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Recently, after listening to Phoebe Judge’s podcast, Criminal, I decided to visit an inmate at a correctional facility five hours north. As a student studying political science with a passion for criminal justice reform, I believed this inmate’s case and experiences would be highly relevant to the direction and purpose of my advocacy efforts. To protect the privacy of the inmate, I will refer to him as Robert in place of his real name.

During the hour and a half that I spent talking with Robert, he was kind, honest, and open, and never seemed threatening or abnormal in the slightest. We sat in a tiny room, about the size of a supply closet, separated by a reinforced chain wall, similar to the cell Robert will spend the rest of his life in. He has been in solitary confinement for over 15 years. Robert has been in prison since he was 15 for two counts of murder. At the age of 21, he was released for 3 months, but was soon reincarcerated for attempted robbery. While serving 3-7 years, he committed a number of violations, including arson and stabbings, and accumulated a life imprisonment sentence.

As a child, Robert was constantly in and out of reformatories and institutions. According to Robert, nothing anyone did ever helped him, but rather taught him how to “calculate and analyze” his growing hatred. What could have helped Robert and shifted his trajectory? In his first month back in prison at 21, a highly respected friend of Robert’s told him he was “too impulsive.” Robert claimed these exact words changed how he faced his anger, and could have impacted him at a younger age. In a moment of clear, deep anguish, Robert said he wished a “young, intelligent woman” had taken him aside, looked into his eyes, and told him that they believed in him and would be there for him. He stressed this point, of needing a young woman to have been a mentor to him. He admits that many well-meaning mental-health professionals did their best to help him, but he didn’t trust them or their methods. He needed to hear that his life was valuable and capable of goodness.

In our country, people of color (POC) are frequently treated as worthless and less-than. In America, police have violently taken the lives of young, unarmed black Americans and received little to no punishment; young POC students in public and private education often lack the resources and opportunities to succeed in a system that values wealth and white skin; emergency services are called when a young, black woman is seen peaceably eating in her school’s cafeteria; incarcerated men, women, and children are forced to work in privately owned correctional facilities for little to no pay. It is no coincidence that African Americans are incarcerated at 5 times the rate of Whites. The millions of people, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity, rotting away in prisons and detention facilities deserve to be loved, valued, and feel safe, just as all people deserve these basic rights.

Robert and I agreed that incarceration is a worthless, cruel form of suppression and doesn’t benefit inmates in any way. Inmates are not reformed, but rather released as “shells of real people.” They lack empathy, compassion, and trust, all necessary to cultivating safe, healthy communities. Robert excluded non-violent, drug possession-charges related inmates from his dire expectations. After spending so many years in prison, Robert believes our extremely high rate of incarceration reflects the gradual shedding of compassion, community, and empathy in our society. He is terrified of what our world is becoming. Robert believes that every 5 years, each individual sentenced to more than 5 years should be given the choice to proceed with another 5 years in prison, or be euthanized. If he were let out tomorrow, Robert stated his first act would be to request euthanization so that he may “finally rest in peace.” He does not believe he or his fellow inmates are able to be free citizens.

At 3G, we believe that reform is possible, but do not support prisons, nor the privatization of such. In 2016, we released A System of Justice, to bring awareness to wrongful incarcerations and honor the life of Glenn Ford, who spent 33 years on death row for a crime he did not commit. According to the NAACP, “in 2012 alone, the United States spent nearly $81 billion on corrections. Spending on prisons and jails has increased at triple the rate of spending on Pre‐K‐12 public education in the last thirty years.”

Before joining 3G, I spent a year working full-time as an unpaid intern in Washington, DC. I spent August-December working in a Senator’s Capitol Hill office, and January-May working in the personal office of a supremely popular and highly regarded former politician. In both positions, I worked eight hour days, Monday-Friday. I received $300 from the Senator and $0 from the former politician. I felt extremely honored to be working under my principles, surrounded by brilliant people doing vitally important work, and have the opportunity to contribute to causes close to my heart and see democracy function before my eyes. I’m grateful for the recommendation letters, the lessons learned, friends made, and the two new blurbs on my resume. However, neither a resume nor recommendation letter can cover the financial burdens of living in Washington, DC, which often costs upwards of $6000 for a semester. During my time in DC, I met many young people coming from wealthy, connected families who could easily afford to live in one of the world’s most expensive cities for 2-5 months. I knew two people who could not, including myself.

