Calling it like I see it…

Two years ago, I was incensed at the murder of a retired Army paratrooper, turn police officer. The suspect was a convicted felon that had just finished a nickel for another murder. After paying his debt to society, he immediately robbed a bank in my area, then went on a cross country crime spree that cost Daniel Webster his life and ended with the suspect being shot in San Diego.  The suspect survived.

My abolitionist spirit was in its infancy, but this sense of outrage at criminals being returned to our communities and exposing them to our youth really grabbed me.  We have a gang problem here. It’s not Chicago or LA., but they still manage to do a lot of killing and violence over turf and rap videos. It’d be nice if we stopped sending these thugs for what equates to criminal summer camp and boarding school.  They come back with better contacts and a little more hair on their chests, ready to teach the kids.  I kinda wish they’d do a convict swap program with places like Utah or Montana…. Panama.

Anyhow. I was upset, as I do. I wrote a lengthy facebook post (original) which received zero likes or comments from my very small friend list. I know facebook hides my posts from feeds because the words I use trigger their algorithm, but it didn’t take the sting out of being the only person I know that was so upset. I’ve had a couple years and found plenty of people to join me. I also expanded my outrage to include sex offenders and traffickers.

If you’ve been paying attention, sex offenders have been gaining ground in California, winning their right to have contact with children on Halloween. They’re also aimed at “reforming” the registries. They say laws limiting commerce and housing for men and women who are convicted of victimizing and brutalizing, are “unfair.” That’s really the tip of the iceberg. California is not the only place. I’ve seen a lot of chatter out East too.

Which brings me back to my original point, “Why are we putting dangerous criminals back into our communities?” I’ve already gotten hate mail and attacks for my unerring conviction that these people cannot be reformed or controlled, unless they are contained… permanently. Shockingly, their strongest defenders are single mothers and middle aged men.

In the age of Weinsteins and Clintons, you all should be asking why our legislators are making life easier for these monsters, while ignoring the very real pandemic of child exploitation? How on Earth do predators have a voice in our government?…. Oh wait…

I do encourage you to click the links for “California”, “tip,” and “Iceberg”. If  you’re not sure what you should be doing right now? 1)Turn off entertainment that is sexually exploitative. 2) Double check the registries where you live, work, and shop. Stay away from their houses. 3) Read the following posts from my work blog to catch up on the missing child and exploitation world. 4) Google the subject and keep learning. Be a mouthpiece for emancipation.

My first speaking tour  post, discussing human trafficking. Has links to other resources.

– Finding Kids Is Hard  The ins and outs of the civilian missing persons racket.
How to Join an Organization How to vet non-profits to avoid drama.
How to Help Without Joining  Things you can do to combat exploitation or ignorance, without joining a club.

If you really just want to have a teary eyed moment… This is basically the moment that catapulted me from pundit and lukewarm advocate to ABOLITIONIST.

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Slow Your Roll

I see a lot of people celebrating the arrest of backpage execs. At first I was excited, but the cynical abolitionist in me took a longer look at the move by California and Texas authorities and I’m just not convinced that this is more than a token gesture… a PR stunt.

Technically and legally, I’m not sure they meet the definition of traffickers, at least no more than the ISPs/cell carriers the traffickers use, the company that invented bitcoin, or even long dead ancient races that invented currency based trade. Hell, if we’re pointing fingers, I dare say the hoteliers, apartments, and rentals found hosting these rings might be just as culpable. It’s an interesting turn, considering I was recently told that pornographers who produce and distribute child porn as currency are not traffickers…

So, what does this PR stunt accomplish? Raise awareness? Put online entities on notice? Awesome… Or will it drive the most cooperative online posting site in the world to a foreign country (or to the dark web) where it no longer has to cooperate with investigations; and will likely stop providing reporting tools and the plethora of information that is currently shares with law enforcement (upon request without warrants). I don’t like backpage, but in terms of big deals, it’s shooting a sedated lion.

