National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

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"News of the Week"  

November 2019 - Week 3
Terri Lanahan
Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.



Three more altar boys say they were abused by priests in Vatican

Italian TV show to reveal alleged abuse at Vatican's youth seminary in 1980s and 90s

By Angela Giuffrida in Rome and Lorenzo Tondo in Palermo

Three more former altar boys have claimed they were sexually abused by two priests in the Vatican, as the child abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic church zeroed in for a second time on its headquarters.

The allegations of abuse in the Vatican's youth seminary, to be set out in an Italian TV show on Sunday, date back to the 1980s and 90s when the boys were aged between 10 and 14.

The accusations come two months after the Vatican said it would seek to indict Father Gabriele Martinelli, 28, for allegedly abusing several altar boys in 2012 when he trained at the St Pius X youth seminary. That move was prompted by the Italian show Le Iene's first investigation into the school in 2017.

The Vatican said in September that an indictment was also being sought against a former rector at the youth seminary, Father Enrico Radice, who was accused of aiding and abetting the alleged crimes.

The Catholic church has faced thousands of child sexual abuse allegations from around the world but Le Iene's investigation in 2017 was the first time claims of paedophilia within the Vatican's walls were exposed.

“We decided to keep digging as we had the feeling that the previous cases were not isolated,” said Gaetano Pecoraro, one of the two authors of the investigation. “There were more victims and more priests involved in sexual abuse within the Vatican.”

In the latest investigation, three former altar boys who served at papal masses claimed they were sexual abused by two priests, one a teacher.

In the programme, seen by the Guardian, one of the victims alleges that one of the priests, who was managing the school's communal showers, tried to remove his bathrobe. “He wanted to undress me,” the victim alleges. “I tried to wriggle away. I was 13 years old. I fell to the ground and asked him ‘what are you doing?'. I then got up and ran away.”

All three boarded at the youth seminary. The second victim alleges he was abused at the Casa Santa Marta, where many priests stay, by a priest at the youth seminary when he was 10 or 11 years old. “He asked me to go upstairs to his room, made me sit on his legs, began to stroke my thigh and then put a hand on my private parts,” he told Le Iene. The priest allegedly persisted with the abuse and after the boy refused the advances he stopped.

The victims, now aged between 37 and 40, came together a few years ago to share their stories. The third victim made similar allegations but chose not to go into detail for the programme. The three claimed that a fourth former altar boy suffered worse sexual abuse than they did, but when he was contacted by Le Iene he refused to talk.

The allegations were corroborated by several people who claimed to have witnessed some of the abuse.

Le Iene managed to trace one of the accused priests. The man, whose face is blurred in the programme, appears to be frightened by the journalists' visit. After he hears the accusations made against him in the audio interviews, he responds: “No, it's not possible. I can't remember … I'm not saying they're lying, I'm saying they have misunderstood.”

The Vatican said in a statement that if new elements emerged during the judicial proceedings it had begun in the Martinelli case “involving further offences by the accused or by others, the judicial authorities of the state of the Vatican City will proceed with the opening of a new file of documents and, following preliminary investigation, with a new request for a trial.”

The fresh allegations come months after Catholic leaders gathered for an unprecedented summit at the Vatican to tackle widespread paedophilia within the church. At the close of the summit in February, Pope Francis promised the church would “spare no effort” in bringing abusers to justice and would not cover up or underestimate abuse.


Catholicism in UK

Child abuse survivors call for archbishop of Westminster to resign

Lawyers lambast treatment of victims and say ‘buck has to stop with Cardinal Nichols'

By Harriet Sherwood Religion

Lawyers acting for child abuse survivors have called for the resignation of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the highest-ranking Catholic cleric in England and Wales, saying the church has treated survivors with disdain.

In a letter to the Catholic weekly, The Tablet, the lawyers say Nichols, who is the archbishop of Westminster and was formerly the archbishop of Birmingham, “cannot credibly lead the Catholic church on these issues in the future”.

Nichols has given evidence in person twice in the past year to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA), first on his period as archbishop of Birmingham and last week on safeguarding and support for survivors in the archdiocese of Westminster.

In its report on the archdiocese of Birmingham, published in June, the inquiry concluded that Nichols had defended the reputation of the church rather than protecting children amid allegations of sexual abuse.

The cardinal “focused too much on the reputation of the church during his tenure, rather than the welfare of children and the impacts of child sexual abuse on victims and survivors”, the report says.

“Children could have been saved from abuse if the church had not been so determined to protect its own reputation above all else.”

Thirteen people had been convicted of serious child abuse offences in the archdiocese of Birmingham, the biggest in the country, but “the true scale of offending and the number of children who were abused is likely to be far greater”, the IICSA said.

Last week, at a hearing of the inquiry, witnesses described safeguarding in Westminster as “dysfunctional” and “unsafe”. Nichols was criticised by the inquiry's lead counsel, Brian Altman QC, for delaying church reforms and for defending the Vatican's refusal to cooperate with investigators.

The lawyers, Richard Scorer of Slater and Gordon, and David Enright of Howe and Co, have acted for almost 50 victims and survivors at the IICSA hearings into the Catholic church.

They say evidence taken by the inquiry shows the church is failing in both safeguarding and support for survivors. “These failings have their roots in cultural and structural features of the Catholic church. However, the attitude and performance of individual church leaders cannot be ignored.”

Nichols has been at the centre of the Catholic church's response to the abuse scandal since 2001, they say. The inquiry heard last week of evidence of “a shocking mindset in the diocese of disdain for survivors. On all these failings, the buck has to stop with Cardinal Nichols.”

Their letter concludes: “The charge sheet against Cardinal Nichols is a long one. Having failed in his leadership roles in both Birmingham and Westminster, he cannot credibly lead the Catholic church on these issues in the future.

“The systemic problems in the Catholic church in relation to safeguarding are not capable of resolution by a single individual. But the church needs leaders who command respect on these issues; Cardinal Nichols does not. It is clear to us, and those we represent, that the time has come for him to step down.”

Responding to the lawyers' letter, Nuala O'Loan, chair of the Catholic council to the inquiry, said it was “wholly inappropriate to comment publicly” before the IICSA had published its final report on the Catholic church, and that the letter sought to “prevent and undermine” the process of the inquiry's considerations.

She added: “The cardinal and [the Catholic council] remain fully engaged and committed to working and supporting the work of the inquiry.


New Zealand

New Zealand Public Hearings Highlight Dark History of Child Abuse


WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Public hearings in New Zealand on abuse of young people in state and faith-based care have exposed a horrific history of neglect and exploitation as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern seeks to make the country the best place in the world to be a child.

Ardern last year announced a Royal Commission of Inquiry into historic abuse of children in state care between 1950 and 1999, and later expanded it to include churches and other faith-based institutions.

Ardern said New Zealand needed to confront "a dark chapter" in its history to improve conditions for its children.

