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By Jane Wells

The #MeToo movement gets more complex everyday. As politicians are added to the list of predators, red lines of acceptable conduct are now blurred to the point where our President can declare that keeping a Democrat out of the Senate trumps voting for an accused pedophile.

There are as many prisms through which to view the issue of sexual misconduct, of child abuse, of predation, as there are victims with stories to tell. But the dark world of sex trafficking, our shadow world of sexual dysfunction, offers some universal insights.

We have learned from listening to survivors of sex trafficking (or forced prostitution) the appalling sameness and predictability of tactics used by pimps to enslave their victims. Girls (and boys) are groomed or “boyfriended” into the sex industry through a combination of praise, presents and threats.

When Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman went public with the story of her abuse at the hands of Dr. Lawrence Nassar, the US team doctor, she gave a moving interview with 60 Minutes (thank God not with Charlie Rose). Her description of how the doctor had groomed her was articulate and haunting. It could have come from the lips of any of the young girls we interviewed making our documentary Tricked:

“He would always bring me desserts or gifts, he’d buy me little things, so I really thought he was a nice person, I really thought he was looking out for me…..I didn’t know the signs, I didn’t know what sexual abuse really was…”

Aly Raisman, two-time Olympian

After Aly and her fellow gold medalists told their truth they were shunned and shamed by leaders in their sport for speaking out. On social media people suggested that the girls had “enjoyed it”. When will the the broader culture learn that there is never anyone to blame for sexual assault but the perpetrator? Are we to persist in the belief that people who are forced to sell sex enjoy it?

For celebrities and gymnasts the long-term harm and trauma may appear to be mitigated by the trappings of success – a silver medal here, an acting award there. For victims of sex trafficking the mitigation might be a miraculous rescue or the sentencing of a pimp to 472 years in prison. But the harm is done. There are no happy endings in the real world. Decades later we know that girls who had the courage to speak out about their pimps still live in terror of reprisals, even from prison. For those who have recently made accusations against Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, Kevin Spacey et al, we do not yet know what the long-term risks may prove to be. For systemic change we need more than a #hashtag. Laws must change to protect those who speak out. There must be no statute of limitations on sexual crimes. Non-disclosure agreements that hide criminal acts must be ruled invalid. Pedophiles and sexual predators must be booted out of the halls of power, in every profession, in every workplace.

We must stop giving a pass to predators because they are talented or cool or powerful. In the words of the young, and wise Aly Raisman:

“Just because everyone is saying they are the best person, it does not make it OK for them to make you uncomfortable. Ever.”

Amen, Aly.

This year we are thrilled to once again announce our partnership with the The Women’s Fund Miami-Dade, together with Camillus House & Health, Switchboard of Miami and The Children’s Trust, to honor the winners of the 2015 Malone Prize on February 11, 2016, in Miami, Florida. The winners are:

  • Lt. Donna Gavin; Head of the Boston Police Department Anti-Trafficking unit
  • Special Agent Nikkole Robertson; FBI Violent Crimes Against Children, Chicago Office
  • Special Agent Victor Williams; Homeland Security, Miami, Florida

In conjunction with the awards, 3 Generations will premiere our new short documentary, Miami-Dade Takes on Sex-Trafficking, showcasing the work being done in Miami-Dade County to reduce and eradicate sex-trafficking in this community.


Invitation - Malone 2016-v3

Additionally, The Women’s Fund Miami-Dade will present the inaugural Annual Leslie Sternlieb Advocacy Award to Nancy Ratzan, a leader and advocate in the Miami-Dade Community whose work and tireless efforts has helped bring the issue of sex trafficking to the forefront of the Miami-Dade community. The State Attorney’s Office will recognize Assistant State Attorney Brenda Mezick, Chief of Program Development & Public Policy for Human Trafficking, for her exceptional leadership and tenacity with the Katherine Fernandez Rundle Visionary Award.

Congratulations to the winners, and a special thank you to everyone who nominated the winners, assisting in the planning of the event, and participated in our newest film.

by 3 Generations Director of Development Lindsay Gebhart

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 5.38.28 PM Click here to read the full impact report

For the past five years 3 Generations has worked hard to bring the issues surrounding the sexual exploitation of women and children to light. Our founder, Jane Wells, first began exploring the dark world of the domestic sex trade in 2010 and was astounded by what she learned. She quickly began capturing this world, along with those who sought to help or hurt those involved, with a series of short films that eventually grew into the feature documentary film Tricked.

