I will be traveling to East Berlin, Germany to speak with students at a university who are studying criminal justice and other social ills that plague our world to better understand how to fight them. Discussions will consist of how the legal system in the US is treating victims of human trafficking to re-exploitation and re-victimization of survivors through non profits and agencies who use survivors as funding sources. This is a huge problem in Amercia, the same issue that is keeping women, girls as well as boys and men in bondage is the same thing that keeps survivors dependent on these non profits that say they are “helping” them. If haven’t already fingured it out-it’s money. Federal and State funding sources have created a human rights competition between, non profits, NGOs and government agencies for funding that will keep them running and their services going.
When I travel to other countries I find that’s not always the case. I mean sure there are some state entities in those countries that are very closed off to other organizatons, but that’s because they’re usually getting funded by-you guessed it-the United States. I find that there are many organizations that want to mirror the United States because they feel what we do works. But when you are working closely with survivors who went through one of these programs, there is a different picture painted. It’s important that other countries see what’s really happening in America and it’s also important that we listen to survivors. What ever is being shown to them is in stark contrast to what is really going on. Our criminal justice system in dealing with trafficking victims is not perfect and often times doesn’t seem to get it right. So now they’ve created a new program called the Trafficking Intervention Courts. In fairness this is a pretty new program but it is not without it’s flaws. It’s not certain if the flaws are being recognized so that they can be fixed or that the crininal justice system sees nothing wrong with the program.
Every Friday morning bright and early, young women are arraigned in these Trafficking Intervention Courts to determine if they were actually a victim of trafficking. In the courtroom there are various non profit agencies vying for the attention of the judge and the survivor to provide services. It’s like a virtual turf war. The young lady has just come out of a horrific situation and now has to deal with programs that she is not sure are right for her. The problem with these Trafficking Intervention Courts is that everybody and I mean everybody is looked as as a trafficking victim. That’s not always the case. A young woman who is picked up is assumed that she has a pimp and is being trafficked when in reality she chose it. Now there could be a number of reasons as to why she did but the most common one is, economic instability. Giving this person the same services as trafficking victim receives is misguided and harmful. The agencies that provide these services should recognize this as well but they’re looking for clients because more clients equal more funding.
This will be a lesson that a Germany and many other countries should be aware of. It is understood that Human Trafficking is the biggest global scourge of humanity-no doubt about it. But if we don’t look at the complexities as to why so many are pushed one way or another into the commercial sex industry we will be missing out on key factors that show the differences between a trafficking survivor or someone just trying to survive. One thing that must be stressed, especially in countires that have a legal red light district, is that selling your body should NEVER be an option as a viable job for a woman. You will be signing her death certificate, literally. Instead create good sustaining jobs so that they can live a life of freedom and humanity, it’s just good common sense.