The first round of public hearings concluded on Friday, after two weeks of testimonies from about 30 people including survivors, experts, lawyers and state officials.

Beverley Wardle-Jackson said she was exposed to sexual and physical abuse from the age of seven at state homes and religious institutions for several years from around 1960.

"I was one of the many children caught up in a welfare system that was meant to protect us, but ultimately served only to damage us," she said in written testimony published by the commission on its website.

"While this was a different time, many of the things that happened to me and those I went through care with, would not be acceptable in any era."

Another survivor, Keith Wiffin, who was sent to state care when he was 10 years old, said last week that abuse at state care had a "devastating effect" on him that continued throughout his life.

Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft said figures from Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry for Children, showed state abuse of children still continues.

Approximately 7-10% of all children in state care were abused annually, although the true figure could be much higher, he said. Some 103 children were abused from January to March 2019, up 97% from the previous quarter.

"The State must listen, apologise, make reparations and make transformational change," Becroft said.

Neighbouring Australia delivered a national apology in 2017, after a five-year inquiry into child sexual abuse revealed thousands of cases of sexual misconduct largely committed at religious and state-run institutions.

Oranga Tamarki figures show 76% of children abused in state care were Maori, said Becroft.

Thousands of Maori people protested across New Zealand in July calling for an end to the practice of taking at-risk children away from their families and placing them in state care.

Critics of the practice have said the process is racially skewed against the Maori, and is a legacy of colonisation.

Two reports will be created for the government based on the evidence gathered from the hearings - one at the end of 2020 and the second in 2023.



'I only know how to survive': Colorado kidnapping survivor speaks out in fight against child abuse

By Jaclyn Allen

DENVER -- Before social media, before Amber Alerts, a 3-year-old girl named Lori Poland was taken from her front yard in Sheridan by a man offering candy.

"What happened on August 22, 1983 completely stopped the entire community of Colorado," said Poland, telling her story as part of an effort to increase awareness about child abuse and neglect.

Her family's trauma played out on national television, as her parents pleaded for information on her whereabouts.

"Everyone is transfixed," described Dr. Richard Krugman, chairman for the National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect, who was later actively involved in the case. "Because most people think they'll find a dead body or they'll never find a child again."

But Lori Poland was a fighter. Three days after being kidnapped, birdwatchers heard her cry from a forgotten outhouse near the I-70 Chief Hosa exit. The little girl was found at the bottom of a 10-foot toilet pit.

Rare archive video captured the terror and relief her parents felt the first time they saw her in the hospital.

To Lori Poland, what happened 36 years ago was just the start of her story.

"People just ask, 'Can I touch you, can I hug you?' I get that all the time," she said. "And a lot of times I see a lot of tears."

Her memories of those days are just flashes of images and feelings.

"I know that I was loved and supported even though I was alone in a toilet," Poland said. "I certainly think that was a lot of the reason why I lived."

She lived to keep fighting. Three-year-old Lori identified the man who sexually abused her and put her "in the hole," as she told Dr. Richard Krugman, her pediatrician at the Kemp Center who saw video of the interview.

"She was rock solid in her identification," said Krugman. "Her body language, she said, 'Mommy, that's him,' and she sort of reeled back and she was a little scared."

In a controversial plea deal, her attacker was sentenced to just ten years, serving only six. He is now a registered sex offender living in California. While Poland wanted to speak to him to forgive him when she was young, now she has no desire to ever see him again.

"For me, it's not really about justice," said Poland. "It's about being impactful. So, every day I just try and wake up and be impactful and try and be good in the world and prevent people from growing up and causing harm."

Now a mother of three and a therapist herself, Poland is committed to making a difference for that 3-year-old girl, launching the National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect.

Teaming up with her childhood doctor, Krugman, they both want to treat child abuse not as just a social issue, but a mental health and public health problem, similar to suicide, diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer.

"We've been able to see a significant shift in all of those things because there has been a focus on prevention education, research and advocacy," said Poland. "We are doing the exact same thing for child abuse and neglect."

To this day, the ripple effects of what happened continue to affect her, and she has battled fear of abandonment, anxiety and depression. But Poland has never backed away from a fight.

"I only know how to survive. And I will continue to survive," she said. "And I will fight for all children who have been abused and adults who have felt like they have to keep silent."



CBI sets up cell to prevent online child abuse

By Shishir Arya

NAGPUR: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has set up an online child sexual abuse and Exploitation (OCSAE) prevention and Investigation unit.

The newly specialized unit will collect, collate and disseminate information regarding publication, transmission, creation, collection, seeking, browsing, downloading, advertising, promoting, exchanging, distribution of information relating to online child sexual abuse and exploitation, said a press release issued by CBI.

Investigation of such offences will be carried out under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 (32 of 2012) and the information technology act 2000 (21 of 2000) and other laws.

The CBI release said ‘the rapid growth of the Internet has created unparalleled opportunities for children and adults alike to learn and explore the world around them. Today, in many countries, these technologies are ubiquitous — permeating every aspect of our lives — personal and professional, individual and social. These technologies have simultaneously created a new dimension, wherein the sexual exploitation of children can multiply, if unchecked. Children, every day, all around the world are prone to suffer online sexual abuse and exploitation.


New Zealand

‘You ruined me': New Zealand's abuse survivors speak at landmark inquiry

Survivors are given a voice at first public hearings of investigation into historical abuse of thousands of children in state and faith-based care

By Charlotte Graham-McLay

On the morning Annasophia Calman is due to testify in public about a childhood destroyed at the hands of her father and the state, she eats scrambled eggs on toast and paces back and forth in the hallway outside her hotel room.

“My daughter rang up and she goes, ‘Mum, I'm so proud of you. You're finally going to do it. It's going to be over for you,' ” Calman says. “But I knew it wasn't over until I actually did it.”

Calman, a grandmother with neat grey hair and wearing a floral blouse, was among almost 30 witnesses called to give evidence in the first public hearings for New Zealand's largest national inquiry. It is investigating the abuse of thousands of children in the care of the state and faith-based institutions between 1950 and 1999.

Its remit is broad, its subject matter unrelentingly brutal. And as has been the case in most similar investigations conducted worldwide, its leaders appear to be walking a precarious line between success and failure, knowing that their efforts could be the only chance of redress for New Zealand's survivors of abuse.

The fortnight of hearings was the first time the public had been given the chance to watch its progress since it was announced by Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, in 2018.

‘I don't know who I really am'

Coral Shaw is one of the commissioners hearing evidence, and will chair the inquiry to its conclusion after its previous head announced his retirement. A veteran judge who for decades presided over some of New Zealand's highest-profile and most gruelling trials, she says the intellectual demands of the abuse inquiry's public hearings have been similar to those of a court case – but the subject matter “tougher”.

