National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

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"News of the Week"  

June, 2018 - Week 5
MJ Goyings
Many thanks to our very own "MJ" Goyings, a resident of Ohio,
for her daily research that provides us with the news related material that appears on the LACP & NAASCA web sites.



Protect your child, thoughts from a sexual abuse survivor

by Christie Somes

I was sexually assaulted by an older neighbor boy when I was 4 and 5 years old. That is a challenging, difficult statement for most people to read, and even more challenging for me to write. But I am not alone.

Rarely a week goes by without a jarring newspaper headline detailing childhood sexual abuse: a coach, a schoolteacher, a church elder, a father. Childhood sexual abuse is a crime that is far more prevalent than most people believe because most children do not report if they are being abused.

"Childhood sexual abuse is one of the biggest public health problems that children and adults will face in their lifetimes, causing the most serious array of short- and long-term consequences," said Jenny Stith, executive director of the WINGS Foundation in Denver.

While many children are taught to be aware of "stranger danger," the sad fact is that someone they know is almost always the abuser. About 90 percent of children who are sexually abused suffer that harm from family members, someone close to the family or one of their classmates in school.

"Many people live lives with serious post-traumatic stress symptoms including anger, shame, guilt and a decreased sense of self-worth," said mental health therapist Meghan Hurley, River Bridge Regional Center in Glenwood Springs. "And the sad fact is that if we can reach them when the abuse is going on or shortly after we can greatly help their lives and decrease their suffering going forward."

While the subject of childhood sexual abuse can be troubling to talk about, there is good news. The recent #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns have made everyone more aware about the issue of sexual harassment, and multiple celebrities, both female and male, have disclosed that their sexual harm happened to them when they were children.

As more people tell their truth about their past trauma, and how it affected them over their lifetime, more survivors are encouraged to come forward and get the help with the long-term effects of that earlier trauma and how it has affected their behaviors and physiological changes in their body.

Recent increased media awareness also encourages more parents and teachers (the No. 1 profession that spots abuse) to look for ways in which they can best protect children.

These parents, teachers and caregivers look to organizations like Denver's Parenting Safe Children (who recently held a sold-out workshop in Carbondale) for information on what they can do to keep kids safe. Founder Feather Berkower teaches how knowledge can help protect your children. Children need to know about their bodies, the real names of intimate body parts instead of cute terms and what's appropriate afor other people to see and touch. They need to learn this information from you rather than from an uninformed childhood friend or worse. Who do you want to teach your children about sex, you or an abuser?

In addition to general information about their anatomy, you also can greatly increase the safety of your children by creating appropriate body safety rules and making sure teachers, coaches, church leaders, babysitters and any adult or older child who comes into contact with your children know about these rules.

I recently interviewed a 14-year-old accomplished gymnast from the Denver-metro area with soaring aspirations. But over a period of months, her 40-year-old coach used attention, praise and other classic grooming techniques to draw her closer to him until he inappropriately touched her, and there was no longer any question about his real intentions. Fortunately, the girl's mother had gone through a Parenting Safe Children's workshop, and she quickly recognized what was going on. The coach was fired from the gym where he worked, but Denver police have not prosecuted him, and he is once again working with another set of young, impressionable girls.

While I suffered from an array of behaviors and physical consequences for more than 40 years because of my early sexual abuse, I was able to get help, support and make my life better. Others who have been sexually abused can do the same.

Going forward, the patchwork of laws across our country can be more uniformly enforced. Survivors of early trauma should be encouraged to seek help through therapy and support groups. And perpetrators or organizations should be held accountable no matter how many years have passed. Over 20 states in our country have laws that limit a survivor from seeking justice from their abuser.

For more information about childhood sexual abuse, getting help and learning how to best protect your child, contact River Bridge Regional Center in Glenwood Springs ( www.river, WINGS Foundation in Denver ( ) or Parenting Safe Children ( in Denver.

Christie Somes is currently collaborating with Steve Alldredge on "Meet Carey Jones," a book about her healing process from childhood sexual abuse and the latest information on the issue and prevention. She can be reached at: .


United Kingdom

Rife child sex abuse among UK teachers, clergy, docs

by Michael F. Haverluck

A recent report has exposed widespread child sex abuse across the United Kingdom at the hands of teachers, clergy, doctors and social workers.

A new “Truth Project” report – based on the largest archive of evidence provided by abuse victims ever produced in the U.K. – reveals that pedophile attacks by some of the most trusted professions is pervasive across all U.K. communities and social classes.

“[The report] presents detailed accounts from 50 of the 1,400 people who have so far given evidence to the Truth Project – part of the huge Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) set up by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary,” the Daily Mail announced . “Researchers believe [that child sex abuse] has been perpetrated in schools and other institutions much more widely than previously thought.”

A ‘devastating' decades-long, multi-institution tragedy

The exhaustive research project reaches back more than half a century to uncover horrific sexual assaults on children while in the hands of trusted authorities in U.K. institutions.

“Some of the participants have reportedly waited decades to tell their stories,” TheBlaze reported . “About one-third of the data comes from alleged abuse that happened 50 or more years ago.”

And a large percentage of those being sexually abused were at extremely innocent and vulnerable ages.

“Forty [40] percent of the victims reported being between ages three to seven when their abuse began,” TheBlaze's Teri Webster pointed out from the research. “Thirty-two [32] percent were between ages eight and 11, [with] more than one-third [34 percent] indicat[ing] they were abused multiple times.”

When it came to victims and abusers, clear gender lines became evident in the study.

“Analysis by IICSA shows 53 percent of witnesses who spoke to the project have so far been women, while 94 percent of perpetrators were men,” the Daily Caller 's David Rose divulged from the study.”

To the surprise of many Britons, a substantial percentage of the abuse came out of some of Britain's most trusted institutions – and when all added up, sex abusers from those working in these professions made up an even larger percentage than sex abuse coming from family members.

“Fourteen (14) percent were abused by members of the clergy, 12 percent by professionals such as doctors and social workers, and nine percent by residential care workers,” Rose pointed out. “It is often claimed that most sexual abuse takes place within families, [b]ut only 28 percent of witnesses say they were abused by relatives.”

However, out of all the institutions, the highest amount of sexual abuse was found in the teaching profession.

“Shockingly, around a quarter (25 percent) were abused by teachers or other educational staff, and a fifth (20 percent) by adult family friends or ‘trusted members of the community,'” Rose stressed.

The toll from the sexual abuse waged against the children in the study was found to have a devastating impact on them as they grew up.

“They described a wide range of consequences in later life, including depression (33 percent), difficulties with trust and intimacy (28 percent), thoughts of suicide (28 percent) and actual suicide attempts (22 percent),” the U.K. reporter revealed.

Teacher tragedy

For decades, teachers in academic institutions across the U.K. have devastated young students through sex abuse, which has been largely unexposed – until now.

Patrick Sanford – a theater director, actor and playwright who is now 63 – waited many years before exposing the sexual abuse he survived in elementary school.

“[F]or decades, he hid a deeply painful secret – he was repeatedly abused by a teacher in his last year at primary school,” Rose shared from IICSA's report. “Like many victims, this left him terrified of intimacy – he did not have a relationship until he was 26.”

Sanford's relationships were marred for the rest of his childhood years – and well into adulthood.

“I didn't let anyone touch me for 15 years,” the child sex abuse victim explained, according to the Daily Mail . “I thought I was the most hideous, ghastly person, and I blamed the fact I was homosexual on my abuse.”

It was not until decades later that Sanford was finally able to begin talking about his traumatic experience.

“I realized I'd had two lives – a successful professional one and a private psychological battle,” he added.

Muslim clergy child sex abuse …

Another U.K. child sex abuse victim identified as Nabila is now 42, and she was sexually assaulted by a Muslim clergy member.

“My imam attacked me at my local mosque,” Nabila shared with IICSA, according to the Daily Mail .

Too embarrassed and scared to talk about the sexual abuse, Nabila endured recurring abuse for years as a young child.

“Nabila's parents used to send her to their local mosque in Birmingham for religious instruction from the age of seven,” Rose informed. “The Bangladeshi imam, Hafiz Rehman, subjected her to escalating sexual abuse for four years – finally attempting to rape her.”

Because of religious and cultural norms, she kept her dark secret to herself.

“I used to think about telling my mum every day as I walked home, but I was scared,” Nabila continued. “Would she believe me? How could I say such things about an imam?”

She shared that to avoid classes with the imam, she would sometimes hide in a local graveyard and not tell a soul about the abuse – abuse that still affects her today as a married mother living in the U.K.

“Intimacy seems dirty,” Nabila explained. “If I do start to enjoy sex, I feel I must have enjoyed it when he was doing those things to me.”

And even though she ended up reporting the abuse years after it occurred, the justice system in the U.K. let the Islamic pedophile get away after his sentencing.

“She went to the police years later, and after a second mosque victim came forward, he was convicted in 2016 and sentenced to 11 and a half years in jail,” Rose recounted. “Astonishingly, Rehman had been on bail and was allowed to stay at home at the end of the trial by claiming he was ill. He had surrendered his UK passport, but had a second, Bangladeshi one – and the day after he was sentenced, he fled there, where he remains. Nabila says abuse is rife in Muslim communities, but ‘never discussed – always covered up.”

More priest pedophiles …

Another child victim of sexual attacks by the clergy in the U.K. was “Abbie,” who – now in her 50s – was sexually abused for four years by a Catholic priest more than 40 years ago, and she still remembers it vividly.

