Shared Hope International http://sharedhope.org Leading a worldwide effort to eradicate sexual slavery...one life at a time Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:30:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Feds Seize Myredbook.com, Threatening Online Facilitators of Sex Trafficking http://sharedhope.org/2014/07/08/feds-seize-myredbook-com-threatening-online-facilitators-sex-trafficking/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=feds-seize-myredbook-com-threatening-online-facilitators-sex-trafficking http://sharedhope.org/2014/07/08/feds-seize-myredbook-com-threatening-online-facilitators-sex-trafficking/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 16:18:58 +0000 http://sharedhope.org/?p=7795 The dirty business of child sex trafficking is rapidly migrating to the Internet, due  to the accessibility and anonymity of websites like Craigslist.com, Backpage.com, and Myredbook.com that allow ads for “adult services.” It is well known that these ads mask child and adult sexual exploitation and that big money is being made. Advocates like Shared [...]

The post Feds Seize Myredbook.com, Threatening Online Facilitators of Sex Trafficking appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
The dirty business of child sex trafficking is rapidly migrating to the Internet, due  to the accessibility and anonymity of websites like Craigslist.com, Backpage.com, and Myredbook.com that allow ads for “adult services.” It is well known that these ads mask child and adult sexual exploitation and that big money is being made.

Advocates like Shared Hope International have railed against the injustice of the protections provided to online facilitators of sex trafficking through the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA) immunities that block civil actions by victims and preempt state criminal prosecutions.  Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) has repeatedly challenged Attorney General Holder to bring federal prosecutions against the online classified giant Backpage.com. Recently  Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) introduced the SAVE Act and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) is poised to drop his own version; both are intended to bring liability to online facilitators of child sex trafficking.

The dam may have broken!

Last week the FBI and the IRS shut down Myredbook.com – the fifth highest revenue generator from sex advertisements – while they investigate possible money laundering of cash gained from racketeering based on prostitution. Websites that promote prostitution create a dangerous platform for sex traffickers leaving trafficked children more hidden and vulnerable and drive the demand for sex actsDemand thrives on these websites.

This investigation may be a chink in the extensive armor these companies have built around themselves including  half-hearted efforts at self-regulation  as well as strident opposition to  victim compensation and state laws that would empower state prosecutors to stop trafficking in their own jurisdictions. The Justice Department, stymied from prosecuting these sites for trafficking due to evidence gaps, may have finally found a way to begin dismantling these criminal enterprises.

The reaction of one buyer of the sex acts being sold on these sites (as expressed on usasexguide.info) says it all: “Holy S**t. Look what happened. Try to click on myredbook.com.”

myredbook

The post Feds Seize Myredbook.com, Threatening Online Facilitators of Sex Trafficking appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
http://sharedhope.org/2014/07/08/feds-seize-myredbook-com-threatening-online-facilitators-sex-trafficking/feed/ 1
Not All Are Free http://sharedhope.org/2014/07/03/free/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=free http://sharedhope.org/2014/07/03/free/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 18:08:28 +0000 http://sharedhope.org/?p=7749 As a kid, I was always told that “America is a free country.” Every year, people in the United States take July 4th to commemorate the adoption of the declaration of independence in 1776. This moment in 1776 was truly remarkable, and it changed the course of history forever. Founded on the belief that all [...]

The post Not All Are Free appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
Defender banner

As a kid, I was always told that “America is a free country.” Every year, people in the United States take July 4th to commemorate the adoption of the declaration of independence in 1776. This moment in 1776 was truly remarkable, and it changed the course of history forever. Founded on the belief that all people are created equal, and that all men had the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, our country separated itself from the Kingdom of Great Britain in order to truly pursue those values.

Equality. Freedom. Life. Happiness. Independence. These are all values that our country, from its very beginning, has believed in.

Unfortunately for us, every year at least 100,000 children are being robbed of those values. At the Defenders USA, we acknowledge that there is a $9.8 billion dollar industry out there that is robbing children of their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. At The Defenders USA, we are seeking to change that fact.

My name is Ethan Morrow, and I am a Defender with Shared Hope International. Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. I would like to invite you to not only celebrate that moment in history when we were granted independence, but to also acknowledge that even in our own free country, not all are truly free.

