Human Trafficking on The Internet: It Must Stop.

Internet dating sites, MySpace, Facebook, Craigslist. The list could go on forever. All of these sites are places where people can go online and chat with each other, and all of these sites make human trafficking on the internet so easy. People on the internet are targeting others in so many different ways, including expressing love for the victim, promising an acting or modeling career to the victim, and even promising a better job to the victim that would require him/her to move away from home. At this point anyone who uses the internet could fall victim to human trafficking, and it needs to come to an end.

There are so many horrific stories about people getting trapped into the darkness of what is human trafficking. A woman in Mexico who was lured into human trafficking by a man she thought loved her when she was only 12 years old. A 19 year old who responded to an ad about modeling who was tricked into prostitution. The internet trafficking even expands internationally. Denmark law enforcement recognized suspicious ads for nannies and dancers in Lithuania, and they uncovered girls that were victims of human trafficking that were recruited by the internet.

Recently, there have been more efforts made to prevent and stop the internet from getting people into human trafficking. Google has donated $11 million to anti-trafficking groups in an effort to prevent trafficking from the internet. LexisNexis has been working on new technology that will help detect and monitor human trafficking. More private companies today are working to donate money to provide aid to anti-human trafficking groups to combat human trafficking.

The bottom line is, human trafficking IS prevalent on the internet and more people are falling victim to human trafficking on the internet. What is important to know is that companies today are working to help anti-trafficking groups to stop the internet from being a place where trafficking is prevalent. But we can’t stop working to fight the end of internet trafficking.

Fighting for Freedom

Jenny

Introduction to the Interns!

Say hello to this years interns! We are so excited to welcome them to the team. Each intern came aboard for different reasons, but they all are passionate about ENC Stop Human Trafficking  and are excited to make a difference in our community. Here’s what you should know about each intern!

Our State Wide Intern, Lizz! unnamed

Name: Lizz

Year: Junior

Hometown: Raeford, NC

Major: Sociology with a minor in Anthropology

Hobbies: I love to read and am incredibly outdoorsy. I’m incredibly crafty and enjoying learning about other people and the cultures they come from. During my time off from school, I enjoy fostering dogs and rehabilitating them into happier, healthier versions of themselves. I guess you could say I have bleeding heart for those who need help.

Why I joined the team: I have always wanted to help those who are unable to help themselves, and over the last few years I’ve come to realize that I would love to pursue a career in humanitarian aid. Interning for ENC Stop Human Trafficking Now has given me the opportunity to start in that direction.

Our Public Relations Intern, Wesley! 14224964_10210585779704678_8763377095358858092_n

Name: Wesley

Year: Senior

Hometown: Greenville, NC

Major: Communications with a concentration in Public Relations

Hobbies: Between school and working, in the little free time that I have my hobbies include trying to cook and going to music festivals.

Why I joined the team: I hope to raise awareness, educate and inspire more people to take action against the crime of Human Trafficking and understand it isn’t just a distant issue. When looking and applying for internships, I didn’t want to settle for just any internship. I wanted the chance to accomplish something greater and give back to my community. I’m excited to take on this internship this Fall with this passionate organization and work together to make a change and make our community a safer place for generations to come.

Our Public Relations Intern, Tiffany! 10463949_457634197723384_3774521517358482323_n

Name: Tiffany

Year: Senior

Hometown: Youngsville, NC

Major: English and History

Hobbies: I’m a Netflix aficionada, and an avid movie watcher, and listener/lover of music. I love to have fun and make people laugh. I am a person who chooses to live my life to the fullness and I have the mindset that I will achieve anything and everything I want in life. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to have that choice to live my life in any way I choose, whether that means having a career or being a house wife or being a Starbucks barista or not working at all. I am lucky, we all are, to be able to make decisions for ourselves and I will always be appreciative of that.

 Why I joined the team: When I thought about human trafficking, I thought of it as an issue that was not close to home. I would think of it only in a one dimensional way. To me, human trafficking was synonymous with sex trafficking. From popular culture that is what I was accustomed to seeing in movies on Lifetime or from the movie series Taken. However, in the time I’ve been working with ENC Stop Human Trafficking Now, I see that human trafficking is a worldwide issue. It encompasses so much more and is closer to home than I could ever even imagine. I have been introduced to articles of human trafficking issues near my university and my home and I didn’t even know it was happening. Now, I understand human trafficking to be a violation of human rights where a person is exploited for things such as labor or sex with force and they are abused and not paid or treated fairly. Human trafficking can affect anyone from immigrants looking for work to young runaways or the homeless. This is something that affects all societies, and all people, it is not divided by race, age or sex. Now, that I know about this injustice, I cannot look the other way. And in closing, no other words ring quite as true as these, “Enslave the liberty of but one human being and the liberties of the world are put in peril” – William Lloyd Garrison