“[A] priest targeted me at seven, but the Church didn't want to know,” Abbie explained to the Truth Project, according to the Mail. “[It] destroyed me as a sexual person.”

And the priest was no stranger, but actually a trusted and respected friend of her parents.

“A friend of her family, he assaulted her on days when he took her out and when staying at her family's home,” Rose retold Abbie's tragic story.

Even though she has been able to maintain a career and hold to her faith in God – despite the Catholic Church's failure to deal with her abuse when she reported it – Abbie still finds it difficult to be in a relationship.

“She has had a successful career and many friends, but has ‘never had a serious relationship', because she says she found sexual thoughts ‘very upsetting,'” Rose recounted. “Although her abuser was in the Church, Abbie has retained her faith and says it is important to her.”

Working to end rife child abuse in the U.K.

IICSA Clinical Psychologist Rebekah Eglinton was dismayed to discover how many professional adults are taking advantage of their positions of authority to sexually abuse children.

“We're learning that many people have put themselves in positions of trust and authority to have access to children,” Eglinton informed the Daily Mail . “It feels really important that we are here.”

She is glad that more and more child sex abuse victims now have an avenue to expose the crimes waged against them.

“People tell us again and again how silenced they have felt,” Eglinton continued. “This is an opportunity to end that silence and so to hear how we can better protect children.”

The head of the Truth Project, Dru Sharpling, who is also an IICSA panel member, announced that 14 pedophiles – exposed through victims' testimony given to her group and relayed to police – have been convicted of child sexual abuse since the project started.

Listening to these accounts can be extremely moving,” Sharpling expressed, according to the U.K. daily, The Sun . “For some, it's the first time they've disclosed, [while] others have tried and not been believed.”

The former Crown Prosecutor for London believes that her ongoing project will help curb the sexual abuse of minors in the U.K.

“Yet often, there were signs when they were still children that something was very wrong – which were not picked up,” Sharpling added. “Sharing these experiences is of inherent value, but they will also help IICSA make recommendations to protect children in future.”


What does emotional abuse look like in a child

by Lucy Smith LPC

DEFINITION: Emotional abuse of a child is a pattern of intentional verbal or behavioral actions or lack of actions that convey to the child the message that he or she is worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered, or only of value to meet the needs of someone else. Withholding emotional support, isolation, or terrorizing a child are forms of psychological abuse. Domestic violence that is witnessed by a child is also considered a form of psychological abuse.

Emotional abuse of children can have far more long lasting negative psychiatric effects than physical abuse or sexual abuse.

Those who are victims of direct psychological abuse are more affected, more socially withdrawn, depressed, insecure, and much more likely to engage in behavior that puts their safety at risk.

A large number of children who are psychologically abused or neglected have serious behavioral problems.

A greater proportion of children who witness domestic violence are more anxious and insecure than those who do not.

Types of Child Emotional Abuse are divided into the following categories:

1. Rejection: to reject a child, push him away, to make him feel that he is useless or worthless, to undermine the value of his ideas or feelings, to refuse to help him.

2. Scorn: to demean the child, to ridicule him, to humiliate him, to cause him to be ashamed, to criticize the child and/or insult him.

3. Terrorism: To threaten a child or someone who is dear to him with physical violence, abandonment or death, to threaten to destroy the child's possessions, to place him in chaotic or dangerous situations, to define strict and unreasonable expectations and to threaten him with punishment if he does not comply.

4. Isolation: to physically or socially isolate a child, to limit his opportunities to socialize with others.

5. The absence of emotional response: to show oneself as inattentive or indifferent towards the child, to ignore his emotional needs, to avoid visual contact, kisses or verbal communication with him, to never congratulate him.

6. Neglect: To ignore the health or educational needs of the child, to refuse or to neglect to apply the required treatment.

7. Showing a lack of regard for the child. This behavior often includes rejecting the child by:

•  Not showing affection.

•  Ignoring the child's presence and obvious needs.

•  Ignoring the child when he or she is in need of comfort.

•  Not calling the child by his or her name.

8. Saying unkind things to the child. Emotionally abusive parents say things or convey feelings that can deeply hurt a child. Common examples include:

•  Making the child feel unwanted, perhaps by stating or implying that life would be easier without the child.

•  Ridiculing or belittling the child, such as saying, “you are stupid.”

•  Threatening the child with harsh punishment or even death.

•  Continuous verbal abuse.



UTPD joins sexual assault task force, focus on supporting victims

by Alyssa Goard and Yoojin Cho

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas at Austin Police Department is joining the Inter-agency Sexual Assault Team, or ISAT, and is working to prioritize training officers on how to support the victims they come across.

Chief David Carter announced Monday he joined the team along with two of his female officers, one of whom is a sergeant and the other a detective who specializes in sexual assault investigations.

"We've got to have a system that works for our survivors, our victims of sexual assault, that they have the opportunity to basically receive justice," Carter told KXAN.

Carter explained in a Facebook post that Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore established ISAT in the fall of 2017 to put area law enforcement in the same room as professionals who work to improve the sexual assault criminal investigation process.

"By having a central place where we can discuss that, we can move toward more uniform practices and maybe even countywide protocols," Moore said.

ISAT has been meeting once a month, Moore told KXAN. "The level of response has indicated to me that I hit a pent-up need. When you have all these chiefs personally coming to these meetings, we see this was needed in this county."

Right now, they're at the beginning stages of studying case examples, trying to learn why some survivors stopped cooperating.

Carter added the team is also focusing on handling investigations in a way that recognizes the trauma survivors' experience. He wants to make sure that investigations move fast enough that survivors do not withdraw from the process or lose trust.

"All public safety employees from emergency dispatchers who take the initial call, to responding patrol officers and detectives must understand how trauma affects a survivor's ability to recall critical information and maintain the same level of response during the interaction," Carter said. "Police must always be empathetic, non-judgmental and provide caring support."

"You see a lot of self-blame (with victims) and it's really trying to work through that with a victim and going through the story and reiterating with them that what happened is not their fault in any way," explained Sgt. Samantha Stanford with UTPD, who serves on ISAT and handles sexual assault investigations for her department.

In Stanford's experience, the key to making victims comfortable enough to report comes down to recognizing how the trauma they've felt may impact them, making them feel believed and getting them resources.

"It's very important to approach an investigation with a softer approach and being really empathetic with our victims," Stanford said, explaining that she's worked with students who have dropped their cases because they couldn't handle to time commitment of an investigation or the trauma of having to retell what happened to them over and over again.

ISAT and UTPD are also looking to better categorize cases and make investigation techniques more consistent across departments.

When asked about these long-term goals, Moore said, "I'd like to see that we have developed a uniform and consistent way of capturing data that tells us what is really going on with those cases. I'd love to see a set of protocols that every agency follows."

She also said she would like to see a one-stop reporting shop for victims. "A central staffing capability for adult sexual assault cases, like we have for child abuse cases," Moore said.

Just last week, three women filed lawsuits against various Austin and Travis County agencies, saying when they reported being sexually assaulted, their cases were never fully investigated or prosecuted.

The suit claimed fewer than 10 percent of sexual assault cases are prosecuted in Travis County every year.

However, ISAT is not a response to the lawsuit. Rather, it's an effort now six months in the making.

Impacts on the UT campus

"The issue of sexual assault continues to plague society. Our UT community is not exempt," Carter said in his post on Monday.

The prevalence of sexual assault on the 40 Acres was brought to the forefront by the 2017 Cultivating Learning and Safe Environments (CLASE) Survey which documented findings of sexual assault at 13 of the 14 UT System institutions. Notably, the survey of 7,684 undergraduate students at UT Austin found that 15 percent of women on the campus reported being raped .

The CLASE survey found these types of reports are among the most underreported crimes in the United States.

In Texas, only 9 percent of adult sexual assault victims reported their victimization to law enforcement, according to the report.

According to the CLASE results for UT Austin, 68 percent of victims did not disclose what happened to them to someone prior to taking the survey. Of victims who disclosed, 6 percent told someone at their campus, 4 percent accessed UT counseling services, 2 percent told local police and 1 percent reported to UTPD.

Chief Carter said that while he would like to boost the numbers of UT community members making reports to his department, he said that what he wants to see most is an increase of people coming to the department for support in general — not just for investigations.

"There are times when people come to us and report sexual assault, but also don't choose to pursue prosecuting for any number of reasons," Carter explained. "But I'm very happy that at least they came and told us about it and we will connect them to the support they need, that's where I want to see the increase."

Carter recognizes that may take time, especially in a world where many young adults don't feel they can trust law enforcement or the criminal justice system.

"I think it's gonna be important for students to see success, to see success in investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases, it's very important for them also to have that continued support throughout the entire process," Sgt. Stanford added.

She noted that while several of the cases they've worked on have gone through Title IX investigations, none during her time with the department (2016 through the present) have been criminally prosecuted.

UTPD may or may not be involved with the campus-based Title IX investigations, it all depends on if the student wants to involve the police. UT Austin shared that the average Title IX investigation on their campus takes 35 days to complete.

Many victims (73 percent) and non-victims (84 percent) reported in the CLASE survey believing UT Austin would take a report of sexual harassment, stalking, dating/domestic abuse and violence, or unwanted sexual contact seriously.

"Even though its something that's being tackled and being confronted, and UT is doing a really good job of doing it, they just haven't gone far enough," said UT student Jonathan Shaham, the vice president of student group Not on My Campus.

