Girls on Our Streets
By Nicholas D. Kristof
The New York Times
Published May 6, 2009
Jasmine Caldwell was 14 and selling sex on the streets when an
opportunity arose to escape her pimp: an undercover policeman picked
The cop could have rescued her from the pimp, who ran a
string of 13 girls and took every cent they earned. If the cop had
taken Jasmine to a shelter, she could have resumed her education and
tried to put her life back in order.
Instead, the policeman
showed her his handcuffs and threatened to send her to prison.
Terrified, she cried and pleaded not to be jailed. Then, she said, he
offered to release her in exchange for sex.
Afterward, the policeman returned her to the street. Then her pimp beat her up for failing to collect any
"That happens a lot," said Jasmine, who is now 21. "The cops sometimes just want to blackmail you into having
often reported on sex trafficking in other countries, and that has made
me curious about the situation here in the United States. Prostitution
in America isn't as brutal as it is in, say, India, Nepal, Pakistan,
Cambodia and Malaysia (where young girls are routinely kidnapped,
imprisoned and tortured by brothel owners, occasionally even killed).
But the scene on American streets is still appalling -- and it continues
largely because neither the authorities nor society as a whole show
much interest in 14-year-old girls pimped on the streets.
tend to think of forced prostitution as the plight of Mexican or Asian
women trafficked into the United States and locked up in brothels. Such
trafficking is indeed a problem, but the far greater scandal and the
worst violence involves American teenage girls.
If a middle-class
white girl goes missing, radio stations broadcast amber alerts, and
cable TV fills the air with "missing beauty" updates. But 13-year-old
black or Latina girls from poor neighborhoods vanish all the time, and
the pimps are among the few people who show any interest.
domestic girls are often runaways or those called "throwaways" by
social workers: teenagers who fight with their parents and are then
kicked out of the home. These girls tend to be much younger than the
women trafficked from abroad and, as best I can tell, are more likely
to be controlled by force.
Pimps are not the business partners
they purport to be. They typically take every penny the girls earn.
They work the girls seven nights a week. They sometimes tattoo their
girls the way ranchers brand their cattle, and they back up their
business model with fists and threats.
"If you don't earn
enough money, you get beat," said Jasmine, an African-American who has
turned her life around with the help of Covenant House, an organization
that works with children on the street. "If you say something you're
not supposed to, you get beat. If you stay too long with a customer,
you get beat. And if you try to leave the pimp, you get beat."
business model of pimping is remarkably similar whether in Atlanta or
Calcutta: take vulnerable, disposable girls whom nobody cares about,
use a mix of "friendship," humiliation, beatings, narcotics and threats
to break the girls and induce 100 percent compliance, and then rent out
their body parts.
It's not solely violence that keeps the girls
working for their pimps. Jasmine fled an abusive home at age 13, and
she said she -- like most girls -- stayed with the pimp mostly because of
his emotional manipulation. "I thought he loved me, so I wanted to be
around him," she said.
That's common. Girls who are starved of
self-esteem finally meet a man who showers them with gifts, drugs and
dollops of affection. That, and a lack of alternatives, keeps them
working for him -- and if that isn't enough, he shoves a gun in the
girl's mouth and threatens to kill her.
Solutions are complicated
and involve broader efforts to overcome urban poverty, including
improving schools and attempting to shore up the family structure. But
a first step is to stop treating these teenagers as criminals and
focusing instead on arresting the pimps and the customers -- and the
"The problem isn't the girls in the streets; it's
the men in the pews," notes Stephanie Davis, who has worked with Mayor
Shirley Franklin to help coordinate a campaign to get teenage
prostitutes off the streets.
Two amiable teenage prostitutes,
working without a pimp for the "fast money," told me that there will
always be women and girls selling sex voluntarily. They're probably
right. But we can significantly reduce the number of 14-year-old girls
who are terrorized by pimps and raped by many men seven nights a week.
That's doable, if it's a national priority, if we're willing to create
the equivalent of a nationwide amber alert.
$400m to Hit Human Trafficking Networks
By Tom Allard
The Brisbane Times
Published May 7, 2009
THE Federal Government will
unveil a $400 million package to combat people-smuggling in next week's
budget as it employs an aggressive strategy to extradite bosses of
crime networks for prosecution in Australia.
will be significant new funding for the Border Protection Command, the
joint Customs and Defence effort to patrol the sea routes to
The package will also seek to
engage neighbouring countries by bolstering their law enforcement and
immigration surveillance capabilities.
follows the influx of hundreds of asylum-seekers to Australia by boat
this year, a surge that has caused political angst for the Prime
Minister, Kevin Rudd. The Opposition claims it is the result of a
"softening" of immigration laws and an underfunding of agencies on the
frontline such as Customs.
The budget package comes
as an alleged Indonesian people-smuggler was arrested following a joint
operation by Indonesian and Australian police. Ali Cobra, also known as
Sultan Ali and Ali Basa, was allegedly responsible for a boat that sunk
earlier in January off West Timor, killing at least nine people.
