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40000

Healing the
Hurt
Fighting for the
Decriminalization
http://www.morningledger.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/karla-
Karla Jacinto grew up in Mexico
City, with a neglectful mother
and an abusive family. At the age When she was thirteen, police
of twelve, she met a man, ten raided a hotel in which she was
years her senior, who befriended working. Instead of freeing her
her. He treated her kindly, and and the other girls, they took
when she was locked out of the inappropriate videos of the
house by her mother she minors, and used them as
decided to run away with him. leverage to keep the girls from
telling anyone else. Karla would
For three months, they lived be kept in captivity under her
together in his apartment, until
Front cover image trafficker for three more years,
sources:
he revealed the business he was during which she would become
http://umad.com/img/20
in and started forcing her to
15/6/city-highway- pregnant and have her child
wallpaper-4372-4610-hd-
sleep with other men. They
wallpapers.jpg, taken away from her. She was
moved from city to city, where
https://www.washingtonp
finally able to escape in an anti-
ost.com/posteverything/
Karla worked seven days a week
wp/2014/12/05/child-
trafficking raid and was sent to
prostitutes-arent-
and saw up to 30 customers
criminals-so-why-do-we-
live in a shelter. Karla estimates
keep-putting-them-in-
jail/? each day. She never received that while she was enslaved, she
utm_term=.016e3e95cdf
a, days off and was beaten by her was raped over 40,000 times.
trafficker.
From CNNs Freedom Project:
http://www.cnn.com/specials/world/freedom-project

Sex Trafficking is defined as the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain


ome type ofcommercial sex act.1 This can involve abduction, blackmailing, or
eceit to force someone into offering themselves for sex. Anyone under the age
18 who has participated in commercial sex, regardless of fraud or coercion, is
onsidered a victim according to federal law in the United States. Sex trafficking
considered a form of slavery, one that still exists in the world today. This often
kes the form of forced prostitution, which is the practice of engaging in sexual
tivity in exchange for payment.2 Victims are often brought to a different city,

1 "What is Human Trafficking?" Homeland Security. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2017.

2 "Prostitution." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2017


ate, or country, and find themselves changing locations regularly so their
affickers can avoid law enforcement. This does not just occur in poor and
nderdeveloped countries. In the U.S. alone, estimates of sex trafficking reach
e hundreds of thousands,3 and there are an estimated 4.5 million people
apped in the sex industry worldwide.4 The following map ranks each country
cording to its efforts in fighting human trafficking. Often trafficking numbers
e much higher in countries that do not have laws or programs in place to
ombat trafficking.

What is Sex
Trafficking?

3 "The Facts." Polaris. N.p., 14 Feb. 2017. Web. 1 Apr. 2017.

New ILO Global Estimate of Forced Labour: 20.9 million victims." International Labour Organization, 01 June 2012. Web. 1 Apr. 2017.Image
rce: https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/ng-interactive/2015/jul/28/map-countries-worst-human-trafficking
statistics

trafficking-history/
pimp is someone, often a man, who controls a prostitute (or many) and solicits
ers. Generally, a pimp receives all of the profits that come from the prostitutes earnings
control over any money, food, and clothes they are given. The customers who engage in
cial sex with prostitutes are often referred to as johns. Commercial sex is a booming
s and a multimillion dollar industry in many urban centers. Atlanta, a hub for sex
ng in the United States, has one of the largest valued commercial sex industries, at $290
The average weekly income for a pimp in Atlanta between the years of 2005 and 2011
,833.5 Even though sex trafficking occurs all over the U.S., large cities, including Atlanta,
e likely to contain at risk populations for sex trafficking, and deal with a higher number of
ng cases. The above image maps the location and frequency of suspected human
ng based on calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2015, of which 78 percent
sex trafficking.6 Cities such as Atlanta, New York, Dallas, and San Francisco were all
locations.

appears that certain populations are more susceptible to trafficking. Women and girls
p 98% of those who are sexually exploited.7 Among minors who are trafficked, runaway
meless youth make up a disproportionate number of victims. Pimps often target these
because they have no supportive network and frequently find themselves in unfamiliar
5 7 Johnson, Matthew. The Hustle: Economics of the Underground Commercial Sex Industry. Rep. Urban
Institute, 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2017.

6 "2015 Hotline Statistics." Polaris. N.p., 01 Mar. 2016. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

7 "ILO." 21 million people are now victims of forced labour, ILO says. International Labour Organization, 01
June 2012. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.
ments. Traffickers also target foreign nationals, since they may have little understanding
urrounding community, language or laws. One of the most common ties between many
fficking victims is that they have experienced abuse or trauma in the past. These
als can become susceptible to pimps who will cater to their vulnerabilities, which include
8
curities or feelings of shame that often come with abuse. Even though these
ons are at higher risk for trafficking, individuals from all backgrounds and socioeconomic
can be victims and all are likely to suffer negative effects that are brought about by life
ommercial sex industry. Some are physical. Many pimps beat their workers who try to run
do not meet the set daily quotas. In addition, the large number of sexual partners makes
es much more likely to suffer from sexually transmitted infections. Some may deal with
diction, since some pimps provide their employees with narcotics to keep them
ent on the pimp, and in recent years, an increased number of pimps have branded their
ees with tattoos, a permanent reminder of what theyve experienced.9 Other effects are
ogical, including PTSD and anxiety that often results after trauma and sexual abuse. Self-
an be a huge issue, since many victims are only treated as their pimps property.

en though victims of sex trafficking are involved in prostitution against their will, many
face criminal charges due to law enforcement officers who are not trained to recognize
s of trafficking. In some cases, pimps or gang bosses who control an exploited person will
em to take part in other crimes that they are then punished for, such as transporting
robbing a client. Those who manage to leave the industry often have nowhere to go and
to turn to. They may be homeless, and many struggle to find employment since they
le education and experience. It is not uncommon for those who have left the commercial
stry to find themselves returning to it later.

