Monday, April 30, 2012

Sex Trafficking in America

I firmly second this opinion, and have had great experiences working with local law enforcement in Florida on the trafficking of children. Sex Trafficking in America Published: April 29, 2012 “Not Quite a Teen, Yet Sold for Sex,” by Nicholas D. Kristof (column, April 19), performs an important service by bringing to public attention the thousands of teenagers, both girls and boys, trapped in the most heinous kind of child exploitation in American cities. This persistent and growing problem gets scant attention yet threatens the well-being and the very lives of children from coast to coast. But Mr. Kristof’s criticism of police departments is misguided. In more than 30 years of working on this problem from New York to Dallas to Los Angeles, I have known of no group more committed to the well-being of exploited, under-age teenagers than the designated units of police departments. They are often the only island of safety and sanity and the unsung heroes to hundreds of children. Financing for these divisions is often weak at best. JEFFREY NEWMAN President and Executive Director National Child Labor Committee

Friday, April 27, 2012

Restore Innocence

Nice effort at creating housing opportunities for victims of human trafficking.

Human Trafficking and Telling Stories

Wendi Adelson's "This is Our Story" Human Trafficking and Telling Stories by TANYA GOLASH-BOZA I recently read Wendi Adelson’s book on human trafficking This is Our Story, and can’t get the stories out of my head. I find myself walking down the street, thinking of Ana, a 14-year old girl raped every day by her 17-year-old captor, and lying in bed thinking of Rosa, a girl forced to be a sex slave. As I think about these girls, and my reaction to the very traumatic experience of multiple, daily rapes, I wonder about the purpose of such provocative, heart-breaking stories. In this book, Professor Adelson does a fantastic job of weaving together three stories: her story, the story of a 13-year old girl from Argentina, and the story of an 18-year old young woman from Slovakia. The stories of the two young victims of human trafficking are heart-breaking, horrendous, and full of evil men and women. The form she chooses is compelling: each protagonist writes in her diary and the book alternates between the diary entries of each. I read their stories and wonder, “What’s next?” “What am I supposed to do now?” Am I supposed to be compelled to action to stop human trafficking? If so, who should we go after? International prostitution rings? Individual human traffickers? Should I insist on more police investigations, harsher sentences for traffickers, or more informational pamphlets in immigrant neighborhoods and airports? I am reminded of fliers I have seen in immigrant-rights agencies and in airports in Peru designed to raise awareness of human trafficking. Do we need more of those fliers? What can we do to stop such extreme suffering? At one point in the book, the neighbors call the police because they see Rosa, a 14-year old girl, outside taking a shower with the hose. (She does this because her captors refuse her access to the shower.) The neighbors call the police as they are suspicious about the girl’s presence in the house and wonder if she ever goes to school. The police come by, but Rosa’s captors convince them that Rosa is their daughter and goes to school each day. Rosa is subsequently beaten horribly. Perhaps it would have been better if the neighbors hadn’t called the police. Or, perhaps the police should have been trained better. As I am reading the story of Mila, a young woman from Slovakia, I wonder why she doesn’t escape. She is forced to work days in a Chinese restaurant, and then nights as an exotic dancer. In addition, she is emotionally, physically, and sexually abused by her captor. One evening, she decides to flee. She is quickly caught hundreds of miles away. Instead of being taken back to her former captors, she is forced into prostitution as punishment. Running away made her bad situation even worse. As a social scientist, I want to know how common this sort of extreme human trafficking is. Are most prostitutes and exotic dancers forced into these professions? Are all Chinese restaurants staffed by overworked, exploited slaves? I am also trying to tease out my own emotional reaction – my personal horror at the gruesome stories versus the social scientist in me who doesn’t want to hear yet another story about how self-sacrificing white lawyers and police officers come to the rescue of poor, helpless sex slaves. On the other hand, who else would save them? Also, whose fault is it that these young women are trafficked? Is it the government of Argentina, who did not do its diligence to ensure that Rosa did not travel abroad as the supposed daughter of the people who would become her captors? Is it the Slovakian government who did not do its job of informing young Slovakians about the risks of responding to newspaper ads advertising work in the United States? Does the fault belong to the US government, which creates fear by handing out harsh punishments for undocumented immigrants and creating a situation where you need a highly qualified lawyer to save a young girl from trafficking and a deft human trafficker just to get in the country? Does the fault lie with the evil captors, who are just horrible people? The social scientist in me is not ready to accept the horrible people/helpless victim/heroic savior story. I suppose, however, that this is not the purpose of the book. The purpose of the book is to raise consciousness about human trafficking. In my case, I already knew that human trafficking existed. I have seen cases of human trafficking on television crime series, and I read about child slaves and sex slaves in another book - Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the Global Economy. The stories in This is Our Story haunt me, but they don’t make it clear what the next steps are or should be. I suppose the book might make me or others more likely to donate money to a shelter for victims of human trafficking, but I know the problem runs deeper than that. So, where does that leave me? I am not sure. One thing I do know is that the book leaves me pondering one big question: How bad do situations have to be for us to be compelled to do something? I honestly can’t imagine anyone reading this book and thinking that this extreme form of exploitation is unacceptable. However, how bad does it have to be for us to get up in arms? The girls and young women in this book were subjected to repeated physical, emotional, and sexual abuse by various people for over a year. What if the situation were not so severe? What if you knew that it was common practice for restaurants in your town to not pay undocumented workers, and that their only wages were tips? What if you found out that the gardeners for a local company never paid its undocumented workers overtime? What if you learned that people in your neighborhood picked up undocumented day laborers, agreed to pay them $80 a day, and then gave them $40 at the end of the day? Would those stories compel you to action? I can assure you that the three scenarios above are likely happening on a daily basis not too far from you. The more extreme cases of human trafficking are also happening, although they are less common. What all of these scenarios share in common is that vulnerable people are made more vulnerable by laws that prevent them from realizing their dreams. In This is Our Story, Rosa and Ana travel to the United States under false pretenses because there was no way for them to do so legally. This minor transgression opened the way for a series of other much more serious transgressions. Similarly, Mila entered on a temporary visa to work in a restaurant, also likely under false pretenses. Once her visa expired, she felt even more bound to her captors. The three scenarios with undocumented workers I explained above are also made more feasible because of laws that render people without authorization to live and work in the United States more vulnerable. If This is Our Story compels its readers to fight to change these laws, that would be a good thing. If, instead, readers are only successful at further criminalizing human trafficking, we will not be any closer to the goal of ensuring fundamental human rights for all. Tanya Golash-Boza is the author of: Yo Soy Negro Blackness in Peru, Immigration Nation: Raids, Detentions and Deportations in Post-9/11 America, and Due Process Denied: Detentions and Deportations in the United States.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spain: Police Break Up Smuggling Ring

