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Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Introduction, Foster Care Implications, and Caring for Survivors Rachel Rosenthal, MSW, LISW-S Gracehaven.

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Presentation on theme: "Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Introduction, Foster Care Implications, and Caring for Survivors Rachel Rosenthal, MSW, LISW-S Gracehaven."— Presentation transcript:

1 Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Introduction, Foster Care Implications, and Caring for Survivors Rachel Rosenthal, MSW, LISW-S Gracehaven

2 These Numbers Have Faces... ‣ From Northern Ohio ‣ Age 15 ‣ Sexually molested by mom’s boyfriend for 3 years beginning at age 8 ‣ Sexually assaulted by a neighbor at 13 ‣ Began to run away at 14 ‣ Met a man who allowed her to stay with him and provided her with food and a cell phone - began to sell her for sex. ‣ Traded/sold her to a trucker who sold her for sex at truck stops from Ohio to South Carolina ‣ Traded/sold her to a man in South Carolina where she was sold on the internet for sex until she was turned in by a “client” to the police

3 Human Trafficking Defined ‣ Human trafficking is any form of extreme exploitation of one human being used by another for financial gain ‣ Exploited for: ‣ Commercial sex ‣ Labor ‣ Human Organs ‣ Child Soldiers Traffickers use force, fraud and/or coercion to enslave their victims in situations involving sexual exploitation or forced labor. ‣ Latest estimates vary; conservative figures say between 21 and 29 million people worldwide are currently trapped in work that they did not choose and/or cannot leave.

4 Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking ‣ Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking : ‣ When a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident who has not attained 18 years of age is engaged in a commercial sex act. 1 1 Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000

5 Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking ‣ “Commercial sex act” includes: ‣ Prostitution ‣ Exotic dancing/stripping ‣ Pornography 1 TVPA of 2000, reauthorized most recently in 2013

6 Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking ‣ “ Commercial sex act” ‣ A sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person. ‣ Value: ‣ Money ‣ Food ‣ Drugs ‣ Shelter ‣ Higher Status in a Gang

7 National Statistics ‣ FBI ‣ 100,000 - 300,000 victims nationally annually 1 ‣ “Operation Cross Country VII”- a series of nationwide sweeps targeting criminals involved in trafficking American children into prostitution (July 2013: More than 100 children were rescued; 150 pimps arrested) ‣ To date 2,700 children have been recovered from prostitution through the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force ‣ U.S. Dept of Justice ‣ Estimates the average age of entry to be 12-14 years old ‣ Approximately 80% of human trafficking victims are women and girls and up to 30% are minors. U.S. State Department 1 Ernie Allen, Director, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, July 19, 2010, Human Trafficking Caucus, U.S. House of Representatives

8 Trafficking in Ohio ‣ Most recent report issued by the Ohio Commission to Study Human Trafficking (2012) ‣ 1078 victims of DMST in Ohio ‣ Over 3000 children are considered to be “at-risk” for trafficking ‣ Toledo has the 3rd highest incidence rate of DMST in the US

9 Why Ohio? ‣ International borders close by ‣ Large immigrant populations ‣ Extensive highway systems (2 hour escape window) ‣ Large number of truck stops ‣ 5th leading state for the number of strip clubs ‣ 24% of children are in poverty in Ohio 1 1

10 Robin Newell: ‣ Cadiz, OH (Harrison Co) Eastern OH ‣ Arrested August 2010 ‣ Prostituting 3 school age children ‣ Took them to the “Johns” ‣ Covered at least 3 counties Trafficking in Ohio

11 Pathways Into Sex Trafficking ‣ Guerrilla Pimp ‣ Either kidnaps victims or tricks victims into coming with him ‣ Uses brutal force and threats to control her ‣ Story of Deric Willoughby, Toledo ‣ 14 and 15 y/o cousins walking home from fast-food restaurant were grabbed and shoved into car and held behind a locked and iron barred door forced to prostitute.

