Posts Tagged ‘sex trafficking’

If you were asked what the most critical problems facing our society today are, how would you answer? Poverty? Crime? Drug abuse? Sex Trafficking? What if I told you that most of these problems could be reduced or even eliminated? Most of these problems all stem from the same root cause: Child abuse and neglect.

Studies have shown that victims of child sexual abuse are at a higher risk for substance abuse problems, associated psychological disorders and/or mental problems. They are also at a higher risk for committing violent crimes. And yet when we hear of one of these abused children being arrested and convicted of crimes we seem to have little or no compassion for them.

According to a report released by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, almost half of the women and one tenth of the men in our nation’s jails and prisons say they were physically or sexually abused as a child before their imprisonment. For prisoners who had spent part of their childhoods in foster care, the rate of abuse was even higher. 44% of the male prisoners and 87% of the female prisoners who had spent the majority of their childhood in foster care or institutions reported abuse. These were foster homes that were supposed to be a safe place for them to live!

These experiences are deeply traumatizing for a child and have long-lasting and profound impacts on them. Child abuse, which includes sexual, physical, emotional and child neglect, is a major social problem in our country. In ‘Does Child Abuse Cause Crime?’ (NBER Working Paper No. 12171), authors Janet Currie and Erdal Tekin found that child maltreatment roughly doubles the probability that an individual engages in many types of crime.

This does not mean that every victim of child abuse will grow up to commit crimes or become a drug addict. It simply means that they are at a higher risk. That is why it is so important for school counselors and teachers to become familiar with the many ways in which childhood abuse and neglect issues can manifest themselves in a child. At the same time, they must realize that disclosure of child abuse does not always happen as as quickly as they would hope. Many times it may take a victim several months to reveal the abuse—sometimes years. I have known many adults who have never revealed their childhood abuse until they were over 60 years old!

The question many ask is, “Why don’t children tell someone about their abuse?” There are many reasons why a child victim of sexual abuse is not likely to tell anyone about their abuse. Often, the abusive adult will convince the child that they won’t be believed. Children frequently remain silent to protect a non-abusive parent from becoming upset. In order to keep the abuse secret, the abuser will often play on the child’s fear, embarrassment or guilt about what happened, convincing them that no one will believe them or that telling anyone will break up the family and it will be the child’s fault. 

Another reason kids don’t tell is because they may know friends who have also been abused at home and went to court. Not only did their friend not receive justice, they also ended up in foster care for a while. So they don’t tell anyone. They just try to forget about it and keep all the hurt inside—And so does their family.

Many times an abuser could be someone you’re close to or in a relationship with. Children of single mothers are especially vulnerable. The mom is so busy working to pay bills and put food on the table, (Sometimes working two or three jobs) that she may not imagine someone whom she invited into her home would have intentions of harming her children. But it has been proven that children living with only one biological parent are 33 times more likely to be sexually abused than children who live with both their biological parents.

Watch for the signs

So how can we know who to trust? We need to read the signs. Someone may be a danger to your children if they:

  • Insist on physical affection such as kissing, hugging or wrestling even when the child clearly does not want it. 
  • Insist on time alone with a child with no interruptions. 
  • Are overly interested in the sexual development of your child or teenager. 
  • Regularly offer to baby-sit children for free or take children on overnight outings alone. 
  • Buy your children expensive gifts or give them money for no apparent reason. 

Lastly, check to see if the person you’re in a relationship with is listed on the National Sex Offender Registry—Not just the local registry. Because a registered sex offender will not volunteer his or her information. And if found out, will most often tell you how they were unjustly convicted. Also be aware that many sex offenders will move away from the state they lived when they were convicted without notifying the state where they move to. Because they know that authorities will not look for them unless they commit another crime.  

We all feel shock and outrage whenever we hear of child sexual exploitation by a teacher, coach or religious instructor, but stories of a child being sexually abused by a parent, step-parent, or someone living in the same home as the child rarely receives even a blip on the local news.

Why is it so easy for us to ignore these lost children? 

