Dr. Kanani Titchen Fights Human Trafficking

As a pediatrics resident with Jefferson/Nemours/Afred I. de Pont Hospital for Children, Dr. Kanani Titchen, recognizes that most pediatricians are not aware of the signs of childhood sexual exploitation or know what to do if they are able to spot the signs. This includes branding, including tattooing and branding by pimps.

Dr. Titchen has developed a four-chapter series, which includes human trafficking experts who discuss signs and available resources, out of a national survey she conducted on medical students, residents and physicians. She is raising awareness on an issue that doesn’t receive much attention in the medical industry. To learn more about Titchen, please visit http://bit.ly/1ph9TEx.

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Protecting Children From Human Trafficking

As a parent, I am constantly worrying about how to protect my beautiful, innocent child(ren), especially in a day and age where danger seems to be constantly present.  Human Trafficking is one crime that has exploded over the past several years due, largely, to the advancement of technology.  For most people, it is a vague concept that is thought to reside primarily overseas or is an issue that could never happen to them or a loved one.  This could not be further from the truth.

Human Trafficking affects us all.  However, vulnerable populations – such as children – tend to be at higher risk of falling prey. Georgia Family Magazine hit the nail right on the head when they wrote “as awful as this subject is, parents can’t mince words when it comes to educating innocent kids…It’s up to parents to protect children by developing trusting, open relationships, and by educating them to the very real dangers posed by this industry.”  I hope and pray that my child(ren) never become victims of this disgusting business!  I do not know what the future holds for them but I know that there are steps that I can take to reduce the changes that my child(ren) are not victimized.

Tips To Protect Your Child

  1. Build honest relationships with your children.  If your child is acting out, sit down and listen – what’s going on?
  2. Be honest about your own experiences.
  3. Make sure your children with you – or a trusted adult – at all times.
  4. Create and provide your child/teen with health self-esteem.  Traffickers prey on the insecurities of children, teenagers and young adults.
  5. Strictly monitor computer use.  And provide them with safety tips regarding social media (i.e. turning their location services OFF, putting their profiles on PRIVATE and not accepting friend requests unless they personally know the individual) that will increase their safety from online predators.  Use the parental control settings on your computer to check the Internet history. Have access to all of their account usernames and passwords for safety reasons.  And discuss with your children the dangers of social media and how this is influencing your decision to monitor the computer and Internet usages.
  6. Educate your children going off to college or travel about the deception used by (sex) traffickers.
  7. Teach kids never to lose themselves in alcohol or drugs.
  8. Warn young people to avoid stairwells, elevators, clubs, bars and deserted streets where they can be whisked out of sight.
  9. Teach youngsters to beware of offers of modeling and dancing careers that seem too good to be true.
  10. Explain the importance of being aware of their surroundings.
  11. Always meet your child’s friends and significant others.  Local traffickers often times use young and charming individuals – particularly males – to recruit children into the (sex) trafficking industry.  Notice if your child has new clothing items, makeup products, cell phone(s) or other items and inquire about how they acquired them.  Also watch your children for changes in mood or increased anxiety.

For additional safety tips and information, check out the links below.  I gathered the above tips from these wonderful resources:

New Study Helps Estimate Online Sex Advertisment Usage

Arizona State University’s (ASU) School of Social Work, Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research, in collaboration with the Phoenix Police Department, recently concluded a study and developed a model to estimate the number of customers contacting online sex advertisements.  Funded by THORN: Digital Defenders of Children (whom I did an article on on March 12, 2014), this particular study is the first in a series on prostitution demand.

The purpose of this study, according to the authors, is to contribute to the field of demand research.  Specifically, it intended to inform law enforcement, advocacy groups and policy makers on the scope of this illegal and heinous activity.  Using an ecological sampling technique called capture/recapture, the ASU study created a probability estimate for the total size of the online sex ad customer population based on the exposed male population in 15 U.S. cities.

For more information on this study as well as its findings, please click here.

Digital Defenders of Children

While our work is about technology, it is important to remember that this is a human issue.  We are talking about someone’s child, someone’s son or daughter, sister or brother.

– Demi Moore, Co-Founder, THORN

I recently stumbled upon THORN, an organization that “partners with nonprofits and academic institutions to gather new insights into the role technology plays in child sex trafficking, the creation and proliferation of child pornography, and the normalization of child sexual exploitation”.  THORN uses this data to develop tools and approaches to then address these issues.

This concept of targeting and combating the issue of sexual exploitation – specifically the youth population – is brilliant!  I love how THORN is approaching human trafficking from one of its many facets in order to effectively reduce the demand and effect(s) it has here in America as well as worldwide!

I encourage you to check out THORN and to become plugged into their social media facets in order to stay updated on industry-related news.  THORN is a wonderful organization doing amazing things to fight the spread of child sexual exploitation and is a wonderful asset to utilize, especially those of us with children.  Please share them with your friends who have children so that they may have one additional tool in protecting and defending their children.

Vicki Zito – Full Interview

A mother recounts the story of her daughter’s abduction and journey into the world of human trafficking while urging individuals to educate and equip themselves on how to combat the issue of modern day slavery.

