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Human Trafficking in Lucas County …

Human Trafficking in Lucas County
Authors : Kirsten Fogle, Gina Vidal, Christy Wood, Pam Kummerer

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  • 1. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 1Running Head: HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN LUCAS COUNTY Human Trafficking in Lucas County Kirsten Fogle, Gina Vidal, Christy Wood, Pam Kummerer, MSW Students SOCW 6130 / Mylo Jennings April 24, 2009Problem/Opportunity
  • 2. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 2 There is a lack of services for minors involved in human trafficking in Lucas County,Ohio. Human trafficking is the sexual exploitation of men, women, or children through the useof coercion, force, deception, power, or manipulation. Although minors are sometimeskidnapped and forced into the workforce of prostitution, often the youths are runaways who aremanipulated and lured into the lifestyle. The problem facing youth at risk or victims of human trafficking is that there are onlytwo agencies currently in Lucas County that offer services to assist them. This is definitely aproblem considering that the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Childrenhas identified Toledo as a major recruitment site. The two agencies are Wake Up Youth andSecond Chance. The Wake Up Youth program assists in prevention, awareness, support, andeducation for girls who are abandoned or runaways. Their services are limited to females ages8-21. Second Chance offers the same services as Wake Up Youth, however also works withrehabilitation and advocacy with legal issues. There is no age or gender requirement for SecondChance.Community Description Lucas County is located in the Northwest locality of Ohio with a population of 455,054,in a square mileage of 340.4, as reported by the Ohio Department of Development in the year2000. Minors at risk for human trafficking can be seen throughout Lucas County.
  • 3. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 3 The following map illustrates the lack of services for minors involved in humantrafficking in Lucas County. Also presented on the map are the two government agencies thathave jurisdiction over the target population. Ohio Department of Development
  • 4. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 4 The map below shows how Toledo Ohio, located in the Northeast portion of LucasCounty, is a central hub for major interstates. The turnpike and other major interstates runthrough Toledo, therefore making it a transient city which enables the human trafficking ofminors. Ohio Department of Development
  • 5. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 5 The following map illustrates areas in Lucas County that are stricken with poverty.Research indicated that minors residing in impoverished communities are more susceptible to thecoercion of traffickers. Ohio Department of DevelopmentPersons Affected Affected How Intensity Children; Victims at risk; increase in drug use, lower self esteem, poor education, High ages 10-17 relationships, death, rape, abuse, defective sense of belonging, trust issues, poor health. Perpetrators Negative influence, illegal profits, self gratification, increase sense of High power and control, material items, perceived status. Police Positive/negative influences, possible perpetrators, placement decision, High increase arrests, increase crime and drug activity, treatment of victims Children Placement decisions, safety of minors, increases of cases, costs and foster High Services homes Prevalence
  • 6. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 6 The issue of minors involved in human trafficking is a national and local issue.According to Ernie Allen, Executive Director of the National Center for Missing and ExploitedChildren, data shows 100,000 to 293,000 children have become sexual commodities. Nationally,450,000 children run away from home each year. One out of three teens on the street will belured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home (US Department of Justice [USDOJ]Website). Because of the nature of the crime, incidence and prevalence is difficult to track. Thefollowing national statistics regarding the number of youths at risk for being victims of humantrafficking are according to the report, “Human Trafficking Statistics” from the Polaris Project. • 244,000 – Number of American children and youth estimated to be at risk of child sexual exploitation, including commercial sexual exploitation, in 2000. o Source: Estes, Richard J. and Neil A. Weiner. The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work: 2001. Study funded by the USDOJ. • 38,600 – Estimated number of an approximate 1.6 million runaway/thrownaway {sic} youth at risk of sexual endangerment or exploitation in 1999. o Source: U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Runaway/Thrownaway {sic} Children: National Estimates and Characteristics. NISMART Series: 2002. • 12-14 – Average age of entry into prostitution o Source: Estes, Richard J. and Neil A. Weiner. The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work: 2001. The writers of this paper attempted to locate statistical information regarding minors atrisk or victims of sexual exploitation from local, state, and national resources in order to showthe need for more services. Unfortunately, due to the hidden nature of the crimes beingcommitted against these minors, accurate numbers, according to Dr. Celia Williamson, anadvocate for victims of sexual exploitation, are hard to find, if not impossible. Dr. Williamson
