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.

This cancer eating away at our society……

Ya know, I just don’t get it???~!!!

Back in 2009, I was writing my way through healing; it was scary for me to reach out to others who’d been through similar history. I could write it out to myself; I could write it out to my children, but I could not yet verbalize exactly what happened. It shocked my system every time I went back to read through what’d flowed out of my memories.

I’d only started putting my memories and the details of the attacks together in the different processes of therapy. I had started journaling a bit here and there before, but this was the first at bringing them all together. Let’s face it, if you know anything about my history then you know there’s a lot of shit involved. What I found out was a three-part healing process almost always occurred after each attack shared.

First I’d write it through, which would kick off the cycle by swinging my emotions into breakdown. The more intense the attack the more intense the breakdown. I’d start feeling a sense of anger inside, which came out at the wrong people sometimes. Finally I’d go into a deep sense of calm before getting back into the “normal” of life.

My amazing therapist and I talked through this, which didn’t really seem to help so much at first, but thankfully I connected with her and found it so worth the process. There was a lot of different thoughts, fears, emotions I needed to work through and I was terrified!!! Believe it or not there was more than one session that even she broke down and a point that we both had to take a break because of getting so overwhelmed.

Then she started giving me these lists of Positive Affirmations at each session. She insisted I carry these with me everywhere, all the time!! At the end of our appointment she would go over the new affirmations she had chosen and she’d give me a hug. It drove me insane that I had to stop after an hour.

“Why did I have to open such a deep wound and then just walk out of the room? Didn’t she realize what this did to me? What was I supposed to do with all I felt?”

I chose to start writing to my children. At that time didn’t think about putting it into a book. People who knew a piece of my past would tell me that it would be worth reading, but I surely didn’t think anyone would ever care about my voice. Once I had gotten the journals to present date, I decided that what happened needed to be shared in hopes it could help save someone else.

Now just 3 years later, I am excited to be one of at least 100 other voices that I am connected with, who are sharing their story publicly in some way. They are speaking to others, counseling and supporting others. Some are advocating, painting, writing books, articles or blogs. Others are creating National or World Wide Events; some are choosing to reach out privately with friends or family. Then you have others that are coming forward to testify in public trials and have their abuser prosecuted!!!

So I ask this, “When will this pandemic of abuse and violence get the attention of our media and even more importantly, our law makers? Why aren’t our politicians, our schools, and our neighbors willing to speak about this topic? Don’t we talk about the crime of bullying? Isn’t this the worst type of bullying? Afterall, these crimes are about power over another human being and nothing else!!!

When I look at the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services Reports, I can see the reports of child abuse and it astounds me that people are refusing to talk about such a prevalent crime. There are crimes of abuse against our children, in this state, occurring every 4.6 seconds and 79 deaths related to domestic disturbances in 2011, which you will find on the home page of Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. http://www.state.il.us/DCFS/docs/CANTS2010.pdf & http://www.ilcadv.org/resources/statistics/FY10DataSheet.pdf . These are vicious crimes of Assault, Battery, Aggravated Sexual Battery; Assault with a Deadly Weapon and more. It goes deeper in to reach the emotional battery, financial captivity and brainwashing of another human being.

“How outraged we would be if a stranger committed any of these crimes!!!”

This is even worse because these crimes are being committed by those we live with, most of whom we are dependent upon in some way. The criminals aren’t strangers, they are what the law sees as Domestic or Parental.

“Apparently when it is one of these related to us in some way – THEN IT IS NOT A CRIME!!” Really??? Why not???

What makes the acts of violence from someone related to us; someone who resides with us or used to reside with us; what makes this any less a crime???

Imagine if these were punished for the crimes they are. I know our prisons would not be able to handle all of these attackers. What if we put people to work by building a facility in each county that would hold just these who attack someone they live with? Build one facility for those who offend against their partner/spouse/boyfriend or girlfriend, then build another for those who attack children within their residence or one who is a relative.

This action would promote employment. It would give a greater good by providing a prosecution deserved of these crimes and a sense of justice for the victims. A child who is left to grow up at the access of their abuser will have long-term physical and mental health issues. I am one myself who suffers the aftermath. It is already proven that these crimes can lead to conditions such as; P.T.S.D., Depression, Personality Disorders and physical problems such as Fibromyalgia and other Auto Immune Diseases. It breaks down our ability to fight off these conditions, which can also lead to a lifetime of either emotional or physical disability. This alone creates a severe impact on our economy.

The Center for Disease Control reports an estimated cost of $124 BILLION a year to support those recovering or left damaged from these criminal attacks of child maltreatment. They also show costs exceeding $8.3 BILLION a year for the direct consequences of Intimate Partner Violence.

http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/childmaltreatment/index.html

http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/intimatepartnerviolence/consequences.html

“How is it that our politician’s refuse to touch on this topic, especially during election time? Why aren’t we as a society outraged about this? Not just the crimes themselves but what it costs the government in funding, which is being cut more & more each year, but also about the severity of these crimes and the long-term damage of its victims. How can we be aware of these facts and their costs, but still put our head in the sand?

“You cannot UNKNOW something!!!” So what is the explanation that anyone has for being silent or forcing someone else into silence when these crimes sneak in to invade our lives?

I pray that after reading this you will be a bit more enlightened and empowered to speak with knowledge and conviction about this cancer eating away at our society. If this were a medical disease we would be pulling out all the stops to raise funds and battle against it, but because it happens within what should be the safety & privacy of our homes, we choose to turn away and pretend we don’t know about it; hoping secretly that someone else will step up to report it or do something about it. Our politicians only get involved when we as people make them live up to the job they were put in office to uphold!!! They’ve got a lot on their plate to deal with right now, but hey, my ideas aren’t half bad and it would help with our financial status and put people back to work.

The victims of these crimes, either child or adult, truly need to have their voices counted now more than ever. Show the public and our law makers just how wrong, the already shocking statistics, really are. There isn’t anyone within the reach of cable television that isn’t aware of the violence within our homes. Intimate Partner Violence and Child Abuse; Sexual Assault & Abuse; these crimes are being shared in the news and in the movies, sit-coms, daily Soap Operas and more, even after school specials are touching on these subjects.

Victims, if you are still trapped in this abuse, I beg you to please reach out for help!!!!

Survivors, I beg you to have your voice counted and your story heard, not just for others but also for your own healing.

Public, I beg you to please get outraged over these crimes!!! Surely if it happened to someone you know and love, you wouldn’t be so quick to turn away!!!

Positive Affirmations for You:

You deserve to be safe

You deserve respect

You deserve kindness

You deserve as much love as you freely give to others

You deserve roses in your garden of life

(c) Patricia A. McKnight

Advocate/Author/Speaker/Survivor & Dreamcatchers Talk Radio Host

“My Justice” – see links for Amazon.com/Authorhouse.com/BN.com in blogroll

http://www.facebook.com/triciagirl62

http://www.dreamcatchersforabusedchildren.com

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dreamcatchers

To make a report of Child Maltreatment – 1-800-422-4453 Childhelp Helpline http://www.childhelp.org/

To make a report of Intimate Partner Violence – 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) National Center of Domestic Violence http://www.ncadv.org/

To make a report of Sexual Assault – 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) RAINN http://www.rainn.org/