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.
- Medical Assessment for Human TraffickingWritten by STOPP Website Staff (03/14/2018)
Labor and sex trafficking are physically and emotionally demanding. Victims of human trafficking will likely seek medical attention at some time. In one study, 88% of trafficked victims reported seeking medical care while being trafficked. Every person in a medical setting, doctors, nurses, administrative staff, psychologists and psychiatrists, dental offices, health educators, all are in a position to identify and to educate and help a trafficking victim.
It would be so helpful if human trafficking became a routine part of medical screenings and medical education. These victims are less likely to be missed if they are being actively looked for. Please review the following information from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, and share it with your medical center staff. Thank you for helping to end the scourge of this modern slavery.
- U.S. House passes bill to fight internet sex trafficking
People opposed to child sex trafficking rally outside of the Washington state Supreme Court on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Olympia, Wash. The court was hearing a case filed by three victims who say the website Backpage.com helps promote the exploitation of children. (Rachel La Corte, Associated Press)
WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives adopted a measure Tuesday that would close a legal loophole that has let websites like Backpage.com avoid criminal prosecution and lawsuits for facilitating sex trafficking.
The bill adopted by a 388 to 25 margin would clarify that existing communication laws don’t protect websites that “unlawfully promote and facilitate prostitution and contribute to sex trafficking.” It would also establish prison sentences of up to 25 years for some online sex traffickers.
Courts previously ruled the Communications Decency Act of 1996 shielded the websites from liability because they merely hosted third-party content and didn’t create it.
The bill’s sponsor, Missouri Republican Ann Wagner, said it would “empower victims, equip state and local prosecutors, and ensure websites can no longer traffic children with impunity.”
“In recent years, sex trafficking has moved from the streets to the Internet,” Wagner said on the House floor. “I find it hard to imagine that if a neighborhood business hosted a slave auction, the auctioneer would not be considered liable.”
The lead Democrat on the bill, Rep. Joyce Beatty of Columbus, said it would provide “urgently needed” clarification of the law, while safeguarding Internet freedom.
All Ohio congress members backed the bill except for Miami County GOP Rep. Warren Davidson. Although Davidson was an original cosponsor of the bill and fully supports efforts to fight use of websites that facilitate sex trafficking, a spokesman said he believes the bill’s current incarnation “blurs the lines to benefit trial lawyers instead of combating sex trafficking.”
Davidson’s spokesman noted the Justice Department has expressed several concerns about the bill, including the fact that its provisions would violate the U.S. Constitution’s “Ex Post Facto Clause” by making behavior that occurred before its passage illegal.
A White House statement applauded the bill’s passage but said the Trump administration “remains concerned” about parts the bill the Justice Department flagged.
“The President looks forward to continuing to work with Congress in order to hold people who participate in human trafficking accountable for their horrific crimes,” the statement continued.
The House measure includes provisions of an anti-sex trafficking bill that Ohio Republican Rob Portman introduced in the Senate. His bill has been approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, but has not made it to the Senate floor.
An investigative report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Portman, found that Backpage.com was aware that sex traffickers and pimps used its services to promote child prostitution, and its claim to be a mere web host for ads “is a fiction.”
Portman and the Democratic co-sponsor of his bill, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, released a statement that noted their bill “has 67 bipartisan supporters in the Senate, as well as strong support from trafficking survivors, anti-human trafficking advocates and law enforcement, 50 Attorneys General, the civil rights community, faith-based groups, the Internet Association and its member companies like Facebook and Google, and courts and judges who have made clear that it is Congress’ responsibility to act to protect online sex trafficking victims.”
Portman said “other priorities” have kept the full Senate from voting on his measure, and he hopes the House bill’s adoption will prompt action.
“We know what the problem is, we know how federal law can be changed to address the problem and we really have to get it done,” Portman said in a conference call with reporters.
