13 – All Request Show: Your Questions and Our Answers

Ending Human Trafficking Podcast Logo

Our listeners have questions and we have answers! Sandra Morgan, the Director of the Global Center for Women and Justice, and Dave Stachowiak, one of the Center’s board members, respond to recent questions from podcast listeners.

Key Points

  • Identifying the differences between smuggling and human trafficking.
  • First offender programs.
  • Trafficking is a human issue, regardless of gender.
  • Bringing the issue to your community and church.


[Note from the Ending Human Trafficking podcast team: This episode was recorded in 2011 so the contact information provided is no longer accurate. Please refer endinghumantrafficking.org/contact for the correct contact information to get in touch with the EHT podcast.]

Love the show? Consider supporting us on Patreon!


Dave Stachowiak [00:00:00] You’re listening to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast. This is episode lucky number 13, recorded in October 2011.

Dave Stachowiak [00:00:25] Welcome to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast. My name is Dave Stachowiak.

Sandra Morgan [00:00:29] And my name is Sandie Morgan.

Dave Stachowiak [00:00:31] And this is the show where we empower you to study the issues, be a voice, and make a difference in ending human trafficking. And Sandie, this is indeed lucky number 13 for our show numbers. And it’s lucky because we promised the audience first a month ago that we were going to make this an all-request show. So you were responsible for calling in and writing in with questions for us and really for Sandie, that she could respond to and begin to answer the questions you’ve had as the show has gone on over the last 12 episodes. And Sandie, it’s exciting because we have a number of questions in front of us today.

Sandra Morgan [00:01:14] Great. So let’s just jump right in and see how many we can answer.

Dave Stachowiak [00:01:18] Okay, great. So I’m in a jump right in. And our first question here today. Oh, by the way, as we start going through our questions here, if our questions today and Sandie’s answers to these questions generate more questions for you, you’ll want to e-mail those to us as well because we want to keep the dialogue going and keep learning how we can educate and really raise your awareness around the issues and human trafficking. And so you can get a question to us one of two ways. The first way is to email that question and that email address to send questions to is GCWJ@vanguard.edu. And that’s for the Global Center for Women and Justice, housed here at Vanguard University. And the other way, Sandie, is folks can reach us by phone as well.

Sandra Morgan [00:02:06] You can call 714-556-3610, extension 2242, and leave us a voicemail if no one answers and we’ll get back to you.

Dave Stachowiak [00:02:18] And we’ll have a few voicemails to share here in just a few minutes. But our first question actually came in through e-mail. Kathy emailed us at the GCWJ@vanguard.edu e-mail address. And she says, “Dear Mr. Stachowiak and Ms. Morgan. First, I’d like to thank you for providing the podcast Ending Human Trafficking. I’ve listened to the first three and so far they’ve been very informative. There are very little resources that I found on the subject in the media and it’s been difficult to convey the message to others. I plan to share these podcasts with others and hope of creating more awareness.” Kathy, thank you so much for that and the feedback, and thank you so much for sharing this with others. And she has a question also. She says “I have a question. While there has been research done on the victims and rehabilitation is slowly becoming more available to them, has there been similar research done on the ‘buyers’ and how to rehabilitate them?” And she puts buyers in quotes, of course, “for as long as there is a demand for services, there will be someone to supply it. I find this similar to the situation with drugs. We focus a lot of time trying to remedy the problem instead of preventing it. I do understand these are very big problems and difficult to control.” Sandie, I know you have some thoughts on this.

