WWL>Topics>>4-7 3:10pm Angela: on human trafficking

4-7 3:10pm Angela: on human trafficking

Apr 7, 2015|

Angela hosts a panel on human trafficking featuring Jim Kelly of Covenant House, FBI Special Agent-In-Charge Mike Anderson, Col. Mike Edmonson of the state troopers, and Dr. Rae Taylor of Loyola University.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

When we think of slavery we think of the past but it's alive and well today. When we speak of sex trafficking we often think of actions and far away countries. Not in New Orleans but it's here. Just a week ago a seventeen year old girl was rescued in a sex trafficking case. A New Orleans man and woman have been arrested. And charged with trafficking of children for sexual purposes. It took the efforts of the FBI and the state police and the NO PD. To say that teen. How many others are out there young people being forced to work in the sex trade or forced into labor. If for recently released study by illegally university is any indicator. It's probably more than any of us ever realized. This is considered modern day slavery. And how connect but he. We're going to find out from the experts. Doctor rape tailor our researcher for the legal study and an assistant professor of criminal justice. Mike Anderson special agent in charge of the FBI's New Orleans division. Colonel Mike Edmondson head of the Louisiana state police. And Jim Kelly executive director of Covenant House in New Orleans. I am just beyond thrilled that all of your in this room together because it's really is an opportunity I think to educators all. We hear the words sent sex trafficking. It's still. Difficult even for me to think that it's in rural it's. But it is and so let's start off with what is what is the difference between sex trafficking in what we all. Thought of as just prostitution. Although this is beyond prostitution. Angela because this this could involve the age group and and the chance to visit homes and and and and outside of Rome of course across Louisiana and and has software they've been known for 25 years with the Covenant House James Kelly has an. Incredible group that that took place to stay in the these individuals that can can can take a chance to redo their life to get start all over again human trafficking. Is beyond prostitution prostitution. In many aspects is is an individual's prostitute themselves for dollars. What we've got in human trafficking is that someone is being forced to do that. And if they don't do it they're beaten things are taking came away from him and we watch and learn some young kids into this would. You know but by doing things on that they don't normally get to do and we saw that in any case is three individuals and Alexander it was stopped there won't there way to Atlanta. And they were gonna use. Back page actually get the information out and and and to sell herself but they were actually don't want someone was forced him to do so same thing with this case here in New Orleans. What is the biggest concern of the FB yeah. Probably our biggest concern reporting. Because you've got. Oftentimes these victims are there they of drug addiction potentially they might have mental health issues. They probably already been healing needed from friends and family in or maybe distrustful law enforcement. So we haven't a difficult time identifying. Individuals that report this information from the inside in so I think that's probably the biggest challenge once we get good leads. And one thing that I think has been good the Internet has been. Has promoted a sex trafficking but it's also help law enforcement. To use that as a tool to try to identify. Victims and get these cases started. Doctor Taylor you were one of the researchers for the really incredible study that loyalty did. If you could just sort of give us your insights into what you saw you went to Covenant House she interviewed 99 young people. Were you surprised. I we surprise and the reason that we did that caddie once could get some idea Evelyn. So are adding that a stock of wines first bout in New York City coming up there. The question because they feel like you are. Now the date on a couple of trade I'd despair sport that widget. Chu astronomical number we think about. What we're talking about here. And we went to it very actively it. A late but I of course we are priced at it that we had the same prevalence rate. Among our political affairs. Agreed to keep up or excel that we went through February to June of last year. I'd check him out for your locker mean how to then we are cute. Began people are pocket then trotted anywhere there and it's got to ask our people told their stories that we heard. Just unimaginable. Tragedy. That it incurred not all and it occurred not only. In situations that they did trafficking situation and of which were being that why law. Accommodations. Are within their Stanley community. Let me ask Jim Kelly. Is this 14%. That was discovered in the study. Indicative of perhaps what it was the year before the year before ten years before or have you seen an increase as time's gone. But that 14%. OK as there is. Doctor ray would tell you that's an under reported number because mother I ask you you've been about the human trafficking in Utah on the Ottawa talk about. We don't count two and our number so that 14%. Could easily be 18%. And that's