Our Campus Intern, Jenny!10686862_10203029058708733_8941398810237843399_n

Name: Jenny

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Charlottesville, VA

Major: Communications with a concentration in Public Relations

Hobbies: Taking long naps, writing, playing with any dog around me, and eating way more than I should

Why I joined the team: I first learned about human trafficking in high school, and I was always really interested in the topic. I think I was really fascinated by it because I didn’t understand it. I don’t understand how people could do such horrible things to another human being. I am so glad to be interning at ENC Stop Human Trafficking because not only is it helping me prepare to be an adult in the real world, but it also helps me rest a tiny bit easier at night knowing the work I am doing here could be making a difference in someone else’s life.

We’re looking forward to accomplishing great things with the organization this semester!

Writing for Freedom,

Jenny

6 Myths about Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery, a multibillion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 20.9 million people around the world. It ranks as one of the largest illegal trades alongside drug trafficking, arms trade and wildlife trafficking.  Human Trafficking is often riddled with misconceptions, leaving the majority of us misinformed or under-informed about the ways it affects the world. When talking about human trafficking, it’s essential to be well-informed to accurately represent the problem at hand, and that means we need to tackle these misconceptions head-on. 

Here are six common human trafficking myths and what you can do to help the crisis.

MYTH 1: Trafficking is the same as smuggling.

REALITY: Trafficking is the acquisition of people by means such as force, fraud or coercion, with the aim of exploiting them. Smuggling is the illegal movement of people across a country’s borders. Smuggled people may become trafficked, but not all trafficked people are smuggled.

 

MYTH 2: Human Trafficking is only a problem in developing countries.

REALITY:  Poor countries usually get the most attention when talking about human trafficking, but it happens around the globe — and yes, that includes countries like the United States. Though some countries are certainly more at risk, it’s important to know that modern slavery doesn’t only exist in low-income regions. In fact, our lives are deeply intertwined with the realities of human trafficking, even if we don’t notice it.  North Carolina is among the top 10 states with the highest number of reported human trafficking cases, according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Experts say the number of major interstates that cross through the state, the large agriculture industry and the immigrant population that sustains it, the state’s seven military bases and its strategic location along the East Coast contribute to the issue.

 

MYTH 3: Only females are victims of trafficking.

REALITY: While an estimated 70% of those trafficked are women and girls, this description isn’t entirely accurate. It’s also a problem for men and boys, especially when discussing forced labor. At any given time, an estimated 21 million people around the world are trapped in the cycle of trafficking, all from different places, of different races, religions and sex. Men and boys can also be victims of sexual exploitation.

 

MYTH 4: Victims will always seek help.

REALITY: Victims of trafficking often do not immediately seek help or self identify as victims of a crime, due to lack of trust, self blame, or blackmail by the traffickers. Traffickers often threaten violence against those they exploit and their family if they seek help from authorities. If you are suspicious that someone is a victim of human trafficking you can make an anonymous report to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

 

MYTH 5: The problem is too big to solve.

REALITY:  Everyone can help in some way. There are so many ways for you to not only spread the word but to volunteer and start fighting child sexual trafficking and exploitation.

 

So what can you do?

Human trafficking is a serious issue. The first step to stopping it is to inform the public about what it really is. In definition, “human trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”  With proper knowledge of common human trafficking misconceptions, you can have a role in breaking the cycle of misinformation. Confront myths and start conversations grounded in fact.  To learn more about human trafficking watch this video –  Human Trafficking 101

Fighting for Freedom,

Wesley

Sex Sells? Don’t Buy Into the Hype

If sex does NOT sell, why do we still believe that the phrase has merit?

This quote was taken from the abstract of a study conducted at Ohio State University,

“Using this framework, we meta-analyzed the effects of sexual media, violent media, sexual ads, and violent ads on the advertising outcomes of brand memory, brand attitudes, and buying intentions. The meta-analysis included 53 experiments involving 8,489 participants. Analyses found that brands advertised in violent media content were remembered less often, evaluated less favorably, and less likely to be purchased than brands advertised in nonviolent, nonsexual media. Brands advertised using sexual ads were evaluated less favorably than brands advertised using nonviolent, nonsexual ads. There were no significant effects of sexual media on memory or buying intentions. There were no significant effects of sexual or violent ads on memory or buying intentions. As intensity of sexual ad content increased, memory, attitudes, and buying intentions decreased. When media content and ad content were congruent (e.g., violent ad in a violent program), memory improved and buying intentions increased. Violence and sex never helped and often hurt ad effectiveness. These results support the evolution and emotional arousal framework. Thus, advertisers should consider the effects of media content, ad content, content intensity, and congruity to design and place more effective ads.”
*Read More Here: http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/bul-bul0000018.pdf

