The happiest people are those who do the most for others. The most miserable are those who do the least.
Booker T. Washington. 1856 – 1915. Educator.
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.
We may not have the ability to change all of the world’s wrongs, but we can make a difference where we are.
Dillon Burroughs. Activist, Author.
- Blog: Read updated information on trafficking, abuse, trauma and treatment.
The reviews are written by the STOPP website staff, or by Guest Reviewers.
- The American Psychiatric Association Position Statement on Human TraffickingWritten by STOPP Website Staff (03/15/2019)
The American Psychiatric Association (APA), which is the author of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), is an authority and resource at the center of mental health in the United States. There is no diagnosis in the DSM for human trafficking per se, but it is notable that the APA in November 2018 published a Position Paper on Human Trafficking. It is important that the scourge of human trafficking is now recognized and acknowledged by the APA.
Following is the official release from the APA.
- The Empowering Internet Safety Guide for Women, Part 2Written by STOPP Website Staff (02/15/2019)
Harassment at Work
According to one study, one in three women ages 18-34 has been sexually harassed at work. 25% of those women were harassed online, but 71% did not report it.
If you are in a work situation and are being made uncomfortable by sexual harassment, you should begin recording the incidents. Often larger cases are built on a record of small indictments, which must be documented properly in order to be used as evidence. If you are unsure whether an encounter is harassment, record it because the incidents may worsen as time goes on.
Then, report your situation. Many companies have policies in place as to how harassment is handled, and you should follow the company’s directions. If you feel that the company has not followed through, you can seek outside legal counsel.
Because LinkedIn is a networking site, some people treat it as a dating site and women are harassed. Be aware that posting your resume reveals your email address and phone number on the header. Delete it from the version you post.
- Before accepting a LinkedIn connection, check to see if you have connections in common, or whether the person works in your industry.
- If you decide to block an unsolicited message, click on the 3 dots on the top right and then click Report this conversation.
- You can block that person from contacting you or viewing your profile: go to the person’s profile, click More>Report/Block and follow the directions.
- If you upload your resume, delete your phone number, home address, and other contact information. If someone needs to contact you, they can do it through LinkedIn.
Uber allows you to share your ride online with 5 trusted contacts, so your friends can follow your progress during your trip, and see that you arrive safely at your destination.
Lyft has their Send ETA feature, which allows you to send your route and Estimated Time of Arrival to a friend. For both Uber and Lyft, these features include the car’s make and model, license plate number and a photo of the driver.
Uber also is working on a 911 feature that will allow you to contact 911 and will automatically provide your location in real time to the police.
- Make sure that you are getting into the right car: check license plate, make and model, and the driver’s name and photo.
- Do not let the driver know that your pick-up point or your destination is your home or employer.
- Check the driver’s reviews.
- Track your route while in the car. Make sure the driver is going in the appropriate route.
- If something doesn’t feel right, have the driver pull over and get out. Don’t worry about awkwardness or embarrassment.
If Your Phone is Lost
Our phones contain a lot of personal information. If your phone is lost or stolen, there are things that you can do to safeguard the contents of your phone.
- Password protect your phone.
- Locate your phone. If you have GPS on your phone, you can set it up to track the phone’s location. Go the link to find directions for Android or iphone.
- Erase your data. If you are sure that you are not getting your phone back, you can use apps to remotely erase all the data on your phone. Go the link below for directions on how to do so.
- Change the passwords for all your apps.
Please follow the link below for more detailed information. Our thanks to vpn.mentor for making this valuable information available to women.
- The Empowering Internet Safety Guide for Women, Part 1Written by STOPP Website Staff (02/05/2019)
Many victims of sexual trafficking are first approached online, because online, groomers can remain faceless and anonymous. This is true for even preteen children. In addition, many adult women are harassed online.
According to a 2017 study by the Pew Research Center, most online abuse occurs on social media, and women are more than twice as likely as men to experience sexual harassment. More than half the women ages 18-29 report having been sent sexually explicit images without their consent. Many women are intimidated into withdrawing into silenced disengagement.
The Empowering Internet Safety Guide for Women was written to empower women to navigate the internet fearlessly and safely. This information should be shared with your sons and daughters who are online, as well.
This information will be shared in our next three blogs, in three parts. On the blogs, we are offering only an outline of the information. Please go to the link below to read more detailed information.
Today’s blog will cover Harassment on Social Media. Most online harassment occurs on social media. Following are the most popular social media platforms:
Twitter is one of the most notorious media platforms for online harassment. Twitter’s response to online harassment has had a poor reputation, even after improving their response to reports of harassment. Here are 5 ways to protect yourself on Twitter:
- Use multiple profiles. Include a personal and a professional one.
- Report and block abusers. See the link as to how to report and block.
- Don’t Geotag. To geotag is to include the location from which your post was sent.
Don’t use the geotag option, and do not include in the text where you are when posting.
Do not open yourself to doxing or stalking, or worse.
- Prevent Doxing. Doxing is the most extreme form of online harassment. It involves publishing online a person’s contact and personal information, including address, workplace, banking info or family information, as a call to others to harass the person.
This can result in rape and murder threats.
To prevent Doxing:
- Google yourself and see what information is already online about you. Remove what you can.
- Subscribe to a service that will delete you from data broker sites.
- Check that your email account hasn’t been involved in a data breach. Use the tool: https://haveibeenpwned.com/
- Use a VPN: a virtual private network can encrypt your online activity to protect you from hackers.
- Prevent Hackers from taking over your Twitter account:
- Create a strong password.
- Enable login verification, entering a code that Twitter sends to you.
- Be wary of any third party app that requires access to your account.
- Watch out for shortened URLs and don’t click on links you see posted on other people’s tweets.
Every day, women are solicited by strangers amnd wonder what they did to cause it. There are predators on Facebook. Protect yourself from them:
- Control exactly who sees what. See the link below to learn how to customize options, letting you hide info from specific people.
- Don’t let potential stalkers know where you are. Do not geotag, and do not use the Check in option. Learn to delete your location history.