Sandra Morgan [00:03:33] I could do an entire podcast on this. First of all, let’s think about who are the buyers. It’s pretty easy when we’re talking about commercial sexual exploitation. Victims of modern-day slavery who are in sex trafficking. We know the buyers are purchasers of commercial sex acts. And so to answer that question, first of all, we have a number of places in the U.S. where they have launched first offender programs so that the Johns, which is kind of slang for the sex purchaser, are given the opportunity to take a class where they will be able to learn more about the underlying issues that are involved in the area that drives sex trafficking. And by doing so, then they’re able to eventually get this off of their records. So there’s a lot of motivation for those first offender programs. And they’re called often called in a colloquial terminology of John schools. There’s not a lot of them yet, but it is a growing trend and it is helpful. It’s not enough. We need to be doing other kinds of prevention for buyers of commercial sex. And that begins with entering and integrating this kind of issue in sex education classes, starting with junior highs and high school students, in our college programs, we already see it in our military. They do zero-tolerance training, but we just have to keep hitting that kind of program. The first offender program is less about prevention as much as it is about helping people make decisions to make changes in their lifestyles. The recidivism rates are conflicting depending on whose reports that you’re reading, but generally, there is a greater awareness of the cost of this to the victim. And so there is a sense that when we engage the buyer in being responsible, socially responsible, that we’re going to gain some ground. Others have made comments. And I was at a conference where I heard someone say, well, they go to the class and then afterward they’re just more careful about getting caught, which is why we can’t just trust these kinds of programs. But we really have to work on integrating this so that we change what is culturally acceptable and we have a better understanding of human rights. Now, the other part of this issue of the buyers and rehabilitation, that gets a little closer to home, because part of the demand for human trafficking is to pay less for services that might be in hotels or restaurants for less wages. It could be to buy cheap products like cheap chocolate. And you’ve heard us talk about the Cocoa Protocol and the Trafficking in Persons report that shows us there are still child slaves on the west coast of Africa and in other places so that we can have cheap chocolate. So how do we rehabilitate consumers here that drive the market by how they vote at the cash register? That’s a media responsibility. It’s a consumer responsibility. Here in California, we’re very fortunate because there is a new law that will take effect in January 2012 that will require corporations to create reports that show their transparency in telling us what the supply chain is in their product.

Dave Stachowiak [00:07:28] Oh, interesting.

Sandra Morgan [00:07:29] And for me, that’s gonna help me learn to think differently about the things that I purchase every day.

Dave Stachowiak [00:07:36] Mm-hmm. Well, there’s so much here. Sandie, we could spend an entire episode on this. And in fact, one other resource for Kathy, and Kathy, thank you again for sending in this question, is to take a look back at episode number 11, this is episode 13. But in episode 11, we talked about the frontlines of human trafficking. And that’s also a great resource for some of this. Some look at what we would call the demand side of human trafficking. And we’re gonna get even more detail this in some of, in a couple of our future episodes here. And so let’s move on to our next question, Sandie. And the next question actually came in by voicemail. And this is from Catherine, I believe, and she has a questions, a question in regards to the the term smuggling. So let’s hear her question.

Catherine [00:08:25] Hi, this is Catherine, and I was wondering what the difference is between smuggling and human trafficking. Thank you.

Sandra Morgan [00:08:33] Okay. That’s a great question. And it’s an area that is very fuzzy for a lot of people. Many times the victims that we have here in California have come across the border under circumstances that are very fraudulent. They’ve been offered a job and they are in a situation where there is no job for them, there is no option, and so they take the risk of agreeing to come across the border illegally. And when they arrive on this side of the border, the difference, the big difference between human trafficking and smuggling is who is in control on this side of the border, because smuggling is a crime against the state, against the government. And there is a criminal penalty attached to that. When you are brought across the border and you pay someone and then you go and not pursue whatever your purpose is, you were guilty of avoiding, evading the border controls. However, if you’ve been lured here under false promises and you’ve been in lured into some sort of debt bondage where we’ll bring you here without you having to pay us anything and then you’ll work it off, then you are according to our understanding of fraud, you are then in a debt bondage situation and you’re under the control of another party, and that falls within the realm of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. And when you’re then forced to work that off, when they add interest to it, when you’re unable to pay that off, then it becomes more and more clear that this was fraud. The threats that are made against these kinds of victims are: we’ll report you, you’ll go to prison, you’ll never see your family again. Those kinds of things. And consequently, it becomes a human rights issue now and a person is a slave and now it’s human trafficking.

Dave Stachowiak [00:10:49] Reminds me of Maria’s story that we heard a couple of months ago on this podcast, Sandie. And how many of those factors you just mentioned really played into her story.

Sandra Morgan [00:11:01] Right. And she wasn’t even, and she didn’t even come across the border illegally. She came across as a legal immigrant.