My only hope is that this easy win (for today at least..) inspires other jurisdictions to learn more about how they can combat trafficking in their backyards. I really would rather see the millions upon millions that will be spent pursuing this, being used to train departments, advocates, and open more hospital beds and programs to survivors.

So, what’s my suggestion for all of you? Get back to work. Talk about trafficking to the uninformed, let your leadership know that punishments are inadequate, ask you local victim programs what they need, DEMAND RESILIENCY TRAINING IN SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES, share missing child posters, and be a cheerleader for the boots on the ground. I cannot stress that enough. It’s totally self serving, but in those quiet minutes in the wee hours or when traffic lulls my mind, the weight of it all really hits. I don’t know anyone in this racket that doesn’t struggle. Your support is everything.

Numbers Number and Numbers

“How many people have you saved?”  That’s a question folks in the various abolition camps are asked regularly.  We’re painted into this numbers corner, where we’re expected to produce data without complete input. Then we need to compare our own experience, so the asker can assess our efficacy prior to deciding our value.

I bet you didn’t know a simple question like that could cause such rancor.

That’s the thing. We really don’t know how many slaves are out there, how many abortions are performed, or how many drug users are active.  I’ve dabbled in fact-checking government and NGO projections and the story is the same. “If we knew exactly how many, then we could attack it directly, but we don’t so we’ll just focus on these components and hope for the best.” Obviously, I’m paraphrasing.

Think I’m jaded?  The government says around 100,000 children enter into trafficking every year. That’s straight forward, sex (rape) for profit. But they don’t really include all sexual contact or all forms of commerce.  Some private organizations have done the math and say it’s probably more than a million children each year.  I sat down and applied widely accepted pedophile/survivor statistics to our population, overlaid them with perpetrator and trafficking menus and got 4.6 million.

I’m very guilty of number judging, even in my own community.  Look at the Amber Alert system, when utilized it is very effective. Two thousand kids go missing a day, but Amber Alerts are only utilized for a few dozen kids a year. They even boast about how many successful locates they have.  Personally, I don’t know if I see a difference between a man grabbing a child off the street and that man private messaging that same child to come to him, or he’ll kill her family.  In my mind, celebrating a couple hundred found children in the face of hundreds of thousands of missing ones is lame.

I imagine that’s why the government is low-balling.  Truly tackling child sex trafficking would mean attacking the demand. Let’s face, there isn’t a profile for these buyers that won’t step on toes all the way to the top of America’s class/cast system.  More than that, we’re combating a special kind of stupid.  Can you believe there are people that insist that sex predators can be cured… and that by extension life sentences for crimes against children are inhumane? I can commit premeditated murder once with zero proclivity towards repeating it, and spend forever in jail to appease my dead victim’s relations. But throwing away the key for someone whose victim is still alive is a civil rights violation?

Want to really screw with someone?  Researches have suggested that as much as 5% (nearly 16M) Americans molest children (pedophiles)… That does not include the low/no contact pornographers or adults who prefer victims between 14 and 17.  About a third of hands-on pedophiles report having multiple victims, to the tune of 260 children in their lifetime.  If you do the math… that’s more than a billion per generation. So, how is everyone not being raped through childhood? That’s where trafficking swoops in. Or maybe not?  There’s no easy translation between medical, legal, and practical definition and therefore almost no studies pertaining to child trafficking, molestation, pedophilia, and recidivism. As a matter of fact…. You know what years of research has told us?  That pedophilia causes child molestation. Do you know what the research says about the cause of paying to rape teenagers? Yeah, me neither.

So, where were we?  How many kids have I saved?  Do I get to count the ones rescued by my protégé’s?  How about ones that are saved because of my activism?  Can I roll in the ones that I merely helped with research?  That’s easy.  Not enough.  I don’t count heads, because, with millions of kids out there, my number will never ever be adequate or impressive.  I’ll leave that to the organizations and bean counters.  I’m just here to do what I do ‘til the number is zero.

 

http://yellodyno.com/Statistics/statistics_child_molester.html

http://www.childmolestationprevention.org/pdfs/study.pdf

http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(11)61074-4/pdf