#sextrafficking | SPECIAL EDITION: SEX TRAFFICKING IN AMERICA | #tinder | #pof | #match


>>> TONIGHT ON METRO FOCUS,
SPECIAL EDITION: SEX TRAFFICKING
IN AMERICA.
EVERY DAY CHILDREN IN THE UNITED
STATES ARE BEING BOUGHT AND SOLD
FOR SEX, AND BUSINESS IS
BOOMING.
PREDATORS FIND THEIR PREY IN OUR
COMMUNITIES AND OUR LIVES.
GLOBALLY THERE ARE MORE THAN 4
MILLION VICTIMS.
IN A MOMENT, THE YOUNG WOMEN,
MEN, AND CHILDREN CAUGHT IN THE
SEX TRADE.
A FIRSTHAND ACCOUNT OF THOSE
TRAPPED IN THE CYCLE OF ABUSE
AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP STOP
THIS TERRIBLE CRIME.
“METROFOCUS SPECIAL EDITION: SEX
TRAFFICKING IN AMERICA” STARTS
RIGHT NOW.
>> Announcer: THIS IS
“METROFOCUS” WITH RAFAEL RAMMAN,
JACK FORD.
“METRO FOCUS” IS MADE POSSIBLE
BY BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ,
ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE
ZUCKERBERG, AND BY —
>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF
“METROFOCUS,” I’M JACK FORD.
HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING.
ACROSS THE GLOBE IT’S THE THIRD
LARGEST ORGANIZED CRIME AFTER
DRUG SMUGGLING AND ARMS TRADING.
ACCORDING TO “BUSINESS
INPSEUDOER, TLTS FOR 18 TO
20,000 PEOPLE TRAFFICKED INTO
OUR COUNTRY EVERY YEAR.
A MORE STARTLING FACT, ALTHOUGH
MANY OF THESE SEX SLAVES ARRIVE
FROM OVERSEAS, THE MAJORITY OF
THEM ARE HERE IN THE U.S., U.S.
CITIZENS, DAUGHTERS, SONS,
NEIGHBORS, CHILDREN, SOME, OUR
OWN.
THE NUMBERS ARE SHOCKING.
THE DETAILS ARE WORSE.
A LOOK AT A NATIONAL PROBLEM
WITH ADDED FOCUS ON NEW YORK.
FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE AND
FOUNDER OF SHARED HOPE
INTERNATIONAL LINDA SMITH.
JOINING US FROM WASHINGTON,
ERNIE ALLEN, A GLOBAL EXPERT ON
SEX TRAFFICKING.
I APPRECIATE YOU COMING SPENDING
TIME WITH US.
WE HAVE A LOT TO TALK ABOUT
HERE.
>> INDEED.
>> BUT LET ME START — BEFORE I
GET INTO EACH OF YOUR
BACKGROUNDS BECAUSE I THINK
THAT’S IMPORTANT, LET’S SET THE
STAGE, A BIG PICTURE DISCUSSION
OF JUST WHAT TYPE OF AN
EXTRAORDINARY PROBLEM THIS IS.
ERNIE, LET ME START WITH YOU, IF
I CAN.
I THREW OUT A COUPLE OF
STATISTICS HERE, BUT GIVE US A
SENSE OF THE ENORMITY OF THIS
ISSUE THAT IS BEING DEALT WITH
NOT JUST IN THE U.S. BUT
WORLDWIDE.
>> JACK, THIS IS A MASSIVE
PROBLEM, ESTIMATED TO BE
$150 BILLION INDUSTRY WORLDWIDE.
AS YOU POINT OUT,
OVERWHELMINGLY, THE VICTIMS ARE
NOT SOMEBODY ELSE’S KIDS.
THESE ARE OUR KIDS.
THESE ARE KIDS IN CRISIS WHO ARE
RUN AWAYS, THROW AWAYS, HOMELESS
KIDS WHO ARE PREYED UPON.
AND I THINK MOST IMPORTANTLY
THEY’RE HIDDEN VICTIMS.
THE UB APPPUBLIC DOES NOT SEE T
PROBLEM.
IT’S NOT A REPORTED PROBLEM.
SO, WE REALLY HAVE NO TRUE SENSE
OF THE EXTENT AND THE ENORMITY
OF THE CHALLENGE.
>> I SAW A NUMBER.
I IMAGINE IT’S HARD TO BE
PRECISE.
I SAW A NUMBER THAT SAID SOME
PERHAPS 4.5 MILLION PEOPLE ARE
VICTIMS OF THIS WORLDWIDE.
IS THAT A NUMBER THAT SOUNDS
FAMILIAR TO YOU?
>> I THINK IT IS.