Without the connections and networking opportunities that come with an internship, finding a job in politics is exceptionally difficult. Students from low-income and working-class families often may not be able to cover the costs of transportation, housing, food, and wardrobe without any salary or stipend. Therefore, access to opportunities on the Hill, and in politics in general, are largely limited to students who come from wealthy backgrounds, further deteriorating the cultural, racial, and socioeconomic diversity in our representation. Internships must be available to all qualified candidates in order to increase the representation of marginalized communities.

In a New York Times article, Internships Are Not a Privilege, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, asks his readers to, “consider…how a plum internship may alter a young person’s career trajectory. While some students take a summer job in food service to pay the bills, others can afford to accept unpaid jobs at high-profile organizations, setting them on a more lucrative path.” Students below a certain socioeconomic level are unable to reap the benefits an internship can offer, both in valuable work experience and networking opportunities, and can be effectively excluded from advancing in their field. In a Washington Monthly article, When Congress Paid its Interns, Saahil Desai, digital editor at Washington Monthly, states that, “By failing to pay interns, Congress not only dissuades children of the non-affluent from becoming interns, but also limits the talent pool from which it draws most of its paid staff…This pinching of the talent pipeline has another downstream effect: fewer minorities in the intern pool—a direct consequence of not offering payment—means fewer minorities in the ranks of the paid staff.”

At best, an unpaid internship is dispiriting and frustrating. For me and many others, it places enormous strain, financially and mentally, on you and your family. In the fall, I lived in southern Maryland and commuted two hours each way to avoid DC housing costs. I had to leave every morning by 6:45am and usually didn’t get back home until 7pm. Transportation fees and stress – along with having to pay for an expensive dog-walker since I was gone all day – forced me to seek housing in DC for the spring. I was lucky enough to avoid paying an average rent by finding kind-hearted individuals to house me and my dog for greatly reduced rates. Most students don’t have this privilege and must pay thousands of dollars for a DC or Virginia apartment. Even though I was able to avoid high rent, I still had to cover transportation, food, medical costs, and a new wardrobe. Working as a delivery person at night and on weekends, my family and I were just able to pull it off, but it was an extremely stressful, overwhelming period of my life. I frequently went to sleep without eating all day in order to cover my Metro fare the next morning. At the end of my second internship in May, I had lost nearly 12% of my body weight and was experiencing a multitude of health problems, including recurring migraines and acute, unexplained nerve damage.

I consider myself to be skilled, efficient, and hardworking, with a passion to help others through enacting transformative and progressive change. I’m committed to advocating for equal rights and opportunities, reproductive justice, farm animal welfare, criminal justice reform, and more. For as long as I can remember, helping others, both humans and animals, has been my primary passion. After a year spent working unpaid for the very people who are elected to do just that – be a public servant – I felt used and undervalued by the system I so desperately wanted to enter.

On Monday, June 25th, the Senate passed H.R. 5895, an appropriations bill that includes $5 million for Senate intern salaries, allocating approximately $50,000 per office. According to a 2017 congressional report by Pay Our Interns, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for paid internships on the Hill, only 32% of Senate Democrats and 51% of Senate Republicans pay their interns. In the House, a mere 4% of Democrats and 8% of Republicans pay their interns. H.R. 5895 is certainly a step in the right direction, but our nation’s fight for income equality remains. It is not a pleasant feeling to work for nothing and skip lunch when everyone around you is being paid.

This summer, as a 3G intern, I’m extremely grateful that we have always remained committed to paying our interns. Even as a nonprofit organization that relies entirely on generous donations, 3G understands the socioeconomic divides that arise from unpaid internships, and is proud to actively support institutional integrity. Jane Wells, our Executive Director, says it best: “for years, we have gratefully and proudly paid our interns. As an anti-slavery organization we cannot imagine not doing so.”

In 2014 we had the honor of meeting David Archmanbault II and hearing his words of wisdom about the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their rights to water access now and in the future. These rights are now seriously threatened by the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline – an environmental disaster by any standards.

