Improving our response to commercially sexually exploited youth - Peter QualliotinePresentation Transcript
THE COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION (CSE) OF YOUTH Peter Qualliotine, CSE Training Coordinator YouthCare's Bridge Program Seattle, Washington
YouthCare’s Bridge Program
Trauma informed Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Counseling
Truck stop prostitution
Internet based exploitation
CSE is a global problem that manifests differently depending on the economic, cultural and social context .
The underlying issues remain constant in each context.
What prevents us from fully understanding the scale, scope and severity of the commercial sexual exploitation of youth?
Two concepts from social psychology to keep in mind:
The Fundamental Attribution Error- overvalues dispositional or personality-based explanations of behaviors while undervaluing situational explanations of those behaviors.
The Just World Hypothesis- the tendency for people to want to believe that the world is fundamentally just; “Bad things happen to those that deserve them.”
The Social Construction of Gender
“ Act Like a Man”
“ Good Girl/Bad Girl”
“ CSE Youth” vs. “Teen Prostitute” The complexity of CSE in the criminal justice system is rooted in the “victim/offender” status of youth
Recognizing the double standard
A sports coach has sex with a 13-yr old female student
What is the societal response?
How does law enforcement and the legal system respond?
Recognizing the double standard
The same coach pays to have sex with a 13-year old he picked up on the track
What is the societal response?
How does law enforcement and the legal system respond?
… What is the difference?
Prostitution and the sex industry promote the myth that male sexuality must be satisfied by a supply of women and children who can be bought. This demands the creation of a group of women who are legitimate targets for rape and sexual exploitation.
*See The Links between Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: A Briefing Handbook by Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW)
Who is vulnerable to CSE?
There is a distinct correlation between early childhood sexual abuse and prostitution.
It is estimated that 90% of youth in prostitution have history of sexual abuse, rape or trauma
Youth who have sexual trauma history are more vulnerable to exploitation and pimps are savvy at detecting this vulnerability
The average age for a youth entering prostitution in the US is 13-14 years
Who is this “Legitimate Target Group?”
Membership in a “Less Powerful Group” increases a youth’s vulnerability to CSE.
More Powerful Group
Less Powerful Group
People of Color
A Coordinated Community Response to CSE
A Coordinated Community Response to CSE must be accountable to victim/survivors.
“ I picked prostitutes as my victims because I hate most prostitutes and I did not want to pay them for sex. I also picked prostitutes as victims because they were easy to pick up without being noticed. I knew they would not be reported missing right away, and might never be reported missing. I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.”
-Gary Ridgway, 2003
TRICKS (continued) Of Gary Ridgeway's 48 admitted victims, 27 of them were between the ages of 15-18 years old. The Green River killer was therefore one of the largest child serial killers in the US ever. The fact that many of his victims were children/youth is never mentioned because they were viewed as prostitutes.
The Sexual Violence Continuum, Sexual Objectification and CSE
Data from 3 studies by Farley (Prostitution Research & Education in San Francisco) and colleagues in Chicago (Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Glasgow (Women’s Support Project) and London (POPPY Project of Eaves, Inc.)
In each location more than 100 men who buy sex were interviewed under conditions of anonymity.
The men reported similarly effective deterrents to buying sex across 3 countries (United States, Scotland, United Kingdom).
The most effective deterrents in all 3 countries were public exposure and jail time. The least effective deterrents in all 3 countries were educational programs without legal consequences.
What would deter you from buying sex? Chicago N=113 Glasgow N=110 London N=103 Added to a Sex Offender Registry 92% 89% 85% Photo and/or name in newspaper 87% 84% 83% Jail time 83% 86% 84% Photo and/or name on a billboard 83% 77% 85% Photo and/or name on internet 82% 78% 83% A letter to family saying you were arrested for soliciting 79% 77% 79% Driver’s license suspended 76% NA 78% Greater criminal penalty 75% 72% 77% Car impounded 70% 70% 76% Higher monetary fine (more than $2,500) 68% 69% 80% Community service 58% NA 72% Required to attend educational program for johns 41% 56% 47%
“ The emptier our hearts become, the greater will be our crimes. … It is a terrible and inexorable law that one cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing ones own: in the face of one’s victim, one sees oneself.” -James Baldwin, 1961
Street Prostitution Role-Play
Language… Listening Between the Lines
John, Trick, Date- The names used for men who pay for sex
The Game, The Life- Terms that refer to the underground world of prostitution including the rules, norms and expectations.
