Saturday, 22 February 2014


The Traffick Circle

Here in my Midwestern hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, a 15-year-old girl responded to a job posting in a Spanish language newspaper for a maid's position at a downtown hotel.  Arriving at the hotel for her interview, she was greeted by two men she thought to be hotel personnel. The men spoke with her for a bit, then proceeded to show her to one of the hotel rooms she would be cleaning... that's when her nightmare began.
 For 48-hours, she was held against her will and forced to perform sexual acts with a barrage of men, one after the other. Finally, the two men left and she was able to run back to her home. She told her mom what happened and her mom immediately took her to the emergency room. Having been raped multiple times, she was severely injured, both physically and psychologically. At the ER, her concerned doctor promptly notified the police.
The police arrived at the hotel within two hours after the young girl escaped, but these traffickers were experienced and knew what they were doing. Using false names, they paid cash for the room before she arrived and cleaned it thoroughly after her escape, leaving very few clues to their identity or the identities of the multiple 'johns' who raped her for two days.
Sound like this is a one-off incident that could never happen in your community or to someone you might know? Think again.

What is Commercial Sex Trafficking?
Each year, anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 children in the United States are victims of commercial sex trafficking. Anyone under the age of 18 who is forced into prostitution is, by definition, a sex trafficking victim. In nearly all cases, victims are forced, defrauded or coerced into performing commercial sex acts. The person compelling them to do this is the trafficker, who profits greatly from the victims' work. Trafficking is sometimes confused with smuggling. Smuggling is illegally transporting someone over an international border and is typically voluntary, where the person is free to leave on their own once they've crossed into a new country. A trafficking victim may, in fact, be transported across borders, but is then exploited for the financial gain of the trafficker and is not permitted to leave the trafficker's control.

Vulnerable Victims
A trafficking victim can be ANYBODY, but they all have one thing in common... they are all vulnerable in some way. That vulnerability can come in the form of youth -- in fact, the average age for girls to become victims of sex trafficking is only 12 to 14 years old; for boys, the average age is even younger, at 11 to 13 years old. Many victims are desperate for money and are unemployed, impoverished or even immigrants whose work status is unstable. 84% of victims have been or currently are homeless. 
Children whose family lives are filled with violence, abuse, neglect or conflict may think their problems will be resolved by running away. The sad truth is, within the first 48-hours after running away, 1 in 3 children become commercial sex trafficking victims. Other victims may have a strong need to be loved and find themselves entrapped by traffickers who pray on that need and weave the unsuspecting children into their web. In some cases, victims are actually kidnapped or abducted.
Abuse plays a role in the lives of many child sex trafficking victims. While research data is often hard to come by in sex trafficking, it's been found that of boys and girls recruited into the commercial sex industry:
    • 57% had been sexually abused as children
    • 49% had been physically assaulted
    • 85% were victims of incest as girls
    • 90% had been physically abused
Another study found that over half the children surveyed had been "raped or molested as children or teenagers."
There seems to be a generally accepted myth about commercial sex trafficking that victims are predominantly from other countries. The fact is, 83% of minor sex trafficking victims found here in the United States are U.S. citizens.