She, along with the rest of the team at 3 Generations, wanted to show the world that these people’s lives were not simply the results of bad choices and/or drug abuse. These women and children were sex trafficking victims. This distinction was one of many our organization strived to reshape over time.

When I began my work at 3 Generations I was extremely impressed by the scope and depth of the organization’s sex trafficking campaign, and I was excited to help create a report to document all of the campaign’s achievements.

The report highlights and details the work done surrounding three core problems:

Problem One: The false belief that prostitution isn’t a problem and is a victimless crime.

The impact of our series of films, and Tricked in particular, was far greater than we had hoped and anticipated. A report commissioned to track media hits on this campaign between March 2013 and May 2014 identified 321 unique media hits which, in turn, generated 75 million media impressions. In 2016 Tricked will be distributed globally.

Problem Two: Law enforcement is targeting and arresting the wrong people.

There has been a demonstrable shift in law enforcement culture since 2010, more states have implemented Safe Harbor laws and we are engaged with District Attorneys and Attorney Generals through Tricked. The 3rd Annual Malone Prize ceremony will be held in Miami in February 2016 and co-hosted by the State’s Attorney of Miami-Dade and Camillus House. Both of these agencies are now working together to address sex trafficking in their area.

Problem Three: There is a lack of direct services to help trafficking survivors escape the life and transition out

We were able to make dozens of nonprofit partnerships and produced nearly two dozen short films featuring many of them.

We hope you will take a moment to view our full report, which you can download here. I am so proud of the work we have done and look forward to the work we will be doing in the future. Please let me know what you think at lgebhart@3generations.org.

PRETTY WOMAN (1990) RICHARD GERE, JULIA ROBERTS PRW 081

This past week, NBC’s Today Show hosted a Pretty Woman reunion in honor of the film’s 25th anniversary much to the delight of thousands of viewers and fans of the 1990 blockbuster film. For those who need a refresher, Pretty Woman depicts the struggles of a young prostitute, Vivian, who finds her prince charming driving, lost, through Hollywood’s red light district in a Lotus sports car. The man turns out to be Edward Lewis, a successful workaholic businessman. Vivian quickly charms Edward who offers to pay for a week of her time. In the end, Edward “saves” Vivian from her life as a prostitute while Vivian teaches Edward how to enjoy the life he’s made for himself life and the two discover they are in love.

These days, Pretty Woman is one of the most financially successful films in the rom-com genre and is widely considered a classic judging from the 25th anniversary celebrations. Nevertheless, I myself had somehow never seen it – that is until yesterday.

In preparation for my viewing, I did a bit of research. One of the more interesting articles I read came from Vanity Fair. In a recent interview in honor of the 25th anniversary, screenwriter J.F. Lawton revealed the ending to Pretty Woman before the film was bought by Disney and the ending rewritten. Pretty Woman was originally, it turns out, titled 3,000 in reference to the $3,000 Edward offers Vivian for the week. 3,000 does not end with Edward climbing up Vivian’s fire escape – rather, he says goodbye and they each go their separate ways. For Edward, that is undoubtedly back to his life as a Wall Street mogul. For Vivian, reality hits a bit harder. The 3,000 script ends with Kit and Vivian on a bus bound for Disneyland – a trip financed by Vivian’s week with Edward. Kit, thrilled with their little day adventure, babbles on while Vivian “stares out emptily ahead.”

Juxtaposing Pretty Woman’s happily-ever-after ending with J.F. Lawton’s original ending, the differences are plain to see and the effect of the film is without doubt much darker. It’s not surprising that when Disney sought to turn the film into a blockbuster hit, they ditched the gritty ending, one that is in fact more often the reality for prostitutes, for the more enticing fairytale ending. That being said, I don’t think the film is entirely disconnected from the reality of prostitution.

If you pay attention, you see the hints: the police man’s investigation into an alleged murder of a prostitute at the very beginning of the film, tourists photographing the crime scene, Vivian and Kit’s debate over working for a pimp named Carlos, Vivian’s explanation to Edward about how she ended up where she was, Edward’s lawyer Philip’s treatment of Vivian and the climactic ending with Philip attacking Vivian in an effort to force her to have sex with him. For the average viewer however, all these moments recede into the background of Vivian and Edward’s love affair without any context.

So here’s the context: prostitution is far from glamorous. 70% of women in prostitution experience physical assault. They are additionally 40% more likely to be murdered when compared to the average American woman and 60% more likely when compared to the average American male. Fortunately, however, awareness of this reality is rising.