INTERNATIONAL LABOR ORGANIZATION
ESTIMATES 25 MILLION HUMAN
BEINGS ON THE PLANET WHO ARE
VICTIMS OF MODERN SLAVERY.
MUCH OF THAT IS FORCED LABOR AND
RELATED CRIMES.
BUT A LARGE SHARE OF IT ARE
PEOPLE USED FOR PURPOSES OF SEX.
AND WHAT’S PARTICULARLY SERIOUS
ABOUT IT IS THAT THIS IS NOT
LIKE THE TYPICAL COMMODITIES
THAT ARE TRAFFICKED.
DRUGS YOU CAN SELL ONCE.
HUMAN BEINGS, YOU CAN SELL OVER
AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
SO, IT IS TRULY AN EXAMPLE OF
MODERN SLAVERY.
>> LINDA, WHEN YOU WERE A MEMBER
OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, YOU TOOK A TRIP
THAT WAS APPARENTLY A BIT OF AN
EPIPHANY FOR YOU IN TERMS OF THE
PROBLEM AND THE EXTENT OF IT.
TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT
TRIP AND WHAT YOU CAME AWAY FROM
IT WITH.
>> WELL, I WAS INVOLVED IN A LOT
OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS CAUCUSES,
THE ISSUES OF HUMAN RIGHTS,
VICTIM RIGHTS.
AND SO BECAUSE OF THAT I GOT A
CALL ONE DAY.
AND THIS MAN TALKED 45 MINUTES.
I LITERALLY COULD NOT STOP HIM,
BUT I WAS TOO SHOCKED TO BREAK
IN.
HE WAS TALKING ABOUT CHILDREN IN
SLAVERY IN INDIA.
WELL, IT BOTHERED ME.
I COULDN’T SLEEP.
SO, I WENT TO INDIA AND I FOUND
THERE WERE CHILDREN IN — AND I
JUST — FIRST OF ALL, I GOT
SICK.
AND THEN I SAID, YOU KNOW, I
HAVE TO DO SOMETHING BUT I DON’T
KNOW WHAT.
NOT LONG AFTER THAT, I GOT A
LOOK INTO THE UNITED STATES AND
WAS ASKED BY THE STATE
DEPARTMENT TO DO INVESTIGATIONS.
I ADDED AMERICA.
HOW CREDIBLE COULD WE BE
CRITICIZING THESE OTHER
COUNTRIES LIKE INDIA FOR SELLING
THEIR OWN CHILDREN TO THEIR OWN
MEN BECAUSE IT WAS DOMESTIC
TRAFFICKING.
I DID AND I FOUND MY CRITICISM
OF INDIA WAS PARALLELED HERE.
WHEN WE PRESENTED TO CONGRESS
THE NUMBERS IN 2007 AND WE
STARTED SAYING WE KNOW THIS, WE
KNOW THAT MOST OF THE PEOPLE WE
FOUND WERE TRAFFICKED AS MINORS,
THEY WERE SOLD FOR COMMERCIAL
SEX, AND OFTEN PORNOGRAPHY.
>> MELANIE, YOU PREVIOUSLY
ESCAPED FROM THIS WORLD AND NOW
AN ACTIVIST.
FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, HOW DID
YOU GET DRAWN INTO THAT WORLD?
>> THIS WORLD HAS A WAY OF
PREYING ON THE WORLD’S MOST
VULNERABLE.
I COME FROM A BACKGROUND OF
NOTHING BUT MARGINALIZED POVERTY
AND IMPOVERISHED.
I COME FROM A BROKEN HOME.
AND UNFORTUNATELY, I WAS JUST
ONE OF THE TARGETS IN THIS
DEMOGRAPHIC, A YOUNG,
PRE-TEENAGE GIRL IN THE STREETS
OF A VERY POOR NEIGHBORHOOD IN
QUEENS.
AND, YOU KNOW, ME JUST BEING
OUTSIDE WITH FRIENDS TURNED INTO
SOMEBODY FINDING ME ON THE
STREET BEFORE I GOT HOME AND
LOCKING ME IN A CLOSET AND
PUTTING ME INTO THIS WORLD.
SO, YOU KNOW, THIS IS JUST MY
PERSONAL STORY IN QUEENS, BUT
THIS HAPPENS ALL OVER NEW YORK
CITY, ALL OVER-NEW YORK STATE,
AND LIKE YOU SAID ALL OVER THE
WORLD.
>> HOW DID YOU ESCAPE?
>> I GOT ARRESTED ON MY WAY OUT.
SO, THERE WAS A WARRANT OUT FOR
MY ARREST AND THE COPS FOUND
WHERE I WAS.
I’VE HEARD IT WAS THROUGH AN
ANONYMOUS TIP.
I WASN’T THERE TO VERIFY THAT.
