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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  January 30, 2014 7:30pm-8:01pm EST

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>> hi, i'm lisa fletcher and you're in "the stream". at america's biggest sporting events, sex trafficking and the super bowl. our digital procedures, wajahat ali. is bringing us the networking answers. widely contested. >> everyone acknowledges this is a problem.
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huge debate online. whether or not these numbers are inflated and whether or not that hype is actually harming the victims. here on carol we could check a debate. ajam stream is sensationalizing it, exploited persons, i can assure you, carol, that is not our intention. why not bring attention to this topic? hannah agrees, she says more so, sex events go up at big events like the super bowl. we should be bringing attention on it especially for super bowl. on the flip side, matt says this actually doesn't happen at all, but it does to sell news. many people agree that this issue does in fact exist. >> we tend to think of sex trafficking as a foreign phenomenon. however, 24 children were
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victimized by sex traffickers at the 2009 super bowl in tampa, florida, some reports claim more than 100 cases, so we contacted some of the law enforcement agencies and advocacy groups those numbers were attributed to. and they said they were not the source of that information. deciddespite the contention, new jersey is mobilizing to cut down on trafficking at this year's super bowl. not only a myth but also one that weighs resources that could be -- wastes resources that could be put to better use. how can the sex trafficking be brought down and is the focus on the super bowl, helping or hurting, kenneth morris, brooke parker bell low, more to life,
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she is a survivor of sex trafficking. jane wells is the producer director of tricks, comprehensive look at sex trafficking in the u.s., and tracy thompson, chair of the new jersey human trafficking task force. welcome everyone to the stream. brook, prostitution, conscripting into the life are very different things. pulled into it at a very young age. you started when you were 11. how did that happen? >> well, with most victims, and i'd like to say champions because we have, i was violently raped, i came from a single parent home and i was violently raped. we ended up running away like a lot of kids and i was snatched off the street by traffickers. i didn't know what sex was. i was a straight a student, i was in in a dirty bathtub,
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injucted with drugs and -- injected with drugs and told, this is who you are, this is what you will do. >> you have created what is the most comprehensive documentaries, about sex trafficking, called district, what happens to the victims that your movie exposes? >> i think that every story is so tragic on its own. so they're all unheard until we really change the -- what's happening on the ground. i think some of the saddest stories for me are been that i went and interviewed people who are still stuck in that life. and when we turned off the cameras they had to go back out onto the streets and keep working. and that, for me, was perhaps the most tragic part and the saddest story. >> our community has been tweeting in all day lisa. so on facebook, these women are
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not in the business for themselves. they are slaves. adam says this is a myth, all this increasing during the super bowl, biggest urban legends ever, all arrests are local. benjamin: it highlights the issue, no distinction between sex work and sex trafficking. anna says, it receives more information on the issue, sex trafficking is something that occurs every day. kenneth i want to go to you with this. this has been this -- there has been this debate that this is a myth and the numbers are inflated and in fact we have two prominent antitrafficking groups, who says there is no evidence linking between increased numbers of sex trafficking and the super bowl. so if that's true why are we seeing this increase in headlines if you will and does that really detract from helping
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women, helping victims of sex trafficking? >> well, i think that when you look at the numbers, there is no hard data to show that there is an increase in sex trafficking. but when you look at historical slavery in the 19th century, when the emancipation proclamation was signed, we knew there were 4 million slaves that were freed, because they were property, they were on people's wills. when you look at this issue today this is an underground illegal activity. so it's very hard to count what you can't see. i can say that sex slavery is very real in communities all over the country, and the time that we spend in schools trying to educate young people on existence of human trafficking in an effort to prevent them from ever knowing this horrific crime, i can say it's very real. but when you are looking at specific data around the super bowl it's hard to make the claim. >> to that point tracy since there are no firm statistics
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when it comes to numbers that support an increase around these major athletic events, one, are you worried these numbers are inflated, and how do you know how to tackle there issue? >> let's put it here, if it was your child, wouldn't you want the state to use every resource to rescue your child from this horrific activity? class data, show there is a spike almost three times as many postings for commercial sex ads on online sites, they increase around the weeks leading up to the super bowl, and in the weeks following the super bowl. and then, number 3, there are other -- other data, and reports to the contrary do exist, but new jersey is not going to be that state that turns a blind eye, because the statistical
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analysis may not be as complete as some others would like it to be. >> well, a complete, versus nonexistent though. because when you ask advocacy groups, they say there are no hard and fast numbers. the leaders in this kind of analysis we talked to them today and they said major numbers attributed to them they said these are not our numbers, we don't know where they came from, it's hard to quantify anything. if it's your child or anyone's child, you want this to stop. when you are amassing a resource for a problem you don't know the scale about it, how do you go about doing that? >> because our strategy is lorchg term and sustainable-- long term and sustainable. new jersey was working on human trafficking before the super bowl and after the super bowl. our four pronged approach is outreach and warns and victim services and long term be attention to this long after the super bowl is gone.
