Illinois is going the extra step for Human Trafficking Victims Under 18

Readers it is finally here, something which myself and many supportive colleagues have been focusing on for three years; updating Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Trafficking. The one person who is really doing the hard work in making this a reality is

Illinois State House Representative Jay Hoffman (D) Swansea. Jay_Hoffman_Headshot(1)_Web

The first fact I need every reader and leader to understand is that there is one particular misperception about the real crime of child sex trafficking in America; more often than not it is a parent or guardian who is exploiting or trafficking the child. This is a horrible fact I’m asking you to consider, but in Small Town America we usually don’t see Pimps, Working Girls on Street Corners, or the ‘Johns’ circling the block in their vehicles. We don’t have the inner city crime areas where others drive by picking and choosing from those standing almost naked in the freezing cold at three in the morning. We don’t have gangs of kids pushing drugs from the projects. We rarely have common acts of vandalism in the thousands of ‘safe’ communities across the country.

It is because we believe in the ‘safety’ of these communities that we don’t think about what happens inside the house or apartment or trailer next door. We figure our neighbors are all very ‘GOOD’ people because we see them at the grocery store, we see them at picnics, we see them at church, and our kids go to school with their kids, play school sports together, or hang out at the public pool together. However, let me be perfectly clear when I share a few more facts with you.

Children’s Bureau, National Child Abuse and Neglect Data Systems 2011- 1 in 9 confirmed cases of child sexual abuse.

Centers for Disease 2013 estimates 1 in 4 children living with maltreatment or abuse in America

National Human Trafficking Resource Center confirms 70% of Prostitutes reported Child Sexual Harm

NO PERSON DREAMS OF BEING A PROSTITUTE WHEN THEY GROW UP – this is something that is done out of survival; either being forced by control and threats or physical harm by someone or the aftermath destruction of leaving an abusive home and a life influenced by drugs, degradation, and sex.

I was born in small town rural America, raised in these ‘safe’ communities, and grew up to become a wife and mother living within a ‘safe’ suburb so my children could be safe. Most in the town of Freeburg knew my mother and stepfather well; they each had their own reputations. My stepfather the violent and depraved alcoholic and my mother playing the poor victim and woman who had to tolerate him as a husband.

This was not the truth, or at least about my mother anyway. My mother pretty much handed me over to Malcolm like a piece of property she signed over in a prenuptial agreement. By the time I was ten he could dominate me, stalk me, molest me, and then started using me and sharing me with other men that he knew or worked with at the local coal mine. Sometimes he took me to the area bar and pawned me off for a couple glasses of beer, other times he took me to private locations with more than one or two men involved. Mother allowed him to take me along on their dates and then use me as bait to lure some guy in who would by our table drinks and dance with her as she allowed her husband to rub himself against me on a public dance floor. She permitted him to enter me into some bathing beauty ‘Miss Peabody’ pageant at thirteen and then started allowing him to invite five or more men over for late-night parties with alcohol, weed, and porn; entertained by her young daughter as she lay in her room watching TV or reading a book.

My mother was not threatened to allow any of this, in fact Malcolm would have and did do anything my mother requested. Yes, he was a very mean drunk, but not once did I ever hear him so much as raise his voice at her, much less threaten her or dominate her. If the things she permitted to happen to me would have been something he did to her, and if she was treated with such constant control and physical violence; if any of the cruelties against her middle daughter would have been committed against her I know she would have moved on to the next man who was willing to take care of her.

This is how most cases of Rural Area Child Sex Trafficking in America really happens and the escalation of cruelty that encircles the life of these young victims. As children they don’t quite understand what or why these horrible terrifying things are happening and it will probably take decades before they can finally process all the darkness and distortions caused by the parent or parents responsible for their care; for giving them life, but destroying their spirit. These young persons, who can be of any age, are used, shared, sold and bartered for shelter, drugs, and possibly even money. It happened in my case and I know a couple hundred adult survivors and rescued teens who have endured these small town secret crimes without help or hope, just trying to make it through so they can get big enough to escape.

These are the types of offenses we must stand strong against as communities. We must rally our law enforcement, our healthcare providers, our educators, and our neighbors to be a voice for a child or a family in distress. The internal suffering of these silenced and ignored young victims is a haunting with repercussions that affect many aspects of their forming and adult life patterns and behaviors, which then becomes a burden to citizens by the estimated $145 Billion per year economic deficit to provide recovery and rebuilding services, along with many other challenges.