what we estimate that that's about a hundred young people here who walked through the doors covenants who've been humanly traffic. I am fearful. That with the Internet in so many different. Aspects of pornography prostitution. And child abuse sexual assault domestic violence. I'm a I'm afraid but we don't have numbers won't be clear. That we could be seen that trending up not a trending down there's a lot more attention on human trafficking in the last three to four years than there's ever bad. Now but. So this is the importance of oil study there is so little hard data. That we can look at to make that comparison but but I my fear is is that we are starting to see a slight tranda. We had and we made eight arrests and all of when he fourteen and that's a individuals who actually trafficking peoples state police numbers and we worked on. We've already started ten investigation so fall this year and we're just a few months into it so that's indicative. What we're seeing out there with the numbers that are involved and again. For clarification. Trafficking is being held against your will pass as a individuals that were trafficking individuals against their will it takes a while we're those cases when. And FBI can certainly tell you that also it it is not something you you can stumble upon some play debit actually get them involved get him on an undercover capacity and worked these cases. And make teaser rates arrest takes a while do and and can't investigations so far this year. That tells you know what he's saying is true. And it's important to to really clear definition here because it's not. It doesn't have to be actually being held hostage and you're well that he trafficking. I'm according to that catch fire protection act that act as defined. Anywhere that occur and I went there compelled to work I'd sport trot of course and so chair at some point it we heard from people who were. I'm point fortunate to our transport it helped cap damage. For how it's not or do their part the labor. But it's not only being held hostage at an Indy start and at what a person is a debt has helped to work by sports via a court that. And they are still here well I bet that the per cent controlling. It they know. Not Q report or not he would eat at how anybody they'll watch and they're not being as. And on other other like they are doing anything I cheered that curry and the Bible. That they're being paid with their but it is the idea of taking their money out there just seeing how pop. Okay we're gonna have to take a break we're gonna come back Jim Kelly you wrestling next but I I'm glad again because this is an opportunity to paint a real picture here. But I know that there are people probably listening saying. But aren't there opportunities for these young people to run. To get away and we do need to address that as well stay with this we'll be right back financial on data that you well. We are back talking about sex trafficking it is happening in this city. In our state with the doctor ray Taylor who was one of the investigators with the study done at ten Covenant House for illegally university. A very important one that showed of the 99 people they interviewed 14% of them. Had been involved in and non. Trafficking. Labor or sex trafficking we also have Mike Anderson who has headed the FBI here colonel Mike Edmondson with the head of state police. And Jim Kelly executive director of Covenant House. Again thank you'll for being here this. Something you just said Jim. Said all the years you've been in Covenant House all the young people that you have mentioned Helton nurtured. You saying it's about seduction. Of the most vulnerable. That's right that's right I I was talking to a former victim that what we would like to close survivor. And she became involved in human trafficking at the age of eleven. When you say that's. Specifically. Somebody lord her career into doing sexual she's she came from a dysfunctional abusive spam she ran away. And she and some of the young women that she was running away with were lowered. In two. In essence a whore house as we would use an old time terminology. And they became. The merchandise and we're being born and so. 5 PM. And and you know she was a bear creek vulnerable young when she did she ever tried to run was over the fear of they'll kill me or hurt me if I do I have met as they set are met with her today that's exactly what depend threaten. That I wish you two and I will kill you if you try to run. Is this again going back the term human. Sex trafficking is this just. Fresh stronger eyes on the prostitution. That is always been against the law. But now where not turning. Our hand at. There's still obviously a bit of all that you know. Which you see any talk about them lowering the man Angela and that that's that's a key phrase there Chris here's a a young lady are young boy. Who has no attention shown him by spam you know as a young girl kitchen nails done testimony by you Parse address or taking draw party. And then these things happen and they say now to get this you gonna need to do some things and then they saw saying you know. I to have nothing I have something. And it as become more and lured into it. You know at some point maybe they reach a hand out and only person there to grab as a person or doing long now there's so many more people paying attention. For