We continue to believe the fallacy that “sex sells” because it makes sense in our minds. At a young age we ask why women dress or act certain ways on tv and the answer we are told is, “because it makes money.” Then as adults, we assume that if companies are spending money on advertisements and not making money that they would discontinue the practice. The thinking may be logical; however, it does not align with reality.

So then if studies show that sexualizing and objectifying women and children does not increase profit, why is this practice at the forefront of marketing techniques? It is difficult to unlearn what we have come to accept for ourselves. Even when presented with new evidence sometimes we inadvertently return to what we previously “knew” (especially if the topic is not discussed for a while in our social or work lives). [This is a link to an article by NPR that talks a little more about mental effort and changing ideas: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/08/01/481422876/the-importance-of-getting-things-wrong ]

What should we do when we learn that something claiming to be an innocent marketing strategy is in fact increasing the demand for human trafficking?

When you hear someone repeat the phrase, “sex sells,” explain to them what it really means. Sex does sell, but not the product. It sells normalization of exploitation and abuse. Sexualization in advertisements fuels demand for sex trafficking by showing men that women are objects that you can obtain with money and power. Having the money to buy women further exemplifies what is means to be successful. Oversexualization in advertisements sells the idea that people are for sale.

The oversexualization of advertising and other media has led to the normalization of pornography. This is an example of the pornification of our culture. When women and children are sexualized, objectified, and “pornified”, it’s easy to see them as commodities. It becomes acceptable to buy them.

So, the research indicates that ads of these nature are unlikely to sell products, such as cheeseburgers or beer, but it’s quite likely to contribute to the idea that selling sex is perfectly acceptable.

Knowing what you know now, are you buying what these companies are actually selling?

 

Writing for Freedom,

Kari Carr

To Report a Tip or Ask for Help Call: 1-888-373-7888

 

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” Albert Einstein

 

*This post was partially inspired by a Collective Shout article written by Jon Westenberg. Click here to check out the post: http://www.collectiveshout.org/its_scientific_sex_doesnt_sell?utm_campaign=july_news&utm_medium=email&utm_source=collectiveshout 

 

Dehumanization and Consent

Although there may be variation in our senses of humor, we all love to laugh. How far is “too far” when making a joke? Are people being too sensitive? Can making light of a situation in order to cope be over the top?

When a joke, unintentionally or purposefully, dehumanizes a group of people or insinuates that someone is deserving of assault, it is no longer a joke–it is hate speech. Punchlines that suggest child sexual abuse images [previously called child pornography], rape, or assault of a prostitute or sex trafficking victim is acceptable or that perpetrators are funny are not amusing. More importantly, they are dangerous because they stigmatize and degrade a vulnerable portion of the population.

Sexual assault and rape are topics of discussion that are thankfully being moved from the back-burner, although there is the presence of biases and difficulties in our society that results in victims being ignored and not receiving necessary respect and resources.

This problem is further compacted when those involved in sex trafficking [or prostitution, although I do not believe that the two are separate] are involved. Part of the problem with this relates to consent.

Consent and Sex Trafficking

“Consent,” is a word that is often misunderstood.

If a person consents to one act, and a partner does something else and does not stop when told to cease, assault has occurred.

If intercourse with the use of protection is agreed up but then a condom is not used, then consent was ignored.

Agreeing to relations with one person, to then walk into a room with multiple men and control is easily taken by the assailants means consent was also taken.

This is a great video about consent and is explained using tea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQbei5JGiT8

Even if a person is acting as a prostitute, the other person does not have the right to do whatever they want and then throw extra money at the victim. Yes, this happens especially in situations when the person is not respected as a human.

You don’t go to a restaurant and smash a bunch of plates and then throw a fifty on the table before you leave. “Well, if you didn’t want the plates to be broken why would you work in this business?” or “I’m the customer and that means I’m always right so you have to do what I say, including respecting my wishes to damage dishes.”

In the event that a person is raped or assaulted while acting as a prostitute, that does not mean that the assault did not happen. Even if money was taken.

If a person is financially or otherwise vulnerable, it does not give someone else the right to sexually exploit them. This statement goes for traffickers (otherwise known as pimps) and those who “buy” services with adults and children. “Buyers” by legal definition are also participating in trafficking when the crime is occurring.