    • Employment Difficulties
    • Mental, Dental, and Medical Healthcare
    • Early Disability from PTSD, Depression, Permanent Injury
    • Immediate & Longterm Life Skills & Recovery Support
    • Criminal Justice & Legal Services
    • Homelessness & Shelter Services
    • Addictions & Self Harming Behaviors

Way too often and much too common, as discussed with a few hundred advocates & survivors; the guilt and shame of these brutal acts is like a brainwashing, ‘training’, ‘conditioning’ that our adult relationships are challenged and our families suffer as they see the emotional turmoil roll through like an evil snake of destruction. We stand for the rights of so many different causes today; Rights for LGBTQ, Muslims, Christians, Animals, and Trees – it’s time to stand up for the Rights & Safety of our American Children.

VOTING – YES for HB3629 – Illinois becomes one of the many states updating Criminal & Civil Statutes for the crime of Human Trafficking, Trafficking in Persons, Involuntary Servitude of a Child, Involuntary Sexual Servitude of a Minor. By voting YES – HB3629 we give these young victims time to grow so they understand what happened, time to heal from the layers of trauma, time to actually accept what their parent or caretaker has done or allowed others to do against them.

Child Voices; we all can speak for someone

Trecia Ann  “This is me…..the five year old who first met Malcolm, was first attacked by Malcolm, and never heard Mona say I love you again. From this point forward nothing would be safe for a very long time. This girl has made one hell of a journey. I’m surprised and grateful for the blessings of life, love, friendship and family who have been there and are with me now, unashamed and proud of this incredible little girl. She is truly happy today”–Patricia A. Mcknight

In complete openness, it took forty years before I could think about the courage and strength of this little girl. The battle lines always changed, but without a doubt home was the most dangerous place in the world. The crimes against her were many and involved years of horrific violence and being used, traded, sold by the two people who were supposed to protect her. They didn’t ignore or neglect her younger sister or her older brother, so why did they both decide that this little girl didn’t matter to anyone?

Way too often we hear someone say; ‘Why doesn’t anyone do something about those people?’ Usually they are talking about the family living in poverty who doesn’t meet the local standards of the community, but this is simply our negative judgment of others. We don’t know what goes on in their home or inside the $2Million dollar home a few blocks away. Sure the chances are greater that someone is getting hurt inside this poverty stricken home, but perhaps it is just a financial inability to provide for the family? Be very cautious because it is that financial hardship that can lead to years of nightmarish disgust for a child.

Granted it could be attributed to a lot of different negative influences, but the reality is our children are being used, bought, traded, shared as if they are some type of commodity. Perhaps it is addiction and violence only between the parents? Perhaps their economic suffering has lead them to do something they never believed they would do, and probably wouldn’t do in their sober stable mind, but in distress and looking for another fix could mean they commit the most heinous of all acts; they offer their child for the price of another fix, for a few extra drinking dollars, or maybe a single parent looking for shelter allows a predator to take ownership of their child so the parent does not have to worry about providing a home on their own? It happens in all sorts of ways and for all different types of reasons, and still it seems we cannot get our governments to unite around the world to combat and change the idea of value for our innocent children.

I’ve seen child trafficking happen in many ways and I’ve heard account after account of these most violating acts from one incredible survivor after another. It seems the one thing all of the survivors and maybe even the victims today have in common – there is always someone in the tight family circle who knows what really happens. There are those who hear of the child whose parents or guardian will trade them for a few bucks or just because they want to give you something special. We hear of those in the community who then say; ‘I knew something was going on in there”. Despite these people who live beside these types of offenders and those who know because the child has been offered to them; yet somehow no one ever reports their suspicions, even when they watch it go on for years and witness her battles of being beaten and dragged along the street. Maybe the law enforcement in the local town know the talk through the community about why other parents will not let their children around this home. The parents who tell their daughters to stay away and their sons not to date her. ‘She is that rotting stench covered girl that I hear is doing it with anyone!!” Even though she is only thirteen or fifteen years old, still no one ever reports the rumors of the late night parties, her going in and out of the camper with men, pornography blaring on the television, and drunken teenagers stumbling around the yard.

It doesn’t matter and it’s not my business; these are the two greatest reasons that children suffer so badly.

Right now in Illinois our legislators are avoiding a very important bill which would update Illinois Statute of Limitations for these types of crimes. House Representative Jay Hoffman drafted the bill under a proposal I’ve been working on for three years. I’ve seen it get to a House Bill Number before and I’ve seen it get lost in the residue of Illinois Budget Crisis, but sadly it is never discussed again. What is so difficult when our society and our legislative leaders should all be very much for these updates. Illinois is one of the few remaining states who have not addressed or updated their ONE YEAR AFTER VICTIM’S 18TH BIRTHDAY current statute, which has allowed predators and traffickers to walk away without fear of ever being held accountable for their violations and slavery of a child. Enough with this already. ‘Trecia Ann’ and millions like her are talking, writing, interviewing, but nothing ever changes. What will it take before it is considered a priority by our leaders?

