trafficking

Child Sex Trafficking Victims Easily Missed by Doctors and Social Workers

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Victims ‘hide in plain sight,’ experts say, and survey finds more training is needed.

Child Sex Trafficking Victims Easily Missed by Doctors, Social Workers: Study

TUESDAY, March 17, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Most health care workers may lack the knowledge, awareness and training to identify potential victims of child sex trafficking, a new study suggests.

“We need to become more aware that trafficking exists and [more] educated about what we can do to identify and provide resources to victims,” said study author Dr. Angela Rabbitt, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Sex trafficking occurs when a child engages in any sexual act, including stripping or engaging in pornography, in exchange for something of value, which could include money, drugs, food, shelter or other survival needs, Rabbitt explained. This legal definition does not require proof of coercion because minors are legally incapable of consenting to sexual activity.

Rabbitt and her colleagues distributed approximately 500 surveys about sex trafficking to doctors, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, and patient and family advocates at hospitals and clinics in urban, suburban and rural parts of southeastern Wisconsin. Of these, 168 were completed, primarily by social workers and physicians.

The survey asked the respondents to read and answer questions about two vignettes, which were scenarios about potential sex trafficking victims. Only half the respondents correctly identified the child in the first scenario as a sex trafficking victim. In the second scenario, 42 percent correctly identified the child as a sex trafficking victim in addition to being a child abuse victim.

The findings were published online March 16 in the journal Pediatrics.

One expert noted the importance of the findings.

“We need more individuals — especially doctors, teachers, youth leaders, coaches, etcetera — to help identify when a child is either at risk for trafficking or currently being exploited,” said Nicole Levy, research project director at the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Runaways and homeless youth, youth in the foster care system and youth who have left home due to neglect or abuse are especially vulnerable to trafficking,” she said. “Traffickers and pimps are aware of these vulnerabilities and prey upon such youth — they provide food, shelter, attention and affection.”

Common misconceptions about sex trafficking are that it involves smuggling, transportation or movement across borders or being held against one’s will, Levy said, adding that the average youth’s age of introduction to trafficking is 13.

In the survey, one in five respondents said lack of awareness was a barrier to identifying sex trafficking victims, and about a third said lack of training was an obstacle. Of those surveyed, 63 percent had never received training.

Those with training, however, were more likely to have encountered a victim in their practice, to be more confident about identifying victims, and to say sex trafficking was a major problem in their area.

It’s difficult to determine how many victims of child sex trafficking exist in the United States, Rabbitt said. An estimated 100,000 to 300,000 children and teens under 18 may be at risk. But no centralized database collects reports, research is limited, and victims are often afraid or unwilling to identify themselves or are never asked, she said.

“Trafficking often hides in plain sight — we know that there are trafficking victims whose cases never come to light,” Levy said.

Red flags signaling a possible victim include a history of multiple reproductive or violence-related health problems, such as prior pregnancies, multiple tests for sexually transmitted infections or suspicious injuries, Rabbitt said.

The study authors also reported that 10 percent of providers classified a child victim as a “prostitute” instead of a sex trafficking victim. This reflects “community beliefs that children involved in the sex trade are responsible for their victimization,” the authors wrote.

“I think when the community sees a victim of domestic sex trafficking, their first thought is that he or she is a prostitute who chose that lifestyle,” Rabbitt said. “There is now a growing awareness that many ‘prostitutes’ start out as children or as young adults who were forced into the sex trade, and now, due to fear, addiction or many other reasons, find it very hard to get out of the life.

“For the general community, the best way to prevent a child from becoming a victim of trafficking is to help them develop healthy coping skills and confidence when they are very young, and then continue to support them as they grow,” she said. Volunteering for youth mentoring programs and reporting suspected child abuse and neglect are two ways people can help, she added.



Visit UNICEF External Links Disclaimer Logo    for more on sex trafficking.

The locust effect

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Poverty. We know this word means suffering. We know it means a life of lost opportunities. But do we know the extent of this suffering ? How terrible it is to live under two dollars pr day? When I walk around in new clothes everyday, have an apartment I can sell and eat whatever I want, I feel guilty. I know guilt helps no one, so I try to use these feelings. By knowing about the state of things, I transform guilt to more productive energy. This is exactly the goal of the book ‘the locust effect’ by Gary A. Haugen. The author travels to all corners of the world to study and write about poverty and violence. He unveils the terrors of slavery, trafficking and general abuse that poor people endure. It’s a heartbreaking tale, but an important one too. By describing the life of millions through nightmarishly examples, the readers are forced to open their eyes. You can’t ignore the reality of so much suffering. There is no room for denial, no room for ignorance. 

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The sound of equal voices

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half-the-skyI have written about the terror of human trafficking  and  sexual slavery in earlier posts, so I am pleased to introduce a new post that is based on the book Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide that I`m reading right now.  A wonderful emotional outlet, since it gives hope in addition to informing the readers about one of the crisis the world struggles with today.