For the next few weeks, I want to invite you to join us in raising awareness for those that aren’t truly free. I want to invite you to support the restoration and the path to freedom that we seek to provide. In order to successfully do that, we invite you to do the following things:

  1. Today, we are posting an image and a link to download that image. Its message is simple. “Not All Are Free.” We would like to encourage you to print this out, and take a picture of yourself holding it. Then post it to social media, and tell all of your friends to do the same.
    Not All Are Free
  2. Get at least 7 men in your circle of influence to be on board with you. Have them take the Defenders pledge, and begin to engage with this as well.
  3. Engage with us on Social media. Every day for the next few weeks, we will be releasing new information, maybe some infographics, some videos, and blog content, and even some new challenges that you can participate in. Share that content. Last year, one of our most powerful state grade changes happened through social media advocacy. The more that you share our content with your family and your friends on social media, the more people are going to be aware that not all are free.

The United States is a fantastic country, but everyone needs to know… that not all are free. Join the cause, and engage with us today.

The post Not All Are Free appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
http://sharedhope.org/2014/07/03/free/feed/ 2
Thank You Walt Schulcz http://sharedhope.org/2014/07/03/thank-walt-schulcz/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=thank-walt-schulcz http://sharedhope.org/2014/07/03/thank-walt-schulcz/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 16:42:53 +0000 http://sharedhope.org/?p=7747 We would like to take time this month to affirm and recognize a true Defender and an incredibly influential Ambassador of Hope.  Through his actions, Walt Schulcz has shown that he is a true Defender that brings a message of hope to all. Over time, Walt has influenced thousands of people. From schools to churches, [...]

The post Thank You Walt Schulcz appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
Defender banner

We would like to take time this month to affirm and recognize a true Defender and an incredibly influential Ambassador of Hope.  Through his actions, Walt Schulcz has shown that he is a true Defender that brings a message of hope to all. Over time, Walt has influenced thousands of people. From schools to churches, and individuals to small groups, Walt and his wife are committed to addressing the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking. Their work is incredible, and for that we are forever grateful. Let Walt be an example to us all.

Walt has shown us that any man can do something about human trafficking. Walt is the perfect example of a Defender who utilizes Shared Hope resources so that he can save the lives of those around him.

In just a small period of time, Walt and his wife have shown countless showings of the documentary Chosen (well over 20 presentations). In just one month alone, they showed the documentary to over 600 teens and adults. In this time, they also got Chosen into a school system for kids in 7th-12th grade. Walt is consistently thinking about how he can reach out and raise awareness about trafficking.

By showing so many screenings of Chosen, Walt has got into his “awareness groove” and he has created an effective presentation style that works for him. Walt is doing lots of effective communication as a result, and he is even working on getting Chosen into his local movie theater!

The list doesn’t end there, however. Walt has also helped identify potential victims of trafficking, he’s made relationships with school superintendents, he has presented to DHS workers—the list goes on and on.

Please, take the time to thank Walt today in the comments section of this blog. Walt, you are truly setting an example, and for that we are grateful. Together, with men like you, we can end the demand for domestic minor sex trafficking.

The post Thank You Walt Schulcz appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
http://sharedhope.org/2014/07/03/thank-walt-schulcz/feed/ 3
Buyer Beware, Or Not. Operation Cross Country Slams Traffickers, Rescues Victims, But Where Are The Buyers? http://sharedhope.org/2014/06/26/buyer-beware-operation-cross-country-slams-traffickers-rescues-victims-buyers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=buyer-beware-operation-cross-country-slams-traffickers-rescues-victims-buyers http://sharedhope.org/2014/06/26/buyer-beware-operation-cross-country-slams-traffickers-rescues-victims-buyers/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 15:18:18 +0000 http://sharedhope.org/?p=7805 One of the most successful national operations targeting child sex trafficking was conducted by the FBI and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies as part of the week-long Operation Cross Country initiative to combat child sex trafficking. Under this initiative, 281 traffickers were arrested and 168 children were recovered. The most recent sting operation [...]