Track, Blade, Ho stroll- Terms for the areas where street prostitution occurs. Generally sidewalks or corners of specific streets or intersections, malls or other public areas.
Bottom Girl (Bottom B*#*h)- Girl that has the most status with the pimp. Often was the first girl that “worked” for him. May be responsible for recruiting, grooming or managing other girls.
Automatic- Girls will “work” even if the pimp is not physically present. Girls are expected to “work on automatic” until the pimp returns.
Language… Listening Between the Lines (continued)
Out of Pocket- When a girl “break the rules” or does some that makes the pimp angry. Grounds for violence and abuse.
Choosing Up- This refers to “choosing” a new/different pimp. This is often as simple as making eye contact with a different pimp. One of the reasons girls are not allowed to make eye contact with anyone other than “dates”.
Renegade, Loose Bunny- A girl involved in (usually) street prostitution without a pimp. This is very dangerous for girls and they are often kidnapped or forced to “choose up”.
Quotas- The amount of money that a girl must make on any given night, set by the pimp. All money is turned over to the pimp this is called “ Breaking a B*#*h”
The Making of a girl video clip
CSE Power and Control Wheel
Types of Pimps:
The “Turning Out” Process:
Effects of the “Turning Out” Process
Impact of CSE on Victim/Survivors
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:
PTSD is a complex disorder in which the affected person’s memory, emotional responses, intellectual processes, and nervous system have all been disrupted by one or more traumatic experiences.
It is sometimes summarized as “a normal reaction to abnormal events.”
The DSM-IV-TR classifies PTSD as an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of PTSD:
This is the psychological bond between the pimp and the victim is called Trauma Bonding (what is also called Stockholm Syndrome)
The result is:
Failure to self-identify
Return to the pimp/trafficker
Denial of violence/abuse/exploitation
The terror in the prostituted woman by the pimp causes a sense of helplessness and dependence. This emotional bonding to an abuser under conditions of captivity has been described as the Stockholm Syndrome (Graham et al., 1994) Attitudes and behaviors which are part of this system include:
Intense gratefulness for small favors when the captor holds life and death power over the captive.
Denial of the extent of the violence and harm which the captor has inflicted or is obviously capable of inflicting.
Hyper-vigilance with respect to the pimp’s needs and identification with the pimp’s perspective on the world.
Perception of those trying to assist with escape as enemies and perception of captors as friends.
Extreme difficulty leaving one’s captor/pimp, even after physical release has occurred. Paradoxically, women in prostitution may feel that they owe their lives to their pimps.
Service Providers are uniquely positioned to both prevent and respond to CSE by:
Understanding the increased vulnerability of runaway/homeless/at-risk youth
Identifying red flags and assisting foster parents/care providers in identifying red flags
Having critical conversations with youth (and providers) to educate them on what recruiting and grooming look like
Intervening; particularly if youth start running away
Work on healthy gender identities for girls and boys. Teaching young men to respect women and de-mystifying the sex trade and pimp/ho culture is the only way to decrease demand in the next generation.
Identifying Recruiting Behavior:
Older or more mature girls befriend younger or impressionable girls
Potential gang involvement or connection to males in gangs
Males or females talking in ways that sound like “selling the dream”: talking about money, partying, getting hair and nails done, shopping, riding in nice cars, getting “taken care of”
Excessive loyalty or devotion
“ Red Flags”
Chronic runaway/homeless youth
Excess or unexplained amounts of cash
Unexplained cell phone(s)
Hotel room keys
Signs of branding (tattoo, jewelry)
Lying about age/false identification
Inconsistencies in story
Lack of knowledge of a given community or whereabouts
Engagement… in a Nutshell
Dispel Judgment- Youth involved in prostitution are isolated in the way society perceives them, if they sense judgment they will shut down
Build Rapport, take your time- This is a LONG PROCESS
Respond to youth as SURVIVORS - Youth have learned tremendous resiliency and coping strategies amidst trauma and violence.
Avoid using the word “pimp” if the girl identifies him as her boyfriend. Do not try initially to convince her that he is a pimp.