Why is it so hard to escape the Traffick Circle?
Would you believe that prostitution is the deadliest form of 'work' in the U.S.? The American Journal of Epidemiology reported that prostitutes suffer a ‘workplace homicide rate’ 51 times higher than that of the next most dangerous occupation, working in a liquor store. The average age of death for those involved in prostitution is only 34 years old. The leading cause of death for people in the commercial sex industry is homicide (19%). 
Drug usage/overdoses comes in a close second (18%) followed by accidents (12%), alcohol-related causes (9%) and HIV/immunodeficiency syndrome (8%).
It's a dangerous business. Aside from the ever-present threat of being killed, the majority of commercial sex trafficking victims live under constant threat and fear. A survey of prostitutes (including sex trafficking victims) found that:
    • 82% had been physically assaulted
    • 83% had been threatened with a weapon
    • 68% had been raped while working as prostitutes
Victims' health and lives are in danger if they try to leave. Traffickers maintain both a strong physiological, as well as psychological hold on their victims. Traffickers may threaten to not only harm victims, but also their families and friends, or even threaten to deport those victims who have entered the U.S. illegally. Traffickers keep a tight hold on their victims and don't allow them to have any meaningful social network. They will often move victims around to various locations to keep them from establishing relationships and thus, prevent them from seeking help. A fear of law enforcement and other authorities is instilled in victims; they believe reaching out for help will result in a prostitution arrest... or painful retribution from their trafficker.
Traffickers, also known as "pimps", take all the money a victim is paid by the consumer ("john"). Women and child victims are forced to make nightly quotas to avoid beatings. Pimps often "brand" or tattoo those under their control as a further demonstration of 'ownership'. 
Using a conservative estimate, a victim can be raped by 6,000 johns during the course of his or her victimization... that figure is based on a formula of 5 johns per night, 5 nights a week for 5 years. Many victims, though, are expected to engage in sex acts with up to 15 different johns per night.
This may seem strange (I have to admit, it does a little to me), but many victims don't view themselves as victims. They often look at their trafficker as someone who is taking care of them by providing food, shelter and clothing. Many victims hold out hope that if they prove their worth to the trafficker, "things will get better." In addition to being fearful, many are embarrassed and choose to keep their involvement in commercial sex trafficking a secret from those they do know or those with whom they are granted permission to interact.
One pimp is quoted as saying, "It’s impossible to protect all girls from guys….We eat, drink and sleep thinking of ways to trick young girls into doing what we want.”

Identifying a trafficking victim
Victims are all around us... we just need to be aware of the signs, which can include:
    • Potential victim is accompanied by another person who seems controlling and/or insists on speaking for the victim
    • Chronic runaways/homeless youth
    • People who frequently relocate
    • Someone demonstrating a lack of knowledge of a given community or whereabouts, beyond just being 'lost'
    • People with numerous inconsistencies in their stories or have restricted or scripted communication with others
    • Someone who lies about their age (typically this applies to younger tweens/teens)
    • People who are not in control of their own money or have excessive amounts of cash
    • People who lack control of their own identification documents or use false IDs
    • People who carry hotel room keys
    • Victims may have signs of branding (tattoo, jewelry)
There are also several health indicators that someone may be a trafficking victim including showing signs of physical abuse, such as bruises, black eyes, burn, cuts, broken teeth or multiple scars. They may appear malnourished, have poor dental hygiene or show other evidence of trauma. They may also have psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or can show signs of being suicidal, have extreme fear or distrust of others, be prone to panic attacks or even suffer from Stockholm's Syndrome.
There are several questions you can ask yourself to help determine if someone may, in fact, be a victim of sex trafficking:
  1. Are they being forced to do something they don’t want to do?
  2. Is the person allowed to leave their place of work?
  3. Has the person been physically and/or sexually abused?
  4. Has the person been threatened?
  5. Does the person have a passport and other documents, or are they taken away?
  6. Has the person been paid for his/her work or services?
  7. How many hours does the person work a day?
  8. What are/were the living conditions?
  9. How did the person find out about the job?
  10. Who organized the person’s migration?
  11. Do they have to ask permission to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom?
  12. Do they believe they owe money for their travel or other expenses?
  13. Has anyone threatened their family?
  14. Where do they sleep and eat?
  15. Is there a lock on their door or windows so they cannot get out?

How can trafficking be stopped?
Prevention and education efforts are ramping up around the country to help protect and rescue sex trafficking victims. Thanks to the Victims of Human Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, resources and restitution are available to trafficking victims, including T-Visa eligibility to become a lawful resident of the U.S. after three years. Victims can also petition to have spouses and children accompany them. There is a national cap of 5,000 Visas annually, but as of 2012, less than half that allotment was requested. It is believed the reason that number is so low is that many trafficking victims are too frightened or embarrassed to come forward.
Other life resources are available to trafficking victims including housing, food, job placement, employment education, medical care, language interpretation and safety planning. The challenge we face as a society is making victims "trust" the system enough to come forward and ask for help.
If you suspect someone is a trafficking victim...
  1. If they are in immediate danger, call 911.
  2. If you have questions or want to talk with someone about what you've witnessed and discuss next steps, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-3737-888.