“This is all a bit more unremitting than before and the depth of the pain is deeper,” she says. “And I think that's because we are allowing them to be deeper.”

That morning, in a nondescript conference room at a hotel in Auckland, Calman takes her seat in front of a panel of lawyers, officials, members of the public, reporters, and a camera livestreaming the hearings. She is visibly nervous.

New Zealand's most shameful secret: 'We have normalised child poverty'

“Do you want to tell me about your family, Anna?” asks her lawyer. Calman looks away and wipes her nose with a tissue.

In a voice choked with effort she begins: “My real name at birth was Margaret Ross.”

The story Calman tells is the worst imaginable: beaten by her father, raped at home, she ate out of rubbish bins to survive. She felt betrayed that social workers who knew of her family's situation did not take her away.

When they did, things did not improve. She suffered abuse and rape in foster homes and was sexually assaulted by a nun. The effects on her life were catastrophic.

“My adulthood is actually starting now. I didn't remember my age. I do now,” says Calman, 62. “Everything was just taken. I don't know who I really am.”

It's hard when the records show how badly she was treated. It's important that people know about those.

Amanda Hill, Calman's lawyer, is a small woman with a gentle voice, and Calman answers her questions quietly, every word seemingly drawn from her at great cost. It is an atmosphere so charged that no one in the room can avoid becoming part of it – from the court security guard at the door who sang along with the Maori hymn that opened the day's proceedings to the young sound engineer at a desk in the corner.

At times Hill sees tears on the faces of some of the other lawyers. People in the public gallery sit calmly; many are survivors and stories like Calman's are familiar. One man had earlier told the hearing he had “lost the ability to love” during his time in state care. Some had ended up in gangs or in jail.

“A court's normally a really formal place, and I think the commission has been a really good place for people to be a bit more themselves,” says Hill, whose law firm represents thousands of state abuse survivors.

“My job was to help Anna tell her story and not to intrude on it, and it's hard when the records show how badly she was treated. It's important that people know about those.”

Calman's plight underscores the challenge the inquiry faces in making its eventual recommendations. She is among thousands of survivors who have made claims for redress to government agencies to no avail – in her case, without even a response.

Any successes later in her life – teaching herself to read and write at 30, meeting a “lovely” second husband, making a career in caring for the elderly, choosing the name Annasophia for herself – were all her own efforts.

“You practically ruined me,” she says later of the state. But she had agreed to give public evidence because she believed things could change.

Then it is over, and she is eager to fly home for dinner with her husband. “Scrambled eggs on toast again,” she says, with some relief.

‘It's a turning point'

The inquiry, which is due to deliver its report to New Zealand's government in 2023, will hear from thousands of survivors in private. The public sessions were intended to set the investigation's tone and direction, with a focus on survivors who had previously gone unheard – including disabled and Maori people.

Racism by officials and forced estrangement from family and culture were common during the period covered by the inquiry, and Maori children are still removed from their families in disproportionate numbers. They make up 60% of those in state care.

“It is particularly hard knowing that abuse in state care continues today,” says Andrew Becroft, New Zealand's children's commissioner, as he takes the witness seat after Calman vacates it.

The royal commission is investigating abuses that occurred between 1950 and 1999 but he urges those on the panel to exercise their discretion “liberally”, adding that the commissioners could choose to gather evidence from the past two decades even though it would increase the scope of the investigation considerably.

“There is often asserted that there is a bright line in the past where abuse has stopped,” he says. “No one can tell me when that date is.”

New Zealand: just 11% of sexual violence reports lead to conviction

The reverence in the room for the long-serving former youth court judge is evident. Some inquiry staff refer to him privately as “Sir A”. One survivor says he had sentenced her to jail once, but it had been a fair decision and she still liked him.

As well as hearing from experts such as Becroft, the New Zealand commission is the first in the world to appoint a survivors' group to advise the panel. That has been controversial too. A gang member with a domestic violence conviction was originally included in the group and another member's partner, who has a child sexual abuse offence conviction, was inadvertently allowed to attend events.

But many in the hearing's public seating say the inquiry is finally moving in the right direction. Toni Jarvis is a member of the survivors' advisory group. He has a wide, white smile and faded tattoos on his fingers.

Jarvis was locked in a psychiatric hospital at nine and has spent decades looking for answers. The inquiry, he says, was the first time people had listened.

“To me it's a turning point,” he says. But years of disappointment are never far from his mind and his trust is not easily won.

“I will say this with a bit of hesitancy,” he says, “but I'm looking forward with hope and faith that indeed this will pan out and be a positive thing.”



Cops found 26 children behind a false wall in a daycare basement, owner not arrested

by ABC7 News Staff

COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. (ABC7) — Police say they found 26 children under the supervision of two adults after discovering a false wall at a Colorado Springs daycare.

All of the children were reportedly under the age of three, and the owner, identified as 58-year-old Carla Faith, was not arrested.

Police were conducting a welfare check at Play Mountain Place after receiving complaints that the facility was housing more children in their care than their license allowed.

Faith reportedly refused to cooperate with officers when they arrived. However, police say they heard noises of children coming from her home, which is located on the same property as the daycare facility.

When officers arrived, no kids were located. During their investigation, however, authorities found a false wall that led to the home's basement. When officers walked down the stairs, they located two adults and 26 kids inside a finished basement.

Officers immediately began working with DHS to release the children back to their parents.

Three adult workers at the daycare were arrested for misdemeanor child abuse relating to neglect; however, those charges were canceled by detectives pending further investigation. Faith was not arrested on scene, as detectives pursue appropriate charges.

The Department of Colorado Health Services released a statement that said in part:

The Colorado Department of Human Services Childcare Licensing received a complaint on a licensed childcare home on November 13th, 2019 and investigated the same day. The Colorado Springs Police Department was contacted to conduct a welfare check of the children in care. Based on initial findings, the Department is immediately suspending the license. This is an ongoing investigation.

DHS is currently investigating other licensed facilities belonging to Carla Faith in Colorado Springs. The CSPD will assist, if requested by DHS, to investigate criminal statutes relating to their cases.



Facebook removes 3.2 billion fake accounts, millions of child abuse posts

Facebook removed more than 11.6 million pieces of content depicting child nudity and sexual exploitation of children on Facebook and 754,000 pieces on Instagram during the third quarter.

SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - Facebook Inc removed 3.2 billion fake accounts between April and September this year, along with millions of posts depicting child abuse and suicide, according to its latest content moderation report released on Wednesday (Nov 13).

That more than doubles the number of fake accounts taken down during the same period last year, when 1.55 billion accounts were removed, according to the report.

The world's biggest social network also disclosed for the first time how many posts it removed from popular photo-sharing app Instagram, which has been identified as a growing area of concern about fake news by disinformation researchers.

Proactive detection of violating content was lower across all categories on Instagram than on Facebook's flagship app, where the company initially implemented many of its detection tools, the company said in its fourth content moderation report.

