tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera February 25, 2016 1:00am-1:31am EST
>> i'm ali velshi. "on target" tonight. stop the cycle, how young women get caught in the cycle of prostitution to prison and how targeting men might be the way to save them. prostitution is often described as the world's oldest profession but some of us see it as the world's most troubling profession. that's because prostitution and sex trafficking often involves, poorest members, women, miles an minors, women and girls who frequently suffer physical and sexual abuse as children and the lives of
many sex workers involve illegal drugs. it puts them on a path that leads to the juvenile justice system and prison. because prostitution in america is illegal. check this out. in 2010, nearly kay 63,000 people were arrested for -- near 63,000 people were arrested for prostitution in the united states, 43,000 were women. that's 69%. that means less than othird were men including male pursuits, pimps and johns. the common discrepancies is it is easier to focus on the supply side than the demand side. that's because busting johns require cops to use a decoy. cops in contrast could simply solicit women on the streets. now law enforcement is actively targeting men who buy sex and
women who sell it as victims in need of help. in the weeks before this year's super bowl, authorities busted 522 sex buyers and 30 pimps, as part of what's known as the national johns suppression initiative. now since 2011 had nationwide effort has led to the arrests of more than 4400 johns. to get a closer look we headed to california. the sheriffs department gave us an inside look how it's using a different strategy to face an age old problem. >> in a seedy motel in the suburb of los angeles, the county's new human trafficking task force, prepares for a complicated undercover operation. the target, men soliciting pursuits.
>> whaprostitutes. >> what we are doing is commonly known as johns. it is always dangerous, 50 on this operation, undercover people uniforms on the outside who can actively move in. >> uniformed deputies hide out in a model bathroom. undercover deputies wired for sound posing as young sex workers walk out on the street. and the johns sting begin. >> want to hang out? for everything? 40. >> a sidewalk encounter leads to a motel rendezvous. the deputies burst out of their humble hiding space. the alleged johns are handcuffed, taken to a makeshift booking room a few doors down and carted off to jail. >> we are switching our tactic and we have changed our philosophy.
>> the operation is part of a shift in how law enforcement across the united states views prostitution. authorities are shifting the emphasis away from arresting sex workers, and focusing instead on those creating the demand. >> we put the responsibility for this crime on those who deserve it, and that's our trafficker, our exploiter and our buyers. >> this regional task force i have no doubt will be a national model. >> last fall jim mcdonald the sheriff of los angeles county announced that his department would radically step up the arrest and prosecution of johns and traffickers. >> we put together this bureau that now has 50 detectives, but in addition to that, then we have prosecutors, we have a deputy district attorney, we have an assistant u.s. attorney embedded with us as well. >> mcdonald lisa stark wanted to change how sex workers are viewed. the word prostitute is strongly discouraged here.
>> we consider them victims. >> the head of the human trafficking bureau. >> we don't want our victims in a setting, jail setting, police station setting. >> underaged sex workers are no longer arrested, but brought in for questioning. >> designed for an atmosphere that's different from where we are interviewing suspects, try to elicit the best evidence to allow us to proceed to prosecute those that have victimized them. >> there is a good reason why the area resembles a child's room. >> when you get in the room you can see it, many times they go, "i just want to be a kid." >> that's whether you realize,
these girls have been pushed ten, 15 years ahead of their time and it's sad. >> many have suffered sexual abuse as children. >> children cannot consent to sex and we look upon the buyers and the traffickers as facilitating child rape and they're child molesters. >> when a young person gets involved in this lifestyle, the tragic part of it is that so many of these young people come from foster care, they estimate about 70% of them. >> 30-year-old anika, now living if nashville, she suffered a traumatic childhood on the mean streets of detroit. >> the age of birth to the age of 12, i was in seven different foster homes and each home i experienced being molested and abused by people who were
supposed to be taking care of me. >> anika has been arrested 87 times on prootion an on prostitg charges. >> i did what i had to do to survive. i didn't know it was prostitution, it happened so suddenly by men who were supposed to love me. >> girls are the fastest growing segment, what we found was sexual abuse was what was catapulting them into the system, particular our women of color. >> jasmine is part of the girl's story. 73% of the girls in the u.s. juvenile just system have past trysts of physical and sexual violence. >> perhaps the greatest example more than 1,000 american
children are arrestfor prostitution. >> hela knows most, she estimates she has been arrested more than 100 times on prostitution and drug charges. she now counsels women in prison like herself. >> early childhood abuse, physical, sexual, emotional, my mox used to bring men into the bed whether i was six years old. that went on for several years. then i moved to california and ran away. >> sheila lived a life on the run. she met and fell in love she thought with a plan who was a pimp. >> started actually selling my body to take care of myself. it was natural. but the reality of it was it was still failed systems. i'm not saying that committing