YOU can help!
There are four key things each of us can do to help wipe out commercial sex trafficking and save the lives of millions of victims.
  1. Commit to not participating in the commercial sex industry.
    • Don't purchase or participate in prostitution or the commercial sex industry.
    • Do hold friends accountable and demand their respect for women and children.
    • Take action on behalf of those vulnerable to sex trafficking.
  2. Take part in creating cultural change.
    • Encourage education for youth on topics such as healthy relationships, self-identity and life skills.
    • Support local organizations that serve victims of human trafficking.
  3. Talk about it.
    • Talk to your friends about the fact that there is a direct connection between prostitution, lap dancing and strip clubs and missing and exploited children.
    • In interviews, johns admit that they would be deterred from buying sex if they were held criminally and socially accountable.
  4. Speak out.
    • Don’t tolerate or use the lingo. When prostitution is portrayed as a choice or “funny” in movies, talk about the reality. Don’t glorify the “pimp” culture.
    • Share these facts with others.

Thank you!
My deepest appreciation goes to the Indiana Attorney General's Office under the direction of Attorney General Greg Zoeller for providing the lion's share of this information, research, data and suggestions for how YOU can make a difference and help trafficking victims. This information and other data in this series can be found in several AG public presentations, including (contact the AG's office for details):
  • "Human Trafficking: Culture, Demand and Prevention"
  • "Human Trafficking: A Demand Problem"
  • "Human Trafficking: IPATH"
Special thanks goes to Attorney and Human Trafficking Prevention Project Manager Nicole Baldonado and Intern Kelly Dobkins for their tremendous assistance, guidance and support. Thank you, ladies, for helping make this series a reality and for your dedicated commitment to helping victims of trafficking. You are the best!

We would like to pass our deepest gratitude to Ginger Kadlec for allowing us to use her Traffick Circle series to share with our readers.

About Ginger

Ginger Kadlec and Chance
Working to improve the world one child at a time, Ginger has made it her life mission to raise awareness of the world-wide epidemic of child abuse. An impassioned child advocate, trainer, speaker and child forensic interviewer, Ginger can be contacted via her website “Ginger Kadlec: 4UrKids™” at or find her on Facebook
 You can also connect with Ginger via other social media at:
·         Twitter:
·         Pinterest:

·         LinkedIn:

Saturday, 15 February 2014


The Traffick Circle

The law of supply and demand are at the heart of any business's success or failure. That law also holds true in the global criminal industry of human trafficking. Without demand for human labor or sex, there would be no need to establish supply.

The focus of this blog is on the consumer at the heart of the illegal sex trade, those who drive the demand for commercial sex. Those consumers are commonly referred to as "johns".

So, where does someone go to buy sex? In addition to street prostitution, there is often a front business johns go through to purchase illegal commercial sex. Such businesses can include escort and massage services, private dancing, drinking and photographic clubs, major sporting and recreational events (including the Super Bowl), major cultural events, conventions, and tourist destinations. Johns can also make appointments online to hook-up with prostitutes via sites such as Craig's List or

So, who are johns? 

Believe it or not, many of them share some common characteristics:
    • The age of their first purchased sex experience ranges anywhere from a very young 11 to a mature 49. On average, though, johns first buy sex when they are 21 years old.
    • Peer pressure was cited as a primary reason johns first buy sex.
    • A significantly higher number of johns (94%) have visited a strip club as compared to non-sex buyers (54%).
    • Frequent johns are more likely to be married or older in age.

Many johns don't view the people from whom they are buying sex as being victims of sex trafficking. In a study on prostitution, 67% of the johns indicated they believed there are no or only slightly negative effects to purchasing sex. Shockingly, 54% of johns surveyed believe that prostitution actually decreases rape, while a quarter consider the notion of raping a prostitute to be ridiculous, believing prostitutes are "unrapable" and are all are in that line of work by choice. The idea of prostitutes being trafficking victims isn't a remote consideration for most people who buy sex.

Some johns exhibit negative behaviors and attitudes toward women and sex. Nearly 40% of them have admitted to "tricking" non-prostituting women into having sex, while 16% claim they would rape a woman if they knew they wouldn't get caught.

