who arrived in NYC did not speak a word of English, needed some serious guidance, which the agency in NYC gave her. She was given a tutor for English and her career began to take off. She made a significant sum of money, but the ‘mother agency’ refused to open a bank account, which meant Popova had to take wads of cash home to Russia each trip.

The agency became suspicious when, even after several months of asking, no bank account was opened. Popova had also started hanging around people taking drugs and alcohol. The US agency gave the mother agency in Russia an ultimatum, “Get your model away from the bad element, open up a bank account or the police will become involved.”

At that point, Popova disappeared.

When the agency looked into things further, they discovered the truth: The mother agency was a prostitute ring and the model agency had been a front for a criminal gang, which meant that the brands had inadvertently sourced a model who was legitimizing a criminal activity. If this ever got out, the brand’s reputation would be destroyed as it is directly their responsibility and their supply chain.

This obviously does not end well for anyone. The US agency is wondering what they could have done better, and it’s hard for the  brand to pursue this because of the negative press it would attract.

Peyton-Jones won’t speculate on what happened to Popova. All she knows for sure is that the fashion house or model agency was never able to locate the girl.

What Can Be Done

Peyton-Jones knows that because of the glamourous nature of the industry and indeed models, this is a difficult story to tell and gain sympathy. However, the fact that any person can approach anyone in the street, mall or online, whether legitimate or not, and there is no method of knowing who the good guys are, means that everyone is vulnerable. If you have a child who is easily led, she is a potential victim. This is so even if she never set her sights on fashion.

The resolution to this is simple and positive and will allow for positive change in an industry which is calling out for better, more modern governance and operational behavior.

It begins with an industry-led and curated kite mark of best practice. A good house-keeping mark, if you like.

  1. 1.A global standard, respected and recognized by industry professionals championed by model agencies, allowing for best practice, professionalism and labor rights for models.
  2. 2.A piece of research to show that this abuse exists, mapping countries and profiling for patterns.
  3. 3.A training and educational program for models which will allow them to understand their career value and teach them about finance, contracting, social media rights and public speaking.

Funding at this point is important for the research piece. For philanthropists who would like to see a measurable outcome and want to shift the dial on modern slavery, this is an opportunity.

For more information, go to https://www.modelstrust.com or @models_trust. Or contact Peyton-Jones on sue@modelstrust.com

Mitzi Perdue is the Founder and President of Win This Fight and author of 52 Tips for Combatting Human Trafficking. Contact her at Mitzi@WinThisFight.org.

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. 

 

________________________________

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

 

Watching Pornography – a Harmless Pastime?

Is pornography a harmless activity? A “No harm, no foul” situation?

Nina Bullock from Fight the New Drug has emphatic answers. Her answers are, “No!” and “No!” 

The “new drug” that her organization is fighting is pornography. It resembles a street drug in that it requires a continuously increasing dose to produce a thrill. It can also ruin lives.

How Pornography Messes up Lives

Let’s join Bullock in taking a look at a composite case, Joey Adams. Eighteen now, Joey started going to porn sites when he was 12 years old. He didn’t go looking for a porn site, but one day during web surfing, he saw an attractive female picture.

Curious, he clicked the link, and suddenly this 12-year-old was looking at the most exciting woman he had ever imagined.

It gave him a nice dopamine hit. He felt great!

But after a few days of looking at her, he wanted more. And bam! The more he saw, the more he wanted. At first, watching kissing was exciting, but over time, to get the excitement and the turn-on he now craved, he was searching for hard core sex acts.

But soon even that wasn’t enough. There had to be some violence in it to get him turned on. It had to be rape. And then brutal rape. And then beatings along with the sex.  

By the time he was in his mid-teens, even those images didn’t do it for him.  By age 18, he needed to watch ATMs. And no, we’re not talking about automatic teller machines. (Look it up under ATM sex.). (Although skip looking it up if you have a weak stomach. It’s horrible, and yet common.)

