Archive for the ‘Human Trafficking Is…’ Category

Today, I’m opening the floor up for discussion.

 

Below, I’ve shared links to articles of controversial topics related to human trafficking. Please share your opinions and comments below.

 

 

 

Procon.org

CATW International

The Guardian

 

 

 

Inthesetimes.com

 

 

 

Fight the New Drug

“Pimp” is a dangerous word. Misuse it enough and it loses its true meaning—it’s a human trafficker.

 

People use “pimp” to describe something cool or awesome or, worst of all, to make something better. (For example, rapper Xzibit had a show called “Pimp My Ride,” meaning boring cars were made into something desirable.)

So why use the term?

A decade ago, pimps (human traffickers) didn’t have to worry about law enforcement to the severity they do now. Women and children got arrested, charged, and put in prison. Rarely, the pimps were caught.

Those same pimps strut around flashing their stacks of money, flashy cars, and expensive jewelry, behaving as if they are above the law as if they are untouchable. The pimps promote themselves and their way of life, evoking a sense of envy in wannabe pimps…tons of money and very little work.

Unfortunately, society has adopted the “awesomeness” (the perceived glamor of having limitless money and control of someone else) of the pimp culture and promoted it through television, movies, books, and social media.

 

Abuses of the Term “Pimp”

Below are some examples.

 

Music

 

Music groups such as The Pimps, Sneaker Pimps, The Pimps of Joytime, and The Goodyear Pimps… Really? That’s the best name you could come up with?

Song Lyrics such as 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P” or 2Chainz “Pimps” actually glamorize the trafficking and exploitation of young women.

How many people have belted out these lyrics while driving down the street oblivious to the actual meaning behind the words?

Takeaway: Teach the young people in your life to think about the words of the songs they listen to or sing along with. Even take a popular song and unpack it together.

 

Television

As mentioned above, MTV had a program called “Pimp My Ride.” The format for the program appeared interesting enough— the crew take a plain car and turn it into a hot ride. But why use the term “pimp”?

In fact, some of the customizations actually had to be removed as they violated traffic laws, compromised federally mandated safety features, exceeded noise ordinances, or exceeded the vehicle’s ability to handle the modifications. So much for a “hot ride.”

Also, TV characters who exploit others sexually are also held up for admiration.

At ranker.com I found this: “The biggest pimps in television history are those lucky fictional characters who are notoriously promiscuous, making viewers around the world incredibly jealous.” states Ranker. “They manage to get all the babes, almost as if they were God’s gift to women (or in some cases, men). They might be hated by some for their tramp-tastic ways, but surely, they are also secretly worshiped by aspiring pimps as well.”

Takeaway: Be mindful of what you watch on TV. That doesn’t mean you have to only watch squeaky-clean programs, but be aware that of the behaviors being touted as desirable. When discussing shows with friends, mention how people are being portrayed and how the show writers are presenting those qualities as good or bad.

 

Movies:

The cinematic universe is no better in its presentation of pimps. At ifc.com, you can read its list of pimps featured on the big screen.

I found this quote at watchmojo.com regarding their list: “Although they’re criminals, there’s no doubt that they are cool cats.” This quote is exactly what I’m taking about. Yeah, they’re doing horrible things to innocent people, but hey, they look good doing it!

 

Books:

Visit amazon.com and type in the word “pimp” and over 53,000 results appear. From books on how to be a pimp, costumes and clothing to look the part, to accessories to tie it all together, it’s a one-stop shop at Amazon.

Most of the books either document how a pimp became a pimp or advice from said pimp on how you can become a pimp, too.

 

Social Media

Pimps on social media are doing one of two things, they are either mentoring or training other wannabe pimps  (how to keep their stable in line, how to avoid law enforcement, etc.). Or they are using social media, such as Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to recruit young women and children, take pictures for ads, and make appointments with johns.

Takeaway: Be cautious when sharing information on the internet and do not share personal information (home address, passwords, school name or address, etc.) on social media. Once something is released on the internet, it can never fully be erased.

 

What You Can Do

See pimps for who they really are—criminals, sexual exploiters, human traffickers. Educate your children, your family, and friends about the realities of pimping. Pimps are not people we should aspire to be.

 

Read past articles on Pimponomics…

Part 1: Real Life Pimps Are Nothing Like the Ones on TV

Part 2: Do You Fit the Criteria to Become a Pimp’s Next Victim?