The Spanish police said Tuesday that they had arrested 22 people and broken up a ring accused of smuggling people from Iran to Britain, often via flights from the Canary Islands. The police said that the traffickers also used an overland route, with people hidden in the luggage holds of buses or in freight containers on trucks. The ringleader and most members of the group were Iranian. Others were from Colombia, Morocco, Mauritania and Bulgaria. The police said that the ring charged Iranians $26,000 per person but that it was not clear how many people the ring had sneaked into Britain.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Singaporean Woman Pleads Not Guilty to Trafficking

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 20:59 Wheelchair-Bound S’porean Woman Pleads Not Guilty to Child Trafficking KLANG, 24 APRIL, 2012: A Singaporean woman bound in a wheelchair pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court here today to a charge of trafficking in a 22-day-old baby for the purpose of exploitation earlier this month. Lee Hwee Bin, 36, was charged with trafficking in the baby for the purpose of exploitation outside the Starbucks Coffee, Jaya Jusco Bukit Tinggi here at about 11:30am on April 6. She was charged under Section 14 of the Anti-Trafficking In Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Immigrants Act 2007 which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years and fine upon conviction. Lee's lawyer, K Muthiah said his client had lost her passport and a police report pertaining to the matter had also been lodged. He said his client had also applied for a new passport at the Singapore High Commission here and was expected to receive it in another month. Hence, Judge Norsyaridah Awang said she could not allow bail on Lee as the accused did not possess any valid travel document. She also set May 24 for remention. Deputy public prosecutor Aimi Syazwani Sarmin prosecuted.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Young Roma Girl Freed in Britain

Couple jailed for trafficking child Seven-year-old girl was forced to sleep on the floor and beaten up Daily MailPublished: 00:00 April 21, 2012 Share on facebookShare on twitterShare on emailShare on printMore Sharing Services1 London A Romanian gypsy couple were Friday evening jailed for bringing a child into Britain and keeping her as a slave. She was saved only when a 53-year-old man kept as a slave in the garden shed of the family's London council house escaped — and told police of a ‘Cinderella' used as a servant. Officers found the seven-year-old girl had been forced to sleep on the floor, had no possessions beyond the filthy clothes she was wearing and had been "beaten like a carpet". She had been kept barefoot and eight of her black rotten teeth had to be removed. She was unable to count to ten in her own language. The family's eight children, meanwhile, wore fashionable clothes, and were allowed to go to school. The family used money from crime and benefits to buy ‘palaces' in Romania. On Wednesday, husband and wife Aurel-Ilie Zlatea, 45, and Alexandra Oaie, 44, and their sons Marian Neamu, 25, and Florin Zlatea, 23, were jailed for between nine and 13 years for a series of offences. The sons had also raped their adult slave after he asked for food on New Year's Eve.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Question of Legalized Prostitution

Interesting discussion in the New York Times presenting many sides of the debate on legalized prostitution. In terms of the legal definition of trafficking, if a person is over age 18, then there must be force, fraud or coercion present if the person partakes in the commercial sex industry. If a person is under 18, lack of consent is presumed. Read on.

Is Prostitution Safer When It’s Legal?


Labor Laws, Not Criminal Laws, Are the Solution

Legality Leads to More Trafficking

Criminalize Only the Buying of Sex

Ignore the Stigma and Focus on the Need

Nevada’s Legal Brothels Make Workers Feel Safer

Legality Brings Protection and Better Care

Such Oppression Can Never Be Safe

Nevada’s Legal Brothels Are Coercive, Too

Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Prostitutes wait for customers at a legal brothel in Nevada.
Some say laws against prostitution unfairly victimize women. A Canadian court recently ruled that laws preventing brothels endangered prostitutes by forcing them to work on the streets. And as the recent Secret Service scandal makes clear, in Colombia, prostitution is legal in “tolerance zones.” But in Spain, prostitution is essentially legal, and the nation has become a magnet for sex trafficking. Can legalized prostitution ever be safe and free of exploitation? Or should laws against prostitution remain?

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This book will inspire you and affect you in a way you would not have imagined.

This is Our Story follows the lives of Rosa and Mila, two young women from different countries who become victims of human trafficking when unwittingly duped into domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation in the American Southeast.

Their experiences with the underbelly of globalization here in our own backyard, and the legal battles they wage against their traffickers with their immigration attorney, Lily, are told in their own voices, and hers, in vivid and compelling detail.

Get the Free Kindle eBook Now ➤

This book is free from 4/19 - 4/22

Wendi Adelson
Wendi Adelson is a Floridian, born and raised, who teaches law students and represents clients in the fields of immigration, child advocacy, and disability rights. She has written for legal journals and produced a manual on special immigrant juvenile status. She has been a contestant on The Weakest Link, a contortionist, and now, a novelist. She resides in Florida with her boys.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Not Quite a Teen, Yet Sold for Sex


If you think sex trafficking only happens in faraway places like Nepal or Thailand, then you should listen to an expert on American sex trafficking I interviewed the other day.
She asked me to call her Brianna in this column because she worries that it could impede her plans to become a lawyer if I use her real name. Brianna, who grew up in New York City, is smart, poised and enjoys writing poetry.

One evening when she was 12 years old she got into a fight with her mom and ran out to join friends. “I didn’t want to go home, because I thought I’d get in trouble,” she said, and a friend’s older brother told her she could stay at his place.

Brianna figured she would go home in the morning — and that that would teach her mom a lesson. But when morning arrived, her new life began.

“I tried to leave, and he said, ‘you can’t go; you’re mine,’ ” Brianna recalled. He told her that he was a pimp and that she was now his property.

The pimp locked her in the room, she recalled, and alternately beat her and showed her affection. She says that he advertised her on, the leading Web site for sex trafficking in America today, as well as on other Web sites.

“He felt that Backpage made him the most money,” Brianna said, estimating that half of her pimp’s business came through Backpage.