Dave Stachowiak [00:11:09] Amazing how many different facets there are to this, this challenging issue.

Sandra Morgan [00:11:14] Mm-hmm .

Dave Stachowiak [00:11:15] So let’s jump ahead to our next question. Thank you again, Catherine, for that question. So we have a question here that came in from e-mail from Cheryl. And Cheryl asks, “Sandie, is trafficking mostly a female problem?”

Sandra Morgan [00:11:30] You know, that’s a common misconception. And I think it partly comes from the aspect of so much of media that reports on human trafficking, reports on sex trafficking, which the majority of those victims are female, although there are also male victims, especially children. However, when you think about this as a female issue, we have to go back to the first question about buyers. The buyers, even if you’re talking about sex trafficking, tend to be predominantly male. So is it a female problem, even if we’re talking about sex trafficking? No. And even when you look at the breakdown of what kind of victims have been rescued here in Orange County, the last time I talked to our victim advocate, her report to me was that about 60 percent female and 40 percent male. So the gender issues are not as important as the socioeconomic issues in addressing human trafficking.

Dave Stachowiak [00:12:38] Sandie, are there any statistics on the offenders, the traffickers themselves, as far as the breakdown of gender? Male? Female?

Sandra Morgan [00:12:46] Not reliable. We look at traffickers, though, and in our minds, we see a big, burly, dark, sinister male with lots of muscle. But when you begin to look at the cases locally here in Southern California, you have great examples of trafficking, rings trafficking, traffickers who are female. And the case in Long Beach of a residential care facility that was run by a woman and a woman was in charge of purchasing workers and did so as she ran her residential care facility. She’s in prison now. We also see the case with Shyma that we’ve talked about before. And both the husband and the wife were considered and convicted of trafficking. So it’s not exclusively this the stereotype that we think about.

Dave Stachowiak [00:13:52] When I think of this question, Sandie, as far as it being a female problem, it’s just as much a male problem as it is female problem. And I think of this as a human problem. This is a human issue, regardless of your gender, your geography, even to some extent, you know, socioeconomic status. I mean, anybody could be a victim.

Sandra Morgan [00:14:16] Absolutely. Absolutely. And it’s a human rights violation in our own state, in our nation, and globally.

Dave Stachowiak [00:14:24] So Cheryl actually sent in a second question. And she also wanted to know: “How could I bring this issue to my church?”

Sandra Morgan [00:14:33] There are so many great resources out there for you, and in fact, I would recommend that you go to our website and log on to GCWJ.vanguard.edu, where we have links with resources, particularly for the community. You can also log on and find the recent WebEx we did for engaging the community in the battle against human trafficking. It’s very appropriate training for a local church.

Dave Stachowiak [00:15:05] And you partnered with a government organization to do that as well, Sandie, am I correct?

Sandra Morgan [00:15:09] Yes. That was a WebEx that was offered by the Rescue and Restore campaign in Washington, D.C. for it with the administration of family and children.

Dave Stachowiak [00:15:21] Okay, great. And folks can get that on the–

Sandra Morgan [00:15:23] They can–

Dave Stachowiak [00:15:24] Global Center website?

Sandra Morgan [00:15:25] Absolutely.

Dave Stachowiak [00:15:25] And that address, again, in case you missed it, is GCWJ.vanguard.edu. And that’ll take you right to the center’s website at Vanguard. And then as Sandie said, there’s a number of resources on that page.

Sandra Morgan [00:15:37] Great.

Dave Stachowiak [00:15:38] Okay. So let’s jump ahead to our next question. And our next question actually also came in by phone, Sandie. And we have a voicemail here from Sarah. And I think Sandie, this is a really important question because this is something that is a challenge when people are trying to help and help with this issue. Here we go.

Sarah [00:16:03] Hi, my name is Sarah. I have a question regards to human trafficking. I was wondering in reading about doing surveillance on the trafficking sites like in the massage parlor, should I talk to the police before I do that or can I take matters into my own hands? Thank you.

Dave Stachowiak [00:16:17] So she’s wanting to know, can she take matters into her own hands if she knows of issues out there? And I know you probably have some strong advice about this, Sandie.