“the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”

If a person will be injured or a family member has been threatened if a sum of money is not met, they will likely take money after an assault. If someone is experiencing personal trauma coupled with monetary crises, they might take money that an assailant leaves. That does NOT mean that a rape or assault did not happen.

When Stigmatization is Present, People May Be Less Likely to Reach Out

Trafficking means that people are being abused. If we as a society continues to make those involved in prostitution feel like they made poor choices or that they are unwelcome in the world or unfit for the world, then those people will be less likely to ask for help or to try to get out of the life. If they will be refused, if they will be hated, if they feel like they have no other skills anyway why would they try? It will just lead to disappointment.

That is not true. It may take time, but every person matters and deserves to live freely and to be treated with respect. We all deserve to be as free as books are with words and birds are with wings.

Choose to stay away from the belittlement and dehumanization of others. Be the reason that someone reaches out, not the reason they feel like they have no choice in their own lives. When someone says something inappropriate, speak up.

To Report a Tip or Ask for Help Call: 1-888-373-7888

 

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” -Theodore Roosevelt

 

Writing for Freedom,
Kari Carr

A Phone App is Fighting for Freedom in the Hotel Industry

How to Use TraffickCam in Your Abolitionist Efforts

In the day and age where selfies are abundant and most of us have smartphones on our person at any given time, what would you say to photographs that fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors?

TraffickCam has created an app that allows users to submit photos of their hotel rooms to a database. This database is accessible to officials investigating crimes such as sexual exploitation of minors and sex trafficking.

Hotels and motels are optimal locations for illegal exchanges due to access and anonymity. When someone decides to pay for sex, particularly when someone decides to pay to abuse a child, they want to keep the transaction under wraps. For example, people can pay with cash and reserve a room with a false, untraceable name. A trafficker or abuser can pose as a child’s father, uncle, or brother–speaking for the victim if questioned. In addition, traffickers often post advertisements online that include the hotel rooms in the background. Child abuse images often are made in hotels.

It’s an uncomfortable topic, but it’s one that needs to be talked about in order for solutions to develop. Next time you are in a hotel, follow these three steps: Observe, Act, Stop Human Trafficking.

  1. Observe (What to Look For):

Red Flags of Human Trafficking include: paying with cash, several men checking into the hotel with one child (or woman), denial of cleaning services for several days, or several men coming and going from one room.

In 2014, Time Magazine published an article How to Spot a Sex Trafficking Victim at a Hotel.

http://time.com/3525640/sex-trafficking-victim-prostitution-hotel/

It is a great resource for both hotel employees and hotel guests.

  1. Act (What to Do):

If you see something suspicious, contact hotel management. Do not try to confront the victim or the traffickers yourself, as this could cause them to flee or result in injury to the person you are trying to help (or injury to yourself).

  1. Stop Human Trafficking (Or Snap A Pic)

Even if you see no signs of trafficking, you can join the fight!

http://traffickcam.org/download

TraffickCam is compatible for both Apple and Android devices! Click the link above to get started!

Human trafficking is something that we can end, if we consciously put effort toward freedom for all.

 

For More information on the TraffickCam App and Trafficking:

https://allianceforworkers.org/news/traffickcam-app-fights-human-trafficking-crowdsourced-photos-hotel-rooms/

http://www.bustle.com/articles/169267-the-traffickcam-app-helps-you-stop-sex-trafficking-from-your-hotel-room

http://polarisproject.org/resources/human-trafficking-and-hotel-industry

 

Cases in Greenville, NC:

http://www.reflector.com/News/2014/12/02/Teen-safe-three-in-jail.html

http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/Ayden-man-charged-with-human-trafficking-297756341.html

 

To Report a Tip or Request Services: Call 1-888-373-7888

Visit https://traffickingresourcecenter.org/ to learn more.

 

Writing for Freedom,

 

Kari Carr

“Great acts are made of small deeds.” –Lao Tzu

Immigration and Trafficking: Looking Beyond the Controversy

Immigration is a popular topic and often times is controversial. There is much diversity in motivations and modes of immigration and the outcomes that immigrants experience.

People who migrant to the US or other countries in search of work are often times looking for a better life. They are trying to escape deplorable conditions including death, sex trafficking, other forms of violence, and poverty. Often times the stories they hear, especially from smugglers or from potential employers, differ tremendously from the harsh realities that await them on the other side of the border.

People trying to come to the United States often try to get work visas. Unfortunately, these are limited, and are often very hard to get. So, many people decide to cross the border illegally, usually with the help of a “coyote” or smuggler.