BUT THE COPS ENDED UP PRYING THE
LOCKED CLOSET DOOR OPEN WITH
THESE HEDGE CUTTERS AND ARRESTED
ME AND I WENT INTO THE FOSTER
CARE SYSTEM AFTER.
>> THAT’S A REAL POINT.
SHE WAS ARRESTED.
A LOT OF THIS NATION IS STILL
NOT UNDERSTANDING THAT THAT
LITTLE GIRL WASN’T A PROSTITUTE
AND IN 19 STATES THEY CAN STILL
BE ARRESTED FOR THE CRIME OF
PROSTITUTION.
NEW YORK IS ONE OF THOSE STATES.
>> VICTIMIZED ONCE AND
VICTIMIZED AGAIN BY THE JUSTICE
SYSTEM.
>> YEAH.
>> ERNIE, LET ME BRING YOU INTO
THE CONVERSATION.
I HAVE A SUSPICION THAT THE LAST
MAJORITY OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC
DOESN’T UNDERSTAND THE
DISTINCTION BETWEEN SEX WORKERS,
PEOPLE WHO HAVE CHOSEN THIS —
AND WE’VE SEEN MOVEMENTS WHERE
SEX WORKERS TRY TO ORGANIZE TO
SAY THIS IS WHAT OUR CHOSEN
PROFESSION IS — AND VICTIMS
SUCH AS MELLY.
WHY IS IT THAT WE DON’T
UNDERSTAND THAT THERE’S NOT A
CLEAR DELINEATION BETWEEN THOSE
GROUPS?
>> I THINK THERE ARE A NUMBER OF
REASONS.
ONE OF THE REASONS IS THAT WE
ASSUME — MOST OF THE PURCHASERS
OF THIS CONTENT APPEAR TO BE
NON-CRIMINAL, PRETTY NORMAL
PEOPLE, DOCTORS, LAWYERS,
BUSINESS EXECUTIVES.
SO, WE CERTAINLY DON’T WANT TO
CRIMINALIZE THEM.
WHEN THE CRIMINAL FOCUS HAS
TENDED TO BE ON THE PUMP, THE
ORGANIZER, THE PERSON WHO’S
RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT.
BUT THERE WAS JUST AN ARTICLE IN
THE NEW YORK PRESS ABOUT AN
8-YEAR-OLD BEING TRAFFICKED FOR
SEX, A 12 OR 13-YEAR-OLD.
THEY DON’T CHOOSE — THEY’RE NOT
VOLUNTARY SEX WORKERS.
AND UNDER U.S. LAW, AS YOU KNOW,
YOU CAN’T CHOOSE — YOU CAN’T
CONSENT TO SEX IF YOU’RE 12 OR
13 YEARS OF AGE.
SO, LINDA’S POINT IS A REALLY
GOOD ONE.
THESE ARE RAPE VICTIMS.
THESE ARE VICTIM OF SEXUAL
ASSAULT.
AND UNTIL WE HELP THE PUBLIC
UNDERSTAND THAT, THAT THERE’S NO
SUCH THING AS VOLUNTARY
COMPLIANCE WITH THIS KIND OF
BEHAVIOR AND UNTIL WE BEGIN TO
ADDRESS THE DEMAND, THE REALITY
IS THE REASON THIS PROBLEM
EXISTS IS BECAUSE IT’S
COMMERCIALLY PROFITABLE.
AND IT’S PROFITABLE BECAUSE
AVERAGE PEOPLE SPEND MONEY TO
HAVE SEX WITH CHILDREN.
AND WE’VE GOT TO BEGIN TO PUT
THE FOCUS OF THE CRIMINAL
JUSTICE SYSTEM NOT JUST ON THE
PIMP AND CERTAINLY NOT ON THEIC
HAVE TIM BUT ALSO ON THE
CONSUMER, THE PURCHASER OF THE
CONTENT.
>> IF I MAY, I WANT TO GO BACK
TO YOUR QUESTION BECAUSE I FEEL
LIKE ESPECIALLY AT THIS CURRENT
TOMB IN OUR CULTURE, THAT’S SUCH
AN IMPORTANT QUESTION BECAUSE
YOU SEE SO MANY PRO-SEX WORK
LOBBYISTS SAYING THIS IS OUR
CHOICE AND THIS IS CONCERNING
AGENCY.
AND YOU HAVE PEOPLE LIKE ME WHO
WERE VICTIMIZED.
AND I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT AMERICA DOESN’T UNDERSTAND
ARE THE SYSTEMIC OPPRESSIONS
THAT FUEL PROSTITUTION.
AND MANY OF THE PRO-SEX WORK
LOBBYISTS THAT I’VE COME ACROSS
WHO ARE CLAIMING THIS IS CHOICE
AND CLAIMING THIS IS AGENCY
DON’T HAVE A VAST UNDERSTANDING
OF PATRIARCHY, MISOGYNY, AND
CAPITALISM.