The post Buyer Beware, Or Not. Operation Cross Country Slams Traffickers, Rescues Victims, But Where Are The Buyers? appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
cross-country-8-map

Source: http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2014/june/operation-cross-country/operation-cross-country

One of the most successful national operations targeting child sex trafficking was conducted by the FBI and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies as part of the week-long Operation Cross Country initiative to combat child sex trafficking. Under this initiative, 281 traffickers were arrested and 168 children were recovered. The most recent sting operation was the eighth of its kind and netted the most victims and perpetrators to date, bringing the lifetime total impact of this operation to 2,600 children rescued and 1,450 perpetrator convictions resulting in lengthy sentences and seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets. And while this operation remains a shining example of how 392 agencies in 106 cities can collectively work to disrupt illicit trafficking operations guised as, still illegal, prostitution businesses, buyers were not represented in official sting statistics. In fact, buyers were barely mentioned despite their role as the root cause for this crime.

The trafficking market follows the basic economic principles of supply and demand. As demand increases, so does supply. In the case of child sex trafficking, as demand for sex with children increases, traffickers strive to supply trafficking victims to those willing to pay. Many buyers operate on a common false assumption that the payment they make to the prostituted victim contributes to the victim’s financial well-being. False. A buyer’s payment is simply handed over to traffickers who use it as incentive to further victimize and exploit more children to meet the demand.

So why did buyers escape exposure for their arguably largest contribution to the crime? Online public buyer forums were abuzz with warnings of police activity in cities around the nation during the sting, sharing news and location information about law enforcement activity to help their mongering peers avoid criminal detection. These apparently invisible offenders seemed to have little to fear as they were a rare mention in operation reports. Perhaps law enforcement agencies prioritized the most imminent threat, traffickers. Or perhaps buyers went unreported due to their underestimated role in the crime. Whatever the reason, it was a major miss in the fight to end child sex trafficking. If the source of the crime is not addressed, it will continue to flourish. New traffickers will realize the economic potential in selling children. New children will be victimized to meet the demands of the buyer. The cycle of supply and demand will continue unabated until demand is recognized and prioritized as the most immediate threat to our nation’s children.

The FBI Innocence Lost Task Force Operation Cross Country initiative has had big wins in the fight against child sex trafficking. Add buyers to the operation focus and Operation Cross Country has the potential to be the anti-trafficking juggernaut, crushing the selling and buying that perpetuates the victimization of children through sex trafficking.

The post Buyer Beware, Or Not. Operation Cross Country Slams Traffickers, Rescues Victims, But Where Are The Buyers? appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
http://sharedhope.org/2014/06/26/buyer-beware-operation-cross-country-slams-traffickers-rescues-victims-buyers/feed/ 4
SAVE Act Targets the Advertisement of Human Trafficking Victims http://sharedhope.org/2014/06/24/save-act-targets-advertisement-human-trafficking-victims/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=save-act-targets-advertisement-human-trafficking-victims http://sharedhope.org/2014/06/24/save-act-targets-advertisement-human-trafficking-victims/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 18:50:15 +0000 http://sharedhope.org/?p=7707 By: Eion Oosterbaan As its use becomes increasingly universal, the Internet has drastically changed the face of human sex trafficking.  Through this medium, criminals have found a way to expand their reach of influence while simultaneously reducing the risk of their detection by law enforcement to a significant extent.  Traffickers, or pimps, have taken their [...]

The post SAVE Act Targets the Advertisement of Human Trafficking Victims appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
By: Eion Oosterbaan

As its use becomes increasingly universal, the Internet has drastically changed the face of human sex trafficking.  Through this medium, criminals have found a way to expand their reach of influence while simultaneously reducing the risk of their detection by law enforcement to a significant extent.  Traffickers, or pimps, have taken their business operations from the streets to the online realm, openly advertising their victims as if they are items for sale on websites like Backpage.com and Craigslist.  This new practice has caused the selling of human beings for sex to become enormously profitable as human sex trafficking now generates $9.5 billion yearly in the United States.  With hundreds of potential buyers from all over the country viewing these ads daily, a trafficker can make anywhere from $150,000 – $200,000 per child victim in a given year.

