Truckers Against Trafficking Training Film

On Monday I wrote a brief blog on The Trucking Activism Network and what they are doing to combat human trafficking. In lieu of such a post, I thought it appropriate to share Truckers Against Trafficking’s training film in order to provide additional information on the trucking industry’s link to human trafficking, particularly (child) sex trafficking and exploitation as well as some steps to take to address this specific niche.

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The Trucking Activism Network

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The Truckers Missing Child Project (TTMCP) was an awareness project created by The Trucking Activism Network and its Founder, Dugal Trimble. Since its creation TAT has become very successful and has taken the lead of TTMCP.

TTMCP utilizes social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as traditional methods (i.e. flyer distribution) to relay important information about Missing Children and Amber Alerts to American truck drivers and the general public. Their secondary role is to stand up and combat related issues such as human trafficking, child abuse and child porn as such issues are closely related to the issue of missing children. TTMCP aims to accomplish this through education as well as working closely with other anti-trafficking organizations.

I initially became aware of TTMCP last year when I was working for a Northern California anti-trafficking non-profit.  The conversations that I had with founder and director, Dugal Trimble, highlighted the reality of an over-looked aspect of human trafficking: the trucking industry.

What many individuals do not realize is is that the trucking industry is a hot spot for human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking.  Truck stops are common grounds for prostitution as girls go from truck to truck soliciting sexual services.  What makes truck stops an ideal location for sex trafficking is that it is easy for both customers and solicitors to remain anonymous, little to no interaction with law enforcement and their proximity to freeways.

The mobility of truckers can prove to be a successful and essential step in combating human trafficking as truckers are on the front lines.  Trimble says that this means that truckers can report a victim by calling a trafficking hotline.  Additionally, they can sign up to receive Missing Children and Amber Alerts in order to keep an eye out for those missing individuals as they travel.  Since truckers are mobile, they play a critical role in assisting in the recovery of victims as they are an extra set of eyes and ears on the road.

Trimble has an amazing vision of bringing awareness of human trafficking to the trucking community.  His desire is to educate truckers and those working at truck stops on how to identify victims and what to do when one is spotted.  Trimble has done amazing work in the short time that he has been involved and is a wonderful source of information.

To learn more about TAN and how to become involved or how to sign up for alerts, please email truckersmissingchildproject@ymail.com or visit their website.

New Blog Topic Ideas

It has been too long since I have posted anything to the blog.  Life has been immensely busy with the arrival of my sweet baby girl, giving me little time to do anything that is not related to motherhood.  But I have been itching to dive back into the writing world, particularly as it relates to human trafficking awareness.

I have been mulling over several topic ideas on which to write.  Primarily, I have a desire to cover different human trafficking organizations and the work that they are doing to combat this issue.  Several of the organizations that I have in mind are either entities that I have worked professionally with in the past through various jobs that I held or are organizations that I have connected with on a personal basis.  Many of these organizations provide invaluable educational resources, research and various ways to get involved in the issue of human trafficking.  It is my desire in covering these organizations to (1) provide updated HT information (2) provide ways in which you can become involved in the fight.

I have also been toying with the idea of exploring different human trafficking and sexual exploitation issues so as to bring awareness to the specific niches and nuances of the industry. If there are any specific topics you would like to see covered, please feel free to contact me with requests as I would be more than happy to write on any specific areas any of you might have.

Here is to happy writing and learning together!

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.

Trauma Bonds (Continued)

(c) Courage Worldwide.  Certified Volunteer Training.  November 2012.

Continued from my post entitled “Trauma Bonds: Why a Victim Stays & “Loves” Her Pimp”.

Stockholm Syndrome and Trauma Bonds

How trauma bonds are displayed –

  • Positive feelings by the victim toward the abuser/controller (aka the abuser is “good”)
  • Negative feelings by the victim toward family, friends or authorities trying to rescue/support them or win their release (aka the rescuer is “bad”)
  • Support of the abuser’s reasons and behaviors
  • Positive feelings by the abuser toward the victim
  • Supportive behaviors by the victim, at times helping the abuser
  • Inability to engage in behaviors that may assist in their release or detachment

Indicators of trauma bonding –

  • Shows ongoing symptoms of trauma or PTSD
  • Intensely grateful for small kindness
  • Denies violence when violence and threats of violence are actually occurring
  • Rationalize violence or makes it into a joke
  • Denies anger at exploiter to others and to self
  • Believe they have some control over abuse
  • Self-blame for situation and abuse (at least 50% of blame is transferred onto the victim by self)

Trauma bonds strengthen when –

  • Trauma cycles are repeated
  • The victim believes in his or her uniqueness
  • The victim mistakes intensity for intimacy
  • The trauma endures over time
  • There are increasing amounts of fear
  • The fear-induce neurochemical reactions occur earlier in life and affect the organic development of the brain
  • The trauma is preceded by earlier victimization
  • The victim is surrounded by reactivity and extreme responses
  • The betrayal of power relationships is greater
  • The betrayal of trusted relationship is greater

Trauma bonds are disrupted when –

  • Healthy bonds are available
  • A group or community can debrief or re-role the victim (before making their trauma personal)
  • the victim can identify (a) cycles of abuse (b) roles of victim, victimizer and rescuer
  • the victim learns (a) how to psychologically distance from intensity (b) boundary-setting strategies
  • Metaphors (images) exist for the victim to use in the moment
  • The victim can reframe interactions of trauma
  • The victim understands the role of carried shame (aka taking on what’s not theirs)
  • The victim accepts trauma bond’s systematic nature (avoiding blame)