Shaham helps train representatives from student groups across campus — from athletics, to academics, to Greek life — to direct others in their group to resources for victims and for sexual assault prevention.

From talking to these groups, he knows that many students are not comfortable reporting what happened to them, especially to police.

Shaham explained that as his organization expanded in recent years to work with more student groups, he learned that some parts of campus — especially multicultural groups — are hesitant to send these kinds of reports to police. Specifically, Shaham noted that intensifying immigration policies have created a broader sense of fear in several multicultural student groups.

He gave UTPD credit, noting that their officers are "trauma-informed," which is something many similar-sized schools can't say. But he said there's still a ways to go for UTPD to match their aspirations to building trust with students who may communicate private and sensitive details with them.

Shaham said he hopes to see officers on campus this fall interacting with students and working to build relationships with the Longhorn community.

"It would be great if everyone would report, but at the same time it can be so hard on someone to report," Shaham said. "So I think it comes with making sure someone feels comfortable, making sure someone feels like they have a voice."


Emotional Abuse: The Hidden Killer

by Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D.

"Emotional buse is an attack on your personality rather than on your body, and it can be just as harmful as physical abuse,” says Sandra Horley, Chief of Refuge, a shelter for abused women.

She cites as an example of emotional abuse gaslighting . Gaslighting is a term taken from the movie Gaslight , starring Ingrid Bergman as a woman driven crazy by her husband, who convinces her she is suffering from delusions when in fact he is rigging things to make her feel that she is imagining things. “Abusers manipulate their victims carefully and purposefully; they switch readily between charm and rage, like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Indeed, to an outsider, the perpetrator may appear to be the perfect, caring partner,” Horley adds.

There are a hundred ways to gaslight a person. Husbands and wives can do it to each other and so can parents do it to their children. A parent, for example, can make their children think that their judgments are stupid and laugh at them whenever they say anything about anything, and they inspire other members of the family to treat the gaslighted victims the same way. This affects the young child's development and self-esteem in severely negative ways.

One of my clients, who I'll call Robert, was the youngest child. He had two older sisters and an older brother, and from the time he was born he was treated as if he were a misguided, stubborn nuisance who did nothing but cause trouble for the family. He was the laughingstock of the family and was made to feel that not only his judgments but also his thoughts, feelings and behavior were made to seem ridiculous.

Once Robert didn't want to eat broccoli. His mother said to him, “You're just being stubborn because you want to spite me. Your whole life is about spiting your mother. You're going to eat that broccoli if it takes all night.” His mother sat with him for hours after his siblings and father had gone to bed. All of them saw things from his mother's side: he was a stupidly stubborn boy.
His older brother was encouraged and treated with respect, while he was treated like a second-class citizen. As a young adult he had no self-esteem whatsoever and was full of anger that had built up over the years. He could scarcely function in life. He was always getting into confrontations on the street because somebody walked toward him and didn't move aside for him, and often the confrontations would lead to fights. He was desperate for approval from women, but she often used him as a plaything, didn't take him seriously (mirroring his family), and eventually rejected him.

Another kind of emotional abuse is called “soul murder.” “Soul murder” is a term coined by Leonard Shengold , a psychoanalyst. He defined it as “the deliberate attempt to eradicate or compromise the separate identity of another person.” He goes on to say that the victims of soul murder remain in bondage to their victimizer (usually their parents). The child feels helpless and terrified and under those conditions is brainwashed by the tyrannical parents, who are usually psychotic or sociopathic (he compared them to prison-camp guards) and comes to think and be whoever the parent wants her or him to think and be.

Similarly to gaslighting, soul murder severely affects the development of the victim's self-esteem and functioning in the world; often they haven't a clue of who they are and what they believe. They have never been allowed to grow up and individuate. When they become adults they have no “soul,” by which Sheldon meant they have no real sense of themselves or their place in the world.

A young woman patient had a repeating pattern of going after unavailable men or men who lived so far away that she couldn't possibly have a relationship with them. She grew up the youngest in a family of three older brothers and parents who were always fighting and never had any real time for her. However, the family mythology was that her family was a super family in the sense they that were well off and were all in the know.

My young woman patient, who I'll call Mary, was both gaslighted and soul murdered. Her mother, who had discovered her own mother dead (she had committed suicide) at the age of 12 and was left without parents, had to grow up on her own. She developed a compensatory personality in which she became a micro-manager, especially of Mary. The mother dealt with the trauma of finding her own mother dead by inculcating her daughter with the fear of “people suddenly dying on you.” Since the mother had had to grow up without parents, she developed the attitude that she knew best.

Thus she treated her daughter, Mary, as if she never knew best. She was overprotective to an extreme, and pounced on any trouble that the girl got into. “See, I told you so,” was her frequent reaction. Her parents, as mentioned before, were always fighting, and it wasn't until later that the girl found out that the father was a hidden homosexual who had been acting out his homosexual urges since the beginning of the marriage.

By the time she was 34 she had never been married and had a commitment phobia. Her parents' marriage, full of fighting and falsehoods, did not encourage her to find a mate, nor to have any idea of how to have an intimate relationship. Because her mother always made her feel inadequate, she also had no real confidence in herself nor any real sense of who she was.

Emotional abuse can be even more impactful than physical or sexual abuse, in that it is subtle and undetectable. It is truly a hidden killer. One can be abused without knowing it, with disastrous consequences. Victims of emotional abuse can develop all kinds of disorders, and it can also lead to suicidal feelings and to suicide.



Around 20 children in care reported missing every day in Scotland

by Catriona Webster

Police Scotland data show there were 7,598 missing persons investigations relating to looked-after children in 2017/18, up 5% from 7,243 in the previous year.

The majority of cases (85%) involved children missing from a young persons' residential unit.

The police division with the highest number of investigations (1,217) was Lanarkshire, followed by the Lothians and Scottish Borders, excluding Edinburgh, (893).

The figures were obtained by Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Labour MSP for Edinburgh and the Lothians, using freedom of information legislation.

She said: “These figures are simply staggering, and they should concern everyone.

“Looked-after children are our children – the state is their parents – and we all have a responsibility to give them the same opportunities as every other youngster.

“If your child was missing, you'd move heaven and earth to find them and then ask why and what could be done differently. These are our children and they should expect that same response.

“Residential units must be a place where children are nurtured and loved, as they are often brought up there after years or emotional or physical abuse.

“I urge the Scottish Government and Police Scotland to investigate why these numbers are so high and examine what more can be done to support care-experienced young people.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Young people are by far the most common age-group to go missing (64%) and we are working with Police Scotland, local authorities and care providers to reduce these incidences.

“We have already provided £142,000 to Missing People charity (2016-19) to increase awareness and use of their support services including their 24 hour helpline, textsafe facility and telephone counselling service.

“Police Scotland pilot projects with looked after children have shown that better outcomes can be achieved when the young person is involved in their care plan.

“This allows the young person to feel greater ownership and understanding of why an action they may take will result in the care provider or parent taking subsequent decisions, such as reporting them missing.”

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins added: “We are absolutely committed to tracing those who have been reported missing and our officers and staff work tirelessly in every case to achieve a positive outcome for families.

“Most reports are about missing children, happily, most return or are found quickly.

“Our response to missing people reports is evolving based on our data. Prevention is key to managing the scale of missing person reports and to protecting people who may be vulnerable.

“We work closely with partner organisations to protect those most at risk of going missing and prevent missing person episodes wherever possible.”



Dallas-based men's coalition attacks sex trafficking by working to shift boys' perceptions of girls, women

by Stacy Fernandez

Hands kept shooting up in the air. A group of about 25 men sat eagerly waiting to ask questions about sex trafficking, hoping to find answers to a problem prevalent in Dallas and cities around the nation.

Maj. Jeoff Williams of the Texas Department of Public Safety sensed their good intentions, but he knows the complex issue won't have a simple solution.

“If it did, I would have come up with it by now,” Williams said.

Williams is a founding member of the Men's Advocacy Group, a three-year-old coalition of about 65 men organized by New Friends New Life , a nonprofit working to mobilize men to take action against sex trafficking through advocacy work and volunteering.

Texas has the nation's second-highest number of sex-trafficking victims, according to New Friends New Life. In Dallas alone, an estimated 400 children and teens are at particular risk of being trafficked each night, said Priya Murphy, the nonprofit's development director.

The conversation on sex trafficking usually centers on two people: the seller and the victim. Law enforcement works to get sellers off the streets, and the government and nonprofits provide resources to victims.

The Men's Advocacy Group focuses on a third person — the buyer, who Williams said often is overlooked in the public eye.

The advocacy group raises awareness among men about sex trafficking and masculinity through speaking arrangements and training events. Williams said that when men leave the presentations, their reaction is always the same: “I had no idea.”

Focus on next generation

Two years ago, the advocacy group ushered in The manKINDness Project, an interactive curriculum tailored to teen boys. The program aims to shift the way many boys view girls and women so that they won't become buyers, Murphy said, noting that buyers come from all walks of life.

“Maybe we have lost this generation, or a past generation of men, but there is still hope for us to perhaps go talk to the next generation,” she said.

Bill Morse, a co-founder of the advocacy group, has spoken to more than 1,200 boys through The manKINDness Project. In every group, he said, he sees boys go through the same process of realization.

Morse asks them to think about derogatory words often used to reference women. Then he challenges them to think how they'd feel if they heard the same words used to describe their sister, mother or the other close women in their lives.