SAVE-act2Even more surprising is the fact that websites earned a total of $45 million in revenue from prostitution advertising in the United States last year.  In the average month Backpage.com receives $4-$5 million from these types of ads, which often involve underage children.  Legitimate, legal, multimillion dollar corporations are currently profiting from criminal activity and the plight of trafficked children as they generally choose to ignore the fact that their services are facilitating these crimes.  It should be noted that not every corporation has disregarded this issue, however, as Google has recently made a highly publicized decision to remove all pornographic ads and links to sexually explicit websites from their services.

In order to limit the prevalence and profitability of human sex trafficking and to hold services like Backpage.com accountable, Congresswoman Ann Wagner and members of the Republican Task force on Human Trafficking in the 113th Congress have worked to create the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act (SAVE Act).  The SAVE Act seeks to criminalize the advertisement of commercial sex acts with minors and victims of human trafficking by amending Section 1591 of the Federal Criminal Code to include “advertising” to the types of conduct that constitute the crime of federal sex trafficking.  This act would effectively target the traffickers posting the ads in addition to the website organizations where the ads are posted.  The bill has already passed through the House of Representatives with overwhelmingly bipartisan support, and has just recently been introduced in the Senate.

The SAVE Act directly coincides with Shared Hope International’s current activity in its fight to eradicate human trafficking.  Shared Hope has taken a proactive approach to the issue of these illicit advertisements by using its resources to identify, track, and report instances of human trafficking activity on websites like Backpage.com.  The criminalization of human trafficking advertisements would significantly increase the impact of this work.  In addition, Shared Hope International’s Sex Trafficking Identification and Response Training would provide the necessary capacity to deal with these types of advertisements.

*Facts and statistics retrieved from the Family Research Council presentation on the SAVE Act at:

http://www.frc.org/eventregistration/pornography-and-sex-trafficking-stopping-online-advertisers-of-trafficking-victims-with-the-save-act

The post SAVE Act Targets the Advertisement of Human Trafficking Victims appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
http://sharedhope.org/2014/06/24/save-act-targets-advertisement-human-trafficking-victims/feed/ 3
My 6-Year-Old Daughter Introduced Me to Sex Trafficking http://sharedhope.org/2014/06/13/6-year-old-daughter-introduced-sex-trafficking/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=6-year-old-daughter-introduced-sex-trafficking http://sharedhope.org/2014/06/13/6-year-old-daughter-introduced-sex-trafficking/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 19:00:18 +0000 http://sharedhope.org/?p=7641 By: Gunnar Simonsen When my daughter was little she received $30 for her birthday that she could spend on whatever she wanted. Of course, we thought she would want to spend it on a stuffed animal or toy. But we were wrong. Very wrong. When her mom asked her what she wanted to spend it [...]

The post My 6-Year-Old Daughter Introduced Me to Sex Trafficking appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
By: Gunnar Simonsen

557686_10151082325734747_856822376_nWhen my daughter was little she received $30 for her birthday that she could spend on whatever she wanted. Of course, we thought she would want to spend it on a stuffed animal or toy.

But we were wrong. Very wrong.

When her mom asked her what she wanted to spend it on, she asked for the catalog we received from a non-profit humanitarian organization. It was the kind where you could purchase things like goats, chickens, food, and clothing for people in need throughout the world.

We figured she would want to buy some chickens for a family or clothing for a child, tangible items she was familiar with. But as she looked through the catalog, she kept turning the pages until she found what she was looking for.

What she did next, we’ll never forget.

She found the page she was looking for. She decided to spend her $30 to help girls and boys who had been rescued from sex trafficking.

She was 6 years old.

When asked why she chose to spend her money that way, she responded with “as an only child, these are the brothers and sisters I never had. I need to take care of them.”

In that moment I learned that too often the difference between adults and children was simply that children still believe they can change the world.

She went on to raise several thousand dollars to help more children.

Through the eyes of my 6-year-old daughter, this was my introduction to sex trafficking. I would also learn soon after that sex trafficking wasn’t just something that only happened in other countries, it was also happening in my own backyard.

