Search This Blog

Saturday, February 13, 2016

WHEN YOU CARE ABOUT SOMEONE BEING PIMPED AND/OR TRAFFICKED

So you think your child, or someone you care about, is being pimped or trafficked? This book will give you some of our experience on what we've seen to be effective from our viewpoint as a survivor, and as someone who has worked with helping others to escape, and recover from, the sex industry and trafficking in many forms over 30 years now.

We are not doctors, lawyers, law enforcement, or professionals - so please understand what is contained in this book is purely our personal experience, and our personal opinions. We therefore hold no liability for what you're about to embark upon in this journey. Any decisions you make after reading this material is your responsibility.

STEP ONE
The first thing you need to do is assess the situation. Is she, or he, being groomed by a pimp or being enticed to engage in something you think might be sex trafficking? Things like being promised a modeling or dancing job in another country despite the fact they're not with an agency or maybe they're an “unknown”? When nightclubs, or entertainers, in other countries are looking for legitimate models, dancers, or performers – they will consult a legitimate agency or agent. They aren't hanging out at the local mall or approaching your loved one in a club and making job offers. Is there a guy you don't trust buying her a lot of presents?

So the first thing to do is to determine where you are on the path of this relationship. Is it just starting? Is she, or he, being already forced into prostitution or sex work? Remember, the sex industry can be more than prostitution. It could also be stripping, porn, or even working at a webcam or phone sex job. The sex industry is a very large field, and can involve legal as well as illegal jobs. They might be on a corner, or in a perfectly legal business operation where they're getting a paycheck. Sometimes it's a combination of the legal and illegal. Meaning the first thing you need to do is to open yourself up a file. Then write notes on where you think the person you're worried about is with this situation, and why you believe what you believe.

STEP TWO
If you suspect anything, immediately start documenting everything. Gather current photos of the person you're worried about. Make sure you get things like their social security number, copy of their ID, their legal name, a photo of their tattoos', anything you might need to identify the person you're worried about AND the other person and/or company you're worried about. If you're a parent, and this is a juvenile we're talking about – the local police will usually be able to help make a fingerprint file on your child if you don't have one.

So if you don't have something like this now – get it made. You should have a current photo of their face and body, along with measurements of their height, and weight, along with dental records. If you don't have a fingerprint file and your local police station doesn't have something to help you with this – make it yourself with an ink pad and paper. Believe it or not – photos of ears are also important. No two people have the same ears. It's a horrible thing to think they might disappear tomorrow – but it would be even worse if you have no way of identifying your loved one properly in that event.

If there's a man involved, or even a woman – see if you can get their legal name and a photograph of them which shows their face clearly. If you don't have one, see if you get one off their social media. If they're working in a club or for an agency, get their address, a photograph, find out if they're licensed or not. Document, document, document everything you know right now and put it in a folder or file you keep in a safe place where no one can find it or see it but you for now. Don't think “oh it will be there later” because if there is criminal activity going on – it may disappear overnight. I have learned the hard way that ads may disappear, websites may go down literally in front of your eyes, videos may just go poof - so record everything. Screen shot pages online, make duplicate recordings of videos, print out documents, and make sure that you have a back-up copy on paper, as well as a back-up disk. I've had things saved on my hard drive, only to have a virus thrown at me and then things were lost. So I've learned to get hard copy print-outs, and disk back-ups of EVERYTHING.

Don't even trust court or medical records. When my grandfather died under suspicious circumstances – when we went back to get his medical records they were literally emptied out. We should have asked for duplicates before we ever left the hospital. The same for court records. I've seen clerks open up filing cabinets – only to hand me an empty file. So if there are any records on anything anywhere else like a courthouse or a doctors' office – get a copy for yourself immediately. This especially goes for restraining orders, police reports, or even copies of lawsuits.