- Your Hotel Room Photo Can Save a Trafficking VictimWritten by STOPP Website Staff (02/19/2018)
When people think of women or girls being prostituted, they often think of them standing on a street corner or dancing in a men’s club. More and more, however, traffickers are using the internet and hotel rooms. A trafficker takes a photo of the woman or child in a hotel room, and uploads it on the internet as a way of advertising that victim for sale. A hotel room works well for the trafficker because it can be paid for with cash, and the victim can be moved every few days or week, or more often if need be. The room is anonymous, and the trafficker thinks that they will be undetected.
In 2016, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and the social action group Exchange Initiative developed an app to help locate and bring these victims home. TraffickCam, the app, urges travelers to use their smartphones to upload photos of their hotel rooms in order to create a database of room photos that can be compared with the photos posted online by traffickers. No personal information is kept except the phone’s GPS location. Photos with people in them will be rejected by the database.
Furniture, patterns in carpeting, drapes, pictures, accessories, even window views can provide information to law enforcement that can lead them to local hotels. Early testing showed that the app is 85% effective in identifying hotels. The database currently has 1.5 million photos from more than 145,000 hotels all over the country.
Exchange Initiative encourages business travelers, vacationers, truckers, airline employees, sports teams and any hotel users to download the app, and photograph your rooms at hotels and motels. Use is anonymous.
Donations to continue developing the database can be made at http://www.exchangeinitiative.com. Donations will be doubled through a $100,000 matching grant challenge from the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
Be an Abolitionist and fight Human Trafficking!
“Criminals take advantage of technology to advertise and coordinate illegal sex trafficking. We’re using new technologies to fight sex trafficking.”
- Online Sex Trafficking and the Senate Committee on InvestigationsWritten by STOPP Website Staff (01-31-2018)Most of us are aware that there is more and more knowledge available about Human Trafficking. Despite this awareness, and the law enforcement stings across the country in which alleged traffickers are arrested and victims are rescued, the incidents of Human Trafficking are increasing, not decreasing. This likely is due to online sex trafficking through such sites as backpage.com.backpage.com was previously part of the Village Voice, a progressive NY newspaper. The Back Page was a classified section of the paper which sold sexual activities. backpage.com eventually separated from the Village Voice and went online. backpage.com is now itself responsible for about 75% of the online commercial exploitation of minors.
In addition to the far reach and the efficiency of online sales, online sites are protected by a law passed by the US Congress, the Communications Decency Act, written in 1996. Ironically, the law was passed to prevent the sending of pornography to minors. But the law also protected the online sites from prosecution, should a commercial user of the site send illegal materials through the site. So, if you post someone else’s material on your site, you are not legally liable for the content of that material.
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has for several years been trying to prosecute backpage.com to stop the publishing of sex traffickers’ ads for minor children. The owners of backpage.com have been hiding behind the Communications Decency Act, and stating that they are not liable.
Senator Rob Portman (R, OH), Chair of the Subcommittee, explains that if they can prove that backpage.com knows that the ads are featuring minor children, then the website should be held legally responsible. Through ongoing investigation, the Subcommittee has learned that backpage.com has actually advised the traffickers how to write and change their ads in order to bypass federal laws protecting children. This is the proof that the Subcommittee needs.
At this time, the Senate is debating the passage of a law to change this situation.
On the other side, the tech community is concerned that this legislation will move to censor the online community. But Senator Portman assures the Senate that the new legislation is narrowly written to focus on sex trafficking. It will not impair the tech community. In fact, there are members of the tech community and communications companies who have already been fighting trafficking, and many who support this legislation.
Please contact your US senators and ask them to support this legislation, SESTA, Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, to help put online traffickers out of business. Thank you.
To learn the names and contact information of your senators, go to www.senate.gov and sort by your state.