I met up with a friend of mine shortly after my daughter donated her birthday money to aid victims of trafficking. He was blown away by her heart to help others. He then paused, looked me straight in the eye, and said four words…

“Don’t let her down.”

It was like a thousand arrows had simultaneously hit their mark. Those four words still pierce my heart to this day.

It has been ten years since my daughter introduced me to sex trafficking. Ten years since she introduced me to brothers and sisters I, too, never had. Ten years since she opened my eyes to this scourge on humanity.

For me, “don’t let her down” meant that with sex trafficking happening in my own backyard, there was work to do.

Since then, I found myself actively engaged in the fight to eradicate sex trafficking. From the incredible inspiration of many new friends (the brothers and sisters I never had) who have survived being sex trafficked to organizations like Shared Hope International and their work to prevent, restore, and bring justice in this fight, my heart’s cry is that maybe, just maybe, my actions have begun to live up to the impact of those first $30.

For certain, there is much work left to be done and sadly too many who need yet to be freed. And so, because a 6 year old paid it forward with everything she had, how could I not go forth and do the same?

On this Father’s Day, I will look back with thankfulness on these past ten years since my eyes were opened. Certainly what I saw was anything but something to be thankful for. However, because of my daughter, I not only saw the effects of sex trafficking, I was now responsible to do my part in ending the cause of sex trafficking, too. In this, I simply could not let her, and the many brothers and sisters that she and I never had, down.

So it is because of her actions that on this Father’s Day, I truly do reflect back on the past ten years with thankfulness. Thankfulness to a daughter that helped me return to that belief I once had as a child, in that perhaps I too can help change the world.

What about you?

The post My 6-Year-Old Daughter Introduced Me to Sex Trafficking appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
http://sharedhope.org/2014/06/13/6-year-old-daughter-introduced-sex-trafficking/feed/ 9
Unavoidable Destiny | The Abnormal Return Home http://sharedhope.org/2014/06/04/unavoidable-destiny-abnormal-return-home/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=unavoidable-destiny-abnormal-return-home http://sharedhope.org/2014/06/04/unavoidable-destiny-abnormal-return-home/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 17:46:09 +0000 http://sharedhope.org/?p=7593 As a native of Jamaica, my anticipations of returning home are always filled with excitement and joy. I think of visiting family members, activities and events and the food.  While this trip is filled with excitement and joy it is also filled with a bit of nervousness and fear.  For the very first time, I [...]

The post Unavoidable Destiny | The Abnormal Return Home appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
jamaicaAs a native of Jamaica, my anticipations of returning home are always filled with excitement and joy. I think of visiting family members, activities and events and the food.  While this trip is filled with excitement and joy it is also filled with a bit of nervousness and fear.  For the very first time, I will witness the effects of human trafficking on my island home of Jamaica.

In 2007, Shared Hope published the Demand Report which is acomparative examination of Sex Tourism and Trafficking in Jamaica, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States.” Through this report I was exposed to the harsh reality and truth that sex trafficking occurs on the small island of Jamaica.  In addition to the Demand Report, I delved into the Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report, to further my knowledge on sex trafficking in Jamaica.  The TIP report “represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it.”  Although Jamaica was not included in the first two years of the publication of the TIP report, since its inclusion in 2003, Jamaica has fluctuated from a tier 2, to a tier 2 watch list to a tier 3, the lowest rank possible.

As a child growing up, I do not recall ever hearing or even witnessing anything that can be identified as human trafficking. I do remember hearing conversations about “go-gos” which is the equivalent to a stripper, but these were always adult women. In fact, “go-gos” are looked down upon by many citizens of Jamaica.  Since my own trafficking ordeal, I have returned to the island four times and still didn’t see any signs of trafficking.  Based on the two afore-mentioned reports, it is evident that trafficking exists on the island despite me not seeing any evidence. Sex trafficking takes a different form in Jamaica compared to America. In America, we have the standard forms of trafficking: pimp control, gang control, familial and survival sex. In Jamaica, sex trafficking mostly takes the form of familial, survival sex and sex tourism. With Jamaica being a third world country, I will definitely conclude that the major reason human trafficking continues to exist is due to the lack of economic opportunities.  According to the Demand Report, many residents of Jamaica demonstrate and verbalize their belief that the severe economic situation of Jamaica forces a culture of “making do.” This culture of “making do” leads girls into sexual activity at an early age either by the idea of an opportunity or a better life or through force by parents or guardian as outlined in the Demand Report .