In the 25 years since Pretty Woman was first released, views on prostitution have changed dramatically. Research shows that the vast majority of women do not select prostitution as a career. Rather, they are forced into it through physical and psychological abuse or enter the trade due to the constraints poverty imposes on individuals and families. That is not to say, however, that there are not women who do engage in sex work on their own volition. There most certainly are. Unfortunately they are vastly out numbered by women and children who were never given the option of making that decision for themselves.

Building on this new perspective, anti-trafficking activists and women’s rights groups have endeavored to change the language and the policing of trafficking so that women and children are seen as victims first rather than criminals. In many ways these groups been met with success. Aside from the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which is currently stuck in Congress due to debate over a piece of the bill regarding abortions, Congress has passed well over a dozen bills aimed at beefing up funding for law enforcement training and service centers just in the past few months. Numerous states in turn, have passed Safe Harbor laws protecting children from criminalization as well as vacating convictions statues which provide trafficking survivors with a clean slate.

Watching the film for the first time now was fairly entertaining. Gone are the days when anyone would use traveler’s checks to go on a shopping spree or a Walkman in the bathtub for that matter. Beyond traveler’s checks and Walkmans however, a far more serious change has is underway – that is, society’s view on the sex trade. In this light it’s unsurprising that Pretty Woman takes the heat it does from anti-trafficking activists who consider the film to be a blithe and tendentious depiction of prostitution. But does it deserve the flack we give it? If we consider the ways in which views on prostitution and awareness of sex trafficking have changed just in the last 25 years, it seems possible that Pretty Woman could soon turn from Disney fairytale to cautionary tale and perhaps even a tool for anti-trafficking activists. Fortunately, I don’t think we’ll have to wait until the 50th anniversary to see.

– Hannah Eddy, 3 Generations

http://www.newsweek.com/sex-trafficking-and-pretty-woman-fairytale-315927

http://www.today.com/popculture/julia-roberts-richard-gere-re-create-iconic-pretty-woman-scenes-2D80567587

http://time.com/3756689/pretty-woman-prostitute-julia-roberts-richard-gere/

http://hollywoodlife.com/2015/03/24/pretty-woman-ending-25-years-later-julia-roberts-richard-gere/

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/03/pretty-woman-original-ending

This year we are thrilled to announce our partnership with the The Women’s Fund Miami-Dade and Stop Sex Trafficking Miami in honoring the winners of the 2014 Malone Prize. Through these partnerships we are furthering our initiative to help end sex trafficking by working with law enforcement to recognize prostitution as modern day slavery.

Please RSVP to rsvp@womensfundmiami.org For event information, please call 305-441-0506.

Please RSVP to rsvp@womensfundmiami.org
For event information, please call 305-441-0506.

This year’s Malone Prize award ceremony will take place on January 12th, 2015 at the Miracle Theater in Coral Gables, FL. To learn more about the Malone Prize, please follow the link .

Nominations close on December 19th. If you’d like to recommend a law enforcement officer for the prize, please fill out the form here and return to Info@3Generations.org.

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 13, 2013: Denver Police Department Sergeant Daniel Steele holds his Malone Prize. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for 3 Generations)

Picture taken by Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

Picture taken by Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

If Katrin Bennhold’s front-page article in today’s New York Times —Years of Rape and “Utter Contempt” in Britain — were told as a narrative movie, it would be considered too far-fetched to be true and would most likely be viewed as a hyperbolic psychological drama. However it is a news item and one subtitled, “Life in an English Town Where Abuse of Girls Flourished.”

Ms. Bennhold recounts a monstrous story of over 1000 girls as young as 12 being groomed for rape by gangs of young Pakistani men over a period of 16 years in a working class town called Rotherham. Even when girls came forward with parental support, the authorities chose to ignore the crimes, lost evidence and succumbed to the worst kind of victim blaming. In a staggering series of cases of police negligence, children who were raped were referred to as “tarts” and crimes against them called “100% consensual”.

It would be easy to imagine this does not happen here in the United States or that this is an isolated incident. Sadly, neither is the case. Nor is it simply a story of child abuse and rape. What is described is sexual slavery and fits our Federal definition of (child) sex trafficking. It also serves as an important illustration of the common misconceptions about commercial sex, outdated law enforcement culture around prostitution and sex crimes and the on-going battle to stop blaming victims for crimes committed against them.

Ms. Bennold’s article describes girls being groomed by young men who they perceived as friends or boyfriends – this is the most common way that pimps in the USA recruit girls into the sex trade. In Rotherham the sexual encounters, “evolved from personal gratification to business opportunities” to literal life–threatening enslavement, an evolution that perfectly matches the descent of many young people in this country from quasi-volitional sex work to enslavement.

