Posts tagged with "Sex Trafficking"

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.

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.

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.

 

 

Is Trafficking More Prevalent Now?

Joanna RubinsteinJoanna Rubinstein from the World Childhood Foundation knows that child-trafficking is more prevalent now than ever before. She also knows why.

“In the past, a trafficker might be able to find five or six young people who were vulnerable, and it would take weeks or months of grooming to entrap them. Now, with the Internet, the trafficker can be working on a couple of hundred prospective victims at the same time.” 

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How Sex Traffickers Exploit Vulnerabilty and Gaps in the Law

By Mitzi Perdue

Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director of Equality NowYasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director of Equality Now, has an interesting take on sex trafficking.  Although Harvard-educated, she grew up in Pakistan, and her defining moment came at age 10 when her country’s laws were ‘Islamized.’

She got to see, under the new regime, how women were treated as second-class citizens. The experience was the starting point of her lifelong advocacy for women’s rights.

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A Physician Looks at Sex Trafficking

By Mitzi Perdue

Dr. Cesar Chelala During a trip to Egypt in the 1990s, Dr. Cesar Chelala learned something that was a cross between horrifying and hard-to-believe. Ninety percent of the women there had undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

You may already know this, but FGM means cutting out a woman’s clitoris. The process is so painful that an adult woman may remember the misery of the procedure for her entire lifetime.

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Taking Trafficking out of the Shadows: A Brilliant New Approach

By Mitzi Perdue

Margaret HendersonHuman trafficking thrives in the shadows. Victims may be unwilling or unable to get help, with the result that we never learn about their plight.

The problem is that traffickers are skilled in manipulating their victims into silence. The wide variety of strategies they use fall under the categories of force, fraud, and coercion.

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Using Real World “Super Powers” to Disrupt Sex Trafficking Networks

 

Using Real World “Super Powers” to Disrupt Sex Trafficking Networks

By Mitzi Perdue

Guardian GroupAndrew X is a gray-haired 70-year old international businessman. If you were to attend conferences where ultra-high net worth families gather, you might hear him as one of the speakers.

We’re not using his name, however. He has a secret life and wants to keep it that way.

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