For example, the company said it proactively detected content affiliated with terrorist organisations 98.5 per cent of the time on Facebook and 92.2 per cent of the time on Instagram.

It removed more than 11.6 million pieces of content depicting child nudity and sexual exploitation of children on Facebook and 754,000 pieces on Instagram during the third quarter.

Law enforcement is concerned that Facebook's plans to provide greater privacy to users by encrypting the company's messaging services will hamper efforts to fight child abuse.

Last month, FBI director Christopher Wray said the changes would turn the platform into a "dream come true for predators and child pornographers".

Facebook also added data on actions it took around content involving self-harm for the first time in the report. It said it had removed about 2.5 million posts in the third quarter that depicted or encouraged suicide or self-injury.

The company also removed about 4.4 million pieces involving drug sales during the quarter, it said in a blog post.



It takes a village to protect children online and offline

By Tess Sison

Children now represent one-third of all internet users.

This number is expected to increase once developing countries -- where most of the world's children live -- become digitized.

This is both exciting and worrisome. Exciting because it has been established that connectivity opens doors to new educational experiences, skills, and other benefits. Worrisome because of what we know and experience about the internet's darker side.

A new report by the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development has identified the following online risks for those aged 18 years and under: sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking; online harassment, victimization, and cyberbullying; radicalization and recruitment by extremist organizations; exposure to misinformation and age-inappropriate content, such as pornography or violence; apps and games designed to encourage unhealthy habits and behaviours; illegal or unethical data harvesting and theft; and the normalization of gender-based violence through exposure to online abuse materials.

The report, Child Online Safety: Minimizing the Risk of Violence, Abuse and Exploitation Online, cites numerous statistics that show the extent of the problem now, and its potential to escalate.

For instance, the World Health Organization estimates that every year, at least 200 million children are sexually abused, with much of it taking place online, or captured and distributed digitally.

In Canada, communication technology has increasingly been used by child sex offenders to communicate with victims. Offenders used instant messaging, email, social media, chat rooms and other technology to "groom" victims in 83 per cent of child sexual abuse cases involving 714 adults identified as perpetrators, according to a study conducted by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

Meanwhile, one in five young Canadians have experienced some form of cyberbullying or cyberstalking (bullying or stalking involving the use of technology), according to a 2016 Statistics Canada study, which examined the issue among internet users aged 15 to 29 and looked at how they impact personal behaviour and mental health. About 36 per cent were cyberbullied but not cyberstalked; 33 per cent were cyberstalked but not cyberbullied, and 31 per cent experienced both.

"Between 19 per cent to 26 per cent of 10- to 20-year-olds report exposure to cyberbullying on an annual basis and the risk of exposure to cyberbullying increases with time spent on social networking sites," according to Canada's chief public health officer.

The challenges in addressing these problems, says the UN report, include the inconsistency of or lack of legislation across jurisdictions on child abuse crimes committed online, and the lack of regulations and laws that hold service providers accountable for child abuse material hosted on their platforms. Newly digitized countries are at greater risk, because often "educational and law enforcement infrastructures will have difficulty keeping up with sophisticated and determined criminals misusing digital platforms and services," the report notes.

The fact that digital spaces where children spend time -- such as social media, live-streaming apps, and interactive games -- are often un-moderated compounds the problem, the report says. Digital companies often design technology "with limited or no consideration about the ways these could be used to exploit or abuse a child," it adds.

Only a "unified and coordinated global approach" by governments, international institutions, private sector companies and civil society can combat these problems, the report stresses. "We know that it takes a village to keep children safe both online and offline."

There are now more than 2.2 billion people under the age of 18, making them "the biggest vulnerable group," in the world, the report states. They are also the fastest-growing online demographic in a world that is in the midst of the fourth Industrial Revolution, which offers even greater opportunities and risks.

If we care about our children and if we want them to gain the full benefits of connectivity, we cannot afford to wait any longer.



Jury rules USA Swimming not liable in sexual abuse case


STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — A jury in California has ruled that USA Swimming was not negligent in the case of a former coach who sexually abused a 13-year-old swimmer, although she will receive $1,125,000 from two USA Swimming affiliates in a civil lawsuit.

In the criminal case, former Stockton Swim club coach Shunichi Fujishima pleaded guilty to sexually abusing the girl he'd coached and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in October.

At that time, an out-of-court settlement with Stockton Swim Club and Pacific Swimming, which oversees the sport in the Stockton area, was reached in the civil case. The victim's attorney, Robert Allard, announced the settlement amount Friday, when both he and USA Swimming confirmed that the jury found the sport's national governing body not responsible in the case.

“USA Swimming is grateful to the jury for their time and consideration of this extremely important matter,” USA Swimming said in a statement. “While the decision correctly identifies who was responsible for this atrocious act, it does not right the wrong, nor should anyone forget that a child was harmed and that everyone needs to continue to do more to ensure a safer environment for our athletes.”

Allard said he was disappointed by the jury's finding, but considered the settlement a win that he says “exposed USA Swimming's failures to protect children.”

“We can honestly say that we fought tooth and nail for full justice for a very deserving client for the hell that she has been and will go through as a result of being subjected to unspeakable molestations,” Allard said in a statement.

USA Swimming's statement called for survivors of abuse to report their cases to law enforcement and to the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

Fujishima has been banned for life by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which means he's ineligible to coach any Olympic sports in the United States.



Cop is caught molesting girl in bathroom and threatens her mother, Oklahoma police say


An Oklahoma police officer is accused of multiple sex crimes of children, according to KFOR and other media outlets.

Bradley Don Goodin, 45, is charged with “three counts of lewd molestation and two counts of child sexual abuse in separate cases filed Thursday in Creek County District Court,” Tulsa reported.

An affidavit obtained by Tulsa World alleges “a parent of one of the victims walked into a bathroom on Oct. 5 while Goodin had his hand down the pants of a 9-year-old girl.” When Goodin was confronted, he threatened to physically harm the child's mother, the affidavit said.

Goodin is also accused of touching an 11-year-old girl inappropriately on multiple occasions, the Sapulpa Times said.

“The third time the defendant explained what happened,” an investigator wrote in the affidavit obtained by Tulsa World. “He said his watchband that he wears on his left wrist got caught in the shirt the victim was wearing and that must have been what the witness saw and mistook as him touching her.”

Goodin is an officer with the Bristow Police Department, which released a statement via Facebook that said Goodin is on paid leave.

Goodin was arrested Wednesday and remained in jail Thursday with bail set at $200,000, according to Creek County online jail records.



Data shows upswing in child exploitation cases

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Government investigators who uncover child exploitation initiated more than 4,000 cases around the world in the 2019 budget year, resulting in thousands of arrests and the identification of more than 1,000 victims, according to data obtained by The Associated Press.

The caseloads are growing because of the ease with which offenders can post graphic images of children online.