Additional research shows that anywhere from 62%+ of violent acts against women engaged in street-level prostitution were perpetrated by johns. According to another study, 68% of women in prostitution said they had been raped while working as prostitutes.

Health Consequences

It is estimated there are 19 million people with sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STDs) in the U.S.  Consumers who participate in sex trafficking or prostitution are at high risk for contracting and transmitting STDs to others -- sadly, this also impacts unknowing spouses or intimate partners (again, many johns who frequently purchase sex are married). Such STDs and other subsequent serious, even life threatening illnesses can include:
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV): by the way, transmission of HPV is NOT prevented by condom use
  • Gonorrhea: there are over 700,000 new infections per year in the U.S. alone; females are usually asymptomatic carriers, meaning they rarely display any visible symptoms of the disease.
  • Chlamydia: this is the most common STD; highest degree of incidence is seen in 15 to 19 year olds. Known as a "silent" disease, most people who have chlamydia don't know they have it.
  • Liver cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Infertility

Legal Consequences

In my home state of Indiana, patronizing a prostitute (again, many prostitutes are sex trafficking victims) is a Class A misdemeanor; the offense jumps to a Class D felony if the person has two prior convictions. To see other penalties around the country and world, visit the U.S. Department of State website.

Thank you!

My deepest appreciation goes to the Indiana Attorney General's Office under the direction of Attorney General Greg Zoeller for providing much of this information, research and data. Special thanks goes to Attorney and Human Trafficking Prevention Project Manager Nicole Baldonado and Intern Kelly Dobkins for their tremendous assistance, guidance and support. These dedicated professionals, along with other state, local and federal officials, are working diligently to protect the victims of human trafficking. Thank you for the incredible work you do! 

This post was written by Ginger Kadlec and we at Safety First for Girls would like to thank her for allowing us to share this very information on our website.

About Ginger

Ginger Kadlec and Chance
Working to improve the world one child at a time, Ginger has made it her life mission to raise awareness of the world-wide epidemic of child abuse. 

An impassioned child advocate, trainer, speaker and child forensic interviewer, Ginger can be contacted via her website “Ginger Kadlec: 4UrKids™” at or find her on Facebook 

You can also connect with Ginger via other social media at:
·         Twitter:
·         Pinterest:

·         LinkedIn:

Friday, 7 February 2014


This post was written by Ginger Kadlec: 4UrKids™

What is now the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world, human trafficking is a vicious circle... victims who enter this dark and violent underworld find it dangerous and nearly impossible to escape. That's because it's big business. Human (labor and sex) trafficking generates over $32 billion globally each year. And those who profit from it will do virtually anything to keep their money stream flowing.

To better understand how the traffick circle works, it's important to first meet the key players in the circle:

1) RECRUITERS: Recruiters can be ANYBODY -- a 'boyfriend', a neighbor, a friendly person (male or female) a runaway may meet on the street or even a family member. Recruiters gain the trust of or even blackmail potential victims to then sell them into labor or sex. Recruiters and traffickers can actually be the same person.

2) TRAFFICKERS: A trafficker is anyone who is in control of a victim and benefits financially from labor or sex into which the victim is sold. A trafficker (a.k.a. "pimp") controls victims often through the use of violent abuse, threats and lies. Traffickers employ all sorts of terrible tactics to control their victims. In many cases, traffickers handle their own recruiting.

3) VICTIMS: Could be anyone! Once a victim enters the world of trafficking, they find it virtually impossible to escape on their own. Victims are used for labor or for sex and it is estimated that over 1 million children are victims of trafficking each year. Children involved in sex trafficking become victims at young ages: the average entry age for girls is 12 to 14; for boys, it's ages 11 to 13.

4) CONSUMERS:  commonly referred to as "johns" in sex trafficking, these are the people who purchase the goods/services offered via the trafficker and provided by the victim. In many cases, these consumers are unaware of the victims' situations and don't think of them as being imprisoned or suffering.

Part I of this blog series focuses on recruiters and traffickers... stay tuned for Parts II and III to learn more about consumers and the victims themselves.

How do Recruiters "recruit" victims?