Please join us and #StandWithStandingRock. Please share this video and join the protests.
#RespectOurWater
#NoDakotaAccess

unnamedBy 3G Intern Luis Rivera-Nesrala

Last Week Tonight: A poignantly daring late-night news show hosted on HBO by John Oliver. The show’s success is in large part a reflection of Oliver’s ability to brilliantly marry award-winning reporting and in-depth research with his unique British satirical sense of humor.  Still, the reason that millions of viewers keep coming back each season is that Oliver acts as a proxy for his viewers, unflinchingly expressing the justified righteous rage that many of us feel on a range of social and political issues.

Last week I got on YouTube and realized that the newest episode, Puerto Rico, was out. Never mind that I’d be late to class, I clicked on it immediately.

As a Puerto Rican, I was thrilled that the economic crisis was finally being covered on a much-deserved international platform.

Even though the segment was characteristically funny and well-researched, by the end of it I was left with nothing more than a jumbled list of economic and political reasons as to why Puerto Rico is in the hole.

I was unmoved, unsure why I should care about this issue.

Oliver’s power to mobilize and galvanize people to a cause is perhaps his most powerful tool. But where was it this time? More than simple recognition of the problem, I hoped that the segment would finally knock some sense into the millions of Americans who have no idea why they should care about Puerto Rico. For once Oliver failed.

Now it’s my turn.

Too many people are probably wondering, “How this crisis is more relevant to us as Americans than the Greek financial crisis? After all, we don’t live on the island. We don’t pay $7 for a gallon of milk, or a 13% sales tax. And we certainly weren’t responsible the $70 billion debt that the Puerto Rican government recklessly racked up.”

So, why should you care?

Why? Because most Puerto Ricans aren’t responsible for the debt either. And now they’re paying the price for it. Let’s break it down:

1) First, Puerto Ricans are Americans.

We are born with US social security numbers, US citizenship and we hold US passports (there is no such thing as a Puerto Rican passport). We are full American citizens in every sense.

2) Fifteen years ago there were close to four million of us living on the island. Today that number has plummeted to 3.5 million. That means that the island has experienced a 7% decline in population.

“But 7 percent??”  you might say. “That means that 93% of people are still there. How is that even a big deal?”

Let’s put that into perspective.

If 7% of the US population fled the country, we would lose the entire population of the State of Texas — the second most populated state in the US. The implications of that are huge! Economically that would be like losing almost 10% of the country’s entire economic production and income. And when people have less income, they spend less. When they spend less, companies produce less. And this leads to even more people losing their jobs. For many in Puerto Rico, the only option is to head to the mainland to find work.

Last year alone over 80,000 people left the island.

The bigger picture? Many of these people are doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers and other highly educated people on whom the economic recovery will one day depend.

3) How the island fell into this toxic cycle of unlimited borrowing is largely connected to the job market,  but it is too intricate to explain in a few words.  So let’s focus on the consequences of this economic catastrophe.

Due to some unjustifiable laws and obscure amendments likely introduced by Senator Strom Thurmond in the 80’s, Puerto Rico cannot file for bankruptcy like any of the fifty states. This means that the 330,000 people who paid into their retirement funds for their entire working lives aren’t receiving their retirement pensions because the government has wiped them clean and can’t replace them. And even if they wanted to come out of retirement, the chances of finding a job in the overheated labor market would be nearly impossible. This means that food stamps, housing assistance and unemployment benefits will be slashed and the disenfranchised will continue to suffer. This means that the electric grid on the island will continue to suffer major cuts, prohibiting hospitals from operating, schools from opening, and people from getting basic services.

This was an economic crisis. Now we are on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.

—————-

The point I’m hope to make is simple.

The Puerto Rican people are not Greece halfway around the world.

This problem is your problem: now, or later.

Because we, as Puerto Ricans, are Americans.

We are Americans facing the very real possibility of becoming a lost generation. For millions of people, the inability to pay for higher education or find jobs is a daunting reality. For millions of people who have relied on government help, the massive social safety networks have expired.

