Tag Archive: human trafficking

When a podcast pursues prostitution

microphone

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts recently when the subject turned to prostitution. Now this wasn’t some hard-hitting news podcast but more of a humor/entertainment podcast. The podcast participants started commenting about how prostitution should be legal and how they don’t see it as a problem. I had to turn the podcast off at that point. I wasn’t offended but I just knew I would get frustrated listening to what essentially came down to the much cited myth of ‘consenting adults’. I just don’t see how legalizing prostitution would magically eliminate all the problems that go along with it. How would that eliminate human trafficking, child prostitution, rape, organized crime, drug addiction, violence against the prostitutes committed by both johns and pimps, and the like?

As is usually the case when this subject comes up a lot of people will point to places like Amsterdam and Nevada as examples of how legalized prostitution is flourishing. Sadly the reality here is even in legal zones like those mentioned all the aforementioned problems still take place.

Do I think the podcasters were trying to push some pro-sexual slavery agenda? No, of course not. Like too many people they are just uneducated on what prostitution really entails beyond the ‘consenting adults’ mantra.

DARPA helps law enforcement fight human trafficking on the dark web

darpa

One of the most frequent arguments I hear against shutting down Backpage’s adult ads is that it will drive the traffickers and pimps further underground. It turns out that they’re already there and if DARPA has any say it they won’t be hiding there long.

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is the agency under the direction of the Department of Defense that, according to wiki, is responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. That can apply to law enforcement as well because DARPA has developed a type of search engine called Memex that allows them to identify patterns in human trafficking. It even searches the so-called dark web where sites like the infamous Silk Road have existed.

I urge you to either read the NPR article or listen to the audio clip below to see just how Memex can get the job done.

#bringbackALLourgirls

bringback-our-girls

Right off the bat please allow me to say that I’m not trying to take away any attention from the 230 schoolgirls that were kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram. What has happened there is indeed a tragedy. From most reports that I’ve read if these girls are not rescued they will be forced into a life of slavery.

While this is tragic how many people out there that are hashtagging #bringbackourgirs are aware of the amount of women and children who are sold into slavery every day and all around the world, yes even here in the U.S. By now you should know I’m referring to human trafficking.

Every day women and girls are being forced into sexual slavery by pimps and traffickers but they don’t make news because the pimps only do it one girl at a time. I would lay odds that more that 230 new girls are forced into prostitution at least every day in this country. Traffickers promise the girls freedom in a new country yet never let them taste that freedom. Pimps promise a life of money and glamour but only give a life of violence and drugs. How is their plight any less tragic than the schoolgirls in Nigeria? Yet they rarely make the international news.

So let’s not just bring awareness about the girls in Nigeria but to all the girls who are kidnapped in one form or another every day and sold into slavery. Let’s bring back ALL our girls.

Backpage responds to latest legislative effort against them (From the mouth of Liz McDougall VI)

Despite support, sex trade ad bill faces uphill battle:

Backpage attorney Liz McDougall

Backpage attorney Liz McDougall

I originally posted about the SAVE act proposed by Illinois Senator Mark Kirk here. Backpage has responded to the latest threat through usual means with the typical response.

Let’s hear from Backpage’s legal weasel Liz McDougall…

“The aim of stopping the sex trafficking of minors, indeed the trafficking of any human being, is laudable,” Backpage.com attorney Liz McDougall wrote. “However, identifying and vilifying a single U.S. website (previously craigslist, now Backpage.com) as the cause of the problem and the key to the solution are ill-founded and unproductive.”

So according to Backpage it’s laudable to stop sex trafficking but more importantly it’s profitable so we’re not going to stop. Also vilifying Backpage is not unproductive considering they’re the online leaders of where women and children are trafficked. Unfortunately for right not the law is on Backpage’s side, a badly outdated law called the Communications Decency Act of 1996, but the law nonetheless.

Let’s be realistic here. Backpage makes their money through the purchasing of ads where these women and children are advertised as prostitutes. They’ll make grand gestures that they screen the ads but deep down I think they know where their money is coming from yet Backpage owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin continue to wallow in their prostitution profits while paying Liz McDougall to do tricks for the people.

Illinois Senator to introduce anti-Backpage trafficking legislation

Kirk, Alvarez Outline Anti-Sex Trafficking Agenda:

 U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk

Unites States Senator Mark Kirk represents the state of Illinois. Along with Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez he is hoping to get legislation passed that would allow the government to take action against Backpage for facilitating sex trafficking. If you’ll notice I didn’t mention his political affiliation because when it comes to sex trafficking sides of the aisle shouldn’t matter.