“‘You ever thought about that before?'” Morse said he asks these groups.

“No, I never did,” is often the response.

Boys who have used such language aren't evil, Morse said, they're just not thinking. But the words are damaging all the same, and they can shape a boy's view of women.

“That becomes a part of you,” Morse said.

Williams, of DPS, said he sees manKINDness most deeply impact boys who have sisters. Volunteers explain that many men tend to prey on girls around 13 years old — the same age as many of the boys' siblings and cousins.

At first, the boys are surprised by the information laid before them, Williams said. Then they turn angry at the realization that someone they love could fall prey to sex trafficking. And by the end of the talk, they start to see that through their words, they can unknowingly take part in the problem.

The MADD model

The Men's Advocacy Group hopes to gain the same grassroots traction as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which has been a major force in shifting the nation's drinking and driving culture. Until creation of of the advocacy group, New Friends New Life was completely run by women. The nonprofit primarily focuses on rehabilitating formerly trafficked teen girls and sexually exploited women through education, job training and mental health services.

“For 17 years beforehand, it had only been women fighting the issue. In fact, it had been looked at as a women's issue,” Morse said. “But our board saw that, 'Look, this is a human rights issue.'

"We need men," he said. "They're the ones who drive this business. They need to be a part of the solution.”



Can you help find this alleged child sexual predator from Lafayette?

by the Lafayette Daily Advertiser

(Picture on site)

BATON ROUGE — Attorney General Jeff Landry and his Cyber Crime Unit are asking for assistance in locating Durice “Joey” Richard.

Richard, 65, of Lafayette, is wanted by the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation on 30 counts of possession of sexual abuse images/videos of children, two counts of possession of sexual abuse images/videos of children (under the age of 13), two counts of attempted production of sexual abuse images/videos of children, one count of indecent behavior with a juvenile, and one count of computer-aided solicitation of a minor.

“Richard is considered dangerous, and anyone who comes in contact with him should immediately contact local law enforcement,” said General Landry. “If anyone has information on Richard or his potential victims, please call 911; callers do not have to give their names.”

Richard, an electrician who sells generators, was last known to be in the Lafayette area. He is believed to be driving a white Chevrolet Silverado truck with a large dent on the back.



Cult leader, 35, tells a court that he wanted to 'grow old' with an eight-year-old girl he considered his bride, but now admits he was wrong as he faces a second sentence of 15 years to life in prison

by the Daily Mail

A self-styled Utah prophet told a court that he wanted to start a family and grow old with an eight-year-old girl after he pleaded guilty to child sodomy.

Samuel Shaffer, 34, was jailed last month for 26 years to life for child rape and abuse after he 'secretly married young girls' because of his beliefs in polygamy and doomsday.

He received a second sentence of 15 years to life on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to one count of child sodomy.

During his sentencing, Shaffer told the court that he 'sincerely believed that child marriage was a correct principle from God,' according to the Deseret News .

But, he admitted that he's 'seen the consequences of what's happened, and I know that I shouldn't have done it now'.

'I sincerely believed that the practice was correct at the time,' Shaffer added.

In response, Judge Marvin Bagley said: 'I'm not aware of any religion in this world that justifies an adult having a sexual relationship with an eight-year-old girl.'

The judge allowed Shaffer's new prison sentence to run at the same time as his first one.

In May, Shaffer was sentenced to 26 years to life after pleading guilty to child rape and abuse charges.

He was charged after police raided his remote desert compound in Utah in December that was built to house an upstart group called Knights of the Crystal Blade.

But the sentence handed down to Shaffer on Wednesday won't extend his prison term, according to Deseret News.

Shaffer and his friend, John Coltharp, 34, formed the group based on arcane Mormon ideas that have long been abandoned by the mainstream church.

Four girls, including Shaffer's two daughters, were found during the raid.

They had been hidden in 50-gallon plastic water barrels and an abandoned trailer near the makeshift compound made of shipping containers about 275 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Shaffer and Coltharp believed they each were married to two young girls, prosecutors said.

Child kidnapping and additional abuse courts against Shaffer were dropped when he pleaded guilty in an agreement that kept the girl from having to testify.



Maine faces rising allegations of child abuse, neglect

by Marina Villeneuve

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine is struggling with an uptick in alleged child abuse and neglect, a legislative watchdog said Thursday.

The watchdog is investigating Maine's child welfare system following the deaths of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy in February in Stockton Springs and 4-year-old Kendall Chick in December in Wiscasset. The Legislature's Government Oversight Committee on Thursday discussed plans to gather anonymous input from workers on the front line of the issue: Maine's child protective caseworkers.

"That's the crux of the issue," Republican Sen. Thomas Saviello said. "Do they have the training, staffing, resources to do the job right?"

Caseworkers' workloads are increasing as call volumes go up and new policy changes require more investigations of some allegations, according to information given to lawmakers by Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability Director Beth Ashcroft. Maine had 6,159 cases being investigated as of mid-June, a figure that's more than double the number of cases in January 2017.

Republican Sen. Roger Katz and Democratic Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio, the chairs of the Legislature's Government Oversight Committee, said Republican Gov. Paul LePage had told them Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Ricker Hamilton would speak before the committee Thursday.

"We've wasted a few weeks in an area we have no time to waste," Katz said, later adding: "We took him at his word and he wasn't here today."

The Government Oversight Committee unanimously voted to subpoena Hamilton to attend a committee meeting in July. Democratic Sen. Bill Diamond said he hoped lawmakers could consider legislation improving Maine's child welfare system at a special session later this year.

The Department of Health and Human Services says it has unrolled initiatives to improve Maine's child welfare system. But Diamond said the agency has only shared vague statements that "don't say anything."

"I don't know if they're buying time," Diamond said.

Caseworkers across the state face an average of 15.8 open cases, a figure that Ashcroft's memo said has "dramatically increased" in past months. Maine is also relying on contractors to handle some allegations of child abuse and neglect that the state considers to be of low-to-moderate severity.

Meanwhile, Maine's office of Family and Child Services has 21.5 vacant human services positions, and positions are typically vacant for 38 days.

Lawmakers said the state must address not only the recruitment of workers but also how to retain them.

Republican Rep. Jeffrey Pierce said that caseworkers may need more support after dealing with traumatic cases.

"It's a brutal job," he said.


United Kingdom

'It never stops shaping you': the legacy of child sexual abuse-and how to survive it

Child sexual abuse is frighteningly common and hugely damaging. But a new project is collecting survivors' stories-and revealing what is needed to heal

by Gaby Hibsliff

T he first thing Sabah Kaiser does after sitting down at the table when we meet, is to pick up a pen, and write her name on the nearest sheet of paper. She does it almost unthinkingly, and only later will it come to seem significant.

When she was a little girl, Kaiser wrote her name a lot. She scrawled it defiantly on the wall at home, balancing precariously on a banister four floors above the ground to reach the wallpaper: “Sabah is the best.” Later, she wrote it in foster homes: “I would find the hardest place that I could reach, or the most beautiful or lovely area, and write ‘Sabah is the best'.”

It was a coping mechanism she learned young, without really understanding why. But now, at 43, she recognises it as a way of fighting the feelings of worthlessness and shame so many child abuse survivors experience. “It was saying: ‘Look at me, I belong here; I can do the same as you, if not better.'”

The name she writes now is not, however, the same one she had then. Kaiser changed it by deed poll years ago, borrowing inspiration from Keyser Söze, the character in the film The Usual Suspects who has a double life. Kaiser, she explains, means king; above other men, but below God. It is a powerful name, and the one under which she approached the Truth Project .

Set up by the government's Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the project gives individual victims and survivors a chance to be heard; to share stories in confidence, helping inform the inquiry's investigation into the widespread failure of institutions from churches to boarding schools to halt abuse. So far it has collected more than 1,000 stories (and remains keen to hear more ), and while the details are often harrowing, they are striking in what they reveal about the lifelong consequences. As one survivor says in the report published this week by the Truth Project, it's “like pebbles thrown into a pond; the ripples keep on getting bigger”.

Last week, the World Health Organisation formally recognised the existence of complex post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition from which it is thought many survivors of childhood abuse suffer. It differs from other forms of PTSD in that sufferers tend to have “a completely pervasive and rigid negative belief about themselves”, says the inquiry's chief psychologist Bryony Farrant. They may struggle with managing their feelings, trusting others, and with feelings of shame and inadequacy holding them back in school or working life. An analysis of Truth Project participants found that 85% had mental health problems in later life, including depression and anxiety, while almost half struggled with education or getting a job. Four in 10 had difficulties with relationships, with some avoiding sexual intimacy altogether, while others had multiple sexual partners; some suffered difficulty eating or sleeping, were dependent on alcohol, or were drawn into crime. One in five had tried to kill themselves.

Surprisingly, other research has shown survivors are at greater risk of illness, including heart disease and cancer, with years of chronic stress taking a physical toll on their bodies.

Farrant stresses that not every survivor's story ends badly, and that their fates are certainly not set in stone. “I feel very hopeful and positive that people can recover, and certainly in my clinical work I've seen that,” she says. “The brain is far more plastic than we've previously understood, which means there are far more opportunities for people to repair some of the impacts from childhood trauma.”

