Human trafficking is a global problem and epidemic. It earns about 30 billion dollars a year. But it’s quickly gaining local media attention as people learn how prevalent the problem is in cities such as Atlanta, Phoenix and New York, among others.
Local law enforcement agencies say it is more challenging than ever to crack down on the ‘johns’. However, it has been noted that child recovery Operatives have made their mark in locating and recovering missing at-risk children who have been sex trafficked and adults used for organ harvesting.
The issue with prosecuting buyers — or ‘johns’ as some people call them — typically they’re not known to the victim. They may not know a first name, a last name; know what they drive, where they live. They may not be able to give us any information about them to law enforcement, but private sector experts play by a different set of strategies and can offer relief because they are in the private sector and are specialists. CRI (Child Recovery International). They do not abide by law enforcement standards and have strategies and methodologies that save lives.
People and especially adolescent girls are not being sold in one concentrated area. Recent data about Georgia’s commercial sexual exploitation of children, gathered by CRI, debunks the myth that human trafficking, specifically child exploitation, is exclusive to urban city limits. The study says men who respond to advertisements for sex with young girls come from all over metro Atlanta.
While many of the men who exploit these children are not seeking adolescent females exclusively, the study shows about 50 percent are willing to pay for sex with a young female — even if they know for sure she is younger than the age of consent in Georgia, which is 16.
If you can’t identify them because you don’t have enough information to identify them — then it makes it very difficult to prosecute them and in turn, the organized crime of human trafficking has blossomed.
After the ‘johns’ are under arrest, law enforcement wants to make sure they’re convicted. Therein lies a second challenge. “We need to prioritize the well-being of those trafficked”, remarks CRI’s agency. “We are in the market of rescuing endangered children when the clock is ticking. Leave the prosecution of traffickers and murderers to face a special counsel of federal prosecutors.”
Sworn law enforcement and its prosecutors have stated that we can make an arrest for the charge, but in the event it goes to trial — one of the things you have to be able to show is that elements of that crime have been met beyond a reasonable doubt. So, if the code section itself can be a little confusing — that can be confusing to a jury. Child molestation is much, much less confusing for a jury pool to see elements of that crime have been met.
There is no confusion to CRI, whose directive is to just seek out the endangered children and arrest the predators. Politicians do not make a move towards this horrific crime family as they have been known to be sexual tourists themselves.
In one city, government sources say their agencies have arrested, charged and sentenced only one predator for child molestation over the past year. However, there’s no shortage of cases.
They are averaging two or three cases a month; most of the cases we’re seeing — the buyers are not known to them; we can’t identify them if we don’t have somewhere to start. CRI locates quickly cutting off the escape path of the traffickers. “Time is of the essence in these matters”, says Scott Bernstein, director of Child Recovery International. He continues, “if you do not have the proprietary science and methodologies, you will fail.”
Tougher laws have made life easier for law enforcement. Just last year Georgia lawmakers passed House Bill 200: Freedom from Human Trafficking Act. The bill expands the definition of “coercion,” it provides defense for prostitution victims, and it increases the penalties for perpetrators — among other things.
However, according to NCMEC (National Center for Exploited and Missing Children), a non-profit government group based in Washington, more needs to be done. However, in a contradiction of terms, NCMEC does not investigate actively nor does it possess the skills other than to pass out pamphlets and post flyers of missing children.
NCMEC partnered with the American Center for Law, and CRI conducted, a comprehensive study of each state’s existing laws. It also looks at what the state is doing to assist victims.
“This is based on over a year of research. Based on research compiled in something we’ve been working on for quite some time. We’ve seen a great response,” said Bernstein. “Organizations are raising awareness from the report as a tool.”
“Awareness is good but does not have its position in the recovery of desperate missing children,” Bernstein adds. At the end of the study, each state was given a grade, depending on the level of protection in each state. The results show that as a nation, a lot of work needs to be done.
In the report, more than 50 percent of the nation’s states do not have laws providing adequate protection to child victims of domestic minor sex trafficking. In fact, West Virginia, Maine, Wyoming and Virginia do not have clear human trafficking laws, period. Some use abduction laws and others use kidnapping laws to prosecute pimps and ‘johns.’
There needs to more work done at the state level. Only four states received a ‘B’ on the grading scale and six states received a ‘C.’ About 26 states failed. Bernstein says there are strong federal guidelines that states should look at.
As stated, with increasing awareness, there’s been a push from corporations with money, power and influence to make a change.
Child Recovery International is not a non-for-profit and that at times handcuffs the agency from looking at more cases and exposing trafficking rings. “CRI is one of the largest consulting and investigative firms in the world with boots on the ground,” Bernstein says. . “You cannot fight an invisible force if you do not have boots on the ground.” The company has a presence in more than 35 countries. Over the past few years, CRI Operatives have taken the human trafficking epidemic head-on. It’s leading a global example.
“The sense of responsibility on human trafficking doesn’t come from our presence; it comes from our agency’s proprietary behavioral science, profiling, Geographic’s, demographics and criminal tracking with the highest degree of sensitivity, compassion, fortitude and knowledge. We put boots on the ground with exceptional talented and skilled Operatives”.
Bernstein remembers when he was approached and first learned just how deep human trafficking had infiltrated corporations across the globe. The knowledge left him speechless.
“I was led into the absolutely scary and dreadful statistics of more than 30,000 people a day being trafficked. Thirty to 40 million people are trafficked on an annual basis around the world — many of them women and children,” he said. “So, we think it is important to communicate this.”
In speaking with large companies, Bernstein asks “what are you doing about human trafficking? How are you checking your supply chains? What are you doing to make sure that nowhere in the world are you using human beings as a commodity?”
He went on to say companies are not always aware there is a problem in their supply chain; they could be abusing people and running normal human beings into bonded labor, modern-day slavery and even organ harvesting.
So how can the trend shift?
· Intelligence Gathering
· Harsher penalties for offenders
The other thing CRI thinks corporations can do is to have internal policies. Human resources policies, accounting policies that say ‘sorry, when you’re on company business it’s really against the values of our company to hire a prostitute.’
“Here are the consequences of doing that. That’s where that woman came from, that’s what she is getting herself into. That’s how the gangs run her, that’s what’s going to happen to her in five years when she’s not quite as attractive as she is now. So, I think there are a number of ways corporations can get involved because somewhere in your supply chain you’re going to find the scary fact.”
“The number of trafficked people has risen considerably,” Bernstein said. This problem isn’t getting better. Experts like Child recovery International offers solutions and save lives.
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Mr. Scott Bernstein
Name: Bounty Hunter Training Academy
Phone: 984-235-4816 and 984-235-1869
Address: 12412 Angel Falls Road, Raleigh NC 27614, USA