Police said Cobra was responsible for at least three attempted boat
crossings to Australia in the past six months, involving people from
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Burma.
He was arrested on
Monday in Makassar in south Sulawesi, an emerging centre of
people-smuggling activity, Indonesian police said. He could face life
in prison, with Indonesian authorities planning to charge him for the
deaths in January.
Spread over four years, the money
will go to departments and agencies including Customs and Defence,
Immigration, Foreign Affairs, Australian Federal Police, the Director
of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney-General's Department.
AFP will get about $60 million, earmarked for its transnational crime
division, which leads its people-smuggling operations. Much of that
money is expected to be allocated to improve the equipment and training
of Indonesian police, who have formed a close working relationship with
their Australian counterparts.
Ft. Meade Soldier
Charged with Human Trafficking
By Scott Daughtry
Published May 1, 2009
George G. Meade soldier lured a 16-year-old girl from Ohio to
Millersville and forced her into prostitution, county police said.
Spc. Craig Allen Corey, 22, of both Millersville and Fort Meade, was
charged Monday with two counts of human trafficking, one count of
operating a prostitution business and numerous drug charges. Those
charges are in addition to another count of human trafficking filed in
February in Baltimore County as part of an unrelated prostitution
Corey, an active-duty supply specialist with
the 741st Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Meade, is being held
at the Jennifer Road Detention Center on $25,000 bond. If convicted of
just one human trafficking charge, he faces up to 25 years in prison.
Anne Arundel charges stem from an April 24 raid on a Millersville
apartment that was leased in Corey's name. Detectives were
investigating an alleged prostitution ring that was advertising on Craigslist.com
when they found a girl who had been reported missing in Ohio. That
girl, who turned 17 April 24, told police Corey forced her into
Sgt. James Fredericks, a spokesman for the
department, said detectives are still actively investigating what was
happening inside Corey's apartment on Millwright Court. He stressed
that human trafficking charges are "very unusual" in Anne Arundel
"They just don't happen here," he said.
to court documents, Corey and his girlfriend - who has not been charged
with any crimes - brought the teen from Ohio to Maryland to attend a
party. When they arrived in Millersville, however, there was no party
and the girl said she wanted to go home.
Corey told the girl -
who has known his girlfriend for about three years - that she would
have to wait a week or two before she could go back to Ohio, police
said. While she waited for Corey to take her home, Corey had her pose
for an almost-nude photo which was posted on Craigslist, and then had
her engage in prostitution, according to the charges.
serviced three clients between April 21 and April 23, police said. The
proceeds, however, were split between Corey and his girlfriend. The
girl said she did not receive any money, police said.
told police she agreed to the photo and online postings because she was
afraid of being thrown out of the apartment. She told them she did it
because she did not know where she was and did not have any friends or
family in the area.
But the girl said she was free to leave if she could get a ride, according to charges.
to court documents, this is not the first time a runaway from Ohio has
ended up at Corey's apartment. A 19-year-old woman called her parents
in January 2009 to say she that was there and that the owner would not
let her leave. She said the owner disabled her vehicle.
woman's parents, along with deputies from the county Sheriff's
Department, picked up the girl at the apartment. The woman had a black
eye and numerous bruises on her arms and legs, according to court
documents. Deputies also said they determined someone removed a wire
from her car to disable it.
That runaway, however, would not say
what happened, and no charges were filed. Fredericks said county police
were not informed of that incident and detectives did not investigate.
County police charged Corey with human trafficking Feb. 24 in Baltimore
County District Court during a prostitution investigation. Cpl. Mike
Hill, a spokesman for the Baltimore County Police Department, said
detectives arranged to meet a prostitute Feb. 23 in a parking lot. He
said Corey dropped off Teri Lemaster, 28, of Wellston, Ohio, before she
approached the officer's car.
Lemaster was convicted March 31 of one count of prostitution.
Arundel police cracked their human trafficking case while investigating
a potential prostitution businesses operating in the county and
advertising on Craigslist. Fredericks, of the Anne Arundel police, said
the department's investigation was "completely unrelated" to the case
in Baltimore County.
According to court documents, vice
detectives responded to an advertisement offering "companionship" at
the rate of $80 for 15 minutes.
While the ad specifically said "Holly" was not a prostitute, it left the door open for sex.
else that may take place is a matter of personal choice made between
consenting adults and it is NOT contracted NOR is it requested to be
contracted in any way," the advertisement read, according to court
Detectives responded to the ad on April 24 and
arranged a meeting that morning at Corey's apartment. There, an
undercover officer said he gave a 28-year-old woman - who answered to
the name "Holly," but whose real name was Tiffany M. Campbell - $100 to
have sex with him.
After the money was exchanged, police raided
the apartment and found four women and two men inside. Detectives also
found a gun and small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, the hallucinogenic
drug ecstasy and Xanax in the apartment.