You must care about Puerto Ricans because we are not just some islanders who live in your favorite vacation spot. We are the beautiful and intelligent Miss Universes, unrivaled in titles. We are the Major League Baseball players that your kids look up to and aspire to be. We are the Supreme Court justices that proudly guard and preserve the U.S. Constitution. We are the entertainers you pay to see on Broadway, whose CDs you buy and whose movies you watch. We are the people of all genders, colors, sexualities and religions who don the uniform and travel to places beyond our homeland to protect the democracy that we all enjoy.

All figures and talking points aside, we are American.

We are Americans who have lost, and will continue to lose, homes, health care and access to education. If nothing is done, and prices keep increasing, many of us may even lose access to proper nutrition.

Puerto Rico’s previous governors and their grossly negligent administrations let their greed and power affect the fates of millions while they comfortably spent their millions. Now those people are penniless and being taxed at higher rates than any other place in the United States, even as they make less.

All of this in an attempt to pay off an exorbitant debt that can’t be paid.

This is not the Puerto Rican people’s fault. They have been exploited and now it is the moral and legal obligation of the federal government to protect the citizens living under its constitution.

This is not a partisan issue. This is not Obama. This is not Fortuño. This is not Ryan.

Esto se trata de la sobrevivencia del pueblo Puertoriqueño.

You can watch the video here

By 3G Syria Intern Luis Rivera-Nesrala

Rivera-Nesrala is a third-year student at New York University where he is studying Economics with a minor in Arabic. His chief interests are in geopolitical economics, particularly in regards to the Middle East. He is the son of an active-duty United States Army service member. 

Nearly fifteen years after the unprecedented attacks of 2001 forced thousands of military men and women to pack their bags and head out over night, the landscape of U.S. warfare has been entirely transformed. Given the ongoing and evolving efforts to defeat those who seek to harm our nation, it is common for many soldiers today to have completed numerous deployments, some upwards of five.

While war and active combat are undoubtedly dangerous and trying situations, most of us fail to realize that the men and women who valiantly fight for our safety thrive in these conditions. This is where their skills and years of training are verified and validated. While those of us not in the service may find it difficult to imagine ourselves in such situations, the members of our five military branches are wired to excel in these high adrenaline environments where survival mode is always activated.

Herein lies one of the biggest misunderstandings for civilians: After performing in these high intensity, chaotic and often lawless settings for months and sometimes years, the most difficult part of fighting a war can be reintegration upon return. When these men and women return to the structure and comforts of the United States, after having lived in often war-torn nations, seemingly simple things like driving, being on paved roads, sleeping in their own beds, and next to their spouses can all be highly disorienting.

For those with children it can be tough to retake the role they played in their children’s lives before deployment, which is necessarily assumed by the parent who stays home. Returning to reassume these responsibilities can be a delicate act to balance and can place great strains on spousal relations.

For those with partners the process of acclimating to involving one another in daily routines and decisions can be trying after both individuals have learned to live independently for long periods of time. For others there is difficulty in returning to work and taking orders from fellow servicemen and women who have not had the experience of being downrange.

The problems of reintegration are difficult to foresee and can manifest themselves in many ways from person to person. The one certain thing, however, is that no man or woman who fights for this nation returns the same. While the recent overhaul of the Veterans Affairs Department by the Obama Administration has done a great deal to bring to light the neglect in care that many veterans experience, there is a great deal more that must be done.

Despite the need for improvement across the board, the most crucial of all of these necessary improvements is not one of policy, funding or program availability. Instead, it concerns the unspoken, institutionally stigmatized mentality that discourages these men and women from seeking the help that they need for fear of being branded unfit for service, combat or promotion and it must be fixed.

This looming expectation that each member return entirely unaffected only encourages the festering and worsening of these internalized trauma. Far too many men and women are thus driven to adopt the mentality to simply “adapt and overcome” in spite of the reality that many among them face challenges brought on by their experiences at war.

We have a pressing responsibility to the brave men and women in the service to provide them with the reintegration assistance that they indisputably merit. This should not be a political issue and if in war no expense is spared, neither should a single cent be withheld to provide programs like John Nash’s Combat Veteran Cowboy Up to those who need it. Programs like his are crucial to the healing process of those affected by the service because they provide the support of an empathetic system in which they find the company of others who share in the experiences.

