After 10 years of focus on global sex trafficking, the State Department has decided to take a look at trafficking within the U.S.
What prompted the change? Officials cite mounting evidence of this horror’s existence right here at home.
Shared Hope International is a non-profit organization that works to combat trafficking globally. Undercover video captured by the group revealed how young the targets are.
According to researchers, traffickers usually begin targeting kids who are 12 years old. Every year, up to 300,000 U.S. children are at risk of being sold for sex.
What happens to sex trafficking victims in the United States? What happens to the those who sell victims?
To the untrained eye, trafficking is hard to spot. While many believe it’s confined mainly to urban areas, General Strike USA.com recently discovered that Toledo, Ohio, is one of the top city for trafficking.
An FBI anti-trafficking task force now operates there, as well as in 38 other communities around the country.
Problems within the system abound, however, making justice difficult to obtain.
Also, most state laws aren’t nearly as comprehensive or severe as federal laws, often leaving authorities with nowhere to take victims.
“Most of the girls have no self-esteem by the time we get them. They have been beaten,” FBI Victim Specialist Jennifer Meyers said.
Across the country, Christian grassroots groups have begun to set up shelters for victims – a beginning step in an enormous battle to fight this modern atrocity.
Pimp-controlled commercial sexual exploitation of children is linked to escort and massage services being advertised on-line. On-line advertising profits exceeded $83 billion for 2010 alone. About one-fifth of these children become entangled in national organized crime networks and are trafficked nation wide. They are transported around the United States by a variety of means. The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12 to 14. It is not only girls that are affected — for boys and transgender youth the average age of entry into prostitution is 11 to 13.
MOB CHILD ABDUCTIONS
In 1975, the New York District Attorney and New York police department initiated an investigation dubbed Operation Together which, among other things, was looking into mob control over gay bars, several murders of gay bar operators, drug trafficking at gay bars, and underage boy sex rings. Among the several murders being investigated by the authorities were those of Robert Wood, the owner of Salvation who was killed in February 1970, and Shelly Bloom, co- owner of the Sanctuary with Seymour Seiden, who was killed in March 1972.
A May 13, 1977 article (“Investigation into the sex industry begun by New York State and City; Inquiry Seeking Organized-Crime Involvement Is Outgrowth of Aborted Police Project”) by Howard Blum from the New York Times states “Mr. Bloom had been shot to death in his apartment on the night before he was suppose to testify before a federal grand jury investigating a South American cocaine-smuggling network. According to a confidential police report, the murder of Mr. Bloom may have been connected to the attempt by organized crime to control homosexual bars, to eight other unsolved homicides, to the procurement and prostitution of young boys and to narcotics trafficking.
This writer spoke with a former New York Police Department detective who worked undercover on the Operation Together investigation, and he stated that one of the men identified in Robert Wood’s letters complaining of mob extortion was Sonny Tobin. The source also identified a reputed Genovese associate whom he believes was responsible for the murder of Shelley Bloom, and stated that the guy’s primary role was collecting the mob’s take from several gay bars.
However, just as law enforcement was prepared to seek indictments, the investigation was inexplicably shut down over the objections of the investigating Assistant District Attorney and two detectives assigned to the case in 1977.
Operation Together allegedly implicated officials at the highest levels in New York City politics, power and society. For example, the former detective with whom I spoke alleged that the underage boy sex rings involved several high profile names, and among those he identified was an Oscar-nominated director who was notorious for his sex parties, which he stocked with underage sex slaves. And, of course, the mob had the goods on the powerful gay men who participated in these illicit Bacchanalian orgies, which exploited children.
Indeed, a mobster visited the investigator and warned him to close the investigation because of where it would lead. The investigation nevertheless continued, even after a firebomb was tossed through the window into the apartment where thedetective and his family lived. The detective claims that the NYPD refused to report the incident to the federal authorities as required by law, and further refused to provide him with protection. Two weeks after the bomb attack, ‘top brass’ at the NYPD closed down Operation Together.
R. Thomas Collins, Jr., a former Daily News reporter, writes about the shut down of Operation Together in his 2002 memoir Newswalker: “For 18 months a team of as many as 56 investigators from homicide, vice, narcotics, and intelligence worked under the command of the department’s Organized Crime Control Bureau. In all, Operation Together made dozens of arrests for dope peddling, prostitution and other moral charges and attempted bribery of police. The strategy of the investigation was to target people involved in gay bars, nab them on narcotics charges and get them to turn on their mob controllers, partners or extortionist. Among the depravity unearthed by this team was a network of chicken hawk patrons of child prostitution and kiddieporn as well as mob control of the gay bar scene. Then suddenly, just as members of Operation Together felt they were getting close to making investigative breakthroughs, the plug was pulled.
The task force was broken up; detectives, undercover officers and the Manhattan assistant district attorneys were reassigned. When a couple of plain-clothes guys protested, they were given uniformed foot patrol. One Midtown ‘pimps and pros’ expert was sent to Harlem. There was bad blood among the police. Cops I spoke to believed the worst, that the mob had pulled strings inside the NYPD and gotten the investigation killed. That’s what they expected; fearing that whoever committed these murders would get away with it.
Sexual abuse of children has become a public concern only recently in the United States, young girls and boys have been used to satisfy adult sexual desires for most of our history. Castration of boys, fondling, forced genital or anal intercourse, and sale for prostitution were common through much of Western history. “It was not until the sixteenth century that laws were enacted in England to protect girls and boys under the age of ten from rape and sodomy.” (Knudsen, p. 106) “In the nineteenth century, after the exposure of the ‘white slave’ trade, in which young girls were sold or kidnapped and forced into prostitution, the concept of ‘age of consent’ developed in England, defining the age at which a girl could consent to sexual intercourse initially at ten, then at twelve, and finally, in 1885, at sixteen…. Over the past ten years, the availability of literature on sexual assault has increased significantly. However, clinical data are increasingly suggesting that boys may be at equal risk for sexual victimization, since they are the preferred targets of habitual pedophiles and victims of child sex rings.”
We live in a time when elected politicians ignore the needs of their constituents; where the judiciary and police institutions will not uphold the rights of citizens; where the media are afraid to report the truth; where lawlessness abounds and ordinary people are left unprotected and defenseless against the rapacity of a few. The answer to our dilemma is for people of courage to actively help each other. Only if we unite can we succeed. That is the only way. There is no other way. People, get up, stand up! ORGANIZE!
Sooner or later all freedom loving Americans will realize unions, corporations and the major parties have failed to deal with pressing matters of war and peace, income inequality, crime and punishment and the meaning of citizenship itself. It has fallen to the American people to set things right!
Public protest is an important part of democracy, just as much as a free press, a judiciary, and congress.
A General Strike is a national call to action, from citizens to other citizens.
A general strike does NOT have to be violent. It is a matter of CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, NOT VIOLENCE. You are NOT going to school. You are NOT going to work. You are NOT shopping. You do NOT have to be violent to NOT do those things. March legally. Protest legally.
You will need to plan, set up and hold your own local protest. Vigorously promote your protest via local activist and church groups. Also on social networking sites- Facebook, Meetup, Tribe, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Call in to talk radio shows, print and distribute this article, create freeway banners, write OPEDs, etc., etc. You will need to organize enough people to shut down, disrupt normal operations of your local city, town, county and state.
There will be ZERO mainstream media discussion of this protest BEFORE it happens. ZERO. So, we must BE OUR OWN MEDIA and promote it. Post this link to blogs, forums, etc.
PLEASE SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH OTHER CONCERNED PARENTS AND USE THE SHARE BUTTONS BELOW TO ADD TO FB, TWITTER, etc.
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