 

Smuggling vs. Trafficking

They pay or promise to pay the smuggler to get them across the border; since they consented, this is not human trafficking. However, individuals who are smuggled are at an increased likelihood of being trafficked for a variety of reasons.

The smugglers often demand more money when they reach the border and the smuggled individuals now owe a debt.

“Farm workers from third-world countries pay several thousand dollars to a recruiter in a foreign country, who helps them secure legal farm work visas to work in the United States. The workers are promised plentiful work for several years in the U.S. When they arrive, their passports are confiscated and they are kept in substandard housing under close supervision. Salary, hours, and conditions are not as they had been promised. Workers are afraid to leave the employer due to threats of arrest, lack of access to their passports, enforced isolation, lack of communication with outsiders, and the need to pay off the large debts they accrued in paying high recruiting fees.”

The North Carolina Task Force Manual

The smugglers (now traffickers) threaten to harm a family member. The traffickers are often well-known to the communities in which people pay to be transported. That is how they gain so much trust.

In addition, the threat of deportation allows the traffickers to maintain control.

Labor Trafficking

“Victims of labor trafficking are not a homogenous group of people—they are represented by all ages and both sexes. Some may enter the country undocumented, while others enter the country legally on work visas for lawful jobs in industries such as domestic services, entertainment, technology, or agricultural work. Scores of unsuspecting victims are forced to work in illegal industries such as the drug and arms trade or panhandling.”

The North Carolina Task Force Manual. A copy of the manual can be accessed here: http://humantrafficking.unc.edu/files/2011/03/NCHumanTraffickingTaskForceManual.pdf

Who is at fault?

There are businesses knowingly hiring people who are in the country illegally. These immigrants are paid low wages or no wages, subject to poor working conditions, subject to poor housing conditions, and often times are not free to leave. The anger and the passion to make changes should be directed at the business owners who willfully “employ” [exploit] immigrant workers. If not directly so, it is a branch on the tree that is labor trafficking. These actions allow businesses to make higher profits than businesses that pay workers fair wages and pay the required taxes.

Unfortunately, the general public directs their anger at the immigrants, not the exploiters.

Those of us desiring justice should direct our anger at those businesses and individuals choosing to exploit vulnerable individuals, not those who are seeking a better life for their families.

 

Migrant Workers and Trafficking

“Migrant farm workers typically move from state to state to plant and harvest crops, roughly following one of three crop “streams” that originate at the southern border of the United States…Trafficking among migrant farm workers is, at times, difficult to detect because migrant farm work in and of itself is not trafficking. Investigators need to look for indicators such as the inability of workers to come and go freely; employers keeping possession of important documents such as passports, visas, and other identification documents; debt owed by workers to crew leaders or farmers; and threats made against victims and their families. Also, victims are often held in a condition of debt bondage where they are forced to work off their smuggling fees and pay their trafficker significant amounts of money. Many farm workers live in housing owned or controlled by the employer, which can lead to a high degree of control over the workers’ movements and activities by the employer. Similar situations may occur in the construction, restaurant, factory, and other low wage industries.”

–The North Carolina Task Force Manual

 

What Can We Do?

Trafficking education could help prevent more cases and allow the public to know what signs to look for in their communities. Posting of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (http://traffickingresourcecenter.org/) in more public places could allow victims of labor trafficking to call for help. In addition, we can look for red flags and use the hotline to report tips that may lead to a case of human trafficking. Demanding that businesses be held accountable when they break the law will decrease the demand for workers that are at a higher risk of being exploited. Open discussions, without name calling, are necessary to begin seeing progress that will benefit humanity as a whole. It has been said frequently on this blog, but it will take a conscious effort from all of us to see a cultural shift that will result in the eventual, true eradication of human trafficking. Conscious consumerism will increase the demand for fairly priced goods and decrease the demands for slave labor. See previous post: https://encstophumantrafficking.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/umbrella-market-and-fair-trade/

Walk Free currently is leading some campaigns to help fight slavery.

Just a few with which you can get involved include:

Call on the Government of Your Country to Ratify C189 to Help End Domestic Slavery: https://www.walkfree.org/c189/

Pledge to Keep Your Home Slavery Free: https://www.walkfree.org/pledge-make-home-slavery-free/

Asking questions and being slow to anger are both important components of educating ourselves, and education is the first step in overcoming the horrible travesty that is human trafficking.

Learn More:

Solidarity Center: http://www.solidaritycenter.org/what-we-do/migration-and-human-trafficking/

Polaris Project: http://polarisproject.org/labor-trafficking

For more information on smuggling and trafficking, see Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective by Louise Shelley. A copy of this wonderful resource is available on Amazon.