I’m asking anyone who knows or loves a child who MAY be in danger to give your voice to them now. I am asking anyone who loves an adult survivor of these types of degrading traumas to speak up for them now. I am asking survivors to share their childhood photo which is their voice of that once silenced child; the child who endured and tried to maneuver through the constantly changing rules which always surround the life and behavior of an abused or trafficked child.

Together every one of us has a valued voice and should use it now in this greatest time of human concern for our society. When we can provide a path to safety and justice for our children, then we can say we have done something to help prevent the cycle of human conditioning of violence and the destruction which haunts the millions of silenced children around the world!!!

Please comment below and add your child photo for the voice you are speaking for today!!!

**Always believe anything is possible with you in the active equation of life** ~~ trecia ann

PLEASE PASS “TRECIA ANN” AROUND THE WORLD!!! MAKE OUR GOVERNMENTS LISTEN TO YOUR LITTLE VOICE. Thank you!!!

Patricia A McKnight

www.yourvoiceradio.one

Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery

Author: ‘My Justice’

Accepting conjecture rather than evidence is ruining the lives of innocent men

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Yes, I am a very strong and proud voice to change the cycle of destruction which most often effects our kids, especially when it comes to Sex Crimes Against Children. However, I must also say that there are more cases of teen girls who use the accusations of sexual offenses to destroy innocent lives. In all the advocacy & education about the prevention and punishment of these offenses, we have become a society that now accepts this accusation without question. We say to ourselves; “She would NEVER lie about such a thing”. Guess what, the teenage child has not changed. If they get in trouble for something they will blame someone else or they will directly lie, even to authority figures, especially if they have some type of anger or resentment towards someone who has broken their perceptions of the teen’s expectations. It is what teens do and many of them do it very well.

In our determination to end crimes against children, we automatically accept their statements without proof of guilt. This has developed because we all push the message that not all acts of harm leave physical evidence, particularly molestation. Unless you have skin cell DNA evidence, any rash can quickly be mistaken as proof. What if the forensic exam and the interview show ‘NO FINDINGS’ of a crime? Should charges still be pressed and the offender still taken into custody? It becomes “He said/She said” and since the accuser is a young girl we just commonly assume the worst.

I push education and awareness of the silent signs of trauma all the time; it’s who I am and the passion in my gut. Now I am seeing how teens are using this manipulation as a way to destroy innocent lives. Imagine if you knew people would believe you and condemn your ‘abuser’ without proof of guilt. Imagine that most of society would so easily accept your statement. Imagine the power a teen would feel when they know if they pushed the prosecutor would most likely offer the best possible plea deal, anything to prevent you having to take the stand and actually testify, leaving you to be cross examined by a skilled defense attorney.

I am learning that more men are having their entire lives ripped apart, having to spend thousands of dollars in hopes to clear their name, having some stranger evaluate all of your behaviors to see if you are a predator, then if there is even five minutes of unsupervised time between you and your accuser; it will take a miracle to keep you out of prison. You loose your job, your family, your friends, and worst of all you have to register for a minimum of fifteen years so that people know you have committed some type of deviate behavior. What a powerful destruction the vengeful teen might feel through their victim’s complete brokenness. The teen suddenly receives all the attention they were not getting before. Their parents begin giving all the support and even if they rarely showed any attention prior to your accusations; now you have the entire school, friends and family who will encircle you with kindness and patience that they never cared to provide before you made your statement. In truth what we are doing is now making innocent good men into lifetime victims. They will never be the same good hearted person who might have been the only person to show any concern for you at all. Maybe their attention was being given to someone else and that’s what angered you into falsely accusing in the first place.

Whatever reason of these false allegations; YOU ARE NOW AN ABUSER!! This is something you will have to carry in your heart for the rest of your life. It is now your guilt that will be judged because of your lies and your false statements against an innocent spirit. Maybe the one you accused is the one you went to for everything, but who will you go to when things go wrong again? Maybe you got some kind of thrill to see how people changed their behavior towards you? Maybe you think you will never be called out on these false statements, but inside you will always know the truth. Sadly, you are not the only one destroyed by your lies. You have destroyed a person’s life with a few powerful lies. Maybe you sent them to prison or perhaps caused a life lasting hell to destroy the good decent life they worked so hard to build. It is now your crime and your own ugly destruction. Now you are no longer innocent. There is no power or sense of achievement in this because you have used such a crucial topic to destroy a good life simply because you got angry about some perceived notion of commitment or love. This is a crime that destroys the lives of millions of children every single day, but now you have used our system and society’s fears as a weapon to kill an innocent soul. Can you lie to yourself forever? Can you lie to your family everyday? Can you look to God, (if you believe in God); can you look at your afterlife and your final judgment without doubt of your acceptance? It’s a fearful thought but teens do this without remorse and without fear of punishment in almost 2% of all investigated accusations.

