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Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I want you to put yourself for a moment into the head of a sex trafficking victim.  If you could get to a phone and call 911 and get help you would right?  

So what is the difference between calling 911 which we're taught from practically birth (I've seen two year olds call 911 when mom had a heart attack) which you can even call on speed dial on some cell phones - and the National Trafficking Hotline put together by Polaris?

Well if you don't speak English - that would be one good reason.  So let's say you're one of these Asian trafficking victims brought in from China to work at their chain of massage parlors across the country.   These women mostly speak only Mandarin.  They are put to work in the brothels as part of their work visa to enter the country  -so literally as long as they're working at a legal US company they have the right to be in this country.  They are photographed in pornographic poses with members of their family like sisters or brothers.  These photos are kept as "collateral" should they decide to get out of their contract - or go to law enforcement.  Law enforcement can then send them home by deporting them.  Then the traffickers can show these photos to the Chinese government - and they will receive the death penalty because over there incest is met with such a punishment.  Has there been a case of this done?  Yes - the families even get the bullet sent to them that was put through their relative's head as a souvenir.  

But at least if you are a trafficking victim and you speak Mandarin you can call the National Trafficking Hotline and speak to someone in Mandarin.  

How would you know to call them instead of 911?  The billboards that I've seen are in English.  I don't know if they advertise in Chinese newspapers.  I don't know because I can't read Mandarin to find out.  

But for the sake of this discussion - let's stick with English.  I would tend to think that someone would call the National Trafficking Hotline instead of 911 for reasons like this:  This article shows how prostitutes are routinely brutalized by police.  No one believes them and I know of no case where a prostitute has won a police brutality case against a police officer in this country yet.   The problem here about them lying to gain access to the sex worker is that any evidence found that would be something you could prosecute the trafficker over - would then be inadmissible in court if it were argued that entrance was obtained through deception.   You would totally validate the prosecution of the trafficker by lying.  So I'm not sure the logic here they had by lying to get access.  But it's not unusual - every prostitute, stripper, etc. that I've spoken to has said that the cops lie.  I know when I was arrested once for prostitution I told the officer "there's been a mistake" and I was leaving the house when he stopped me and arrested me anyway.  At least the case was dropped - but he did lie.  Here's an eye witness speaking out about how the pimps are sometimes the police themselves - or the pimps are paying off the cops.  Here we have a case of a man who is frequenting the very prostitutes he's supposed to be "saving" er arresting.  Is he really out there then on the streets "rescuing" prostitutes - or is he merely arresting his girl's "competition"?  

In the Chris Butler case - he would not only arrest his "competition" to "his" girls -  but he would also threaten his girls with what would happen to them if they tried to leave or to "rat" him out to other police.  He was only arrested when one of his male investigators leaked information to the authorities.  He had to leak it because he was even afraid for his life.  Can you imagine how scared the prostitutes were?

We all know Eliot was the governor of NY when he was arrested for seeing a prostitute -  But a lot of people fail to remember when he was the NY District Attorney going after the arrest of both prostitutes and traffickers.  I'd be willing to bet none of the cases he investigated were the service he himself was using.  So wouldn't that mean he was investigating the "competitors" of the ring he used?  Wouldn't that have made him part of the trafficking ring at one time?  

Why is no one talking about this?  He made his apology to all of us (except Ashley and Kristin whose lives will never be the same after this) - but no one seemed to take notice that if he was arrested the competitors of his escort service provider then that would make him part of the trafficking ring then wouldn't it?  You'd say "no one forced" those escorts he saw to service him - but if he's the DA would you say no to him?   Where's the line drawn about "force"?

I do know that if one of the escorts in the agency he was using did feel they were being trafficked - would they have gotten a full prosecution of that pimp if they'd gone to him as the DA knowing the investigation might compromise him?  Interesting question to me no one seems to be asking.

But tell me - could any of these women call anyone in law enforcement knowing that law enforcement has been raping, beating, arresting, lying, pimping, etc. them?  

Which explains why they would not call 911 - but instead call the National Trafficking Hotline right?

Then why is it that in every city that I've been checking into lately - why is it that the heads of these "task forces" is law enforcement?  Or at least law enforcement is on the task force?  

Sex Workers Anonymous runs the only hotline for adult trafficking victims I'm aware of that is not connected with law enforcement.  We have a survivor answering the phones.  We do not report the calls to 911 - unless there is a child involved or there is a threat to harm oneself or another which is required by law.  

We can't pay $30,000 for a bill board.  But then again our experience has been that victims aren't allowed to write down numbers to trafficking hotlines while they're in the car - so I'm not sure we're losing anything there.  

So while there are calls that should go to the National Trafficking Hotline - aren't there calls where the victims don't feel they can call there for help because of the connection with law enforcement?  Shouldn't our number therefore be run right alongside of theirs if we're going to help ALL victims - and not just certain ones who are lucky enough not to have law enforcement be involved with their pimps?  Or where the pimp has made them do something so awful they're afraid to call the police?

I say that because I know some pimps will make them commit a murder so they're afraid to call the police and wind up being arrested themselves. 

Then who do they call?  Us.  

So how do we get our number out to these victims so they can call someone for help?

You tell me.

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