- Block harassers and put particular people in a restricted list.
- Report imposter accounts. Imposters use your photo and info to friend people in your social network, and then post harmful content about you. Use the link below to learn how to report a fake profile.
- Prevent revenge porn. Use the link below to learn how to remove nude photos from Facebook.
Instagram and Snapchat
By making your photos public, anyone can comment on your pictures, and there are people who search for photos to insult. Protect yourself:
- Check your pictures for indentifying data, such as indentifying where you are when you take the photo. Also, turn off the SnapMap feature.
- Don’t use your real information. When you sign up for SnapChat, don’t use your real birth date, phone number, etc. Create a new email address to sign up. Change your account from public to private.
- Block creeps on both Instagram and SnapChat.
We urge you to use the link below to learn more about this information. On the link, there are clear instructions on how to accomplish the suggestions listed above.
- Human Trafficking in Art: The Most Heartbreaking Acts Exposed and Explained With Images Instead of WordsWritten by STOPP Website Staff (01/25/2019)
Art has always been used as a powerful method to express all emotions through images. It can be used to express love and beauty but art can also capture the ugly sides of the world. Human Trafficking is one the worst crimes that infects our society and puts the innocent in danger. Below are various forms of art (paintings, photos, tattoos and graphic novels) that help show the anguish and hardship that victims of human trafficking must face and why our society must act to stop this horror.
ArtWorks for Freedom
ArtWorks for Freedom uses the power of art to raise awareness about modern day slavery and human trafficking.
ArtWorks for Freedom’s Survivors Quilt Project was created and led by Aashika Damodar, head of Survivors Connect, while she was still an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. The Survivors Quilt displayed here represents the voices and experiences of those who were once enslaved -¬ survivors of exploitive migrant labor trafficking, sex trafficking and abusive domestic servitude. With colorful fabric, paint, sequins, threads, markers and scissors, they have tapped into their own creativity with many defiant acts of truth telling. They speak for all those who have gone before them and for all those who are still enslaved.
The Golden Doors to Freedom is a participatory arts project that turns abandoned doors into dramatic vehicles for communal focus on human trafficking. Guided by master gilder William Adair, trafficking survivors and allies in the community will convert discarded wooden doors into freedom portals. After applying 23k gold leaf to the doors, participants will write, stencil, draw, scratch, burnish and embellish them with their own expressions about trafficking.
For more from Artworks for Freedom visit: https://www.artworksforfreedom.org/about-us/
RED SAND PROJECT
Molly Gochman’s Red Sand Project is an ongoing collaborative art installation created to raise awareness of modern day slavery. Participants and invited to fill sidewalk cracks with red sand or other materials, and then share an image of their transformation with the global community using the #RedSandProject.
Here is a YouTube video explaining the Red Sand Project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOCwOmHv3gA
Hidden in Plain Site
Hidden in Plain Site features creative referendums developed by a team of concerned artists in order to raise awareness of and help thwart human trafficking.
“Which one is trafficked?” is a piece created by Jerri Allyn and attempts to inform and teach the public how to spot victims of trafficking
Sarafina Rodriguez’s “The Stowed Away” is an interactive play, including a short animated stop-motion film, created on an iPhone5. Rodriquez invites you to sit and imagine your own rescue scenes with these felt characters, set on flannel board. This “play” is based on true events, which Rodriquez hopes will open eyes to the mind-boggling truth of one of the world’s oldest trades – human trafficking. Through the perspective of a child playing, a dark tale of two naïve teens sold into slavery then taken to a foreign land unfolds. The play is a serious-comic-response, and the artist hopes to instill responsibility as a community, to address trafficking on a local level.
April Williams’ “Consume and Emergence” aims to challenge the character of the “cool pimp.” The character of the pimp in American media has long been viewed as a cool, suave macho man firmly in control of his stable of “grateful” girls who would be lost without him. In reality, sex trafficking in America is brutal and dehumanizing. The glorified American pimp is no better or different than a sex trafficker in Asia, Africa or Europe. The artist has been investigating and challenging the image of the glorified American pimp through a series of small and large-scale oil paintings on un-stretched canvas.
For more info and works from Hidden in Plain Site visit: http://hidden-in-plain-site.com
Survivor’s Ink is a nonprofit that uses a different kind of art to help trafficking victims cope. Traffickers use tattoos to mark survivors, to show “ownership.” Survivor’s Ink exists to raise awareness and to empower human trafficking victims by breaking the psychological chains of enslavement through beautifying, removing, or covering their physical scars, markings and brandings that are constant reminders of a violent past. Below are before and after photos of the tattoos of survivors.
Photos by Almudena Toral for The Guardian
For more on Survivor’s Ink mission and successes visit: http://www.survivorsink.org
Wolves in the Street
A new comic launched on Snapchat and Instagram is meant to teach teens about human traffickers contacting them over social media. The first two 10-panel stories, in a series called “Wolves in the Street,” tells the story of a teenage girl who dreams of becoming a singer when she is contacted by a man on social media who promises to make her a superstar.
Dan Goldman, the artist behind the comic strip, teamed up with anti-trafficking NGO Unitas to create the story, ensuring that it is based on real-life experiences of trafficking victims.
“The idea behind doing the comics this way is that we were going to go where people were looking – jump in front of their eyes,” said Goldman
Unitas is a group helps prevent human trafficking through education & awareness and helping survivors thrive.
For more info about Unitas’ mission and efforts visit: http://www.unitas.ngo
- How A Student Organization Is Helping To Combat Human TraffickingWritten by STOPP Website Staff (01/15/2019)
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Ohio is ranked No. 4 in the country when it comes to reported human-trafficking cases, but Ohio State University student organization Why Us? is looking to bring awareness to this terrible issue.
Why Us? brings attention to the alarming rise in human trafficking throughout the state. The group aims to spread awareness of human trafficking on college campuses.