Part 3: Why is the Sex Industry Thriving?

 

Jimmy Carter: Why I Believe the Mistreatment of Women is the Number One Human Rights Abuse

 

In today’s society cyberbullying is on the rise.

Cyberbullies threaten, intimidate, and abuse using one or more of the following tactics. The following list was compiled by Enough is Enough

 

Cyberbullying Tactics

 

Gossip: Posting or sending cruel gossip to damage a person’s reputation and relationships with friends, family, and acquaintances

Exclusion: Deliberately excluding someone from an online group

Impersonation: Breaking into someone’s email or other online account and sending messages that  will cause embarrassment or damage to the person’s reputation and affect his/her relationship with others

Harassment: Repeatedly posting or sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages

Cyber stalking: Posting or sending unwanted or intimidating messages, which may include threats.

Flaming: Online fights where scornful and offensive messages are posted on websites, forums, or blogs.

Outing and Trickery: Tricking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information, which is then shared online

Cyber‐threats: Remarks on the Internet threatening or implying violent behavior, displaying suicidal tendencies

Copyright 2008 Enough is Enough www.enough.org

 

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In September, I wrote a post titled: “Back to School: What You Can Do When Your Child is Cyberbullied”

which gave 10 steps parents/caregivers can take to help their child deal with a cyberbully.

But what can you do when you’re child IS the cyberbully?

 

Below is a list of 10 steps to take when your own child is cyberbullying others. Presented by Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D. and cyberbullying.org

 

10 Things You Can Do When Your Child IS the Cyberbully

 

  1. Acknowledge the issue. As a parent, accept the reality that your child could be engaging in online behaviors that are hurting others. Rather than try to trivialize, rationalize, or ignore the problem at hand, you realize that anyone (including your own flesh and blood!) can be very cruel to others, given the right circumstances.
  1. Remain calm. When addressing cyberbullying, try to discuss the issue in a level-headed manner without demonizing, disrespecting, or judging your child. Remember that your son or daughter isn’t the problem; it is the behavior. Deal with it, but treat them with dignity. Otherwise, they may lash out and retaliate if they feel attacked or victimized themselves, and no progress will be made.
  1. Keep an open line of communication. Many youths engage in cyberbullying to get revenge for something someone else did first. Make sure that your kids know they can come to you and discuss issues they are having with peers (offline or online). Give kids the opportunity and skill set to solve interpersonal problems in appropriate ways, instead of resorting to revenge.
  1. Stop the bullying. Goal #1 is to get the bullying to end and never happen again. Ensure that all instances of bullying are stopped immediately, regardless of who started it. No one deserves to be mistreated, for any reason, ever.
  1. Understand the root of the problem. We hear that “hurt people hurt people.” It is critical to identify the reason(s) your child has acted out. Is it an unhealthy way of coping with stress in their life? Because they themselves are being victimized? Because there are no rules in place and no threat of sanctions to deter them? Try to get to the bottom of the issue.
  1. Investigate. Take measures to thoroughly find out the extent of your child’s bullying. It could span multiple environments, websites, apps, and devices. It could be very direct and observable, or indirect and extremely subtle. Work to get to the bottom of what exactly happened.
  1. Make children understand how targets feel. Explain the severity of cyberbullying and how it would feel to be on the receiving end of hate or harassment that specifically highlights the way your child would be hurt the most. Try to cultivate empathy and compassion in kids in creative and compelling ways, so that they really understand that we all have our sore spots, hot buttons, and vulnerabilities.
  1. Set up parental controls. Monitor your child’s online activities, both formally and informally. This can be done through the installation of software or apps on their laptop, tablet, or phone. You should also routinely and randomly check their devices to see what they are doing, at least until you feel sure that they can be trusted.
  1. Share your concerns. You are not the only parent who has ever faced these problems. Connect with others so that the entire community can rally around the issue and take a stand. This united front can help to create and promote a culture where all members of a peer group recognize that bullying is always wrong and not cool at all.
  1. Stay educated. While we know that your lives are extremely busy, it is important that you take the time to continually learn about new technologies and sites that your kids (and their peers) are using. You should also know where to get help (start with http://www.cyberbullying.us), and interface with others (especially school staff) who have relevant experiences and strategies to share.