Backpage accounts for about 70 percent of America’s prostitution ads (many placed by consenting adults who are not trafficked), according to AIM Group, a trade organization. Backpage cooperates with police and tries to screen out ads for underage girls, but that didn’t help Brianna.

Backpage is owned by Village Voice Media, and significant minority stakes have been held in recent years by Goldman Sachs and smaller financial firms such as Trimaran Capital Partners and Alta Communications. My research shows that representatives of Goldman, Trimaran and Alta, along with a founder of Brynwood Partners, all sat on the board of Village Voice Media, and there’s no indication that they ever protested its business aims.

When I wrote recently about this, these firms erupted in excuses and self-pity, and in some cases raced to liquidate their stakes. I was struck by the self-absorption and narcissism of Wall Street bankers viewing themselves as victims, so maybe it’s useful to hear from girls who were victimized through the company they invested in.

I met Brianna at Gateways, a treatment center for girls who have been sexually trafficked. It’s in Pleasantville, 35 miles north of New York City, on a sprawling estate overseen by the Jewish Child Care Association. Gateways is meant for girls ages 12 to 16, although it has accepted one who was just 11 years old. Virtually all the girls have been sold on Backpage, according to Lashauna Cutts, the center’s director.

Gateways has only 13 beds, and Cutts says that the need is so great that she could easily fill 1,300. “I have to turn away girls almost every day,” Cutts told me.

The public sometimes assumes that teenage girls in the sex trade are working freely, without coercion. It’s true that most aren’t physically imprisoned by pimps, but threats and violence are routine. The girls typically explain that they didn’t try to escape because of a complex web of emotions, including fear of the pimp but also a deluded affection and a measure of Stockholm syndrome.

Once, Brianna says, she looked out her window — and there was her mother on the street, crying and posting “missing” posters with Brianna’s photo. “I tried to shout to her through the window,” she remembered. But her pimp grabbed her by the hair and yanked her back. “If you shout, I’ll kill you,” she remembers him saying.

“If I tried to run, I thought he might kill me, or I’d be hurt,” she said. “And, if I went to the cops, I thought I’d be the one in trouble. I’d go to jail.”

Pimps warn girls to distrust the police, and often they’re right. Bridgette Carr, who runs a human-trafficking clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, tells of a 16-year-old girl who went missing. A family member found a photo of the girl on Backpage and alerted authorities. Police raided the pimp’s motel room and “rescued” the girl — by handcuffing her and detaining her for three weeks.

That mind-set has to change. Police and prosecutors must target pimps and johns, not teenage victims. Trafficked girls deserve shelters, not jails, and online emporiums like Backpage should stop abetting pimps. Sex trafficking is just as unacceptable in America as in Thailand or Nepal.

And let’s all wish our expert, Brianna, a joyous “Sweet Sixteen” birthday!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Five Days of Human Trafficking

Free Novel on Human Trafficking! (This is Our Story) is currently available for FREE on amazon kindle from now until April 22 to increase awareness about human trafficking.

Tell your friends, tell your family, and tell your pets (if they can read and care about issues concerning the well-being of their caretakers, or if you just want to tell someone).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Free Novel on Human Trafficking

I am making my book (This is Our Story) available for FREE on amazon kindle from now until April 22 to increase awareness about human trafficking. Can you please tweet/email/contact your minions to let them know?

Bring on the learning, bring on the fun!

Monday, April 16, 2012

If you're in the area, come on out for Film+Talk


A f i l m by
C h a k a rov a

The Price of Sex

An Investigation of Sex Trafficking

Tallahassee Community College Global Learning

Selections from The Human Rights Watch
Traveling Film Festival

With special guest

Wendi Adelson, FSU College of Law

Tuesday, 4/17/2012
2:30 PM
WD 105

Free Event

For info call
(850) 201-9778

Contains sexually explicit material.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Child trafficking and labor trafficking cases on the rise

Child trafficking and labour trafficking cases on the rise

( IOM ) - Child victims of human trafficking helped by IOM increased to 2,040 in 2011, up 27 per cent from 1,565 in 2008, according to new IOM data.
It shows that the number of adult victims referred to 89 IOM missions in 91 countries during the same period rose 13 per cent to 3,404 from 3,012.
While the number of female victims remained stable at 3,415, compared to 3,404 in 2008, the number of male victims rose 27 per cent to 2,040 from 1,656, reflecting growing public recognition of the trafficking of men for the purpose of labour exploitation.
Labour trafficking cases rose 43 per cent to 2,906, up from 2,031 in 2008. In contrast, cases of trafficking for sexual exploitation dropped 19 per cent to 1,507 from 1,866 four years earlier.
International trafficking cases fell 13 per cent to 3,531 in 2011, down from 4,066 in 2008. But domestic cases shot up 140 per cent from 713 in 2008 to 1,708 last year.
The fall in international cases may reflect more efficient immigration and border controls, while the increase in the number of domestic cases may reflect greater public awareness of trafficking and improved domestic law enforcement, according to IOM Head of Counter Trafficking Laurence Hart.
Out of a total of 5,498 victims helped by IOM in 2011, 1,606 were in Europe, 1,049 in South and Central Asia, 984 in the Western Hemisphere, 860 in East Asia and the Pacific, 696 in the Middle East and 303 in Africa, according to IOM 2012 Case Data on Human Trafficking: Global Figures and Trends.
Roughly a third (36 per cent) of cases involved children under the age of 18. Nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of the total were women and a little over a third (37 per cent ) were men.
In Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Central and Southern Asia, women outnumbered men by roughly two to one. In the Middle East, the Western Hemisphere and Africa, the gender gap was less pronounced.
The top ten countries of destination for human trafficking victims helped by IOM in 2011 were the Russian Federation (837), Haiti (658), Yemen (552), Thailand (449), Kazakhstan (265), Afghanistan (170), Indonesia (148), Poland (122), Egypt (103) and Turkey (101).
The top ten countries of origin for victims were Ukraine (835), Haiti (709), Yemen (378), Laos (359), Uzbekistan (292), Cambodia (258), Kyrgyzstan (213), Afghanistan (179), Belarus (141) and Ethiopia (122).
In Europe, IOM Ukraine recorded the most victims assisted with 814 of the total. Belarus recorded 142, Moldova 98 and Germany 69.
In Central and South, Asia Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan topped the totals, accounting for 202, 204 and 199 cases respectively.
In the Western Hemisphere, IOM helped 656 victims in Haiti, 65 in the United States and 49 in the Dominican Republic.
In Asia and the Pacific, Thailand accounted for 260 cases, Laos for 195, Cambodia for 122 and Vietnam for 102.
In the Middle East, IOM offices recorded 513 cases in Yemen and 100 in Egypt. In Africa IOM handled 47 cases in Tanzania, 45 in Uganda, 44 in Ethiopia and 32 in Mali.
IOM provides a wide range of services to help victims of human trafficking, including shelter, medical and legal assistance, vocational training, assisted voluntary return to the country of origin, and reintegration assistance once they return home.
A copy of the report, which was funded by the US State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, can be downloaded by clicking here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Go Wisconsin!