While we must be sympathetic to the needs of our veterans, it should be clear that we will never fully understand what they have been through, what they have seen nor what they have done for us. Still, it falls on each and every citizen to understand the urgency of assessing and addressing the needs of our veterans. The men and women of this country selflessly defend every star and every color on our flag each day they don the distinguished uniform. When retirement or the expiration term of service sees them hang their garb and unlace their boots for the final time, it comes time for us to further extend our hands and return the favor. Supporting our troops is a commitment that extends far past the years of service and combat, and it is a duty that we must all make good on.

 

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.

In December 1984 Glenn Ford was tried for the murder of Isadore Rozeman, a Shreveport Jeweler who was robbed and shot to death in his own shop, for whom Glenn did yard work. Despite Glenn’s assertion of his innocence and a lack of evidence connecting him to the crime, a combination of:

  • Inexperienced defense lawyers (they had never tried a criminal case, were being paid less than $3 an hour and were unaware they could request funding to hire experts)
  • The testimony of a forensic pathologist (which was later exposed as “pure junk science at its evil worst”)
  • Racial discrimination (from the all-white jury in a Confederate flag-flying Courthouse, at a time when legislation made it difficult to prove racial bias)

These issues led to Glenn being sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. While in prison, Glenn was kept in his cell for 23 hours a day and was not permitted to participate in any religious services or educational programs.

After numerous failed appeals Glenn was finally released on March 11, 2014, when new evidence emerged showing that he ‘was neither present at, nor a participant in’ Rozeman’s robbery and murder. At the time of his release, Glenn had spent 29 years, 3 months and 5 days behind bars, making him one of the longest serving death row inmates in the United States. Tragically, Glenn was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer shortly after his release.

After Glenn’s exoneration, A.M Stroud, the lead prosecutor in the 1984 trial, issued an apology to Glenn, and urged that he be granted the maximum $330,000 compensation available under Louisiana state law:

“In 1984, I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning… Glenn Ford deserves every penny owed to him under the compensation statute.”

However, Louisiana’s compensation law requires “factual innocence,” meaning that the defendant did not commit not only the crime for which he was convicted, but also “any crime based on the same set of facts.” The state attorney general’s office argued that Glenn didn’t have “clean hands” because they claimed he knew about the plans for the Rozeman robbery and pawned some of the stolen jewelry. The Innocence Project’s Kristin Wenstrom stated that ‘they [the state attorney general’s office] are coming up with new minor crimes he was never charged with or convicted of.’

The only compensation Glenn received was a debit card loaded with $20.24 upon his release, which was standardly issued to all released inmates, and he had to rely on donations to receive the hospice care that he urgently needed. On June 29, 2015, Glenn passed away from his disease at a home provided by the nonprofit group Resurrection After Exoneration.

Political Background to Glenn’s Case

Although a particularly extreme example, Glenn’s story is far from unique. Twenty states have no laws pertaining to compensation for the wrongfully convicted. There have been 152 exonerations from Death Row since 1972 and 329 post-conviction DNA exonerations since 1989. The number of innocent prisoners in the United States is unknown, but the few studies that have been conducted estimate that between 2.3% and 5% of prisoners are innocent. To provide context, if just 1% of prisoners were innocent, that would amount to 20,000 prisoners across the country.

Further, it is impossible to separate racial prejudice and institutionalized racism from issues surrounding both the death penalty and wrongful convictions. In Louisiana the odds of receiving a death sentence are 97% higher if the victim is white as opposed to black, in Washington State, North Carolina and California a black defendant is more than three times as likely to receive a death sentence if the victim is white. In 96% of states where there have been reviews of race and the death penalty, there was a pattern of either race-of-victim or race-of-defendant discrimination, or both.

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.

Invite
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

SEX trafficking

By: Isabel Stub, Social Media Intern

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act has had major bipartisan support since its introduction to the House on January 7th, 2015. The bill would create federal funding for human trafficking victims by imposing heavy fines on convicted traffickers. The entire process, from introduction to the Judiciary Committee’s approval last month, has been marked by neutrality in terms of partisanship, a testament to our nation’s collaboration when it comes to eradicating sex trafficking.