those hands being out and the ability from the federal state or local level from this Covenant House other locations who can go and it and grab those girls are said you know what. We can provide you with about a lifestyle we can provide you with that attention. And it's so which is goes much further beyond they were last week we go and work these cases where there. With prosecution where there was social workers were there with with doctors who can sit there and talk to these individuals and look at a different perspective so it's not just about law enforcement and more is not just about that arrest about what you do after that. Why is it difficult and to what Mike Anderson. To prosecute this what are the complexities. Well you first have to look at the difference between the minor between minors and adults if that's if you're involving minors coercion is implied so the government does not have to produce any evidence. That there was force fraud or coercion. I just the fact that they engage annals acts in he pimp facilitated it you've got you've got a case. With the adults you're gonna have to show evidence of of the manipulation. Possibly he'll physical abuse psychological torment some of those other elements. Or the threat of I couldn't leave because they were going to kill that's right threats are actual violence you're gonna have to present their case and I think one of the differences. That we're seeing over time because I was involved in in trafficking back in the 2003 through 2006 has for points supervisor for the FBI. I saw that the Department of Justice was was reluctant to take on some of these adult victims. The children not a problem because that coercion was implied but there was more of a challenge at that time because I think there was at the we were in denial that this was really eighty. Transaction between willing customer and a willing buyer when in fact that's not the case that's not the case with adults and it's not the case with children. And I think that that that sea change with in the department of justice's resulting in more of these investigations. In its simple winning Wimbledon law enforcement investigators and giving them some momentum to out make those cases even when you have adults and ball. And the reality is most of these take downs that we see here gonna have a bland of minors and adults and now were able to take a mall. Instead of just pulling the kids out and and not recognize the plight of the adult. And until what is the penalty. For instance if these two people man and woman who were arrested for the seventeen year old who you'll save last week if they're found guilty. All child. Sex trafficking. What is it. Well it's that the sentencing guidelines and federal system can't really speak of state it's complicated but there but it's a violent crime. So the organ they are now on the same kind of territory of other violent criminals. Verses garden varieties solicitation of prostitution or or more regular prostitution. So I think that puts in a different element. You know the other thing why I think this is seeing a spike is that drug traffickers are seeing that. That they can they can use these girls as products and they can resell them over and over again so if you sell heroin or cocaine you can only sell once. But if you have a girl he can seller over and over and over again. And then what they'll also do is they'll they'll they'll around the circuit so they don't just stay in Louisiana so the run I tandem they'll go from Houston to Atlanta. And that also makes it difficult for law enforcement to. To to pin him down there might be operating on a hotel for a week and then they're gone to the win. And now another law enforcement agency in another state. Has passed and I got up to twenty years in Louisiana 120. Okay wouldn't have to take another break we got into the newsroom find out what's going on. But please stay with this this is a really important discussion with the experts I mean July under the that you well. Well the subject is sex trafficking the sex trafficking going on in our community. Not some foreign country and our community. Learning a lot from people who. Are really experts in the field whether it be Mike Anderson with the FBI air colonel Mike Edmondson Jim Kelly was Covenant House and doctor ray Taylor. Who worked on the loyalists study doctor Taylor I'd like to go back to you. You're listening to everything their. These people are saying what did you what do you hope your study achieves now that it's out. Doctor Taylor. Yes I can. The ball and awareness and education and still being able to get the word out I would. Why we appreciate. Time on your program and other we've had a really warm that's it. What we hope to achieve it training. For police with the practically actually your net that there are problems and partied and got. Making distinctions between prostitution and trafficking and things like that the training Tripoli chain in Secret Service providers. And understanding Natalie prevalent are these nature and scope of the problems. More resource for our community. Under an option on these are wonderful and we need more more partner organizations that provide. Oh culture and transitional housing that number there that. As the party's stand as a particularly. Vulnerable group of people. Who are prodded to trafficking indeed there. Note