With researchers questioning and seeking treatment solutions for victims from trafficking, exploitation and abuse my epiphany after years of living a lifetime of childhood trauma/abuse leading hand in hand into trafficking exploitation and a continued pattern of a downward spiral into adulthood domestic abuse that no matter how much I wanted out, I couldn’t see how the way to escape. I was a prisoner to my own demise, living in a zombie-like state that I call a Zombiezone Syndrome.
Numb is my best description because it is living in a state of just going through the motions, of just existing, without really feeling present in my own life that after stumbling onto new research, after questioning why for years, I felt the way I did. I now believe the reason is uncovered, that childhood abuse leaves scars damaging the brain. It’s much like watching life from a distance, or through a looking glass. But I also believe with my awakening there is hope for healing.
This is where I attribute the demands of becoming the parent of a special needs child that envelopes and consumes my every waking moment(and sleepless nights)immersed in the needs and demands of every single essential basic life-need, for another human being. It’s as if I’m literally having to think for two people. Yet, simultaneously it has been a process of self-teaching/healing and separating life from an obliviousness that only through the raw innocence of a child with special needs emminates . It becomes a life consuming purpose and exhausting yet at the same time the most rewarding task I could ever encounter.
My self-discovery, and metamorphosis occurred after living years of repeated attrition in many forms, from many in society as well as others who live in complete denial. Statistics report many victims repeatedly live repeated re-victimization. The attrition begins very early on when no one believes the child especially in cases where it’s one parent against the other dismissing the child as a trouble maker for seeking help by telling a trusted caretaker.
In working with these children, knowing other victims, and researching many case studies most others also experience attrition from family, law enforcement and others due to ignorance in the literal sense of speaking from the symptoms and the after effects left on victims. There are now new findings just beginning to touch on uncovering new relevant revelations in breakthrough information proving childhood abuse leaves scars on the victims brain. Being misunderstood as a victim is one of the reasons why I am working towards educating and training others highlighting a survivor/trauma approach, and the demand side of trafficking.
Our judicial system often arrest victims, without understanding this complex issue and in some cases exploiting and re-victimizing victims (attrition)through “sexual ” favors while incarcerated. I am also strongly advocating judicial accountability, another piece to the puzzle.
I am a survivor who has connected the dots through my life and work experiences, and believe my life after becoming parent to a special needs child created a force trigger awakening in me. I believe connecting the dots through researching every aspect of abuse spotlights missing links. Although it hasn’t been easy, and it has been a long way back, I believe I know the true forward path to rediscovering life, through self-healing(recovering) surviving, overcoming and thriving into living a life of freedom that I will delve in-depth through my Freebird writings/trainings/resources and events in effort to reach out to others who I know are living an existence the same way I did in the Zombiezone for so many years.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of urgent prevention and intervention, as part of necessary critical paradigm-shift that must take place through teaching Emotional Intelligence in Schools designed specific for targeting and empowering vulnerable children from Pre-K all the way through University with a consistent picture.
Founded by the FBI Law Enforcement Human Sex Trafficking report:
Human sex trafficking is the most common form of modern-day slavery. Estimates place the number
of its domestic and international victims in the millions, mostly females and children enslaved in the commercial sex industry for little or no money. The terms human trafficking and sex slavery usually conjure up images of young girls beaten and abused in faraway places, like Eastern Europe, Asia, or Africa. Actually, human sex trafficking and sex slavery happen locally in cities and towns, both large and small, throughout the United States, right in citizens’ backyards.
Appreciating the magnitude of the problem requires first understanding what the issue is and what it is not. Additionally, people must be able to identify the victim in common trafficking situations.
HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING
Many people probably remember popular movies and television shows depicting pimps as dressing flashy and driving large fancy cars. More important, the women—adults—consensually and voluntarily engaged in the business of prostitution without complaint. This characterization is extremely inaccurate, nothing more than fiction. In reality, the pimp traffics young women (and sometimes men) completely against their will by force or threat of force; this is human sex trafficking.
Not only is human sex trafficking slavery but it is big business. It is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world.2 The majority of sex trafficking is international, with victims taken from such places as South and Southeast Asia, the former Soviet Union, Central and South America, and other less developed areas and moved to more developed ones, including Asia, the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America.3
Ms. Walker-Rodriquez is an assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore County and a current member of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force. Mr. Hill, a retired police lieutenant, is an assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore County and a current member of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force.