Recently however, one particular issue has come to light which may prevent the bill from passing. This week, Democrats withdrew support for the bill after finding that it contains Hyde Amendment language, which is a legislative attachment that restricts federal funding for abortions and other health services. This is a conservative partisan amendment to a bill that was previously conceived to be bipartisan. To compound the problem, the anti-abortion clause would remain unchecked for five years, instead of undergoing annual reevaluation.

Kierra Johnson, executive director of the group Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, released a statement, “No woman should have her decision about abortion made for her because she can’t afford medical care, especially those emerging from exploitation and in need of comprehensive health care like trafficking survivors, who are overwhelmingly young women.” These words resonate with a powerful argument that supports a more accepting and compassionate understanding of the needs of rescued sex trafficking victims. To restrict a woman’s access to choose what happens to her own body, regardless of whether a pregnancy is a result of rape or accidental circumstances, is based on fundamental lack of empathy and a denial of pragmatism. Abortions happen and will keep happening even if conditions are unsafe and unregulated. The safety of women is at stake, especially for those who cannot afford medical attention or who have already been ostracized by society by means of abuse or trafficking.

Regardless of one’s perspective on abortion, it is undeniably a partisan issue, which is halting the progress of the bill. It comes down to language. Senate Minority Leader, Dem. Harry Reid, took the floor on Wednesday morning to address the conflict, stating, “Today, the Senate is doing a good deed. We have a chance to address human trafficking. In this legislation that is meant as an outline to stop child trafficking and human trafficking generally, there is a provision in this legislation dealing with abortion. It has nothing, nothing to do with this.”

We need to demand action. With the oil boom in North Dakota attracting more sex trafficking than police and rehabilitation resources can manage, we need funding now and if the Hyde Amendment language is not removed, it gives traffickers more time to expand their business and destroy the lives of women and children. This is a human issue, a narrative told by people living in unfathomable conditions. But their voices cannot be heard. Write to your senators and expedite the passing of the bill without partisan legislation. Help victims regain their humanity.

Read the full version of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/181/text

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)

Photo of a man camp taken on the way to Williston, ND

Photo of a man camp taken on the way to Williston, ND

On Monday, Jane and Elizabeth flew out to the Midwest to begin work on 3G’s newest project which will focus on the trafficking of Native American girls in the man camps that have sprung up around the Bakken Oil Fields of Montana, North and South Dakota. Several articles* have been written in recent months highlighting the disturbing spike in drugs, crime and prostitution that communities supporting these man camps typically witness. None however, address the particular plight of the region’s Native American population whose poverty often makes them a target for exploitation. To learn more about this story, take a look at program specialist at the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Lisa Brunner’s testimony from the hearing on “Combating Human Trafficking” back in September of 2013, and be sure to follow us on Facebook for updates on Jane and Elizabeth’s travels.

* NPR, Al Jazeera America, Huffington Post & Mint Press News

Testimony of Lisa Brunner, Program Specialist, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center

Hearing on “Combating Human Trafficking: Federal, State, and Local Perspectives” before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Monday, September 23, 2013

http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/hearings/combating-human-trafficking-federal-state-and-local-perspectives

Human Trafficking of Native women in the United States is not a new era of violence against Native women but rather the continuation of a lengthy historical one with the colonization of America through wars, forced removal from their homelands to reservations, boarding schools and forced urban relocation. Domestic human trafficking in the United States has a longstanding history.

Native women experience violent victimization at a higher rate than any other U.S. population. Congressional findings are that Native American and Alaska Native women are raped 34.1%, more than 1 in 3, will be raped in their lifetime, 64%, more than 6 in 10, will be physically assaulted. Native women are stalked more than twice the rate of other women. Native women are murdered at more than ten times the national average. Non-Indians commit 88% of violent crimes against Native women.

Given the above statistical data and the historical roots of violence against Native women, the level of human trafficking given the sparse data collected can only equate to the current epidemic levels we face within our tribal communities and Nations.

As an enrolled member of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation in Minnesota, I live, work and raise my children on my reservation. I have worked for over 15 years addressing domestic violence and sexual assault of Native women and have witnessed and heard countless stories of human trafficking occurring to the point that we have girls as young as 12 years olds who are victims. With the introduction of heroin, we now have an epidemic of the same age group and up of girls and women who are trafficked now have heroin needles in their arms. Native women and girls are sold for $20 worth of heroin.