12 Pathways Into Sex Trafficking ‣ Finesse/boyfriend Pimp ‣ Acts like a boyfriend ‣ Treats her like she’s very special during grooming process ‣ Buys them gifts ‣ Traps them in the relationship ‣ “Investment” in money spent

13 Recruitment: Initial Seduction ‣ Telling the girl: ‣ How beautiful she is ‣ How much he likes/loves her ‣ Giving gifts: ‣ Jewelry ‣ Clothing ‣ Cell Phone ‣ Locations: ‣ Malls, bus-stops, drop-in centers /shelters, parks and social media/internet


15 Pathways Into Sex Trafficking ‣ Female “Friend” ‣ A female that could be previously known or unknown who is working for (often also being sold) a pimp ‣ Will slowly introduce a girl to “the life” (shopping, cars, cell phones, nails, drugs and alcohol) ‣ Over 50% of girls surveyed within Ohio who were victims of sex-trafficking were recruited by another female


17 Trafficked by Another Female ‣ October 2012: Cleveland, Ohio ‣ Pearline Richardson sentenced to 11 years for trafficking. ‣ One victim was 16 years old, and was told by Richardson, “You need to straighten your face, the clients don’t care”, and “You don’t matter—money matters”. ‣ Richardson had intended to take her and the other women she was trafficking to Florida to sell them around military bases.

18 Pathways Into Sex Trafficking ‣ Family Members ‣ Mothers, Grandmothers ‣ Fathers, Stepfathers ‣ Other family members ‣ Sold out of the home at times ‣ Often connected to drug addiction

19 Pathways Into Sex Trafficking ‣ Shaniya Davis, age 5. ‣ Mother Antoinette Nicole Davis sold her to Mario Andrette McNeill for sexual slavery to pay off a drug debt. ‣ Shaniya was found raped and dead on the side of a road in Fayetteville, North Carolina. ‣ Arrest warrants stated that Davis“knowingly provided Shaniya with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude" and "did permit an act of prostitution with Shaniya.” ‣ Davis was sentenced in October 2013 for 17 years in prison for second-degree murder, human trafficking, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sex offense, felony child abuse with prostitution, child abuse involving a sex act, sexual servitude with child victim, and conspiracy to commit sex offense against a child. ‣ McNeill was sentenced in May 2013 to death for first-degree murder of Shaniya, and was also found guilty of human trafficking with child victim, sexual servitude with child victim, sex offense of a child, and indecent liberties with a child.

20 Pathways Into Sex Trafficking ‣ Jacqueline Toro-Williams. ‣ A 37-year-old Ohio woman from Akron was charged with prostituting her underage daughter in 2012. ‣ According to Akron Police Captain Dan Zampelli, the woman was charged with compelling and promoting prostitution in incidents that involved her daughter, who was 11 and 12 years old at the time. ‣ The woman allegedly drove her daughter to different apartment complexes in their neighborhood and forced her to engage in sexual activities with men in exchange for money and drugs. The activity went on for at least a year or more, mostly in 2007.

21 Pimp Control ‣ Pimps are masters of the art of seduction; they are able to identify the vulnerabilities of a specific child and exploit them. ‣ Once seduced, pimps use torture tactics to control their victims. ‣ Such tactics consistently lead to complete obedience and a breakdown of personal agency and autonomy. ‣ These behaviors include both physical and psychological torture. ‣ Pimps use the increased glamorization of pimp/ho culture, as well as cultural acceptance of demand for child victims, to help maintain control of the child.


23 Pimp Control ‣ Pimp interview, “A pimp is selling girls the dream. I will tell you whatever it takes to get what I need out of you....F**k the head, the body is going to follow.” ‣ Detective Byron Fassett (Dallas Model) “When I arrest their pimp there are tears - not of joy, but of sadness - the amount of control is indescribable. The girl is left with a simple message of, ‘I own you.’” ‣ “The pimp cuts a girl off from her friends, and family. This is all too easy in many cases where a girl has been violated and victimized at home. He makes her believe that he has her back, and he alone loves her, and when that is accomplished he brings out the weapons of violence, fear, degradation, and drugs.” - Somebody’s Daughter (Julian Sher)


25 Vulnerability Factors ‣ History of involvement with Child Protective Services ‣ Runaways without familial support ‣ Failing in school/dropping out of school ‣ Family member in the sex trade (selling and purchasing) ‣ Friends involved in the sex trade (selling and purchasing) ‣ Parents who use drugs ‣ History of sexual abuse (The National Report on DMST, Shared Hope) ‣ Living in a group/foster home ‣ Involvement with law enforcement/juvenile justice system ‣ Older boyfriend/significant other ‣ Single parent families ‣ 1-2 parents in jail ‣ Self–mutilation ‣ Rape victim ‣ Use alcohol/drugs