crimes is okay but there's factors that play into the women getting where they're at. it is our responsibility as a community to help them. >> for the first time in her life sheila felt she had options other than a life of prostitution in prison after she discovered an innovative treatment program in nashville. >> i got to the program, it gave me my life back. >> i no longer have to walk the streets or steal my food or look for someone to love me. >> thistle farms is designed to help break the sexual abuse prison pipeline. flee housing and job training. >> i would describe the women that are here as survivors. on average, the women that we serve are first raped between the ages of seven and 11. >> beca stevens is an
episcopal priest. she founded thistle farms, since then it has evoferred to evolved, sales revenue was $1.7 million last year. >> the idea that they were just doing recovery work and going to meetings and learning life skills, it wasn't enough. they had to make a living. economic independence is a huge part of that welcoming back. >> good morning, my name is anika, i'm a 2015 graduate of the residential program. >> anika rogers is one of the 84% clean and sober relationship, in a health relationship for the past two years. >> we own a home together and he treats me like a queen and i am
deserving of being treated as a queen today. >> i would never have imagined this junkie who has a record that's out of this world would be a director of any organization, let alone getting to work with women like me. i love getting into a prison and being able to walk out of the prison. >> coming up, we'll take a close are look at cracking down on johns, and why police
>> all right as you just saw, girls are the fastest growing segment of the juvenile justice system. as you heard earlier, on average they enter the sex trade in the united states between the ages of 12 and 14. many sex workers suffered abuse as children, battered physically and emotionally, many never leave the profession. loarmt law enforcement officials are taking a new approach, stepping up the arrest of johns and pimps. attorney peter brill is a criminal defense attorney who representatives prostitutes and johns. conconsenting sexual activity
between adults is another situation . versus adults and miles a >> surely. if you are having sex with a minor, that's no excuse whatsoever. >> what we've heard from back page and craigslist, there's an undeniable connection between minors and sex traffic which leads this pipeline as you saw in the report into adult sex workers. when you make that connection does that change your view of whether or not this is a consenting act between two adults? >> it may not be the consenting act between two adults but the demand and supply side of this are not problem. neither side deserve to be in the criminal justice system. and the problem with law enforcement, law enforcement believes this is a binary problem. now the johns are in the wrong, the people in the wrong are the
traffickers and that's where the problem is and that's where law enforcement should be focusing. >> okay so in that case and let's use drugs as the example it's been the same sort of thing right? we got the users, we got the sellers but in the end you want the traffickers and you want the people higher than the traffickers. how do you do it in the sex trade? who should you be focusing on to get to the traffickers? >> there's no issue focusing on both sides of the equation so long as you are not focusing criminal justice resources. if you ask intercept the seller, buyer, get information from both sides and that will lead you to the source of the violence the source of the money laundering the source of the potentially even terrorist funding that comes from these large criminal enterprises. >> what is the, if you are a hammer everything is a nail. but what is it that we use to get to this if not criminal justice system? in other words if there is nobody really to be held
criminally responsible for a set of acts that lead minors into the sex trade, how do we deal with it? >> just like you said. drugs, sex, thee are basic human -- these are basic human impulses you can't stop from wanting no matter how much money you throw at it. if you can change the mindset, no hammers no nails, not everyone is bad or good, you take though resources and use them to investigate and focus on the real problem. >> but there is a bad, somebody who is enticing miles an hour to enter the sex trade is a bad. >> from a normal john all my clients probably all the men out there who are bu buying sex, don't think they are buying sex from a minor -- >> i'm not sure that is true, men who buy sex who didn't think they were doing anything more
wrong than buying sex may come to realize that hey am i supporting some kind of a criminal enterprise that's encouraging young girls to get into a life they don't want? >> sure. just like in this report where a sex work he last these classes, a lot of classes in the country offering john classes, that are just as effective. they are trying ogather intelligence from the johns us just like the sex workers. >> what did you think you were getting into? >> exactly. >> that's not a bad thing then. >> no, the classes are very effective, cut down on recidivism, meaning, very few get caught again going through these classes, educate men to see they shouldn't be looking on back page used to be craigslist, where a lot of this trafficking is going on in the dark behind the scenes, and there are a lot of people realizing this is not probably the best place i should be --
>> in sweden where prostitution, it is legal if you are the prostitute, it's illegal if you are the john. they have created a system that is not binary, only one side of the deal is technically illegal. it has reduced trafficking. weird from the justice system though. >> if the police are focusing on the trafficking, as opposed to the adult getting into a transaction with another adult, then that's the right way to do it and i think that's the way they're doing it in sweden and the way they should be doing it here. >> let's look at the graphic, 70% of the reachts are female these are prostitutes, the jus justice system is mostly