Hotline Number to Request Help or Report a Tip: 1-888-373-7888

 

Writing for Freedom,

Kari Carr

“Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.” –Edward Everett

 

“He who decides a case without hearing the other side, though he decide justly, cannot be considered just.” –Seneca

Sticks and Stones . . . Can words really hurt?

“Man arrested for possessing sexually exploitative images of children–images of child abuse.”

“Man arrested for child porn.”

Based on word definitions, these two sentences say the same thing. However, they convey two different messages and invoke different reactions. “Kiddie porn” is a term we hear often. In addition, the word “porn” is often paired with other words such as “earth porn,” “poems porn,” “food porn,” to convey images that are attractive and beautiful. Using this word so often and as a synonym for “aesthetically pleasing,” we have inadvertently become desensitized to its meaning. We forget that “child porn” is images of abuse.

Word choice matters. Changing the way we talk about things changes our approach because it affects how we perceive information.

To put this in perspective, when an article reports a case involving someone with hundreds of “Images of child porn in their possession,” that means the person in question A) had pictures and/or video of hundreds of children being sexually abused and exploited or B) had pictures and/or video of one child being sexually abused hundreds of times.

The phrase “child porn” doesn’t accurately convey the severity of the crime. The new and more accurate term is “child sexual abuse images.” Please use the correct phrase when referring to this horrific crime.

Prostituted Children/Adults

“Teen Sex Workers Found during Super Bowl”

“Prostituted Children Rescued during Super Bowl”

“Child Sex Trafficking Victims Rescued during Super Bowl”

Which of these headlines is accurate?

The first is absolutely wrong. The second is correct, but the third is most accurate.

Abusers don’t buy sex with a child…they pay to abuse and sexually exploit a child. They pay to traffic the child.

There are abused children, there are prostituted children, and there are trafficked children, but there are NOT child prostitutes or teen sex workers. Children cannot legally consent to sex. Therefore, minors cannot consent to selling their bodies for sex. Using the inaccurate coinage, “child prostitute,” implies consent, which is absent in the case of minors–always.

 

Below is the legal definition of sex trafficking. Anyone under the age of 18 working in the commercial sex industry is a VICTIM, not a prostitute. And anyone 18 or older who has been induced by force, fraud, or coercion into the commercial sex industry is a VICTIM, not a prostitute. (Even if the victim does not self-identify.)

Sex Trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the victim induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.”

Changing how we talk about human trafficking cases will change how other people talk about it. News outlets hold a lot of power because they reach so many people in a short amount of time.


These stories have influence because they affect the audience’s conceptions (or misconceptions) as well as how they will receive similar information later on.

For example, if news stories always label known human trafficking cases (especially those involving children) as prostitution, it may be harder for some viewers/readers to understand many of those prostituted people are actually victims of human trafficking.

By simply changing the wording, people can begin to understand that human trafficking does happen in our state and that it is a horrible crime against humanity.

Changing the way we talk affects the way we think, and the way we think affects our actions. Choosing to use more accurate terminology may help others think differently too.

All action results from thought, so it is thoughts that matter.” –Sai Baba

Fighting for freedom does not have to involve dramatic life changes. It simply requires small efforts and simple changes paired with an open mind.

Writing for Freedom,

Kari Carr

“[Some people] believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love.” –Gandalf the Gray in “The Hobbit”

Hold Websites Accountable for Aiding and Abetting Human Trafficking

There are people all around, the mall is buzzing with shoppers all looking for different things–candles, soaps, clothes, lamps, humans. From one of the shops a man yells, “Only here for tonight! Barely legal.” A woman proclaims, “Back by popular demand. You asked for her!”

Okay, so maybe this does not happen at malls. Selling people doesn’t happen in the open, right? But it does–people are advertised and sold in public forums every day. More than that, companies in charge of these specific forums are aware that human trafficking is taking place and they do nothing to stop these crimes from happening. In fact, they choose to enable the criminal activity.

The forum in question–is the internet. One reason businesses do not take action against human trafficking is that they are making a profit from the crime. Another reason is because they will not be held liable for the crimes of others–even though they know it is happening.

Companies make money from online ads for human trafficking and they are not held responsible for making sure these ads are stopped due to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Congress passed the Communications Decency Act (Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996) to protect children from exposure to Internet pornography.  The act included a defense, Section 230, for Internet providers, protecting them from liability for material posted to their sites by third parties.  Therefore, if illegal pornography or other material is posted to a site by someone not associated with the site operator, the site was to be held harmless.  (This makes sense, UNLESS the site is accepting money for posting the content. In that case, they should certainly be held responsible.)