Loudenbeck's child-trafficking bill becomes law
By STAFF Tuesday, April 10, 2012

MADISON — A bill to combat child trafficking in Wisconsin, co-authored by Rep. Amy Loudnebeck (R-Clinton) and Sen. Van Wanggard (R-Racine), was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker yesterday.

The provisions in the new law make it a felony for a person to knowingly access child pornography, extends the statute of limitations to prosecute child trafficking, gives the victims of certain child sex crimes more protection, allows for wiretapping to investigate certain child sex crimes, and make crime victim compensation funds available to victims of certain child sex crimes.

The bill also allows for involuntary termination of parental rights if an adult commits child trafficking against not only their own children, but any child.

Loudenbeck spokesperson Lonna Morouney said Loudenbeck had been drawn to the legislation by a request from Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to strengthen laws against human trafficking in the state.

Loudenbeck also read a 2008 survey by the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance, Hidden in Plain Sight, which noted human trafficking is the third largest criminal industry in the world, generating $32 billion annually, according to the International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency.

The definitive scope of human trafficking, according to the report, covers not only sexual exploitation, but forced labor, such as factory workers laboring in unsafe conditions.

Because it is more of a hidden crime, the numbers of human trafficking cases are difficult to track, but the Office of Justice Assistance estimated about 200 cases since 2000 in the state.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Trafficking: When women are brutalised as “assets”

Trafficking: When women are brutalised as “assets”
By Nita Bhalla APRIL 10, 2012

Last month I was writing on an “asset” widely traded globally: Women.

In early March, I came across the Saraniya tribe of the west Indian region of Gujarat, where women in a drought-ridden village have for decades been pimped by their male relatives for “easy money”.

Then, there were Bangladesh’s teenage girls trapped in the squalid brothels – forced to take cattle steroids to fatten them up and “make them look healthy” for the clients who prefer girls with a bit of meat on them.

Of course, the buying and selling of women happens not just in far-flung, “exotic” destinations. It’s here, there and everywhere, in virtually every town and city across the world.

Latest statistics report that 2.4 million people are victims of human trafficking at any given time, 80 percent of them as sexual slaves.

The human trafficking industry is estimated to generate around $32 billion a year. And South Asia is the fastest-growing and second-largest region for human trafficking in the world, after East Asia, according to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Over 150,000 people are known to be trafficked within South Asia every year – mostly for sex work, but also for labour, forced marriages and as part of the organ trade. Actual numbers are likely to be higher as the trade is underground.

India alone sees thousands of young girls being trafficked, including many from Nepal and Bangladesh, forced into bonded sex work unable to escape and return home for years, if at all.

Rural girls from poor families, lured by female traffickers with promises of jobs as maids in the cities, end up locked in dirty rooms in flea-pit guesthouses, forced to have sex with many men without any sexual protection.

They are an “asset” to their traffickers.

“An item of property owned by a person or company, regarded as having value and available to meet debts, commitments, or legacies,” says the Oxford Dictionary in its definition of “asset”.

And unfortunately, this asset will continue to be traded for as long as there is demand and for as long as that demand is deemed acceptable.

Photo Credit: The shadow of a woman is cast on paddy crop at a marketplace on the outskirts of the western Indian city of Ahmedabad December 22, 2011. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Conference Call and Web Chat on Human Trafficking

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) will host a conference call about the Obama Administration’s efforts to combat human trafficking, including forced labor:
What is the federal government doing to combat human trafficking, both sex trafficking and forced labor?
How can my community access in-language materials related to human trafficking?
What can my community do to promote initiatives to combat human trafficking, including at the local, state, and federal levels of government?
WHO: Moderator: Tuyet Duong, Advisor on Civil Rights and Immigration,
White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Abraham Lee, Public Affairs Officer – U.S. Department of State
Rena Cutlip-Mason, Senior Advisor – U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Maggie Wynne, Director, Division of Anti-Trafficking in Persons
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Ernesto Archila and Charita Castro – U.S. Department of Labor
WHEN: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 3:00 PM EST / 12:00 PM PST
HOW: Information below:
To join by phone:
Call 800-857-9683; Passcode: 56547
To join online:
Click here
If a password is required, enter the meeting password: whitehouseaapi
Click “Join”.
For assistance:
1. Go to
2. On the left navigation bar, click "Support".
Questions can be submitted via Twitter at
*Note: All web chats are off the record and not for press purposes.

A survivor explains the vulnerability of child sex trafficking victims

RICHMOND, April 9, 2012 — Many people question why some sex trafficking victims stay with their traffickers. As a survivor, I know this simple question requires a rather complex explanation.

I am a survivor of sex trafficking and of child abuse by a family member. My story demonstrates that an untreated case of child sexual abuse can lead to the sex trafficking of that child victim.

My history of sexual abuse began when I was under the age of ten. To make this trauma worse, my parents instructed me to lie about it when confronted by a social worker at home. My parents seemed to believe that they needed to protect our family from the social stigma associated with child sexual abuse. But by squelching the truth, they in turn sentenced me to an adolescence of misunderstanding and distrust. My resilience and sense of self-worth further diminished.

Without proper counseling, I harbored a secret of past abuse, a secret which slowly ate away at my self-confidence. The day I met my trafficker, I was shuffling behind my friends in the mall. I was feeling angry and depressed. I hated my parents and teachers. At the same time, I was losing my friends in the naturally changing social circles between middle and high school.

My self-esteem had spiraled downward throughout intermediate and middle school. I endured several exploitations by older high school boys and men who prowled the neighborhood and local skating rink for unsupervised girls.