- www.stopptrafficking.com blog for Jan 2, 2018Written by STOPP Website Staff (01-02-2018)
President Donald Trump has proclaimed January 2018 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Here’s the full text of the proclamation from the White House website:
“During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we recommit ourselves to eradicating the evil of enslavement. Human trafficking is a modern form of the oldest and most barbaric type of exploitation. It has no place in our world. This month we do not simply reflect on this appalling reality. We also pledge to do all in our power to end the horrific practice of human trafficking that plagues innocent victims around the world.
“Human trafficking is a sickening crime at odds with our very humanity. An estimated 25 million people are currently victims of human trafficking for both sex and labor. Human traffickers prey on their victims by promising a life of hope and greater opportunity, while delivering only enslavement. Instead of delivering people to better lives, traffickers unjustifiably profit from the labor and toil of their victims, whom they force — through violence and intimidation — to work in brothels and factories, on farms and fishing vessels, in private homes, and in countless industries.
“My Administration continues to work to drive out the darkness human traffickers cast upon our world. In February, I signed an Executive Order to dismantle transnational criminal organizations, including those that perpetuate the crime of human trafficking. My Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons has enhanced collaboration with other nations, businesses, civil society organizations, and survivors of human trafficking. The Department of Health and Human Services has established a new national training and technical assistance center to strengthen our healthcare industry’s anti-trafficking response. The Department of State has contributed $25 million to the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, because of the critical need for cross-nation collaborative action to counter human trafficking. The Department of Labor has released an innovative, business-focused mobile app that supports private-sector efforts to eradicate forced labor from global supply chains.
“And this month, I will sign into law S. 1536, the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act and S. 1532, the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act. These bills will keep those who commit trafficking offenses from operating commercial vehicles, improve anti-human trafficking coordination within Federal agencies and across State and local governments, and improve efforts to recognize, prevent, and report human trafficking.
“In addition to these governmental actions, Americans must learn how to identify and combat the evil of enslavement. This is especially important for those who are most likely to encounter the perpetrators of slavery and their victims, including healthcare providers, educators, law enforcement officials, and social services professionals. Through the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, all Americans can learn to recognize the signs of human trafficking and how to report suspected instances. By taking steps to become familiar with the telltale signs of traffickers or the signals of their victims, Americans can save innocent lives.
“Our Nation is and will forever be a place that values and protects human life and dignity. This month, let us redouble our efforts to ensure that modern day slavery comes to its long overdue end.
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States do hereby proclaim January 2018 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, culminating in the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1, 2018. I call upon industry associations, law enforcement, private businesses, faith-based and other organizations of civil society, schools, families, and all Americans to recognize our vital roles in ending all forms of modern slavery and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities aimed at ending and preventing all forms of human trafficking.
“IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.”
DONALD J. TRUMP
- New Technology to Fight TraffickingWritten by STOPP Website Staff (12-20-2017)Most of you know Ashton Kutcher is an actor. He founded Thorn, a foundation which uses advances in technology to find and save trafficked children. You can go to https://youtu.be/HUmfsvegMRo and watch Mr. Kutcher testify before Congress re: Thorn’s technology and its amazing success.
On the video, Mr. Kutcher tells of a 15 year old girl who was taken in California. Homeland Security, who is actively trying to save these trafficked children, had been tracking this girl for three years. They kept seeing her picture online as she was offered for sale, but they could never actually locate her. They asked Thorn to step in. Thorn software found her in three days! This is wonderful and amazing news!
When Mr. Kutcher testified before Congress and told this story, he went on to say that it is one thing to find these children. But he noted that there are not enough beds to treat them, once they are found.
Mr. Kutcher is correct.
According to the FBI and the Department of Justice, there are about 500,000 women and 300,000 minors who are trapped in this life. They are literally slaves, held captive by traffickers. Thorn’s software will make it possible to find and rescue more of these victims. And if a woman was able to escape, or if a child was rescued by the police, we do not have the facilities to treat them as they need. I have heard through conversations with agency directors, and with women who work on the streets, that 80% of the women you see in the sex trades do not want to be there, and would leave if they had a safe place to which to run.