  • 7. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 7stated during an interview on February 6, 2009 “you will never find those numbers, and if youdo, they won’t be ‘real’ numbers, only guess-timations”. She also noted that Toledo ranks 4th inthe nation in investigation and recruitment of sexual trafficking of minors. In addition, the article“Human Trafficking in Ohio” stated that a federal investigator “dubbed” Toledo as the “numberone” teen prostitute recruiting site in the United States (Wilson & Dalton, 2007). During a phone interview with Mike Brennan, an employee of the Lucas County JuvenileJustice Center (LCJJC), these writers attempted to obtain numbers for 2008 regarding juvenilesarrested for solicitation in Lucas County. Mr. Brennan explained that due to the justice systemand law enforcement’s attempts to increase the safety and decrease the risk of treating victims ofsexual exploitation, the numbers would be low. He stated that most often victims of sexualexploitation are usually not arrested under the crime of prostitution, but under another crime suchas disorderly conduct, loitering, drunkenness, etc. The reported number of juveniles arrested forsolicitation in 2008 was only three. Mr. Brennan explained that if law enforcement suspected thejuvenile was a victim of sexual exploitation, often they would be picked up under another crimeand then referred to Lucas County Children Services (LCCS). He said if the parents orguardians of the minors who were referred to LCCS were not suspected of participation in theyouth’s behaviors, then they were returned home, leaving them vulnerable to return to thelifestyle. In this brief but informative interview he inadvertently admitted to a hidden crime thatis so big that it is quickly reaching the surface. In another attempt to obtain local statistics of minors involved in human trafficking, Dr.Williamson was interviewed. Dr. Williamson stated that currently the FBI is working with 38minors in Lucas County. In a study done by Dr. Williamson called “Child Sex Trafficking inLucas County” (n.d.), she states that “Of the 14 (girls) interviewed by this researcher thus far,
  • 8. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 8each report knowing between 5 and 10 additional girls involved, some of which have and havenot been involved in the juvenile justice system” (pg. 2). This information is astonishing andimplies that there are between 70-140 additional girls involved in sex trafficking who have notbeen reported. In addition, Wilson and Dalton (2007), who performed a study of humantrafficking in Toledo Ohio, stated “Although there are few identified cases relative to othercrimes, most respondents believe that the problem is significantly larger than they know of: somesuggested that there are as many as 3 to10 trafficking victims of this type for every oneidentified” (p. xiv). The depth of this problem is deeper than anyone could begin to imagineassuming these statements are true. Victim Demographics The following demographics of minors involved in human trafficking were provided byDr. Williamson, in a meeting on February 27, 2009. These numbers relate to those who wereinvolved in prostitution in Lucas County, while under the age of 18, who are now adults. Thesenumbers reflect the demographics of 177 minors out of 1036 respondents (roughly 17%). • 107 Black – 60.4% • 59 White – 33% • 7 Hispanic- 4% • 4 Other – 2% • Most common age of entrance is 15-16 years old • 44% had less than high school diploma or GED • 25% had high school diploma or GED • 2% had vocational training • 24% had some college • 5% had a college degree • 61.6% want long term counseling/treatment • 38.4% see little hope for the future
  • 9. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 9 • 58.2% were sexually abused as a child • 64% use a condom during sex now • 30% report ever having a pimp • 70% report not ever having a pimp • 34.5% had been arrested for prostitution, loitering, or solicitation; 46.3% had never been arrested for those things • 54% needed help with alcohol/drug abuse – 43.5% received help – 22% said treatment was effective • 46.9% wanted mental health treatment – 39% received it – 23.2% said treatment was effective • 50% needed medical treatment – 44% received it – 22% said it was effective • 48% needed recovery services from rape/sexual assault – 42% received it – 22.6% said it was effective • 19% wanted help to leave prostitution – 7% received it – 6.7% said it was effective • 31.1% wanted counseling – 25% received it – 17% said it was effective • 23.7% wanted to find and stay in a support group – 15.8% received it – 12.4% said it was effective (Benjamin, B., et. al., 2007). The victims of human sex trafficking are primarily female who are targeted at a youngage. Since girls between the ages of 10-17 are developing their secondary sexual characteristics,they become physically appealing to perpetrators. They are becoming women physically andthey are at a fresh age of development. Cognitively, girls at this age think they are notunderstood which may contribute to them participating in risky behaviors. These risky behaviorscould lead to running away from home, and the lure of prostitution may become appealing.Perpetrators use the weak aspects of girls’ development at these ages to trap them into the worldof human trafficking. Emotionally, girls at these ages are willing to sacrifice their own wishesfor what others want. Also, as girls are transitioning into adulthood, issues that were unresolvedin their earlier development begin to come to the surface. Many girls who are victims of humantrafficking have been victims at home, witnessing substance abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse,
  • 10. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 10family dysfunction, abandonment, and they may lack positive adult role models. These girls areat risk of being sexually exploited because they have needs that may not have been metthroughout their development, and perpetrators are willing to meet these needs on some level(Ziner, 2004). After interviewing fourteen girls involved in commercialized sex activity, Dr. Williamson(n.d.) found that eleven out of the fourteen girls admitted to a history of abuse in their home.Victims identified family issues such as; sexual, physical, and mental abuse in the home;instability and neglect; substance abuse; mental illness; poverty; and the promotion ofprostitution from family members. Neglect was found to be the most prevalent form of abuse(Williamson, n.d.; Williamson & Prior, 2008; Wilson & Dalton, 2007). The girls who reported neglect or abuse at home often became runaways. Young peoplethat runaway often feel trapped in their own home life, whether it stems from a life of abuse byparents or legal guardians, too much responsibility at such a young age, or neglect from parents.Runaways leave their homes out of the stress or frustration of dealing with life at home, but findthemselves unprepared for the stress of living out of the home. They leave without planning howto eat or where to sleep, which contributes to their state of vulnerability along with the otheremotional baggage they carry. Runaways are apt to be more vulnerable and easily coerced intothe sexual trade labor. Recruiters play on runaways’ vulnerabilities to offer a means of survivalonly to trick them into a lifestyle of slavery by sex for gain for the players. Description of Perpetrators There are several levels or types of perpetrators involved in human trafficking. The“recruiter” is the person who gets the victim involved in human trafficking. The “pimp” is theperson who controls the victim and profits from their exploitation. The “john” or customer is the