This trip, I will be visiting two homes that provides sevices to victims of sex trafficking (funded by Shared Hope International) on the island, in addtion to visiting some of the places where trafficking occurs and speaking with survivors.  I am not sure I am ready to accept this reality. We all know abuse and injustice occurs but we don’t have to deal with it, as we simply place it to the back of our minds.  I can no longer leave it in the back of my mind. I am preparing to accept the weigh of confronting, in person, that my country and my people are being scarred by sexual exploitation and violence.

I am really looking forward to speaking with students and survivors on the topic of “overcoming adversity.” Wether it is being a victim of sex trafficking or facing economic hardship, we are all faced with some forms of adversity.  Many times, young people simply need a little encouragement and support when faced with adverstity instead of being rediculed. Therefore, I am happy to share about my own adversity, examples of how I am overcoming it and some words of encouragement.

foodI am very honored to join Shared Hope in Jamaica as we conduct a site visit to our Jamaician partners.  I will be blogging while I am there so check back as I take this journey of an abnormal return home. Who knows, you just maybe offered a plate of ackee and saltfish (the national dish) and some festival similar to the picture on your right.

The post Unavoidable Destiny | The Abnormal Return Home appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
http://sharedhope.org/2014/06/04/unavoidable-destiny-abnormal-return-home/feed/ 4
Prevention, Protection, and International Cooperation Against the Use of Technologies to Exploit Children http://sharedhope.org/2014/05/28/prevention-protection-international-cooperation-use-technologies-exploit-children-23rd-session-commission-crime-prevention-criminal-justice-conference/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=prevention-protection-international-cooperation-use-technologies-exploit-children-23rd-session-commission-crime-prevention-criminal-justice-conference http://sharedhope.org/2014/05/28/prevention-protection-international-cooperation-use-technologies-exploit-children-23rd-session-commission-crime-prevention-criminal-justice-conference/#respond Wed, 28 May 2014 21:50:51 +0000 http://sharedhope.org/?p=7536 23rd Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Conference By: Eion Oosterbaan In May 2014, a panel discussion meeting took place at the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria.  This discussion served as a side event to the Twenty-third session of the Commission on Crime [...]

The post Prevention, Protection, and International Cooperation Against the Use of Technologies to Exploit Children appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
23rd Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Conference

By: Eion Oosterbaan

In May 2014, a panel discussion meeting took place at the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria.  This discussion served as a side event to the Twenty-third session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Conference, specifically focused on the prevention, protection, and international cooperation against the use of new information technologies to abuse and/or exploit children. Eion Oosterbaan attended as a representative of Shared Hope International.

UNIn attendance to speak as members of the discussion panel were Tejal Jesrani of the UNODC, Bjorn-Erik Ludvigsen of NCIS Norway, Andrew Oosterbaan of the USDOJ Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, and Ethel Quayle of the University of Edinburgh.

The discussion opened up with an outline of the UNODC’s Study and Technical Assistance Programme to Combat the Misuse of Internet Communications Technology (ICTs) to Abuse and Exploit Children.   The study pointed out the severe and increasing threat that developing technologies pose to our children, and how the use of technology has enhanced the ability of sexual predators to commit offenses.  The use of ICTs has allowed predators to enhance their access to child victims, increase levels of harm and re-victimization, and it has increased the profitability of criminal enterprises.  The severe difficulties of keeping pace with the criminal usage of this quickly evolving technology has presented law enforcement many issues with combating these criminals.

Currently,  law enforcement is falling behind as they severely lack the proper resources to contain the criminal activity of these predators online.  The scale of child abuse on the Internet is too large and widespread to completely eradicate.  New developments in technology have allowed individuals to hide their identity (through the use of IP Address encryption and web browsers such as Tor) as they increase the frequency and ease of their online sexual offenses.  It has become incredibly difficult to track and identify these skilled offenders, as they have found a haven through technology.