“With the dark web on there, the content is becoming more prevalent and more horrific,” said Matt Wright, the chief for the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit at Homeland Security Investigations.

HSI is a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement tasked with investigations, not immigration enforcement. Agents work on investigations involving money, drug smuggling or child sex trafficking.

“While we are within ICE, our primary function is as criminal investigators,” said Joanna Ip, assistant director of the agency's cyberdivision, which oversees the unit working on combating child exploitation. “We do criminal investigations with customs and immigration authorities — anything that comes in and out of the border.”

The numbers from Oct. 1, 2018, to this past Sept. 30 are higher overall than for the previous few years, according to the data, even as HSI's parent, the Department of Homeland Security, remains focused on immigration enforcement.

Agents and investigators initiated 4,224 child exploitation cases that resulted in 3,771 arrests and identification of 1,066 victims.

The previous two budget years each saw about 4,000 investigations but lower arrests and fewer victims identified, according to the data.

On Thursday, officials unveiled a new center based at ICE's Washington headquarters and tasked with alerting other countries when U.S. sex offenders are traveling there. The center will include representatives from the U.S. Marshals office and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The idea stemmed from a pilot program in California in 2007. Investigators started using state sex offender registries and federal data to alert other countries when those registered traveled.

President Barack Obama signed a law in February 2016 mandating notification when registered sex offenders traveled. The notice doesn't impede legal travel, but it does give countries a heads-up, especially in locations where child sex tourism and abuse are rampant, officials said.

ICE's acting director, Matt Albence, said Thursday that in one instance, a notification was sent to the United Kingdom that a registered sex offender from Washington was headed there. When that individual was inspected at the border, he was discovered with child abuse imagery, and he'd been traveling to the U.K. to take part in a youth cheerleading camp as an instructor.

He was deported and his devices were confiscated, Albence said. The search turned up more than 7,000 instances of child abuse images and videos. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison in May 2019.

“If only a fraction of those notifications saved a child from having to carry the lasting scars of sexual abuse and exploitation,” then the center is worth it, Albence said.

Cheaper online storage and easier encryption tools are making for a vast increase in the number of exploitive images posted and traded online, HSI investigators said.

Wright said investigators have been able to implement new technology to help investigators sift through all the images and continually train agents and analysts.

“We're trying to stay at the cutting edge of technology but also paying attention with what the offenders are using,” he said.

HSI agents number about 7,000, and some work at locations around the globe.



Child abuse survivor details harrowing effect of attack as she faces paedophile in court

Chemical industry worker David Tiley wept as he was jailed after his victim told a court she wanted to end her life


A sexual abuse survivor who was assaulted as a child by a man in his 20s said it has made her want to “end her life”.

David Tiley, 45, was convicted of assaulting the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, after carrying out the offences during the 1990s in Cardiff.

He denied two charges of indecent assault but was found guilty by unanimous verdicts following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court.

The trial heard that Tiley, from the Vale of Glamorgan, began touching her in a “slow and sensual” way before picking her up and placing her over his lap.

The court heard he then pulled down her trousers and began touching her sexually. During the abuse the girl was crying and begged Tiley to stop but the defendant carried on touching her and repeatedly said “good girl”.

The abuse came to light after the victim bravely reported the matter to police as an adult and Tiley was charged as a result.

At a sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court the victim stood in the witness box to read out her victim personal statement in which she recounted the devastating impact Tiley's actions had had upon her life.

She said: “Emotionally I have been affected from an early age and I have never been able to articulate or recognise feeling or emotions that to others seem normal. My experiences have affected my future and ability to have healthy relationships.

“I feel isolated, alone, dark, separated and angry. I have been unable to work or go anywhere by myself – I have not been able to leave the house at times. The thought gives me major anxiety and I end up in a sweat.

“My mental health is low and I want to end my life.

“In the past I have used alcohol to take the pain away and I am on strong painkillers to help me sleep.

“Every relationship I have had has been affected by this crime. I push people away, I feel angry, and I feel petrified of being hurt or abandoned.

“I have become an expert at showing the world I don't care but nothing could be further from the truth. I feel low, worthless, and like I don't deserve to be in this world.”

Defence barrister Andrew Davies said his client, of Lon Yr Eglwys, St Brides Major, maintained his innocence but accepted he would be going to prison for a long time.

He said the defendant was well thought of in his community and described him as an articulate and highly-educated man who works in the chemical industry.

As a result of his conviction the court heard Tiley has lost his home and his business and will miss out on the final months of his father's life.

Sentencing, Judge David Wynn Morgan said: “You singled her out and made her feel groomed. She was entitled to feel safe.

“The court bears in mind the courage of the witness in attending court and reading out her statement. It's a devastating account.”

Tiley, who wept and shook his head during proceedings, was jailed for four years and was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years. He will also sign the sex offenders register indefinitely.



Britain's Prince Andrew ‘categorically' denies teen sex claims

Prince says Virginia Giuffre's account of dancing with him untrue as he had condition preventing him for sweating

Britain's Prince Andrew said he could not have had sex with a teenage girl at a socialite's London home because he returned to his house after a children's party on the night in question and has no recollection of ever meeting her.

The rare interview was an attempt to draw a line under a scandal after months of headlines about Andrew's ties to the US financier Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in August while being held on federal sex-trafficking charges.

Speaking publicly for the first time about his relationship with Epstein, Queen Elizabeth's second son gave an at times rambling and contradictory account. He said Epstein's behaviour had been “unbecoming”, but that he does not regret their friendship because of the opportunities it gave him to meet business people.

One of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Giuffre, has said she was forced to have sex with Andrew in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island between 1999 and 2002, when she says Epstein kept her as a “sex slave”.

During the hour-long BBC interview broadcast on Saturday, Andrew gave a series of reasons why her account of meeting him sweating and dancing almost two decades ago at a London nightclub before having sex with him could not be true, including the fact he suffered from a medical condition that stopped him perspiring.

He also said that on the night he was alleged to have met her he was at home with his family after visiting a Pizza Express restaurant in Woking with his daughter Beatrice.

“I can absolutely, categorically tell you it never happened,” Andrew said. “I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”

He defended his relationship with Epstein, saying it opened up opportunities as he transitioned out of the navy.

“The people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful,” he said.

Andrew also said he stayed at Epstein's home in New York after the financier's conviction because he was “too honourable”. Epstein had pleaded guilty in 2008 to Florida state prostitution charges.

“It was a convenient place to stay,” Andrew said. “But at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgement was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable but that's just the way it is.”

Mrs Giuffre, who was previously named Virginia Roberts, has said that she first had sex with Andrew when she was 17 and underage.