ose who have conducted research on the sex industry and those who advocate for its
have raised awareness of the need to provide resources for those suffering as a result of
uma. This has led to the introduction of safe houses, job training programs, legal

8 "The Victims." National Human Trafficking Hotline. Polaris, 07 Oct. 2014. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

Donna. "Combating Sex Trafficking: A History." Fair Observer. Fair Observer, 06 Oct. 2013. Web. 1 Apr. 2017.
, and legislation, all with the goal of offering those exiting the industry the necessary
start to rebuild their lives.
At nine years old, Tina Frundt was sold for sex by her foster parents for the first time.
hen she was only 14, she ran away from home to be with a man she thought was her
yfriend, who then brought her to a new city and forced her to sleep with other men. Her
d the other girls trapped by their pimp were forced to walk the streets at night and given a
ily quota of $500. They were physically abused if they did not reach it and never received
y medical attention, traveling from city to city under these harsh conditions. Tina was a
ctim of forced prostitution for over a year before she was arrested on the streets of Chicago,
arged with prostitution, and for one year, was kept in juvenile detention. She was offered no
habilitative services after her release.10
Unfortunately, this

The Issue
is not an uncommon
case for many
victims of sex
trafficking, minors
d adults. Though they are indeed victims, many are arrested over and over again and face
minal charges, rather than receiving proper treatment and care after the trauma they
perience. Take Sheila Faye Simpkins, for example, who estimates that she was arrested
most 200 times during her time as a prostitute in Nashville, although her pimps never
ere.11 Pimps often avoid any encounters with law enforcement, and they have been known
strike up deals with police officers who are also their clients or pay the bail for their
mployees who end up in jail.
The root of this issue lies most heavily in a lack of training for law enforcement officers,
ho are not aware of the signs that a prostitute may be a victim of human trafficking. Even
hen minors are involved, many state laws differ from the federal law that classifies any
nor in the sex industry as a victim of trafficking. As seen in the case of Tina Frundt, youth in
me states will be put in juvenile detention, regardless of their status as victims. Other
mes, those who are trafficked may lie to law enforcement after they are caught, fearful of
hat their pimp may do if he finds out his employee revealed his identity. Because of the
egal nature of prostitution, those in the industry are raised to be wary of those on the side of
10 Romero, Juan David. "Why Do We Treat Child Sex-Trafficking Victims Like Criminals?" New Republic. N.p., 04 Dec. 2014.
Web. 1 Apr. 2017.

11 Kristof, Nicholas. "From the Streets to the 'World's Best Mom'" The New York Times. The New York Times
Company, 12 Oct. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2017.
e law. It is rare for a victim of trafficking to reach out for help from police, or anyone else.
rtunately, there already exists many organizations, movements and pieces of legislation
med at decriminalizing victims of sex trafficking and providing healthy rehabilitative
rvices. Some of them are highlighted below.
California Senate Bill
Courtneys House
1322
Tina Frundt, the trafficking survivor referenced
This law, which went into
previously, went on to start a recovery program for
effect in 2017, haschildren
drawn who have been sexually exploited.
criticism because Courtneys
it House goes out onto the streets to reach
legalizes child vulnerable youth and suspected victims, as well as
prostitution. In reality,
provides a safe place for survivors to heal.
the bill prohibits law

Current
enforcement from
arresting minors for
prostitution. It is meant
to make it easier for

Safe
The Trafficking Survivors Relief
of 2017
Act
Efforts
Harbor Laws
These are laws focusing solely on
trafficked minors and on keeping them
This bipartisan legislation was introduced
in the Senate in January of 2017.from
The criminal convictions. Thirty three
passing of the bill would allow forstates
the have enacted some form of
thesetolaws, which can involve full legal
criminal records of trafficking victims
be expunged, provided they offerprotection, training for law
supporting documentation that the enforcement, and funding for
crimes on their record occurred as rehabilitation
a services.

FAIR Girls
An international
organization, FAIR Girls aims
to prevent exploitation and
bring healing to victims
through empowerment and
education. It provides life
skills training, counselling,
and advocates for victims

Sources
http://www.courtneyshouse.org

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

https://www.congress.gov

http://humantraffickingcenter.org
http://humantraffickingcenter.org/un-safe-harbor-why-u-s-state-legislation-
http://www.fairgirls.org is-ineffectively-addressing-sex-trafficking-of-minors/
Much of what is currently being done to improve the lives of sex trafficking
ctims is a step in the right direction. Policymakers and advocates are realizing
hat needs to be done, but require additional resources and support in order to
arry it out. Many different organizations exist, like Courtneys House and FAIR
rls, that are working to bring healing to sex trafficking victims and advocate for
eir innocence. These groups run largely on donations from sponsors and
upport from volunteers. Individuals that can offer time or money can help
nsure that those being supported by these organizations can continue to be
elped. Even those without much time and money can contact state and federal

Whats next?
wmakers, encouraging them to support legislation like the Trafficking Survivors
elief Act and to enforce Safe Harbor laws in their state. They can also push for
gislation that brings harsher punishment on sexual offenders and pimps and
ore resources to train law enforcement. A louder voice from the general public
ill solidify the importance of this issue. Above all, those who are educated on
is issue should spread awareness that it exists--that victimized individuals in
eed of support and a space to heal are instead being charged as criminals. In a
ountry that has claimed to abolish slavery almost 200 years ago, we should be
ghting for the freedom of those who are still enslaved.

The National Human


Trafficking Hotline
1-888-373-7888