Sometimes books about serious issues can be so depressing and overwhelming they’re hard to get through. Sometimes they’re so steeped in religious or political opinions that the real issues get lost. Sometimes they make broad assumptions or use fuzzy logic that leave you with more questions than answers.

Half the Sky is not one of those books.

 
More than 100 million women are missing – Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize-winning economist

Written by a married couple- the first married couple to win a Putlizer Prize- Half the Sky takes a look at gender inequality around the world. The authors consider gender inequality the current major humanitarian issue- on par with the Holocaust and slavery from the years past.

In their book, Kristof and WuDunn show how a little support can transform the lives of women and girls all over the world. “Women are not the problem,” they write, “they are the solution”. How so? Studies have indicated that when women hold assets or gain income, that money is more likely to be spent on nutrition, medicine and housing; consequently, their families are healthier. According to Half the Sky, for every dollar a woman earns, she invests 80 cents in her family; men are more likely to spend the majority on themselves. If a woman is given access to microfinance, livestock gifts and proper vocational training, she can begin to take charge of her own life and of her family’s income. The outcome? She becomes the solution to combating gender inequality.

The global statistics on the abuse of girls are numbing. It appears that more girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the battles of the twentieth century. More girls are killed in this routine “gendercide” in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century. | In the nineteenth century, the central moral challenge was slavery. In the twentieth century, it was the battle against totalitarianism. We believe that in this century the paramount moral challenge will be the struggle for gender equality around the world. (xvii)

Many of the stories in this book are wrenching, but keep in mind this central truth: Women aren’t the problem but the solution. The plight of girls is no more a tragedy than an opportunity.

I loved the book, and maybe you will too?

Here is a trailer showing what the book is all about:

 

It seems that many women (men`s also allowed) are actually raising their voices!

I love working as a psychologist when I am inspired by all of the blogs, books and good people out there.

“Combatting Human Trafficking in South Carolina: Implications for Social Work and Law Enforcement”

My daily headache

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The last post was actually post number 200. I AM proud of myself. From writing almost nothing, I have the last year written and written, and there is still so much to say, so many stories to tell, so many other blogs to share (there is a lot of interesting stories out there) and thoughts that have to come out. I hope you have enjoyed the journey so far. Any wishes on themes I might write about?

I am reblogging one of my fav. blogs:

Every day someone lives in pain. Sometimes it is physical torment, and sometimes it`s mental agony. A memory can harm as well as knives and blows. I want to present a blog from Ashana. She grew up with no safety net, and it is almost impossible to imagine how that must have been. But we have to. We can`t close our eyes. Stories like her, make me want to fight for a better world.


Ashana, thank you so much for sharing your story. Sending you warm thoughts.

Nina, psychologist

The Daily Headache

Have you had yours?

 

About This Blog

August 6th, a lone gunman toting two semi-automatic weapons killed seven people and wounded a number of others at a crowded Sikh temple in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A few weeks before, a man opened fire in a theater in Colorado, killing 12 and wounded 58 others. The first instance is classified as a hate crime. The second appears to be entirely random—murder for the sake of it.

These are difficult and frightening times we live in.  Much of the Middle East has become destabilized, with civil war raging in Syria and smoldering in Egypt. Terrorist attacks and sectarian violence have become so commonplace in Afghanistan and Iraq it no longer seems to be news. Bombs planted in war-torn Chechnya, where violence has erupted sporadically since the start of the First Chechen War in 1994, reportedly killed four individuals on the same day as the gurudwara shooting. Meanwhile, the Indian Mujahideen struck in Pune on August 1st, when serial explosions rocked Jangli Maharaj Road. The world has become a terrifying place.

Or has it? Is this really anything new?

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The aftermath of the 2010 German Bakery bombing in Pune.

What about the 500,000-100,000 murdered in Rwanda in 1994? The 200,000 killed in Bosnia’s “ethnic cleansing” between 1992 and 1995? The 2 million executed, starved, or worked to death in Cambodia starting in 1975? The .5 million hacked to death or burned alive during Partition? Or, for heaven’s sake, the 11 million who died during the Holocaust under Nazi rule? And going back to perhaps one of the first genocides of the 20th century, the mass killings of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turkish beginning in 1915? What about them?

Targets change, weapons improve, but ordinary people are now and always have been quite capable of torture and mass murder. Evil, it seems, is part of the human heart.

In saying this, I am not arguing that we are all just sinners, hopelessly seduced by that devil. Evil, at least in my mind, is a complicated matter. It is worth making an effort to understand  These are my questions:

Why do some people carry out evil acts?

Why do some engage in more extreme acts of evil than others?

Why do these events occur more at some times than others?

How is it that some people—and not others—take a stand against evil, often at great personal risk to themselves?