Senator Kirk had some very poignant things to say about the matter…

“As President Obama has said, it’s time to call human trafficking what it really is – modern day slavery,” Sen. Kirk said. “Illinois was the first state in the nation to ratify the 13th amendment that abolished slavery – it makes sense for Illinois to lead the nation in a bipartisan effort to end human trafficking. We can start by putting an end to sex ads on websites like Backpage.com.”

“Everyone in America should be outraged that Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin can make millions by victimizing young women,” Sen. Kirk added. “It’s time to bring Lacey and Larkin to justice.”

Lacey and Larkin are the scumbags that own Backpage.

The proposed legislation is called SAVE which stands for Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation. It would allow the government to shut down advertisements on websites promoting underage sex.

What the article I linked to doesn’t mention is that there are two overwhelming obstacles that this act would need to hurdle. The first of course is the Communications Decency Act of 1996. That act absolves website owners of any wrong doing if their users engage in criminal activity. As I’ve said numerous times before in internet years it might as well have been the Communications Decency Act of 1776. I doubt the drafters of the CDA had the sex trafficking of women and children in mind when the act was first passed. The second obstacle is the First Amendment of the US Constitution which guarantees the right to free press. Excuse me for not being anything even remotely close to a legal scholar but doesn’t the right for the victims of human trafficking to be free outweigh any right Backpage can claim when they’re making money from slavery? If there are any legal experts reading this please feel free to correct me.

I wish Senator Kirk and State Attorney Alvarez all the best with this but unfortunately the success rate for similar legislation has been nil.

UPDATE 4/27/2015: The SAVE Act has passed the Senate recently and has passed the House in January. If my basic understanding of civics is correct all the SAVE Act needs is a signature from the President. I wonder if this will cause Backpage to move overseas quicker.

Even if it is signed into law I’m sure it will go under many legal challenges before it can be actually enforced.

NY pair charged with Backpage sex trafficking

Elijah B. Richardson and Jakia J. York

Elijah B. Richardson and Jakia J. York

Two arrested on sex trafficking charges at Colonie motel:

19-year-olds Elijah B. Richardson and Jakia J. York were arrested in Colonie, New York for allegedly forcing a 21-year-old woman into prostitution. The pair are said to have advertised the woman on Backpage. Police say that the pair were keeping the woman hooked on heroin so she’s keep turning tricks for them.

Yet not only do people still believe in the consenting adults myth but Backpage continues to make money hand over fist in this modern-day slave trade. If you want to make the comparison between today’s sex slavery and the slavery prior to the US Civil War consider Backpage the auction house where slaves were bought and sold.

Backpage pimp busted through little used hotline

Milwaukee man faces charges of sex trafficking:

Antoine Williams

Antoine Williams

34-year-old Antoine Williams of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was recently arrested for allegedly prostituting a 19-year-old woman on Backpage in Nashville, Tennessee. I was actually going to pass on this story since it’s impossible for me to post about every sex trafficking story that takes place on Backpage. That was until I read how Williams was captured.

The victim used what the article called the state’s little-used human trafficking hotline. In case you were wondering like I was it’s 1-855-55-TNHTH and they have a Facebook page here.

First off, every state should have a human trafficking hotline if not a federal one to help people escape and secondly it should be openly posted in all hotel rooms.

Atlantic City man charged with being backpage sex trafficker

A.C. man charged with six counts of human trafficking:

 Donnie Bethea

Donnie Bethea

30-year-old Donnie Bethea of Atlantic City, New Jersey has been charged with allegedly trafficking women against their will on Backpage. Bethea is said to have lured women into West Atlantic City motels then forced them into prostitution with threats of physical violence or actual bondage.

If you’re not familiar with the area West Atlantic City is not part of Atlantic City at all. It’s actually part of a disjointed municipality known as Egg Harbor Township but that’s neither here nor there. Having grown up near West Atlantic City I can tell you it’s always been bad news. When the casinos moved into Atlantic City it became a haven of prostitution. West Atlantic City became part of that haven due to its numerous cheap motels. It has almost become quite the human trafficking hub since you have quick access to Atlantic City, an hour’s ride to Philly on the A.C. Expressway and a 2 hour trip to New York on the Garden State Parkway. West Atlantic City is also where a still at large serial killer dumped the bodies of four women in the marshes.

So to me it comes as no surprise that a backpage trafficker was busted in West Atlantic City. The bigger surprise is how come more aren’t caught.