By the time the trafficker spotted me in that New Jersey shopping mall, I had already been broken down.

As traffickers are skilled predators, they look for girls that are withdrawn and quiet. They prey upon minors with emotional brokenness as my trafficker did in late June, 1992, soon after my eighth grade middle school graduation.

Child sexual abuse paralyzes many children with the inability to differentiate a healthy relationship from an exploitative one. I, too, thought that exploitive relationships were the norm. Prior to meeting my trafficker, I was already used to relationships based on deception.

Many victims do not understand their fundamental right to say “No.” They often fail to understand ownership over their bodies. I didn’t run away when my trafficker demanded that I agree to prostitute.

This was not because I wanted to stay but rather because I didn’t understand that I had another option.

Scholars agree on a strong correlation between childhood sexual abuse and the sex trafficking of minor victims. In her podcast, Ending Human Trafficking, Sandra Morgan, R.N., M.A., the director of Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWJ), discussed predisposing factors for homeless and runaway youth who fall victim to traffickers

“The reason kids are homeless often is because of preexisting abuse; Maybe there’s a history of domestic violence in the home," Ms. Morgan says. "The child may have experienced sexual abuse. And in fact some of the literature now shows us anywhere from 65 to 85 percent of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation have a history of child sexual abuse in their own community or home environment. And so they may have run away to escape that and now then they’re in another situation where they’re being sexually exploited.”

Kate Price, M.A. lectured in a Wellesley Centers for Women seminar titled, Longing to Belong: Relational Risks and Resilience in U.S. Prostituted Children. Price stated a link between the prior history of sexual abuse and the prostitution of minor victims. She stated it really is that history of betrayal that really is a risk, and oftentimes…the entryway, into how children even end up in prostitution.

Price reports that at least 60 percent of sexually exploited children, which includes prostituted children, have a prior history of sexual abuse. Studies also show that roughly one in four girls—and one in six boys—will be victims of childhood sexual abuse.

Gustavo Turecki, M.D., Ph.D. argues that a history of abuse is associated with the decreased function of a gene that is important in helping a person respond to stressful situations. As a survivor, I believe that, without proper therapy, child sexual abuse often leads to further sexual exploitation because an abused child is unable to recognize the difference between a healthy relationship and exploitation.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. And, it’s long overdue that we draw greater attention to the critical link between childhood sexual abuse and child sex trafficking in the U.S. Prevention methods to reach out to vulnerable youth are critical in ending the sex trafficking of minors in the U.S.

Holly Austin Smith is a survivor advocate, author, and speaker. She invites you to join her on Facebook or Twitter and to follow her personal blog. Holly is a guest writer on Communities

Monday, April 9, 2012

Returning Migrants

To the Editor:

While “Can Privatization Kill?,” by Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen (Op-Ed, April 2), reflected valid concerns about the human rights and the treatment of forcibly returned migrants, we are concerned that some readers may infer from this article that the International Organization for Migration is a party to, and profits from, forcible and sometimes fatal deportations delegated by governments to the private sector.

The International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental organization composed of 146 member states, received $265 million in 2010 to provide voluntary return and reintegration assistance to unsuccessful asylum seekers, stranded persons and other migrants.

The money was also used to support victims of human trafficking directly and through nongovernmental organizations and government agencies as well as to offer training to government officials to improve national migration management.

Under the terms laid down in its constitution, the organization is not and never has been involved in forcible deportations.

Director General, International Organization for Migration
Geneva, April 5, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Women Enslaved by Spain’s Brothel Tourism Boom

LA JONQUERA, Spain — She had expected a job in a hotel. But when Valentina arrived here two months ago from Romania, the man who helped her get here — a man she had considered her boyfriend — made it clear that the job was on the side of the road.

He threatened to beat her and to kill her children if she did not comply. And so she stood near a roundabout recently, her hair in a greasy ponytail, charging $40 for intercourse, $27 for oral sex.

“For me, life is finished,” she said later that evening, tears running down her face. “I will never forget that I have done this.”

La Jonquera used to be a quiet border town where truckers rested and the French came looking for a deal on hand-painted pottery and leather goods. But these days, prostitution is big business here, as it is elsewhere in Spain, where it is essentially legal.

While the rest of Spain’s economy may be struggling, experts say that prostitution — almost all of it involving the ruthless trafficking of foreign women — is booming, exploding into public view in small towns and big cities. The police recently rescued a 19-year-old Romanian woman from traffickers who had tattooed on her wrist a bar code and the amount she still owed them: more than $2,500.

In the past, most customers were middle-aged men. But the boom here, experts say, is powered in large part by the desires of young men — many of them traveling in packs for the weekend — taking advantage of Europe’s cheap and nearly seamless travel.

“The young used to go to discos,” said Francina Vila i Valls, Barcelona’s councilor for women and civil rights. “But now they go to brothels. It’s just another form of entertainment to them.”

There is little reliable data on the subject. The State Department’s 2010 report on trafficking said that 200,000 to 400,000 women worked in prostitution in Spain. The report said that 90 percent were trafficked.

But police officials and advocates say that whatever the number of victims, it is growing. Thousands of women are forced to work — often for even lower pay now, because of the economic downturn — everywhere from fancy clubs and private apartments to industrial complexes and lonely country roads.

Europe woke up to the problem of trafficked women in the 1990s, as young women from the former Soviet Union began to arrive in large numbers, and it has spent much of the last decade developing legal frameworks to address the issue. But, some advocates say, this decade will test Europe’s commitment to enforcing its new laws.

“The structures, by and large, are in place,” said Luis CdeBaca, the ambassador who leads the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. “Now it’s time to take them out for a drive.”

Fueling the boom in the sex industry in Spain are many factors, experts say, including porous borders in many parts of the world and lax laws. Until 2010, Spain did not even have a law that distinguished trafficking from illegal immigration. And advocates say arrests of traffickers and services for trafficked women remain few. The State Department’s report on trafficking said that according to preliminary information, the Spanish government prosecuted 202 trafficking suspects and convicted 80 in 2010.

More important, some advocates say, is the growing demand for sex services from younger tourists. Of course, there is a local market. One study cited by a 2009 United Nations report said that 39 percent of Spanish men admitted having visited a prostitute at least once. It is widely accepted here for business meetings to end in dinner and a visit to a brothel.

But more recently, experts say, Spain has also become a go-to destination for sex services.