Unfortunately, however, sex trafficking also occurs domestically.4 The United States not only faces an influx of international victims but also has its own homegrown problem of interstate sex trafficking of minors.5
Although comprehensive research to document the number of children engaged in prostitution in the United States is lacking, an estimated 293,000 American youths currently are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.6 The majority of these victims are runaway or thrown-away youths who live on the streets and become victims of prostitution.7 These children generally come from homes where they have been abused or from families who have abandoned them. Often, they become involved in prostitution to support themselves financially or to get the things they feel they need or want (like drugs).
Other young people are recruited into prostitution through forced abduction, pressure from parents, or through deceptive agreements between parents and traffickers. Once these children become involved in prostitution, they often are forced to travel far from their homes and, as a result, are isolated from their friends and family. Few children in this situation can develop new relationships with peers or adults other than the person victimizing them. The lifestyle of such youths revolves around violence, forced drug use, and constant threats.8
Among children and teens living on the streets in the United States, involvement in commercial sex activity is a problem of epidemic proportion. Many girls living on the street engage in formal prostitution, and some become entangled in nationwide organized crime networks where they are trafficked nationally. Criminal networks transport these children around the United States by a variety of means—cars, buses, vans, trucks, or planes—and often provide them counterfeit identification to use in the event of arrest. The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12 to 14. It is not only the girls on the streets who are affected; boys and transgender youth enter into prostitution between the ages of 11 and 13 on average.9
Today, the business of human sex trafficking is much more organized and violent. These women and young girls are sold to traffickers, locked up in rooms or brothels for weeks or months, drugged, terrorized, and raped repeatedly.10 These continual abuses make it easier for the traffickers to control their victims. The captives are so afraid and intimidated that they rarely speak out against their traffickers, even when faced with an opportunity to escape.
Generally, the traffickers are very organized. Many have a hierarchy system similar to that of other criminal organizations. Traffickers who have more than one victim often have a “bottom,” who sits atop the hierarchy of prostitutes. The bottom, a victim herself, has been with the trafficker the longest and has earned his trust. Bottoms collect the money from the other girls, discipline them, seduce unwitting youths into trafficking, and handle the day-to-day business for the trafficker.
Traffickers represent every social, ethnic, and racial group. Various organizational types exist in trafficking. Some perpetrators are involved with local street and motorcycle gangs, others are members of larger nationwide gangs and criminal organizations, and some have no affiliation with any one group or organization. Traffickers are not only men—women run many established rings.
The United States not only faces an influx of international victims but also has its own homegrown problem of interstate sex trafficking of minors.Traffickers use force, drugs, emotional tactics, and financial methods to control their victims. They have an especially easy time establishing a strong bond with young girls. These perpetrators may promise marriage and a lifestyle the youths often did not have in their previous familial relationships. They claim they “love” and “need” the victim and that any sex acts are for their future together. In cases where the children have few or no positive male role models in their lives, the traffickers take advantage of this fact and, in many cases, demand that the victims refer to them as “daddy,” making it tougher for the youths to break the hold the perpetrator has on them.
Sometimes, the traffickers use violence, such as gang rape and other forms of abuse, to force the youths to work for them and remain under their control. One victim, a runaway from Baltimore County, Maryland, was gang raped by a group of men associated with the trafficker, who subsequently staged a “rescue.” He then demanded that she repay him by working for him as one of his prostitutes. In many cases, however, the victims simply are beaten until they submit to the trafficker’s demands.
In some situations, the youths have become addicted to drugs. The traffickers simply can use their ability to supply them with drugs as a means of control.
Traffickers often take their victims’ identity forms, including birth certificates, passports, and drivers’ licenses. In these cases, even if youths do leave they would have no ability to support themselves and often will return to the trafficker.
These abusive methods of control impact the victims both physically and mentally. Similar to cases involving Stockholm Syndrome, these victims, who have been abused over an extended period of time, begin to feel an attachment to the perpetrator.11 This paradoxical psychological phenomenon makes it difficult for law enforcement to breach the bond of control, albeit abusive, the trafficker holds over the victim.
NATIONAL PROBLEM WITH LOCAL TIES
The Federal Level
In 2000, Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which created the first comprehensive federal law to address trafficking, with a significant focus on the international dimension of the problem. The law provides a three-pronged approach: prevention through public awareness programs overseas and a State Department-led monitoring and sanctions program; protection through a new T Visa and services for foreign national victims; and prosecution through new federal crimes and severe penalties.12
As a result of the passing of the TVPA, the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons was established in October 2001. This enabling legislation led to the creation of a bureau within the State Department to specifically address human trafficking and exploitation on all levels and to take legal action against perpetrators.13 Additionally, this act was designed to enforce all laws within the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that apply.14
Image of a sad female.U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is one of the lead federal agencies charged with enforcing the TVPA. Human trafficking represents significant risks to homeland security. Would-be terrorists and criminals often can access the same routes and use the same methods as human traffickers. ICE’s Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit works to identify criminals and organizations involved in these illicit activities.