26 Runaways ‣ As many as 1.68 million children run away each year in the US. Within 48 hours of hitting the streets, one-third of these children are lured or recruited into the underground world of prostitution and pornography - The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ‣ Survival Sex ‣ Typically running for a reason - Isolation, break-down of support network ‣ Victims of DMST are disproportionately arrested and prosecuted for being “Unruly” Under Ohio law, a minor who is: 1) habitually truant from school; 2) persistently disobedient (including behavior such as running away from home; 3) who acts in a way that injures or endangers another's (or his or her own) health or morals; or who violates a law that applies only to minors (such as a curfew).

27 Indicators ‣ Hotel room keys ‣ Chronic runaway/homeless youth ‣ School Truancy / Drop-out ‣ Signs of branding (tattoo, jewelry) ‣ Lying about age/false identification ‣ Presence of an overly controlling and abusive “boyfriend” ‣ Injuries/signs of physical abuse or torture ‣ Demeanor – fear, anxiety, depression, submissive, tense, nervous ‣ Restricted/scripted communication ‣ Inconsistencies in story ‣ Lack of knowledge of a given community/whereabouts ‣ Having new / trendy nails, clothes, hair, technology ‣ Weight loss ‣ Substance Abuse ‣ Needing pregnancy tests frequently ‣ Recurring sexually transmitted infections

28 The Girls I Work With ‣ Have Trauma Bonds ‣ Trauma Bonds – both loving and hating your abuser. When the very person who can rescue you is the person who is abusing you. ‣ Trauma bonds were typically first formed with the abusive parent. So to relate this way is not an unusual experience. ‣ Symptoms: Inability to self-identify as a victim; returning to the trafficker/pimp, loss of the victim’s identity. ‣ “Central to understanding ambivalence is the fact that the very thing that was despised also brought some degree of pleasure.” (Allender)


30 Questions to Ask When You Suspect DMST (or Any Trafficking Victimization) ‣ How old is your boyfriend? ‣ How did you meet your boyfriend? ‣ Do you have any friends that “exchange favors” with neighbors / friends? ‣ Can you come and go as you please? ‣ Have you ever been hurt or threatened if you tried to leave? ‣ Where do you eat and sleep? ‣ Do you and your parent / guardian “exchange favors?” ‣ Who lives in your home?

31 If you suspect DMST... ‣ Central Ohio Rescue & Restore Coalition: ‣ (614) 285-4357 (HELP) ‣ This hotline will help you: ‣ Identify local community resources to help victims ‣ Determine if you have encountered victims of human trafficking ‣ Coordinate with local social service organizations to help protect and serve victims so they begin process of restoring their lives ‣ Rachel Rosenthal, MSW, LISW-S: ‣ Bethany Barney, MSW, LISW: /614.886.7019

32 Helping Victims of DMST ‣ Drawing on your new understanding of what makes youth vulnerable, particularly Children Services involvement, child abuse/neglect, and foster care/group home care, we will now transition to discussion of the trauma of DMST and how to create a safe environment in which youth can process, recover, and grow.

33 Understanding What is Going On Inside The Brain of The Traumatized Child

34 Parts of the Brain

35 Where Trauma is Experienced in the Brain “Neuroscience has confirmed that trauma is experienced in the midbrain, where reason and logic – the ability to make sense of what has happened and act accordingly – simply are not accessible in trauma… Another way to explain how trauma is not primarily a cognitive experience is to examine memory processes, specifically the differences between explicit and implicit memory processes.” (Steele and Kuban, 2013)

36 Explicit Memory Also called “declarative memory” Refers to primary cognitive processes in the neocortex region or the upper brain, also referred to as the left hemisphere. We have access to language Words to describe what we are thinking & feeling Allows us to process information Reason Make sense of experiences

37 Implicit Memory HOWEVER, TRAUMA IS EXPERIENCED IN IMPLICT MEMORY OR THE MIDBRAIN OR RIGHT HEMISPHERE Implicit Memory –No words to accurately describe or communicate what is being experienced –Changes in Broca’s area of brain which leads to difficulties identifying and verbalizing experiences –Traumatic experiences are stored through the senses – what we see, hear, smell, touch, and taste

38 DMST & Trauma Traumatic Elements of DMST: Psychological Control Physical Abuse/Violence Sexual Abuse Manipulation Deprivation of self-agency Isolation: Both physical and relational Verbal & Emotional Abuse False perception and demonstration of “love” Dependence on trafficker (read: Trauma Bonding) Confusion of trustworthiness The harm and abuse they suffer is at the hands of someone in whom they should be able to trust and on whom they are dependent for survival. Recall the frequency of abuse and victimization PRIOR to trafficking recruitment!!!