In Volume 17, Issue 1 of the Berkley Technology Law Journal, Paul Ehrlich discusses the Communications Decency Act in depth and describes the results of Section 230:

“Congress passed the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”)’ in 1996 to address the myriad problems surrounding the regulation of obscene, illegal,  or otherwise tortious  content found on the  Internet. Many of the CDA’s provisions regulating decency have been struck down by the courts as violations of the First Amendment. One of the surviving elements is a congressional grant of immunity from suit to ISPs [Internet service providers] and other interactive computer services for content originating with third parties . . . The effect of these rulings has been the emergence of a comprehensive immunity from suit for ISPs so long as the suits are based on content not authored by the ISP. Whether or not Congress intended this result, ISPs and other interactive computer services have used Section 230 as a complete defense against recent suits…”

Amending Section 230 is not an issue of free speech. This is an issue of illegal activity occurring in a public forum. Section 230 was well-intentioned, but it has been used by companies to defend its “right” to accept payment for advertising illegal conduct such as sex trafficking of women and children.  Congress likely never intended this result, yet some courts have ruled that the 230 defense provides, in effect, blanket website immunity for all material posted by third parties on the sites. (Even if the site profits from the third party content, as in the case of advertising.)  It is estimated that backpage alone makes approximately $3 million per month on ads for prostituted and trafficked women and children (Lee, 2014).

We cannot allow companies to get away with facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking simply because they stand behind the excuses provided by this law. They make millions of dollars (backpage made $39 million by facilitating prostitution with adult ads June 2012-May 2013) off of the sexual exploitation of women and children. This cannot continue in the United States of America.

Call on Congress to amend the CDA in order to protect the people whose first amendment right is merely one right being taken away. If we would not allow it in our malls or other public places, we should not allow it on the web. The National Association of Attorneys General has shown their support of Congress amending section 230 of the CDA in order to prevent trafficking of children since July of 2013. They suggested that the wording of Section 230 be altered so that State and local law enforcement agencies have the authority to arrest and prosecute companies who accept money to advertise human trafficking victims on websites.

We have to start taking responsibility and acting to end human trafficking. No more “I didn’t know.” No more “choosing not to see.” No more human trafficking.

If you support the proposal for the CDA to be amended, please follow the link below to sign our petition. In addition, please share the link for the petition/and or this post to help raise awareness and demand the eradication of human trafficking. Thank you for your time, consideration, and for your efforts in the fight for freedom.

https://www.change.org/p/hold-websites-accountable-for-aiding-and-abetting-human-trafficking?recruiter=550206659&utm_source=petitions_show_components_action_panel_wrapper&utm_medium=copylink

Writing for Freedom,

Kari Carr

“One person can make a difference. In fact, it’s not only possible for one person to make a difference, it’s essential that one person makes a difference. And believe it or not, that person is you.” ―Bob Riley

*This post is not calling for the dismantlement of any particular website. It is not encouraging the restriction of rights for anyone. This post is, however, arguing for businesses, who are profiting from crime and exploitation of people, to be held liable when they have been made aware of the issue on their pages and continue to do nothing to stop it.

Check out this video clip of Rep. Ann Wagner talking about enforcement of  JVTA and implementing SAVE. https://www.facebook.com/RepAnnWagner/videos/832005393602803

Sources:

Ehrlich, Paul. “Communications Decency Act 230.” Berkeley Technology Law Journal 17.1 (2002). web. 11 Jan. 2016.

Lee, Patrick G. “Backpage.com Accused of Helping Pimps in Child Sex Trade.” BloomburgBusiness. n.p., 16 Oct. 2004. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

Kumez, Abigail L. “A Letter to Congress: The Communications Decency Act Promotes Human Trafficking.” Children’s Legal Right Journal 34.1: 23-58. Web. 2 Feb. 2016.

 

Yes, Human Trafficking Happens in NC

This year alone, there has been 142 human trafficking victims and survivors identified in North Carolina through the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Furthermore, 115 calls have been made to the National Trafficking Resource Center and 38 cases reported [1]. (These numbers were updated on March 31, 2016.)

Since 2007, there has been a total of 1,372 victims of human trafficking identified and 609 cases investigated [1].

These numbers are a reflection of cases identified through the NHT Hotline–other cases and victims are reported/found through law enforcement or other agencies like Social Services.

So, yes. Human Trafficking happens in North Carolina.

But what does that mean? We are starting to hear about human trafficking, but do we really understand what it is?