The FBI also enforces the TVPA. In June 2003, the FBI, in conjunction with the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, launched the Innocence Lost National Initiative. The agencies’ combined efforts address the growing problem of domestic sex trafficking of children in the United States. To date, these groups have worked successfully to rescue nearly 900 children. Investigations successfully have led to the conviction of more than 500 pimps, madams, and their associates who exploit children through prostitution. These convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including multiple 25-year-to-life sentences and the seizure of real property, vehicles, and monetary assets.15
Both ICE and the FBI, along with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and national victim-based advocacy groups in joint task forces, have combined resources and expertise on the issue. Today, the FBI participates in approximately 30 law enforcement task forces and about 42 Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)-sponsored task forces around the nation.16
In July 2004, the Human Smuggling Trafficking Center (HSTC) was created. The HSTC serves as a fusion center for information on human smuggling and trafficking, bringing together analysts, officers, and investigators from such agencies as the CIA, FBI, ICE, Department of State, and Department of Homeland Security.
The Local Level
With DOJ funding assistance, many jurisdictions have created human trafficking task forces to combat the problem. BJA’s 42 such task forces can be demonstrated by several examples.17
In 2004, the FBI’s Washington field office and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department joined with a variety of nongovernment organizations and service providers to combat the growing problem of human trafficking within Washington, D.C.
In January 2005, the Massachusetts Human Trafficking Task Force was formed, with the Boston Police Department serving as the lead law enforcement entity. It uses a two-pronged approach, addressing investigations focusing on international victims and those focusing on the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
The New Jersey Human Trafficking Task Force attacks the problem by training law enforcement in the methods of identifying victims and signs of trafficking, coordinating statewide efforts in the identification and provision of services to victims of human trafficking, and increasing the successful interdiction and prosecution of trafficking of human persons.
Local and state criminal justice officials must understand that these cases are not isolated incidents that occur infrequently.Since 2006, the Louisiana Human Trafficking Task Force, which has law enforcement, training, and victim services components, has focused its law enforcement and victim rescue efforts on the Interstate 10 corridor from the Texas border on the west to the Mississippi border on the east. This corridor, the basic northern border of the hurricane-ravaged areas of Louisiana, long has served as a major avenue of illegal immigration efforts. The I-10 corridor also is the main avenue for individuals participating in human trafficking to supply the labor needs in the hurricane-damaged areas of the state.
In 2007, the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force was formed. It aims to create a heightened law enforcement and victim service presence in the community. Its law enforcement efforts include establishing roving operations to identify victims and traffickers, deputizing local law enforcement to assist in federal human trafficking investigations, and providing training for law enforcement officers.
In December 2008, Corey Davis, the ringleader of a sex-trafficking ring that spanned at least three states, was sentenced in federal court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on federal civil rights charges for organizing and leading the sex-trafficking operation that exploited as many as 20 females, including minors. Davis received a sentence of 293 months in prison followed by a lifetime term of supervised release. He pleaded guilty to multiple sex-trafficking charges, including recruiting a girl under the age of 18 to engage in prostitution. Davis admitted that he recruited a minor to engage in prostitution; that he was the organizer of a sex-trafficking venture; and that he used force, fraud, and coercion to compel the victim to commit commercial sex acts from which he obtained the proceeds.
According to the indictment, Davis lured victims to his operation with promises of modeling contracts and a glamorous lifestyle. He then forced them into a grueling schedule of dancing and performing at strip clubs in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. When the clubs closed, Davis forced the victims to walk the streets until 4 or 5 a.m. propositioning customers. The indictment also alleged that he beat many of the victims to force them to work for him and that he also used physical abuse as punishment for disobeying the stringent rules he imposed to isolate and control them.18
As this and other examples show, human trafficking cases happen all over the United States. A few instances would represent just the “tip of the iceberg” in a growing criminal enterprise. Local and state criminal justice officials must understand that these cases are not isolated incidents that occur infrequently. They must remain alert for signs of trafficking in their jurisdictions and aggressively follow through on the smallest clue. Numerous Web sites openly (though they try to mask their actions) advertise for prostitution. Many of these sites involve young girls victimized by sex trafficking. Many of the pictures are altered to give the impression of older girls engaged in this activity freely and voluntarily. However, as prosecutors, the authors both have encountered numerous cases of suspected human trafficking involving underage girls.
Image of a woman.The article “The Girls Next Door” describes a conventional midcentury home in Plainfield, New Jersey, that sat in a nice middle-class neighborhood. Unbeknownst to the neighbors, the house was part of a network of stash houses in the New York area where underage girls and young women from dozens of countries were trafficked and held captive. Acting on a tip, police raided the house in February 2002, expecting to find an underground brothel. Instead, they found four girls between the ages of 14 and 17, all Mexican nationals without documentation.
