Tag Archives: Victimized

25 States Still Prosecute Child Sex Trafficking Victims

.jpg photo of a victimized children graphic
Our Children are being victimized every minute of every day.

Why Are Child Sex Trafficking Victims
Being Arrested?

Before you all begin this post, I want to say a few things.  On April 17, 2015, I published a post “Planned Parenthood Caught Giving Children Abortions“, and the sub-title was “U.S. Jails Sex-Trafficked Kids“.

I was able to utilize one of our new resources, Demanding Justice Report 2014, a study which was led by Ms Linda Smith, President and Founder, Shared Hope International, U.S. Congress 1995-99, Washington State Senate/House 1983-94.

This was a study of supply and demand of Sex Slaves, but especially about Child Sex Slaves.  We learned that the Law is really good about arresting the victim, but they also arrest the slavers sometimes.  Although they seldom EVER ARREST ANY BUYERS OF CHILD SEX.  You are probably asking yourself why, as you read this, and the answer is simple:  because the buyers are many times people in high places.

If you read this report, this Judge you are about to read about sounds just like what Ms Linda Smith talks about, CRONYS and GOOD OL’ BOYS.  This report is the first place I ever heard this called a “VICTIMLESS CRIME”, which made my blood boil white-hot.

Here we are 4 years later, and it is hard to believe 25 states still allow commercially sexually exploited minors to be charged and prosecuted for prostitution and human trafficking offenses despite federal and state laws that recognize these same minors as victims of child sex trafficking.
Robert StrongBow

Last month a judge in Kansas made national headlines for erroneously claiming that two girls — just 13 and 14-years-old — were “aggressors” in a case where a 67-year-old man paid them to have sex.

“So, she’s uncomfortable for something that she voluntarily went to, voluntarily took her top off for, and was paid for?” said Kansas Judge Michael Gibbens.

“I wonder, what kind of trauma there really was to this victim under those peculiar circumstances?”

The public responded with outrage, but the issue of children who are victims of sex trafficking being charged for prostitution and minor crimes they were forced to commit is nothing new.

Writing in a piece for Wichita State University, Dr. Karen Countryman-Roswurm from the Center for Combating Human Trafficking, Wichita State University and Linda Smith from Shared Hope International explain:

As a society, we must ask, why did money sanitize what, in any other circumstance, would be considered child rape?  And more concerning, how did the exchange of money shift the narrative so dramatically so as to characterize children as aggressors in the crime of which they were victims?

The answers lie in the paradox in which victims of child sex trafficking are legally apprehended and consequently, socially stigmatized.  Twenty-five states, including Kansas, still allow commercially sexually exploited minors to be charged and prosecuted for prostitution and human trafficking offenses despite federal and state laws that recognize these same minors as victims of child sex trafficking.

This paradox still exists despite an increase in awareness, and specific laws to protect children from such offenses over the last couple of decades.

Criminalizing youth who have experienced the horrors of commercial sexual exploitation, and oftentimes survived traumatic experiences that predate the exploitation, is not only the gravest of injustices but also prevents survivors from receiving critical services and ongoing, specialized care.

Notably, the age of consent in Kansas is 16, meaning sexual contact between an adult and the minors in this case was not consensual.  Still, comments on social media surrounding this case tried to place blame on these two girls, calling them “delinquent,” “out of control,” “promiscuous,” and “prostitutes.”

As Countryman-Roswurm and Smith write, “as Kansans we must ask ourselves: How do we really view individuals who have been victimized by and survived human trafficking?  If we truly care, how do we shift our culture to recognize all survivors of sexual violence, including child sex trafficking, as unequivocally blameless in the conduct that constitutes their very victimization?”

Child Predators Should Be Locked Up

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Chicago Lakeshore Hospital’s 60-bed children’s unit is Uptown. The hospital faces state and federal scrutiny after a rise in complaints alleging sexual and physical abuse.

Feds threaten to yank funding of
Uptown psychiatric hospital following
Child Abuse complaints

CHICAGO, IL  –  Federal authorities are once again threatening to cut off funding for an embattled Uptown psychiatric hospital beset by complaints of physical and sexual abuse of young patients, including foster children in state care.

Chicago Lakeshore Hospital officials said Friday they are “working to come into compliance with regulations” before a Dec. 15 federal deadline.  With more than 80 percent of its patients receiving Medicare or Medicaid benefits, hospital officials said the facility may shutter, reducing access to mental health services.  Layoffs began within the last few days, officials said.