The experts on the panel stressed the importance of keeping up with the technology that sex offenders are now using.  If mastered, the use of ICTs can actually be used as a tool for prevention and detection.  Law enforcement has undertaken a policy of proactive investigation through the use of computer forensics to detect and identify online offenders, and they have recognized the need to increase the perceived sense of police presence on the Internet (“Fear of Detection”) as a key to crime prevention. The panelists also stressed the importance of increased information sharing as a key method to combating online child abuse.  Internationally, we must be more willing to share/exchange information and we must establish a certain level of cooperation between Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and law enforcement.

Overall, this meeting/discussion served as a means to identify the significant threat that developing technologies pose to children, get the issues out there, and begin the process of creating a viable solution.  The experts on the panel admitted that there currently exists no concrete solution, but stressed the importance of continuing the conversation and making this a subject of high priority.

Shared Hope International has joined in the effort to help prevent and combat the threat of sexual predators online, and recognizes the dangers that the misuse of technology presents.  The use of ICTs has greatly enhanced the ability for buyers to find and make contact with victims of human trafficking.  Girls are openly advertised on Internet websites like Backpage and Craigslist, yet the identities of the girls, their pimps, and their buyers remain protected and undetectable.  Shared Hope has taken this issue head on, using its expertise and resources to provide Sex Trafficking Identification and Response Training while also tracking the human trafficking cases found on these ICTs.

The post Prevention, Protection, and International Cooperation Against the Use of Technologies to Exploit Children appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
http://sharedhope.org/2014/05/28/prevention-protection-international-cooperation-use-technologies-exploit-children-23rd-session-commission-crime-prevention-criminal-justice-conference/feed/ 0
LifeSiteNews – Bill would Punish Countries that Legalize Prostitution for Driving Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery http://sharedhope.org/2014/05/27/lifesitenews-bill-punish-countries-legalize-prostitution-driving-human-trafficking-sex-slavery/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lifesitenews-bill-punish-countries-legalize-prostitution-driving-human-trafficking-sex-slavery http://sharedhope.org/2014/05/27/lifesitenews-bill-punish-countries-legalize-prostitution-driving-human-trafficking-sex-slavery/#comments Tue, 27 May 2014 18:43:54 +0000 http://sharedhope.org/?p=7482 According to Vardaman, who is the senior director for anti-trafficking organization Shared Hope International, H.R. 4703 “is a clear and specific mandate to the State Department” to target the demand for human trafficking. She told LifeSiteNews that Hultgren’s legislation would add teeth to the TIP report, which she said has been used effectively “with regard [...]

The post LifeSiteNews – Bill would Punish Countries that Legalize Prostitution for Driving Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
According to Vardaman, who is the senior director for anti-trafficking organization Shared Hope International, H.R. 4703 “is a clear and specific mandate to the State Department” to target the demand for human trafficking. She told LifeSiteNews that Hultgren’s legislation would add teeth to the TIP report, which she said has been used effectively “with regard to demand.”

“We know that demand is why sex trafficking exists,” Vardaman explained. “If people weren’t buying commercial sex acts or demanding forced labor, there would be no trafficking.”

Vardaman says that Hultgren’s bill highlights that “if a country can prohibit purchase of commercial sex acts and fails to, then they should be considered to be failing to deter demand.” According to Vardaman, this means the nation is “failing to make serious efforts to eliminate trafficking.”

“The two are inextricably linked,” she says. “HR 4703 is a thoughtful, surgical approach to reinforcing the U.S. leadership on eliminating human trafficking globally.”

FULL STORY – LifeSiteNews – Bill would Punish Countries that Legalize Prostitution for Driving Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery

More Media & News Coverage 2014

The post LifeSiteNews – Bill would Punish Countries that Legalize Prostitution for Driving Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
http://sharedhope.org/2014/05/27/lifesitenews-bill-punish-countries-legalize-prostitution-driving-human-trafficking-sex-slavery/feed/ 1
Unavoidable Destiny | First Semester Back in College http://sharedhope.org/2014/05/23/name-corner-unavoidable-destiny/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=name-corner-unavoidable-destiny http://sharedhope.org/2014/05/23/name-corner-unavoidable-destiny/#comments Sat, 24 May 2014 01:11:02 +0000 http://sharedhope.org/?p=7472 Education is a very important part of restoration for survivors of human trafficking. However, it can be very challenging at first, especially after a nine year break from school. In my last blog, I spoke about how nervous I was to return to school but that nervousness was quickly drowned by feelings of discouragement once [...]