However, they were not prostitutes; they were sex slaves. These girls did not work for profit or a paycheck. They were captives to the traffickers and keepers who controlled their every move. The police found a squalid, land-based equivalent of a 19th-century slave ship. They encountered rancid, doorless bathrooms; bare, putrid mattresses; and a stash of penicillin, “morning after’’ pills, and an antiulcer medication that can induce abortion. The girls were pale, exhausted, and malnourished.19
Human sex trafficking warning signs include, among other indicators, streetwalkers and strip clubs. However, a jurisdiction’s lack of streetwalkers or strip clubs does not mean that it is immune to the problem of trafficking. Because human trafficking involves big money, if money can be made, sex slaves can be sold. Sex trafficking can happen anywhere, however unlikely a place. Investigators should be attuned to reading the signs of trafficking and looking closely for them.
INVESTIGATION OF HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING
ICE aggressively targets the global criminal infrastructure, including the people, money, and materials that support human trafficking networks. The agency strives to prevent human trafficking in the United States by prosecuting the traffickers and rescuing and protecting the victims. However, most human trafficking cases start at the local level.
Local and state law enforcement officers may unknowingly encounter sex trafficking when they deal with homeless and runaway juveniles; criminal gang activity; crimes involving immigrant children who have no guardians; domestic violence calls; and investigations at truck stops, motels, massage parlors, spas, and strip clubs. To this end, the authors offer various suggestions and indicators to help patrol officers identify victims of sex trafficking, as well as tips for detectives who investigate these crimes.
Document suspicious calls and complaints on a police information report, even if the details seem trivial.
Be aware of trafficking when responding to certain call types, such as reports of foot traffic in and out of a house. Consider situations that seem similar to drug complaints.
Look closely at calls for assaults, domestic situations, verbal disputes, or thefts. These could involve a trafficking victim being abused and disciplined by a trafficker, a customer having a dispute with a victim, or a client who had money taken during a sex act.
Traffickers represent every social, ethnic, andracial group.Locations, such as truck stops, strip clubs, massage parlors, and cheap motels, are havens for prostitutes forced into sex trafficking. Many massage parlors and strip clubs that engage in sex trafficking will have cramped living quarters where the victims are forced to stay.
When encountering prostitutes and other victims of trafficking, do not display judgment or talk down to them. Understand the violent nature in how they are forced into trafficking, which explains their lack of cooperation. Speak with them in a location completely safe and away from other people, including potential victims.
Check for identification. Traffickers take the victims’ identification and, in cases of foreign nationals, their travel information. The lack of either item should raise concern.
Monitor Web sites that advertise for dating and hooking up. Most vice units are familiar with the common sites used by sex traffickers as a means of advertisement.
Conduct surveillance at motels, truck stops, strip clubs, and massage parlors. Look to see if the girls arrive alone or with someone else. Girls being transported to these locations should raise concerns of trafficking.
Upon an arrest, check cell phone records, motel receipts, computer printouts of advertisements, and tollbooth receipts. Look for phone calls from the jailed prostitute to the pimp. Check surveillance cameras at motels and toll facilities as evidence to indicate the trafficking of the victim.
Obtain written statements from the customers; get them to work for you.
Seek assistance from nongovernmental organizations involved in fighting sex trafficking. Many of these entities have workers who will interview these victims on behalf of the police.
After executing a search warrant, photograph everything. Remember that in court, a picture may be worth a thousand words: nothing else can more effectively describe a cramped living quarter a victim is forced to reside in.
Look for advertisements in local newspapers, specifically the sports sections, that advertise massage parlors. These businesses should be checked out
to ensure they are legitimate and not fronts for
Contact your local U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI field office, or ICE for assistance. Explore what federal resources exist to help address this problem.
Patrol officers and investigators can look for many other human trafficking indicators as well.20 These certainly warrant closer attention.
People who live on or near work premises
Individuals with restricted or controlled communication and transportation
Persons frequently moved by traffickers
A living space with a large number of occupants
People lacking private space, personal possessions, or financial records
Today, the business of human sex trafficking is much more organized and violent.Someone with limited knowledge about how to get around in a community
Injuries from beatings or weapons
Signs of torture (e.g., cigarette burns)
Brands or scarring, indicating ownership
Signs of malnourishment
Someone else has possession of an individual’s legal/travel documents
Existing debt issues
One attorney claiming to represent multiple illegal aliens detained at different locations
Third party who insists on interpreting. Did the victim sign a contract?
