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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.  

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.)

 

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                                                             

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.

 

Dangers of Human Trafficking

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 or learn more about the dangers of human trafficking, 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.

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.

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.