 

 

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Share these anti-bullying videos with your child.

 

 

The topic of pimps and their popularity ignited an interesting debate between my husband and me. We wondered: Why is the sex industry thriving like it is?

  • Is greed driving the pimp to push young women to sell their bodies day after day for his profit?
  • Is there is not enough law enforcement to keep up with the overwhelming number of traffickers?
  • Is the sex industry’s growth due to the johns’ buying sex in the first place? (If there was no demand, there would be no need to supply.)
  • Or is poverty the real root behind all this?

We concluded that there is no one group or person to blame. We are all called to help stop prostitution, pornography, and sexual exploitation.

The Victim

Most women* prostituted by traffickers feel they have no choice. They continue to sell their bodies out of fear of punishment from their pimp or necessity, as they have no other way to earn a living. Poverty, lack of education, and homelessness all play a factor in the force that drives a woman to be manipulated into prostitution and pornography.

Though drugs and guns can only be purchased once, human beings can be sold over and over. People are also easier to hide from law enforcement because fear can cause victims to lie about their situation or they may not even realize they are a victim.

The Buyer

Johns who purchase sex may not know the women are being forced and are not willing participants. Men addicted to pornography may feel the need to take it to the next level and “purchase the real thing.”

They feel a sense of anonymity, hiding behind their computer monitor, cell phone or laptop while they “shop” for women or meeting under cover of darkness at random motels. Many johns believe pornography and prostitution are victimless crimes.

The Pimp

Pimps─whether they are independent operators or members of a gang/mafia─pimp for money. As of 2015, human trafficking is second only to drugs in profitable crime. That ranking may soon change as human trafficking is the fastest growing crime worldwide.

Many pimps come from a background of abuse and lack the empathy needed to be aware of the damage they are inflicting on their victims. They don’t see the victims as anything but property.

Law Enforcement

With 2200 children reported missing every day, more than 400 ads a month on backpage.com advertising potentially underage sex, and countless sting operations occurring across the country, law enforcement is kept busy arresting criminals involved in human trafficking.

If every officer worked on a trafficking task force 24 hours a day 7 days a week, they still wouldn’t make a dent in the problem.

Traffickers are constantly using resources to stay ahead of law enforcement. They will change names, phone numbers, web addresses, and the location of their victim to elude the police.

So What Do We Do?

“Prostitution is decreasing on the street, but thriving online.

Advertisements on social media and sites like Craigslist.com and Backpage.com entice potential workers and customers. Those determined to be in the business, but who find their local resources drying up, often go online to solicit business or take advantage of opportunities in other cities,” states Polaris.

“There are two primary factors driving the spread of human trafficking: high profits and low risk. Like drug and arms trafficking, human trafficking is a market-driven criminal industry that is based on the principles of supply and demand. Every year, traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people around the world, including here in the United States.” –Polaris

The root of prostitution is a tangled web of cause and effect. There is no real culprit to blame for this blight on humanity. All we can do is chip away at each instigator until the problem is eradicated.

  • Notify Craigslist and Backpage that you refuse to use their sites until they stop selling people for sex.
  • Say “No!” to pornography by supporting hotel chains that refuse to provide on-demand pornography such as Hilton and Hyatt. Pornography is not only damaging to the victims exploited in the videos but also those watching the videos. Pornography is NOT a victimless crime! Learn more at www.fightthenewdrug.org
  • Refuse to purchase sex. That’s pretty self-explanatory.
  • Do not glorify or emulate pimps. For example, be aware of not using the words “porn” or “pimp” in casual conversation. They get overused as in “foodporn” for a hashtag when people snap a picture of food in social media or as in “pimping out” a car or outfit. They are criminals and sexual deviants, and should be treated as such.

*Editors note: While I use the term “women” to describe the victims of forced prostitution, young men and boys are also victimized. In a report published by the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, 50% of the 100,000 children trafficked for sex is boys. There have also been sexual exploitation cases involving young children, toddlers, and infants.

 

Video:

Greg’s Story

The life of a porn star is not all it’s cracked up to be.

video courtesy of Fight the New Drug

The business of human trafficking is kept hidden in the shadows, which makes obtaining facts regarding human trafficking nearly impossible. So law enforcement, government agencies, and agencies working to eradicate human trafficking, are forced to make generalizations and assumptions based on the facts they do receive.