focusing on prostitutes. >> that's a vast waste of resources, it's going to take a while for society to realize, that now that human trafficking is that much of a problem. a waste of resources. >> even if we don't go after that many jobs, that proportion is going to go up because we're going to end up prosecuting more women. peter brill, a criminal defense attorney. come up, apple versus the fbi, a battle over security and privacy, >> hunted to the brink of extinction. >> we need an urgent method that stops the killing. >> now fighting back with a revolutionary new science. >> this radiocarbon dating method can tell us if trade of ivory is legal. >> it could save a species. >> i feel like we're making an impact. >> techknows team of experts show you how the miracles of science... >> i'm standing in a tropical windstorm. >>...can affect and surprise
breaches and destroy security for hundreds of thousands of americans. in 2013, alone, apple said it gave up private customer data in response to more than 3,000 law enforcement requests. yet in the san bernardino case it has flat-out refused to do so. the company claims it's basically being forced to become an agents of law enforcement, and now apple has drawn a line in the sand. to help explain why is michael fertig, the executive chairman of representation.com and a great friend to the -- reputation.com and a great friend of al jazeera, good to see you. they are framing this as an attempt by government to create a so-called back-door into phones and people's privacy. >> yeah, exactly. let me just say ali all great
credit to you and your amazing team, your news production team at al jazeera america, i wish you weren't going home, i wish you guys continued ongoing great success on tv and beyond. >> thanks michael. >> yeah, you're right, there is a big conflict between fbi and apple. but my interpretation based ton facts and background is there is a lot of sturm and dral, a lot more pr. apple has been complying with requests from all levels of law enforcement from the national level the feds to local law enforcement in drug buss, in small crime case investigations for quite some time. about a year ago, year and a half ago they installed a new version of the operating system that made it a lot harder for cracks to happen. and so sent the fbi back on its back foot, made it harder for the fbi to do some of the work on their own and made it harder
in fact for apple to reveal some of the data that had been on the phone themselves. they kind of locked themselves outs in a way of their own phone. >> right. >> let's be clear, apple did comply with the fbi's requests in the san bernardino case itself in respect to the data in the icloud. not iphone. when it came down to the fbi's request to crack and open the iphone that this fellow, this perpetrator had in his possession, that apple drew the line in the sand. and i think that both sides of this issue are very, very pr driven. why do i say this? apple requested of the court that the fbi's request to unlock this phone be played under seal. they wanted a private request, that they could either dispute or comply with privately. and the fbi made the request extremely publicly. the fbi ahas a backlog of requests, this is one of them
that had been consuming with which apple has not been complying lately. and the fbi i think chose the most unsympathetic case a terrible i.s.i.s. terrorist to pin apple against the back wall which it effectively of course does. apple then says okay we are taking the moral high ground we will never comply with such an evasive request even though we are customers- >> even though they have, it says bill gates sides with the fbi i'm paraphrasing, he came out later and told bloomberg no i didn't side with the fbi. listen to what bill gates says. >> apple has access to the information. they're just refusing to provide the access and the courts will tell them whether to provide the access or not. you shouldn't call it any special thing. has anybody ever been able to tell the phone company, bank
records, there's no difference between information. the government's come asking for a specific set of information. >> now, bill gates claims he was being much more nuanced about this, and in fact when you listen to what he said he was being more nuanced. he didn't say apple should just do what the government says. but in silicon valley most of the tech companies have backed be apple, an advocacy group says apple's right, the government's wrong. >> it's about right, that nobody expects a nuclear terrorist investigation to be stymied by technology companies in a scenario. at the same time, we can imagine that petty infidelity, petty drug dealing, petty small crimes investigations from local law enforcement maybe should not get the same level of back door or investigative purview or access
or priority as a very important national matter should and will. so look, i believe that we also have to remember that it is very, very possible that the intelligence services of the word that counts including in the most complicated environments like china, could well have already done this crack themselves. okay this is not some magical crack, it is a very difficult one but it is definitely feasible. if it's feasible we can imagine apple saying we won't do it customers, we stand with you. if you look at the behavior and take the temperature down as we should when we are looking at headlines and hotly contested issues, fbi is putting pressure on apple, apple says we have a currency in trade globally, called reputation, privacy, trust. we will not compromise, we will fight for you, the reasonable reaction will
come over the bar as bill gates said. >> we thank you for the brain power that you have definitive. michael fertig. >> in the last lap of his presidency, barack obama is wrapping up unfinished business. like the promises of u.s. senator, candidate and new president, barack obama, to close down the prison at the american naval base at guantanamo bay, cuba. fewer than 100 inmates remain, and some have waited for years for trials, and some are already understood to be not guilty, but have no place to go. but what happens now? a problem of our making, it's the "inside story".