But if a new technology, drug or junk food were doing such damage, it would be classed as a public health emergency. It is striking, then, that the toxic legacy of child abuse gets less attention than theories about whether social media makes teenagers anxious or skinny models fuel anorexia. “For me, this is the most public secret we have,” says Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, a town still grappling with the aftermath of the child sexual exploitation scandal uncovered seven years ago. “I think people recognise and understand it, we're just not prepared to confront it.” The Truth Project is trying to bring it out of the shadows.

Kaiser remembers clearly the bedroom where it all started; at the top of the four-storey house she shared with her mother and five siblings (her father died when she was a toddler). After an older sister ran away from home, the room was left empty – and supposedly out of bounds – but she would sneak up. “In the room, there was a glass cabinet that had two shelves in – probably 4ft high – and books behind the glass. One on the train robbery, and a book about Tutankhamun. I'd sit crosslegged and just stare at my father's books – never touch.” She was seven years old, she says, when a male visitor to the house first abused her there. Over the next six years, she told the Truth Project, she was assaulted by three other men, both in Britain and when visiting Pakistan. She always felt that to tell would put her mother in danger.

On the surface, Kaiser's was a strict upbringing; if anyone kissed in a film, an adult would instantly switch off the TV. “There were no relationships outside marriage, no boyfriends and girlfriends of any kind, no untoward touching. Those lines were not blurred at any time. That act of touching, there's so much onus on it – literally, the respect of the household is put on it,” she explains. “There were lines that were drawn, and then there were areas that were just ... no-go areas, and it was able to breed and occur as it did because there were no repercussions. Nobody saying stop.”

Years ago, in Pakistan, she heard a story that she didn't understand at the time about a man caught abusing his toddler granddaughter. When the child's mother confronted him, “she was beaten to a pulp. That was a no-go area. It was ‘you didn't have the authority or the right, how dare you have the audacity to bring that up with me'. It was as if there was a place for men, and those men have their reasons.”

Initially, she interpreted the abuse as some kind of punishment, “like I was a bad child, that I was doing something wrong”. As she got older, she drew on her experience as a British Asian straddling two cultures to separate herself from what was happening. The girl at home enduring unspeakable things – withdrawn and always frowning – became separate from the popular, more assertive girl at school. “When I'm in my own home, the colours, the smells, the sounds are completely different. But once I step out of my door into the street, I'm in England, and everything looks and smells and sounds different. It was about being one person inside the house and, as soon as I stepped outside, I'm not that person.”

It was a school sex education lesson at 13 that finally provided words for what was happening. She walked out in the middle of it, and not long afterwards summoned the courage to tell her mother. The only time her voice quavers is when she describes her mother's reaction.

“My mother was a seamstress, she sewed Asian women's clothes. At any point of the day or night you would find her at her sewing machine in her bedroom and that's where I went. I sat down on this little cushion by the gas fire and started to tell her. I didn't quite know how to explain. The words I used were: ‘What a man and wife does in their bedroom to have children, is what he's doing to me.'”

Her mother did confront the man, Kaiser says, asking if he had “touched” her. “He went into this tirade about how if I was raised in Pakistan, I wouldn't be saying these things; how living in England ruins girls.” She realised that her mother was not going to back her up, and that in effect the subject was closed.

So she started fighting at school, skipping lessons, waiting for someone to notice. Someone did, but she says the teacher appointed to counsel her then abused her all over again; she was eventually taken into care aged 15, after months of shuttling between foster families and home. If new acquaintances asked about her parents, she would say she was an orphan. At 19, Kaiser found herself pregnant by an older boyfriend who had no idea of her history.

She struggles to forgive the social worker who, on learning of her pregnancy, told her to get counselling or she might abuse her own child. (Perpetrators are disproportionately likely to have been abused as children, but the idea of the cycle repeating itself is a sensitive one, says Farrant: “The research doesn't support that abused people are highly likely to go on to abuse other people. Often it's such a harmful narrative, and it intensifies the sense of shame and guilt.”)

With that warning ringing in her ears, Kaiser suffered postnatal depression after her son was born. “I could barely touch him; I couldn't breastfeed him because I felt that every time I did, I was abusing him. I loved him so much, there was this fear that I was going to hurt him because there was something wrong with me.”

But she went on to have a second son, and this time it was easier, because she had learned that there were places not to go in her head. “If I didn't close those doors, I'm not sure who would be talking to you today, it would be a completely different story. That's what tends to happen to children like me. We become damaged goods, broken beyond repair.”

And yet she did not break. Kaiser now works as a translator, and volunteers for a survivors' charity; she is proud of her two grown sons and is on good terms with their father, from whom she later separated. However, she has had another relationship that she describes as highly abusive, but realised during counselling that she was unconsciously mirroring her childhood experience. Adult survivors are, she says, vulnerable to predators because of their desperation to be loved: “I don't think it ever stops shaping you. Just the impact is different.”

What saved her, Kaiser thinks, was being reconciled with her mother in her late 30s. She won't call it closure – “for me, it would be for my mum to say she believed me and that she was sorry, and she never said those words” – but it meant more to her than she can describe to be mother and daughter again. After years of anger, she now feels “love and respect” for her mother, wondering what experiences drove her response. “There was never a time when I didn't feel her love. Even though there were times – years – when I didn't feel it for her. I don't believe for a second that she didn't care.”

Two years after she got back in touch, her mother died, and when Kaiser subsequently saw adverts for the Truth Project, she felt ready to talk. “It was almost like I had chains around me, and it was her passing that made me feel I'd broken free.”

Survivors can choose how and where they talk to the Truth Inquiry as a way of returning the control that was brutally denied them as children (Kaiser deliberately picked a town four hours' drive from home). They are asked beforehand about objects that might trigger disturbing memories, and staff adapt accordingly; if an abuser carried rosary beads, nobody in the room can wear beaded jewellery. Some people can't ultimately go through with it and that's fine, says Farrant. It's no good rushing people who aren't ready, since the impact of a “bad” disclosure can be immense. The inquiry has heard over and over again from survivors saying that being disbelieved or rejected was “just as, or in some cases more, traumatising” than the abuse itself.

Support workers will call before and after survivors share their stories to see how they're coping and, if necessary, refer them on. Farrant is pleased that complex PTSD was officially recognised by the World Health Organisation, potentially leading to more research and better treatment for sufferers.

But beyond the auspices of the Truth Project, NHS mental health services remain overstretched, struggling with demand as historic abuse is brought to light. In Rotherham, Champion says there is a seven-month wait for the main specialist local abuse counselling service – and that's the tip of the iceberg. “A lot of survivors can't begin to unpick what happened to them. They're just very aware that they struggle to hold down jobs or relationships, that they might have drug or alcohol dependency. A package to deal with those issues is needed.”

Meanwhile, as survivors become parents themselves, some are coming into conflict with the very social services that failed them as children. “There's this assumption, particularly if they have been involved in gang grooming, that somehow they're going to be a bad mother, whereas if they'd been raped [in other circumstances] people wouldn't think that at all.” She wants a one-stop centre in Rotherham, bringing together multiple agencies under one roof to offer early support rather than “deal with the symptoms 10 or 20 years down the line”.

What she is talking about is essentially a public health approach, recognising the sexual abuse suffered by an estimated 7% of children as a significant hidden cause of mental and physical illness, just as tobacco is the underlying cause of many cancers.

If all forms of so-called Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – both sexual and physical abuse, or neglect – could somehow be eliminated overnight, the results would be transformative. Public Health Wales estimates it could reduce high-risk drinking by a third and heroin and cocaine use by two thirds , plus almost halving unwanted teenage pregnancies and slashing prison populations.

“When we know these things underpin the problems so many people are suffering, we're really treating consequences, not causes,” says Dr Mark Bellis, director of policy research and international development at Public Health Wales and a leading expert on ACEs. “We don't think about what's driving people towards drugs; we might think about regulating access, when actually it's the consequences of something that happened to someone as a child.”

Abused children often become hyper-vigilant, Bellis explains, knowing survival may depend on seeing trouble coming; and that affects both neurological development and hormone levels. “If your experience of life is fear, it's not unusual to develop a more cautious approach to things. But there are physiological changes, too. The way I explain it is if you set any system on a high alert, it wears out more quickly. If it's permanently running on high alert, it's producing particular immunological responses or proteins which seem to be higher in people who are exposed to these traumas in early life.” Since these are also linked to higher rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, survivors' risk of physical illness increases.

But that chemical response may also help explain why abused children who had at least one adult they could trust and relax around – leaving behind that state of high alert – seem to have better prospects of recovering. Other protective factors, he says, include feeling connected to a wider community or “if you can see a way out of things, being able to set your own destiny; if you feel you've got a pathway out, maybe through school”. It is important for survivors to know, he says, that there is hope. “The more we understand about things like resilience, the more we know there are things in children's and in adult lives that can counteract this. You are not on a set course.” Children and adults do not have to be broken beyond repair. And it is not beyond society's means to mend them.

Share your experience with the Truth Project at , call 0800 917 1000 or email



Police say a pastor failed to report sex abuse. Now he's facing charges

by Lauren Muthler

A Huntingdon County pastor is facing a third-degree felony charge after police say he was informed about the sexual abuse of a child and did not report it.

David Riehl Fisher, 63, was charged Wednesday with endangering the welfare of children, according to court documents.

According to state police at Huntingdon, the alleged abuse of a 14-year-old girl occurred in 2007, sometime between June 1 and September 1, in Logan Township. Police say Fisher was told about the suspected abuse on several occasions but never reported it to authorities.