Large amounts of cash and condoms
Customer logbook or receipt book (“trick book”)
Men come and go frequently
This form of cruel modern-day slavery occurs more often than many people might think. And, it is not just an international or a national problem—it also is a local one. It is big business, and it involves a lot of perpetrators and victims.
Agencies at all levels must remain alert to this issue and address it vigilantly. Even local officers must understand the problem and know how to recognize it in their jurisdictions. Coordinated and aggressive efforts from all law enforcement organizations can put an end to these perpetrators’ operations and free the victims.
1 http://www.routledgesociology.com/books/Human-Sex-Trafficking-isbn9780415576789 (accessed July 19, 2010).
2 http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human- trafficking.html (accessed July 19, 2010).
3 http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/trafficking.html (accessed July 19, 2010).
5 http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/prostitution.html (accessed July 19, 2010).
6 Richard J. Estes and Neil Alan Weiner, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico (University of Pennsylvania, Executive Summary, 2001).
8 http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/9107.pdf (accessed July 19, 2010).
9 Estes and Weiner.
10 http://www.womenshealth.gov/ violence/types/human-trafficking.cfm (accessed July 19, 2010).
11 For additional information, see Nathalie De Fabrique, Stephen J. Romano, Gregory M. Vecchi, and Vincent B. Van Hasselt, “Understanding Stockholm Syndrome,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, July 2007, 10-15.
12 Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Pub. L. No. 106-386 (2000), codified at 22 U.S.C. § 7101, et seq.
14 U.S. CONST. amend. XIII, § 1: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
15 U.S. Department of Justice, “U.S. Army Soldier Sentenced to Over 17 Years in Prison for Operating a Brothel from Millersville Apartment and to Drug Trafficking,” http://www.justice.gov/usao/md/Public-Affairs/press_releases/press10a.htm (accessed September 30, 2010).
16 http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking/initiatives (accessed September 30, 2010).
17 http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/grant/42HTTF.pdf (accessed September 30, 2010).
18 http://actioncenter.polarisproject.org/the-frontlines/recent-federal-cases/435-leader-of-expansive-multi-state-sex-trafficking-ring-sentenced (accessed July 19, 2010).
19 http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/25/magazine/25SEXTRAFFIC.html (accessed July 19, 2010).
20 http://httf.wordpress.com/indicators/ (accessed July 19, 2010).
A Report of Child Abuse is made every 10 seconds in the Unites States.
New studies show childhood maltreatment in addition to harming the immediate wellbeing
of the child, maltreatment and extreme stress during childhood can impair leaving specific
scars leaving the brain damaged.
A National Research Council report noted that child abuse can leave a legacy of brain damage, aggressive and antisocial behavior, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, juvenile and adult criminal behavior.
How do children become who they become?
According to Jim Taylor, Ph.D article in Psychology Today:
“Certainly, genetics play a formative role; intelligence, physical attributes, and temperament all have been found
to have a strong hereditary component. Evidence is equally strong that the environment also contributes significantly. It is no longer a dispute between nature vs. nurture, but rather a collaboration of sorts involving nature via nurture; how children are raised and the environment in which they are
immersed influence what genetic predispositions emerge as they develop.
So what aspects of the environment impact children’s development? Some have argued that parents have much less influence than they like to think; peers and popular culture affect children more. However, I believe that during these early years, you have a window of opportunity before they become integrated into the larger social world in which you have a greater impact on your children than those outside forces.
Consider this. You are the most present people in your children’s early life, and exert the most control over almost everything your children experience. Whether it is what they eat, when they sleep, their daily activities, or with whom they interact, you are in charge. During this period your children are absolutely ravenous for every morsel of information they can ingest and you provide your children with most of their developmental “nourishment” in the form of language, emotions, behavior, and interactions. And, importantly, you create the physical and social environment that plays an increasingly important role in your children’s later development, including your home, the neighborhood in which they live, the childcare or pre-school they attend, through play dates, the peers with whom they interact, and the types and frequency of exposure to popular culture. In other words, during those early years, you have the opportunity to control the message. Other messages, many not as nourishing for the development of young children, will come soon enough.
They Get the Message.
Perhaps the most powerful lesson learned is that: children become the messages they get the most. Given the inherent power that you have in shaping your children through your messages, the core question you should ask yourself is, “How can I be sure I’m sending the healthiest messages to my children?” The answer to that question has two parts. First, you need to be clear about what messages you want communicate to your children. And, second, you must develop your own skills in conveying those messages.
These messages that come early in your children’s lives are particularly significant because, before long, your children will be getting messages from many much less controllable or benign sources. Peers and popular culture will
inexorably bring children all kinds of information and attitudes, good, bad and downright dangerous. All you can do is attempt to ingrain positive messages early in your children’s lives as a form of immunization against the onslaught of harmful messages they are certain to receive as they get older.”
