First of all, prostitution in the USA everywhere but a few tiny counties in Nevada is ILLEGAL. Forced or not, many of the things sex trafficking victims are forced to do are ILLEGAL. Even if it's a matter of unreported earnings to the IRS - we're still talking a possible criminal charge here could be over one's head.
Now unless that survivor has gone completely through the legal system and it's been determined by their lawyers there aren't any possible ways they can have a case come up on them in the future, or that they may be called upon to become an "informant" in an ongoing case, there are good sound solid reasons why a survivor would want to remain "anonymous" about who they are and what they've experienced.
Do I have to remind people what happened to Celeste Guap? She wasn't supposedly a "criminal" but a "victim". She spoke up in the media about being a survivor and next thing she knows she's being shuttled off to a treatment center in Florida SUPPOSEDLY to "help" her. Only next thing she knows there's a guard there claiming she was assaulted and sexually approached by Celeste and she's carted off on a $300,000 bail. During the time she was being held, because who has $300,000 bail, the authorities say she was "offered a deal". Anyone who has been in her shoes knows what that means - it means drop your case against the 30 plus cops who sexually raped you while a minor, and who sexually trafficked you while cops and even Chief of Police, or we'll throw you in jail!
Celeste Guap illustrates the dangers of coming forward about being a survivor without having FIRST had proper legal council. Hence one of the very reasons why we formed our program as www.sexworkersanonymous.com
It's why we don't ask you your name when you call our hotline, and we'll even tell you NOT to tell us your name. Unlike Polaris, we don't collect your IP address either which is way more revealing than a name by the way.
Coming forward openly as a survivor REQUIRES you understand your 5th amendment rights before doing so. Even if you haven't committed one crime unanswered for in the past - if you even know people the police want to build a case upon you're in danger of issues as Celeste Guap's case illustrates beautifully. She steps up to reveal she's a victim without having had proper legal council first and look at what happened to her! This doesn't even TOUCH upon if you might have something to say someone is worried you MIGHT say. I say this because I spent the first year after I was first arrested dodging bullets from people who were worried about what I MIGHT say to the cops despite my assurances I wasn't going to say anything. Look at Jeane Palfrey for example who I believe was murdered by people who didn't want their names revealed during the ethics hearing she was going to testify at.
I for example did not appear on any media until I had consulted with an attorney licensed in the state I was in who advised me that any statutes on anything I was involved with had tolled, and that I could not be compelled by virtue of being on probation, or any thing else hanging over my head law enforcement used to try and get me to become an informant back in my day.
I had the LAPD arrest my mother and threaten me with charging her, and even possibly charging my grandmother, with felony pimping if I did not agree to "snitch" on other people as an informant to build their cases for them. In my case, my mother said to the prosecutor "we're not snitches" and we took our lumps. But that was our decision to make. The point remains that I have experienced law enforcement manufacturing crazy accusations against me to try and force me to become an informant for them.
I say "crazy" because the case they laid on my mother was based on a photograph of me handing her a $20 bill for a bucket of KFC chicken. Under the law it does state the "receipt of money from a prostitute" constitutes a felony pimping charge. Yes it would have had to have been proved I was a prostitute. But over the years I've seen this is a very common tactic of law enforcement - to charge, or threaten to charge, one's family members with a crime in order to compel you do become an informant for them, or plead guilty to something yourself.
Now with my mom, to plead not guilty would mean I'd still be looking at a very expensive case where I'd have to hire an attorney to defend her, my grandmother (who was 70 at the time) and myself. As it was the government took everything I owned away from me and then said I had to "prove where I got the money from" to buy those items before they'd give anything back. Since most of everything was gifts I had no way of proving anything without dragging other people into the equation which was further what the cops wanted - to know information on who was providing me with such expensive gifts. All done to try and force me to become an "informant" for them.
NOW NOWHERE in this invitation do I see any caution about being careful to protect one's 5th amendment rights to "not incriminate themselves" in any fashion but I do see that it's asking for "only survivors" to step up to the plate here. The lack of acknowledgement that one needs to be sure in doing so they are not incriminating themselves in some fashion not even being an issue in this invitation tells me there's either one or both of a serious problem here - either the fact this isn't being run by survivors who would understand this is an issue OR the fact they are partners with people actively seeking information such as Palantir Technologies, Google, and Merck who are "partners" now with Polaris is a deliberate move here.
So which is it Polaris? Why is there no warning or caution here about anything anyone who might participate in this forum being advised to consult with an attorney before doing such a forum to ensure they aren't going to say something which could incriminate them for past actions? Was this a deliberate omission or just you don't have a friggin clue what being a survivor in America truly means?
You're asking survivors to risk incarceration, legal prosecution, even possibly someone deciding they're a risk and ordering a contract out on them by asking them to identify as a survivor at this forum. I see no cautions about anything in this invitation about the dangers of identifying with you as a survivor. Not even just with you - but even over phone and internet lines which can be hacked by traffickers targeting your servers.
So why is that Polaris?
Azurdee,The National Human Trafficking Hotline is first and foremost a survivor hotline -- it belongs to survivors and the community-at-large that it seeks to serve. It is important, therefore, that survivor voices, needs, concerns, expertise, and values always be at the heart of our work.In 2017, our commitment to engage, include, and empower survivors in our work will include quarterly open forums for survivors to call in, ask questions, give suggestions, and share feedback about the Hotline.Survivor input will drive the overall content and agenda of these calls moving forward, but the first call will focus on giving an overview of the National Human Trafficking Hotline, its operations and protocols, its current capacity and constraints, an introduction to our staff and the training they receive, and then we will open the floor to share questions and feedback on these topics. Questions can be submitted in advance by replying to this email or through the GoTo Meeting chat function during the call. Any question that we do not have time to answer will be answered in a follow up email.The first of these conference calls will take place on March 7, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. EST. ALL survivors are welcome and encouraged to participate, so please spread the word throughout your networks. We ask that only survivors of human trafficking participate in the call.Please RSVP to this invite no later than March 3, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. EST.We greatly look forward to hearing from all of you.Sincerely,Lara Powers and the National Human Trafficking Hotline staff This publication was made possible in part through Grant Number 90ZV0102 from the Office on Trafficking in Persons, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office on Trafficking in Persons, Administration for Children and Families, or HHS. National Human Trafficking Hotline
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