Corey and his girlfriend
were not in the apartment at the time of the police raid. Detectives
said they found several of Corey's belongings - as well one of his
military uniforms - in a bedroom, though.
In addition to Corey, police charged the following people with four counts of possession of various
Ronald Palmer, 27, of Chillicothe, Ohio.
Kaleigh M. Horn, 18, of Chillicothe, Ohio.
Courtney R. Fulgham, 20, of Lusby.
Richard Allen Johnson, 22, of Baltimore.
Police charged Campbell, of Chillicothe, Ohio, with two counts of prostitution.
UAE Human Trafficking Cases Nearly
Published May 7, 2009
Human trafficking cases in the
UAE nearly doubled to 18 in 2008, up from 10 in the previous year,
and?a government minister said the overall number over the past two
years is relatively high compared with other countries.
A February report by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said most
such victims in this country were women from Uzbekistan, Moldova and
South Asia forced into prostitution and more than half of convicted
offenders were south Asian men, UAE daily the National reported on
"These numbers indicate that there is a real effort being exerted,"
Anwar Gargash,?minister of state for foreign affairs, was quoted as
saying in reference to cases decided by UAE courts in two years.
Last year's cases?involved 36 defendants and 30 victims, while in 2007 there were10 cases.
Gargash added some other countries handled up to 40 cases every year without mentioning any
In 2006, the UAE government introduced a law setting a minimum
sentence of five years in prison for human traffickers - the first such
law in the Arab world, the National reported.
Gargash said the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking is
drafting a document that would serve as a memorandum of understanding
to be signed by the UAE with other countries to tackle such crime.
The committee is also training law enforcement personnel on how to
uncover cases of trafficking that might be disguised as other forms of
crime, such as prostitution.
Migration Camouflages Human Traffickers
Published May 1, 2009
SOUTH AFRICA - To the untrained eye, the human tide surging
through the South African border town of Musina is just that: a mass of
people leaving behind Zimbabwe's collapsed economy to seek job
opportunities and a better life, or refuge in a neighbouring country.
Sebelo Sibanda, of Lawyers for Human Rights in Musina, is a more acute
observer; he sees changes taking place in a migration that is believed
to number between one million and more than three million people.
"A trend started in the last two or three months, where you see more
and more women coming in with groups of children - the children are too
numerous and often too similar in age to be from one mother," he said.
The Zimbabwean migration, comprising asylum seekers fleeing political
persecution, economic migrants from a shattered economy, traders,
shoppers and unaccompanied minors, provides ample camouflage for human
The border between South Africa and Zimbabwe is a fertile ground for
criminal gangs. The "magumagumas" prey on migrants, robbing and raping
them as they make their way to South Africa, while the "malaicha"
arrange safe passage for migrants, but do not always keep to the
Nde Ndifonka, the southern African spokesman for the International
Organization for Migration, told IRIN: "The conditions are there. We
believe there is a high incidence of human trafficking happening there
[the South Africa-Zimbabwe border]".
Parents living in South Africa often pay a malaicha to bring children
across the border, Sibanda said, and it was a "small step" to becoming
a human trafficker.
Ndifonka said the malaicha were part of trafficking rings and targeted
"specifically, vulnerable young children, as there is a demand for
labour and sexual exploitation in South Africa".
In mid-April 2009, during a spot check, police found two unaccompanied
minors - boys aged about four and five - in a car en route to
Johannesburg. "The woman at first said they were her children, but when
I interviewed the children separately they said they did not know who
she was," Sibanda said.
The Unseen Crime??
"The woman then maintained that she was their mother's sister, but the
children did not know who she was, but were told by her to call her
'aunty'. The woman then said she was taking them to meet their mother
in Johannesburg, but the children said their mother was living in Cape
The woman is expected to be charged with kidnapping or a lesser charge
of smuggling, as South Africa has yet to adopt human trafficking
An international children's agency, which declined to be identified,
fearing it might attract human traffickers to its offices, told IRIN it
had begun trying to trace the children's relatives. The aid worker said
people claiming to be the relatives or friends of parents had tried to
lure children away from the shelter.
"Human trafficking is difficult to detect, as people are generally not
aware they are being trafficked. We know it [human trafficking] is
happening but cannot detect it," Jacob Matakanye, CEO of the Musina
Legal Advice Centre, told IRIN.
"The only way to prevent trafficking is to educate people about it in
the country of origin ... Zimbabwe is an ideal opportunity for
traffickers, as it is next to South Africa [the continent's richest
country]," he said.
The UN defines human trafficking as "The recruitment, transportation,
transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of
force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception,
of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or of the
giving of or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent
of a person having control over another person for the purpose of
The Abolitionist Summer Academy
- Session One: May 25th-June 5th (Arriving 24th; leaving 6th)
- Session Two: June 22nd-July 3rd (Arriving June 21st; leaving July 4th)
- Session Three: August 3rd-August 14th (Arriving Aug. 2nd; leaving August 15th)
Where:? San Francisco, CA
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?More info, and registration, online HERE.