There are literally no empty beds at agencies in my community.
I spoke with a Field Supervisor of a Salvation Army of a large city that has begun taking in rescued women. The women can only stay for 6 months, which is longer than most facilities. There is no psychotherapy or trauma work done with them. The Field Supervisor told me that she is afraid that the women will return to their old lives when they leave after six months, because the agency has not been able to give them enough.
It has been my dream for years to have a comprehensive, restorative, longer-term facility for these victims, so that when they leave us, they have a real chance at a healthy life. If you are interested in partnering with me in this, please email me. www.STOPPtrafficking.com
- Commercially Exploited Boys and YouthWritten by STOPP Website Staff (11/06/2017)
Although we often focus on women and girls when we speak of sexual trafficking, we are aware that this happens to boys and male youth, as well. The following information is taken from an article written by Steven Procopio at Youth Today. Mr. Procopio emphasizes that often, law enforcement, courts, social services and others who work with sexually trafficked victims do not see the boys as victims, but as possible or future perpetrators.
We need to be more aware of the background that leads boys into sexual exploitation, and be aware of their needs, as well. The male victims have much in common with their trafficked sisters, including being at risk youth. They often experience lack of adult guidance, lack of a caring adult in childhood, and poor educational and occupational opportunities. According to a study commissioned by Covenant House, 78% of responders stated that they were first survivors of sexual abuse and/or other traumas. Like girls who are trafficked, their childhoods often included sexual abuse, broken homes and homes with domestic violence, gangs in the neighborhood, runaway behavior, poverty, family substance abuse history, and time in the foster system.
Like the girls, these boys are often depressed, anxious, and engage in self-mutilation. They experience sleep disturbance, eating disorders, and difficulties in maintaining intimate relationships. They are often suicidal and truant. More than the trafficked girls, the boys are often involved with the criminal justice system, set fires, and engage in more risk-taking behavior.
As boys and male youth are sent away from their family homes for being gay, bisexual, or transgender, they are at high risk for being commercially sexually exploited to meet their survival needs. A 2001 study indicated that most of the data in the field emphasizes the plight of GBTQ youth, but their research indicates that most sexually exploited youth are heterosexual.
In a Boston study, boys were less likely to be involved with a pimp, and more likely to be involved with a club manager, and/or they came into commercial sex through their families. However, we now know that pimps are diversifying their “services” to include various populations, including girls and boys, trans youth, youth of color, etc.
Like they do with girls and women, some pimps house the boys. But also, there are pimps who connect with a youth on the street and rather than taking the youth into his permanent “stable,” he will ask the boy if he is interested in making money that evening, drive the youth to an area where the youth preforms sexually, and then the youth is brought back. The boy may not see that pimp again, but may be picked up by other pimps who are also fee-for-service.
We are less aware of the needs of boys and young men partially due to the unwillingness of boys to self-identify as victims due to their own concerns about the perception of others about their sexual orientation. Also, law enforcement and anti-trafficking workers are less likely to consider boys as victims. Due to their involvement with the law, boys are often not seen as victims, but as offenders, and so they are often moved to the criminal justice community and do not receive the help that they need.
Boys who responded to researchers noted that their greatest needs are for safe housing, educational and occupational opportunities and training, compassionate and non-judgmental health care providers, and long-term behavioral health care from providers well-trained to work with this population.
To read the entire article, written June 20, 2017, click here: http://youthtoday.org/2017/06/more-awareness-needed-about-boys-who-are-commercially-sexually-exploited
- FBI Rescues More Than 80 Children In Nationwide Human Trafficking StingFrom the Huffington Post on (10/19/2017)
The FBI, along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, recovered 84 children and arrested 120 suspected traffickers as part of a nationwide initiative. Operation Cross Country XI, ran from October 12 to October 15 and involved 55 FBI field offices and partners in Canada, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines. Half of the arrests occurred in Georgia.