  • 11. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 11person who pays for the services of the victim. It is important to note, that literature suggeststhat although some girls are abducted into the sex industry, a majority of girls are manipulated,and lured into the lifestyle. The Recruiter The recruiter can be the pimp himself, or can be any number of other people. Victimsreported having been recruited by boyfriend/husband, a friend of the pimp, one of the pimp’s“bottom bitches”, as well as a parent or family member (Wilson & Dalton, 2007). The Pimp According to Williamson and Cluse-Tolar (2002), pimps are skilled at assessing a girl’sneeds and vulnerabilities, and use them to exploit and control her. They are able to do thisbecause pimps often pose a “certain amount of charisma and smooth-talking, persuasiveconversation toward women” (p. 1074). According to the US Department of Justice (Kyckelhahn, Beck, & Cohen, 2009),approximately 77% of all alleged sex trafficking suspects are male. Nearly two-thirds of thesuspects were under age 35, while half of the child trafficking suspects were age 18 to 24. Themajority of the alleged sex trafficking suspects were Hispanic (40.4%) or Black (40.4%). Whitesmade up approximately 11% of the suspects, while Asians made up only 6% of the suspects.US Department of Justice 2007-2008 Statistics Suspect Characteristics All Sex All Sex Child Sex Child Sex Trafficking Trafficking Trafficking Trafficking Suspects Suspect Suspects Suspects Number Percent Number PercentGender Male 91 77.1% 50 86.2% Female 27 22.9% 8 13.8%Race/Hispanic Origin White 13 11.4% 9 15.8% Black 46 40.4% 30 52.6% Hispanic 46 40.4% 18 31.6% Asian 7 6.1% 0 0.0 Other 2 1.8% 0 0.0Age 17 or younger 5 4.9% 5 11.4% 18 – 24 39 37.9% 24 54.5% 25 – 34 26 25.2% 6 13.6% 35 or older 33 32.0% 9 20.5%
  • 12. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 12 The Johns The men who purchase sex from sexually exploited girls come from all walks of life,nationalities, and races. According to Wilson and Dalton (2007), the age range of johns has beenreported to be as young as 15 to as old as 90. Reports indicate that a significant number of johns(70-90%) are married men. There is a wide range of occupations among the johns, from blue-collar workers such as fast food employees, truck drivers, and warehouse workers, to whitecollar workers such as businessmen, doctors, lawyers, and politicians. In addition, militarypersonnel have been identified as frequent customers. Victims have identified police andundercover officers requesting sex in exchange for dropping charges. In the Northern Midwest,law enforcement reports that the johns are mostly white males age 30-50. Women as perpetrators Women are not only the victims of sex trafficking, but can also be exploiters. Accordingto the US Department of State (2008), women are frequently offenders in the sex traffickingindustry. They can be recruiters, serve as pimps or madams, and “are also reportedly foundamong the wealthier ‘clients’ of the commercial sex trade” (p. 11). Women often becometraffickers or recruiters through a combination of physical and psychological pressure from thepimp, as well as incentives of added freedom and financial incentives. According to the USDepartment of Justice, more than a fifth (22.9%) of sex trafficking suspects were female. Attitudes Toward Human Trafficking and Victims Minors who are victimized by sex traffickers are often viewed by society as criminals,instead of victims of sexual exploitation. There are members in society who feel that prostitutesdeserve the violence acted upon them, because they are doing something that does not fit theirpresumptive moral judgments. Williamson and Folaron (2001) state, “…societal attitudes
  • 13. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 13concerning prostitutes continue to be that they are unrapeable {sic}, do not suffer physical attack,deserve the violence inflicted upon them, or no harm is done when prostitutes are hurt or killed”(pg. 464). Prostitutes are hidden from view and forced underground because prostitution isviewed by many as a deviant activity that is illegal and morally wrong. According to Dr. Williamson, founder of Second Chance, a program which survivesprimarily on community donations, without a belief in the need for services, communitymembers are hesitant to donate. She explained that until recently, when they started focusing onchildren, people didn’t jump to donate because of the stigmatization attached to prostitution. Dr.Williamson stated “no one cares about prostitutes, but they do care about children”. Afterfocusing on children as victims, Second Chance started receiving more money for services.However, the consequence of minors who are victims of sexual exploitation is that they becomeprostitutes as adults. Whether it is by choice or not, commercialized sex workers need serviceswithout judgment.Antecedent Conditions Identification of the Problem Dr. Celia Williamson is identified in this paper as the leading researcher and advocate forvictims of sexual exploitation in Lucas County. She is continually conducting extensiveresearch, engaging in activities to educate the community, working on increasing the safety ofthose at risk of sexual exploitation, and improving the quality of life for those still in the sexuallabor force. Dr. Williamson spent 500 hours interviewing victims and survivors in Lucas Countyand utilized the data to create Second Chance in 1993. Second Chance is an organization thatserves women and children victims and survivors of sexual exploitation in Lucas County. Dr.