While it is a relatively new organization on campus, it has made early strides and hopes to make more that will leave a lasting impact at Ohio State University. “We didn’t feel like there was an organization doing so,” Ray’Chel Wilson, vice president of Why Us?, said. “Although there are many great anti-human-trafficking organizations, we just wanted to be a force of our own against human trafficking.”
In its short time as a student group, Why Us? was recognized at Mahogany Moments, Ohio State’s annual 40th Annual African American Heritage Festival, for outstanding student organization. Its main goal is to spread information on the rising threat specifically on college campuses, as well as help people prepare for human-trafficking-related situations, but the group is also open to collaborating with other student organizations. “We do try and obtain strategic partnerships. The group held a rally earlier this year,” Wilson said. “It was one of my favorite events with Why Us?”
The organization also had Barbara Freeman, founder of The Freeman Project, a nonprofit organization that provides counsel and resources to human-trafficking victims, and Elaine Richardson, professor of literacy studies, as guest speakers, both of whom are survivors of human trafficking and have worked with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Wilson said that when more people are aware of the problem, more cases will be recognized and reported in the state, and more laws will be passed to criminalize human-trafficking acts.
In a recent report from the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, more than 300 people in the state were victims of sex trafficking, about 25 were trafficked for hard labor, and another eight were trafficked for both purposes. “On the surface, it sounds bad, but the reality is, we know that human trafficking is taking place in every community in our country,” said Teresa Stafford, Senior Director of Victims Services and Outreach at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. “Being ranked so high means Ohio is identifying survivors of trafficking.”
Victims can come from any socioeconomic, racial, or geographic background, she says, and anyone can be a victim of trafficking. Why does Ohio have so much trafficking? There are a lot of reasons, experts say. “We have a lot of, five major highways, connected to Ohio. We also have a demand for services here in Ohio, unfortunately. We have a lot of strip clubs in communities. We have a need for, even for labor trafficking, with having a lot of farmland here in Ohio. The demand is just here for certain type of things,” said Stafford.
For more info on Ohio’s Human Trafficking Problem visit the following:
For the full story on “Why Us?” check out:
- The Girl from Cameroon: Human Trafficking Survivor Describes Forced Labor Ordeal in U.S.Written by STOPP Website Staff (01/05/2019)
Evelyn Chumbow of Cameroon says she was only nine years old when she was trafficked into forced labor in the Washington, D.C. area.
Chumbow, who’s now in her mid-30s, says she was sold by her uncle to a woman from her home country of Cameroon who had a home and a business in the United States. She said she came to the United States with the expectation that a better life awaited her.
“The image that I had of the U.S. is completely from what I saw on television — you know, ‘(The) Cosby Show’ and ‘(The) Fresh Prince of Belair,’ ‘(Beverly Hills) 90210’ — and so when I was told that I was going to come to the U.S. and be adopted and get a better education, I was excited,” Chumbow said in an interview with Hill TV that aired Monday.
But she said that as soon as she arrived, she was forced into domestic labor, working for eight years before she was able to escape with the help of Catholic groups. She said her captor is now in prison.
The Republic of Cameroon is a country of some 23 million people wedged in West and Central Africa. Due to lack of policing and its neighboring countries of Nigeria and Chad, Cameroon has been a hotbed for trafficking crimes by gangs and terrorist groups.
In 2016, the Yaoundé-based Interpol office for Central African States reported that thousands of children, alongside men and women, were forcibly abducted in Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of Congo to be used as combatants, cooks, guards, sex partners, servants, messengers, and spies.
As many as 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, according to the U.S. State Department.
Human trafficking has become a rare bipartisan issue on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) warned during a September 26, 2018 congressional hearing that trafficking is taking place in the U.S.
“We all need to wake up because human trafficking is happening right here in our backyard, and victims of traffic crime are often hidden in plain sight,” said McSally, who’s running for Senate in Arizona this year.
Chumbow said she was held captive in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.
“I came and I became a slave right here in Maryland, not far from the Capitol. I was working, cooking and cleaning,” Chumbow said, adding that she believes she would have been saved earlier if someone in the community had notified the authorities.
“‘If you see something, say something.’ Cause a lot of neighbors saw me; I would have probably been rescued when I was 13 or 14,” she said. “But nobody said anything.”
On January 24th at 12:30 pm, Evelyn Chumbow will be speaking in northeastern Pennsylvania. Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania is hosting Ms. Chumbow in Insalaco Hall, Rooms 218 and 219. The presentation will be approximately one hour.
For more information about this public event visit www.misericordia.edu/mlk or call the Mission Integration Office at 570-674-1877.
See the links below to a video and written pieces about Ms. Chumbow, who has become an activist fighting for the sake of modern slaves.
For Evelyn’s full story visit: https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/410406-cameroon-woman-describes-her-forced-labor-ordealin-america
For more information on human trafficking in Cameroon visit:https://www.voanews.com/a/africa-cameroon-child-trafficking/4278961.html
- Online Gaming: The Newest Weapon of Human Traffickers: Part 3Written by STOPP Website Staff (12/20/2018)
In the first two parts of this three-part story the threat of online gaming was introduced and those it has affected were covered. Now it is time to talk about warning signs and prevention of any online gamers becoming victims of human trafficking.
Children put themselves at great risk by communicating in online gaming forums with individuals they do not know in person. This is a place where individuals can interact with microphones or through messaging, and it is a place where traffickers can get in touch with potential victims through the process of grooming.
Internetsafety101.Org, a non-profit that informs others on how children can stay safe on the Internet, warns that online grooming is a process that can take place in a short time or over an extended period of time. Initial conversations online can appear innocent, but often involve some level of deception.
As the trafficker (usually an adult) attempts to establish a relationship to gain a child’s trust, they may initially lie about their age or may never reveal an actual age to the child, even after forming an established online relationship. Often, the groomer will know popular music artists, clothing trends, sports team information, or another activity or hobby the child may be interested in, and will try to relate to the child. These tactics lead children to believe that no one else can understand them or their situation like the groomer. After the child’s trust develops, the groomer may use sexually explicit conversations to test boundaries and exploit a child’s natural curiosity about sex. Predators often use pornography and child pornography to lower a child’s inhibitions and use their adult status to influence and control a child’s behavior.