Also Friday, a federal judge tapped experts at a Chicago university to do an independent review of the safety of children at the hospital, and Illinois health officials said they may pull the psychiatric facility’s state license.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services stopped admitting children in its care to the hospital one month ago amid an increased number of hotline calls alleging harmful conditions.  DCFS also began transferring foster children out of the hospital and stationing staff inside the facility 24 hours a day to better monitor its remaining patients.

Those steps were taken under pressure from child welfare watchdog groups and state lawmakers after separate reports about the hospital’s recent problems by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois.

The final foster child left the hospital Friday afternoon, said DCFS spokesman Neil Skene.  He said all are in foster homes or residential treatment facilities with support services.  While transferring children, two 17-year-old boys ran away in separate incidents, but both have been located, Skene said.

The hospital pledged to work with state and federal agencies to fix the problems.  It’s unclear, though, what inroads Chicago Lakeshore can make before a deadline that’s just two weeks away.  After another threat a few months ago to cut off government funding, the hospital asked a federal judge to intervene, then withdrew its request when regulators agreed to give the hospital more time.

On Friday, Lakeshore officials would only say that “options are being explored.”

“Many of the children we serve have no place else to go, and we offer the best hope for their stabilization and return to society,” Dr. Peter Nierman, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said in a statement.  “Frankly, this is a population that virtually no other facility wants to take, and I believe that without Lakeshore, the already tragic story of some of these children will only be further exacerbated.”

DCFS launched at least its 20th hotline investigation last week.  The latest complaint accused hospital staff of inadequate supervision regarding sexual activity between teenage patients.  It was the fourth hotline call in recent weeks, including a Nov. 19 complaint involving a 9-year-old patient who accused a staff member of choking her while trying to restrain the child.

The hospital had only about 17 total hotline investigations in the prior three years, according to DCFS statistics.  Most of this year’s hotline investigations were sparked when hospital staff, who are required to report under state law, notified child welfare officials of the allegation.

The Illinois Department of Public Health, which licenses the hospital, had been inspecting Chicago Lakeshore in recent months mostly for regulatory safety issues, such as whether adequate suicide-prevention measures were in place regarding the length of telephone cords or the doors to empty rooms were properly secured.  The state health department contracts with the federal government, which is in charge of Medicaid and Medicare funding.

On Friday, state public health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said recent media reports led the agency to also investigate complaints alleging young patients were physically or sexually abused.  Inspectors found the hospital staff failed to notify state health officials about the complaints as required, and that the facility often failed to take corrective action or launch sufficient investigations, according to the reports.

State health officials recommended termination of federal funding and are “looking at license suspension or revocation,” Arnold said.

On the federal front, the hospital was informed of the Dec. 15 deadline to cut off funding in a certified letter dated Thursday.

“We have determined that the deficiencies are so serious they constitute an immediate threat to patient health and safety,” wrote Nadine Renbarger, an associate regional administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  “The deficiencies limit the capacity of your facility to render adequate care and ensure the health and safety of your patients.”

In recent weeks, DCFS repeatedly has been hauled into federal court as it battles with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois over concerns about the psychiatric facility.  The ACLU, which monitors DCFS through a decades-old federal consent decree, called for an outside review of the hospital.

During a court hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso approved the University of Illinois at Chicago psychiatry department to oversee the review, which the hospital said it welcomed.

Chicago Lakeshore Hospital knows improvements can be made and we will continue to steadfastly make those improvements, but shutting us down is tantamount to throwing out the baby with the bathwater,” hospital CEO David Fletcher-Janzen said in a statement.

Alonso also ruled that a retired federal judge will be appointed with decision-making authority to help DCFS and the ACLU iron out its frequent disputes in the consent decree case.  DCFS unsuccessfully opposed the ACLU’s request for a so-called “special master,” instead favoring a facilitator without as much authority.

Chicago Lakeshore is one of the largest hospitals for psychiatric services in Illinois. An estimated one-quarter of DCFS kids who need inpatient psychiatric services are treated there, and many languish beyond their scheduled discharge date as the state agency struggles to find homes with appropriate services.

If the hospital closes, DCFS officials said the larger challenge is not just the dwindling number of psychiatric beds but the need for “a more robust mental health system to provide more treatment to more people in their own communities, without hospitalization.”

“The capacity of the mental health system is not just a DCFS challenge but a challenge for the state of Illinois,” DCFS Acting Director Beverly “B.J.” Walker said in a statement.  “We need to put more attention on ways to reduce the need for psychiatric hospitalization.”