that these people that we talked you hide that fact and that actual violent in their homes their necks you know is not violent. And then you know trying to run away from Paul had been on the race by their right. Again the variety of problems on tour which they need terrorist that money you get out of the need more that action unity. I'm one of the things that we feel is. The recent board. It isn't that the work production repeated an out how you are definitely Abbott. The leader in the job market didn't occur violent rage on for a whole a lot a lot of people are trying to they get. And the people we talked to look out and their homes but thirteen fourteen to yours all expected for their eyes. Do you mean aren't there laws. The parents just can't abandon ship. Well. Yes it well there's opera applaud. That. Violate that might get illegal they're actually abused her physically abused child beater. Net gear lot that is that the baker act here and there currently are. Reaped forty and under report had a bet that not. But it went in and and you know doing and our production and it's the Allen here. 25%. At the people that we are there that the young people that we energy. And pop. Like act actual labor. So does that work all that. It's worked all dancing and mystery at security. And they're kind that so they're. He people had been offered and actionable. Actually protected we need to act and passion for. A word Gary Hart an album we want it to be very conservative. In the other out in the study of the awareness and intervention and that. Not indicate that we top tier rather intact and I'd bet against fat people and our. Still most of the act and that we are too fat. They urged on the street right here in while he trade fact turn Arnie or in Dayton and other illegal activities. And being that the party honorable people it can be there the fact that they can't get a top out right now how education that they need. My ear you're you know trot it out at a YouTube. The percentage of the money dares to practice when they are able to get what network either life in danger. How did they how do you and I guess amassing Jim Kelly or anybody. Once somebody who is vulnerable like that once they have been. Seduced. How did they break that even though you had your arms wrapped around them now even though. There are social services. That can go how do you break that mentally. You start first with the basics and you feed them clothed them and provide them with love and attention. That's pure it's unconditional that doesn't come with strings. And then we have good wonderful counselors some good that this work for 25 years and they can sit down. And talk Turkey. And they can look young woman in the let her know that they care greatly about her and tell them that at the same points or to talk and explain. What how they're being manipulated how they're being used and abused. We've got social workers we cut psychiatrist we have counselors and and and day and we have former former kids who used to live on the street who are counselors now. So it is developing what we call covenant relationship. We developer relationship with these kids that is healthy. Because most of our kids have no idea it would help the relationship it and then. You take it a day at a time is their family out there that we might be able to reunite them when it. Can we find them would they be willing to take to the wanna go to that and that uncle if there's not a a healthy home. Can we help them find a job can we get them into a job training program like liberties kitchen or cafe reconcile can we get them back into school. We treat the whole human being that's what we've all got to do in as race had we we need more services there's a lot of kids out there who need off. And and are many many wonderful partners. And as far as we're gonna have to take another break but I want you all to be talking to our law enforcement group here. Should there be or is there an answer is their penalty for those who buy the sex not just those who were selling it. While we take a break we'll come right back we'll get answers to that. It for me. Again our subject is sex trafficking them that exist right here in new Moreland sent. To our law law enforcement we have sort of left off asking the question for those who were the purchasers. Of sex can they be charged. And are you seeing. Locally more individual Kemp type people or is more like syndicates or or. More sophisticated groups. You don't owe him a go ahead we're seeing accommodation that in Louisiana and we certainly are arrest those individuals that are soliciting sex for dollars. And we're providing those names a list of the dish attorneys across the state because. By educating him again and information now it it it it sends a message to to the public. But also lets those individuals know that you know what you're going to be charged what did you Camby chart Clinton as a there's a penalty involved into it. Let's say something real quick too that this was something we weren't a warning years ago and sat down when I became superintendent. Who sent our governor general said you know which are all really working these cases or Ellis who were really not make it a priority. He has law wanna make it parties want a mob properties in and we've we've invested over 500 cases since January of 2008 and we have a an actual