IMAGINE Magazine-Spring2016 - Page 27

COURAGEOUS CONVERSATIONS

The Cost of a Disconnected Society : The Sex Trafficking of Our Children

by Lori S . Rubenstein , JD , PCC
based on an interview with kathleen winn , executive director of azmen and co-chair the arizona anti-trafficking network

The first time I met Kathleen

Winn I knew this was a woman I wanted to know . She is intelligent , passionate , well-connected and a force to make the world a better place . She ’ s the epitome of “ one-person can make a difference .”
In 2011 , as the Community Outreach and Education Director for the Arizona Attorney General , Kathleen was introduced to Linda Smith , former Washington State Legislator , former US Congresswoman , and Founder and President of Shared Hope International . Shared Hope is an international nonprofit agency that works to raise awareness , protect and restore wholeness to children who have been sextrafficked , and change legislative and judicial initiatives to bring appropriate criminalization to the perpetrators of child sex-trafficking . Along with Linda Smith she met Sergeant Chris Bray and Lieutenant Jim Gallagher with the Phoenix Police Department . They told her that Arizona had a sex trafficking problem and asked her what the Arizona Attorney General ’ s office was going to do about it .
After being convinced of the enormity of the issue , Winn did what she does best — she took action . The first mountain to overcome was trying to convince others that this was in fact a very real problem in Arizona . Children were being used , tormented , abused , and sexually exploited for the profit of pimps , and this was not acceptable . She worked with attorneys in the criminal division and child protection agencies to make sure that the protection of children , especially those most vulnerable , became a priority in Arizona for the Attorney General ’ s office and law enforcement .
An important goal was to create awareness of who these victims were , that there was no such thing as a child prostitute , and that these children were victims and should be treated as such . Furthermore , education about the extent of these crimes and how these crimes were being perpetrated was at the heart of awareness efforts . In Arizona , these vulnerable and most at risk children number over 20,000 in foster care placements . Many are runaways . And of the children who have been recovered from sex-trafficking , 80 % had involvement in the state welfare system .
Awareness is one of the top priorities of many advocates against domestic minor sex-trafficking . Once people know the signs , they can step up and protect the children . We know that children are recruited when they are most vulnerable and that this multi-billion dollar industry will continue to grow until the demand for sex with children is interrupted . One hundred thousand to three hundred thousand children are expected to be prostituted in the US each year , and here in Arizona , the average age of children abducted into trafficking is 14 years old , our eighth graders . Sadly , sending sexually explicit personal photographs has become commonplace in high schools , as are sexually explicit party games . Protecting the innocence of our children by not talking about this in schools is naïve at best , and we do a great disservice to our children by not confronting these realities head on .
At this point you are probably wondering why so many men are paying for sex with children . With the advent of the internet , men who would not have driven down a boulevard to pick up a prostitute can now shop privately online . There they can watch pornography , view girls and boys doing sexually explicit acts , and pay for it all with a credit card . They can even “ order up ” young boys and girls on certain websites which are easily accessible .
“ There ’ s an addictive progres-
IMAGINE l SPRING 2016 27
CO U R AG E O U S CO N V E R S AT I O N S The Cost of a Disconnected Society: The Sex Trafficking of Our Children by Lori S. Rubenstein, JD, PCC based on an interview with kathleen winn, executive director of azmen and co-chair the arizona anti-trafficking network T he first time I met Kathleen Winn I knew this was a woman I wanted to know. She is intelligent, passionate, well-connected and a force to make the world a better place. She’s the epitome of “one-person can make a difference.” In 2011, as the Community Outreach and Education Director for the Arizona Attorney General, Kathleen was introduced to Linda Smith, former Washington State Legislator, former US Congresswoman, and Founder and President of Shared Hope International. Shared Hope is an international nonprofit agency that works to raise awareness, protect and restore wholeness to children who have been sextrafficked, and change legislative and judicial initiatives to bring appropriate criminalization to the perpetrators of child sex-trafficking. Along with Linda Smith she met Sergeant Chris Bray and Lieutenant Jim Gallagher with the Phoenix Police Department. They told her that Arizona had a sex trafficking problem and asked her what the Arizona Attorney General’s office was going to X]] Y\Z[۝[YوB[ܛZ]HوH\YK[Y]H\\8%HX[ۋB\[[Z[ݙ\YH\Z[۝[H\]\\[XH\HX[؛[H[\^ۘK[[\HZ[\Y ܛY[Y X\Y [^X[H^]Y܈Bٚ]و[\[\\X\XKHܚY]]ܛ^\š[Hܚ[Z[[]\[ۈ[[X[ۈY[Y\XZH\H]BX[ۈو[[\XX[HB[[\XKX[YHH[ܚ]B[\^ۘH܈H]ܛ^H[\[8&\›ٙXH[][ܘ[Y[ [[\ܝ[[\ܙX]B]\[\و\HX[\\K]\H\X[\H[]]K[]\H[[\HX[\[[HX]Y\œX \\[ܙKYX][ۈX]H^[و\Hܚ[Y\[\Hܚ[Y\\HZ[\]]Y\]HX\و]\[\Yܝ˂[\^ۘK\H[\XH[[]\[[\ݙ\ [\\HX[Y[ˈX[H\B[]^\ˈ[وH[[š]HY[Xݙ\YH^ ]YX[ HY[[Y[[B]H[\H\[K]\[\\ۙHوH[ܚ]Y\وX[HY]\YZ[Y\XZ[܈^ ]YX[ˈۘB[HۛHYۜ^H[\\[XH[[Hۛ][[\HXܝZ]Y[^H\H[[\XH[]\][KX[[ۈ\[\H[۝[YHܛ[[H[X[܂^][[\[\\Y ۙB[Y\[YH[Y\[[[\H^XYB]]Y[HTXXYX\[\H[\^ۘKH]\YHYHق[[XXY[YX[\ŒMYX\ \ZYܘY\ˈYK[[^X[H^X]\ۘ[ܘ\\XYH[[ۜXB[Y\\H^X[H^X]\H[Y\ˈX[H[[Bو\[[H[[X]\[\pݙH]\ [BHܙX]\\XH\[[Bۙ۝[\HX[]Y\XYۋ]\[[H\HؘXBۙ\[HX[HY[\B^Z[܈^][[]HY[وH[\] Y[[]H][ۈH[]\X\H]]H[œ]][Hۛ[K\H^H[]ܛܘ\KY]\[\[^X[H^X]X[^H܈][]HܙY]\ ^B[][8'ܙ\\8'H[[\[\ۈ\Z[X]\X\BX\[HX\XK'\x&\[YX]Hܙ\BSPQSHS M ‚