Tag Archives: Sexual Exploitation

Demi vs. Kim: The Real Pimpin Issue

by Rachel Lloyd

There’s been lots of coverage in the last 24 hours on the Twitter ‘feud’ between Demi Moore and Kim Kardashian. Yet the glaring omission from all the articles, blogs and commentary is any real analysis of Demi’s point – that we glamorize and glorify pimp culture, use terminology that seems to legitimize the practice, and in doing so ignore the fact that pimps are modern-day slave-owners.

I’m the founder and Executive Director of GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, the nation’s largest service provider to girls and young women who’ve been commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked. Every day, I witness the impact that pimps have on the lives of girls in this country. Girls are left with physical and psychological scars from the brutal tactics of adult men who prey upon some of the most vulnerable children in our society and then sell them for profit over and over again.

Demi, and her husband Ashton, have met some of the girls GEMS serves, heard their horrific stories about being under pimp control and have taken action. They launched the DNA Foundation with the goal of ending child sex trafficking both in the US and abroad and recently donated a $250,000 Pepsi Refresh grant to support GEMS services to survivors of domestic trafficking. Both Demi and Ashton have been raising the alarm about the epidemic of child sex trafficking that’s happening right here in the US to American girls for over a year now, and yet it’s an exchange with Kim Kardashian that has garnered the most attention.

Kim Kardashian, like most people in this country, is probably totally unaware of the harsh reality of pimping and thinks of it in the context of a Jay-Z song, a 50 Cent video, an Oscar-winning song and movie, or a caricature from the 1970’s. I’m sure if Kim knew the real stories, tears and scars behind the glorified images of pimps, she’d think differently about the language she used. I’d encourage her and anyone else who uses ‘pimpin’ as a verb to watch our Showtime documentary ‘Very Young Girls’ to learn the truth about pimp culture.

Ultimately though this issue isn’t about Kim or Demi. It’s about the girls and young women whose lives are systematically destroyed by pimps/traffickers. It’s about changing our societal acceptance of pimps and ‘pimpin’ and calling it what it really is: trafficking and slaveholding. Over 100,000 children in this country are exploited through the commercial sex industry each year, and the median age of entry into the sex industry is estimated to be between 12 and 14 years old. If those facts haven’t been enough to start a national dialogue about domestic trafficking of girls in the US, perhaps a Twitter exchange between two celebrities will be.

The Twitter exchange between Ms. Kardashian and Demi Moore (Mrs. Kutcher): Continue reading

Being Social For Social Justice

By MGJack

Do you Blog, Twitter, Facebook or MySpace for social justice? Would it not be great to go to just one place and add your post just once and it goes everywhere you have a social presence? I have come across an up and coming service called Hubze that will do just that for you. Please read how Hubze could really help you spread the word about your social justice cause .

What is Hubze?

Just imagine this. Would it not be great to have only ONE place you had to go online to be social? Right now many of us have to perform the overwhelming task of signing onto and posting to all our social networking sites. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FriendFinder, Ning and all these other social networks…and the truth is…it is a lot of work. I mean should social networking not be fun and easy to do so we in fact do it. Add to that the fact that many of us use social networking as a business application promoting our business and building are brands.

How do we fix this? Enter Hubze. Hubze plans to simplify your life by giving you a platform where you only have to go to ONE place to enter any content. One place to blog, update, share, chat, email, market and search. One place to simplify your online life.

Hubze is not going to be just another social network. Hubze is not going to be just another online marketing system. Hubze is going to be the ONE STOP SHOP you need! And at Hubze simplifying your online life is only the beginning.

Hubze is all about what it’s founders call “Elegant Organization” This concept allows you to bring all of your social interactions into one place. Twitter, Facebook, Direct Matches, Linkedin, BetterNetworker, Myspace, etc. and post to all of them at the push of a button from one single platform. The Hubze MeCard is only the tip of the iceburg here and will be the first of many other services to come. Recently Hubze let out of the bag that they will provide a service that will allow anyone to customize the look and feel of there Facebook page similar to the customization folks enjoy in MySpace. The HubzeCard will always be a free service for all who sign up. For more information on Hubze and to get the HubzeCard service free go to: www.hubze.mgjack.com  for full details. You must be invited by another Hubze member like me so Click and join for FREE.

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Human Trafficker Gives Rare Video Interview

by Amanda Kloer

If you’ve had an interest in the issue of human trafficking and modern-day slavery for any period of time, you probably have wondered, “How can one human being actually enslave another? What’s going through his or her head?” Now, here’s your chance to know. A South African NGO has filmed a former human trafficker who lured girls and women from Thailand to South Africa with the promise of high-paying jobs and then forced them into prostitution. Check out his story in his own words, with more after the jump. Warning: contains graphic descriptions of violence.

This man might not be your stereotypical trafficker, in part because he seems to have had a change of heart about what he was doing, but his descriptions of the trafficking process are incredibly complex. It starts with false promises, includes enforcement of corrupt police and the graphic physical and psychological abuse that goes on. It’s a very brutal reality described in the starkest of terms.

One of the most interesting parts of the interview was that they were able to anticipate law enforcement raids and simply move the girls to another place. Finding human trafficking victims is incredibly difficult for this exact reason. I have to wonder if this ability to detect and then evade inspection by the police is a common phenomenon among traffickers, or if it was this man in particular who was just highly skilled.