In La Jonquera, tucked behind an all-night gas station, is the newly opened Club Paradise, which, with 101 rooms, is one of the largest brothels in Europe. It caters in large part to young men from France, where many aspects of prostitution are illegal, and perhaps more to the point, buying sex is more expensive.
On a recent evening, one young man from Paris stood in the parking lot of Club Paradise, bragging about his sexual exploits while his friends looked on. The women, he said, did not talk about whether they were being forced to have sex.

“Maybe,” he said. “But I think they are having a good time.”

If any of them actually are, they would seem to be the exceptions. Thirty years ago, virtually all the prostitutes in Spain were Spanish. Now, almost none are. Advocates and police officials say that most of the women are controlled by illegal networks — they are modern-day slaves.

The networks vary enormously, and shift constantly. Some are “mom and pop” operations out of Eastern Europe, like the one that controls Valentina. Others have far greater reach, like the Nigerian organizations that first began to surface in Spain in the last decade. Deputy Inspector Xavier Cortés Camacho, the head of the regional antitrafficking unit in Barcelona, said the Nigerian groups moved women through northern Africa to Spain, and then controlled them by threatening to rape or kill their family members back home.

But Mr. Cortés said that people of maybe a dozen nationalities were involved in the trafficking. Until recently, for instance, the police in Barcelona did not even realize that Chinese mafias ran prostitution rings in the city. Then they began noticing more and more advertisements for Chinese, Japanese and Korean women — all of them, it turned out, Chinese — working in a network of about 30 brothels.

The working conditions were brutal, Mr. Cortés said. On wiretaps, he said, “we listened to them complain that they needed to rest, they were in pain. But they had to keep working. One woman committed suicide after finding out she was H.I.V.-positive.”

Some of the women are sold into the business by their families, Mr. Cortés said. The police came across one case in which Colombian traffickers were paying one family $650 a month for their daughter. She managed to escape, he said. But when she contacted her family, they told her to go back or they would send her sister as a replacement.

Of the 1,605 women identified in 2010 as victims of traffickers, the biggest number — about 30 percent — came from the Balkans.

Many tell a story much like that of Valentina, who hoped to earn enough money in Spain to build a house and live in peace with her children.

So far, she said, she has earned a bit more than $2,000. But she has not been allowed to keep any of it. “They say I eat too much,” she said. “They are angry if I buy something to drink.”

In the meantime, her cellphone kept ringing, and the threats from her former boyfriend kept coming, she said.

The visibility of prostitution has become an issue here. A battle has raged over whether to allow advertisements for prostitution in newspapers, but they remain legal and appear even in the most reputable papers.

After one Barcelona newspaper ran a series last year on sex acts conducted in plain view near a main tourist attraction, the boulevard Las Ramblas, the city council said it would ban street prostitution and expand services for the women.

In La Jonquera, Mayor Sonia Martínez Juli says the town, population 3,000, has few resources to help the women.

“We feel completely abandoned with this problem,” she said.

Some politicians would like to see prostitution outlawed in Spain, though that does not seem imminent. Many women’s groups say that this would only force prostitution underground, making it even harder to help trafficked women.

For now, prostitution is legal, though not regulated, in Spain. But pimping is illegal, so most brothels like Club Paradise operate more like hotels. It charges the women who work there about $90 a night for room and board.

José Moreno, one of the owners, said the women who worked there did so freely.

“Sometimes there is a problem with a boyfriend,” Mr. Moreno said recently, as scantily clad young women began to gather at one of the bars inside his club, readying for a night’s work. “But that is usually cleared up quickly.”

Some weeks after the interview, however, Mr. Moreno was convicted on charges relating to smuggling Brazilian women into Spain to work as prostitutes. He was sentenced to three years in prison and is appealing the decision. The authorities say the women can seek help, but many are reluctant. On a recent evening, Valentina, speaking a mix of Spanish and Romanian, said she was unsure where to turn. She said she had already been to the local police, but had been told she had to go to the regional police in Figueres, about 15 miles away.

A few days later, she stopped answering her cellphone and could not be found at her usual spot along the road. Inspector Cortés said that she had indeed gone to the police in Figueres. But at the last minute, she refused to go to a shelter and left on her own.

Indian Couple Deny Charges of Abusing Servant

Published: April 5, 2012

NEW DELHI — The couple accused of abusing a 13-year-old maid and locking her in their apartment while they went on vacation, a story that has renewed attention on the exploitation of children in India, did no such thing, the couple’s lawyer said Thursday.

The maid is not under age, has not been abused and was not locked in the apartment, said the lawyer, Shailendra Bhardwaj. Nor was she watched with security cameras, as her statement to a court asserted, he said.

The couple, Dr. Sanjay Verma and Dr. Sumita Verma, were arrested Wednesday after their return from a trip to Thailand and were being held by the police on preliminary charges of violating laws related to child labor and bondage.

The girl, who has not been publicly identified, was rescued from the house by a firefighter last Thursday and was being held in protective custody.

Her accusations of abuse have been front-page news in India since the case came to light a week ago.

Mr. Bhardwaj said that the Vermas treated the maid like part of the family. “She was treated like a child, and we will shortly be releasing videos of the girl playing Holi with the family and Dr. Verma’s daughter,” he said in a telephone interview. “We don’t know who prompted her to make the report.”

Holi is the tradition of dousing others with colored water and pigment associated with the Hindu spring festival.

Mr. Bhardwaj said the maid had told the couple that she was 18, not 13, as reported by child welfare officials. He said she was left in their home in the Dwarka suburb of New Delhi at her request. Before the couple left for their vacation in Bangkok, he said, they asked the girl to stay at the wife’s mother’s house, but she declined.

“They decided to leave her in their house at Dwarka because she said she was more comfortable there,” he said.

“She was given a key and 500 rupees,” a little more than $9, “to purchase daily groceries,” Mr. Bhardwaj said. “She was also asked to keep the door locked and not open it for anybody except the couple.”

The girl said the couple had locked her in their apartment, according to child welfare officials. She said she was paid nothing, barely fed and was beaten if her work was not satisfactory. She said her uncle had sold her to a job placement agency, which sold her to the couple, officials said.

Ravi Kant, the lawyer for Shakti Vahini, a nongovernmental organization that combats child trafficking, discounted the couple’s denials.