Equally tragic and also prevalent in this country is the dominant culture that sees, and in many cases, insists that all this sexual activity is consensual. This ranges from adults engaging in sex with underage boys and girls, which, whether we like it or not, is statutory rape, to minors being “boyfriended” or kidnapped by pimps and gangs and sold for sex as prostitutes. The outcomes of these crimes depend almost entirely on the attitude of local law enforcement and their understanding of the severity of harm done to any minor who is sexually abused. Many people in this country (and elsewhere) believe prostitution is a victimless crime, one that it is here to stay and does not warrant time, money and focus by our criminal justice system.

My experience over the last 5 years making the documentary Tricked  about sex slavery in the USA unequivocally indicates otherwise. No one I encountered was unscathed by their sexual abuse. All still carry deep and lasting wounds years and decades later and every john who had purchased sex was insistent that nothing that he had done could have in any way harmed the girls and boys from whom he had paid for sex. In between is the criminal justice system – gradually waking up to the reality that sexual crimes of this sort are major human rights violations that need our utmost attention. Alas, way too slowly for the hundreds of thousand of victims out there. Katrin Bennhold deserves praise for telling such as newsworthy story.

-PinkistheNewBlog, http://www.pinkisthenewblog.com/2014-05-25/why-its-important-to-keep-yesallwomen-trending-forever

-PinkistheNewBlog, http://www.pinkisthenewblog.com/2014-05-25/why-its-important-to-keep-yesallwomen-trending-forever

by Lillian Holman, 3Generations Intern

In 3Generation’s documentary Tricked about human trafficking within the United States, possibly one of the most disturbing moments is not in fact one of the horrifying accounts provided by the victims, but instead when the pimp Robert Money calmly tells the camera that “All women is either a prostitute or a whore. The definition of a prostitute is a woman that sells her pussy for money. A whore f***s for free.” In three sentences, he defines half the human population by their sexuality. There are no exceptions in his perverse logic and he says all women, not all people. Men can feel free to live on not being “whores,” but sexually active women are stuck with that label.

This quote had me thinking about issues that seem to be everywhere I turn recently, whether it be my Facebook newsfeed, the conversations on my college campus, or that slightly nervous feeling I get walking the streets by myself. Because people like Money exist, my identity as a woman has become a hindrance rather than something wonderful to be celebrated. It means that I can show too much at a party. It means that a person can look at me on the street and assume I cannot fight back. It means that my sexuality can define me rather than be relegated to the privacy of my bedroom. Frankly, these are all things I would rather not be thinking about. I would rather go to a party and feel like I look fabulous regardless of what I’m wearing, whether it be “too much” or “too little” in the eyes of someone else. I want to be able to go on adventures in my city and not feel like I need the buddy system in order to survive. I want the conversation about sex to begin and end with my partner and only my partner. I want to live my life as a grown woman and not constantly think about the fact that I’m a woman. Sadly this is not the world we live in, but it should be.

After the tragic shooting at UCSB last month, the two hashtags “#NOTALLMEN” and “#YESALLWOMEN” started making the rounds. One was defensive. One called for solidarity. They spurred lots of opinion pieces and discussion. What made me sad however, were the responses surrounding “#NOTALLMEN.” There was anger that men would dare to defend themselves against what they saw as attacks against their gender and suddenly it was one giant battle of the sexes rather than a united front against a crime of hate. These men were angry with women blaming them rather than angry with Elliot Rodger. The women were blaming all men rather than Elliot Rodger. What should have happened was that all people should have been angry at Elliot Rodger and his antiquated ideas. This is why I loved the men who used the hashtag “#YESALLWOMEN.” They almost uniformly wanted to understand more what it means to be a woman in a still sexist world and wanted to stand with women. They made this issue an “#ALLPEOPLE” issue as it should be.