39 Post-Trauma Symptoms Mood/Affect: –Depression, anxiety –Blunted response –Labile affect, especially in story telling Attachment Difficulties –Dependence on others –Distrust of characters who trigger memories of trafficker –Distrust of other women (competition engineered by trafficker) Re-experiencing Hypervigilance Self-harm Emotional regulation difficulty Psychotic symptoms (dissociation) Panic triggered by people, places, objects, etc. that represent elements of the trafficking experience.

40 Post-Trauma Symptoms, cont. Behavioral responses to meet emotional safety needs can often be interpreted as “acting out” or “manipulation”. Some are even called “borderline” symptoms. Lying Self-harm AWOLing/running away Violent behaviors (fighting, verbal aggression Exaggerated or blunted emotional responses Suicidal ideation/gesturing Sexually inappropriate behaviors/risk behaviors in relationships Etc.

41 REMEMBER! All behavior has a purpose!

42 A Formula For Perspective Self-destructive (to us)=self-PROTECTIVE (to them)

43 In the Past?!?! “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” - William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun

44 Special Considerations What Makes Trafficking Trauma Unique? Poor Insight: Because of the deception and seduction inherent in the recruitment process, victims often do not immediately consider their experience to be exploitation, and thus often do not self-identify as victims.


46 More Special Considerations The Double Bind of Trauma Bonding: –The person harming her is the only one who can save her. –Having strong feelings for the person who is victimizing her. –Worrying for the wellbeing of a person who did not have any concern for hers. The “Ownership” Factor Chronic (long-term and repeated) trauma Many perpetrators, not just one Loss of identity Often not treated as victims

47 Common Needs: Practical Healthcare –Often with emphasis on sexual/reproductive health: STDs/STIs, pregnancy,etc. –Injuries from physical abuse often left untreated. Education Independent Living Skills Housing

48 More Common Practical Needs Food/Clothing Legal Assistance Transportation Child Care Financial assistance Money management skills

49 Common Needs: Therapeutic Trauma-focused therapy AOD treatment Relational skills recovery –(read: BOUNDARIES) Comprehensive case management –Integration of meeting practical needs and therapeutic needs; advocacy

50 The Most Important Need: SAFETY Safety=Freedom –Freedom from physical and emotional assault (and the threat thereof) –Freedom from control –Freedom from judgment (of experiences, emotions, behavior, etc). –Freedom to process emotions & begin to rebuild –Freedom to have and hold on to hope that recovery is possible and within reach

51 Meeting Needs: Service Provision Wraparound services are essential, whether the victim is being maintained in a residential or community environment of care. –Integration of practical needs and therapeutic support. –Combining the skills and resources of multiple collaborating professionals provides “one-stop shopping” for the client and avoids the common assessment challenge of the client being retraumatized by being asked to provide the same narrative many times.

52 Trauma-Focused Therapy Efficacy is dependent on client insight, readiness for participation Modalities & Interventions: –Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy –EMDR –Structured Sensory Intervention (TLC Model) –Guided Imagery & Relaxation Techniques Promote client safety and minimize retraumatization risk

53 When Home is Not Safe… Residential treatment –Most effective when program is build specifically for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation –Peer support (“survivor leadership”) –Holistic care: physical, mental, emotional, relational, spiritual –Longer than typical behavioral residential programs

54 When Home is Not Safe… Foster Care –Must provide the same recovery components and securities that make residential treatment for victims effective. –Caregivers trained specifically in trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. –*SAFETY AND SECURITY* are as critical in the emotional realm as they are in the physical realm.

55 Common Risks in the Process Challenged Insight –What to “call” their experience –Depth of impact of victimization –Danger of continued victimization –Mental Health symptoms –Who is safe and who is unsafe

56 Common Risks in the Process AWOL/Running Away –Back to trafficker/other unsafe people (recall the seduction/force cycle of recruitment, and attachment) –Similarity to DV/IPV cycle –Unaccustomed to rules and structure (and there is no environment for youth outside of juvenile detention that is more structured than foster care!)