unit and individually do this around the clock. Operation child watches it huge. An issue about state police and our federal partners to actually reach out to those individuals from a human traffic perspective but also those individuals that are soliciting. You know because at some point and then and they do they they won't they won't those younger kids. It's just giving to that to that individual and getting that person is involved attitude and it's happening and I hear this rather stay they go but he should happen in Louisiana. That that's that's that's over season in Europe and us and now it is happening right here we're seeing it it's here and it is. It is also. Inner mixed with the Internet I know that FBI hasn't you have a great group that works fighting that fight. That's right our we have a group that's together because there is some some overlap or so we have our innocent images which is the online child exploitation. And an innocence lost which is the child sex trafficking the wrong one squad. And we partner with Alice NO PD and the Department of Homeland Security each SI. In all the different entities. Prosecution federal stateside because of well work these cases. First of all we we treat these a lot like gang investigations were looking for the biggest organization we confined. To make the biggest impact. And then we will Parse out defendants often times and we will decide are we gonna take some of the statement take some weeks federal. Will look at those that are soliciting we'll search and our primary focus is on the par is on the pimps in the organizational leaders. And then with the victims we tried to handle handoff to places like Covenant House. And we even on staff and I'm sure Ellis. We have victims specialists that kind of serve as intermediaries that handoff as easier for an investigator. To hand it to a victim specialist hand to Covenant House because one of a huge challenges here which has been talked about the sour. Is the amount of funding and the amount of time and energy in rescuing the victims. Pokes takedown. And law enforcement simply is not equipped to handle that so so thank god for Covenant House. Again and I think that's that is loud and clear the the cooperation among law enforcement but now the integration of the social services with law enforcement. It is it's got to be the answer. Know very very very good don't wanna lose doctor Taylor doctor and you're at your final thoughts on on what this report has done. Well and rejecting it as I can about three weeks ago affiliates and really won't rule on that very action meat I've had the opportunity point. He kind of date picker in the community. You know hockey team that I mentioned here and then that attorney Kent couch. And I think we've got the attention of everyone and everybody cared about the to. That matter working out and beat cal and each. The service providing and and criteria about strategy for dinner and sent. And other things that we desperately need as much as patient protect the that the trafficking. We speak fart Lott sent back to protect our act as. Pot it's either really getting set that perpetrators but several refreshing to hear. It straighter than an ad that talked about the different approach that we need to let it should you maverick streak that Iraq had that demands. A rape you know on a college campus. For example and it failed to violently beaten get out so we've got (%expletive) about it well I think it is on at least keep the congregation telling. I keep spreading awareness education will start to make the changes that we need to take. That is so important because if you don't have a market. Than you don't have crime. The back a year and so that has to be an element in the law enforcement angle it. Chief amendment colonel Edmonton you were gonna tell us a phone number. Yes this is a state police fusion center this man about. Our federal orders FB and all the state and local partners involved it's it's houses and state police headquarters in Baton Rouge produced 1800. 434. 8007804348007. 24 hour man operation you can call and when information ask questions or are give things to us so we can. All of okay. I'm Jim. That you carry the world on your shoulders and really do. I know I am blessed I am twelve we we we won't we together. As law enforcement and social services that together we are staffed our volunteers we are blessed by these kids. Because it's so important in the midst of all this discussion all they've been through. That people understand they're good and they are parade in just Michael teenagers they are filled with hope. And promise and I just hope that we. Can keep the fires burning. And together we can say we are not going to allowed the sexual trafficking of our children to. Continued that we are going to eradicate sexual trafficking in this state. And I hope that you will stay with us in you know that keeping this message alive out there as we seek funding and as we seek care for these very vulnerable. And deserving a well. Again on nothing but encouraged by the fact that the FBI and state police need NO PD and these social service agencies are working together. That is what it is going to take. I can't thank you enough doctor retailer Mike Anderson with the FBI colonel Mike Edmondson and Jim Kelly thank you for all that you do. We'll be right back I'm. But I do well.