I TELL EVERYBODY ALL THE TIME
AND I’M NOT ASHAMED TO SAY IT,
THERE WAS A TIME I WAS IN
PROSTITUTION WHERE I THOUGHT I
WAS EMPOWERED.
IT’S A DIFFERENCE MECHANISM.
IT’S SOMETHING WE HAD TO DO AND
TRAIN OUR MINDS TO THINK IN
ORDER TO GET THROUGH THE VIOLENT
SEXUAL ACTS.
>> TO MAKE YOURSELF THINK IT WAS
YOUR CHOICE.
>> EXACTLY.
OTHERWISE YOU WOULDN’T BE ABLE
TO THINK OR BREATHE OR GET
THROUGH ONE TRICK OR ONE JOHN OR
ONE DATE WITHOUT CRYING OR
HAVING SUICIDAL IDEATION, OR
GETTING ABUSE OR BEATEN,
WHATEVER MAY HAVE YOU.
I WILL NEVER DENY SOMEBODY’S
CLAIM THAT THERE WAS THEIR
CLAIM.
BUT AS WE KNOW THROUGH RESEARCH,
AS WE KNOW THROUGH STATISTICS,
AS I THROUGH PERSONAL
EXPERIENCE, THE PERCENTAGE OF
INDIVIDUALS WHO CLAIM CONSENT IN
AGENCY AND AUTONOMY AND CLAIM
THIS IS VOLUNTARY THAT NEVER HAD
A PRIOR SEXUAL ABUSE HISTORY OF
ANY KIND IS LESS THAN 2% OF THE
INDIVIDUALS OF THOSE IN
PROSTITUTION.
>> LET ME GO BACK TO SOMETHING
YOU TOUCHED ON WHEN I ASKED YOU
HOW YOU GOT DRAWN IN.
MANY PEOPLE, YOU ASK HOW DOES
THIS HAPPEN.
THEY SAY YOU BECOME A SEXUAL
SLAVE BY BEING SNATCHED OFF THE
STREET AND LOCKED IN A CLOSET.
WE KNOW THERE ARE FAR MORE
SUBTLE AND MORE INSIDIOUS MEANS
OF RECRUITING PEOPLE, IF YOU
WILL.
I DON’T KNOW IF THAT’S THE RIGHT
TERM, BUT I’LL USE THAT TERM, OF
GETTING THEM INTO THIS WORLD.
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT — YOU
FI
FIRST.
TALK ABOUT THE METHODS THAT ARE
UTILIZED TO GET PEOPLE SUCH AS
MELANIE AND BRING THEM INTO THIS
WORLD.
>> I THINK I’LL GO BROADER AND
COME BACK TO AMERICA BECAUSE
VERY QUICKLY AFTER I STARTED
INVESTIGATING THE WORLD I HAD A
STATE DEPARTMENT AGREEMENT TO GO
IN WITH INVESTIGATORS.
AND WHEN WE GO IN LOOK AT THE
PRODUCT — ISN’T THAT A TERRIBLE
WORD?
THEY WERE VULNERABLE POPULATIONS
BROUGHT TO THE NETHERLANDS, TO
JAPAN, TO JAMAICA, AND TO
AMERICA.
SO, I WAS LOOKING OUT THERE
THINKING IT WAS ABOUT OUT THERE
IN.
AND WHAT I FOUND WHEN I LOOKED
IN AMERICA WAS THERE WERE
VULNERABLE POPULATIONS.
AND THE VULNERABILITY WAS THEIR
AGE.
I FOUND KIDS THAT WERE FROM
PRE-ORDINARY HOMES THAT GOT
INVOLVED WITH SOMEONE ONLINE AND
HAD FALLEN IN LOVE WITH THEM OR
BECOME A FRIEND AND THEY WERE 13
AND THAT PERSON THAT WAS SAYING
THEY WERE 16 WAS REALLY A PIMP.
SO, THEY GET OUT THERE WHERE
THEY’RE VULNERABLE.
THAT ONE CASE I JUST TALKED
ABOUT, SHE’S OUT GETTING RAPED
AND HE SAYS YOU CHOSE TO COME
OUT HERE.
YOU MADE THAT CHOICE.
SO, GIVING THEM THAT FACT, THEY
ALWAYS GO IT’S MY FAULT.
THINK OF THAT.
THOSE GIRLS — AND I SPOKE ON IT
TEN YEARS AGO WHEN HE WAS FIRST
ARRESTED.
THE GIRLS THAT WERE BROUGHT IN
WERE VULNERABLE POPULATIONS THAT
WERE TOLD IT WOULD BE SOMETHING
BETTER.