57 Common Risks in the Process Mental Health Symptoms –Participation in treatment is critical; however, rehearsing history can be overwhelming to the emotions. –Overwhelming emotions (depression, anxiety, fear, paranoia) can influence impulsive behaviors –Impulsive behaviors can appear self- destructive (again, read: self-protective)

58 Common Risks in the Process Relational Struggles –Distrust of others –Few/no strong or helpful relationships –Warped perception of safety increases AWOL risk (Either that they are not safe with their caregiver or that they are not in danger if they go out on their own)

59 Dr. Herman’s Stages of Recovery Applicable to widely varying sources of trauma and environments of care Can be worked through in individual or group settings, and must be supported at home Undergirded throughout by the “Healing Relationship”, wherein caregiver maintains the safety of the therapeutic environment and facilitates survivor’s efforts and success

60 Dr. Herman’s Stages of Recovery Stage 1: Safety –Survivor reclaims control over self –Definition/parameters of safety are holistically defined as previously discussed –No concrete “graduation” or “completion date” for this stage

61 Dr. Herman’s Stages of Recovery Stage 2: Remembrance and Mourning –Acknowledgment of the factual nature of the story of the trauma –Addresses emotional component of memories –Acknowledges loss attributable to the trauma and receives permission to mourn –It is critical in this process for the caregiver to provide a supportive environment for grieving to take place.

62 Dr. Herman’s Stages of Recovery Stage 3: Reconnection –Self –Others –“Survivor Mission”: Forward Motion

63 ARC Framework Blaustein & Kinniburgh, 2010 –Resiliency focused –Emphasizes treatment and support to restore the primary three realms of functioning that are damaged by the experience of trauma –Engages the critical role of the caregiver at each stage

64 ARC Framework Stage 1: Attachment –Relationship restoration –Consistency in interaction with the child is stressed via: Caregiver Management of Affect Attunement Consistent Caregiver Response Building Routines and Rituals

65 ARC Framework Stage 2: Self-Regulation –Builds the child’s ability to manage self by increasing self-awareness and restoring skills Affect Identification Modulation Affect Expression

66 ARC Framework Stage 3: Competency –Increasing the fluent exercise of emotional regulation Strengthening Executive Functions Self-Development and Identity

67 Communicating With the Traumatized Child This child is working from her implicit memory. This means she has been triggered & is somewhere in her midbrain. Adult: Come out from your room! Child: NO! Adult: You will have consequences if you do not come out from your room, it’s time for dinner! Child: I hate you, get away from me! Adult: That’s it, you are getting punished, this behavior is unacceptable, you are making bad choices and treating me poorly.

68 Communicating With the Traumatized Child This child is triggered & working from their implicit memory, their mid brain. Adult: Why are you on the floor in your room? Child: No response. Adult? What are you smelling right now? What are you seeing right now? Do you hear anything right now? Do you know who I am right now? Child: I smell the same cologne from when he hurt me. Adult: You are safe right now. There is no one else here. Some visitor came by but he is gone now and I will make sure nothing happens to you. Is it OK if I hug you? Do you want to be touched? Or do you want your special blanket?

69 Tips for the Clinician Match the individual’s way of identifying others (i.e., do not identify the perp as the “trafficker” if she calls him her “boyfriend”) Meet the client where they are. Motivational interviewing is your best friend. Just like with any trauma survivor, do not force a victim to repeatedly rehearse the narrative of their trauma. Some selected risks of this are: –Psychological/emotional –Legal –Social –Etc. Feel free to use local agency resources or the CORRC hotline if you work with a youth that you suspect may be a trafficking victim.

70 Helpful Resources For much of the information contained herein I am deeply indebted to the following resources and publications: –National Child Traumatic Stress Network –Shared Hope International –Trauma and Recovery, by Judith Herman, MD (2 nd ed., 1997, Basic Books) –Treating Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents, by Margaret Blaustein and Kristine Kinniburgh (2010, The Guilford Press) –National Colloquium 2012 Final Report: An Inventory and Evaluation of the Current Shelter and Services Response to Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking –US Department of Health and Human Services –The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC)

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