  • 14. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 14Williamson has also engaged in nation, state and local level efforts to stop commercial sexualexploitation. The issue of minors involved in human trafficking in Lucas County was recognized as amajor issue after a federal investigation in 2005-2006, which led to the arrest of several Toledopimps involved in a national sex trafficking ring. This was spread throughout many newspapersacross the country. After the discovery of this sex trafficking ring, the FBI named Toledo as amajor recruitment area for minors to be trafficked as prostitutes. In 2006, Dr. Williamson organized the “Prostitution Roundtable”. “The purpose of thisroundtable was to educate the community about prostitution and sex trafficking and to developcommunity responses to assist women and girls involved in the sex trade” (Second ChanceWebsite). Monthly meetings are held where social service providers, criminal justice and lawenforcement personnel, health care professionals, church members, survivors, and concernedcitizens come together to discuss issues related to human trafficking. The issue of human trafficking in Lucas County became even more publicized afterABC’s Primetime aired a television special called “Teen Trafficking in Toledo” on July 15,2008. Toledo was the main focus because it is a prime prostitution spot and lies in the middle ofa prostitution ring. The emphasis on the show was the story of two teenage cousins who weretrafficked to truck stops. Commentaries included interviews with the Toledo Chief of Police, Dr.Celia Williamson, victims of trafficking and their families, and the FBI. According to the show,one of the main reasons Toledo is rampant with prostitution is because the turnpike runs throughit and it geographically lies between Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Chicago, Illinois. This makesToledo a prime spot for trafficking girls.
  • 15. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 15 Contributing/Casual Factors Factors that contribute to the lack of resources in Lucas County for minors involved inhuman trafficking are: • There is a lack of acknowledgement of the problem of human trafficking in Lucas County by the formal organizations. oBetween January 2003 and July of 2007, Wilson and Dalton (2007) were only able to identify 10 concrete human trafficking cases in Toledo, Ohio. oIn 2008 there were only 3 minors arrested for soliciting (Brennan, personal communication). oWilson and Dalton (2007) found “law enforcement dealt with one prostitute at a time rather than investigating the overall prostitution ring” (p 34). • Formal organizations are not taking responsibility for addressing the problem. oWilson, Walsh, and Kleuber (2007) found 70% of the local law enforcement agencies reported they believed human trafficking is a problem that should be addressed by Federal law enforcement. oWilson and Dalton (2007) found “the child welfare system is unlikely to open a case and is quick to close a case, often with evidence of prostitution by juveniles or their parents” (p. 48). • There is a lack of collaboration among the formal organizations oWilson and Dalton (2007) found Toledo respondents reported a lack of collaboration between the justice system and the child welfare system, which hinders investigation and prosecution of cases. oIn 4 of 5 cases in Ohio, the service provider acknowledged knowing whom to contact regarding their victim of trafficking, but did not because of possible negative consequences for the victim. oThere is a need for greater awareness in human trafficking among doctors, nurses, hospital personal, teachers, other school personal, and caseworkers to increase the identification of victims of human trafficking. oClawson, Dutch and Cummings (2006) found “44 percent of line officers indicated that they were not at all confident or only minimally confident in their ability to make referrals” (36). oVictims of human trafficking have complex issues which require a collaborative approach to address, severe trauma, medical needs, legal issues, safety concerns and financial issues (Polaris Project). • There is a lack of collaboration from the FBI
  • 16. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 16 oWilson and Dalton (2007) found “Federal authorities want access to the victims, facilities, and information, but they provide little feedback to local practitioners” (p. 36). oClawson, Dutch and Cummings (2006) found that of the law enforcement surveyed, 90% reported they did not know the role of the Federal agents during a human trafficking investigation.• Employees of formal organizations are not well trained in identifying victims of human trafficking. oWilson and Dalton (2007) found only one case in Toledo, Ohio where the minor had been identified by law enforcement as a victim of human trafficking. oWilson, Walsh, and Kleuber (2007) found that of the law enforcement agencies surveyed; only 8% reported receiving training in human trafficking. oBales and Lize (2005) found that in 11 of the 12 cases reviewed, victims of human trafficking had contact will law enforcement authorities, but these authorities did not identify them as victims of human trafficking, and therefore did not take action to bring them to safety.• Victims of human trafficking are not being treated as victims. oVictims of human trafficking are often charged with loitering, disorderly conduct, being a runaway, or probation violation (Wilson & Dalton 2007) (Brennon interview). o“…societal attitudes concerning prostitutes continue to be that they are unrapeable {sic}, do not suffer physical attack, deserve the violence inflicted upon them, or no harm is done when prostitutes are hurt or killed” (Williamson & Folaron, 2001, pg. 464). oWilson and Dalton (2007) found that “the policy of the local police (Toledo Police Department) on runaways is to wait for them to run back, even when there are obvious signs of possible foul play” (p 37).  There are only 2 full-time detectives in the Toledo Police Department to investigate about 2,200 runaway cases annually.• Closing of Connecting Point oConnecting Point served adolescents in the Toledo area. This agency has closed and their services are no longer available for adolescents. Lack of services for this population increases their vulnerability to becoming victims of human trafficking.Cause/Effect Relationship• Literature suggests that victims of human trafficking are more often lured or recruited into trafficking than abducted (Wilson & Dalton 2007).• In Toledo, it is suggested that minors involved is human trafficking are often runaways or are on the street because of family problems and substance abuse.