This brings me to the issues that permeate college campuses right now. Sexual assault has come to the forefront as lawsuits come out left and right against colleges and college fraternities. A list of 55 colleges are being investigated by the federal government under Title IX because of their mishandling of sexual assault cases. At Stanford, a movement is underway called “#STANDWITHLEAH” because Leah’s rapist is being allowed to graduate even after being charged with raping her. At Wesleyan University, two all male fraternities are being sued for rapes that allegedly occurred on their premises. This has become an issue of gender because the victims that have come out in the lawsuits are predominately female and the perpetrators are predominately male. It is important to remember however, that anybody can be assaulted, regardless of gender, and anybody can be a perpetrator, regardless of gender. It is a point that has been sadly forgotten in the big debates and one that would help these lawsuits rather than harm them. Once again, this should be about people committing crimes against people, rather than about men committing crimes against women. At Wesleyan University one of the proposed solutions is forcing the all male fraternities to go coed with the logic being that women having a voice and a presence in these spaces would make other women feel safer. I like this solution because it supports the idea that everyone’s voice should be heard. Rather than living off of assumptions, experiences can be shared. Just like the men who scanned the “#YESALLWOMEN” tweets, the men in these organizations can learn about a different life experiences, women can experience firsthand that not all men are like these monsters, and this ridiculous divide can disappear. Perhaps then if one of their siblings gets raped, the anger can be directed exclusively at the perpetrator and justice can actually be served along the lines of a crime rather than a political issue.

It has taken tragedies to get these issues to be so prominent, but amazing people of all genders, many of whom I’m lucky enough to be peers with, have taken this as an opportunity to talk and stand up for what they believe in.  Hopefully what will result from all of these people standing up is a culture that views and condemns these “#FEWPEOPLE” as the monsters they are.

 

Further reading/watching:

 

“Yes, All Men”

by Charles Blow for The Slate

http://www.thestate.com/2014/06/04/3487863/blow-yes-all-men.html

 

“Violence against women-it’s a men’s issue”

by Jackson Katz for TEDxFiDiWomen

http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue

 

“Stanford sexual assault victim demands tougher sanctions for offenders”

by Katy Murphy for The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/stanford-sexual-assault-victim-demands-tougher-sanctions-for-offenders/2014/06/07/43580f2c-ee7d-11e3-b84b-3393a45b80f1_story.html

 

“Wesleyan Considers Coed Fraternities”

by Kathleen Megan for The Courant

http://articles.courant.com/2014-06-08/news/hc-wesleyan-fraternities-coed-20140530_1_greek-life-wesleyan-university-sexual-assault

Jane Wells, 3 Generations founder, and frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, has just published her latest blog addressing the scandal surrounding anti-sex trafficking crusader Somaly Mam’s resignation from her own foundation.  Click here to read her philosophy on being a responsible story-teller for survivors of the sex trade.

Sarah’s Home
Lincoln and Jenny Smith

A place of safety and rest for young victims of sex traffickingkitchen

“Aww, are you crying?  Do you need a hug?”

These are the words coming from 14-year-old Tessa*, spoken to her foster mom as they walked out of church last night.  I was moved because this is a girl who 6 months ago was being trafficked on the streets, escorted from motel to motel, sold for sex to strangers each night.  This is a child who has experienced unmentionable trauma and pain.  Every relationship she’s ever known since birth has been dysfunctional and hurtful.  She has every right to recoil at the thought of touching another person.  No one would blame her for wanting to crawl into a closet and cry herself to sleep, far away from any other human being.  Yet here she is, attuned to the pain of another person, empathetic towards the emotions of her foster mom.  It might seem like a benign comment, but it’s a key indicator that this traumatized girl is healing.

Today thousands of children are being sold for sex right here in the United States.  Thirteen-year-old girls are marketed online and delivered to motel rooms to service men old enough to be their fathers.  Children who should be listening to the latest pop sensation with their friends and giggling while learning to put on make-up are instead learning how to properly pleasure a man.

The majority of kids sucked into commercial sex trafficking come from single-parent homes, abusive and neglectful homes, state care (foster or group homes), or they are runaways living on their own or with friends or other families.

In other words, when families are unhealthy and broken, kids are vulnerable to exploitation.

If we recognize that vulnerable children are being sold for sex in our communities and we choose to engage the issue, we must answer the question, “What is the best way to help these children heal?”

Sarah’s Home is a long-term safe home located in Colorado Springs for juvenile girls rescued out of the forced commercial sex trade in the U.S.  Our restoration program includes therapy sessions 3 times a week.  Two teachers are in the home each day working one-on-one with the girls to bring them up to speed with their education.  We have a small group of mentors that work with the girls on empowering activities.  Right now at Sarah’s Home, we have one home that is up and running with 3 girls and their foster mom.  Our second home will be ready to open as soon as we find the right fit for a second foster mom (or foster couple.)  Each home is licensed for 4 girls, allowing us to help 8 kids.

The path to healing for our girls is exceptionally complicated and multi-faceted.  But at the heart of each necessary healing element are relationships; relationships with family, friends, community, faith, education, etc.