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we didn't connect it. >> but brooke, so coming from a woman who has lived this and you know dozens, if not hundreds of victims who have lived this. >> yes lisa. these great talking points from advocacy organizations and government organizations, that sounds good but how does that translate to helping these girls and boys sometimes conscripted into a life of sexual slavery? >> fear is not a good way to bring awareness. focusing on one event like this is not really the way to go about it. but what's missing a lot of the times is what you can do with an event like this. uplifting ads and psas that get people aware of the family dynamics that are missed. fbi and law enforcement statistics, there is like a 20%
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mike in sex acts on craigslist and there are a lot of people in the city and a lot more busts for prostitution than victims that are found. is it inflated? completely inflated. is fear the way to go? no. but if we are going to focus on the super bowl then we are going to have to do uplifting ads that make families aware of the family dynamic, passing out chap sticks and awareness cards because we might be able to find a victim, andre dawson part of the fbi task force says a lot of victims come out of the wood works during the super bowl, and fbi are going to be in new jersey just for that, for victim identification. that is a good thing but what do you do after? >> our community echos that, to
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the very least, awareness can help. chris on facebook says sex trafficking is one of the big unspoken problems in the western world. maybe because we don't want nmgickanything icky like that. >> what signs are they watching for and will the time and the money invested net results? think about that. we'll be right back.
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class .
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>> welcome back. we're talking about sex trafficking around major sporting events line the super bowl. tracy you're the assistant attorney general for the state of new jersey. tell me what the state is doing to crack down on sex trafficking and its victims? >> some operations are covert.
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you'll definitely see an increased police presence statewide. not only in the meadowlands but not only in bergen county cpt, t safe assemblies, holding them at various community and state colleges around the state? educating students boys and girls about sex trafficking, how to prevent it how to help a friend how to save a life and where to turn to for help. >> kenneth, your whole organization focuses around a strong educational curriculum. talk a little bit about that and the effects you've seen around it. >> i absolutely love what's happening in new jersey because we believe this is the way this issue should be addressed in communities. we as human beings tend to act with an abundance of heart first. and typically the way this is addressed in communities is
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reactionary. we react to the victims and we provide services and rehabilitation as we should and we need to continue to do that. but we need to really look at prevention education. and get at the root of the problem. so that we can prevent a young person from ever knowing this crime. if you look at the example of what's happening in new jersey they're training law enforcement, hospitality workers are being trained, students are getting information that's going to help protect them. and this is the way that you really can go about effecting change and the resources that are used to prevent this, the cost is going to be a lot less than trying to clean up the draft or operate in disaster mode after somebody's bem somebn victimized. >> using the hasht ajamstream. -k new york save harbor law and marvin says, sadly it's more of
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a crime to sell drugs in many states than people. that needs to stop on a national level. and a question from monica, on facebook, aside from seeing young girs shoved in the trurntion of limos. >> what are some telltale signs that we can look out here to spot this so we as a community as citizens can help? >> first i want to say victim identification is so important, to hire a male full time for abolition demand prevention series that work with men ten years to 26. oftentimes a bottom girl and a trafficker she is also a trafficker will have a young girl and they'll try to look like a family. unique schisms. so it's little things you look at, just something out of place
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with that victim and with that trafficker. it's like they're acting like a family but something is off. and he's questioning her hand and -- compluching her hand and -- clutching her hand and not letting it go. she is walking ahead of him and you can tell he's talking to her but she never turns her head and he walks by her really fast, never says something to her, but never has dialogue. there's a lot of little nuances to spot in a large crowd setting. >> jane, i see you are nodding your head. are these things you realized in shooting your documentary? >> the lack of eye contact is a good sign, good indicator, and obviously, signs of bruising and other types of things that look like domestic abuse. also, tattoos that imply enslavement in some way or the name of somebody i think are
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also signs to look for. >> one of the things that's going on leading up to the super bowl tracy, we mentioned it briefly, there are legions of people, canvassing. >> a number of things. there was a missing children booklet developed through our glitch to trafficker program that we are working with in conjunction with class kids and free international the salvation army and also distributing posters that have our state hot line on them. we want people to be aware that there is help and help is available. and that traffickers will be prosecuted. new jersey has one of the toughest laws in the country and that's something that we're really proud of. you're looking at 20 to life if you are found guilty of trafficking. >> our community has picked up. linda tweets, sure, this
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coverage is highlight be awareness on this issue and charles on facebook says yep, the same thing happens in las vegas every day and chicago, portland, new york city, los angeles, memphis, sad lir on and on. >> that one tweeter creates an awareness, one week a year or one day a year, we'll talk about that when we come back. this issue keeps coming up like clockwork. there are other major sporting events that say the same thing happens during them. do you have any ideas for a more productive approach? tweet us your thoughts, using the hashtag #ajamstream. first, here are a couple of other stories we're watching.