Identify what is important to youth in the moment- employment, court/legal case, health services
Meet basic needs - Providers will have to “complete with the pimp” to demonstrate that others can care for her
“ Listen between the lines”- Youth may test service providers by using prostitution specific language to see if they understand
Ask open-ended questions- It is risky for youth in prostitution to talk to anyone. Dispel judgment and try using open-ended questions to keep them talking and build rapport
The majority of youth in prostitution will not give any “real” information about their lives on the first, second, or perhaps even the tenth meeting.
Participation in street economy has made youth highly distrustful of any authorities and they may, in fact, be in physical danger if their pimp finds out they talked to a provider.
Service providers must build rapport and trust; this is a slow process. Avoid the “savior "attitude. It is likely that youth will return to the streets several times before making a real attempt to get out.
Pay careful attention to your own triggers and responses. Youth in prostitution can read people and motivations; this skill has kept them alive. If they sense they can manipulate or intimidate you it will be far more difficult to engage them in services.
Stages of Change Pre-contemplation Stable behavior
Stages of Change
Pre-contemplation: Denies being sexually exploited; “I love my Daddy; he takes care of me.”
Contemplation: Ambivalent about leaving, but acknowledges that being in “the life” is painful and is not what she wants.
Preparation: Makes a commitment to leave the life; “I still love him, but not the other stuff…”
Action: Leaves the life; “I’m glad I left, but I still miss him.”; “It’s weird being in the square world. I feel so different from everyone else.”
Maintenance: Remains out of prostitution and develops new skills; “I could never go back to the life, but sometimes I miss the action.”
Relapse: Returns to the life; “He really loves me and I’m always going to be like this.
Safety Planning can be used at anytime as way to engage or counsel CSE youth.
CSE youth are aware of the dangers they are exposed to and talk about “safety” among their peers. (example: “Bad Date Lists”)
Use caution to not judge or assume what dangers they are currently facing. Let youth share with you what their safety concerns are
Safety planning should be specific to each case; there are many forms and types of CSE
Safety Planning Questions
What type of commercial sexual exploitation has the youth been involved in (street prostitution, online prostitution, stripping/dancing, older “boyfriend”)
What areas or locations are they most likely to be taken to “work”?
How has the youth kept themselves safe in the past?
What businesses or safe locations exist in the area they are most likely to frequent?
Who would they contact if they needed help and how?
Are there areas neighborhoods where the youth is in more danger? (rival gangs/pimps/etc)
Intensive Case Management: Education, Employment training, Life Skills
Safe housing (emergency and long term)
Mental Health and Chemical Dependency
Federal Definitions of CSE
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC): 18 U.S.C. § 1591 makes it illegal to recruit, entice, obtain, provide, move or harbor a person or to benefit from such activities knowing that the person will be caused to engage in commercial sex acts where the person is under 18 or where force, fraud or coercion exists. This statute does not require that either the defendant or the victim actually travel **
Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) occurs when a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident who has not attained 18 years of age is engaged in a commercial sex act**
Federal Laws and Sentences FEDERAL LAW MINIMUM SENTENCE MAXIMUM SENTENCE Transportation of a minor with intent for minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. 18 U.S.C.2423(a) 10 years Life Coercion and enticement (transportation for prostitution or other criminal sexual activity) 18 U.S.C. 2422 10 years Life Sex Trafficking of children or by force, fraud or coercion TVPA 18 U.S.C.1591 15 years (child under 14) 10 years (between 14-17) Life Life Sexual Exploitation of Children 18 U.S.C 2251 15 years 25 years 35 years 30 years (1 st offense) 50 years (1 prior) Life (2+ priors)
Federal Laws and Sentences FEDERAL LAW MINIMUM SENTENCE MAXIMUM SENTENCE Selling or buying of children- 18 U.S.C. 2251A 30 years Life Certain activities related to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors- 18 U.S.C. 2252 None (possession of porn) 5 years 15 years (prior) 10 years (2+ priors) 10 years 20 years 40 years 40 years Certain activities related to material constituting or containing child pornography- 18 U.S.C. 2252A None (possession of porn) 5 years 15 years (prior) 10 years (2+ priors) 10 years 20 years 40 years 40 years Obscene visual representations of sexual abuse of children -18 U.S.C 1466A None 10 years 10 years 20 years (prior)