Also, it's also important to note if we're talking about a child here or an adult. Your relationship to this person makes a difference. Clearly you have more control over the situation if this is a juvenile and you're the parent. However, if this is an adult and you're just a friend of the family, then you're limited as to what you can find out about or what you can do about anything. So when starting up your file on this situation – also take into note if this person is of legal age, because of the laws are different for juveniles then adults in each state, and also what your relationship is with this person. In putting together your file of what information you have on this situation right now – you'll also be able to see if you are just jumping to a lot of conclusions, or if you have real hard solid evidence of a situation. But it's also important to know if you're at the “preventive” stage or a “corrective” stage of this situation.

THIRD STEP
Investigate. I strongly recommend doing any type of legal records research you can on the other person or company you're either suspicious of, or that's involved in this situation. If they own a company – find out if they have a business license. There should be a business license department you can check with. If they're a professional like a lawyer, doctor or a real estate agent – find out if they're licensed. Check with the state licensing board to find out if they're licensed properly, and what information they might provide. You can find what you need to do this research with a search engine – or you can hire a private investigator. Check with the local courthouse. There could be criminal or even civil (non-criminal) court documents on this person and/or company.

When talking to people to do this record research – be very careful what you say about what you're doing. Remember, there might be laws regarding defamation, libel, slander, or even stalking, that could get you into trouble while you're doing this research. Each state has different laws regarding what may be considered as “over the line”. So I strongly recommend you leave this to professional investigators who know the law, and to consult with a local attorney to have them advise you about the laws in your area also.

But if you can't afford this, and have to do it on your own, make sure you have looked up the laws beforehand and you are aware of what's legal vs. not legal to do when gathering information on someone's background. Especially with respect to things like defamation. For example, if you call someone a “pimp” they might be able to sue you for that statement. However, if you say “in my opinion this person is a pimp” it may be covered under free speech. But further be aware that if this person is a pimp and/or criminal trafficker your snooping around could trigger a backlash of some kind against the person you're trying to protect. Which is why at this stage of the game try to be discrete. In other words, don't go plastering posters all over town just yet saying “so and so is a pimp”. This is purely an intelligence gathering stage you're at now. You might even be wrong about this person and gathering up the background information will reveal a lot to you about the other party involved.

This includes a diary.  Start keeping a diary of events.  Dates this person called.  What was said.  What you saw.  What you found out.  Someone called you about this person.  You saw them with your loved one at the mall.   She had a black-eye at dinner.    However, small it may seem to you - write it down in a diary and document with evidence if you can.  I've seen whole cases won on a diary.  Otherwise, you would be shocked what you can't remember a year down the road when you're stressed out and worried.  Remember, people don't care what you feel or think.  This diary is for EVENTS or things that happened that can be used as evidence later down the road.  Things like "took her to the hospital to get a cast on her arm" or "she showed up at the house with two black eyes".   Those are the kinds of things to record in your diary.

Now this is going to sound harsh - but you might want to make sure there's a DNA sample somewhere.  I keep hearing about bodies being found all the time and they have no way of identifying them or matching them with a missing persons report because no one has any DNA of the missing person.  If you can collect hair that has a root on it, or maybe this sounds disgusting but an old tampon you pulled out of the trash would have blood on it, but you need to think about ways to get blood, saliva, semen, or a hair with a root on it for DNA evidence to store some place safe.  I have heard over and over again how these girls just go missing in one day and no one has any DNA evidence, fingerprints, dental records, etc.  Then when they find these bodies - there's just no way to match them up.  So think evidence now while you have this person in your life if you're worried something might happen to them.  

FOURTH STEP
Examine your relationship with the person you're worried about. You can't help someone you don't have an open line of communication with. So if they're withdrawing from you, or even threatening to cut you off because you're pushing on them to “stay away” from this other person, or this job they may be working at, then you need to stop. The most important tool you have right now is an open line of communication. You need to know where they live, where they work, where they go to school, their phone numbers, email, etc. So if you're still in communication with them, but they're starting to pull away from you over this issue – stop. If you aren't in communication – then see what you can do to repair the situation. If it means lying to them by saying “I won't bring this up again” then that's something you should consider doing.