Lynne Barletta is founder of Catch the Wave of Hope, which is a nonprofit organization that has a mission to stop human trafficking. She warns that children can be trafficked from the comfort of their own home through these online gaming forums. She suggests some tips for monitoring and preventing your child from becoming a victim of traffickers:
- Help your kids by communicating
- Be emotionally available — predators often target children who crave attention.
- Set Internet and cell phone limits and rules — many victims are first approached on the Internet because the groomers can remain faceless.
- Explain what sex trafficking is in frank terms.
- Look for new friends you’re not familiar with.
- Look for changes in your child’s dress, attitude, behavior.
- A sudden influx of money can mean they’re being groomed.
Now all of this is not designed to make all online gaming a villain. On the contrary, most online gaming interaction is friendly or mere competitive banter and teasing. In fact, some games are designed to help the public better understand the horrors of human trafficking like Missing: Game for a Cause. The game follows the story of Champa, a girl who wakes up disoriented in a locked room. She soon learns that she’s been sold to a brothel. She’s trapped, and it’s up to you to help her navigate her horrifying new situation. Leena Kejriwal, an Indian photographer and installation artist who grew up close to her city’s red light district, created the game. As a child Leena was warned of the horrors and told to avoid it, as an adult she went back and listened to the all too real stories of victims of human trafficking.
“I think what I always felt for them came alive when I went into the red light district, after so many years. So, slowly, what happened was, as an artist, the plight of those girls who had been exploited and trafficked into the red light became the forefront of all my work,” she said.
For more information on the work of Internet Safety 101 visit:https://internetsafety101.org/grooming#
For more info on Catch the Wave of New Hope check out the following: https://katu.com/news/local/expert-warns-of-summer-sex-trafficking-dangers
For the full story on Leena Kejriwal’s game see: https://venturebeat.com/2018/05/31/the-indiebeat-using-games-to-shine-a-light-on-sex-trafficking/
- Help your kids by communicating
- Online Gaming: The Newest Weapon of Human Traffickers: Part 2Written by STOPP Website Staff (12/10/2018)
In part one of this three part story the dangers of human traffickers using online gaming forums were introduced and covered briefly with the hope of educating the public about this new and very real threat. Now it is time to talk about those who are threatened and those who have become victims of online gaming menaces.
Online multiplayer action survival and building games, like Fortnite and Minecraft, are great places to interact and play games with your friends or people all over the world. But they also pose severe risks to children and teens. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) stated that it believed these games were putting children at risk of online grooming. One report even states that a mother overheard attempts to groom her own 10-year-old son through his Xbox videogame console as he played Fortnite while sitting next to her. She heard an adult male address her son by name through her TV speakers and ask her son questions about sex.
The virtual building blocks game, Minecraft, is no different. The premise of the online mega-game franchise Minecraft is simple. Perhaps that is one of the reasons millions of children across the world are attracted to the game. But as a court in the United Kingdom has heard, the Minecraft world being created by Adam Isaac was not a virtual playground to explore imagination. His world was a trap – a trap to lure young real-life prey into conversation and to abuse. Isaac has now been jailed for two years and eight months for sexually grooming two children, persuading them to carry out sexual acts and exposing himself online. He met them through Minecraft, but the game is just one of scores of internet video multiplayer games attracting children and adults alike in the millions every day, every hour, every minute, everywhere.
A recently released film is showing the horrific story of how a 14-year-old boy was lured to his death by an older man he met online gaming. Breck Bednar was murdered by Lewis Daynes in 2014 in England. Four police forces have teamed up to produce “Breck’s Last Game,” which aims to educate and protect boys from online grooming. The short film, which will be rolled out in schools across the country, explains how the teenager played games online with friends, on a server run by his killer. Daynes, then 18, groomed Breck over 13 months before luring him to his flat where he fatally stabbed him.
If this young man was at risk for innocently playing video games and trying to make friends then so are the millions of kids who do the same. The reason police are encouraging individuals to watch Brock’s story is not to just scare them and make them horrified for the rest of the day; it is to give these kids the warning that kids like Brock never received. That warning is that there are real dangers in these virtual worlds. Criminals like predators and human traffickers love low risk meeting places like online gaming because they can remain faceless while grooming possible targets and do not have to show themselves until meeting a victim face to face.
For more information on the efforts and warnings by the NSPCC visit: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/online-games-helping-children-play-safe/
For more info on online gaming grooming by criminals visit: https://www.teensafe.com/blog/predators-groom-children-gaming-online/
For the full story on the Minecraft case visit: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4140316/Adam-Isaac-22-groomed-two-young-boys-Minecraft.html
For the full story on Breck’s Last Game visit: https://leics.police.uk/news-appeals/news/2018/09/19/brecks-last-game-film-warns-of-dangers-of-online-grooming
- Online Gaming: The Newest Weapon of Human Traffickers: Part 1Written by STOPP Website Staff (12/07/2018)
When you hear about incidents of human trafficking you may think the victims were approached or kidnapped in public by someone that observes them from afar. But with ever-advancing technology and the rise of social media behemoths, a new and disturbing threat has been forming: online gaming. A creation whose purpose always seemed pure, gaming through the Internet allows you to talk to and game with someone across the street, across town, across the country, and across the world. According to a 2013 study, over 1.2 Billion people play video games across the globe and 700 Million of those are gaming online.
But like most things that grow in popularity it is only a matter of time before certain individuals have malicious intentions and human traffickers are no different. Everyday, children in your community are being targeted, snared, and manipulated into a world of sexual exploitation. They are groomed, enticed, and sometimes physically forced into selling themselves for sex. It is called Human Trafficking. It is modern day slavery without the chains and shackles of a century ago, but it is real and happening right under our noses.