Recruiters are master manipulators. Have you ever seen the movie, "Taken" starring Liam Neeson? For those familiar with this movie, the recruiter is the young man who meets the two girls the airport and offers to share a cab, thus discovering their residence. As depicted in the movie, not all trafficking victims are kidnapped. Many are coerced in one way or another. Recruiters operate under a wide range of scenarios to snag their victims. Some examples include:
    • A recruiter knows a teen, either through dating them or even meeting them online. The recruiter talks the potential victim into sending naked pictures, but promises the pictures won't be shared. Once the photos are in the recruiter's hands, the recruiter threatens to share the photos online or with family and friends if the potential victim doesn't take things a step further. At that point, the victim may be cohersed into having sex (which is, of course, recorded); to which the recruiter/trafficker threatens to release that video if the victim doesn't continue following the recruiter's orders. The victim is then handed over to the trafficker and sex slavery begins.
    • A 'kind' person will befriend a runaway, buy them food or offer them a place to stay. Their relationship remains friendly for a few days until the victim is abused/raped and is then sold into the world of slavery. One-third of all runaways are approached by a trafficker within 48-hours.
    • A student (either from the U.S. or another country) moves in with relatives or friends of the family so they can study at a special school far away from their home. They are then forced into labor or sex as a condition of going to that school and mount an ever-growing debt to their traffickers that they are unable to repay. Coercion and threats are often used to keep the victims from getting help from their families.
    • A mother addicted to drugs mounts a huge debt to her dealer and sells her child to the dealer for sex. The child continues to be sold so the mother's drug habit can continue.

Other methods traffickers use to ensnare victims can include:
    • Grooming
    • Internet, social media
    • Fake employment agencies
    • Acquaintances or family
    • Newspaper or online ads: Craig's List and are two common online venues used
    • Front businesses
    • Word of mouth
    • Abduction

Trafficker Profile

Traffickers come in many forms, but they do share some common characteristics. A trafficker...
    • Is likely involved in a lucrative business enterprise (the heart of human trafficking is exploiting cheap labor)
    • May be part of a larger organized crime ring or may be profiting independently
    • Is most often the same race/ethnicity as the victim(s)
    • Could be someone who knows the victim or the victim’s family
    • Is likely bilingual
    • Will likely be an older man with younger women who seems to be controlling, watching their every move, and correcting/instructing them frequently

Trafficking and the Super Bowl?

Studies have shown a dramatic increase in the demand for commercial sex services surrounding large sporting events such as the Super Bowl. KLAAS KIDS Foundation and F.R.E.E. International, in conjunction with law enforcement, conducted a study during the 2012 Super Bowl in my hometown of Indianapolis and found that online escort ads increased an astonishing 659% from January 12th to February 3rd.
For a broader overview of the human trafficking problem, I invite you to read, "Modern Day Slavery: The Reality of Human Trafficking". Part II of this series covers the consumers, otherwise commonly referred to as "johns".


Thank you!

My deepest appreciation goes to the Indiana Attorney General's Office under the direction of Attorney General Greg Zoeller for providing much of this information, research and data. Special thanks goes to Attorney and Human Trafficking Prevention Project Manager Nicole Baldonado and Intern Kelly Dobkins for their tremendous assistance, guidance and support. I consider myself extremely fortunate to live in a state where such talented, engaged and genuinely concerned professionals are working to protect people from the horrific realities of human trafficking.

About Ginger

Working to improve the world one child at a time, Ginger has made it her life mission to raise awareness of the world-wide epidemic of child abuse. An impassioned child advocate, trainer, speaker and child forensic interviewer, Ginger can be contacted via her website “Ginger Kadlec: 4UrKids™” or find her on Facebook.

 You can also connect with Ginger via other social media  on : Twitter ,  Pinterest and LinkedIn

You may also like to read: 

Saturday, 1 February 2014


There are so many things that I thought of adding to the list but I’ve decided to only include those that I personally believe to be the most empowering and life-changing. If you can already do some (or all) of these than you are definitely empowered and should start teaching other girls and women how to do them too!