Maybe because it’s easier for us to ignore the root problem than to work on a solution. To begin with, we need to work to change the court system when it comes to dealing with those convicted of child sexual abuse. When someone is convicted in court, most judges allow the perpetrators to plead guilty to a lesser charge and sentence them to probation and require them to register as a sex offender—which does nothing to protect vulnerable children.

Many still believe that the Sex Offender Registry prevents pedophiles from living near them in their in their community. This is a misconception. Nebraska is one of 22 states that don’t place any restrictions on child sex offenders. None! This means that a convicted child sex offender can visit and/or work in schools, daycares, children museums, and even live with or socialize with vulnerable children. The SOR law can only mandate that the offender register his or her required information at the sheriff’s office within the required time. (Nebraska statutes 29-4004 and 29-4006) Some judges even allow the perpetrators to have contact with their victim!

Prosecutors will tell the victim that it will be emotionally easier for them if they allow a plea deal. But what they don’t tell them is that when a case of child sexual abuse is brought before the court, the perpetrator is charged with crimes against the State, not against the victim. Then, the only option for the victim to get justice for what’s been done to them is to take it to civil court. How many 6 to 9 year old victims do you think have the knowledge and financial means to take their abuser to civil court? 

Another thing we can do is petition out legislators to change the Sex Offender Registry laws in our state to better protect our children. I have written to many state senators asking them to change the SOR law. The very few that responded told me that there was nothing they could do. It’s easy for politicians to ignore one or two people, but it’s much harder for them to ignore hundreds of people demanding the same thing.

Lastly, we can encourage survivors of child sexual abuse to speak out. Arrange for schools to allow them to tell their story and contact local news outlets and ask them to cover the event. It is a proven fact that other victims will open up when they know someone else has experienced the same thing. Child sexual abuse needs to be talked about. Remaining silent will only keep this epidemic hidden. 

“Only by dropping our well worn masks

revealing the degrading darkness of hell

can we hope to finally bask

in the life giving light outside our cell.”

By Juno Diaz, Pulitzer Prize winning author and survivor of childhood sexual abuse

Sex trafficking, drug abuse, mental health issues and criminal activity are only symptoms of the problem. We need to take care of the root of the problem. Otherwise, all the laws we pass and programs we develop will be like putting a band-aid on a broken bone. 

“…but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

Other resources:

https://www.stopitnow.org/ohc-content/what-keeps-us-from-talking-about-sexual-abuse

https://www.smallvoices.org

https://www.d2l.org/the-issue/statistics/

https://laurenskids.org/education/curriculum/

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Black Lives Matters March; Women’s March; The Me Too Movement; and recently the student demonstrators marching on Washington, calling for action against gun violence after the recent massacre at a South Florida high school. 

Every one of these protests were supported and echoed by professional athletes, Hollywood entertainers and politicians. Every news channel covered these events almost every day. 

But do you know what none of the media were reporting? What professional athletes, Hollywood entertainers and politicians refused to speak out against? The epidemic of child sexual abuse in homes across the country! In fact, there is more community outrage about animal abuse than there is about child abuse! And the only time the news reports any type of child abuse is when it involves multiple sex trafficking, the death of a child, or some horrendous act perpetrated on a child that the news outlets can sensationalize. 

It is reported that 1 in 5 children have been sexually abused before reaching the age of 18. That means that out of the 500,000 students who marched on Washington protesting gun violence, over 100,000 of them had been sexually abused at some time in their childhood—AND THEY SAID NOTHING!

Nebraska law now requires that any child, age 3-18, who has experienced sexual abuse, serious physical abuse and neglect, witnessed a violent crime, or who has been recovered from a kidnapping or found in a drug endangered environment, be interviewed at a Child Advocacy Center by a trained professional. 

In 2015 4,945 children were served by a Child Advocacy Center in Nebraska alone. And out of those 4,945 children served, nearly half had reported being sexually abused—91% were abused by someone the child knew well; a step-parent, relative or caregiver.

