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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Juvenile Prostitute, 16, Rescued in San Jose Police Sting



video 

She's 16 years old… and she began her life of prostitution when she was just 11 years old. 

For this young woman, her days of selling her body are over. During a two-day prostitution sting last week along the Monterey Road Corridor, officers from the SJPD Human Trafficking Task Force rescued her. It is reported that the juvenile had spent a third of her life working as a prostitute before rescued during a sting last week that netted 14 arrests of alleged prostitutes and johns, according to the San Jose Police Department.

16 years old is an age for many first, and sadly this is the age that many commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC victims) get caught and rescued for their first time. But even sadder is the harsh reality that 71% of these child victims began being prostituted at age 12.

"She was cooperative," Sgt. Jason Dwyer of the San Jose Police Department said. "She spoke to our detectives. Very sad story. In her statement, she basically said she had been doing this since she was about 11 years old."

Police launched an undercover sting last Wednesday in which a female officer posed as a prostitute, resulting in the arrests and citations of eight people alleged to have solicited the officer.

San Jose police targeted the stretch of busy Monterey Road just south of downtown to Umbarger Road because of its known history of prostitution. It's also an area with a high concentration of motels. But just a couple of blocks away is a family friendly shopping center known as the Plant. Jerry Goodman and his wife say you wouldn't know prostitution was happening nearby.

"It's really hard to tell what goes on a lot of times behind a lot of these side streets," Goodman said.
Eight people were cited and arrested during the two day sting, a combination of johns and prostitutes.

The 16-year-old girl was not cited. Instead she was handed over to Child Protective Services. CPS will determine if and when she will return to her family. 

"These officers conducting these operations ... know they're helping and rescuing victims who are more helpless than an adult would be," Dwyer said. "They're helping someone who can't help themselves."

"For her not only to be exposed to it at that young age, but continuously doing it for the next five or six years...now here we are we got her off the streets, now it's just a matter of getting her some of the services that we provide," Dwyer said. He went on to add, "This type of operation is so important because, unfortunately, it's not uncommon for us to come across juvenile prostitutes. Without a sustained effort to rescue them, they could get sucked into that type of work for life."

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen recognized the epidemic for what it is by saying, "It's modern day slavery is what it is. These girls are treated like property literally and moved around the Bay Area and around California where they are forced to be child prostitutes."

The District Attorney's office has one prosecutor whose full-time focus is on human trafficking cases.

"Where we are now with human trafficking prosecutions and human trafficking awareness is maybe where we were say 30 years ago about domestic violence," Rosen said.

Writers: George Kiriyama, Robert Salonga, & Anthony Gonzalez | Editor: Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Toddler to Scholar: Prepare Your Child for School Success

Child Quest International has worked with children of all ages over the last 22 years of service, and we understand the importance of preparing children for success in school as well as when out-and-about. One minute they're taking their first steps and the next they're grabbing the car keys as they graduate high school and head off on their senior trip! Children grow quickly, and you want to give them every opportunity for a great life. Down the road, you'll have let go of your pride and joy as they leave for college, but now is your chance to instill positive values, habits and beliefs.

It may sound crazy, but it's never too early to start preparing your child for college. From providing a healthy diet to offering constructive criticism, parents can guide their students to the honor roll with these principles.

Brain Food

Nutrition plays a large role in raising a happy, healthy child, and the right diet can promote academic success. According to Telegraph.co.uk, food rich in omega 3 improves reading, writing and spelling among children. Researchers added an ingredient called "atole" to porridge in Guatamala over an eight year period. Children that ate atole, a protein-rich ingredient, achieved higher test scores on reading and cognitive tests.

"This study confirms that the first three years of life represent a window of opportunity when nutrition programs can have lifelong benefit's on a child's development, particularly in education," professors at Middlebury College, Vermont John Maluccio said, according to Telegraph.co.uk.

Foods like fish and nuts contain high levels of protein and omega 3. Feed your children brain food when they're young to help them pass AP College Board tests as they approach college.

Healthy Self-Esteem

Every parent wants their children to have high self-esteem, but over-inflating kids' egos is a recipe for failure in the classroom. When parents tell kids that they're are naturally gifted without encouraging work ethic or improvement, students adopt what Stanford researchers call a fixed mindset. These students value being perceived as smart more highly than learning, and when someone questions their intelligence through construction criticism, they're likely to reject the feedback. Kids that view intelligence as a product of effort and dedication, on the other had, have a growth mindset. From this perspective, students don't find their esteem in their natural ability, but their effort and progress.

There's nothing wrong with affirming your child's self-esteem, but acknowledge that hard work and humility are characteristics that make the most of talent.

Turn off the TV

It's easy to plop kids in front of the TV for a much-needed break, but too much virtual reality negatively effects students' grades. According to Msnbc.com, researchers found a correlation between watching TV or playing video games during the week and school performance.