Remember though, abuse victims, especially those being pimped and/or trafficked, are often cut off from family and friends by their abuser. It's well known that pimps will often deliberately create a fight to stir up the one you care about leaving the house, blocking your phone number, cutting off your emails, or doing whatever they can to limit their contact with you. That is one of your most precious important tools – so I strongly suggest you take stock of that relationship. If you're harping on them and they're pulling away from you for that reason – then shut up about the subject for now and talk about other things. I remember my grandmother was like a broken record – she'd latch onto something and just go on and on about the same thing anytime I'd get near her. What I wound up doing was not speaking to her at all for a couple of years. You can't help someone who isn't talking to you. So examine your relationship with this person and make sure you have as open of a line of communication with them as you can.

If it needs repairing, repair it. Spend some time with them without bringing up this subject. Go to dinner, shopping, a movie, the park, lunch, coffee, a concert, etc. If they don't live with you – see if you can do something together once a week like church or a volunteer project together. If they do live with you – make sure that you don't talk about this at meals or they'll start avoiding you completely in your own home. Make sure that having contact with you is a pleasant experience where you can build up trust. If you need professional help – get it. If you can't afford it – contact your local mental health department or university and see what kind of free help is available near you. Find some kind of hobby, group, or activity you can do with this person on a regular basis to maintain contact and communication during this time. If they have a hobby, group, or activity they do regularly that you don't – then do. Get involved. Remember, one of the things that makes these victims prey to this is that they make them feel “special”. I'm not saying imitate them – but make sure you're paying positive attention to this person so they aren't as vulnerable to this.

FIFTH STEP
Once you have gathered together all of the information on this situation that you can, and once you've been advised what the laws are about gathering this information – now you need to know two things further. The first is you need to know what the laws are in your area about prostitution, and also trafficking. What is considered “trafficking” vs. “pimping” or even “pandering”. In other words, you need to know where the lines are with what is this other person you love, and the other person(s) you fear breaking the law.

They might not be breaking one single law with respect to pimping and/or trafficking – but they might not be reporting all of their income to Uncle Sam and thus be guilty of income tax evasion. When I was fighting Joe Conforte, owner of the Mustang Ranch Brothel, in Nevada, everything he was doing was legal. But like Al Capone, he wasn't reporting everything on his tax returns. Therefore, we were able to drive him out of the country through getting him charged with income tax evasion. So once again, you need to have that consultation with a local attorney, or if you can't afford that, go to your local law library or self-help law center and get a copy of the criminal codes so that you know what exactly the lines are this person has to cross to be arrested. You also won't know what laws they might be breaking if you don't have all of your information on this other person. That's why you need to gather your information first, then dig in to find out what the laws are that need to be broken to get a criminal arrest.

If they aren't breaking the criminal laws – maybe there's a civil lawsuit that can be filed. Remember with the OJ trial – the Goldman family lost at the criminal court but won at the civil court. So once you've researched all of the criminal laws, then research the civil laws. If you don't understand the “legalese” they're written in, and you can't find an attorney to give you a consultation to help you – then go next to your local college or university law professor and see if they'll help explain everything to you. You'd be surprised at how helpful a law professor can be with respect to helping you understand the legal side of what you're dealing with. I've known some to actually put together lectures for their students on the subject that you can then attend. I've also contacted many a prosecutor's office and they've had deputies who have explained things to me. So if you don't fully understand the laws in your area – then see if you can get someone to explain them to you that's qualified to do so. In other words, don't have the local car mechanic explain them to you but a law professor or a prosecutor deputy would be a good source.

So at this stage, make sure you know what the laws are, that you understand those laws, you understand how they apply to you and this situation, and also document what you were told. If anything goes down and there's a trial of some kind, you want to be sure you documented what everyone told you.

FIFTH STEP
Which ties into this step. People will say all kinds of things to you – but when it becomes something like someone going to jail they might turn around and say “I never said that.” You may also have that person who promised you something – leave. They might retire, get a transfer, or they might have just not been properly informed. You need to get in the habit of recording things now anyway – which includes your information gathering. If you speak to a local prosecutor about what that laws are with respect to pimping – then record that person. But again, make sure you are LEGALLY recording them. If you're not sure if it's legal to record them, then ASK. Just say “I keep terrible notes so you don't mind if I record this do you?” You're not making a documentary (hopefully) and just keeping this for your own notes so most people won't object. A warning however – if you advise someone they're being recorded they're a lot less likely to tell you much. So if you can legally record them in your state without informing them – you will get more information that way.