Yet, sadly, for every one child that discloses sexual abuse, many more remain silent. Because they are either too afraid, or too ashamed, or both. The number of child abuse cases would easily double, if every child that should be seen at a Child Advocacy Center under state law was actually provided that opportunity. 

http://nebraskacacs.com/Docs/2015%20Annual%20Report%20-%205.30.16%20-%20Compressed%20V2.pdf

Many of us have heard the stories from the Me Too Movement how traumatic it was for adults to be sexually harassed or assaulted. If it’s traumatic for an adult to be sexually harassed by someone, how much more traumatic is it for a child to be sexually assaulted in their own home by someone they trusted and was supposed to care for them? http://theweek.com/articles/749634/how-metoo-leaving-child-victims-behind

To make matters worse, even when the perpetrators are arrested and charged, most judges only sentence them to probation and require them to register as a sex offender— which does nothing to protect vulnerable children. 

The Sex Offender Registration law in many states do not have any restrictions on registered sex offenders. This is a common misperception. The SOR law in these states does not prevent an offender from attending events, limit employment, restrict an offender from entering any facilities—schools, playgrounds, children museums or other public places where children congregate. Some states do not even restrict a convicted child abuser from living with or socializing with their victim! In many states The SOR law can only mandate that the offender register his or her required information at the sheriff’s office within the required time. This is another reason many victims of child sexual abuse never speak out or report their abuse—they know that they will never get justice.

There are many organizations across the country who are working with law enforcement and legislators to fight against child sex trafficking and rescue its victims. I applaud the work that they do, but they are they are working on the symptom instead of the root cause. 

Research has shown that 43% of runaway and homeless youth were sexually abused before they left their homes. These young people often flee abuse at home, but are exposed to further sexual victimization and human trafficking once on the street. One of every three runaway teens on the street will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. And the average age is fourteen. Many of these children will be trapped in prostitution for years before they escape—and the trauma they experience could affect them well into their adult years.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! 

April is both National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. There are many ways in which adults can make a critical difference in a child’s life. Whether you are a parent, teacher, coach, neighbor, or family member, you can help. 

Caring adults can support the healthy growth and development of children who have experienced abuse by helping them recognize that it’s not their fault and that you believe them. Children who are able to confide in a trusted adult and feel they are believed by that adult will experience less trauma. Children who falsely claim to have been sexually abused only make up less than 1% of all reported cases.

It is time for adults to speak out for those who have no voice!

For more information on what you can do to prevent child sexual abuse visit the sites below:

https://www.d2l.org

https://laurenskids.org

http://justiceforchildren.org

http://www.smallvoices.org

There are fewer crimes in society that trigger greater public outrage than sex trafficking of children. Trafficking is a serious problem around the world and in the United States. Yet many of the stereotypes surrounding the issue—and the counter-productive approaches to fixing the problem—make it increasingly difficult to address the real dilemmas and oppression of those children in need of help.

Abused children left unprotected 

While most youth entered ‘the life’ of prostitution between the ages of 11-14, their sexual exploitive situation often began between the ages of 6-10 and documented as sexual child abuse cases, where the perpetrators were often only sentenced to probation! Because of this, child sexual abuse is often not reported. Therefore, the prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine and is most likely much higher than what current statistics show. Even experts agree that the incidence of child sexual abuse is far greater than what is reported to authorities.

Children are abused, molested or raped in their own homes every day! And even when the perpetrators are arrested and charged, most judges only sentence them to probation! These are crimes that we all can agree are despicable and are deserving of a punishment that matches their deplorable nature. No child should grow up in a state of constant fear, knowing that his or her assailant is no longer behind bars. Yet this is exactly what is happening across the country!

Our criminal justice is deeply flawed.

There is a fundamental perverseness about when a child has to relive the trauma in court of being molested and raped, only to discover that their attacker is set free! Is it any wonder that victims of child sexual abuse are reluctant to report their attacker?

Maybe mandatory minimum sentences are necessary to protect victims of child sexual abuse. Without mandatory minimum sentences in place, child molesters are being released before many of their victims graduate from high school. That is absolutely unacceptable! These traumatized children have already been through enough and deserve the peace of mind that comes from knowing they are free from harm during the remaining years of their childhood.