Adam Was Addicted

Adams needed to spend a couple of hours a day getting his porn fix. He had a serious addiction problem.

As Bullock points out, there were negative effects to what Adams was doing. For one thing, his addiction was affecting his brain. His brain was becoming desensitized and it took ever greater amounts of his pornography “drug” to give him the high that he craved. 

This also affected his heart. He could be in the presence of a real girl and feel nothing.  Between his tendencies to isolation and a sense of shame, his social life became non-existent.

Another consequence was one that involved society as a whole. Adams was unintentionally helping make possible a whole ecosystem of exploitation, whether women or men, or for that matter, boys or girls. 

“People may try to tell you this is harmless,” says Bullock, “but it’s not harmless. In 9 countries, 49% of sexually exploited women said that pornography was made of them during the time they were being sold for sex. For more on this come to: https://fightthenewdrug.org/by-the-numbers-porn-sex-trafficking-connected/

An Ultimate Scam

As Bullock points out, “There was an institute that claimed to be a sex positive production company, but we later learned that the star of these films was being trafficked.   

“One female survivor’s captor slept on top of her at night so she wouldn’t escape, watched her through a hole when she went to the bathroom, and listened to her phone calls with a gun pointed at her head. She was forced to appear in a video that made the Sinclair Intimacy Institute’s list of ‘sex positive productions!’”  

The victim reported, “Every time someone watches that film, they are watching me being raped.” 

What Parents Can Do

Don’t have “the sex talk” just once. Have it over and over again. – For age-appropriate language, visit: https://fightthenewdrug.org/the-guideline-how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-porn/

You have a right to prevent your child from viewing pornography. It’s a right just as much as you have a right to keep your child from any dangerous drug.

What an Addicted Person Can Do

 

What about the individual who is already addicted and wants to get back a normal life, one where he (and sometimes she) feels normal arousal related to real human beings?  For recovery-related resources, Bullock recommends: https://joinfortify.com/ftnd  

For more information on pornography addiction, go to https://fightthenewdrug.org.  

________________

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

 

 

 

 

Evil at Its Worst

Jim Conrad is a Delaware Poet who wrote this poem, Evil at Its Worst, for Win This Fight.  A great big Thank You to Conrad for doing this!  Poetry can focus and intensity emotions as words alone cannot. Again, thank you, Jim Conrad, for writing this.

                                 

                                    Cruelty To Animals

                                                On The TV Screen —Brings Tears

                                    But There Are Far Worse Happenings

                                                That Should Rank With Greatest Fears

                                    This Thing Called Sex Trade Trafficking

                                                Is The Worst —-With Silent Screams

                                    The Kind Of Thing That Should Cause Us

                                                To All Have Nightmare Dreams

                                    Savage, Base, Brutality

                                                So Some May Money Make

                                    International In It’s Scope

                                                With Cowards On The Take

                                    Like Cattle Are These Slaves Then Sold

                                                To Perverse Folk Who Have Bid

                                    They’re Bought To Perform Unspeakable Acts

                                                For Those Buyers Who Are Conscience Rid

                                    Daughters, Wives and Children

                                                Yes, Even Boys Of Youth

                                    From Skins Of Every Color

                                                And All Of It The Truth

                                    I Hope It’s Not Your Sister

                                                Or Niece Or Cousin Or Mother

                                    Your Girlfriend Or Your Fiancée

                                                Or Perhaps Even Your Brother

                                    But Just Because It’s No One

                                                That You May Ever Know

                                    Does Not Mean That Good Folk

                                                Can Let This Evil Go

                                    Starting With Awareness

                                                It’s The LEAST That We Can Do

                                    And Perhaps We Can Find Other Ways

                                                To See This Perversion Thru

                                    The One Thing We Can Never Do

                                                Is Turn And Walk Away

                                    For If We Do, Then Many Lives

                                                May NEVER Ever See The Light Of Day

                        Original poem by Jim Conrad as inspired by stories about Human Sex Traffickingt. 2019