According to the U.S. based International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, about 750,000 sexual predators worldwide are online at any given moment. They are not just the child molesters and sexual deviants that one might imagine but instead criminals with the intention to enslave and sell human beings. And now they have discovered that online gaming is an ideal place to remain faceless and interact with children and adults from all over the world. Gaming has become a perfect place for traffickers to groom possible victims as a first step to enslaving them. According to experts, Grooming involves befriending children, mostly aged 11 to 15, to gain their trust, before luring or coercing them to send sexual images or videos of themselves, which are shared online on password-only group networks and websites.
After starting a seemingly innocuous online friendship, children sometimes go on to meet their virtual ‘friend’ in hotels, cafes or parks, which can lead them to being trafficked and sold online. A third of all internet users in the world are under 18, according to the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, which has trained more than 10,000 law enforcement officers and specialists to investigate child sexual abuse. Children are being targeted in a place where they do not even realize they are at risk of anything beyond trash talk from fellow gamers. Experts say that children of previous abuse or who come from poor and broken homes are the most likely to fall prey to traffickers who prowl online gaming forums like Fortnite, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto.
For more information on the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children check out their site: https://www.icmec.org
For more info on online gaming and human trafficking check out the following links:
- After the Rescue: A Plea for Restorative and Complete TreatmentWritten by STOPP Website Staff (11/14/2018)
As a clinical psychologist, I have over the years treated women who were trafficked or sold through prostitution, sometimes by their own parents, beginning in childhood. The slavery causes untold damage to self-esteem, confidence, and independent ability.
Human slavery impacts the victim in a myriad of ways. There are medical and physical issues, including wounds, burns, and fractures. Gastrointestinal conditions include Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Crohn’s Disease, weight loss and malnutrition. Reproductive issues include sexually-transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and forced abortions, genital trauma and sexual dysfunction.
Of course there is a wide array of psychological problems, including Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and suicidal ideation, and self-harming behaviors. Victims experience fearfulness and anxiety, insomnia and night terrors, flashbacks, hostility, eating disorders and hyper-vigilance. There are attachment disorders and difficulties in parenting their children. Victims of trauma also experience depersonalization or derealization, feeling detached from others, from reality, or even from themselves. They experience distortions in their experience of time and/or distance. Dissociative disorders include memory loss, and Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder).
We can also see high risk behaviors, difficulty maintaining healthy relationships, and impaired social skills. There can be delayed physical or cognitive development if the trafficking began in childhood. Also, the victims often bond with their traffickers or with other victims in the trafficker’s “stable’ of women, increasing the chance of recidivism.
The pathology, medical and psychological, for these patients is complicated and extensive. In addition, as a clinician, I am aware that healing from this trauma cannot occur as long as the victim is continuing to be traumatized. Rescued victims need a safe, broad, trauma-based, and thorough treatment program in order to successfully reenter society and to be able to work and parent independently. They need ongoing social support even after the treatment program formally ends.
The good news is, as many more people are becoming aware of human trafficking, more and more children and women are being rescued, and many more traffickers are being arrested. Unfortunately, the bad news is, we have too few treatment beds for these rescued victims. (Go to our blog dated 12/20/2017 to see actor Ashton Kutcher, co-founder of Thorn, testify before Congress. He talks about the need for more treatment facilities for this population.)
Most current facilities keep the rescued women for three to six months and try to prepare them for jobs. Often, the psychological trauma is not treated. Recidivism is high because the women are not given enough time and treatment to heal. They are not given enough time and services to successfully reintegrate into society or into their communities. They are not given ongoing social support and so are drawn back to the “community” of their lives of prostitution, because that is the only “community” that they have had for years. Without proper services, the women return to their traffickers.
A great deal of time, energy, funding, risk and concern goes into rescuing these women and children. If we do not initially give them what they need to STAY rescued, we create a revolving door, wasting precious resources and discouraging those women who make the daring decision to trust us and to make the dangerous decision to leave their traffickers.
I have long had a dream of a restorative home for women and minors who are rescued from the hell of human slavery, a home that would meet all of these needs under one roof. Please contact me if you wish to support this dream.
To read about the experiences of a rescued trafficking victim, written by her rescuer who tried to provide needed services, please see the link below:
- Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking in a Healthcare SettingWritten by STOPP Website Staff (11/01/2018)
It is often said that healthcare workers are on the front lines in discovering victims of human trafficking. Beyond assessment, clinicians are also in a position to confidentially provide information and resources to trafficking victims that they would not be able to obtain in their everyday surroundings, information that would help them to leave the life. Anyone in a healthcare setting may be in a position to recognize human trafficking — from clerical staff to lab technicians, radiology technicians, nursing staff, security, case managers, and physicians.
But given that most victims do not disclose their status in clinical settings, it is critical that healthcare employees be sensitive about engaging patients, employ trauma-informed practices, and be aware of the indicators of trauma and trafficking.
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) has published Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking: What to Look for in a Healthcare Setting. This 4 page paper lists Indicators to look for in a healthcare setting, and visible consequences of trafficking. It describes how to conduct an assessment, and steps to be taken if trafficking is indicated.
This publication would be helpful in training all employees of a healthcare setting, from clerical, administration, and security, to clinical staff.
- New California Laws Target Human Trafficking With Transit, Hotel WorkersWritten by STOPP Website Staff (10/24/2018)
New California Laws Target Human Trafficking With Transit, Hotel Workers
LOS ANGELES — Two new California state laws will require workers in certain industries to go through training to identify human trafficking as a package of legislation that advocates expect will help the state address the issue.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law two new bills aimed at addressing human trafficking on September 27th. The bills require human trafficking awareness training in industries where workers are likely to encounter trafficking victims. The laws are scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, with training to be complete by 2020 for hotel and motel workers and by 2021 for transit workers.
One of the bills requires transit employees to undergo at least 20 minutes of human trafficking awareness training. The bill would require the state’s bus, rail and light rail intercity transit agencies and businesses to train employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking and how to report possible trafficking to authorities. One measure in the legislation amends existing state law by requiring hotel and motel employers to provide workers with the same type of training.
Ruth Silver-Taube, supervising attorney of the Workers’ Rights Clinic at the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center, a group that supported the hotel-training bill, said in an email that both laws are expected to result in increased identification of trafficking survivors.