As a statement from one survivor of vicious traumas and sexual attacks for more than thirty years of my life, it absolutely sickens me to see how both vengeful parents and vengeful teens are using the pity of our society and the laws of our justice system to act out their emotional let downs. It makes me furious to see how easily we allow this to happen. Family and friends stand back and say nothing about their suspicions in the false statements, which makes us part of the abuser’s weapon. If we know that someone is innocent of the accusations against them, we have a duty to say something to those who have the power to hold the accuser accountable and question the details of the statements made. If we do not have at least a pattern of behavior, some type of previous attempt, or evidence of harm; how can our society simply allow these types of cases to continue?

Warn your sons, husbands, fathers, brothers; warn the educators, doctors, police officers, and family around the child. This can easily happen to the man you love, the man you know doesn’t hold a deviate or harmful act in their heart. However, if they make a gesture out of concern or kindness it just might ruin their lives forever.

For instance;

What if a teen send a sex pic of themselves to your son’s phone? Do you know if they keep it or if they share it with others, they become guilty of distributing child porn, but yet NOTHING happens to the young girl who sent the photo in the first place.

What if your 20 year old son is at a party and a young girl posing to be of legal age lures them into the bedroom, or in the car, or in some other similar situation; your son is now guilty of sex crimes against a child.

What if a 30 yr old male, someone who has been close to your family since he was barely legal himself; what if this young man is someone your entire family has turned to in times of crisis (financial, personal, emotional or when your troubled teen girl is acting out). When this adult male does what you expect of them, responding in kindness over and over again, then suddenly after such another incident and thirty minutes of unsupervised time your troubled teen makes a statement to a friend; the wheels of destruction begin. We have developed such a fear of the possibility that ALL MEN ARE PIGS, that this statement begins a vicious cycle of your worst fears and society’s assumption of guilt that it is now their lives that are destroyed without question, without proof, without any forensic findings, and in most cases without even a trial.  Example: I just witnessed a case like this and for six months the prosecutor pushed four felony charges threatening a minimum of ten years in prison; or the day your jury selection is set to start you are suddenly offered a Misdemeanor Indecent Assault with no prison time if you accept their deal.

Yes, it happened and the aftermath destruction of this wonderful young man rips through my soul. How in the world is this our justice system? Well, it’s about the prosecutor’s reputation and how many men we can frighten into taking this type of deal as their best option. It’s ugly and it happens. I am a part of this because of how I constantly push for updated legislation to protect our kids, punishment to the harshest extent of the law, and ending the ‘victim blaming’ status quo of our society. Yes, any of us that are advocates in this mission we have scared society into ALWAYS believing the victim, even without evidence of a crime.

Isn’t this another process that we absolutely have a duty to educate our society about? Should we keep pushing the always believe, or should we be demanding that any type of manipulation of our justice system without evidence of a crime is indeed a crime in itself and the accuser, who then makes some extreme victim impact statement, which can be read and rewritten out of any child sexual abuse hand guide. How do we prosecute the real offenders of these crimes when our justice system is being so easily manipulated by troubled teens who hold grudges in disappointments or anger for some imagined notion?

This damages the reputation of every TRUE VICTIM, every SURVIVOR of these heinous acts. It damages innocent lives and rips people to the point of suicidal attempts, or maybe suicidal success. We cannot allow this to happen. We cannot convict or even charge these offenses without some type evidence of a crime, not just the conjecture and repeated lies of some troubled or angered teen? Teens will lie, they always have and they always will, especially when it’s about attention or getting out of trouble. It is young children, up to about 12yrs old, who do not show a tendency to lie about these types of actions. I don’t know how we can fix this or if we can at all, but I know that I’ve had many mothers and wives contact me about wrongful accusations that have completely destroyed their loved one’s life, yet sadly there is no remorse or punishment for these practiced FALSE VICTIMS.

Help the men you know protect themselves, insist they NEVER be alone with a teen, even if it’s someone they have helped out through most of their lives. It’s sad our society is either not doing anything about these crimes at all or they have become so afraid to speak against these types of teen accusers who can’t make a clear statement, don’t have to make a clear statement, can actually lie and be caught in some part of a lie in their statement; yet our prosecutors push for another notch on their belt; another man registered as a sex offender and condemned throughout the rest of society. We need to investigate more thoroughly and require evidence of a crime, not repeated changes in statements and even direct lies throughout four or five separate interviews. If it’s not consistent and the evidence doesn’t support a crime; quit using threats of prison against someone you know is most likely an innocent pawn in some troubled teen’s manipulation.

Standing up for true justice is the only way we can stop destroying innocent lives!!! Real victims should be furious about the use of something they may never get to be so easily tolerated as a weapon against decent young men.

Written by: Patricia McKnight

Advocate/Activist/Author/Survivor