One such “fact” is this:

“Every 30 seconds, someone becomes the victim of human trafficking.”

 
Taking statistics from a number of sources such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children while also factoring in the denseness of the population globally, the A21 organization has created this estimated calculation.

A staggering 27 million people are in human bondage worldwide. This wouldn’t be a booming business if traffickers were not constantly building their inventory nor replenishing their inventory with fresh bodies every time a victim was either rescued, or more likely, passed away due to their abuse.

(photo courtesy of A21)

To bring an end to human trafficking, we first must make aware the dangers.

Education and awareness are the keys.

People who continue to turn a blind eye to the existence of human trafficking are more susceptible to becoming a victim themselves.

Share what you know with EVERYONE. If your church or place of worship doesn’t have a human trafficking awareness group, start one. Talk to your local government leaders or law enforcement about what they are doing to end human trafficking in your area.

Together, we CAN make a difference.

Everyone is at risk for sexual exploitation by pimps.

They don’t just target women but also men and children.
There is no screening process, personality type, or preference that traffickers use when scoping for new victims.

What a pimp looks for is a way to manipulate the mind of a victim.

A pimp will use whatever he can to manipulate the victim and suggest he can fill the void in someone’s life.

If there is no void, a pimp will create one. The problem is the cost the victim pays to have that void “filled.”

The girl looking for love

Brianna was a 17-year-old who was manipulated by a middle-aged man, seduced by a young male college student, and tricked into stripping by her boyfriend.

“There is no stereotype of a girl in sex trafficking,” she says. “It doesn’t matter how rich or poor, if she’s white or black, fat or thin, a pimp can look at any girl and find a vulnerability that he can exploit. He might tell a girl that he will hurt her family if she runs. Or he might rape her and videotape it, and threaten to show it to her whole school.”

The girl with low self-esteem

“One recruitment tactic is to go to a mall and compliment girls [or boys]who walk by,” says Sgt. Holly Joshi, a spokeswoman for the Oakland Police Department, who spent three years with Oakland’s vice and child exploitation unit.

“The ones who are dismissive—or just say ‘thank you’ and go on their way—are not the ones the pimps want,” she said. “The girls [or boys]who light up at the compliment or stop to chat are the ones the pimp will offer to buy a meal for or otherwise try to get to know.”

The girl with nowhere to go

“Runaway teens may be the most vulnerable of all: They may start out trading sex for food and a place to stay because they have no money, and that can quickly morph into forced prostitution. Many women in O.C.’s system started in ’the life‘ when they were just 11 or 12,” says Deputy D.A. Schoenleben and Susan Kang Schroeder, the Orange County district attorney’s chief of staff. “The people committing these crimes hone in on such women and girls through social media sites, the foster care system, at bus stations,[and] at malls,”

The abused and neglected

“[Quincy] Mack, [Pimpin’ Ken] Ivy, [pimpfeet.com] and the other pimp how-tos note that the women who endure this brutal exploitation were almost always neglected, abused, raped or molested as children, and that their resulting thirst for love and approval makes them easy targets, “says Teri Sforza, columnist for the OC Register.

We all have gaps in our lives. Love gaps. Support gaps. Family gaps. Gaps, that if recognized by the wrong person, can and will be exploited.

Don’t fall for the lines that pimps are selling. Fill that gap with good people. Join a support group, talk to a trusted friend, family member, or clergyman, or call one of the hotlines and speak to someone who cares.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
http://www.thehotline.org
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800- 273-8255
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Teen Line 1-800-TLC-TEEN
http://www.teenlineonline.org

Pimponomics is a new informational series here at the Stop Human Trafficking Action Group website that will cover everything you need to know about how pimps lure and control their victims, thrive in the prostitution and sexual exploitation industry, and are glorified in media due to our culture’s ignorance of what a pimp really is.

The first article of the series Pimponomics 101 focuses on the definition of “pimp” and the three unique tactics pimps use to lure a victim into a life of sexual exploitation.

 
Pimp (pimp)
noun

  1. a person, especially a man, who solicits customers for a prostitute or brothel, usually in return for a share in the earnings.
  2. a despicable person.

verb

  1. to act as a pimp for.
  2. to exploit.