THEY WERE FEMALES THAT WENT OUT
TO RECRUIT THESE GIRLS TO BRING
THEM IN TO BE USED BY VERY
WEALTHY MEN.
BUT THE REALITY OF THOSE GIRLS
WAS THEY WERE FROM MARGINALIZED
PLACES, SOCIETIES, POVERTY.
THEY WERE TOLD THEY WERE
WONDERFUL, THEY WERE GOING TO
GET GREAT THINGS.
THEY WERE NOT DRUG OFF.
THEY THOUGHT IT WOULD BE AN
ADVENTURE.
BUT THEY WERE WALKING IN TO
EXCITEMENT AND BELONGING.
>> SO, THESE ARE — I’LL ASK YOU
TO JUMP IN ALSO.
WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT — IN
SOME INSTANTS WE ARE.
AS I MENTIONED THE BRUTAL
GRABBING OFF THE STREET.
BUT IN MANY OF THESE SITUATIONS,
FAR MORE NUANCED, FAR MORE
SOPHISTICATED MEANS OF REACHING
OUT AND MAKING SOMEBODY FEEL
LIKE THERE’S VALUE TO THEM.
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE ROLE
OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE INTERNET
IN THIS ENTIRE RECRUITMENT AND
GROOMING PROCESS.
>> JACK, THIS PROBLEM HAS
MIGRATED FROM THE STREETS TO THE
INTERNET.
AND THE REALITY IS THOSE WHO
SHOP FOR A CHILD FOR SEX CAN DO
SO WITH LITTLE RISK AND VIRTUAL
ANONYMITY ONLINE.
THEY DON’T HAVE TO DRIVE TO A
STREET IN THE CENTER OF TOWN
WHERE THEY’RE GOING TO BE SEEN
AND THEIR LICENSE PLATE MIGHT BE
WRITTEN DOWN AND THEY’RE AT FAR
GREATER RISK.
SO, THEY CAN SHOP ONLINE.
THEY CAN ACCESS WHO THEY WANT TO
ACCESS IN THEIR HOTEL ROOM OR
THEIR HOME.
IT’S REALLY CHANGED THE DYNAMIC
OF THIS WHOLE PROBLEM AND MADE
IT A FAR LARGER AND MORE COMPLEX
PROBLEM TO SOLVE.
>> AND I WOULD IMAGINE AS THE
REACH AND THE GRASP OF THE
INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA
CONTINUES TO EXPAND THAT IT’S
GOING TO MAKE THIS PROBLEM
CONTINUE TO EXPAND EVEN MORE SO
THAN IT IS NOW.
>> NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.
IT IS DRAMATICALLY LARGER THAN
IT WAS EVEN 20, 30 YEARS AGO.
AND THAT IS SIMPLY BECAUSE OF
THE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY.
AND TO LINDA’S POINT, THE
REALITY IS THERE ARE LOTS OF
KIDS ON THE STREETS OF AMERICAN
CITIES WHO ARE STRUGGLING TO
FIGURE OUT HOW TO SURVIVE.
SO, THEY’RE EASY FODDER.
THEY’RE EASY TARGETS FOR THOSE
WHO LURE THEM WITH KINDNESS,
WITH PROMISES OF SUSTENANCE, OF
A PLACE TO STAY, OF EVEN LOVE.
SO, THE INTERNET HAS BECOME A
VEHICLE FOR THAT.
IT’S A WAY THAT THESE PEOPLE CAN
TARGET KIDS IN A WAY THAT LOWERS
THEIR GUARD, AND THESE KIDS ONLY
FIND OUT THEY’RE IN TROUBLE WHEN
IT’S TOO LATE.
>> DOES ALL THAT SOUND FAMILIAR
TO YOU?
>> ABSOLUTELY.
>> IN YOUR LIFE, THE THINGS
WE’VE TALKED ABOUT HERE?
>> YEAH.
>> TO MAKE YOU FEEL LOVE, MAKE
YOU FEEL LIKE THERE’S VALUE TO
YOUR LIFE, AND THAT’S PART OF
THE MAGNET THAT DREW YOU INTO
IT?
>> I HAD A VERY DIFFERENT
EXPERIENCE, BUT WHAT LINDA WAS
SAYING WAS VERY ACCURATE TO
OTHER PEOPLE I KNOW.
THERE ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF
PIMPS, YOU HAVE TO RICO OR THE
SUAVE PIMP THAT STARTS AS LOVE
OR A BOYFRIEND IN HIGH SCHOOL.
BUT THE BOY IN HIGH SCHOOL IS A
RECRUITER FOR AN OLDER PIMP.
