August 1, 2018

On today's show we look back at two charities from earlier shows - Children of the Night and Revved Up Kids.  In keeping with the topic of child trafficking and abuse, we've got a discussion with Adrian, Ethan and John Bierly from a previous episode. 

World Day against Trafficking in Persons is an annual event and was just held two days ago on July 30th.  The UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) focuses on 'responding to the trafficking of children and young people'. This year's campaign highlights the fact that almost a third of trafficking victims are children.

No region or country is untouched by trafficking of children and young people, who continue to be trafficked for multiple purposes, including sexual and labor exploitation, begging, forced marriage, as soldiers, or for combined exploitative practices. Traffickers also profit from large-scale movement of unaccompanied minors, and misuse new technologies to reach additional victims.

Human trafficking is the second largest international crime industry, behind illegal drugs.  The United Nations estimates that trade in human flesh nets $32 billion each year. Of that number, $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries.  Gangs are learning that human contraband is safer to peddle than narcotics. 

The number of identified victims in the U.S. is on the rise. The National Human Trafficking Hotline recorded a 35 percent increase in reports in 2016. Most of the cases involved sex trafficking and many of the victims were children.

Adrian and Ethan
Adrian and Ethan

In this discussion from our show on June 17, 2015, Adrian Paul, Ethan Dettenmaier and John Bierly discuss the issue of trafficking and sexual abuse.  According to UNICEF, an estimated 2 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry. 

While news stories of sexual predators are scary, what is even more frightening is that sexual abuse usually occurs at the hands of someone the child knows and should be able to trust—most often close relatives. And it’s not just girls who are at risk. Boys and girls both suffer from sexual abuse. 

Many children may not even understand they are victims.  If they have been groomed, they often can't identify that they are being exploited and what is happening is abuse.  They often think they are in a relationship. Children who have been trafficked may find it difficult to tell anyone what's happened to them - in part because they feel guilt or are afraid of being blamed.

Dr. Lois Lee Meets with Girls
Dr. Lois Lee Meets with Girls

My commitment to sex trafficking victims throughout the world is grounded in my life’s work and history. Children of the Night goes where others won’t because the areas are considered far too dangerous or the victims hopeless.”  - Dr. Lois Lee

Dr. Lois Lee is the world’s leading expert in rescuing child sex trafficking victims. As founder and president of Children of the Night — the only comprehensive program in North America devoted to saving children forced into prostitution — she has blazed a trail for social service providers, law enforcement, legislators and researchers across the globe.

Since 1979, she has rescued over 10,000 American children from prostitution in the United States—that is more children than all of the other sex trafficking programs combined.

As a result of Dr. Lee’s efforts police departments now treat America’s child prostitutes as victims instead of criminals and juvenile courts divert these children to shelters, foster homes and treatment programs rather than detention.  Since 1988 she has served as an expert witness for federal and state prosecutors enforcing laws against dangerous pimps.

Without sophisticated shelter/home case management and comprehensive social services combined with adequate living quarters, these children will return to the streets because underfunded and underdeveloped shelter/homes cannot compete with the promises of a pimp.

Dr. Lee discusses the work Children of the Night is doing to rescue America's children from the ravages of prostitution.  @childrenofthenightinc

Kids Attend a Revved Up Kids Class
Kids Attend a Revved Up Kids Class

Revved Up Kids is an Atlanta-based organization that works to equip children and teens to respond effectively to predators and violent attackers. They provide workshops around the Atlanta area that teach personal safety and self-defense for children and teens.  Revved Up Kids partner with private groups, charitable organizations and public organizations that serve children.  @RevvedUpKids

Their goal is to shine a light on the criminals who prey on children, to educate parents about who they are and how they operate, and to make sure that all children know they’re allowed to say no and to defend themselves if they are ever the target of a predator.

It is their belief that the easiest target for a predator is the child who doesn’t know predators exist, and their training teaches kids who predators are, how they operate, and how to respond if they meet a predator. Their training provides parents with a comfortable way to open a dialogue with their children about sexual abuse, and helps children understand the issue in a non-frightening way.

Bev had the opportunity to visit a Revved Up Kids class and talk with Alli Neal, the Co-Founder.