The girl’s statement, made in front of a magistrate, carries a great deal of weight in court, he said. “Even if the child goes back on her word, under coercion or for money, her statement will still hold,” Mr. Kant said. A medical report corroborates the girl’s assertions of being pinched and hit, he added.

He said that employers were responsible for verifying an employee’s age, regardless of what the employee may have claimed, and that only a birth or school certificate was considered legal proof.

Indian law allows children as young as 14 to work a maximum of six hours a day in nonhazardous work, but younger children are legally prohibited from working as servants, a provision that is widely flouted.

Mr. Bhardwaj, the couple’s lawyer, said he would request bail when the couple appears before a magistrate at the Dwarka district court, at a hearing expected on Monday.

Mr. Kant said his organization would strongly oppose the request. “Such people need exemplary punishment,” he said.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Financiers and Sex Trafficking

Financiers and Sex Trafficking

THE biggest forum for sex trafficking of under-age girls in the United States appears to be a Web site called

This emporium for girls and women — some under age or forced into prostitution — is in turn owned by an opaque private company called Village Voice Media. Until now it has been unclear who the ultimate owners are.

That mystery is solved. The owners turn out to include private equity financiers, including Goldman Sachs with a 16 percent stake.

Goldman Sachs was mortified when I began inquiring last week about its stake in America’s leading Web site for prostitution ads. It began working frantically to unload its shares, and on Friday afternoon it called to say that it had just signed an agreement to sell its stake to management.

“We had no influence over operations,” Andrea Raphael, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman, told me.

Let’s back up for a moment. There’s no doubt that many escort ads on Backpage are placed by consenting adults. But it’s equally clear that Backpage plays a major role in the trafficking of minors or women who are coerced. In one recent case in New York City, prosecutors say that a 15-year-old girl was drugged, tied up, raped and sold to johns through Backpage and other sites.

Backpage has 70 percent of the market for prostitution ads, according to AIM Group, a trade organization.

Village Voice Media makes some effort to screen out ads placed by traffickers and to alert authorities to abuses, but neither law enforcement officials nor antitrafficking organizations are much impressed. As a result, pressure is growing on the company to drop escort ads.

After my last column on this issue, 19 U.S. senators wrote the company, asking it to stop abetting traffickers. On Thursday, antitrafficking campaigners protested outside the Village Voice newspaper (which is owned by Village Voice Media). A petition on criticizing the company has gathered 220,000 signatures.

In Washington State, the governor signed a bill into law on Thursday that could expose Backpage to criminal sanctions if it advertises under-age girls for sex without verifying their ages. (There’s some uncertainty about the constitutionality of the law.)

Village Voice Media has been able to resist pressure partly because, as a private company, it doesn’t disclose its owners. But I’ve obtained documents that, with some digging, shed light on who’s behind it.

The two biggest owners are Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, the managers of the company, and they seem to own about half of the shares. The best known of the other owners is Goldman Sachs, which invested in the company in 2000 (before Backpage became a part of Village Voice Media in a 2006 merger).

A Goldman managing director, Scott L. Lebovitz, sat on the Village Voice Media board for many years. Goldman says he stepped down in early 2010.

Let’s be clear: this is a tiny investment by a huge company, and I have no reason to think that Goldman’s top executives knew of its connection to sex trafficking. Goldman prides itself on its work on gender: its 10,000 Women initiative does splendid work supporting women in business around the globe. Full disclosure: Goldman’s foundation was one of about 15 funders of a public television documentary version of a book that my wife and I wrote about the world’s women.

That said, for more than six years Goldman has held a significant stake in a company notorious for ties to sex trafficking, and it sat on the company’s board for four of those years. There’s no indication that Goldman or anyone else ever used its ownership to urge Village Voice Media to drop escort ads or verify ages. Elizabeth L. McDougall, chief counsel for Village Voice Media, told me Friday that she was “unaware of any dissent” from owners.

Several lesser-known financial companies also hold significant stakes in Village Voice Media, and one person close to the company says that there are about a dozen owners in all. One is Trimaran, an investment company in New York. It wouldn’t disclose the size of its stake but told me that it had “no influence whatsoever” on management and is now trying to sell its shares.

Two other companies, Alta Communications and Brynwood Partners, did not respond to my repeated inquiries about ties to Village Voice Media (Brynwood may be an asset manager rather than an owner). One thought: If the minority shareholders, Goldman included, worked together instead of rushing for the exits, they might be able to pressure Village Voice Media to get out of escort ads.

There are no easy solutions to sex trafficking. I think the most important single step is for prosecutors to focus more on pimps and johns. Closing down the leading Web site used by traffickers would complicate their lives, and after so many years of girls being trafficked on this site, it’s time to hold owners accountable.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sex Trafficking and the First Amendment

For months now, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and its allies in the contraception and abortion wars have complained that the Obama administration showed anti-Catholic bias when it declined to renew the conference’s contract to aid victims of human trafficking. In fact, the contract was not renewed because the bishops’ group was unwilling to meet the needs of trafficking victims, many of whom have been sexually abused or forced into prostitution.

The group required its subcontractors to agree not to use any federal money they had received to pay for contraceptive and abortion referrals and services. (A federal rule, the Hyde Amendment, bars use of federal money for abortions but makes exceptions for rape, incest and when a woman’s life is endangered.)

A recent decision by a federal district court judge in Boston supplied another good reason for denying the bishops’ group a new contract: respect for the First Amendment. Ruling on a case filed three years ago, Judge Richard Stearns found that the group’s old contract, which expired in October, violated the Constitution’s bar on government establishment of religion because it allowed the bishops to impose religion-based restrictions on the use of taxpayer dollars. “To insist that the government respect the separation of the church and state is not to discriminate against religion,” Judge Stearns wrote. “Indeed, it promotes a respect for religion by refusing to single out any creed for official favor at the expense of all others.” The bishops are likely to appeal.

The sound ruling could have implications for the faith-based initiative begun by President George W. Bush and continued under President Obama by calling into question the dubious notion of giving churches and other groups wide latitude to use public money for their religion-based social service programs.

In the meantime, Congressional Republicans should stop obstructing legislation to reauthorize and strengthen the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the federal law central to the fight against human trafficking and slavery that expired at the end of last year.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Washington Is First State to Take On Escort Sites

Washington Is First State to Take On Escort Sites

SEATTLE — For more than three months, she was sold online for sex. She had run away at 15, gone back home, then run away again. Finally, an undercover police officer caught her, and her pimp. This time she went home and stayed, but she was not the same.