“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.” –United Nations

The two main categories of human trafficking are labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Debt-bondage and child labor are also examples of human trafficking [3,4].  Trafficking is happening when a person is put into situations of labor or sex trafficking through the use of “force, fraud, or coercion.” However, in the case of child sexual exploitation, it is immediately deemed exploitation–force, fraud, or coercion does not have to be proven.<sup>3 <sup> Children cannot legally consent to sex, so logically they cannot consent to sell themselves. (Thank goodness for the Child Safe Harbor Act of 2013 which made it so that children could not be charged with prostitution [5]. Find more information on this act here: http://ocrcc.org/safeharbor/ )

Trafficking happens when a parent or relative sells a child for sex. That happens in North Carolina. Trafficking happens when employees are exploited. That happens in North Carolina. Sex and labor trafficking happens in North Carolina.

_________________________________________________________________

Here are some links to articles discussing cases of human trafficking in North Carolina: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article75449692.html

http://www.wwaytv3.com/2016/05/05/man-facing-human-trafficking-charge-held-under-2m-bond/

http://www.wral.com/warrant-cary-man-held-women-in-sexual-servitude-/15377058/

http://wncn.com/2016/02/12/raleigh-man-arrested-for-human-trafficking-forced-prostitution-of-child/

http://wncn.com/2016/03/09/14-charged-in-nc-polices-prostitution-operation/

These five are just the tip of the iceberg.

Below, are two links to articles that mention the prevalence of human trafficking in the Tarheel State:

http://www.thecharlottepost.com/news/2016/01/04/local/nc-among-leaders-in-human-trafficking/

http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2016/01/human-trafficking-no-stranger-to-north-carolina

_________________________________________________________________

It’s a Lack of Choice

It is a popular notion that “trafficking is just a new term for ‘prostitution’ and it is happening between consenting adults.” A child is a victim. In a situation where a girl (or boy) is trafficked at say the age of 12, this person is considered a victim. This child is abused emotionally, physically, and sexually and is told that they are worthless and that no one could possibly love them after what they have done–How is it that after six years in this horribly abusive life, that they are no longer a victim? How is 18 a glorified turning point where a person goes from victim to criminal? Sometimes women (and men) “choose” to be in it because what else are they supposed to do? They first met their pimp when they were 12 years old. 12. For six year (or longer) they were sold for sex (or used for labor). What about people who did not get an education because it did not fit in with their trafficker’s plans? They may not have existed by society’s standards for almost a decade–no paper trail, no record. They have been told repeatedly that they are not anything worthwhile and no one could possibly love them after what they’ve done.

So, for many men and women, no it’s not a true choice–it’s a lack of choice. Had circumstances been different in their lives they would have likely never said yes to this life as an adult.

Why talk about human trafficking? Why do some people care so much?

Because it matters–because it happens on a global scale and happens in our local communities. Because it’s uncomfortable to talk about–so we often don’t.

Because we need to acknowledge and help survivors–because they need to be believed. And because there are misunderstandings and misconceptions about modern slavery that need to be addressed.

We’re finally starting to understand that victims of domestic violence do not stay in abusive relationships because they “like” being hurt. There are psychological and emotional factors at play. There are threats, and those threats are believable, which is why they are effective.

“A victim may stay in the relationship because they are scared of what the abuser will do if they leave. When an abuser calls their partner names, puts them down and plays mind games it can make the victim feel bad about themselves. Many times victims believe that the abuse is their fault or that they deserve the abuse.” –The advocacy center www.theadvocacycenter.org/adv_violencewhy.html

It is a similar situation with trafficking victims and survivors.

Trafficking survivors need help. And love–and resource for support so that they can earn an education and job skills so that they have other options and they have the power to take control of their own lives (because it’s theirs and theirs alone). And they deserve respect. They are people. And they matter.

No more accusations. No more preconceived notions and biases preventing us from growing as a community. No more hate. No more dehumanizing–that just makes it easier to ignore people who need our help, hold traffickers accountable, and fight the problem of modern slavery. Trafficking victims and survivors are people. And they deserve to be treated well–they deserve to be treated like people.

Writing for Freedom,

Kari Carr

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.” ― Margaret Wheatley

Sources referenced and links for more information:

  1. https://traffickingresourcecenter.org/state/north-carolina
  2. http://sf-hrc.org/what-human-trafficking
  3. http://www.humantraffickingsearch.net/typesoftrafficking/
  4. http://sf-hrc.org/what-human-trafficking
  5. http://ocrcc.org/safeharbor/

http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/human-trafficking/pages/welcome.aspx