This Travelodge in Oceanside was shut down in 2011 because of its use in sex trafficking by gang members.
This Travelodge in Oceanside was shut down in 2011 because of its use in sex trafficking by gang members.

Since I was about 13 years old, I have been deeply and abidingly interested in these questions. While an adolescent Stephen Hawking may have started searching for a unified theory of physics at that age, I started looking for a unified theory of evil. We need to understand the worlds we live in, and mine was for many years almost unrelentingly evil.

It might help to tell a little of my story. My dad molested me from the time I can remember. When I was two, he raped me with a pair of scissors. Like many sociopaths, he killed animals from time to time—usually in front of me—and at least once insisted I kill as well. His aim was not only to frighten, but to corrupt.

Before I was school-aged, my mother assaulted me multiple times—a few times by strangling, once with a pair of kitchen knives, once with a kitchen chair. I have incoherent memories of being dunked head-first in water—the tub or the toilet. I think she did that. But I don’t know.

To discipline me, one or both of them shut me up in a freezer until I lost consciousness. Alternatively, they chained me blindfolded to a wall in the garage, at times without any clothes on. In the garage, I was fed spoiled food, crawling with bugs, or no food at all and refused access to a toilet.

At the same time, my father was also my pimp. For 11 years, I serviced the perverted desires of pedophiles, mainly in a variety of cheap hotels, but also at home or in the homes of his friends. In addition, I performed sporadically in child pornography—both still and filmed.

I grew up in hell and the devil lived there.

Except these were people. People did these things, and in some cases, a lot of people. Unlike my mother, who acted impulsively and alone, my father was intelligent, organized, and apparently well-connected. For the most part, he abused me in the context of organizations that were systematically abusing other children and employed a variety of people—as actors and film crew, hotel managers, maintenance and janitorial workers, and human traffickers.

This was not simply the product of a single, unbalanced mind going over the edge, nor was it the result of a few people getting greedy and slipping into amoral behavior. There were too many of them—both consumers and producers—for these to be adequately understood as isolated incidents or as the work of the 1% of the population who simply lack conscience. Some of this is about ordinary people committing unbelievably, horrifyingly evil acts..

This blog is not so much the place where I am telling my story, as the place where I work to understand those stories. And also where I try to heal the scars.

Thanks for being here with me.

The sound of management

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In the book I am reading, I have come to the people behind the problem of trafficking. What scares me is how much they earn by using other people, and not giving them profit in return, and their close connection to politics. Examples are the Yakuza in Japan, and politicians in Pakistan.

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our knowledge, their problem

Slaves are forced to work for their “master” or “owner” and cannot get free. Sexual slaves are forced to work as prostitutes. The masters or pimps use violence, threats, blackmail and other methods to reduce the woman’s self worth and self esteem until eventually she will not try to escape because of fear or mental trauma. Sexual slavery is a way for a man to make a lot of money and to feel powerful. Society rewards people with power and wealth so unfortunately sexual slavery may continue until society values caring and sharing above all else. Women are trying to alter men’s attitudes towards violence and abuse of power and this is gradually having an effect. There are now shelters for abused women and heavier fines for pimps but there is a very long way to go yet.
http://otrazhenie.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/nothing-in-life-is-to-be-feared/
image Vulnerable people, usually poor, are deceived or forced into working abroad with promises of a better life. When they get there their passports are taken off them, they are forced to work behind locked doors and beaten or starved if they refuse. Sometimes they are killed and the threat of murder is always there. Their “masters” or “owners” make money by forcing them to work in sweatshops, dangerous jobs or as prostitutes. If the victim manages to get to the police, she is often not helped because she has no documents or the crime is not taken seriously. Because she is likely to be deported to her own country where she will probably be murdered, she doesn’t usually try to contact the authorities and so human trafficking continues to grow.

Women and girls are at particular risk of becoming victims of trafficking due to diverse factors, such as the high global prevalence of violence and discrimination against women; unequal access to education and the consequent lack of good employment opportunities which may render women more susceptible to false promises of work abroad; the lack of legal channels of entry for unskilled workers; and sex-selective migration policies.
The ILO estimates that women and girls represent the largest share of forced labor victims with 11.4 million victims (55%), compared to 9.5 million (45%) men and boys. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 500,000 women are trafficked into prostitution each year.

on this side (on the bottom) you find small but important things you can do, like spreading information and signing petitions.

The dancing boys of Afghanistan

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The last weeks I have read, thought about and reacted on a theme I know want to dedicate extra attention to.

The theme is sexual slavery through trafficking. I have already put forward some thought in my last post, but there is still so much more I want to write about.

This post is dedicated to a video about one of the darkest phenomena: Boys and sexual slavery. The scene is Afghanistan. This video was one I found on the internet, so I cannot guarantee for the truth in it, just show where the signs are pointing. If you find faults, feel free to comment. If you have more information about this important theme, feel free to share.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvdY310Xp3Y