“There are significant links between a history of child abuse and a range of adverse out comes in both childhood and adulthood.”
The song lyrics by Casting Crowns “Slow Fade” so eloquently captures the essence of truth.
Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow
It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade
Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray
It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you’re thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking
It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day
Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
It is also a slow and long journey to return to life after being stripped of your spirit,
the essence of life taken from you like a thief in the night and never to be the same again.
After my own life experiences and seeing increasing epidemic across the nation our prisons are overflowing, with gangs, human trafficking, violence and crimes rampant and on the rise, also having worked with many at risk youth in the foster care system, I questioned with each and every child, how are these children that have never known these life skills and without a way to learn them, how are they suppose to learn them? And, how are we to make teaching these critical life skills for successful living available to children who have never lived in environments conducive to learn and receive self-love, respect and nurture after only knowing lives neglect and abuse?
The true epiphany, I realize how greatly society has failed these children leaving them to fall through the cracks. The only solution is to teach them Emotional Intelligence in schools. It is a critical, urgent and very doable intervention and prevention approach that must begin early on and needs to begin now.
According to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States As of 2012, the United States has the world’s largest prison population, with over 2 million people in American prisons or jails—up from
744,000 in 1985.
Wikipedia also stated: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gangs_in_the_United_States identified as an issue withinthe prison system is gang violence, because many gang members retain their gang identity and affiliations when imprisoned Approximately 1.4 million people were part of gangs as of 2011, and more than 33,000 gangs were active in the United States. Segregation of identified gang members from the general population of inmates, with different gangs being housed in separate units often results in the imprisonment of these gang members with their friends and criminal cohorts. We can all agree this has the effect of turning prisons into “institutions of higher criminal learning,” a society
created within itself.
Findings by the FBI Gang Threat And Emerging Trends Assessment reports:
Gang involvement in alien smuggling, human trafficking, and prostitution is increasing primarily due to their higher profitability and lower risks of detection and punishment than that of drug and weapons trafficking. Over the past year, federal, state, and local law enforcement officials in at least 35 states and US territories have reported that gangs in their jurisdictions are involved in alien smuggling, human trafficking, or prostitution.
Also according to the FBI Gang Assesment Human Trafficking Global Statistics
18,000 to 20,000 individuals are trafficked into the United States each year.
12.3 million worldwide victims of forced labor, bonded labor, and prostitution.
1.2 million worldwide victims are children; 1.4 million are victims of commercial sexual exploitation, of which 98% are women and girls.
32% of the victims are used for forced
economic exploitation, of which 56% are women and girls
Sources: US Dept. of State TIP Report 2010; UN GIFT Global Report on TIP Feb. 2010
In addition Human trafficking is another source of revenue for some gangs. Victims—typically women and children—are often forced, coerced, or led with fraudulent pretense into prostitution and forced labor.16 The Bloods, MS-13, Sureños, and Somali gangs have been reportedly involved in human trafficking, according to multiple law enforcement and NGIC reporting.
Some gangs in the New England area are combining human trafficking and drug trafficking operations, where females are used to courier drugs and participate in prostitution.
In November 2010, federal law enforcement officials indicted 29 members of a Somalian gang in Minneapolis for operating an interstate sex trafficking ring that sold and transported underage African-American and Somalian females from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Columbus, Ohio, and Nashville, Tennessee, for prostitution, according to FBI and ICE reporting.17
Prostitution is also a major source of income for many gangs. Gang members often operate as pimps, luring or forcing at-risk, young females into prostitution and controlling them through violence and psychological abuse.h Asian gangs, Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, MS-13, Sureños, Vice Lords, and members of OMGs are involved in prostitution operations, according to FBI, NGIC, and multiple law enforcement reporting.
NGIC law enforcement partners report that gangs in their jurisdiction are involved in prostitution, some of which involves child prostitution.
Prostitution is reportedly the second largest source of income for San Diego, California, gangs. According to November 2010 open source reporting, African-American street gangs in San Diego are pimping young females to solicit males.18
Gangs and Criminal Organizations
Gangs & Drug Trafficking Organizations
Many US-based gangs have established strong working relationships with Central America and Mexico-based DTOs to perpetuate the smuggling of drugs across the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders. MDTOs control most of the cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana trafficked into the United States from Mexico and regularly employ lethal force to protect their drug shipments in Mexico and while crossing the US-Mexico border, according to NGIC and NDIC reporting.i
Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations
MDTOs are among the most prominent DTOs largely because of their control over the production of most drugs consumed in the United States. They are known to regularly collaborate with US-based street and prison gang members and occasionally work with select OMG and White Supremacist groups, purely for financial gain (see Appendix B). The prospect of financial gain is resulting in the suspension of traditional racial and ideological division among US prison gangs, providing MDTOs the means to further expand their influence over drug trafficking in the United States.19 NDIC reporting indicates that Hispanic and African American street gangs are expanding their influence over drug distribution in rural and suburban areas and acquire drugs directly from MDTOs in Mexico or along the Southwest border.20
Many Los Angeles-based Sinaloa cartel members use local gang members to assist in or commit kidnappings, acquire or sell drugs, and collect drug proceeds.