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

January has been declared as as the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month by President Barack Obama. Specifically, January 11 is designated the National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Human Trafficking and Sex Trafficking, often believed to be an over-seas issue, is prevalent in the United States – often times preying upon domestic American children.  It is important that Americans stop ignoring such a prominent issue by turning a blind eye to a sensitive and uncomfortable issue.

Steps:

  • Prayer – for rescue and healing.
  • Awareness – gain insight of the issue, both domestically and abroad.  Share your knowledge with your family, friends and community.  Observe today – and the rest of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month – as a means of combating modern-day slavery.
  • Volunteer – find a local anti-trafficking organization to get involved in.
  • Financial Giving – make monthly or annual contributions to an anti-trafficking organization.

Shared Hope International, an organization that strives to prevent sex slavery while bringing justice to vulnerable women and children, has some amazing interactive videos that can include topics such as “Top 4 Things Every Survivor Wants America To Know” and “Top 4 Tactics to Combat Demand and What Every Man Can Do”.

Anti-Trafficking organizations include: 

Overview of Business Models That Pimps Utilize

Business models vary between pimps and types of sex business, making it difficult to identify pimps and traffickers as they arise or evaluate a uniform prescription to the problem of commercialized prostitution and sexual exploitation.  It is difficult to gather accurate data, such as statistics, regarding this particular industry due to the secrecy and shame surrounding the sexual abuse that occurs.  As a result, information regarding a pimp’s business model is not necessarily available making it difficult to draw accurate conclusions on this subject.

Yet, there are a few different models that have been identified by law enforcement and non-profit organizations.  One study indicates that many commercially exploited victims move between one type of activity to another, such as moving between working the streets and in an escort service.  Pimps adhere largely to a specific business model of their choosing but will incorporate elements of other business models as [s]he deems necessary to the monetary advancement of his or her enterprise.  Often times there is no real ‘business model’ that pimps go by.  They will come up with their own model for how they feel they can best profit from.   “The bottom line is, in order to keep their businesses running pimps need to control, and control can come in the form of physical, emotional, psychological, and financial to the girls [or males] who are dependent on them.” Although business models exist they are not equivalent to a legitimate business model, such as fast food chains, because pimps often times do not have a formal education.

It is important to realize that “pimps understand the meaning of business over personal ventures, that is marketing a product and investing in your product first so your product can return profits.”  Pimps also understand the concept of capitalism, meaning that it is a pimp’s prerogative to entice any prostitute away from another pimp because it is viewed as a component of free enterprise.  Philosophically speaking, “pimps believe all capitalistic pursuits are parallel to pimping.”

Therefore, other pimps are free to seduce a prostitute away from his or her current pimp into his stable for his financial gain without fear of retaliation from the current pimp due to street rules that prevent pimps from chasing their prostitutes.  A pimp will teach his prostitute[s] not to make eye contact with any other pimps in order to protect his assets from being stolen by another pimp.  What keeps individuals in prostitution is the fact that they are living by the rules of the street.  A prostitute is forced into working for another pimp if [s]he makes eye contact with another pimp, ultimately resulting in a new ownership as [s]he goes to work for that new pimp.  A prostitute may be “out of pockets” if [s]he makes eye contact with another pimp, meaning [s]he has put a pimp’s money at risk.  Conversely, the advancing pimp may choose to take the prostitute’s money, putting that prostitute’s pimp at a financial loss.

The pimp business plan ultimately represents a larger pimp mentality, according to Alameda County DA Sharmin Bock, as pimps look to extend their trafficking business both locally and nationally.  Pimps must build up his name ID in order to acquire [more] prostitutes, money, respect, and power.  A pimp has become a successful pimp and businessman if [s]he is respected by the pimping community.  This particular philosophy is similar to the legitimate corporate world: a business[wo]man must build up a good reputation in order to become legitimized and respected.

Similarly, a pimp must build up his or her reputation and reliability in order to become [well] known, bring in a significant financial quota every night, own a good-sized stable, and have prominence among clientele.  “Ultimately you do want to be doing the big ticket sales of children all over the country.  And sadly today there is no bigger bang for your buck, no better investment on your money, no better return, than selling a child [or any individual] for sex.”  In other words, the number one rule of the ‘Game’ is that the pimp must get paid.

There are two categories of activity within the commercial sexual exploitation industry: indoor versus outdoor.  Inside, or ‘low frequency’, activity includes: escort services, private or exotic dancing, live internet, photos or film, massage parlors or health spas, brothels, gang-related, [a prostitute’s] own residence, someone else’s residence, phone sex, peep shows, bars or clubs, live sex shows, parties and events, or an institutional setting.  Outside activities encompasses the opposite spectrum of a pimp’s business and incorporates street prostitution, drug homes, truck stops, and hotels.

Author’s Note: (c) Anna Rutherford Engel.  Please site if quoting any of my writing.  If you would like to know which studies or individuals I am citing in my work, please contact me and I will send you those sources.  Additionally, contact me if you would like my research as a whole.