Fisher was arraigned Wednesday before Huntingdon County District Judge Lisa Marie Covert. Monetary bail, which Fisher was unable to post, was set at 10 percent of $5,000.



Viet Nam

Child sexual abuse prevention needs to go beyond empty slogans

by Khanhy Duong-Khoa Thu

HÀ N ? I - Last month, a wave of public outrage swept the internet over a court's ruling to give a 78-year-old child sexual abuser a lenient 18-month probation sentence in the southern province of Bà R ? a-Vung Tàu.

The outcry led to an unprecedented move by HCM City's Supreme Court, which instead overturned the verdict and handed down a three-year jail sentence to Nguy ? n Kh ? c Th ? y.

However, many people still feel Th ? y's sentence is not harsh enough given the pain he inflicted on the child and family.

Public concern over child abuse has been visibly growing in recent times.

“It's good that members of the public have contributed to revealing more and more sexual abuse cases. Technology and the media are helping people to capture footage and provide evidence for authorities to use,” Ninh Th ? H ? ng, deputy president of the Vi ? t Nam Children's Rights Protection Association, told Vi ? t Nam News.

Statistics from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), the Government body responsible for child protection, show that in the first five months of this year alone, 570 out of the reported 700 child abuse cases were of a sexual nature.

Hoàng Tú Anh, vice director of the Centre for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population, said that compared to the over 1,000 child sexual harassment cases reported by the ministry each year (and the actual number could well be higher), the number of cases that involved legal proceedings remained worryingly low.

MOLISA Minister Ðào Ng ? c Dung confessed that several cases related to child violence and harassment had not been properly dealt with.

Many of the weak sentences handed down for the sickening crime meet with public uproar.

For instance, a Grab bike driver in Hà N ? i was fined VNÐ200,000 (US$8.7) for verbally sexually abusing a nine-year-old girl.

In another tragic story, a predator in southern Tây Ninh Province showed no signs of fear after being named and shamed, and threatened to file a lawsuit against the victim's family after committing lewd acts with their six-year-old daughter who lived next door. Out of despair, the girl's father ingested pesticides to take his own life.

There are currently 17 State agencies responsible for child protection, but it is likely that “the victims' families are isolated”, National Assembly (NA) Deputy Luu Bình Nhu?ng told Minister Dung during a recent NA question-and-answer session.

Tú Anh said that in many cases, it took a long time for verdicts to be handed down, and sometimes they were not even executed.

This raised questions about the competency and moral standing of legal and public agencies, she said.

“We need to review the investigation process. Only when laws are just and clear-sighted will we gain public trust and give victims the confidence to speak out,” Tú Anh told Vi ? t Nam News.

Regarding the country's legal system, Vijaya Ratnam-Raman, Children's Rights and Legal Adviser for UNICEF Vi ? t Nam, said that Vi ? t Nam had solid laws in place but those laws needed to be implemented effectively.

“A child in Vi ? t Nam is defined as under 16. It means that all the protection under the Law on Children does not apply to children who are 16 or 17. Therefore, potentially, there is a higher number of children experiencing sexual abuse than reported,” he said.

Ninh Th ? H ? ng said that the problem lay in the lack of co-operation among the agencies responsible for protecting children.

When a sexual harassment case is uncovered, the public security ministry launches an investigation, while other agencies are tasked with helping the victims. Each agency has an individual task but they lack collaboration.

“As no one of those agencies can solve the problem individually, it requires a multi-sector response,” said Raman.

Ð ? ng Hoa Nam, head of the Childcare and Protection Department under MOLISA, claimed that the ministry always tried to protect victims' privacy as its first priority.

Besides the task of protecting victims' privacy, the Government has assigned MOLISA to work with judicial agencies to compile evidence for investigations, he added.

Responding to the question about child protection responsibilities among State agencies, Nam said that according to the Law on Child Protection, Care and Education, heads of commune-level and provincial people's committees where sexual assaults took place must take responsibility.

In cases where committees were unable to handle the incident, it should be reported to higher authorities or assistance should be sought from other localities or national agencies. If these localities or national agencies did not offer support, they must take responsibility, he said.

While the law states commune authorities should be dealing with the welfare of the victims and their families, Raman shared many communities did not have professional social workers.

“While the existence of specialised personnel working in social welfare is critical for adequate child protection, this level of expertise is still a big gap,” he said.

Public-private collaboration

While public agencies are failing to reinforce policies or come up with effective solutions to protect children, some individuals and groups have stepped in.

Stressing the need for a community-based approach to preventing sexual harassment, Ph ? m Minh Anh, a trainer at L ? n lên an toàn (Grow Up Safely), a social initiative, said that tight collaboration between schools, families and the community was essential for a child's development.

L ? n lên an toàn was set up using $10,000 from the US Embassy in Hà N ? i. The initiative has helped raise sexual abuse awareness prevention among nearly 1,200 primary school students in the northern highland region, including Hà Giang Province and Lào Cai Province, over the last two years.

Through engaging and interactive games, the project's trainers, mostly university students, gently convey insightful lessons about self-love, respect of privacy and sexual harassment prevention to the children.

Besides the actual lessons, they also have an official Facebook page so that parents can teach their children at home.

“We keep it low-key. For children in the northern highlands, we start by teaching them about body parts, and how to take care and love themselves. Child sexual abuse prevention should always come last,” Minh Anh said.

“A checklist for parents before they post photos of their children on the internet, for example, is important to protecting children from sexual harassment, though it is usually neglected,” she added.

Public agencies have also showed interest in the project.

According to Anh, the team had worked with Hà N ? i's Trung Li ? t Ward People's Committee to conduct a similar programme for children in the area.

The collaborative efforts have cemented their beliefs that the impact of public-private partnerships can prevent children from being abused.

“The Government has several mechanisms in place to protect children. However, the question remains how to use these mechanisms effectively. We need to enhance collaboration between schools, families and the community to avoid any harm happening to our kids,” said Minh Anh.

More pragmatic investment

Sharing the same frustration, Tú Anh used the national children protection hotline 111 as an example, saying that due to overloading, one of her acquaintances had struggled to connect to an operator.

She suggested the hotline should be publicised by the media during peak hours.

The responsibilities of public child protection agencies should also be made public so that the public can supervise their operations and effectiveness, she said.

To improve child protection efforts, the funds raised by charities and action months should be invested specifically in children and the people working directly on child protection.

UNICEF's Raman suggested Vi ? t Nam should invest more in terms of budget and capacity building to respond to child sexual abuse.

“Moreover, professionals including social workers, teachers, doctors and nurses need to be trained with skills in dealing with children and the State budget needs to be allocated in order to make those measures effective,” he said.

“Silence allows violence to continue. Therefore, efforts should be made to encourage communities, families and children to speak up against all violence against children,” he added.

“Around the world, what countries realise is that once a child is sexually abused, the damage has been done. Therefore, if you invest in child violence prevention, stopping it before it happens, it will be the more effective usage of resources and also beneficial to the children, families and communities,” he concluded.

June, the national child protection action month, is now coming to an end, but all we have seen is people riding bicycles waving banners about child protection.

However, it has been proven that these efforts simply do not raise public awareness about the issue.

Something practical has to be done, and done immediately, to prevent any violence from being inflicted on our children before it is too late.


Hot cars and children's heatstroke, a deadly combination

by Cameren Rogers

When a 7-month-old died in an overheated car in Georgia last week, he became the latest in what has become a tragic rite of summer.

Rhae Odum, 28, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and child neglect after leaving her son in the car in a hotel parking lot.

Unfortunately, this story isn't an unusual one. According to, 760 children have died of heatstroke in cars since 1998. In over half of the cases, the child was left in the vehicle by accident.

According to the website, nearly 74% of the deaths have been in children ages 2 and younger. More than half the time the child is forgotten by a caregiver, but other situations are common:

•  54% - child forgotten by caregiver

•  27% - child playing in unattended vehicle

•  18% - child intentionally left in vehicle by adult

•  1% - circumstances unknown

Jan Null, a meteorologist at San Jose State University, created to track deaths of children left in vehicles. He has found that about 37 children die in overheated cars each year, or about one child every 9 days. Eighteen children have died in 2018 so far.

Null got involved with the research in 2001 after he was contacted as an expert when a father left his 5-month-old son in the car on an 86-degree day in San Jose, CA. Null began tracking temperatures in his vehicles, taking particular interest in how quickly temperatures rise. He also partnered with two Stanford University doctors to do research and produced a world-renowned article about the topic.

“My hopes are that this research will raise the level of interest and awareness about this sad topic and ultimately save some innocent lives,” he writes on his website.

Most of the incidents happen during the summer months of June, July, and August, but Null's research shows that it can happen any time of the year.

Car interiors can heat up to 125 degrees within the first 20 minutes of sun exposure, even if the outside temperature isn't that hot, says On a 70-degree day, a car's interior heats up to 104 degrees in the first 30 minutes. Cracking the windows does not decrease the maximum temperature and will not slow the heating.

Research shows that a child's body overheats two to three times faster than an adult's body.

Heatstroke starts when body temperature reaches 104 degrees. When someone develops heatstroke, they experience muscle cramping, nausea , unconsciousness, and elevated heart rate,” Null says. When the body hits a temperature of 107 degrees, organs start shutting down quickly.

Rising awareness of hot car deaths and high mortality rates have led to new laws in many states. In 2017, Congress introduced the Hot Cars Act, requiring all new passenger vehicles to include child safety alert systems, which would include auditory and visual alerts when a driver turns the car off. The bill has yet to pass into law.