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Initial Reports on Human Trafficking at Olympics Clash

by Amanda Kloer

In the months leading up to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, a number of organizations were giving Canadians a strong warning: human trafficking, and especially child sex trafficking, increases around major sporting events like the Olympics. Organizations working with trafficked women swear up and down that when a big athletic event comes to town, they do more business. Other organizations, often those working with prostitution but not human trafficking issues, have claimed these predictions are baseless fear-mongering. Well, information from the latest Olympics is starting to roll in, and of course, the results are different in the eyes of different groups.

Having only been over for a couple weeks, Vancouver is still recovering from what was a very busy Winter. However, a couple reports regarding prostitution and human trafficking in the area have come out. Local organization Prostitution Alternatives Counseling and Education (P.A.C.E) has said that street level prostitution in the most common areas, whether voluntary or involuntary, was slow throughout the games. They’ve categorically stated that the Olympics caused no bump in human trafficking, which was what they predicted. Another organization, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, claims that trafficking was a reality during the Olympics. They said they served at least five internationally trafficked women and saw at least 100 domestically trafficked women. They also postulated that a lot of the commercial sex was taking place indoors, where no one was looking for it. Continue reading

Congress Aims to Improve Laws for Runaway, Prostituted Kids

by Amanda Kloer

The prospects for healthcare reform may be chillier than DC weather, but Democrats in the House and Senate are turning their attention to another warmer but still significant national issue: the increasing number of runaway and throwaway youth who are being forced into prostitution. In response to the growing concerns that desperate, runaway teens will be forced into prostitution in a sluggish economy, Congress is pushing several bills to improve how runaway kids are tracked by the police, fund crucial social services, and prevent teens from being caught in sex trafficking. Here’s the gist of what the new legislation is trying to accomplish:Shelter: Lack of shelter is one of the biggest vulnerabilities of runaway and homeless youth. Pimps will often use an offer of shelter as an entree to a relationship with a child or a straight up trade for sex. In the past couple years, at least 10 states have made legislative efforts to increase the number of shelters, extend shelter options, and change state reporting requirements so that youth shelters have enough time to win trust and provide services before they need to report the runaways to the police. Much of the new federal legislation would make similar increases in the availability and flexibility of shelter options.

Police Reporting: Right now, police are supposed to enter all missing persons into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database within two hours of receiving the case. In reality, that reporting doesn’t always get done, making it almost impossible for law enforcement to search for missing kids across districts. This hole is a big problem in finding child prostitution victims and their pimps, since pimps will often transport girls from state to state. The new bill would strengthen reporting requirements, as well as facilitate communication between the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Runaway SwitchboardFunding Pilot Programs: Another bill, introduced in December, would fund pilot programs aimed at providing teens in prostitution drug treatment, counseling, and job skills training. Even when child trafficking victims are separated from their pimps, some return to prostitution. In many cases, this return is a direct result of the power and control the pimp exercises over his victims. But sometimes, it’s because the teen lacks the resources and skills to support herself in another way. Programs like these can help children leave prostitution for good. Continue reading

STOP THE TRAFFIK:Take Part in START FREEDOM

START FREEDOM a campaign for young people

Stop The Traffik

A global campaign for schools and young people who will become aware of the issues surrounding human trafficking and realise the power to make a difference. Please go to www.startfreedom.org and download the Start Freedom resources. Teachers, there are great resources here to discuss this important world wide issue in the classroom.

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Texas D.A. Prosecutes Girl, 13, For Prostitution While Her Pimp, 32, Walks

by Amanda Kloer

Patricia R. Lykos, District Attorney

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the king-sized failures of the justice system are no exception. A Harris County District had a major justice FAIL recently when he prosecuted a 13-year-old girl for prostitution, despite the fact that she’s legally a human trafficking victim and not old enough to consent to sex. And her 32-year-old “boyfriend” (aka pimp) who was having sex with her and likely facilitated her prostitution? Well, he walked off free and clear.

The Texas Supreme Court is hearing the case this week, and it’s unclear whether they’ll decide that a trafficked child too young to consent to sex can be prosecuted for prostitution.

The girl, who media are calling B.W. to protect her identity, was picked up in 2007 when she offered to give an undercover Houston police office a sex for $20. Quickly, the police discovered that she was a minor, and that she had run away from a foster home placement two years earlier, when she was just 11. After running away, she moved in with a 32-year-old man whom she called her “boyfriend.” While staying with him, she used a number of illegal drugs, acquired several sexually transmitted diseases, and had two abortions.

While B.W. never admitted to being engaged in prostitution between the ages of 11 and 13, the high number of STDs and abortions are strong indicators that her “boyfriend” may have been pimping her out, even at that young age. But she did plead guilty to the prostitution charges related to her arrest.

So why is there a legal battle currently raging in Texas over whether or not to charge a young girl, clearly victimized by an older man, with prostitution? B.W.’s lawyers are arguing that it’s just plain ridiculous for a 13-year-old to be prosecuted for prostitution when lawmakers have otherwise determined that a child of that age is legally incapable of consenting to any sex act, much less one that involves an implied contract (minors that age are also too young to legally agree to contracts). They say a prostitution conviction would create an inconsistent legal precedent which states that a child is at the same time both legally capable and legally incapable of consenting to sex.

The D.A., on the other hand, claims B.W. was agreeing to engage in the sex act, which does not require legally-effective consent. Plus, in Texas, state law allows minors to be charged with prostitution, so they claim her consent doesn’t even matter. They also claim that in jail, B.W. will have access to all sorts of educational, rehabilitative, and other services, whereas if she were free, she’d just go back into foster care, run away, and be back on the street.

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