LATER IN THE RELATIONSHIP HE’LL
SNAP AND SAY IF YOU LOVE ME, YOU
HAVE TO DO X, Y, AND Z.
WE HAVE TO PAY ATTENTIONS TO THE
VULNERABILITIES OF THE PEOPLE
THAT ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO THIS
ISSUE, RIGHT?
IN MANY CASES THOSE THAT ARE
WOOED BY LOVE ARE COMING FROM
SOME TYPE OF BROKEN HOME WHERE
THEY’RE NOT RECEIVING THAT LOVE.
SO, THERE’S A VOID THERE.
95% OF THOSE IN PROSTITUTION ARE
BLACK AND BROWN GIRLS,
TRANSGENDER AND NON-CONFIRMING
INDIVIDUALS, THOSE WHO ENDURED
THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM, AND
THOSE COMING FROM POVERTY.
THAT’S INTERNATIONAL WIDE.
I THINK THAT PIMPS HAVE A WAY
OF — I ALWAYS LIKE TO SAY
SNIFFING OUT WHAT VULNERABILITY
YOU SUFFER FROM.
IN MY CASE I’M COMING FROM A
BROKEN HOME WITH MANY SIBLINGS
LIVING BELOW THE POVERTY LINE,
BEING A BLACK GIRL MYSELF,
LIVING IN THE SOUTH SIDE OF
JAMAICA QUEENS WHICH IS NOT THE
NICEST NEIGHBORHOOD IF YOU
HAVEN’T EVER BEEN.
AND ME HAVING A LOT OF DOMESTIC
VIOLENCE IN MY HOUSE HOLD.
SO, I COME FROM THAT VOID OF NOT
RECEIVING A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF
LOVE OR ATTENTION.
>> YOU CHECKED A LOT OF THE
BOXES.
>> A LOT OF THE BOXES.
>> AS YOU SAID, THESE ARE VERY
SOPHISTICATED PEOPLE AND METHODS
BEING USED.
>> HE COULD HAVE WATCHED HER FOR
A LONG TIME BEFORE HE GOT HER TO
FIGURE OUT IF ANYBODY WOULD
LOOK.
I REMEMBER WHEN ERNIE AND I FIST
GOT TOGETHER — WE HAD KNOWN
EACH OTHER BEFORE.
I SAID I JUST — THIS IS
HORRIBLE.
AND I KNOW — I KNOW THAT WE’RE
DEALING WITH THE SAME KIDS,
MISSING KIDS.
IT’S ACTUALLY WORKING ON A BOOK
WITH ME OR EDITING THE BOOK AND
IT WAS ACTUALLY WRITTEN — IT’S
CALLED “RENTING LACI” BUT ON A
SERIES OF AMERICAN KIDS THAT
WERE MOSTLY STARTED IN THEIR
MIDDLE SCHOOL AGE THAT I KNEW OF
AND KNEW.
AND IT WAS LIKE I DON’T KNOW HOW
TO MAKE THIS STRONG BECAUSE
PEOPLE AREN’T GOING TO WANT TO
READ IT.
IT WAS TO THE EXTENT OF LINDA,
DON’T WEAKEN THAT BOOK BECAUSE
I’VE BEEN SAYING I KNOW WHAT THE
KIDS —
>> WE NEED THE POWER FROM THIS
BOOK.
THAT GETS ME — WE’VE GOT A FEW
MINUTES LEFT.
I WANT TO TALK ABOUT.
WE TALKED ABOUT THE PROBLEM.
NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT WHAT TO DO
ABOUT THIS PROBLEM AND WHAT
WE’VE ALL BEEN DOING AND WHAT WE
NEED TO DO.
LET ME COME BACK TO YOU.
AS I MENTIONED YOU’VE BECOME AN
ACTIVIST.
YOU’VE GOTTEN INVOLVED IN
PUSHING LEGISLATION.
SOME OF IT HAD IMMEDIATE
INSIGHT.
THERE WAS A SITE, A BACK PAGE
THAT WAS A DESTINATION FOR
PEOPLE WHO WERE LOOKING.
TELL ME WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN DOING
AND WHAT YOU’VE FOUND HAS BEEN
SUCCESSFUL UP TO THIS POINT.
>> SO, THE MOST RECENT LAW THAT
I HELPED PASS WAS FIGHT ONLINE
SEX TRAFFICKERS ACT AND STOP
ENABLING SEX TRAFFICKERS ACT.
AND WHAT THAT DID WAS AMEND A
SMALL PIECE OF COMMUNICATIONS
DECENCY ACT.
A LOT OF JARGON.
>> YOU LEARNED A LOT MORE ABOUT
LEGISLATION THAN YOU EVER WANTED
TO.
>> DEFINITELY A FACT.