Twenty-one states have Unattended Child in Vehicle Laws in place, but many have loopholes or exemptions.

According to,

•  Alabama's and Wisconsin's laws only apply to paid child care providers.

•  Kentucky's and Missouri's laws only apply if a child is injured or dies.

•  Florida allows a 15-minute period that a child can be left alone before it becomes a crime. Illinois allows 10 minutes. Hawaii and Texas allow 5 minutes.

•  Washington's law only applies to a running vehicle.

•  Rhode Island's law only requires a verbal warning, and no record of the incident can be kept.

“There are more states that have laws about leaving pets in cars than leaving children. That's another avenue; there need to be more avenues that work to be part of the solution,” Null says.

According to Michigan State University's Animal Legal and Historical Center, 28 states have laws that address animals left in hot vehicles.

While there is technological help for parents to prevent them from leaving a child in the car, Null says they are only aimed at parents who leave their children accidentally, which only represents 54% of cases.

Null says heatstroke in cars is completely preventable.

Expert safety recommendations include:

•  Never leave a child in an unattended car.

•  Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading.

•  Always lock your car.

•  Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. Move it to the passenger seat to remind yourself when the child is in the car.

•  Place a purse, briefcase, or cell phone in the back seat.

•  Get in the habit of looking around your car before getting out.

Many states have Good Samaritan laws in place, which protect people who take action to assist a child left in a car. If you see a child left in a car, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests:

•  Make sure the child is OK and responsive. If unresponsive, call 911 immediately.

•  If child is unresponsive, attempt to get into the car and assist the child, even if by breaking a window.

•  Try and get another person to locate the guardian.



Police: Man found in cemetery with 5 girls, 2 unconscious

by Lindsay Knowles

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - A 20-year-old man is facing felony charges after police say he drove to Alabama and picked up five underage girls in foster care. The girls were all between the ages of 11 and 16, say authorities.

Jordan McClain of Ocean Springs reportedly drove to a group home for foster kids in Mobile Sunday after meeting a 16-year-old on Facebook.

Authorities said the 16-year-old asked McClain to pick her up. When he arrived, the other four girls decided to go with them. While driving from Mobile to Ocean Springs Front Beach, police said McClain gave all of the minors Xanax and marijuana.

A resident noticed the group at the beach and called cops to report that they appeared to be intoxicated. An officer located McClain and the five juveniles shortly after in a cemetery near Iberville Drive. The officer said when he arrived, two of the girls were unconscious in the graveyard. An ambulance was called and the two girls were taken to a hospital, where they were treated and released.

McClain was arrested last week and initially charged with multiple charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. However, after further investigation and reviewing all of the paperwork, authorities said police and the district attorney's office decided this week to upgrade the charges. He is now facing three counts of felony child abuse causing serious bodily harm.

An $8,400 bond was set for each charge for a total bond amount of $25,200. McClain is being held at Jackson County Adult Detention Center.

Authorities said all five girls were returned into the custody of foster care.



Parents outraged as child abuse investigation is launched at church daycare center

by Rachel Cardin

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A church is under fire after Child Protective Services launched an investigation related to child abuse at the daycare center.

A letter sent home to parents outlined the investigation going on and many have taken a closer look at their own children who have been attendance, some for years.

More than five moms have reached out to News 3 saying they have taken their kids out. One reports her child was hit, another said their child was restrained. Other allegations include children being shut in closets, hit over the head or pushed into walls. One mom told us they plan to hire an attorney due to injuries their son sustained while at the center.

Mom Sara Jacobs said her husband called CPS after their son Noah was picked up and had large scratch marks on his back. Jacobs said her husband asked where the marks came from and the worker told him she had dragged Noah out from under a table, scraping his back.

Jacobs said she noticed a change of behavior in her son and he often would cry and scream when he would be dropped off at daycare. She said she also noticed other kids seemed to crowd around her when she would pick her son up; some, she said, looked scared.

Shortly after, Noah was removed from the daycare center and he now attends daycare elsewhere.

Previous teachers at the center have taken to social media saying they saw abuse happening and reported it to the director, who swept it under the rug.

News 3 has learned that director has since resigned and even the predecessor is no longer in the director capacity. A new director was recently hired.

The Deep Creek United Methodist Church learned of alleged child abuse at the daycare center, telling News 3 they hired a lawyer and launched their own internal investigation.

It was after their attorney review they sent that initial letter home to parents letting them know the person accused has been placed on administrative leave.

Right now, the church said they have only learned of one incident of abuse and they have placed one person on administrative leave. They said they will take appropriate action depending on the outcome of the investigation.

The church currently has about 45 kids enrolled in child care. They also have a teaching program that takes kids up to 5 th grade. Board of Trustees Member Ted Ambrose III said he has sent his children to preschool there and has one currently enrolled. Ambrose said he would not do so if he thought his child would be in danger.

Ambrose said the church encourages parents to reach out and report any cases of abuse. You can call the church or email .

As of now, six parents have pulled their children out of the program, according to the church. Ambrose said others have talked about the incident and have opted to keep their children at the center.

The police department reports no criminal charges have been filed yet, though they are aware of the investigation going on with CPS and have had at least one report of alleged abuse filed by a parent.



Law change: more people obliged to report child abuse

by Swiss Info

All professionals with regular contact with children will be obliged to report their suspicions of child abuse to the authorities from January 1, 2019, in a tightening of the child protection law.

The Federal Council, Switzerland's governing body, fixed the date for the change on Wednesday. The move had been approved by parliament in December .

It is aimed at offering better protection to small children as well as harmonising the rules nationwide. Cantons are free to have other measures – some already go further than the change and will not have to go back to a less strict approach.

Currently only those with an official function, such as teachers and social workers, are obliged to notify the authorities in cases of suspected abuse. The new rules see this duty applied to anyone who is in regular contact with a child, such as day-care staff, music teachers or sports coaches.

This should increase the protection of small children in particular, who do not have regular contact with teachers or social workers. The key issue is that there are “concrete indications” that a child's physical, mental or sexual integrity is in danger, a justice ministry statement said.external link


Another significant change concerns doctors, lawyers and psychologists. Until now, these professionals have been exempt from the obligation to report due to doctor-patient or lawyer-client confidentiality issues.

Under the new guidelines, they will be able to contact the protection agency despite their professional confidentiality, if it is in the interest of the child. Currently they can only make a report if an offence has been committed.

Earlier this month, a study found that up to 50,000 children who suffer abuse are registered by the child protection authorities in Switzerland each year.




Protecting children from predators

by Christie Somes

I was sexually assaulted by an older neighbor boy when I was four and five years old. That is a challenging, difficult statement for most people to read, and even more challenging for me to write. But I am not alone.

Rarely a week goes by without a jarring newspaper headline detailing childhood sexual abuse: a coach, a schoolteacher, a church elder, a father. Childhood sexual abuse is a crime that is far more prevalent than most people believe because most children do not report if they are being abused.

"Childhood sexual abuse is one of the biggest public health problems that children and adults will face in their lifetimes, causing the most serious array of short – and long-term consequences," says Jenny Stith, executive director of the WINGS Foundation in Denver.

While many children are taught to be aware of "stranger danger," the sad fact is that someone they know is almost always the abuser. About 90 percent of children who are sexually abused suffer that harm from family members, someone close to the family or one of their classmates in school.

"Many people live lives with serious post-traumatic stress symptoms including anger, shame, guilt and a decreased sense of self-worth," says mental health therapist Meghan Hurley, River Bridge Regional Center in Glenwood Springs. "And the sad fact is that if we can reach them when the abuse is going on or shortly after we can greatly help their lives and decrease their suffering going forward."

While the subject of childhood sexual abuse can be troubling to talk about, there is good news. The recent #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns have made everyone more aware about the issue of sexual harassment, and multiple celebrities, both female and male, have disclosed that their sexual harm happened to them when they were children.

As more people tell their truth about their past trauma, and how it affected them over their lifetime, more survivors are encouraged to come forward and get the help with the long-term effects of that earlier trauma and how it has affected their behaviors and physiological changes in their body.

Recent increased media awareness also encourages more parents, teachers (the number one profession that spots abuse) to look for ways in which they can best protect children.

These parents, teachers and caregivers look to organizations like Denver's Parenting Safe Children (who recently held a sold-out workshop in Carbondale) for information on what they can do to keep kids safe.

Founder Feather Berkower teaches how knowledge can help protect your children. Children need to know about their bodies, the real names of intimate body parts instead of cute terms, and what's appropriate and not appropriate for other people to see and touch. They need to learn this information from you rather than from an uninformed childhood friend or worse. Who do you want to teach your children about sex, you or an abuser?

In addition to general information about their anatomy, you can also greatly increase the safety of your children by creating appropriate body safety rules and making sure teachers, coaches, church leaders, babysitters and any adult or older child who comes into contact with your children knows about these rules.

I recently interviewed a 14-year-old accomplished gymnast from the Denver metro area with soaring aspirations to be among the best in her sport. But over a period of months, her 40-year-old coach used attention, praise and other classic grooming techniques to draw her closer to him until he inappropriately touched her, and there was no longer any question about his real intentions. Fortunately, the girl's mother had gone through a Parenting Safe Children's workshop, and she quickly recognized what was going on. The coach was fired from the gym where he worked, but Denver police have not prosecuted him, and he is once again working with another set of young, impressionable girls.