"On weekdays, the more they watched, the worse they did," study author Dr. Iman Sharif told Msnbc.com. The study found that spacing out on the weekends doesn't have a significant effect on school performance.

Instead of TV, give your kids more productive activities to do during the week. Sports teams, dance lessons and good ole-fashion trips to the park will promote health and happiness. If your children want to veg out, there's nothing wrong with some Saturday morning cartoons. Just don't let Monday—Friday turn them into TV zombies.

Writer & Editor: Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

San Francisco Police Renew 29-year-old Probe of Missing Boy's Fate



SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Police using cadaver dogs and jack hammers have renewed their probe into the fate of a young San Francisco boy who became a national symbol for abducted children three decades ago, and they publicly identified their prime suspect for the first time on Wednesday.

San Francisco police held a news conference to enlist the public's help in learning more about a man investigators had questioned in the disappearance of 10-year-old Kevin Collins just days after he vanished in 1984.

The suspect, Wayne Jackson, who was known to go by four other names, lived across the street from the Catholic grammar school that Kevin attended in the Haight-Ashbury District. He had a history of sex crimes against children and died in 2008, police said.

The American public came to know Kevin after he was among the first missing children to have his picture printed on milk cartons distributed throughout the nation. Newsweek magazine ran his photograph on its cover under the headline "Stolen Children."

"This is a case that haunts the San Francisco Police Department and the city of San Francisco," police Chief Greg Suhr said.

Kevin was last seen at a bus stop following a school basketball practice on February 10, 1984. Normally, Kevin traveled to and from school with his brother, but his sibling was home sick that day.

The last two people known to have seen Kevin alive said the boy with the gap-toothed smile had been talking to a blond, 6-foot-tall man with a large dog.

Jackson, who listed his birth date as between 1947 and 1956, fit the description and had a dog like the one the witnesses described. Police also learned then that he had been arrested in 1981 for kidnapping a 7-year-old boy and attempting a sex act with the child. After skipping bail, Jackson was re-arrested and ended up serving six months in jail, police said.

After Kevin's disappearance, police searched Jackson's home but found nothing. The two witnesses who reported seeing Kevin talking with a tall blond man failed to identify Jackson in a photo lineup, and the lead seemed to die there -- until last month.

A new group of cold-case detectives decided in recent days to try turning up fresh clues with cadaver dogs, and two dogs were brought in for a first-ever search of the basement and garage of Jackson's old home last week.

Both dogs independently responded to the same spot in the garage, and a city crew jack-hammered through the concrete and unearthed fragmentary skeletal remains last Tuesday. So far, however, the bones appear to be from an animal. Additional tests are continuing in a state crime lab.

Meanwhile, investigators recently learned that Jackson had been arrested in 1973 in Canada on charges he kidnapped two 13 year olds but fled Canada before that case could be resolved, police said.

Kevin's disappearance tore up his family. His parents divorced, and his father dedicated himself to finding his son and other missing children by starting the Kevin Collins Foundation for Missing Children.

On the 10th anniversary of Kevin's disappearance, when the boy on the milk carton would have been 20, his parents and his eight brothers and sisters held a private memorial service at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, south of San Francisco.

There they dedicated a bench to him inscribed with his name, a cross and the words, "Forever in our hearts."

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Did you know CQI staff is available to make presentations in the Silicon Valley (CA)? Our subject matter experts will present to schools, parent groups, companies, civic and non-profit groups, profession and faith-based organizations about Online and Personal Safety. Contact us at info@childquest.org with the subject line “PRESENTATION” or call us at 408-287-4673. 

Writer: Reuters | Editor: Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest international.

Man Tries to Abduct Palo Alto Girl


Palo Alto police are looking for a man that
tried to grab an 11 year-old girl at about 5PM
on Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. The girl described
the man as white, in his 30's, 5'9" to 6" tall,
and 140 to 160 lbs. The man had light colored
hair that was either receding or balding. The
man was wearing eyeglasses and a puffy blue
jacket at time of incident.



Palo Alto, CA - Police are looking for a man who tried to grab an 11-year-old girl and then threatened to kidnap her.

The incident was reported to police just after 5:35 p.m. Monday. The girl had been riding her bicycle southbound on the 1600 block of Emerson Street about 20 minutes earlier, when she encountered the man.

After standing in the street and glaring at her, he walked to the west sidewalk and started cursing at her, police said.

When she was about 10 feet from him, he stepped off the sidewalk and tried to grab her right arm as she rode past, police said. The girl told police she screamed and peddled faster. Police said the man did not try to follow her but yelled that he was going to kidnap her.

The girl told her parents about the encounter and they called police. Officers searched the area but could not find the man or any witnesses.

The girl described the man as white, in his 30s, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, and 140 to 160 pounds. He had light-colored hair and was either balding or had a receding hairline. He was wearing eyeglasses and a puffy blue jacket.