Undated handout image taken from a legal document issued by the Court of Florida of a letter from lawyers for Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was made to have underage sex with Prince Andrew, formally requesting that he respond to her allegations under oath. Photograph: Court of Florida/PA Wire

Undated handout image taken from a legal document issued by the Court of Florida of a letter from lawyers for Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was made to have underage sex with Prince Andrew, formally requesting that he respond to her allegations under oath. Photograph: Court of Florida/PA Wire

A picture showing the prince with his arm around Mrs Giuffre's waist from 2001 has appeared in British media. Andrew said that he recognised himself in the photograph, but he questioned its authenticity.

“I don't believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested,” Andrew said in the interview. “I don't recollect that photograph ever being taken.”

He has previously denied any inappropriate relations with Mrs Giuffre.

Gloria Allred, a lawyer acting for alleged victims of Epstein, said Andrew should answer questions under oath.

“There is so much truth that is yet to be revealed,” she told Reuters. The prince should “should agree to testify under oath and also he should voluntarily agree to speak to law enforcement.”

Previous denials

When the allegations were first made, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said it was “emphatically denied” that Andrew had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Mrs Giuffre.

Andrew has previously said he stood by the palace statements and recently apologised over his friendship with Epstein.

The prince said he only visited Epstein's New York home in 2010 after his release from prison in order to break off the friendship. The former investment banker was then a registered sex offender.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre speaks to reporters in New York on Tuesday, August 27th when nearly two dozen women who accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse appeared at a court hearing. File photograph: Jefferson Siegel/The New York Times

Virginia Roberts Giuffre speaks to reporters in New York on Tuesday, August 27th when nearly two dozen women who accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse appeared at a court hearing. File photograph: Jefferson Siegel/The New York Times

Epstein (66), died by hanging himself in his Manhattan jail cell on August 10th.

Andrew said he had seen no signs Epstein was procuring young girls for sex trafficking and that as patron of a UK charity campaign against child abuse he was alert to the dangers.

“I knew what the things were to look for, but I never saw them,” he said.

He appeared to be open to giving a statement under oath, saying in the interview: “If push came to shove and the legal advice was to do so, then I would be duty bound to do so.”

Public relations and crisis consultant Mark Borkowski said of the interview: “I have never seen anything so disastrous. For any students of PR that is how not to do it.

“It was like watching a man in quick sand and unfortunately, I don't think anyone would have thrown him a line to get him out.”–Reuters



Expert says some Latin American Churches are doing ‘nothing' about abuse

By Inés San Martín

MEXICO CITY - When the Boston Globe released a shocking series of news stories about the clerical sexual abuse scandals in the city of Boston in 2002, Father Daniel Portillo was a seminarian.

When Mexican Father Marcial Maciel, the disgraced founder of the Legionaries of Christ who was found to have abused minors, died in 2005, Portillo was in Rome and saw how some members of the order founded by the late priest still labeled him a saint.

When the Catholic Church in Ireland was shaken to its core due to further revelations of the scope of the clerical sexual abuse crisis in the Emerald Isle in 2009, Portillo was being ordained a deacon.

Today, ten years after his ordination, he leads a ministry that is shaped by these events: He is the founder of CEPROME, an interdisciplinary center for child protection in the Pontifical University of Mexico.

The center organized a Nov. 6-8 workshop on child protection in Latin America.

Speaking with Crux on Sunday, Portillo talked about the seminar, but also about the impact the clerical abuse crisis has had on him.

“I wonder sometimes if we truly understand the seriousness of the problem, and I believe we don't,” he said. “I don't want to sound insensitive, but it feels like when a person finds out they have stage one cancer: They sometimes prefer not to talk about it, denying the diagnosis instead of accepting reality.”

Portillo also acknowledged that if he were a layman with children today, he's not sure he would “continuously try for my children to be Catholics tomorrow, with a church that is not able to be transparent on these things or its finances.”

What follows are excerpts of Portillo's conversation with Crux.

Crux: What did you think of the course? Was it what you expected?

Portillo: I feel very grateful to God, especially for the experience of being able to meet different people and institutions that are working for the same mission. Second, expectations exceeded what we thought might be, especially in regards to the active involvement of participants and also with the interest of the speakers, not only for their interventions but also for wanting to listen to the others. In addition, outside the classroom, we continued talking and talking, going deeper.

There was a team that helped us to make an evaluation, through interviews, of the impressions of the participants. The impressions were very favorable, with the request that it continue for a week. Also, the bishops gave themselves the opportunity to keep listening.

In a word, I think it was a learning environment for everything, and a reminder that in the prevention environment, we can always continue learning, keeping ourselves actively listening.

What are the challenges going forward?

The first is that of synergies, that is, although connections are being established in different countries, it remains a strong challenge to maintain these synergies and the collegial spirit amongst the different institutions. Second, lifelong learning, that is, not to conform to what we know today, but to keep up to date with what other institutions are developing in their environments. And another is a strong and frank decision on the issue of fighting for the Church. This may not be possible, but we are facing one of the most critical situations in the Church.

What does it mean for you to fight for the Church?

That in the face of disillusionment due to the cover-up, in the face of disillusionment due to specific cases of abuse, to remain part of the Church is not easy, because to remain a priest of a church that has concealed, that has been negligent, is not easy.

In other words, to cover up is not to protect?

Exactly. It would be the opposite of protecting. And in this sense, it is important that we realize that prevention is a mission of the baptized. If we think that prevention is hierarchical, nothing will ever be done. Prevention is essential, a right of humanity, and also a mission of the baptized. From Evangelii Gaudium we can even sustain it …

It hurts to know priests in our generation or people we went to seminary with have sexually abused children. That is very painful.

We have to understand that, whoever has a “membership” in the Catholic Church, has to understand that part of our calling ourselves Catholics is to be part of the ministry of prevention in the Church.

Monsignor Ali Herrera, during one of his presentations, said that while the “gringos” went forward, Latin America did little or nothing. Do you agree with his diagnosis?

Yes. Even today, it is shameful to know that there are countries that have done nothing. That is, absolutely nothing.

That is to say?

That they have not begun to generate awareness, nor have they begun to recognize the damage we have caused nor the guilt we have; that we are not thinking about what we can do to address this. And we [as CEPROME] know it, because it is where it is most difficult for us to enter.

Any example of a country in Latin America where nothing has been done?


Where is CEPROME going now?

Towards generating synergies and collaborations with different countries, especially with people who are establishing commissions within national episcopal conferences or coordinating diocesan or congregational commissions.

We want to establish the Latin American council rooted on four fundamental principles: Synodality, collegiality, transversality and interdisciplinarity - all of which are essential to us.

As members of the Church, we have all been part of this problem, and as such, we are all called to help solve it. We cannot leave it in the hands of a few. I believe that every person can contribute something, and as small as that contribution is, it adds up. We cannot foster a principle of exclusivity, according to which only a handful - for instance, canon law experts or specialists - can contribute to ending this.