“Given the pervasive nature of human trafficking and the limited ability of law enforcement to identify and intervene in these cases, reporting from people on the ground is a valuable tool to combat the problem and protect survivors of human trafficking,” she said. “Transit workers and hotel workers are in a unique position to identify human trafficking, and the training will arm them with the knowledge and awareness to detect human trafficking.”
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, California has had the highest number of reported cases of human trafficking in the country over the last six years. Last year, 1,305 cases were reported in California. Besides legislation California has been tackling human trafficking by increasing policing and forming statewide task forces. This January one raid alone lead to the arrest of more than 500 suspects and the rescuing of 56 victims during a statewide crackdown on human trafficking by a task force made up of 85 federal, state, county, and local law enforcement and nonprofit community organizations.
Human trafficking of men, women and children for labor and sex purposes is getting more attention as a serious problem throughout the country and the federal government, several states, and private businesses are stepping up to combat the issue.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is seeking individuals to serve on a special committee that will provide information, advice, and recommendations on matters relating to human trafficking and recommended best practices for state and local transportation stakeholders in tackling the issue.
The U.S. Department of Justice named the state of Kansas as an “originating state” of human trafficking as its own attorney general reported over 475 victims of human trafficking in 2017 alone. Because of this the state signed into law a bill, to take effect this July, that would require all existing holders of and new applicants for commercial driver licenses, such as truckers, have to complete human trafficking training.
Truckers themselves have actively played a role in combating the crime, including creating coalitions like Truckers Against Trafficking, who teach commercial drivers to spot acts of human trafficking during their travels.
Other transportation industries have also worked toward stopping human trafficking. A number of airports post signs encouraging workers and travelers to report activity that could be human trafficking. Jefferson Lines, a Minneapolis-based transit company operating in 14 states, has been training all 210 of its employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking leading to the discovery of multiple cases of the trafficking.
For more information on the new California laws visit the following sites:
For more info on trafficking issues in Kansas visit:
And for more info about the work of Truckers Against Trafficking check out:
- Michigan Kids StoryWritten by STOPP Website Staff (10/18/2018)
123 Missing Children found in Michigan during sex trafficking operation
Over 100 children were found safe during a one-day sweep by multiple Michigan law enforcement agencies, the US Marshals Service said Wednesday.
The agency said Operation MISafeKid recovered 123 missing children Sept. 26 throughout Wayne County in a sweep aimed to identify and recover missing children and locate victims of sex trafficking.
The operation had 301 case files for missing children open before the sweep, which was the first of its kind in Wayne County, according to the report.
All recovered children were interviewed by authorities about possibly being sexually victimized or used in a sex trafficking ring and officials said three identified as possible sex trafficking cases.
The report said one homeless teenage boy had not had anything to eat in three days, so authorities transported him back to their command post for food and turned him over to Child Protective Services for aftercare.
In addition to the missing children in Michigan, officers in the operation obtained information about two missing children in Texas and another in Minnesota. Those cases are being actively investigated, officials said.
“The message to the missing children and their families that we wish to convey is that we will never stop looking for you,” the US Marshals Service said.
Several agencies were involved in the operation including the US Marshals Service, Michigan State Police, Detroit Police Department, Wayne County local law enforcement, as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General.
As of 2016, Michigan had seen a increase of 16% in reported human trafficking cases so the state has stepped up their game in tackling the issue.
For the full story check out: https://nypost.com/2018/10/09/123-missing-children-found-in-michigan-during-sex-trafficking-operation/
For the full press release from the U.S. Marshalls Service go to: https://www.usmarshals.gov/news/chron/2018/100318.htm
For more information on Michigan trafficking statistics go to:
Truckers Against Trafficking Visits Limestone Township, PA
When truck drivers are on the road, they stay overnight at truck stops all over the country. Sometimes these drivers encounter underage girls who are in dangerous situations.
Truckers Against Trafficking is an event held all over the country. On Wednesday, employees at Great Dane Trucking near Danville toured the traveling display. It teaches people in the trucking industry what to do if they ever encounter a human trafficking situation.
When truck drivers are on the job, they are paying attention to the road and their deliveries. But in recent years, they’ve started paying attention to something else: human trafficking.
John McKown is a UPS freight driver and was approached by a teenage girl one night while at a truck stop.
“Instead of helping or doing what I should do, I just said, ‘No, thank you,’ and just went back to bed,” John McKown said.
Recently, McKown went through training called “Truckers Against Trafficking.” The traveling exhibit educates the trucking community about reporting human trafficking.
This week it is at Great Dane Trucking near Danville.
Great Dane employees walked through the exhibit, which provides a glimpse into the realities of human trafficking, and how drivers can help.
“It blew my mind. It really hit home. I have small children,” Buddy Harris said.
Organizers say since Truckers Against Trafficking started in the last decade, they have trained over 600,000 individuals andgotten more than 2,000 calls into the human trafficking tip-line from truckers alone.
“That’s led to the recovery of over 1,000 individuals,” Van Dam said.
“I didn’t know that I could call a hotline, but now I do. I got trained by Truckers Against Trafficking,” McKown said.
For the full report and video visit: https://wnep.com/2018/10/10/truckers-against-trafficking/
For more info on Truckers Against Trafficking check out there site: http://truckersagainsttrafficking.org
- President Trump’s Crucial Speech against Human Trafficking on Oct. 11, 2018Written by STOPP Website Staff (10/17/2018)
President Trump’s Crucial Speech against Human Trafficking on Oct. 11, 2018
President Trump had vowed a year ago to fight human trafficking and since then, the Department of Justice and the FBI have arrested record numbers of traffickers. President Trump spoke at the White House on October 11, 2018 to a gathering of people from various U.S. agencies and departments who have been fighting trafficking. One of the guests was Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) who was the Chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations when they moved the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA) through Congress. This bill enabled the investigation and taking down of backpage.com, the largest trafficking site worldwide.
In this speech, President Trump renewed his vow to stop modern slavery.
