Human Trafficking, Pornography, and Child Abduction – The Dirty (and Sad) Truth
Two invitations, separated by over two decades. The first invitation I declined and the second I accepted. If I had accepted the earlier, I might have ended up in a sad video tribute of people that had committed suicide, been murdered, or died of drug overdose. I watched the video through a veil of tears at the event for the second invite I attended. My mind played through all of the “what ifs” as I listened to horrific and hellacious tales. “This could have been me” was my answer to a nice couple when they asked why I was attending the “Human Trafficking, Pornography, Drug Cartel and Child Abduction” Conference in Los Angeles.
I was a single mom who worked for minimum wage and couldn’t make ends meet in the late 1980’s. It seemed that each week that passed, I sold more of what was left of my personal belongings to get by. The future looked bleak with every passing moment. My daughter, two large dogs and two cats needed a house, not an apartment, and rent in the city where we lived was very expensive. Our pets were the source of joy and stability for my daughter, so getting rid of them was not an option.
A favorite, trusted, and loved employee where I worked approached me when he heard that I needed money. He told me how I could earn extra income, working every other weekend when my daughter was away. It was a staggering amount of money. There was an obvious catch, but he assured me the work was “high class” with no funny business. When I showed my disgust at his suggestion and told him that I would never consider selling myself, he pressed on, saying that he was only concerned because of my daughter’s needs. He made me feel guilty for not pursuing his “job lead”. I told him, flat out, that is was because of my daughter that I would never consider being a call girl, and gave him my emphatic “NO!” I lost all respect for him and quit my job. I didn’t tell my employer what had happened. I felt shame and embarrassment for being viewed in such a demeaning way.
Tony Nassif is the President and Founder of the “Preventing Abuse Foundation”. http://preventingabuse.org/ He states that “there are many elements to human trafficking. One of the most important is the ‘demand’. If there are no buyers, the business shuts down.”
More than $32 billion dollars is brought in annually by the Sex Industry, which is only second to the illegal drug trade. This says a lot about the moral state of our society.
Ann Bissel was a victim of child sex trafficking. Her website and organization is http://www.silverbraid.com/ “Commercial sexualization of our children is a mistake”…and is “our nation’s silent epidemic”. “Silverbraide” opens up our eyes to child abduction, gang rapes, runaways, kidnapping, which all leads to trafficking within a blink of an eye.
Ann read from a poem she had written. At first she was calm, but as she continued to read she broke down. She was reading a part in her poem about a 13 year old, abducted while walking home from Bible study! The words came from her choked by tears and I barely could comprehend the phrase, “just another ho on the street”. The people who deal in child pornography and child trafficking are animals. It was only 10:00 a.m. Time to pass the Kleenex. How in the world could we sit through this until 3:00 p.m.?
I wonder how many women think that it is okay to watch pornography with their husbands or turn the other way when husbands, boyfriends, or guy friends watch porno on the internet? Perhaps if you were to go to http://www.thepinkcross.org/page/what-pink-cross and see the truth about pornography, you would change your mind. Be warned in advance that this website is not for the faint of heart. The brutality of how porn stars (and I would change that to porn “slaves”) are treated is truly worse than anyone treats their dogs, with the exception of Michael Vick and the like. Men and some women seek pleasure by watching pornography. They think that these girls are enjoying the sex that takes place. The reality is men are watching women being brutalized, raped, attacked, coerced, threatened; leaving them without self-esteem or hope. Is that sexy? Is that a turn-on? The fact is that these women are contracting sexual diseases right before everyone’s eyes, without consent and beyond their control. Now, ask yourself this question: What if that were your daughter, niece, son, brother, uncle, aunt, husband, neighbor, wife?
I saw men get up and walk out of the room during this conference and I wanted to get up and RUN out with them, not after them. My heart was breaking as I listened to Tania Fiolleau, who is the Founder of “Save the Women Ministry International”, based out of Vancouver BC. Tania’s story was gut wrenching and the ultimate story of survival and redemption. She ran 4 brothels with over 500 women. Now she is a minister and the author of a book, “Souled Out”. She is educating the public about domestic violence and human trafficking. See Tania’s story here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0UaBmtqHtk
The movie “Fireproof” was a wonderful portrait of how pornography can destroy marriage. This film accurately portrayed the hurt and betrayal that occurs when a previously loving and attentive husband disappears into the world of internet porn. Tiffany Leeper is the Founder of “Girls Against Porn & Human Trafficking” (GAP) and was once told by her husband, “I don’t love you anymore” after he became addicted to internet porn. He withdrew from her, from his job, from his church…from everything because of his addiction to porn. Sadly, this is not uncommon to many households today.
Tiffany played a video clip of serial murderer, Ted Bundy during his last interview, where he spoke about his addiction to pornography, linking it to committing murders. We also watched a video clip of Tonya Flynt calling her father, Hustler Magazine mogul Larry Flynt, a “monster”. Hollywood portrayed Flynt as a champion of free speech and being likable in “The People vs. Larry Flynt”. Tonya said her father only cares about money and that she was a victim of her father’s industry. Tiffany’s information was alarming, as we learned that rapists act out what they learn from porn and that girls who are trafficked are trained by using porn. Most alarming, however, was that under our current Department of Justice (Eric Holder) all prosecutions of illegal adult obscenity has stopped. See video here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEzc0yZunpY Why? Why stop prosecuting “the cancer of the soul…the battery acid of our culture”?
Los Angeles County is the largest center of porn production. Van Nuys and the San Fernando Valley are known as “Porn Valley”. 75% of performers are female. Girls are easily lured in by promises of love, by being told they will be stars, by being told they are very pretty or special, or promises of making lots of money.
If you are a parent, love your children, tell them you love each and every day. Girls without self esteem are easily targeted for the sex trade. Be on notice that FB and Craigslist prowls for your children like a lion hunts for its prey – luring your kids with promises of stardom. These sites will even fly your children to Los Angeles! Be advised that child and human trafficking and pornography is the modern day slave trade. There are not only victims from all over the U.S., but there is a huge problem with people that are smuggled into our country, being trafficked as well- including babies and children. (See http://www.slaverynomore.org/)
One person who had a compelling story that brought tears to my eyes was none other than Michael Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan. He wrote an autobiography, “On the Outside Looking In”. Michael was a victim of child abuse. He established the “Michael Reagan Center for Advocacy and Research” in partnership with “Arrow Child and Family Ministries“. Michael is involved with political endeavors, but his top priority is meeting the physical and emotional needs of children rescued from abuse and neglect. (http://www.arrow.org/mrc/mrcoverview/Overview.html )
Shelly Lubben ( founder of “Pink Cross Foundation” and author of “Truth Behind the Fantasy of Porn”) shared a scripture from Isaiah 58:6-9 that, to me, encapsulates everything I heard at the conference and from the speakers who are fighting this good fight. Here is the Message Bible version: “This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins, If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.”
Debi Devens is one of the founding organizers of the Beverly Hills Tea Party. Follow her on twitter at @debidevens