We have mothers call local county sheriffs departments reporting their daughters missing only to be told, “We have better things to do with our time or why don’t you be a mother and know where the hell your daughter is”. It is difficult given the jurisdictional complexity of the 566 federally recognized tribes in the country with non-Public Law 280, Public Law 280, 638 Contract, Land Claim Settlement States, Oklahoma’s checkerboard and Alaska Native villages. To add to the complexity, if the perpetrator is non-Native, then the Tribes and Alaska Villages do not have criminal jurisdiction

With the recent wide-range impact of extractive industries such as oil fracking and pipelines is predatory economics at its worse for the Fort Berthold Nation in North Dakota and Fort Peck Reservation in Montana. With the fracking of the Bakken formation, comes “man camps’. The victim advocates responding to calls for service on Forth Berthold said there has been a doubling and tripling of numbers of sexual assaults, domestic violence and human trafficking incidents since 2008.

The multiple layers of issues that have come to the forefront are the lack of documentation of these man camps. Emergency services often can’t find their locations and since they are located in isolated and desolate areas, there often are no cell phone services available. There are two types of man camps: documented and undocumented. Undocumented camps are often 50-100 trailers that a rancher or farmer has set up on his land to rent out and make money. These undocumented camps present a special problem for emergency services and organizations since they don’t exist on a map or have addresses.

The other issue involved with the man camps in Forth Berthold is lack of monitoring and registration of sex offenders whether they are in the documented or undocumented man camps that pose a serious threat to the safety of women and children in the area.

In Montana, the Bakken Oil Boom has impacted the largest reservation, Fort Peck, and residing counties have experienced both a population and crime explosion.

The majority of employees from the oil rigs are not from Fort Peck Tribes or Roosevelt County or even from Montana. There have been documented increases in drug use and human trafficking, theft, alcohol related incidents and assaults within the last year. Law enforcement response, tribal DV/SA services, and medical response to these crimes have tripled in the last year.

Within Northeastern Montana there are currently three man camps with several more only seventy miles away in the neighboring state of North Dakota. Many Tribal advocates have responded to victims that have been trafficked at the man camps often preying on young native women. Groups of men from the man camps use free access to drugs and alcohol as a method of coercion for young native women to “get in the car” and go party. This has resulted in 11 young native women ranging from the ages of 16-21 years of age reporting rape, gang rape and other sex acts; the majority of these victims are afraid to report due to fear and shame.

The Fort Peck Tribes SORNA program reports that one year ago there were forty- eight registered sex offenders and now there are over six hundred registered sex offenders. The struggle has been that non-native sex offenders to do not recognize the tribal jurisdiction and feel they “do not” have to report to the tribal SORNA program. However, the U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement agencies have assisted in gaining registration of known sex offenders on the tribal registry.

Another aspect of to the domestic human trafficking issues in the U.S. and Tribal Nations is the U.S. Adoption Industry. In an article in Indian Country Today titled: Trafficking of Native Children: The Seamy Underbelly of U.S. Adoption Industry brings to light the practice of selling Indian infants and children to the highest bidder which brings in revenue for lawyers from $25,000-$100,000 per child. In this article, it is stated that in 2012, 50 Native children were adopted out from North Dakota to South Carolina. These adoptions are done without the Tribes knowledge or consent or that of the biological fathers.

To really gain insight to domestic human trafficking in the U.S., one must take examine the many sectors in which this is facilitated, whether it be extractive industries, pimps, gangs, cartels, family members or lawyers working in an adoption industry. Many different avenues must be examined and taken into account to fully understand what leads to this epidemic of human trafficking that not only impacts Tribal Nations and Alaska Villages but all citizens of this country.

I am a Program Specialist with the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. Our role as an organization is to serve as a National Indian Resource Center that provides technical assistance/training, resource development, policy development, research activity and public awareness that also seeks to enhance Native American and Alaska Native tribes, Native Hawaiians, Tribal and Native Hawaiian organizations to respond to violence against Native women.

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

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