At Sarah’s Home we have learned that trauma happened in the context of broken relationships, and healing will happen in the context of healthy relationships.**

Before you gloss over that concept, pause and think about it.

Healing comes from relationships.

If you accept that premise, you have to then ask, “Who is going to have a healing relationship with this child?”  Is it going to be the night shift worker at the state run detention center or group home?  Is it going to be the social worker or parole officer?  Is it going to be their teacher or coach or neighbor?  All of these are important relationships for the child.  But these people all have one thing in common, they go home at the end of the day or at the end of their shift, and the child is left alone yet again.  By necessity these relationships end up being compartmentalized and shallow because a child can’t be emotionally close to someone who is not present with them.

This is why we choose to run Sarah’s Home as a foster home.  One of our core values is that we want our girls to learn to build healthy relationships.  Our foster mom works hard to build relationships that prove that the girls are worth loving through the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly.  Our girls need a person who is willing to listen to their pain and endure their defense mechanism of lashing out at those around them; a person that can experience their anger and their hurt without recoiling.

The girls are longing for unconditional love and this only happens if you are present . . . a lot.  Present when she is crying in her closet, when nightmares keep her awake at night, when she is getting her STD report at the doctor, when she discovers she is actually 3 years behind where she thought she was in school.  The same person needs to experience all that with her, and still love her.  And then that same person also gets to experience the straight A’s in school that are the fruit of diligent studying, the thrill of learning to bake her first cake, the joy of completing her first long hike, and the confidence that comes from testifying against her trafficker in court.

Because she’s been through the good and the bad with the girls, it’s the foster mom that gets to hear the words, “Aww, are you crying?  Do you need a hug?”

* Name changed to protect the child’s identity.
** Our friend, mentor, and colleague, Debi Grebenik was instrumental in teaching us this philosophy.  Learn more at: http://www.traumatraininginstitute.com

 Sasha_GirlsGirlsGirls

Want to raise awareness about sex trafficking effortlessly AND fashionably? We do! That’s why all of us at 3 Generations are thrilled to announce the re-launch of our partnership with prinkshop!

prinkshop designs advocacy campaigns for not-for-profits and silk screens them onto tshirts, totes, notebooks, posters and stickers. prinkshop’s got a lot of issues to be passionate about: the protection of Roe v Wade, supplying under-supplied American classrooms, the obesity epidemic, dyslexia, producing in the USA and getting the under-employed employed.

Their Keep The Girls Safe design copies the iconic language of “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “XXX” and pastes it out of context to turn heads and raise the alarm for sex trafficking in the USA. They hope the design will help spread awareness in the same manner TRICKED does.

Go to www.prinkshop.com and order a t-shirt today! 30% of the profit will go to 3 Generations!

 keep the girls safe

1779331_10152140456640862_1242850034_nLast week was a big one for TRICKED, with the Super Bowl leading to a fresh wave of press interest in human trafficking. On Thursday Jane and Danielle appeared on the Katie Couric show,  HuffPo Live AND Al-Jazeera America to discuss the issue. They also appeared on PBS NewsHour, MSNBC Live, BBC Radio Sportshour on Saturday, AND on CBS News on Sunday!  Jane and JK were interviewed by PBS, and the film was also mentioned on Newsday and Deadspin. If you missed any of this, take a look!

TRICKED, A Documentary About Sex Trafficking In America, Premieres In New York

It’s been a crazy few weeks, but it’s about time for a TRICKED wrap up!

As you may already know, 3 Generations hosted its first film premiere on December 13th at the Quad Cinema in New York City. The night began with a screening of TRICKED and was followed by the presentation of the Malone Prize; a new initiative from 3 Generations. Each year, it is our plan to honor the work of three members of law enforcement who commit themselves to leading the fight against sex trafficking. (L-R) Denver Police Department Sergeant Daniel Steele, Deputy Inspector: Vice Enforcement Coordinator at NYPD, Anthony Favale and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lieutenant Karen Hughes, were the first recipients of the Malone Prize and we look forward to seeing how they pursue their commitment to combating trafficking in the future.

Following the presentation of the Malone Prize, TRICKED directors, Jane Wells and John-Keith Wasson, TRICKED stars, Danielle Douglas and Chris Baughman, and Polaris Project Executive Director, Bradley Myles, joined Daniel, Anthony, and Karen on stage for an in-depth panel discussion. We can’t say enough how thankful we are to all who came out the night of the premiere and/or to any of the other showings throughout the week, to see the film despite the cold. This has been a big year for us and we couldn’t have done any of this without the support of our friends, family, and fans.