BASICALLY WHAT THAT DID WAS JUST
AMEND THIS CLAUSE THAT SHIELDED
THIRD-PARTY WEBSITES FROM
FACILITATING THIRD PARTY
CONTENT.
>> THEY ESSENTIALLY HAD
IMMUNITY.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
>> NOT A WIDE ROAD.
IT’S JUST A NARROW PATH.
>> OH, OF COURSE.
BUT BACK PAGE IS ACTUALLY VERY
PERSONAL TO ME BECAUSE I WAS
TRAFFICKED ON BACK PAGE FOR OVER
A YEAR.
AND MUCH OF MY 12-YEAR-OLD BODY
WAS PLASTERED ALL OVER THAT
WEBSITE.
SO, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I DO,
LIKE YOU SAID, A LOT OF THE LAWS
THAT I PASSED HAD IMMEDIATE
IMPACT AND FOSTER WAS ONE OF
THOSE LAWS.
WE’VE SEEN A LOT OF BACKLASH
FROM THE PEOPLE WE WERE TALKING
ABOUT EARLIER, THE PRO-SEX WORK
LOBBYIST WHO CLAIM IT’S
INSTRUMENTAL.
SO, MY ROLE IN SOCIETY IS TO
EDUCATE INDIVIDUALS ON HOW
FOSTER IS NOT TARGETED TO
INDIVIDUALS BUT TO THE
INDIVIDUALS WHO FACILITATE THE
CRIME, TO GO TO D.C. AND PASS
LAWS OR STRENGTHEN LAWS WE HAVE
AGAINST PIMPS, TRAFFICKERS, AND
SEX BUYERS.
>> DO YOU FIND WHEN YOU GO TO
ALBANY OR WASHINGTON, ARE
LEGISLATURES BOTH TRULY
LISTENING TO YOU, FIRST
QUESTION?
AND DO YOU GET A SENSE THAT THEY
HAVE BECOME COMMITTED TO DOING
SOMETHING ABOUT THIS?
>> I WOULD SAY I HAVE A GOOD
60/40, MAYBE 70/30.
MOST OF THE ASSEMBLY MEMBERS AND
SENATOR THAT IS I MEET WITH,
THEY HEAR ME AND THEY SEEM
REALLY ACTIVELY ENGAGED.
A LOT OF THEM ARE HONEST WHEN
THEY DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE ISSUE.
THEY SAY THIS IS NOT SOMETHING
MY OFFICE WORKS ON.
THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I’M
HEARING ABOUT THIS.
EDUCATE ME.
AND I APPRECIATE THAT.
>> THERE ARE A FEW THAT I MEET
WITH HAVE A COMPLETELY VERY
OPPOSITE OPINION ON THIS TOPIC
AS I DO AND SAY, YOU KNOW, WELL,
WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO CHOOSE IT
AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO WANT TO
DO THIS OR PRETTY WOMAN OR ET
CETERA, ET CETERA.
AND THOSE ARE THE INDIVIDUALS
THAT I TEND TO HAVE A LOT MORE
OF A FRUSTRATING CONVERSATION
WITH.
AND SOMETIMES WE JUST —
>> DOES THAT REFLECT THE
ATTITUDES OF A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT
THERE, RIGHT?
>> ABSOLUTELY.
>> WHAT ABOUT “PRETTY WOMAN,”
ISN’T THAT JUST A FAIRY TALE
WAITING FOR A HAPPY ENDING.
OR DON’T YOU WANT TO SAY I DON’T
WANT TO BE PART OF THIS, I’M
GOING TO WALK AWAY FROM IT.
I THINK THAT’S WHAT A T LO OF
PEOPLE THINK OUT THERE.
>> IT IS.
THAT’S WHY MY JOB IS SO HARD AND
THAT’S WHY I’LL PROBABLY NEVER
BE OUT OF A JOB BECAUSE I HAVE
TO CONTINUE TO DO THIS JOB.
EVEN “PRETTY WOMAN” IS EXAMPLE
OF THAT.
THERE WAS A WOMAN SELLING HER
BODY WITH THIS WEALTHY MAN WHO
WORKS IN AN OFFICE.
AGAIN, THIS GOES BACK TO THE
GENDER ROLES AND THE POWER
DYNAMIC WHICH HAS TRANSLATED AND
FUELLED PROSTITUTION.
>> TELL ME ABOUT YOUR
ORGANIZATION IN SHARED HOPE
INTERNATIONAL.
>> SHARED HOPE INTERNATIONAL IS
AN INSTITUTE.
OUR GOAL IS TO CHANGE LAWS IN
ALL 50 STATES AND THE FEDERAL
LAWS.
EIGHT YEARS AGO WE STARTED
WORKING ON WHAT BECAME THE BILLS
YOU WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT, 41
POINTS OF LAW.