Opponents of mandatory minimum sentences believe judges should have greater flexibility in determining sentences. But to me, rape and sexual assault of children are the kind of crimes that deserve a harsher sentence than probation.

One of the primary responsibilities of government is to ensure public safety, (Deuteronomy 16:18) particularly when it come to protecting our children. However, throughout all of the political debates, press conferences and political rallies there has not been so much as a blip about protecting children from sexual abuse or getting tougher on the perpetrators of these crimes.

Many politicians speak out against human sex trafficking and propose all kinds of bills to fight against it, but very few (if any) bills are introduced to protect children from perpetrators of child sexual abuse in their own homes.

In 20 recent studies of adult women who were sexually exploited through prostitution, the percentage of those who had been abused as children ranged from 33 percent to 84 percent! Many of the children who are victims of sex trafficking are runaways who were sexually abused at home.

https://aspe.hhs.gov/basic-report/human-trafficking-and-within-united-states-review-literature#Commonalities

So by reaching victims of sexual assault when they’re still young—standing up for them, helping them get therapy, education, housing and job placement—we can help prevent a life of forced prostitution, drug addiction and crime. Because if we wait until they’re in their twenties or thirties it will be much more difficult (if not impossible), to reach them.

As a civilized society, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to deter these crimes of child sexual abuse and to ensure that when they do occur, they are not taken lightly.

As Christians, we have an even higher responsibility: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)

Judges and justices in states with retention elections are retained with anywhere from 60 percent to 80 percent of the vote. However, retention elections are sometimes used as opportunities to remove from office judges who have made unpopular rulings.

We can send a strong message in November by supporting candidates who speak out against child sexual abuse, and in states that have retention elections, vote “NO” to retain lenient judges.

https://ballotpedia.org/Retention_election

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken ones.

“The Eleventh Commandment” by Collin Raye

I normally try to stay away from writing about political matters, but this year’s election has revealed the moral compass of many Americans. (And not in a good way)

The world has witnessed more back-biting, name-calling and violent protesting during this election season than most people can remember.

And sadly, the few candidates who showed high moral standards and common sense were passed over. And now Americans are left with a choice between an angry, insulting, narcissist, who believes that only HE can make America great again, or a woman who has a long history of lies and corruption. But it seems that the American people either have short or selective memories.

Trust is an important part of any good personal or professional relationship. This is especially true when comes to deciding who to choose for the highest office in the country. If past performance is an indicator of future actions, our country is in big trouble.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is either really sketchy, super savvy—or a little bit of both. Trump has made millions of dollars facilitated by high-profile connections and unprecedented subsidies and tax breaks from the government. The Wall Street Journal published a report claiming that he made millions of dollars endorsing a multilevel marketing firm called ACN. The company has undergone regulatory investigations regarding pyramid scheme allegations in three countries—allegations Trump told WSJ he had never heard of.

He has also gotten into hot water recently over Trump University—now known as the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative. The seminar initiative has him embroiled in two lawsuits in New York and California for misleading people into believing it was an actual university.

Trump’s corporations have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on four separate occasions: the Trump Taj Mahal in 1991, the Trump Plaza Hotel in 1992, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts in 2004 and Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2009. All of his bankruptcies were tied to casino and hotel properties in Atlantic City. And this is the man that we’re going to trust with our economy?

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton has repeatedly called for a crackdown on all types of trafficking of women and children across international borders. In a 1999 speech she said, “Finally, trafficking of women and children has emerged out of the shadows and into the spotlight. We must prevent it, protect the victims and prosecute the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.”