- National Campaign to Detect and Deter Human Trafficking Introduced in the Virgin IslandsWritten by STOPP Website Staff (09/28/2018)
National Campaign to Detect and Deter Human Trafficking Introduced in the Virgin Islands
The Blue Campaign, a nationwide initiative to combat human trafficking that was originally promoted in all fifty states, was launched on September 20th in the U.S. Virgin Islands with training sessions hosted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The U.S. territory is made up of three islands in the Caribbean, totaling 133 miles square miles and located forty miles east of Puerto Rico. In the past, the Virgin Islands have had trouble with both sex trafficking and the trafficking of stolen babies.
Young women are forced into prostitution for a tourist base. This is a continual problem due to the Virgin Island’s poor economy that relies so heavily upon tourism and a police force that is underfunded and unequipped.
Another trafficking problem is caused by couples so desperate to adopt a child in the U.S. Virgin Islands that babies are stolen from nearby Caribbean islands.
The victims of human trafficking can be found in numerous and varied places throughout the islands, often hiding in plain sight.
Members of the U.S. Department of Justice and The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) head up the Blue Campaign and spread its message around the country. DHS facilitator Scott Santoro, who has helped to get the word out about the Blue Campaign and helped lead roundtable discussions about the issue, addressed the training session by saying, “There are so many crimes around human trafficking… Victims of human trafficking live under an intense control environment.”
“Trafficking victims move through the world under supervision. They are not allowed to speak to others, including those who might be in a position to help them,” DHS special agent Louis Penn, Jr. added.
The Blue Campaign Authorization Act was put into effect in February of this year. The campaign, made up of federal officials, works in collaboration with local law enforcement, government, non-governmental, and private organizations in teaching communities about human trafficking and combating the issue.
To view the entire article published in the Virgin Islands by St. John Source, go to the following link: https://stjohnsource.com/2018/09/16/national-campaign-to-detect-and-deter-human-trafficking-introduced-in-the-v-i/
For more information on the Blue Campaign, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s link: https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign
For more info on Virgin Island trafficking issues check out Tom Bolt’s article. Bolt is chair of the Virgin Islands Uniform Law Commission and the Advisory Board of The Salvation Army, St. Thomas Corps. : http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/opinion/humans-should-never-be-for-sale/article_cc2622e3-b13a-5ba3-8a6b-d8f2a2dd6c02.html
- How to Spot Human Trafficking by Kanani Titchen – TEDxGeorge SchoolWritten by STOPP Website Staff (09/10/2018)
How to Spot Human Trafficking by Kanani Titchen – TEDxGeorge School
Kanani Titchen, M.D. is an Adolescent Medicine Fellow at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Bronx, New York. She is co-chair of Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans (PATH), an anti-trafficking committee of the American Medical Women’s Association.
In this talk, Dr. Titchen describes her growing awareness of human trafficking as she advanced through her early career in medicine.
Since her eyes were opened to trafficking, Dr. Kanani has trained other physicians about trafficking. She has written articles for medical journals and for the lay press about child sex trafficking and the education of physicians.
This speech was given at a TEDx event.
- Training Opportunity: Sexually Exploited Children and AdolescentsWritten by STOPP Website Staff (08/16/2018)
Training Opportunity: Sexually Exploited Children and Adolescents
- October 22, 2018 in King of Prussia, PA: Crowne Plaza Valley Forge
- October 23, 2018 in Mount Laurel, NJ: Westin Mount Laurel
- October 24, 2018 in Wilmington, DE: Double Tree Wilmington
Registration: 7:30 am. Program begins: 8:00 am. Program ends: 4:00 pm.
Continuing Education Credit for Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Assistants, Psychologists, Social Workers, etc.
$199.99 per person for 2 or more preregistering together, or single registration postmarked 3 weeks prior to seminar date.
Register online: pesi.com/express/64544
Register by phone: 800-844-8260 with credit card
Register by fax: 800-554-9775
Register by mail: PESI, PO Box 1000, Eau Claire, WI 54702-1000
Sex Trafficking of Youth
- Legal and Clinical Definitions
- Risk Factors for Sex Trafficking
- Adverse Childhood Experiences
- Average Age of Entry
- Lack of Psychosocial Development
- Specific Vulnerabilities
- Limited Support in Environment
Assessment and Red Flags
- Tools or Screening
- Indicators of Trafficking
- Psychological Underpinnings of Entry to Trafficking
- Understanding Traffickers
- Grooming Victims
- Why Victims Stay and Why They Return
Treating the Trauma of Trafficking
- Evidence-based Treatment for Traumatic Stress
- Strengths-based Treatment
- Trauma-informed care v. Trauma-specific Services
- Treatment Matching for Different Types of Trafficking
Post-Traumatic Growth: Transformation from Victim to Survivor
- Discover Strengths by Working Through Trauma
- Resiliency v. Post-traumatic Growth
- Critical Questions: Perceived v. Actual Growth
- Case Examples: From Trauma to Recovery
Potential Treatment Obstacles and What to Do About Them
- Lack of Trust in Providers and Law Enforcement
- The Power of Trauma Bond
- Risk of Returning to Trafficking
- Instability of Care
Legal and Ethical Considerations
- Contradictions Between Client-centered Practice and Legal/Law Enforcement Needs
- Laws That Impact Trafficking Victims
- Safe Harbor Laws
- Age of Consent for Minors
- Prosecution of Trafficking Cases
- Role of the Clinician in Supporting Clients’ Rights to Self-determination, Safety, and Well-being.
- The Visa Transparency Anti-Trafficking ActWritten by STOPP Website Staff (07/30/2018)
A Polaris report that was based on data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline identified over 800 persons who were victimized by human trafficking through 2015, 2016, and 2017. All were in the United States working under temporary work visas. According to Polaris, “the temporary work visa system is badly broken.”
The individual work visa system is a patchwork of laws and regulations. There is a lack of transparency in the system, and a lack of accountability. Workers fall through the cracks and become victims of traffickers.
