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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.

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)

Sgt. Dan Steele

By: Sgt. Daniel Steele, Denver Police Dept. Vice Section

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

What does the war against the trafficking of women, men and children look like on the front lines? Imagine, gangs, money, sex and violence; it has the makings of a great Hollywood thriller — edge of your seat suspense. A hard-boiled, square-jawed detective enters the seedy underbelly of society and rescues a beautiful young woman from the clutches of a maniacal terror; played by Anthony Hopkins nonetheless. If this were reality, wouldn’t it be so much simpler? A 90-minute ride through the horrors of modern day slavery, where the bad guy is always caught and the hero saves the day and gets the girl to boot.

Unfortunately, the front lines in the war on trafficking are not glamorous. The everyday battle being waged by the men and women in blue is always uphill, and the victories are few and far between. The true story is plagued by stops and starts; roadblocks at every turn. The vast majority of detectives investigating sex trafficking spend hours behind their desks, compiling thousands of pages of case file documentation. There are no high speed chases, no shootouts and there are definitely no suspenseful, last minute rescues. In fact, I would be hard pressed to say we as cops are ‘rescuing’ anyone at all. To rescue, is to free from confinement, violence, danger or evil. It’s true; cops rescue trafficking survivors in the immediate short-term sense, especially as it relates to confinement. But can a police officer truly deliver someone from violence, from danger and evil?

Trafficking survivors experience the penultimate horror, being bought and sold like meat. As a police officer, I can’t even begin to comprehend the emotional and psychological trauma invoked from sexual slavery. In fact, I have yet to speak with a survivor who, even years later, truly felt they had been rescued from the evil they experienced at the hands of their exploiter. So, no, cops are not rescuing people from trafficking. Rather, we are aiding people in becoming survivors, assisting them at the initial stages of what will be a lifetime of recovery.

So, wait, if I’m not saving the day, then what good am I? That’s the question that plagues every investigator working this heinous offense. The age old deliberation that eventually haunts every cop, “Am I even making a difference?” To that I say, “Of course you are.” After all, as cops, we are supposed to seek justice, we are supposed to stand and fight where others would not dare. While I may never swing in on a bull whip to save the day, I still count every person recovered from trafficking as a victory and every trafficker put in jail a triumph. Understanding that police are at the very forefront of a growing epidemic, understanding as cops we may be the first person to recognize trafficking and, thereby, understanding as cops we need to respond appropriately, is how we can truly make a difference. The better cops understand human trafficking, trauma bonds, coercion, manipulation and deception, the better we can respond to the needs of the exploited. After all, we don’t want to exacerbate the situation, becoming exploiters ourselves.

It is important to realize that the police cannot solve human trafficking alone. As a community, we must recognize that trafficking is the end result of much deeper societal woes — poverty, homelessness, gender inequality and more. If we want to abolish the sale of humans, we must look deeper and work to fix the root causes that lead to trafficking in the first place. The fight against human trafficking will not be won by cops or caped crusaders. Human trafficking will only be destroyed when we come together as a society and agree it is a problem, agree it needs to be stopped and agree to work together to stop it. Not really very glamorous is it? Honestly, it doesn’t even sound like “movie-of-the-week” material. Well folks, this is reality. The reality is we need everyone to wake up, step up and get involved in the fight. I’ll do my part and still go out and catch the bad guys.

Screen shot 2012-01-25 at 1.16.27 PMBy: Jane Wells and John-Keith Wasson

This piece originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Before we decided to collaborate on the documentary film TRICKED, one of us was filming street prostitution in Washington, D.C. (blocks from the White House) and the other was filming pimps at work in Chicago. When we discovered what we were both working on, we decided to partner on a joint film at a time when street prostitution was still flourishing in many parts of this country. Four years later, as TRICKED premieres, the landscape of sex trafficking has changed dramatically. Street prostitution is largely gone; two of the victims we filmed were recruited by pimps from their own living rooms via smartphones. Computer solicitations have turned into smart phone apps. Craigslist has been replaced by Backpage.com. And light plea bargains for pandering have turned into multi-year trafficking sentences.

At the onset of filming, we encountered severe misconceptions: “Sex trafficking only happens in Thailand,” or, “The girls do it by choice.” At the other extreme, jaw-dropping stats overstated the realities like sensationalized fiction. There is precious little data on the subject, and urban myths supporting both sides of the prostitution debate abound. We had to dispel the myths first; clarify the truths, second. As the basic landscape kept changing during production, we faced a constantly moving target as we made TRICKED.

On several occasions, we worked with devoted community leaders who fought trafficking alongside colleagues who openly belittled it as a victimless crime. Two opposite ends of the spectrum worked under the same roof. Embedded with law enforcement officers in several cities, we found some were enlightened and kind to those caught up in prostitution, while others were cruel and judgmental.

The variety of viewpoints and facts presented a real challenge. We struggled to tell the whole story from as many angles as possible, to try and show the real truth of sex trafficking in America without further victimizing those in the life or preaching from the soap box of the so-called abolitionists. We wanted to make a film that would be interesting to both male and female audiences. We wanted to let johns and pimps reveal who they were and how they ticked. Sometimes this was disturbing, other times infuriating. There was a great deal of gallows humor.

Making TRICKED clued us into the fact that sex trafficking continues to evolve, and the various factions continue to argue. The legalization and the pro-trafficking lobbies are strong. Sex trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the country. The fact is, this is big business: industry stats, which we believe are accurate, say both sex trafficking and human trafficking combined are a $9.8 billion a year industry in the United States. At the same time, the number of anti-trafficking NGOs continues to grow along with their reach and impact. Although we’ve noticed positive change in the past year, and new legislation is before Congress, the road to permanent change remains long, uncharted and complex. Changing cultural norms is essential to progress.

While inaccuracy and denial continue to cloud the realities of domestic sex trafficking, our hope is that TRICKED does its part to spark a national dialogue and create change. The victims — our daughters, sisters, mothers and sons — deserve nothing less.

Interested in seeing TRICKED? The film will run from Dec. 13th-19th at the Quad Cinema in NYC. To purchase tickets, check out the Quad Cinema’s listings on movietickets.com.

Admission is free for law enforcement with ID.

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