While I suffered from an array of behaviors and physical consequences for over 40 years because of my early sexual abuse, I was able to get help, support and make my life better. Others who have been sexually abused can do the same.

Going forward, the patchwork of laws across our country can be more uniformly enforced. Survivors of early trauma should be encouraged to seek help through therapy and support groups. And perpetrators or organizations should be held accountable no matter how many years have passed. Over 20 states in our country have laws that limit a survivor from seeking justice from their abuser.

For more information about childhood sexual abuse, getting help and learning how to best protect your child, contact River Bridge Regional Center in Glenwood Springs ( ), WINGS Foundation in Denver ( ) or Parenting Safe Children ( ) in Denver.


United Kingdom

Accounts from The Truth Project reveal the lifelong consequences of childhood abuse

by Annabelle Timsit

In 2015, the British government set up the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to investigate why institutions from local councils to churches and boarding schools had failed to protect children.

The Truth Project , a forum for victims and survivors to share their stories, was created to helping guide the investigation. So far, the project has collected 1,040 stories of abuse . In 520 cases, victims agreed to make their stories public. Most of them are female, and 94% of them were abused by men. The youngest participant was 21, the oldest 95.

Reading the details can be disturbing. The accounts are striking in how they reveal lifelong consequences. Here are three of the stories from victims, whose names have been changed:


Mary was abused by her older brother from the age of 10 to when she fled her home as a teen. Her brother claimed “this is what big brothers do…show you how to do it…explain sex.” He then began regularly raping her. When she left home, she had a child (the report doesn't specify whether it was her brother's child). She moved to another town but she still had to see him at family events. When she learned he was moving to the same town, Mary “had a meltdown.” “I didn't want him near me or near my child,” she said. She reported her abuse to the police, but her brother was not charged, because of lack of evidence. Mary suffered a breakdown and post-traumatic stress and has received counseling. She continues to have night terrors.


Katie grew up in foster care and group homes. In one home, she was abused by a male staff member and, when she fought back, she says she was given a juvenile conviction. “The judge said I was a violent out-of-control child, whose parents didn't even want her,” she said. “That was not true…I was trying to defend myself.” Katie describes one home: “It was like a whorehouse, we were encouraged to dress skimpily.” During her time in there, Katie says she was put on birth-control pills at a young age. She regularly ran away to escape the sexual abuse, only to be returned. She was never asked by officials why she had run away. “I was running away, trying not to get raped. I had a single room; the night staff would come in and I would scream and shout.” But nobody on the staff helped her. She received no protection from the police, either; during one of the times when she ran away, she says she was put in a dog kennel by officers. Katie says she has never had counseling and feels she hasn't been able to deal with what happened. She describes herself as living in a solitary person: “I work long hours…I don't give myself time to think…I exist, I don't live.”


Jim was brought up in a violent household. After a psychiatrist recommended he be sent to a residential school, he rarely saw his parents. He was around 7 or 8. At the school, a staff member named Bill sexually abused him regularly. Jim also was taken to abandoned buildings and was abused by multiple men. When he reported the attacks to a female staff member, Jim says she called him a liar, saying Bill cared about him too much to do that. He still has nightmares, and has self-harmed, and has come close to suicide. When dealing with his pain, Jim says, “I have the choice to live with what goes on in my head, or to kill myself.”



Larry Nassar And Trainer Debbie Van Horn Charged With Child Sexual Abuse

The charges stem from an investigation into alleged sexual abuse at the Karolyi Ranch.

by Alanna Vagianos

Larry Nassar and former USA Gymnastics trainer Debbie Van Horn were charged with multiple counts of child sexual abuse on Friday afternoon.

During a press conference in Walker County, Texas, prosecutors and city officials announced that Nassar, who is currently serving a life sentence , was indicted on six charges of child sexual assault and Van Horn on one charge of child sexual assault.

“This is an ongoing investigation. It is still an open investigation,” Walker County District Attorney David Weeks said.

The charges stem from an investigation into six victims who say they were sexually abused as far back as the early 2000s by Nassar at the Karolyi Ranch, the legendary USA Gymnastics training facility owned by coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi.

Nassar, the former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, is accused of sexually abusing over 260 young athletes under the guise of medical treatment. In January and February, Nassar sat through two separate sentencing hearings where hundreds of survivors read powerful victim impact statements . He's now serving three concurrent prison sentences of up to 175 years for sexual assault and child pornography.

During Nassar's January sentencing hearing, national gymnastics champion Mattie Larson named Van Horn in her emotional victim impact statement . She said that Van Horn was in the room “many of the times” that Nassar abused her.

“If a trainer, a professional trainer, doesn't say anything about it, I should trust her. At least that's what I thought,” Larson said.

Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Stroud clarified that the Texas investigation found no evidence that the Karolyis committed any criminal behavior.

“We do not believe that there is any corroborated evidence with regard to Bela and Martha Karolyi that they did anything wrong,” Stroud said. “There are other individuals who may have fallen within criminal behavior, but they are outside the statute of limitations and those would be failure to report cases.”

The Karolyis have been under intense scrutiny since several young athletes came forward with allegations of abuse at the ranch. Both have continually denied any wrongdoing.

“I heard during the testimonies that some of the parents were in the therapy room with their own child and Larry Nassar was performing this, and the parent couldn't see,” Martha Karolyi said during an interview with Dateline in April. “How I could see?”

Walker County officials believe there was a “total failure” by USA Gymnastics to protect its athletes, Stroud said.

“Charging Larry Nassar with more crimes makes about as much sense as digging up Lee Harvey Oswald and charging him with JFK's murder,” John Manly, an attorney who represents over 300 Nassar survivors, told NBC News .

He added that there “are at least five adults” who knew of Nassar's behavior at the time and failed to report it.

“The message to people who were in charge of protecting children is that in Texas, if you fail to report molesters nothing will happen to you,” Manly said.

When asked why Walker County is bothering to prosecute Nassar, Weeks said: “Because it's the right thing to do.”


EFF Challenges Online Sex Trafficking Act That Shuttered

by Bruce Haring

The Electronic Frontier Foundation ( EFF ) has sued the federal government and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to challenge the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act ( SESTA-FOSTA ), signed into law by President Donald Trump in April.

The lawsuit was filed on Thursday. Woodhull Freedom Foundation et al. v. United States is the first action to challenge SESTA-FOSTA, which critics contend puts sex workers at greater risk, but advocates claim will cut down on human trafficking, particularly of children.

The plaintiffs in Woodhull Freedom Foundation et al. v. United States includethree organizations – Human Rights Watch, Woodhull Freedom Foundation and the Internet Archive – and two individuals. The suit claims they are engaged in constitutionally protected speech.

The complaint by the EFF claims SESTA-FOSTA violates the First and Fifth Amendments by preventing its plaintiffs from using online forums for fear of criminal charges. It argues that the legislation resembles the anti-indecency provisions of the Communications Decency Act, said provisions ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1997.

Non-profit EFF is a a civil liberties organization specializing in online and digital technology. It has battled SESTA-FOSTA since its introduction to Congress in 2017. That proposal made it a crime to operate or manage a website that “promotes or facilitates prostitution,” a grey definition which increases potential liability for sites that host any sexually oriented content, including discussions of it.

Many sites have taken a cautious route in the wake of the new law. Craigslist took down its personals section, while Reddit banned certain sex-oriented subreddits. , the online marketplace, was one of the most prominent. The controversial online ad market was seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies in April as in violation of SESTA-FOSTA.

The website now shows logos of US enforcement agencies and promised more information later today. The FBI post claimed federal attorneys in Arizona and California and the Justice Department's section on child exploitation and obscenity and the California and Texas attorneys general jointly participated in the action. CEO Carl Ferrer has entered a guilty plea to state and federal conspiracy and money laundering charges in connection with his web site's operation, and will cooperate with federal law enforcement agents in their ongoing investigation into sex trafficking and prostitution.


Sex Traffickers Force Prisoners Into Prostitution

by Crime and Justice News

Women in U.S. prisons are being recruited by sex traffickers who force them into prostitution on their release, The Guardian reports. Traffickers are using government websites to obtain personal information, including mugshots, release dates and charge sheets to identify potential victims while they are still behind bars. Pimps use inmates in prisons and jails to befriend incarcerated women who, on their release, are trafficked into the $9.5 billion commercial sex industry. The Guardian found cases of the bail bond system being used in sex trafficking operations in at least five states. Pimps and sex buyers are locating incarcerated women awaiting a court date by using personal data such as mugshots and bail bonds posted online, or through corrupt bondsmen.

Traffickers bail women out of detention. Once released, the women are told they must work as prostitutes or have their bond rescinded and be sent back to jail. The Guardian found cases of the bail bond system being used by pimps and sex buyers in Florida, Texas, Ohio, North Carolina and Mississippi. “The pimps would use bail as a way to control us and keep us in debt bondage,” said one trafficking survivor from Tampa. She claimed she was forced to work as a prostitute to pay off her bail debt and locked inside a house and beaten if she didn't bring home enough money. “Once when I tried to escape, the pimp revoked my bond. He found me, threw me in a car and got me sent back to jail,” she said. Diane Checchio, a former prosecutor in Orlando, said the bail bond system is routinely exploited by traffickers. Checchio said traffickers are targeting women involved in the criminal justice system across the nation. “I would find it very likely that this is happening in every state that has women's records online,” she said.