1. Self defense
When you find yourself in a dangerous situation knowing how to defend yourself so you can get away is critical. If you don’t have the money to afford or can’t find a local self defense trainer this shouldn’t stop you. The internet is full of articles, guides and videos on self defense training – watch and read these, they could save your life! Then get together with some friends or a sibling and practice these moves (without actually hurting each other).
Image from:

2. Perform basic first aid
Knowing basic first aid could save your life and that of someone else. Learn how to perform CPR, how to stop bleeding, how to help someone that has been electrocuted or is chocking, has been hit by a car or has broken a bone. It empowers you as a human being and gives you an inner self confidence that is indescribable. Once again you could attend a course in or around your area or alternatively learn the basics online (watch video tutorials over and over again) and practice with a friend.

3. How to swim
Apart from being a skill that you’ll never forget knowing how to swim could save your life and that of another. This is something that will be very difficult to learn on your own (even with youtube as a guide), so find a teacher, friend or family member that you trust and ask them to teach you, you’ll be surprised at how many would be more than willing to help. Always have someone nearby supervising you, even in shallow water.

4. How to tend a garden and grow vegetables
Some girls learn how to grow vegetables because their families rely on it to survive but if this isn’t your case then why not learn this skill, you never know when it may come in handy! If you don’t have a garden at home, speak to your teachers or neighbors to find out if they know of a patch of sand you could use to start growing vegetables or herbs. Learn how and when to plant different vegetables, use a lawnmower, shovel, rake and when to water plants. If you live in an apartment, flat or complex, grow plants on your balcony in pots or even on your windowsill. Nothing is as magical as planting and watching something grow. There are so many websites that can teach you how to garden, from avocado trees to lettuce and carrots your options are limitless!

5. Be self sufficient
It’s easy to ask your dad, brother or boyfriend to change a burnt out light bulb but why shouldn't you? More and more women are learning how to do things for themselves, and you should too. Learn how to unclog a blocked sink or toilet, how to change a light bulb, remove or tighten screws, change batteries, set up and dismantle a computer, change a flat bicycle or car tire, jump-start a car and check the oil and water, use (and know the difference between) a drill, saw, hammer, wrench and screwdriver.

6. How to light a fire, set up a tent and build a shelter
While few of us that are not campers, hikers or girl scouts believe we will ever need to know how to make a fire or build a shelter life can throw unexpected twists and turns at us and having basic survival skills can really save your life. Whether you start by learning how to light a coal or wood fire, start somewhere. Build a makeshift shelter from wood, grass or whatever is available in your backyard. There are amazing online guides to help you learn how to do these things. The methods and resources used differ but go for the most basic and work your way up.

7. How to ride a bicycle
Most children learn this from a very young age but you’d be surprised at how many girls and women don’t know how. Just like swimming it’s something you almost never forget how to do. The first time you ride a bicycle is a feeling you’ll never forget! If you don’t have a bicycle and can’t afford one then ask friends or family, many people have bicycles that have been sitting in their garages or storerooms for years. You could even trade them by helping with homework, cleaning or gardening in return for using or buying the bicycle. This probably won’t save your life but is very much worth knowing how to do!

8. How  to cut or style hair
This is something that will take a lot of practice to master but will save your family and friends lots of money! And it’s just cool. Start by watching “how to cut boys/long/short/curly hair” videos on youtube, watch them over and over again until you have a very good idea on the methods used for different hair types then grab a willing family member or friend and start by doing simple trims and styles. Trim your brother’s fringe or sister’s long hair (one or two centimeters at most). Then keep watching tutorials and reading guides. If possible accompany any family member when they go for a haircut or style and watch intently, you could even ask the salon owner to let you sit and watch for an hour or two every other day. I always cut my little brothers hair for school and trim my mom’s ends every two months. Who knows, you could even make some money once people know you cut hair!

What do you think we should add to this list? Let us know about your attempts to learn one of these skills, or about your past experience on learning them. Let us know who taught you how to swim or how you learned to ride a bike!

Finally please pass on and share your skills with other girls and women in your community, you could change someone’s life! 

This post was written by our volunteer Alexandra from South Africa. We appreciate her for taking time to write this post. 

Photo's courtesy of Google.

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