SIXTH STEP
If anything goes down – you're going to need friends. If you don't know any cops, prosecutors, politicians, etc. then you're not likely to get any help. It's a sad statement but it's true. During Snoop Dogg's RV tour where he was pimping women across this country in 2003 – I got a call from a local senator in Nevada asking me to go help a pregnant woman who was being trafficked by another pimp under Snoop. The state didn't want to get involved in the prosecution and he has not been charged to date despite his confession in “Rolling Stone”. He told me very clearly that he was calling me to go help her “because a friend of his had asked him for help”. This person has never discussed this openly and probably never would. To have done so before Snoops confession in the magazine could have resulted in a huge defamation lawsuit. So realize that most people aren't going to stick out their necks over someone they don't know.

I've talked to many a fine police officer, prosecutor, judge, etc., who say they are just completely over-whelmed with the work. They're all doing the work of 10 of more people and there's just not enough hours in the day. They have to pick out the most dangerous cases to start with first of all to get them off the streets. After that, there's no time left. You have to be something that's of a personal cause to them if you expect anything to get done. You'd also be surprised what one phone call can make. When I was being harassed by some unknown person who had my power turned off in Nevada after I gave a press conference on sex trafficking in the state – they were demanding $2000 from me. They had given me no notice, and had decided to attach my dead mother and dead grandmother's bill to mine the day after the press conference. Illegal? Sure. But my power was off and what was I going to do about it? Sue? A phone call from an Assemblyman who had promised me if I gave this press conference he would “have my back” got my power back on in two hours. He kept his word and he got my power back on. They retaliated against him for this and I feel bad about that. But the fact remains that one phone call from him got my power back on.

Start with any politician you can get close to. See who is running for office and can you volunteer to help them run? If there's a city or town hall meeting – go. Local city council meeting? Go. Bring coffee and donuts if you can. Is there a judge running for election? See if you can help them campaign. Does the mayor need help passing something out? Is a politician speaking somewhere? If you have money – donate support. If you don't – volunteer. Get involved in your local political environment. Is the local Police Association having a meeting? Offer to go and help make coffee. Offer to bring people from your local church to support the event. Make yourself useful and do what you can to become known by your local authorities. That way if something happens at 2:00 in the morning – you have someone's home phone number you can call about it. Don't abuse now – just start building your relationships at this stage.

Is there a local trafficking group near you? Find out and get involved. Find out who is running the group and see what you can do to help support their work with other victims. An invaluable tool for you is to see how other victims are being treated in your area. Are they having an event? Go. Fundraiser? Bring some friends and donate a few bucks. But get yourself as involved as you can with the local people and put them in your personal phone book. The more you get involved with the local group near you – the more likely you are to hear about other cases near you. The more you hear about other cases near you – you might hear something relevant to the person you care about. So get involved with your local area and start building relationships with people.

If the person you care about is a juvenile – get to know the people who work with juveniles. Find out who the judges are, the probation officers, the social workers, etc. Are there any local groups around you that work with troubled juveniles? You'll have a better time figuring out what to do if you're talking to people who are working with other kids just like yours. But to do that, you need to make contact and build a relationship with people who are working with other kids like yours. If there's a local program working with trafficked kids near you – see if you can volunteer.

If the person you care about has children with this pimp – get to know who your local Child Protective Services people are. Search engines online is a good place to start. See if there's any local community events going on where you can go and find out more about who these people are. What are the procedures and guidelines in your town? These are things you may need to know which they'll be able to tell you. Not sure how to get ahold of them? Contact a local adoption agency or one that handles foster parents. Local foster parents who get these kids from CPS can usually inform you about what's going on in the area, and what the local people are like doing it.