  • 17. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 17 oIn Toledo, most runaways are not investigated; instead the police wait for them to return. • Victims usually come from vulnerable populations, runaways, at-risk youth, and the poor. oPimps target these populations because they are often the easiest to recruit and control (Polaris Project). oPimps are skilled in manipulation of minors. oPimps are skilled at maintaining control through deception and violence. oSome victims of human trafficking are involved in intimate relationships with their pimp. “A pimp befriends a homeless girl, spends lavish sums of money on her, and pays attention to her…the pimp convinces her to have sex for money” (Wilson & Dalton, 2007, p. 18). o“Runaways without adequate food, clothing, shelter, or other basic needs are particularly vulnerable to pimp influence” (Williamson & Cluse-Tolar, 2002, pg. 1076). Attempts to Address the Problem There have been several efforts In Lucas County to increase the community’s awarenessof minors as victims of human trafficking. Wilson and Dalton (2007) prepared the report“Human Trafficking in Ohio” in an attempt to increase the level of awareness and “providepolicymakers and practitioners with information to help improve their efforts to protect andprovide services to victims and to bring perpetrators to justice” (p. iii). They also reported thatToledo’s criminal justice system has since begun to promote awareness, identification, andinvestigation of human trafficking cases. A recent change in collaboration among federal, state,and local law enforcement assist with Lucas County’s effort to promote this awareness. Dr. Williamson has a team of 7-8 people that work at Second Chance who workdiligently on issues regarding policy and legislature for the purpose of increasing the safety ofthose involved with sexual exploitation and raising awareness in the community. Dr. Williamson
  • 18. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 18is responsible for multiple publications that focus on issues regarding victims and survivors ofhuman trafficking and sexual exploitation. In Wilson and Dalton’s (2007) report, respondents had reported that law enforcementpersonnel are becoming more sensitive to the victims of human trafficking. It was reported thatthe victims are still arrested, but they are treated more as victims than offenders. Mr. Brennannoted that most often victims of sexual exploitation are usually not arrested under the crime ofprostitution but under another crime such as disorderly conduct, loitering, drunkenness, etc. Healso explained that if law enforcement suspected the juvenile was a victim of sexual exploitation,often they would be picked up under another crime and then referred to LCCS who would thenbe referred to either Second Chance or Wake up Youth. If in fact law enforcement officials andthe justice system are acknowledging these youths as victims, then why is the crime not beingreported more? Why are they referred to another source as if swept aside only to be left to returnto their oppressors? In addition, how is arresting the victim, despite what the charges may be,and labeling them as a criminal, being more sensitive and treating the youths more as victimsthan offenders? In 2006, a Federal task force was established in Toledo to better address the issue ofhuman trafficking. The task force includes dedicated personnel from the Toledo PoliceDepartment, other local police departments, the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI.There is also a U.S. Attorney’s Office liaison assigned to the task force. The task force isfederally funded and is intended to provide support for personnel, overtime, equipment, andcomputer forensic support (Wilson & Dalton 2007). Again, law enforcement personnel reportedthat “Federal authorities want access to the victims, facilities, and information, but they providelittle feedback to local practitioners” (p. 36).