The staging grounds included hotels, casinos, truck stops, street corners and online. The average age of the victims was 15, and the youngest was only 3 months old. The baby was rescued in Denver, where she and a 5 year old girl were being offered to an undercover agent in exchange for $600. In Baton Rouge, an 18 month old was presented to an undercover officer as a customer.
John Clark, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said that “Child sex trafficking is happening in every community across America.” He said that he hoped that the FBI operation “generates more awareness abut this crisis impacting our nation’s children.” According to the news, all of the victims rescued will receive assistance from state protective services and the FBI’s Victim Services Division. “If necessary, they also will be provided medical and mental health counseling.”
To read the complete article, click here: https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_59e85f96e4b00905bdaec9d8?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009
Kudos and many thanks to the FBI, The Center for Exploited Children, and their international partners for the extraordinary planning and effort that went into this project. A sweep this large, involving 55 FBI field offices across the country, which saved 84 children from a life of degradation, abuse and hell, is incredible news. As a mental health clinician, I am unspeakably grateful for this fine work. We can only ask for more operations like this.
At the same time, we feel outrage at the victimization of these children, toddlers, and even an infant. The emotional abuse, the rapes, the beatings, the forced drug use and addiction, the control, all of this is a horror that is difficult to even imagine for adults and adolescents. There are some people who flatly refuse to believe that this can happen to small children, toddlers and infants. But one of my trafficked clients explained to me how her parents had prepared her from infancy, in her crib, to be used for prostitution. This happens more often than we care to imagine.
Years ago, I was discussing this issue of parental abuse and trafficking of children with a man who is an academic scholar and researcher on the Holocaust. I have for over twenty-five years called this abuse, this slavery, a Hidden Holocaust, because for years, no one was talking about it. Ironically, this man who researched and wrote for others to believe in the truth of the Holocaust of World War II, denied that what I was telling him could be true. He is a good man, a nurturing father and a loving husband. He could not fathom that any father or mother would do this to their children. Most people are like this. But it is important that we break through that denial to bring to light the evil that is happening in our midst.
Many people believe that the trafficking happens in other countries, or that it happens to people brought to this country from other nations. Both of those are true. But there are hundreds of thousands of American-born victims being trafficked here, or taken to Canada or other countries and sold there.
And what of these children? I became concerned when I read in the news report that these children would be given medical and mental health treatment “if necessary.” “If necessary?” I believe that it is a given that these children will need that treatment. If the children were abducted from a loving home, that trauma would call out for psychotherapy.
If the children were sold or trafficked by their own parents and were not separated from them until the FBI raid, the treatment is still necessary. These parents have not just made a spontaneous bad judgment. Anyone who does this to a child has been abusive and not bonded in their relationship with that child.
And who will care for these children? Sadly, the foster care system is often a place of abuse and trafficking in this country.
This rescue operation is hopeful and wonderful. And we have so much more to do. But thank you to those involved in Cross Country for this huge step forward.
- STOPP Blog PostingWritten by STOPP Website Staff (9/1/2017)
Welcome to the STOPP website, and to this first Blog posting. The purpose of the STOPP website is to provide updated news and information to those who are interested in, or who work with people who have been abused or trafficked. The Blog will address issues in those areas.
Women who have been abused often suffer from multiple psychological and/or medical problems over time. They may experience symptoms of anxiety or panic, depression, or obsessive-compulsive behaviors. They often have eating disorders, or memory and dissociative issues, including Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is common.
Physical symptoms often include digestive issues such as Crohn’s Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There are often gynecological issues. Often there are stress-related issues, such as stomach pain or nausea, headaches, or even pain that cannot be identified with any specific physical problem. Other physical symptoms can include dizziness, heart palpitations, chest discomfort, etc. We will discuss these clinical and medical issues here.
We will also bring you updates on trafficking or abuse in the news, and legislative updates.
Finally, we will include reviews of media material related to these topics.
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: email@example.com
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.firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org