That same year Human rights investigator and whistleblower Kathryn Bolkovac tried to investigate cases of human sex trafficking in Bosnia—and lost her job. There were many cases, but they were never prosecuted. Young girls from Romania, Ukraine, Moldova and other Eastern European countries were forced into prostitution and used on the UN and military bases as sex-slaves. The cases involved the officers from many foreign countries, including the USA, Pakistan, Germany, Romania, and the Ukraine who worked with local organized criminals. The suspects were immediately removed from the mission or transferred to other missions, but most were never charged under diplomatic immunity. (You can read her story here)

But despite a presidential directive that set a zero tolerance on human trafficking, those working in the sex trade have still been operating with impunity—Some under the cover of the U.S. government!

Just last year a report from the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services indicated that “peacekeepers” working in Haiti were guilty of raping Haitian women at an alarming rate. The report also indicated that a large number of the victims were underage.

According to the report, there were 231 people in Haiti who claimed they were sexually violated by UN peacekeepers, and were forced to perform sexual acts in exchange for food and supplies that were intended as relief packages. (Read more at http://www.thesleuthjournal.com/report-hundreds-of-women-a-children-forced-into-sex-by-united-nations-peacekeepers-video/)

Sex trafficking among the elite

In 2002 Former president Bill Clinton took repeated trips on the ” Lolita Express”—the private passenger jet owned by billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Clinton shared Epstein’s plane on at least 11 flights in 2002 and 2003—before any of the allegations against them became public—according to the pilots’ logbooks, which have surfaced in civil litigation surrounding Epstein’s crimes.

Meanwhile, Bill and Hillary Clinton have remained mum about their ties to the Palm Beach pedophile—despite evidence that shows Bill was one of the most famous and frequent passengers

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 in Florida to one count of soliciting underage girls for sex (and one count of adult solicitation), for which he only served just over a year in county jail. But he has reportedly settled lawsuits with more than 30 victims since 2008! The youngest alleged victim was only 12 years old at the time of her abuse! (Read more at: http://gawker.com/flight-logs-put-clinton-dershowitz-on-pedophile-billio-1681039971)

And to make matters worse, (If that’s possible) yet another victim filed a suit in New York accusing not only Epstein, but also Donald Trump—of raping her at a series of sex parties when she was only 13! Trump has denied these claims and his reps have said he barely knew Epstein—even though  Epstein had 14 private numbers for Trump and his family in his little black book.

And in spite of these disgusting reports, the American people are more outraged about some lost and leaked e-mails?

When did we lose our moral compass? 

The answer is that the two bedrocks America was founded upon and depended upon are today reviled and attacked as not being relevant to modern society—the Bible and the Constitution.

The Bible is no longer viewed as the truth a vital nation anchors its present and future aspirations upon, but is viewed as the resource of foolish and ignorant people who subscribe to a theology of bigotry and narrow-mindedness.

But if there is no God, there is no absolute truth. And if there is no absolute truth, then our decisions are based upon what feels good to us. We in effect then, contribute to the creation of chaos and disorder—because then there are no behaviors that are too wretched and evil, and nothing is unacceptable.

Consider just a few of what many claim are resources of foolish and ignorant people:

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10)

America’s moral compass is embedded in our Constitution that acknowledges that ALL men (including women and children) are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights—among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Having a moral compass means having a sense of what is right and wrong and moving toward that direction or goal. It also means that we do not idly stand by while members of our society are denied those unalienable rights by the government or other powerful groups and cliques who abuse the rights of those who cannot defend themselves.

The Constitution of the United States (and its documents) are the most influential preservers of human rights and critical in setting of limits pursuant to the reach of government. Yet today the Constitution is looked upon as an outdated creation of wealthy, old white men who are no longer relevant today.

America has replaced order and morality with chaos and selfishness. America is no longer a standard to the world that shows forth truth and constitutional justice. Instead, America has become a purveyor of lies, debauchery, betrayal and subjugation. America has lost its standing with the world because America has lost its moral and constitutional standing with its own people.

Regardless of who becomes president in November, the only way I see America returning to the morals and values of the Founding Fathers is that we repent of our wickedness and turn back to God. If not, we will become further entrenched in even more lies, debauchery, betrayal and subjugation—that eventually will lead us to cry out to God for mercy.

Either way, God wins. Maybe that’s what he planned all along.