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>> every sunday night al jazeera
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♪ every sunday night al jazeera >> i knew the third day i knew what he was trying to make me do. he told me, you're going to be a whore. this is exactly what you said, he said you're going to be a
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whore, you're going to be my ho, you're going to give me that much money, you don't have (bleep) to say about it because i've already got you here. like i just wanted my daddy. >> it's heartbreaking. welcome back. that was a clip from tricked. that's jane wells new documentary on sex trafficking. waj, we asked the community if there's a better way to deal with this problem year round. >> you mentioned that clip we just saw was heartbreaking. the community is empathizing with the victims. benjamin says, legalize sex workers and provide an escape mechanism. julie says stop prosecuting prostituted people. ga says life in prison for all involved except the prostitute.
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we need more education stable homes and support for the families. >> jane, the laws are on the books, the stories are out there. it doesn't seem that a lot has changed. you've spent so much time with pimps and the victims of sex trafficking. is there a more logical way to approach the problem? >> i think it's so complex, we need a multifaceted approach. it's fantastic. we also feel strongly from what i've seen, we all need to be more aware of what district attorneys are doing, whether they care about this issue. and the general public needs to be more informed so they can be good jurors when the criminal justice system brings these cases to trial. they're very hard to prosecute. if the general public doesn't understand the control that the
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traffickers have over their victims, it is hard to bring them t justice. we all have a part to play, actually. >> brooke, speaking of that control, what if anything can the communities do to help the victims break the bondage of their pimps? >> i think one thing is understanding that the word sex in and of itself, sex has the root word of intimacy. sex slavery really isn't sex and sex offenders are really rape offenders and it's not an offense. legalize sex work. sex isn't work and over 90% of prostitutes who got into it over 18, self-loath and have self-hatred. i think not to judge, not to assume just because someone is over 18 or 25, most prostitutes got into it as a chield. so by the -- as a child. they actually think they want to
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be there and they don't see a way out. so i think having more compassion and not discriminating against someone because all the victims that i work with, the survivors i work with an myself, the number one thing i wanted to know is who i was. and discovering your identity takes times. and we need give survivor champions time to discover who they really are. >> and tracy that's got to be an enormous complication when discovering this, they topt inanything else and for a injury who is uneducated about this, is going to think you made a bad choice, multiple bad choices, you chose to keep doing this. it must make prosecuting effectively very difficult. >> well it does make it difficult. fortunately about 18 months ago, senator kiaso, a former attorney general did initiate the directive 20-2, which initiated
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the human trafficking crimes provided for the liaisons in each of the 21 counties who were specifically trained in human trafficking and the whole purpose of the directive was to create an atmosphere in investigation and in prosecution, that would encourage victims to want to participate in the prosecution of the traffickers. we're this year proud to announce that we've created a 350,000 grand, specifically for victim service providers. and we will be announcing the recipient of that grant, very shortly. it's to provide holistic statewide services. there's no one organization currently in the state that provides services from hackensack to cape may, the breadth of our state. >> i've covered enough of these stories. i've spent a considerable amount
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of time from women in the sex industry and no matter how much they are assured in persons of authority that they can be protected the thing i've heard over and over on the street is no, you can't protect me, no you can't stop them from going to my home and breaking my baby's leg or taking this out on my family. the level of fear is so great, it seems almosting bigger to overcome. >> when you think of the hip hipocampus, the root of the brain, this is rooted into the very fabric of your being. just like helen keller, she was born a normal kid, something happened, she got a disease. and it took her years, to recover, restorative justice
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like tracy talked about what they're doing in new jersey, this is key. eventually, eventually, just like me and tina and rachel, whether you say apple, tree, it takes time for people to get to the place of wholeness. >> our community, best sex trafficking is to identify all players in this issue. and kenneth, prevention education, how can that be implemented? >> our curriculum has been approved by the new york city department of education for use in new york city public schools and as a result of that we've been hearing from cities all over the country about bringing our prevention education curriculum. and one of the common themes that i hear when talking to groups that have been working so hard on this issue for 20 years, and not really seeing a lot of progress, is that they have not tried education. and when we talk about
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education -- >> i've got to cut you off there kenneth, we're out of time. thank you for a wonderful discussion tonight. we'll see you online. everyone, welcome to al jazeera america. against their will, humans bout and sold at tonight, a closer look at the hidden crime of sex trafficking. a update on a syrian baby girl pulled from the rebel of war. fire tragedy, nine members oif kentucky family killed in a house fire, why it could have been prevented. and point of youth, doctors discover a protein that could make the old seem young again.

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