Don't forget the local press. Don't call up 60 Minutes. But if you have a local town newspaper – find out about it. Same for local public access TV, radio, magazines, etc. Make a list of what the local press is in your area. For example, in Los Angeles, California they have Los Angeles magazine. However, that won't exist in Colorado. Do you have only one news station? Who is your local news person? Think of it this way – if you come home and find your loved one has just disappeared and the police are refusing to help who are you going to call? The news. So start digging up who the local media is near you. Get their contact information in your phone book. Find out what kinds of stories they publish. Los Angeles magazine for example will publish stories pertaining to Los Angeles – but maybe not if my kid goes missing. But the local Parents Magazine might care to run a story if my kid were to go missing with a pimp.

Don't be a pest or a problem. Go and make friends. Be supportive. Volunteer. Contribute. Get involved. These people may be your lifeline with this problem.

SEVENTH STEP
Make sure you don't lock yourself into this being an obsession. Take care of your health. Don't lose sleep, not eat, not exercise, and then push yourself into a stroke over this in other words. Don't neglect your job because you can't afford to be fired now. Don't pull away from your volunteer work because you may need those other people to help you. Don't pull out of your church, temple, etc., because you need your spiritual life centered. Be sure to exercise properly, get rest, eat right, and take care of your health. Too often I've seen mothers push themselves into the hospital over something like this. Then they're no good to anyone. If you can't stay calm – meditate. Try an Al-anon meeting. Do some biofeedback. Go roller skating. Anything you can to keep your stress levels down.

EIGHTH STEP
If you had to orchestrate a “rescue” or a “get away” then you need to find out what resources you have near you. Do you have a local domestic violence or homeless shelter for example near you? Do you have a car to get there? Do you need one? Which is another thing to consider is that if you are seeking help for yourself, or even another, everyone is going to need an ID. Make sure you have a birth certificate, social security card, and an ID for yourself available if you need to show it to get assistance, and also you have back-up copies for the person you care about. If there is a pimp involved – they will also most likely take the victims' ID so they can't run.

Think “what if?” What if this person came to you and said “get me out of here” and they were in fear of their life? Do you have a legally owned gun to protect yourself? What are the laws with regard to guns and protecting yourself. I read a story where a woman fired warning shots from inside her home to protect her children, and she got locked up because of the laws where she lived. So when you're researching your laws, be sure to find out what they are with respect to protecting yourself and others you care about. Especially if you're going to use a gun for protection.

Now if you have money to leave town and start over – fine. If not, start saving or finding out what local resources you have in case the time comes where you have to move this person to safety, or they tell you they want help to leave. Be ready with your escape plan in other words.

NINETH STEP
Don't assume that by removing one pimp you solve the whole problem. Statistically, if you remove just the one person or situation – the person you care about is likely to go out and find someone just like them, or even worse. I've seen that over and over again. Then again, you may have a situation where if you don't move quickly and do everything in your power to stop them from getting on that plane – you may never see them again. You just don't know and that's why all of your information gathering is important at this stage. Because now is where you have to sit down and look at everything that you have and then figure out what you're going to do about it.

This means also looking at the person you care about very objectively also. If there is a pimp who has gotten your baby hooked on drugs – you can talk to the cows come home and they're not going to leave them as long as they need another fix of drugs. Meaning the first thing you need to do is to get them into treatment. Don't assume the pimp might block you on this either. You'd be shocked at how many pimps are putting their women into drug treatment right now because they're not selling as well because they look sick. Again, something you would have a better chance of knowing if you know more about this other person or company that's involved. I've seen whole drug treatment programs set up just to treat the women in a trafficking ring so they get clean but don't rat out the ring. So they might be supportive of you getting this person into treatment.

But you're at the stage now where it's “what are you going to do about this?” Which frankly there's a million different options. They boil down to basically either removing the person you care about from the situation, or getting the other person or company to back away, or hand them back. At this point, I can tell you a 1000 different stories of what I've done to get someone out of these situations. They were all different. They were also all dependent upon what I was dealing with in that case. So past this point, all I can do is tell you some stories. You'll have to be the one to get creative and figure out what you're going to do from here though.

For more on the stories of the different rescues I've been involved with over 30 years now of my life – you can check out “Diary of an American Madam”.






















No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.