We need to serve everyone. There is a good population of baptized brothers and sisters who are hurt and disillusioned with their Church, because even today, their Church has not provided a truthful report of what has happened.

As a Catholic, I feel disappointed that, to this day, our church has not told me what has happened. We have been informed by others, including the media, and they brought us closer to reality, to understanding the scope of the crisis. But it adds to the pain, being told by “outsiders.”

Even today, we still don't know what happened to former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was removed from the priesthood earlier this year, after being found guilty of sexually abusing seminarians …

And it is the same story. In trying to “protect” the institution, often an even bigger scandal is generated. In that sense, I think we have a very large debt, and as I said during my talk, the debt is not only with primary victims, but with the whole community of believers, because we have not been clear with them.

If one member suffers, they all suffer …

Exactly. I do wonder if [sometimes in the Church] suffering is understood as masochism. We continue to hurt, instead of thinking what can we do to alleviate the suffering of the other, by being clear with everyone. In what way can we alleviate the suffering of the other? By being clear with everyone. Let people know that the Church speaks head on and with clarity.

It is very strange to realize that behind this whole issue, we found other issues that we did not figure on or imagine as being at the origin of all this. Because this is not just a matter of sexual behavior. That this continues to happen today, is an ecclesial thermometer.

Clericalism, abuse of power …

Yes. Ali spoke about it as a question of toxic environments. It is knowing that there are dynamics among us that are hurting us and are damaging the Church, some of which are not of a sexual nature. People are leaving the Church and we are turning a blind eye.

By continuing to believe that they are not leaving the Church because of its failures, but because of secularization?

Exactly. What has become evident nowadays is that there isn't a good ecclesial disposition to respond to the crisis. If this is truly the biggest crisis of the Church, I wonder, how is it possible that knowing what the Church is suffering, this situation still remains unknown and unaddressed in some parts of the world?

I wonder sometimes if we truly understand the seriousness of the problem, and I believe we don't. I don't want to sound insensitive, but it feels like when a person finds out they have stage one cancer: They sometimes prefer not to talk about it, denying the diagnosis instead of accepting reality.

In some realities we also find a nostalgic church, one that is living in the past without a projection towards the present. Any document of ours, any synod or any aspiration we have, if we don't see the future of the Church we seek or want, nothing is achieved. Ecclesiologically speaking, what church we believe in and what church we want to leave to our next generation.

If I were a layman and had children, as things are today, I don't know if I would continuously work for my children to be Catholics tomorrow, with a church that is not able to be transparent on these things or its finances.

You'd want for them to believe in God, but not necessarily as members of the Church?

Exactly. And we currently see young people who are willing to question the Church, and it makes us go on the offensive. But the Church that we have left for them … Is one that must be questioned, because it is hard to accept that we have allowed this much perversion into it.



Sex traffickers using social media to target children

By Katie Kormann

ST. LOUIS - Law enforcement is warning parents about predators searching for children on popular social media applications. Officials are seeing more predators using technology to target their prey.

Cindy Malott, Director of Advocacy Services for Crisis Aid International, works with survivors of sex trafficking. She said social media is now the "most common way" she sees traffickers are making initial contact with victims.

"Every app you can imagine," said Malott. "Even apps specifically focused for young children."

While the approach has evolved, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jillian Anderson said the method is the same. In many cases she has prosecuted, Anderson said the trafficker identifies a vulnerable minor and begins the grooming process.

Messages often involve flattery and attempt to make the child feel understood, important and popular. Over time, the messages may become more graphic or the trafficker may ask for nude photos.

"It's not going to appear to that child that this is a stranger," said Malott. "They're going to think it's someone they know."

Missouri law identifies human trafficking victims as any child or coerced adult subjected to commercial sex acts. A trafficker participates in or benefits from the victimization.

Anderson said age is the common denominator among victims. Traffickers feed on insecurities many young people face.

"All adolescents are going to encounter periods of insecurity, periods of feeling isolated, or feeling depressed," said Anderson. "Those are the types of vulnerabilities, particularly those we are seeing who are looking for children online are preying on."

Sergeant Adam Kavanaugh with the St. Louis County Police Department's Special Investigations Unit has been working with trafficking victims for 19 years. Over the last five years, he said he has seen a steady increase in a disturbing and "very common" trend.

"Unfortunately, we're seeing the recruitment of other teens by teens," said Kavanaugh.

Similar behavior has been suggested during the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein, a multimillionaire who died in jail in August. According to the indictment, between 2002 and 2005, Epstein paid hundreds of dollars in cash to girls as young as 14 to have sex with him, worked with employees and associates to lure the girls to his residences, and paid some of his victims to recruit other girls for him to abuse.

While youth is the most common characteristic among trafficking victims, the experts said other circumstances which may make someone susceptible to being trafficked include poverty, homelessness, learning disabilities, addiction, mental health, immigration status, domestic violence, and other high-risk behaviors.

According to Kavanaugh, there is no "one size fits all" for identifying who is at risk of being trafficked. He said it can happen in rural or urban areas or affluent or low-income communities.

"We've had girls that lived in small towns in Missouri and just wanted to get out away from that one-horse town and have some fun for an evening, and they meet somebody online, they say, 'Yeah come up here, we'll party, we'll have a good time,' and then within 12-24 hours, unfortunately, they wind up getting trafficked," said Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh said it is also difficult to pinpoint who the traffickers are or where they come from. Recent cases have identified military personnel, chiropractors and drug dealers as traffickers.

Anderson said highly publicized cases like those involving Epstein and singer R. Kelly can give common people a false sense of security that cases like that are not happening in their communities. However, Kavanaugh said his unit of nine investigators works multiple cases each day.

Kavanaugh said investigators work with hotels, motels, and rideshare drivers to educate about how to identify trafficking and report it. He said police have been able to intervene and rescue victims of trafficking because of tips they have received from these businesses.

Anderson encourages parents to empower children to understand their vulnerability and recognize the warning signs of predatory behavior. Malott said parents can monitor their children's social media activity, but parents must acknowledge that they cannot protect their in every situation.

"Assume that they're going to be exposed to things. That someone's going to be interacting with your children. Just assume that, and talk to them," said Malott.

If you suspect an act of trafficking is underway, Kavanaugh advises people not to intervene - doing so may risk their own safety and the safety of the victim. Call police immediately.

Many children may not have parents who are engaged in their lives. In those cases, the experts encourage teachers, counselors, coaches and other adults who may have interaction with minors to keep an eye out for signs of suspicious activity.

Malott said a teen who does not have financial means but suddenly starts getting their hair and nails done regularly may be being trafficked. A teen with multiple cellphones, expensive electronics, and new clothes or accessories could also be an indicator of trafficking activity.

"Unfortunately, there's a high cost for that, and they're going to be used in a horrible way," said Malott.

Kavanaugh said some traffickers may force their victims to get tattoos like dollar signs, bar codes, or the trafficker's name. Trafficking victims may have bruises in less obvious places.

