In a Buzzsaw interview by filmmaker Sean Stone, Tammi Stefano, the Executive Director of the National Safe Child Coalition (NSCC), exposed the internal corruption of Child Protection Services and Family Courts. Stefano stated “What we are finding now is this trafficking is a lot bigger, and a lot more involved politically than we care to look at, or the media won’t cover. Everybody is afraid because there are some really big heavy hitters that are very influential that are involved.” She also stated “Children have been sold, and there have been cases, where children have been sold up to 75 times in one day. 75 times in one day . . . . someone has abused this child.” Child Protection Services in America does not have a duty to report a child missing when the child is a ward of the State. Stefano then reveals a report from an organization call “The Humanitarian Alliance” found that within 48 hours after a child has aged out of the foster care system, 65 to 70 percent of them are captured into human trafficking rings.
On May 29, 2015, the “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015” was signed into law after much political fighting. Will this bill actually maintain the problem and make it worse by funneling even more federal funds into social services for children and troubled youth, or will it actually help put an end to this heinous industry?
Child Sex Trafficking through CPS Exposed
Video Interview with Tammie Stefano
On December 26, 2016, Uber driver Keith Avila was credited for helping rescue a teenage girl out of sex trafficking. He had a feeling that something was wrong after giving a ride to the young girl and two older women to a Holiday Inn, where the two women allegedly pimped the teen out to a man for sex. He called police to the scene shortly after dropping off the trio at the hotel. The two women were both arrested for charges related to pimping and pandering. Police found the teen in a hotel room with a 20-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of sexual activity with a minor, and has been released. According to Avila, it was the way the young girl looked and the conversation had in the car that led him to believe something wasn’t right and contact the authorities. “I looked at her in the eyes. She had this face of innocence and (looked) insecure,” he recalled. The teen girl was a runaway and as of when this story was published the authorities were trying to locate her family.
Uber Driver Saves Teen From Child Sex Trafficking
This is an example of a sex trafficking ad intended to trap teens and young adults.
3 Major Red Flags:
- The working age
- No additional information on the location
- The point of contact is a woman’s name, because people tend to trust women more
On Monday October 17, 2016 the FBI shared the story of an anonymous women who got into prostitution when she was just 17 years old. She was desperate to make it in the modeling industry, not realizing that she was actually an upscale call girl. They used this story as an introduction to their announcement of Operation Cross Country X. This FBI sting recovered 82 underage victims of prostitution, resulting in the arrests of 239 pimps between October 13th and 16th. FBI Director James Comey said “Operation Cross Country aims to shine a light into the darkest corners of our society that seeks to prey on the most vulnerable of our population.” The available data on sex trafficking in the United States doesn’t fully capture the breadth of the problem because many of the victims may be fearful of speaking out or of being charged with crimes or feel threatened by their captors who, in some cases, are members of their family.
Sex trafficking is overlooked in the U.S. because many see it as a more common occurrence in developing countries only. Children enter the criminal justice system for offenses such as “running away, truancy, drugs, alcohol, and petty theft,” but many officials and welfare workers fail to notice that “all of those are traumatic side effects to being a trafficked victim.” Children often aren’t asked about their motives to commit such crimes. Nobody ever identifies them as a trafficking victim. Not even the child themselves.
82 percent of the sex trafficking victims identified between 2008 and 2010 were were U.S. citizens. According to the FBI, human sex trafficking is the “fastest-growing business of organized crime” and an estimated some 293,000 American youths are at risk of becoming victims. The patchwork of laws and resources available in different cities and states can cause some young victims to be penalized by the law and/or charged with the crime that is perpetrated against them.
FBI Sting Shows Child Sex Trafficking Still Thriving in United States
How do you identify sex trafficking victims when such cases go largely undetected or unreported?
Detective Bill Woolf with the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force has interviewed over 300 victims of sex trafficking throughout his career. In many cases, these victims believe that they are in fact the offenders. “They fear law enforcement…because they’re technically committing a crime and that is prostitution.”
The Department of Homeland Security defines human trafficking as a “modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or personal gain.” As of 2012, the International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims worldwide. Sexual exploitation is the most commonly identified form ahead of child labor according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The National Human Trafficking Research Center released numbers identifying 4,000 reported cases of sex trafficking in the United States. Human trafficking, as a global industry, rakes in $150 billion.
A women, who was met through the Thomson Reuters Foundation and wishes to remain anonymous, shares her story. At the age of only 17 she was pulled by a pimp. Her childhood was very ordinary. She had a good upbringing with a close knit family and a comfortable home. However, everything changed when she found out her mom would be sentenced to seven years in prison for embezzling money from her company. She started to act out causing her relationship with her father to fall apart. One day she met a guy on Facebook who would send her caring messages saying everything that she wanted to hear. After she graduated high school, the two decided to meet. She bought a bus ticket to see him, only planning on staying with him for a week. When she arrived, to her surprise, the man was seven years older than her and told her she immediately needed to make money if she intended to stay with him. For four days she worked for him by going to an area for commercial sex. Soon she was approached by another pimp promising to fill a void – family. She stayed with him for a few months before returning home to reunite with her mother who had been released from prison, after two years instead of seven. Another pimp from Texas tried to court her on Facebook shortly after.
Unbeknownst to her at the time, the man was luring her into a human trafficking ring. Her and up to seven others were taken over state lines to strip and engage in commercial sex. Once she reached the East Coast she realized that she had enough. But, unfortunately, leaving was out of the question. If anyone tried to run away, the girls and the men were tasked with stopping them. She had no phone and no access to social media. “Literally my rights were ripped from me.” When the FBI broke up the ring, she, too, felt as if she were an offender. “I thought i was getting arrested. I didn’t look at them like they were there to save me. I looked at them like they were going to arrest me,” she said. She had been arrested twice for prostitution and, on one occasion, bailed out by her pimp.
When Sex Trafficking Goes Unnoticed in America
Everyday in the United States, children are being ripped away from their parents and trafficked through organizations that are for the most part legal. Corrupt government social programs and those who allow them to operate are the main perpetrators of these crimes, leaving this issue out of mainstream media. For example, the foster care and adoption system in the United States is removing children from their homes and placing them in the system for reasons other than child abuse, such as “neglect.”
In 2015 filmmaker Sean Stone interviewed Tammi Stefano, the Executive Director of The National Safe Child Coalition (NSCC). This interview exposed the corruption happening within the Child Protection Services and Family Courts. Stefano reveals that she discovered how 1000 “convicted sex offenders” had been given a “green light” by CPS to become “approved foster parents” in Los Angeles County. She also reported that in 2014 in Orange County, California of 105 sexually abused victims that were found in one particular case, 65% of those victims were in the foster care system under CPS control, and they were allegedly never reported missing.
Stefano states “The child trafficking industry, or human trafficking industry right now, makes more money than the illegal drug trade, and illegal arms trade, combined.”
“Legal” Sex Trafficking
This is a seven-part story examining sex-trafficking in the United States
“Selling American Girls”