  • 19. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 19 Barriers to Change Problem Statement Barriers to Problem Resolution StatementThere is a lack of -Toledo serves as a transient point to other The number of socialservices for minors states. (Wilson & Dalton, 2007) services available toinvolved in human minors involved in human -Community’s lack of awarenesstrafficking in Lucas trafficking will increase. -Community’s lack of educationCounty, Ohio -Lack of connection between formal units -Stigmatization of the target populationTarget Population The researchers of this study believe that minors who have been victimized and forcedinto prostitution view prostitution in a negative way and want a different way of life. This beliefis supported by actual interviews conducted by Celia Williamson with minors who have beenvictimized in Lucas County in the report Child Sex Trafficking in Lucas County. Her findingssuggest that Girls involved in the study displayed conventional values that rejected prostitution as a way of life or a moral way of making money. A majority of the girls dreamed of healthy families, close relationships, homes, and education or GED, an occupation, and having a loving intimate relationship that may lead to marriage and children (n.d., pg. 11).Out of the 11 girls interviewed, “a majority (91%) experienced child abuse in their home” (pg.3). Neglect was one of the major types of abuse many of them identified, and they describe theirneglect and abuse in several ways. In Dr. Williamson’s study, a 16 year old states, “My step dadused to beat us a lot. He used to beat my mom too” (pg. 4), and a 17 year old states “Mom knew
  • 20. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 20about the sexual abuse, but didn’t want to say anything because she wanted to keep herhusband”, and another minor of undocumented age states We were starving…we had no money, no lights, no gas. One box heater for the whole family. He didn’t want to waste drug money on Christmas presents or birthday presents. He took our toys away when I was 8. He sold them and bought drugs. I started prostituting at age 11 (pg. 4).Abuse and neglect seem to be a common theme among these young girls and it appears to be apattern in their lives. Dr Williamson states that In addition to the popular belief that childhood sexual abuse may be a precursor to prostitution and trafficking, neglect was found to be most prevalent among this population. Of those that reported experiencing child abuse, most reported neglect, followed by physical abuse and sexual abuse (pg. 5).Dr. Williamson described how the children viewed neglect by noting, Neglect involved children living in homes where they believed they lacked enough food for themselves and their siblings, not enough essential clothing or “ragged” clothing, and with gas and lights turned off at some times during the year. Prostitution was reported to fulfill their needs and engage someone who could provide for their basic needs and/or be engaged in prostitution activities to be able to care for their needs themselves (pg. 5).The girls knew that they could acquire things by having sex and in their worlds, material thingswere extremely important. As well, some girls got hooked on drugs very early on in theiradolescence, many times to numb their feelings. This only worsened their victimization. Twogirls comment,
  • 21. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 21 I was 13 when I started prostituting through my Uncle first-basically I had sex to get crack- Then through another guy, then by myself. I would do it for a place to stay, food, a ride…He bought me clothes, shoes, socks, make-up, and hygiene stuff. He said I was his girl. The first night I went out there and worked I had to turn my money over to a girl (pg. 8).Another theme prevalent in this population is that many of them have been raped. Over half of girls involved in prostitution reported being raped by someone outside of their family. Almost 30% of girls reported being raped by someone in their family. Fourteen percent of girls reported being raped by someone both in and outside of their family (pg. 9).As well, “Sixty-four percent of the girls interviewed reported having one or both parentsaddicted to drugs or alcohol” (pg. 10). Many of the girls’ lives were disrupted by experienceswith their parents addicted to drugs. “Parental substance abuse served to disrupt the lives ofgirls and caused significant and chronic stress and left many to try and care for their siblings”(pg. 10). The stress of taking care of their families while the family is experienced distress isvery traumatic for a young girl. Dr. Williamson also noted in the article, “Child Sex Trafficking in Lucas County”, someof the reasons that girls reported running away from home, thus putting them at risk fortraffickers to seek out and recruit. The reasons were: • Being stressed out due to family dysfunctions • Having too many responsibilities for the care of the family and younger siblings • Experiencing repeated abuse and/or neglect (pg. 10) While on the run, they experience inner turmoil and wish to be back home under optimalcircumstances. They believe that systems that provide additional stressors add to their stress,
  • 22. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 22while providing minimal relief. When they get overwhelmed, they run again and give up Dr.Williamson noted, “Coming from a family where stressors are ever present and runawaybehavior exists, girls are at high risk of being trafficked and in entering the network of charactersinvolved in trafficking rings” (pg. 11). The majority of victims who have been exploited suffer low self esteem and feelings ofworthlessness. They identify these in the following statements. It’s like every time you do it, it eats a part of you away, and it’s just like its unexplainable how it makes you feel. You’re worthless; you’re not any good anymore. You’re damaged goods. Like me, I never think that a man would want to touch me or actually love me…I feel like shit and that I can’t never do anything right. And it tears me up, like to want to go out and make money so bad. I can’t get no job. I’ve tried everywhere. I mean nobody will hire me. So still to this day I think about it. Like I have to make some money some kind of way…Customers love me…and it makes me feel so good, but then it made me feel bad when I would go to sleep… (pg. 11).Dr. Williamson states that of the girls, “Most report depression, vigilance, and symptoms of PostTraumatic Stress Disorder” (pg. 11). When the minors were asked what the court can do to help, many responses werecollected and these are their ideas and inputs to help in planning for the solution to the problemof lack of services that are available to them. They consist of the following suggestions: • We need someone to talk to, to turn to, someone we can trust. Not nobody’s who’s gonna snake us and turn their back and look down on us or judge us for what we’ve been through. We need support and people that care. • Have meetings and get to true feelings • Get me involved in a program • Focus on positive things with me instead of negative