Notice how neither of those definitions includes a badass player, which is what you see portrayed in TV shows and movies. That’s because there’s nothing badass about being a pimp.

 

Pimps fall into three different categories defined by how they approach their victim: Gorilla Pimp, Romeo Pimp, and CEO pimp, according to Sowers Education Group.

 

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photo by Kymberly Janisch

  1. Gorilla Pimp

Gorilla pimps (also called Godzilla pimps) are identified by the use of force and physical abuse unleashed on their victim. They typically use kidnapping, violence, drugs, and blackmail to control and subdue.

Target Prey—Gorillas typically pursue teens at a mall, a party, or on social media.

 

The lines they use include…

  • Come, party with me.
  • Don’t tell anyone where you’re going.
  • If you don’t do what I say, I’ll post these (naked or embarrassing) pictures of you all over the Internet.

Who to Watch for—“Men 18+ who hang with younger girls or overly friendly girls (recruiters) who persistently invite other teens to party and drink/do drugs with them,” states Sower Education Group.

photo by Stephanie

photo by Stephanie

  1. Romeo Pimp

Romeo pimps use sweet talk, compliments, gifts, and romance to attract a victim.

Target Prey—Romeo pimps typically target young girls looking for love and acceptance, runaways in need of shelter and protection, or those naïve and trusting who believe the lies the Romeo pimp tells them.

 

The lines they use include…

  • I love you.
  • Nobody else understands me.
  • I’ll give you everything you deserve.
  • I can’t live without you.
  • Dream with me.

Who to Watch for—“Guys who fall in love too quickly, guys or girls (recruiters) who encourage teens to run away from home, promising a happier life,” according to Sowers Education Group.

photo by 401(K) 2012

photo by 401(K) 2012

  1. CEO Pimp

CEO pimps approach sexual exploitation and prostitution as a business, the buying and selling of human beings as a transaction and their victims as property.

Target Prey—CEO pimps look for potential victims who are looking for a career in acting or modeling, especially naïve young women away from home.

 

The lines they use include…

  • I’m an agent.
  • You have what it takes to make it in this industry. Trust me.
  • This is strictly business.
  • I can make you rich.
  • Fill out this form (personal information).

Who to Watch for—“Men who promise stardom and “agents” who are too pushy or want bikini or ’artistically nude’ photos,” according to Sowers Education Group.

 

What All Three Types of Pimps Have in Common

Despite the fact that all three pimps use different tactics to lure their victim, there are a few similarities.

All pimps use intimidation and threats of some kind to control or “break” their victim’s will. By beating, raping, yelling, showing weapons, threatening, physical punishments, emotional manipulation, drugs, isolation, starvation, humiliation, etc., pimps are able to control their victim and force them to sell their bodies day after day.

 
“Most [women] have low self-esteem for a reason,” states a real-life CEO pimp, Pimpin’ Ken Ivy in Pimpology: The 48 Laws of the Game. “A pimp looks for that weakness, and if it isn’t on the surface, he brings that mother***er out of them. It doesn’t matter to a pimp what [a woman’s] weaknesses are, so long as they have them. Then he uses those weaknesses to his advantage. Weakness is the best trait a person can find in someone they want to control. If you can’t find a weakness, you have to create one. You have to tear someone’s ego down to nothing before they will start looking to you for salvation.”

 

What You Can Do

The first thing you can do is not accept the glamorization of pimps and prostitutes in media and raise awareness about the truth. Let it be known pimping is not something to aspire to and emulate. Refuse to purchase DVDs, CDs, movie tickets, etc. where pimps are glorified and portrayed as someone to admire and respect. You wouldn’t be approving of someone bragging about domestic violence, yet a majority of pimps do use violence to control their victims.
“We can also educate legislators so they’ll toughen our statutes governing’pandering,’ which is the legal term for pimping,” writes J. Patrick Coolican, a reporter for the Las Vegas Sun.

“Las Vegas Metro Police Detective Chris Baughman says the toughest sentence he can get is four years, five if there’s violence. But he says that pimps sometimes only get probation, especially if the women are afraid or unwilling to testify. Just five years for violently enslaving another human being? Also, pimps should be classified as sex offenders and forced to register as such once released. If we’re worried about the prison costs, we should reduce the sentences of nonviolent drug offenders.”

 

Also, you can sign a petition to vote “No” to decriminalizing pimps.