That being said, the TRICKED project is far from over. Since TRICKED premiered,  the film has been met with a pleasantly warm reception from critics and considerable interest from audiences and anti-trafficking organizations alike. As a result, Jane and JK have been all over the media. In the week leading up to the premiere, TRICKED was reviewed by the New York Times, the Village Voice, Film Journal International, and Slant Magazine, just to mention a few, and the reviews were great! Our Huffington Post blog series appeared the week prior to the premiere as well, with great contributions from TRICKED stars, Danielle Douglas, Sgt. Dan Steele, and Chris Baughman among others. News stories about TRICKED and interviews with the directors and stars have additionally appeared on almost all popular online news sources thanks to an Associated Press article however other stories have also appeared on BBC, Fox, CNN, MTV Act, the Examiner, Glamour, Ms. Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and on Huffington Post Live. Judging from this initial reception, we’re definitely looking forward to what’s to come.

Fortunately, ‘what’s to come’ has already begun to reveal itself. 2014 will undoubtedly be another big year for us as we begin to promote TRICKED nationwide. You can help by requesting TRICKED in your local movie theater! We’ve partnered with GATHR, a brand-new “Theater-on-Demand” service that lets you bring the movies you want to a venue near you.

To set up a showing, simply:
1) Plug in your location
2) Check to see if someone has already requested a showing nearby and if so, reserve a ticket
3) If there are no showings nearby, request one yourself!
4) PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE! Share on social media! Tell everyone you know!
5) Once enough tickets are reserved, the screening will get the green light. Tickets will then become available for purchase, and you’ll get your showing of TRICKED!

Once again, thank you all and happy new year!

LVPD Det. Chris Baughman

By: Chris Baughman, Former Detective, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Many people argue that the legalization of prostitution in this country would make all the associated problems magically disappear. After years working as a detective in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, I am here to say that it wouldn’t work.

The main arguments in favor of legalization are that it would be better because we could create safe environments for the women and men who sell sex. They could be tested regularly and work in nicer conditions with medical care, and the government could tax sales and generate more revenue.

Prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas, but there are legal brothels in nearby towns. The impact of them is seen in Las Vegas. Girls working in the brothels include those who are sent there by pimps. Those girls are beaten and threatened — not within the walls of the brothels, but when they leave. Brothel owners either turn a blind eye to this or feel powerless to do anything. Girls may be safer from attacks by johns inside a brothel, but we cannot regulate this violence outside the brothel walls.

Pimps and traffickers have told me that when our former Mayor talked about legalizing prostitution in Las Vegas, they thought he was seeking to help them. Why wouldn’t they? Pimps could then deploy every girl they have (and more) and have them working in plain sight with impunity. They are smart criminals, and to think that they wouldn’t place girls in legal brothels is naïve at best. And when all those brothels were set up on the strip — who would feed the monster? Pimps and brothel owners would inevitably be out looking for more, newer and better boys and girls. And who would they be? They’d be our sons and daughters.

Legalization does not benefit the people selling sex; nor does legalization produce female empowerment. What it does is serve the owners of brothels, pimps and the johns who frequent them. Furthermore, it is immoral to think that the government would want any part of profiting from this behavior. We have been down that road before and that was called slavery. Legalization of prostitution would legitimatize and increase modern day slavery.

Danielle-Survivor

By: Danielle Douglas, sex trafficking survivor and advocate

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

I was lured by a pimp as a 17-year-old freshman at Northeastern University and spent two harrowing years under his control. I managed to escape with the help of my family, and have spent the last eight years rebuilding my life. I am one of the lucky ones. I am a survivor. As a result, I have become a passionate advocate to help those less fortunate than I.

I am extremely thankful for the opportunities I have been given to speak out and fight against sex trafficking. I have learned to feel comfortable speaking publicly about what happened to me. In many ways, telling my story has helped me recover.

Recently, I have come to realize that the struggle against trafficking can be a confusing journey that often leaves me hopeless and saddened. It’s not only our shame as survivors and the prejudice we experience from members of the community that we have to overcome, but sometimes it’s also the intentions of those who seek to help us.

Survivors are not always treated as experts, even when talking about our own experiences. This is unfortunate. People who see themselves as friends in the anti-trafficking movement seem to have forgotten the true meaning of what it is to be a survivor. A survivor is someone who puts himself or herself on the line, battling their own fear, safety and mental and social anguish to fight for their own freedom and the freedom of others. The stakes are literally life and death. Survivors aren’t actresses or actors. We are not selling or promoting a product. We are not engaged in the issue because we are “mission driven” folks. We are engaged in the issue and in this struggle because we know how it feels to be hopeless, to be suicidal, to feel no self worth, to feel that we are disposable.