  • 23. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 23 • Have a drug/alcohol program • Offer restitution or whatever- something to do, something to earn • Program should be about prostitution, pregnancy, and foster care • Build self esteem • Be strict, keep kids active in positive ways, and show ways to have fun and get money- earn way to Cedar Point etc. • Telling kids not to do it is least effective and just putting them in jail • Get girls who already in it to think about if they want their daughter out there • If you want to get them out tell them to tell someone- a teacher, counselor, family member, adult, police and they will take care of it. Call for help and say “he won’t let me leave” and police will be there • Don’t keep girls locked up. Keep them in school • Reach them at 10 • What keeps girls in it? – money, pimp, look happy wearing great clothes • Talk to them about pregnancy, about my experience, about tricking is not cool, before everything becomes a habit (pg. 12).Domain There are two primary domains in Lucas County that have jurisdiction over minors whoare arrested for crimes. The first domain is the Lucas County Juvenile Justice Center (LCJJC),which has jurisdiction over all of the municipalities within Lucas County (Personalcommunication, LCJJC, April 10, 2009). The second domain is Lucas County ChildrenServices, which has a responsibility to all minors in Lucas County. In an attempt to resolve the problem of minors involved in human trafficking, it would bebest for one to work with the Lucas County Coalition on Human Trafficking. The Lucas CountyCoalition consists of members from the FBI, Lucas County Sheriff’s Department, SecondChance, Wake Up Youth, Lucas County Children’s Services, Lucas County Juvenile JusticeCenter, and The University of Toledo. Their goals include: 1.) To increase number of victims of
  • 24. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 24trafficking who are identified; 2.) To assist identified victims to leave the circumstances of theirexploitation; 3.) To establish protocol and enhance communication between the systems for thebenefit of trafficking victims; 4.) To educate young people, their parents, and the public aboutchild trafficking (L. Fedina, personal communication, April, 11, 2009).Decision Makers The following agencies have been identified as primary decision makers in regards totheir roles and responsibility to victims of human trafficking: • FBI and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children o Have identified Toledo (a major target area for Lucas County) as a major recruitment area for the commercial sexual exploitation of children by traffickers (Williamson & Prior, 2008, p. 3). o Participate in the Toledo task force for human trafficking established in 2006 o The FBI are willing to accept information regarding sexual exploitation of victims, however they are not willing to share information they have about the problem to others. • Juvenile Court and Social Systems o Lack the ability to provide relief for victims of sex trafficking and only add to the stress of their existing stressful lives. o Additional stressors caused by these institutions sometimes result in the girls being overwhelmed to the point of giving up and running away again. o Have the ability to serve as a voice for victims in regards to services and safety. • Law Enforcement o “Various divisions of vice, organized crime, crimes against persons, child exploitation, and detective bureaus were most frequently listed as the units responsible for addressing human-trafficking issues” (Wilson, Walsh, & Kleuber, 2006, p. 30). o Debrief prostitutes, especially juvenile prostitutes, for connections to human trafficking (p.32). o Studies show that local police are first to encounter victims and perpetrators therefore giving them a hand in how victims get treated and receive treatment necessary for rehabilitation. (p. 30)
  • 25. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 25 o Hold the ability to direct and or refer suspected victims of sex trafficking minors to social services or offer a supportive communication that should not treat victims as offenders o Have the ability to not arrest them-but rather rescue them from a current situation and not punish them o They also have the ability to serve as a voice for victims • Service providers o As reported by Wilson and Dalton (2007), service providers are increasingly encountering victims of human trafficking firsthand without law enforcement referral, participation or role in case. Such as the case below.  “One victim was identified by a service provider when she developed a sexually transmitted disease, was hospitalized, and then transferred to a drug rehabilitation center, where she told authorities about her experiences” (p. 31). o Hold a responsibility to address and provide support and intervention to youth victims o In Lucas County there are only two agencies which provide services to victims of sexual exploitation, in which neither provide safe housing for victims seeking shelter. • Children Services o If parents are presently assessable and available to the child and are not suspected as those involved in the child’s solicitation then they typically drop the case. o Do little to act as able to identify or assist youth victims (Wilson & Dalton, 2007). o For this reason effectively inhibit the identification and provision of services that these juveniles need and undermine efforts to obtain information about the other offenders (and potentially other victims) involved in the trafficking process Support for needed services for minors of sexual exploitation is shown through the effortsof all of the above. A task force and a coalition that includes many members of the decisionmakers are hard at work to address the problem that has become evident in Lucas County.Power/Authority/Influence