Source: DHS September 2010; DEA November 2010
That same year, it was also reported that the United States government spent an estimated US$37 billion to maintain these prisons. In 2012, the United States prison
population was estimated at over 2.3 million prisoners, meaning 1 in every 100 American adults are in a prison, the cost of these prisons was then estimated at US$74 billion per year. As of 2009, with overcrowding
California’s 158,000 inmates were detained in prisons that were designed to hold 84,000—almost 14,000 of these inmates were sleeping in very tight spaces, hallways, or on floors. People are also being incarcerated at an increasing rate and new prisons cannot be built fast enough. I believe that despite unreported corruption that judicial accountability plays a huge factor in incarceration statistic deficits. What is documented nonetheless, is in 2009 China’s prison population was about 1.6 million, while the prison population of India was 332,112.
With epidemic proportions increasingly spiraling out of control and urgent immediate solutions needed I believe the Bureau Of Justice, OJJDP- Office Of Juvenile Justice, coupled with the National Gang Center OJJDP who sponsors our research; program and training initiatives; develops priorities and goals; sets policies to guide federal juvenile justice issues; disseminates information about juvenile justice issues, and awards funds to states to support local programming, should prioritize teaching Emotional Intelligence in Schools,nationally, beginning from Pre-K and teaching all the way through University as major deterrent intervention and prevention. It goes full circle to creating a way to teach those who have never known these basic life skill essentials and reinforcing them to the children who are fortunate enough to have them.
Human Rights Watch documented vicious and brutally violent male rapes in prisons as well as other more common, less overtly violent forms of coerced sex. Certain prisoners are more vulnerable to rape and are targeted for sexual exploitation – especially prisoners who are young, physically small or weak, gay, first offenders, or have been convicted of a sexual offense against a minor.
I’m taking this opportunity to educate and deter gangbanger’s and other’s also from criminal activities of violence and crimes for incarceration. The well-being of our prisoners isn’t a topic that often garners much sympathy. Perhaps that is why few Americans know that rapes and sexual assaults of U.S. inmates have reached epidemic proportions. New statistics compiled by a US Justice Department agency reveal that the rape and sexual abuse of prisoners by other prisoners and staff plague prisons nationwide, Human Rights Watch said today.
According to the report, released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS):
“Sexual Victimization in State and Federal Prisons Reported by Inmates, 2007,” 4.5 percent of the state and federal prisoners surveyed reported sexual victimization in the past 12 months. Given a national prison population of 1,570,861, the BJS findings suggest that in one year alone more than 70,000 prisoners were sexually abused.”
Rich Pedroncelli,, AP
“The Bureau of Justice Statistics confirmed this human rights crisis last month. It says that nearly one in 10 prisoners report having been raped or sexually assaulted by other inmates, staff or both.
That’s why the release of a separate report by the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, which was created by Congress in 2003, is so important. It challenges our society to take seriously a problem that has ruined many lives.The website of the health and human rights organization Just Detention International (JDI) tells some of the inmates’ troubling stories.
“While I was in an Arkansas state prison, I was raped by at least 27 different inmates over a nine-month period,” said Bryson Martel Spruce, a bisexual former inmate. “I don’t have to tell you that it was the worst nine months of my life.”Spruce contracted HIV as a result of the attacks. “Standards are needed to protect people like me,” he said before he died in 2010. Spruce’s story is a disturbing example of the particular challenge lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face when incarcerated. “I knew him well,” Lovisa Stannow, JDI’s executive director, said of Spruce. “He spoke often about how he was targeted because of his sexual orientation.”Gay inmates targeted
More than one-third of gay and bisexual male inmates said that they were victimized by another inmate, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics report. By comparison, only 3.5% of straight male inmates reported being sexually assaulted by other inmates. Bisexual female inmates also were targeted for sexual assaults more than their fellow inmates. Of course, gender and sexual orientation are not the main issue. No inmate in our prisons should have to endure rapes or sexual assaults, whether committed by other inmates or staff.
Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a private, non-profit organization, traces the vulnerability of prisoners to sexual assaults back to three pieces of legislation passed during the Clinton administration. The Prison Litigation and Reform Act made it more difficult for prisoners to sue for abuse of power or dangerous treatment. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act essentially guaranteed that inmates who have suffered wrongful convictions will have a tougher time challenging them. And by making convicts ineligible for food stamps or public housing, the infamous Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, better known as welfare reform, virtually ensured higher recidividism rates. Together, these laws have not only robbed more vulnerable inmates of just opportunities to gain and maintain freedom, they also have guaranteed that some will be targeted for prison rapes while trapped inside.
“All of that, I think, would have been shocking even to a Republican legislator in the 1960s or early 1970s,” Stevenson said.
The commission’s new prison rape elimination standards, blessed by the Justice Department, include requirements for adequate prison staffing, sexual abuse prevention training for staff, creating more ways for inmates to report sexual abuse privately, no cross-gender searches of female inmates by male staff, publishing sexual abuse statistics annually and audits every three years. State prisons that don’t comply will lose federal funding.
Alabama prison accusations
The new standards will add heft to current complaints, such as the one filed by EJI against the Alabama Department of Corrections that is now under investigation by the Justice Department. EJI alleges that inmates of the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala., have suffered “widespread sexual abuse” by male guards, including acts of sexual violence that have culminated in pregnancies.
“When the government takes away someone’s freedom, it takes on the responsibility of keeping that person safe,” Stevenson said.
No state can credibly claim to be committed to law and order if its response to sexual assaults in prison is passive at best. But this is not just about justice for inmates. The commission’s report includes the story of Air Force veteran Tom Cahill, who was beaten and gang-raped by inmates while spending one night in a San Antonio jail.
“I’ve been hospitalized more times than I can count,” Cahill told the commission. “For the past two decades, I’ve received a non-service connected security pension from the (Department of Veterans Affairs) at the cost of about $200,000 in connection with the only major trauma I’ve ever suffered, the rape.”
Cahill’s horrific experience happened in just one night spent in jail. For those spending years in prison, their nightmare can be never ending, until the new standards are not only implemented but also enforced to protect vulnerable prisoners.
Sure, these inmates are paying for their crimes, but rape is not part of their sentence.
David Person, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, is directing the forthcoming television documentary Not Our Bodies, an examination of rape, sexual assaults and race.”
We are free to become writers, dancer’s, musician’s, entertainer’s, doctor’s, teachers lawyers… We are free to become educated, bright, sunny, hopeful, happy…successful
We are free to become sad or poor or failures with lives filled with violence and crime that many know in darkness. The way the wind blows is the way our inbreed upbringing will carry us.
If becoming successful doctor’s, teacher’s, lawyer’s is the path you are influenced from birth, you are encouraged and conditioned to believe and strive for this life path. The same if you are conditioned from birth to become beaten down from neglect, abuse to become addicts, gangbangers, pimps… with lives filled with dysfunction violence and crime. This is the life path you strive for the familiar because this is what you know.
It truly depends on which standards you are taught and influences you are exposed to in your environments. when we encounter different than what we know it becomes conducive for breeding internal conflicts about; If this is this way? then why am I that way? Once internal conflict ensues life can become one big mass conflict and confusion with a 50/50% roll of the dice.
If you are one of the children living in darkness, who are intervened by others whose influences are successful, I believe some can be encouraged and swayed to lean in that direction if the intervention occurs before the destined path. After great turmoil and battling demons some eventually learn to create different ways of coping, with the operative word, “different” is emphasized. No matter which environment you were born into we are all in this together as it rampantly is becoming epidemic.
When you are not taught from birth the essential basic life skills of what it is to be nurtured and loved, or right from wrong, good from bad then simply put bad is good and wrong becomes right. How are you suppose to learn these life skill values? It is imperative to reach these children and the only way to do this is to incorporate these necessary life skills into our schools as vital core curriculum and begin teaching intensive Emotional Intelligence in our schools beginning now..
I also believe special needs children will forever be innocent, oblivious to the world because society can’t influence with impact the way it does others. We are born with freedom to become whatever paths our lives lead us into becoming. Unmarred innocent babies, growing into children then becoming adults. But, are we truly free? We are free to become what ever reality our parents, schools, churches or evils of societies influences instill into our molds who that we are to become. We are all born innocent and vulnerable to the beckoning calls of our world.
I believe each of us are born into this world untarnished unscathed, unscarred free with gypsy soul spirits. And when we go full circle we become like the special needs children who truly know how to love and live unconditionally. We spark those free spirit gypsy-souls. We become free to live life well, laugh often, and love much. We live as a Freebird.
Written by: Teri Broadstreet<a