I find today in my life as a survivor that when I am mistreated, it brings me back to when I was under pimp control. I thought the pimp who had manipulated and beat me, mentally and physically, was dead and gone. I was wrong. He lives on. The PTSD is only one cruel barb or one misguided manipulation away. The general public needs to be educated and can perhaps be forgiven for not knowing better. But those who work on this issue must do better. At times it feels that in the search for a good story we are willing to sell not only our own souls to the devil, but also the souls of others, including those whose souls are just regaining their strength. What exacerbates all of this is who some of these soul sellers are. The fact is they can be anyone — strangers or the media — or they can be our so-called “allies,” abolitionists, NGOs and service providers. The same people who you think would understand and know how to support a survivor of sex trafficking.

I have been asked on some occasions if I can “look young” for certain media opportunities because they want to have an underage survivor. “It brings more attention to the issue.” “It causes more concern.” But where do we draw the line? Isn’t that just the same as a john asking me to put pigtails in my hair so I look 13?

Luckily, a majority of my experiences in the advocacy world have been positive, uplifting and motivating, including my work on the upcoming documentary, Tricked. Throughout the filming, I was encouraged and supported in sharing my story and experiences. I was given many freedoms regarding what was filmed, and this assisted me in reaching deeper into my recovery as a survivor. The experience returning to where I was trafficked was pretty terrifying, but I have no regrets. I feel lucky and honored to have been given the opportunity to work with Jane Wells and 3Generations and the amazing men in law enforcement that I share the film with, Chris Baughman and Dan Steele.

My hope is that the film is able to reach a wide range of people and possibly transform their beliefs around sex trafficking. The diverse stories and viewpoints depicted throughout the film allow for a fuller understanding of the issue. This is what makes the film so powerful: we hear from the pimps, johns, survivors, families and law enforcement officials.

Chicago Cityscapes And City Views

By: Nikolaos Al-Khadra

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

By the time I was 17, my dad concluded he had failed to humiliate, beat and torture me out of being gay. So he kicked me out of the house. Within two hours of leaving home, I had been targeted by a pimp and was being raped by his customers.

I was marketed as a high-price call-boy for the majority of my years in the sex-trafficking world. My pimps styled me as a “North Shore Boy,” using my upper-middle-class background to attract johns looking to pay for sex with a boy who looked like their neighbors. There was a lot of demand for boys like me, and both my pimps and my johns went to great lengths to psychologically and physically prevent me from leaving.

One of the mainstream myths about the world of escorting is that the industry functions as a legitimate business and does not count as sex trafficking, a.k.a. prostitution. When people do recognize escorting as prostitution, they believe it’s somehow safer than street level prostitution. It isn’t. Far from it. My pimp told me he would cut me open like a fish and throw me in the lake like human garbage. The following day was my first meeting with a “political john.” I took the Metro to the pimp. He blindfolded me and had me hide in the car en route to the hotel. Once we pulled into the parking lot, I was instructed to take the blindfold off and put the seat back. We were met by security at the back of the hotel, and I was delivered to the politician.

My johns were successful, sometimes famous men who had a lot at stake when it came to exploiting me: careers, reputations and marriages. It’s hard to underestimate how much they worried, if I snitched and the lengths they would go to protect themselves. Some of the johns were bitter divorcés; others claimed to be happily married. The common thread between all of the men who paid for sex with me was the way they flaunted their power. These wealthy johns literally enjoyed torturing those they purchased.

One of those political johns took me on a stalking mission in front of the former home he had with his wife. He went off about the divorce and how she took everything from him. After we had a drink in his new living room, he took me to the bedroom he had set aside for his son. He tied me to the bed and proceeded to rape me. I remember him calling me Robby. I looked over at the pictures of his son on the wall and had an anxiety attack. It was a combination of being tied down, him calling me his son’s name, his psychotic behavior and the stalking of his ex-wife. Right before I blacked out, my life was flashing before my eyes. I was sure he was going to murder me. After he finished, he saw my fear and the tears rolling down my face. He apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again.

These years were filled with psychological warfare, mind control and terror. Money and power drove the game. It wasn’t about sex. It was about control over another human being. By the end, I knew a john would either kill me or I would end up killing one of them.

I escaped that life, but the exiting was hard. There are zero programs to help young men get out of prostitution. I pray someday there will be.

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