  • 26. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 26 The purpose of this assessment is to identify the need for services for minors who arevictims of human trafficking, specifically sexual exploitation. The main issue for lack of servicesis insufficient funding for services needed. The issue of insufficient funds could be supported bylaw enforcement’s responsibility to report numbers as they come in. There is power in numbers, and the writers suggest that rather than hiding the crimeunder another to allow the “offense” to be shown for the purpose of showing proof of theproblem in numbers. Law enforcement claims to arrest victims under other crimes in order todecrease the victim blaming game; however still arresting them under other crimes whichcontain them for only short periods of time only allows them to be rereleased back into theirdangerous lifestyle. The numbers could provide needed proof in order for funds to be allocatedfor services.Available Social Services Currently, there are two formal services in Lucas County that are assisting victims ofhuman trafficking. Wake Up Youth claims to be currently serving between 38-42 minors, whileSecond Chance is serving 30-35 (Wake Up Youth and Second Chance, personal communication,March 9, 2009).Working Intervention Hypothesis Research validates our position that implementing a safe house would be beneficial. Dr.Williamson notes in the report Child Sex Trafficking in Lucas County, that it is difficult fortherapeutic interventions to compete with the underground network of a continued system ofsupport and players. She also stated, To counter the system, our community must continue to offer case management and support and offer safe and long term housing supported by qualified, educated, and
  • 27. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 27 empathetic staff. Services in a safe house should include trauma treatment, medication management, education and job training, among other interventions (n.d., p. 13).If the following interventions are provided: 1. Safe House 2.Trauma treatment 3. Support, counseling, advocacy, and mentoring 4. Access to basic needs, social support, and formal servicesThen we would expect the following results: 1. Victims to gain a true sense of security, love and validation 2. Victims would be empowered to take control of their own life 3. Victims would gain knowledge of healthy relationships 4. Victims would have increased hope for a successful and happy life 5. Victims would have continued access to basic needs, social support, and formal services 6.Victims to be free from the dangers of sex trafficking lifestyle
  • 28. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 28 ReferencesBales, K., & Lize, S., (2005). Trafficking in persons in the United States: A report to the National Institute of Justice. Oxford, Miss.: Croft Institute for International Studies, University of Mississippi, 2005. Retrieved February 5, 2009 from: pdffiles1/nij/grants/211980.pdfBenjamin, B., Bryant, M. S., Cox, J. A., Dupuy, P., Lambert, E., Laux, J. M., Nathan, V. M., Ventura, L. A., Williamson, C., (2007). Female offenders in the criminal justice system needs of and services for mother and their children. Toledo, Ohio: University of Toledo, National Center for Parents.Clawson, H. J., Dutch, N., and Cummings, M., (2006). Law enforcement response to human trafficking and the implications for victims: Current practices and lessons learned. Retrieved February 7, 2009 from, T., Beck, J. B., Ph.D., Cohen, T.H., Ph.D., (2009). Characteristics of suspected human trafficking incidents, 2007-08. U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from:http:// of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Website, Guiding Principles for Promising Female Programming: An Inventory of Best Practices. 1998. Available online at (accessed February 27, 2009).Ohio Department of Development. (n.d.). Ohio County Profiles. Retrieved April 3, 2009, from
  • 29. Human Trafficking in Lucas County 29Polaris Project Website. Polaris Project; Combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Retrieved on February 4, 2009 from Chance Website. (2007-2008). Second Chance. Retrieved February 5, 2009, from, E. (Executive Producer). (July 15, 2008). ABC Prime Time {Television Broadcast}.Unknown author. (2009). More than 1,200 alleged incidents of human trafficking reported in the U.S. Retrieved from: http// Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. (n.d). Retrieved February 3, 2009, from Department of State (2008) Trafficking in person report. Retrieved February 4, 2009 from, C. Ph.D., (n.d.). Child sex trafficking in Lucas County. Preliminary Findings from interviews with victims. Retrieved February 6, 2009 from author.Williamson, C., & Cluse-Tolar, T. (2002). Pimp-controlled prostitution: Still an integral part of street life. Violence Against Women, 8(9), 1074-1092.Williamson, C., & Folaron, G. (2001). Violence, risk, and survival strategies of street prostitution. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 23(5), 463-475.Williamson, C., & Prior, M., (2008) Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: A Network of Underground Players of the Midwest.Wilson, D. G., Walsh W. F., & Kleuber, S., (2006). Trafficking in human beings: Training and services among US law enforcement agencies, Police Practice and Research, 7(2) pp. 149–160.Wilson, J., & Dalton, E., (2007). Human trafficking in Ohio: Markets, responses, and considerations. RAND Corporation. Retrieved on February 4th and 6th, 2009 from:, Susan, (2004). The Role of Cognitive Development in Pediatric Medical Decision- Making. Global Virtue Ethics Review (January 2004): N/A.