The girl said she last saw the man running northbound on Emerson Street.

In response to the incident, officers and detectives have increased marked and unmarked patrols in the area. Police said they have not received any reports of similar incidents elsewhere in the city.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the police department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Tipsters who wish to remain anonymous can text or call 650-383-8984, or email paloalto@tipnow.org.

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Did you know CQI staff is available to make presentations in the Silicon Valley (CA)? Our subject matter experts will present to schools, parent groups, companies, civic and non-profit groups, profession and faith-based organizations about Online and Personal Safety. Contact us at info@childquest.org with the subject line “PRESENTATION” or call us at 408-287-4673. 

Writer Jason Green | Editor: Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sexual Exploitation of Children – Reasons for the Growing Epidemic




Victims of modern day slavery are controlled through force, fraud and coercion at the benefit of their trafficker, who profits from their exploitation. Often, these predators offer false promises of money or a certain lifestyle. Victims, particularly young girls, can be “groomed” into modern day sex slavery. In America, we see victims of domestic minor sex trafficking often coerced into slavery by “Romeo Pimps” or boyfriends who convince minors that they love them and then proceed to manipulate that false love in order to sell their bodies for sex on the streets. From that point, threats of violence keep these victims compliant and living in fear.

When a child is trafficked, they become the property of the exploiter, have no human or individual rights, and do not have the strength or support to escape. In cases where a victim is trafficked across international borders, threats can be made for being undocumented, whereby the trafficker tells the victim they can be jailed, and then abused and raped by police as well.

Children are victims of this crime that offers traffickers high rewards and low risk. As a result, human trafficking is considered the fastest growing criminal industry in the world today, compared to drug and illegal arms trade. The reason for its rising prevalence is due to the illusive nature of the crime, the difficulty in prosecuting such cases, and the relatively light penalties for human trafficking.

Legislation is improving and new measures are being introduced to strengthen trafficking laws across the nation. While these measures are imperative to the well-being and protection of child sex slaves, their exploiters are masters of their trade. 

Technology & The Internet 

An increase reliance on the Internet and communication devices has changed the nature and scope of traditional pimping and pandering. As a result of online and mobile platforms, human trafficking knows no borders. Geography and availability is no longer a barrier. Technology has taken commercial sexual exploitation of children off the streets & onto the Internet. This modern approach is impairing visibility and increasing mobility while subsequently enhancing the sophistication of the CSEC marketplace.

  • In 2005, the US Census Bureau estimated that 24.5 million children across the Nation, between ages of 10 and 17, use the Internet.
  • 1 in 7 (or about 3 million children) receives an online sexual solicitation or approach. 
Technology and the Internet fuel the widespread movement of victims and offenders in response to market demand. It increases the transitory nature of CSEC cases, impeding law enforcement’s ability to:

  • Locate victims and traffickers;
  • Identify essential witnesses and evidence;
  • Share important information and intelligence.

Profitability 

CSEC offers traffickers big money and little risk. The Internet grants greater access to children and unattainable profits. Even small time traffickers make big time money. As a result, drug dealers, gangs, and organized crime are lured from traditional pursuits into the big business of CSEC. Now, drug dealers are dealing children instead of dope. Sadly, today there is no better return on money than selling a child for sex. 

Language 

The misuse of language in how we describe CSEC disguises profit for traffickers and harm to victims. Terms like “prostitute” or “pimp” inaccurately portray the multi-million dollar industry of child abuse. Only trafficker’s profit from these labels, popular culture perpetuates false stereotypes and causes harm. 

Organization 

Agencies and organizations often work in silos, whereas traffickers operate in a vastly interrelated network. As a result, traffickers often elude law enforcement, and present themselves to their victims as the only ones who care about them. Thus, victims are left with little trust in child serving professionals due to this inadvertent negligence that comes from the lack of a coordinated system response. 

Victimology of CSEC 

CSEC are hard to manage because they do not identify themselves as victims of sexual exploitation. Various factors play into that belief. CSEC victims don’t know what love looks like and are looking for love in all the wrong places. Psychological manipulation and domination creates trauma bonds from the victim to their exploiter, and further impairs recovery and prosecution efforts. Many are unwilling to cooperate with law enforcement, and will not testify against their pimp. Understanding CSEC victimology is the key to effectively managing CSEC victims and cases. 

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Did you know CQI staff is available to make presentations in the Silicon Valley (CA)? Our subject matter experts will present to companies, civic and non-profit groups, profession and faith-based organizations, schools and parent groups about CSEC as well as Online and Personal Safety. Contact us at info@childquest.org with the subject line “PRESENTATION” or call us at 408-287-4673.  

Writers: BAHC & Anthony Gonzalez | Editor: Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International. 

Related Post: 

Human Trafficking (CSEC) Myth Busters

Runaways& Sex Slavery: What You Need To Know