Human trafficking can be prosecuted on the state or federal level, and punishments range from five years to life in prison.



Human trafficking education should be a priority for our country's schools


This fall, with the support of Governor DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Florida became the first state to require a curriculum on child trafficking for all K-12 students. Now, we need other states to follow suit.

Human trafficking is a pervasive industry in the U.S., but many Americans still remain unaware of it. And a lack of education is putting children in every state at risk.

A 2016 study by the U.S. Department of Justice estimated the number of trafficked children to be between 4,500 to 21,000.

The real number could likely be higher, considering how difficult it is to accurately determine the number of victims involved in an underground criminal industry. According to the Florida Department of Health, half of the state's trafficking victims are under the age of 18. The Investigative Unit at Fox News concluded that most human trafficking victims are underage.

It makes sense that we would want to shield our kids from discussions of sex and violence, but the best way to keep them out of this modern form of slavery is to tell them about it. The reality is, many of the kids who will be lured into the trafficking industry won't confide in an adult about it.

This is because traffickers target the most vulnerable children - these often have low self-esteem, a history of abuse, are runaways or are in the foster care system.

Any comprehensive plan to combat sex trafficking has to include teaching our kids about the problem. Young children need to understand physical boundaries and what constitutes inappropriate or unsafe adult behavior.

Preteens and teens, who are often the targets of child traffickers, need to understand traffickers' recruitment tactics, which often involve older men first engaging in a romantic relationship with young girls before coercing or convincing them to engage in sex acts with other men.

Often, these girls don't consider themselves trafficking victims. But adolescent peer relationships are powerful and friends who recognize the warning signs could report their concerns to a trusted adult or convince a potential victim to end the relationship before it goes too far.

The internet has also made every child a potential victim. Predators are increasingly using social media and dating apps to find and connect with victims. According to the FBI, "Pretty much every popular social media site out there is being used for recruiting potential victims of sex trafficking."

We need to teach kids how to use technology and social media safely and what warning signs to look out for. We especially need to teach them that a trafficker can be anyone - even a coach or neighbor - and there is no one "type."

It's also just as important to educate boys as it is to educate girls. For one, a 2016 Department of Justice study found that a third of the children trapped in the U.S. sex trafficking industry are boys. But because of the stigma associated with sexual exploitation, many boys don't come forward as victims.

But in-school education doesn't just prevent future victims. It also prevents future buyers.

According to the U.S. Institute on Human Trafficking, sex trafficking is a supply and demand problem: The greater the demand for paid sex, including sex with minors, the more traffickers will seek to fill the supply with victims.

We live in a culture that looks the other way when it comes to prostitution. For many males, buying sex is considered a rite of passage. But many men don't realize that the "women" they are buying sex from are actually underage, trafficked girls. If we teach boys about the realities of the industry before they graduate high school, they are much more likely to think twice before buying sex when they are older.

This isn't an initiative that's going to happen on a large scale unless state governments get involved. That's why human trafficking prevention education should be offered in all schools. We also need whole-community efforts to educate parents, churches, law enforcement, teachers and medical professionals.

Florida can't remain alone in its prevention efforts. Florida's new rule has to be the first in a series of nationwide initiatives within the educational system to eradicate sex trafficking for good. We can't keep our kids out of the trafficking industry if they don't know it exists.



Women and Children Ordered ‘Like Pizza'—Human Trafficking in Orange County

By Scott Ringwelski

Orange County, California, which boasts a median household income of $86,000, is often viewed as a relatively safe, wealthy, and conservative region, one unlikely to be associated with human trafficking. But research has revealed the county to be a destination for traffickers.

The official Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF), set up to fight real time sex and labor slavery in the county, released their latest victim report in 2019. Approximately 80 percent of both victims and traffickers in Orange County travel to the area from other parts of the region, the state, and the entire nation.

“This is due in part to Orange County's tourist attractions, sports venues, beach cities and affluent population,” states the report (pdf). “Traffickers bring their victims expecting to have an abundance of customers and higher profits.”

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There were 415 human trafficking victims rescued in the county in the past two years, compared to 509 in 2015-2016 and 371 in 2013-2014. According to the OCHTTF report, a full 73 percent were new victims in 2017 or 2018. Of that total, 87 percent were trafficked in the sex trade while 12 percent were in forced labor.

The United Nations Orange County Chapter 74th Anniversary event, held last month, highlighted this local tragedy. The United Nations defines human trafficking as “modern slavery” — the act of utilizing threat, force, deception, or coercion for the purpose of exploitation.

Kelly Galindo, a professor of film and media arts at Chapman University's Dodge College, directed an upcoming documentary series on sex trafficking called “26 Seconds.” She visited and filmed sex slave survivors around the globe, including in Thailand, Iraq, Cambodia, India, East Africa, Mexico, and the United States.

“It may sound strange, but of all the places I have visited, I have been most afraid right here in Orange County — tough pimps and lots of guns,” Galindo said.

The title of Galindo's documentary refers to the UN statistic that every 26 seconds, a child is trafficked somewhere in the world. Each episode of the series guides the audience through a survivor's experience and point of view in a particular country.

Despite continuing attempts to halt trafficking, she said access to trafficking victims has become far easier due to technology.

“We live in this amazing, yet horrifying online world in which one can be anywhere and order up women and children like pizza,” Galindo said. “They are delivered to [a] home or hotel. The saturation level is at a whole new increasing intensity.”

Paul Chang, the regional anti-human trafficking coordinator at the U.S. Department of Labor, said people desperate for work are at high risk of being trafficked.

“The number one way of entrapping people in sex trafficking is through falsely advertised job opportunities. It accounts for 43 percent of those in the supply and demand chain. Others are sold in by relatives, drop outs from foster care, and even those enticed by a so-called love interest,” he said.

Linh Tran, the administrator of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, said that vulnerabilities developed in children within broken homes also expose them to higher risk of being trafficked. Young victims are forced to carry out duties ranging from providing sex to delivering drugs and even marriage.

She said local traffickers can quickly and easily earn more money selling young women in Orange County than in Riverside or San Bernardino counties.

“One can sell a girl here for an average range of between $800 to about $1000 a night,” Tran said. “That's eight to ten different customers that the girl would be forced to solicit that night.”

The Orange County Task Force has assisted more than 1,037 human trafficking victims since 2004, relying on a wide array of neighborhood partnerships and volunteers in prevention and assisting in rehabilitation after the rescue. In 2010, the organization was one of three task forces identified as a model for combating human trafficking by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Former Chapman student and California state-certified counselor for survivors of sexual assault and human trafficking, Melissa Hoon, said human trafficking is the most invisible crime.

“Human trafficking in Orange County is hidden right in plain sight, right before our eyes,” said Hoon. “It is one of the least known atrocities and it's happening in our own backyards.


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