The post Unavoidable Destiny | First Semester Back in College appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
Untitled

Education is a very important part of restoration for survivors of human trafficking. However, it can be very challenging at first, especially after a nine year break from school. In my last blog, I spoke about how nervous I was to return to school but that nervousness was quickly drowned by feelings of discouragement once I arrived in Chicago.

Prison would have been a better option. This thought lingered in my mind for several weeks after I moved to Chicago to complete my education. Here I was, in a new city, on a scholarship, at a University with a social justice mission but would rather be in prison. For many people returning to school meant they had to think about how they would pay for tuition, fees and text books but these were of no concern to me since these expenses were already paid. I had to worry about a place to live.

First Day in Chicago

First day in Chicago

Prior to moving to Chicago I thought I would arrive a week before school started, find a place to live, move in and get settled before the start of the semester. A very kind friend offered to open their home to me while I looked for a place of my own. I was under the assumption that crashing on their couch wouldn’t be too bad, it would only be for a short time until I found a place and moved out.

It took two months to find a place to live. Due to my felony conviction, I was denied because I couldn’t pass the background check. I broke down many times just thinking about how I got into this predicament. How could the trafficker use his tactics of manipulation and fear to hold me in exploitation and now, though I’m free, I continue to suffer the consequences of my actions under his direction.

“Why me?” became my solemn cry. I wanted to quit school and move back to D.C. Instead of being in school, I wanted to be in a courtroom fighting on my own behalf. Through the coercion of my pimp, I committed criminal acts, driven by the fear of the brutal torture I received when I was not compliant. Yet, I was punished with a felony and given probation. Although I was free from the physical bars of a prison cell, I felt confined to the reality that my victimization didn’t matter and I will forever pay the price for what was done to me by a gorilla pimp.

Although thoughts of giving up crossed my mind, I didn’t have the guts to quit. I am NOT a quitter but a fighter, determined to succeed no matter how hard it may seem. It seemed I had taken my eyes off my prize—the very reason I was going to school to get my degree. I must fulfill my dream of becoming an attorney and ultimately fight for girls who may end up in my situation so they do not have to face these same struggles. I pressed my way through failing the first half of the semester. It was difficult to focus the attention I needed for school when I had yet to find a home.

Sunset while studying for finals

Sunset while studying for finals

I got a glimpse of the sun breaking through my gloomy skies as I remember the One in whom my faith lies. I turned to the only source I know, the One who is able to keep me from falling – Jesus Christ. By March 1, I moved into a brand new apartment, with brand new appliances. The landlord was aware of my background and approved me. With only two months left in the semester, I had work to do. I couldn’t afford to fail the first semester and the library became my best friend. Friday nights when all the students were getting ready to hit the town, I was in the library trying to catch up.

My mentor, Professor Donoghue, author and historian, was my biggest motivator. When I had the look of depression on my face he would always provide me with encouraging words. As part of my scholarship from Loyola, I am conducting research on the history of sex trafficking but Professor Donoghue encouraged me to apply for another fellowship. I applied, doubtful that I would be selected for the fellowship. The Director for the Center of Experiential Learning, Dr. Green, and the Undergraduate Research Program Manager, Dr. Warner, said they were impressed by my application and awarded me with the Social Justice Research Fellowship where I will be conducting research on the bottom girl phenomenon in sex trafficking and presenting my findings at the 2015 Week of Excellence at Loyola University.

A little faith is all it took to get me back on the path of determination. I completed the semester passing every class. Thanks to the other survivors who shared their struggles in returning to school and a host of supporters who continue to motivate and encourage me in my uphill battle.

 

The post Unavoidable Destiny | First Semester Back in College appeared first on Shared Hope International.

]]>
http://sharedhope.org/2014/05/23/name-corner-unavoidable-destiny/feed/ 5