WE STARTED IN 2011 GRADING THE
41 POINTS OF LAW RIGHT INTO THE
CODE OF EACH STATE.
WE ONLY HAD LESS THAN 50, 47% OF
THE LAW.
AND STATES LIKE NEW YORK FAILED
TOTALLY.
AND AS THEY STARTED INCREASING,
NOW MOST STATES ARE A B.
NEW YORK IS A D.
IT’S INTERESTING.
WHEN THEY STARTED THEY WERE THE
FIRST TO TALK ABOUT TREATING THE
GIRLS AS VICTIMS INSTEAD OF
CRIMINALS.
THEY GOT STUCK.
THE A.G.’S OFFICE IS DOING
GREAT, THERE’S PEOPLE DOING
GREAT.
BUT THEY’RE HOLDING TO THE
CULTURAL BIAS AND 19 STATES
HAVEN’T CHANGED.
THEY GOT A LAW, BUT IN THE LAW
THEY HAVE A PROSTITUTION LAW AND
THEY STILL CALL THE CHILD A
PROSTITUTE.
AND THEY HOLD THE RIGHT TO
ARREST THEM.
NOW, FEW PEOPLE WILL BE DIVERTED
IN THAT, AND THERE ARE GOOD
OPTIONS.
BUT I SAY THAT BIAS IN THE LAW,
I THINK WE HAVE A CULTURAL
CHANGE THAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN IN
THE STATE.
AND WE HAVE TO CHANGE IT BY
FIRST PASSING A LAW TO NOT
CRIMINALIZE THE MINOR.
>> ERNIE, I’LL GET LAST WORD
FROM YOU, IF I CAN.
BIGGER PICTURE AGAIN, ARE YOU AT
ALL OPTIMISTIC?
DO YOU GET A SENSE THAT PROGRESS
IS BEING MADE BOTH IN TERMS OF
AWARENESS OF THE NATURE OF THE
PROBLEM AND IN TERMS OF DOING
SOMETHING ABOUT IT?
>> JACK, I THINK PROGRESS HAS
BEEN ENORMOUS AND MUCH IS
ATTRIBUTED TO PEOPLE LIKE LINDA
SMITH AND SHERRY HOLT.
BECAUSE OF HER AND HER
COLLEAGUES THE FIRST VICTIMS
PROTECTION ACT WAS PASSED ALMOST
20 YEARS AGO.
FESTA HAS HAPPENED TO ADDRESS
THAT INTERNET IMMUNITY.
BUT THE KEY CHALLENGE REMAINS.
WE NEED TO BUILD PUBLIC
AWARENESS.
THE PUBLIC DOESN’T UNDERSTAND
THAT THIS CONTINUES TO HAPPEN.
IT HAPPENS IN ALL KINDS OF
CITIES, NOT JUST NEW YORK.
WE LAUNCHED A TASK FORCE PROGRAM
ACROSS THE COUNTRY CALLED
INNOCENCE LOST ALMOST 20 YEARS
AGO.
THE FIRST BUST WAS HARRISBURG,
PENNSYLVANIA.
BUT FINALLY I THINK THE MOST
IMPORTANT THING WE NEED TO DO IS
ADDRESS THE DEMAND.
AS LONG AS CUSTOMERS FEEL THAT
THERE’S NO RISK FOR HIRING A
CHILD FOR SEX, THIS BUSINESS IS
GOING TO CONTINUE.
AND IT’S GOING TO PROSPER.
SO, WE NEED TO BEGIN TO HOLD THE
CUSTOMER, THE PURCHASER,
ACCOUNTABLE IF WE’RE EVER GOING
TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.
>> I THINK THIS HAS BEEN A VERY
IMPORTANT CONVERSATION WE’VE
HAD.
IT’S BEEN A VERY ILLUMINATING
CONVERSATION.
MY HOPE IS THIS IS GOING TO HELP
TO MOVE THIS CONVERSATION ALONG.
I WANT TO THANK YOU ALL FOR
JOINING US.
AND COMPLIMENT YOU ON THE GOOD
WORK YOU’RE DOING AND HOPE WE
CAN TALK WITH YOU AGAIN DOWN THE
ROAD AS WE MOVE FORWARD.
THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR JOINING
US.
A REMINDER, IF YOU WOULD LIKE
MORE INFORMATION ON THIS
EPIDEMIC OR ANY OF THE
ORGANIZATIONS WE MENTIONED, MAKE
SURE YOU VISIT US AT
METROFOCUS.ORG.
I’M JACK FORD.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
>>> METRO FOCUS IS MADE POSSIBLE
BY JAMES AND MERLE TISCH,
WACHENHEIM, BERNARD AND IRENE
SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER,
BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND
BY —



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