“She was a different child after that,” her father said. “It was like she was programmed. She spoke different. She looked different. They cut her hair, they dyed her hair, they bought her new clothes.”

Now 17, the girl is in counseling and in college, “on her way,” her father said.

She is also evidence. When one of the men who raped her was sentenced in February, one of the exhibits that prosecutors used was an advertisement selling her services as an escort on The ad said she was 18.

That same month, the Washington Legislature was debating a bill that would require sites within the state to obtain documentation that escorts advertised there are at least 18. On Thursday, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed that bill into law, the first of its kind in the country.

“It’s a start, and it’s a precedent,” the girl’s father said, “and it will make a difference.”

The Washington law was praised last week by groups working to stop child sex trafficking. Other states, including Connecticut, are considering similar legislation. Yet even some supporters of the law question how effective it will be — paperwork can be easy to fake, after all. And will shutting down one Web site simply prompt another to open? Some also wonder how it will fare against potential legal challenges that it limits free speech.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Andrea Powell, the executive director of FAIR Girls, which seeks out and helps girls who have been sexually exploited. “But I don’t think it’s going to be the solution they’re looking for. It might reduce the volume of ads, but the ultimate goal is to shut that section down. There’s no way with an escort section that pimps aren’t going to post there. They’re not going to just stop posting on backpage.”

After public and political pressure led Craigslist to remove its escort sections in 2010, experts say backpage became the biggest mainstream platform for similar ads. Yet unlike Craigslist, backpage, which is owned by Village Voice Media Holdings, says it has no plan to remove its escort sections and it has not ruled out challenging Washington State’s law. The company says that the role it plays is vastly overstated by critics and that it screens and reports ads to try to prevent exploitation of children.

“There’s going to have to be a challenge to it,” said Liz McDougall, general counsel for Village Voice Media Holdings. “Otherwise it would effectively shut down an enormous portion of the Internet that currently permits third-party content.”

Ms. McDougall said the law could potentially affect Web site forums and chat rooms that are unrelated to escort sites, but where illicit content might be reposted. She also made arguments that even some law enforcement investigators make, that some sites that promote child sex trafficking can lead investigators and advocates to victims and their abusers.

That argument falls flat for many advocates.

“That just doesn’t work because, of course, they’re causing far more harm than they’re helping prevent,” said Washington State’s attorney general, Rob McKenna, a Republican who is running for governor. “There’s no excuse for being part of the problem.”

Human trafficking has been a prominent issue in Washington State for at least a decade. Following a series of high-profile trafficking-related episodes beginning in the 1990s, Washington passed the first state law, in 2003, to criminalize human trafficking. In 2010 it significantly increased prison sentences for child sex-trafficking. Last year, Mayor Mike McGinn of Seattle pulled city advertising from The Seattle Weekly, which is owned by Village Voice (but requires age verification for escort ads that run in print). Mr. McKenna, the current president of the National Association of Attorneys General, made the issue the centerpiece of the group’s meeting here last week.

He and others say they want Congress to amend the federal Communications Decency Act. The act, passed in 1996, provides broad free-speech protections for Internet sites that opponents of trafficking say did not anticipate the way the Web is now used — but that could make the Washington law vulnerable in court.

State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the sponsor of the new law, said she and others spent more than a year working on language that the American Civil Liberties Union and some newspaper groups eventually supported.

“We provide the means for them to have an affirmative defense,” Ms. Kohl-Welles said of the escort sites. “That is, if they can document they verified the age of the individual being portrayed. We think that’ll do it.”

Ms. McDougall, of Village Voice Media Holdings, said it “took some convincing” before she recently agreed to take her job, because she also had questions about backpage. But she also questioned the need for the new Washington law.

“If we’re not already the industry leaders based on what we’re doing, we are going to be the industry leaders in fighting trafficking online,” Ms. McDougall said. “My goal is to get us there.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 2, 2012

An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of the general counsel for Village Voice Media Holdings. Her name is Elizabeth L. McDougall.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Great Event Coming up in Miami on Avoiding Burnout

“Avoiding Burnout When Working on Human Trafficking Cases”
St. Thomas University School of Law through its Graduate Program in Intercultural Human Rights’ Human Trafficking Academy invites you to the 2012 course on
secondary trauma and human trafficking**
WHEN: Friday, April 20, 2012, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: St. Thomas University School of Law, Moot Court Room,
16401 NW 37th Ave., Miami Gardens, FL 33054**
Professionals assisting victims of trafficking may experience one or many of the following symptoms and behaviors in their trauma exposure
· Fatigue
· Depression
· Addictions
· Sleeplessness
· Hopelessness
· Hypervigilance
· Headaches
· Aggression
· Diminished creativity
· Anxiety
· Cynicism
· Inability to emphasize/numbing
· Irritability
· Fear
· Sense of persecution
· Guilt
· Grandiosity
· Inability to listen or deliberate avoidance
· Substandard work performance
· Feelings of inadequacy that lead to working relentlessly often sacrificing health and private life to devote more time to cases
· Minimizing or down playing traumatic experiences that seem less dire in comparison to other experiences
The St. Thomas University School of Law, through its Graduate Program in Intercultural Human Rights’ Human Trafficking Initiative will be having a half day program on the effects of working on human trafficking cases on first responders and volunteers, whether directly or indirectly involved on a case. This free of charge program will discuss physical and psychological impact of traumatic events that victims of human trafficking experience, the psychological and physical effects of being exposed to trauma and its impact on the delivery of services. Designed to help attorneys, prosecutors, judges, social service providers, mental health services providers, healthcare workers, religious institutions, volunteers and the community at large, the program will include discussion of trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, the signs of traumatic exposure response (also referred to as secondary trauma, vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and/or burnout), and the possible negative impacts on their relationship to the injured person and their ability to perform the functions associated with their position. The program is scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on April 20, 2012 at St. Thomas University School of Law’s Moot Court Room, 16401 N.W. 37th Avenue, Miami, Florida 33054.
The program will feature two panels of distinguished speakers from different practice areas and disciplines.
*Pending Continuing Legal Education Credits with the Florida Bar,
**In addition to the live session, the conference will be streamed online.
For more information please contact: Human Trafficking Academy at