The Visa Transparency Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018, H.R.4777, has been sponsored by Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL-21). The bill has been introduced but has yet to pass either the House or the Senate. On 01/24/2018, it was referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. It is currently in subcommittee in the House of Representatives.
Please urge the US Congress to pass the Visa Transparency Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018. The Visa Transparency Anti-Trafficking Act would modify data reporting requirements, and insure that the federal government keeps organized records on all temporary visa holders AND THEIR EMPLOYERS. This information would be publicly available. Thus, the temporary workers would be less likely to become vulnerable to exploitation.
Please contact your members of Congress and ask them to support this bill.
To find and contact your US Representative, go to www.house.gov and sort by your zip code, or scroll down for the address and phone number of the US House of Representatives.
To find your US Senator, go to www.senate.gov and sort by state.
- Operation Broken HeartWritten by STOPP Website Staff (07/15/2018)
The US Department of Justice is rigorously going after child sex offenders, and in a recent national sting operation called Operation Broken Heart, they were able to arrest more than 2300 child sex offenders and save 383 children. The operation was conducted over March, April and May of 2018 by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces. ICAC task forces are located in all 50 states and are comprised of more than 4500 state, federal, local and tribal law enforcement agencies.
During the three months of the operation, the task forces investigated more than 25,200 complaints of technology-facilitated crimes against children. They also delivered more than 3700 educational presentations on Internet Safety to over 390,000 youths and adults.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated, “No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse. And yet, in recent years, certain forms of modern technology have facilitated the spread of child pornography and created greater incentives for its production. Any would-be criminal should be warned: this Department will remain relentless in hunting down those who victimize our children.”
For more information on Operation Broken Heart and on the ICAC task forces, read the complete article at the US Department of Justice webpage at the following link:
You can also visit the ICAC Task Force webpage at https://www.icactaskforce.org
Information on your state’s involvement in Operation Broken Heart is available. See the information at the end of the above article.
- I AM Little Red FilmWritten by STOPP Website Staff (07/01/2018)
The following information is taken from the official website of I Am Little Red, a ten-minute animated short film that is aimed at children who are most at-risk for being victimized by human trafficking. The film is available from many media sources, which you can find on the film’s website at https://www.iamjanedoefilm.com
I Am Little Red is the idea of Linda Cabot, a key funder of I Am Jane Doe, a documentary about three middle school girls who were victims of human trafficking, and their families’ fight against Backpage.com, the online classified site where they were sold. (For more information about the movie I Am Jane Doe, see our blog dated 03-28-2018 for a review and description of the film.)
Linda saw prevention as a goal of the I Am Little Red project, hence her choice of the animated short film genre, suitable for viewing by children. The target audience is children most at-risk for sex-trafficking, e.g., foster-care, runaway, homeless, LBGTQ, and adopted children, with the goal of awareness and prevention. The film is written by 10 survivors of sex trafficking, 14 – 21 years old, and Mary Mazzio.
The film is a contemporary re-imagining of the classic fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood. I Am Little Red addresses the four tactics a “wolf” (trafficker/pimp) will typically use to lure Little Red into danger.
Training materials are available with the film for education, and the film is already being introduced into agencies that work with at-risk youth.
Click on the link below for more information on the film and training materials, to view a trailer, or to order a copy of the film.
From the Episcopal News Service: The Anglican Church of Canada is fighting human trafficking and has formed a new discernment group and developed an online human trafficking hub with information and resources. “Crucial to this process will be identifying Anglicans involved in work against human trafficking,” the statement said, as they called on those working to eradicate human trafficking to contact them. To read the entire article, go to http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/lens/2017/08/01/canadian-anglicans-step-up-fight-against-human-trafficking
From The Intelligencer: State Rolls Out Human Trafficking Guidelines for EMS Providers. Bruises, infections, pelvic pain, chronic back pain, difficulty breathing, panic attacks — these are just a number of the complaints EMTs and paramedics treat patients for on a regular basis. But these are also some of the symptoms that point to a possible victim of human trafficking, making those victims look a lot like many of the people EMS providers are used to helping. So how do they tell the difference? To read the entire article, go to
- Upcoming Trainings: Dates, Times, Locations of trainings and seminars on Human Trafficking or abuse.
Trainings are listed in chronological order
September 29, 2017, 8 am — 1:20 pm. The Health Care Professional’s Role When Faced with Human Trafficking. Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Room 138. 1100 N. Stonewall Ave, Oklahoma City, OK. $50. Complementary for Consortium Employees. To register, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
September 30, 2017, 9:00 am — 4:00 pm. School-based Sex-Trafficking Prevention. Arizona State University, Downtown Campus, Westward Ho, Concho Room. 618 N. Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004. http://tinyurl.com/SchoolPrevention
October 11, 2017, 9:30 am — 3:30 pm. Hiding in Plain Sight — Unmasking Human Trafficking. Emergency Management Building, 185 Water Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701. Register by October 4, 2017. $25. Complimentary for members of The PA Association on Probation, Parole, and Corrections. Contact: Claudia.email@example.com
October 17, 2017, 9:30 am — 3:30 pm. Hiding in Plain Sight — Unmasking Human Trafficking. Westmoreland County Courthouse, 1st Floor. 2 N. Main St. Greensburg, PA 15601. Register by October 10. 2017. $25. Complimentary for members of the PA Association on Probation, Parlo9e, and Corrections. Contact: jhanley@pagov or firstname.lastname@example.org
October 20, 2017, 9:30 am — 3:30 pm. Hiding in Plain Sight — Unmasking Human Trafficking. PA Depot of Transporaiton, 7000 Gerdes Blvd, King of Prussia, PA 19406. Register by October 13, 2017. $25. Complimentary for members of The PA Association on Probation, Parole, and Corrections. Contact: email@example.com
October 27, 2017, 9:30 am — 3:30 pm. Hiding in Plain Sight — Unmasking Human Trafficking. PENN DOT Riverfront Office Center, 1101 S. Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17104. $25. Complimentary for members of The PA Association on Probation, Parole, and Corrections. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com