Sandra Morgan [00:16:26] Well, and in my experience working with our Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, our law enforcement partners strongly discouraged that. And they explained several things to me when they said, no, we don’t want civilians doing surveillance. First of all, a lot of times the kind of surveillance that needs to be done is undercover work. And of course, they aren’t going to list that they’re doing that. So if you come along because you think this is a great site, this might be a possible massage parlor that’s a front for sex trafficking, chances are law enforcement has also identified that and has an undercover operation possibly going on. So you might actually impede the investigation and they lose all of the time and resources that they’ve invested in that particular investigation. So you absolutely don’t want to do that. Secondly, it has been determined that it is not a safe thing, especially for unarmed civilians, to take this kind of matter into their own hands. The people that are the perpetrators have resources, they have weapons, they usually have security measures to guard their product. And so they are not going to take kindly to your interference. And if you do your investigation and then you call the, cause I’ve had this scenario presented to me, well, we’re just gonna go and look and then we’re gonna call the 888-3737-888 number. And what happens when they get too close to the situation? They went to do their own investigation. They decided to kind of try out going inside and asking a few questions. This tipped the people off running the illicit operation and they moved before our investigators could get there. And then finally, as far as safety, it is not safe, especially for civilians, to do this kind of operation. And our law enforcement has training. They have teams. They often have counter surveillance teams. They have to put a lot of resources and protocols into place so that when they finish their investigation, they have a prosecutable case. Because our criminal justice system is built on the coercive use of force, and so when you do an investigation and you haven’t followed those protocols and those regulations that are part of due process in our legal system, there is no way to prosecute and put the bad guy away. And that’s a big problem because we want a prosecutable case because eventually, people will be more careful not to do things that they’ll get penalized for. You and I, if we see a black and white car, we take our foot off the gas because that’s how our society works through the coercive use of force to keep everybody in line with the rules.

Dave Stachowiak [00:19:48] So it sounds like if Sarah has knowledge of this, and it sounds like she might have something going on, she shouldn’t be taking matters into her own hands. What can she do, though, Sandie, or what should she do?

Sandra Morgan [00:19:59] Well, again, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline is not just for giving tips, but it’s also for calling if you have a question. And if you happen to know that there is a group in your neighborhood going out and they’re getting a little bit over the line on what they’re doing, then calling and letting the people know there. They’ll contact the local law enforcement to reach out to that group.

Dave Stachowiak [00:20:25] And that number, again?

Sandra Morgan [00:20:26] 888-3737-888.

Dave Stachowiak [00:20:29] And if you’re a regular listener of the show, hopefully you know that number by heart already. And it’s an important number to have at your disposal to know so that if you do run into these situations, that you’re able to reach out and really utilize the system that’s already been established. Right, Sandie?

Sandra Morgan [00:20:47] Absolutely. Absolutely.

Dave Stachowiak [00:20:49] So thank you so much for that question, Sarah. I hope that helps you out and hope you reach out to that hotline for resources to get law enforcement involved. So, Sandie, our next question here is from Jackie. And Jackie emailed us at GCWJ@vanguard.edu and she actually sent some information on an abstract of a study that was done. And I think you may have actually, you may have some familiarity with the study in regards to Native American women. And she sent a little overview of the study and then asked, you know, are Native American women at a higher risk of being trafficked?

Sandra Morgan [00:21:31] Well, I’m really interested in this particular report. This is available. If you want to read the entire report at prostitutionresearch.com. And one of the lead investigators is Dr. Melissa Farley. And so I’ve been following this. I think what you pull from this, because we don’t have time to go into a really lengthy discussion, you begin to understand here that women who are in a marginalized place in their community and have fewer resources are going to be more vulnerable. And we’ve identified that Native American women often fall into that core category. Just a few clips very quickly from this study. 96 percent of these women had a history of current or previous homelessness. 96 percent!

Dave Stachowiak [00:22:39] Incredible.

Sandra Morgan [00:22:40] And 95 percent wanted to escape prostitution. So it wasn’t something they wanted to do. It was very much a result of their lack of resources and no options. It’s very related to their circumstances. And 70 percent of the women had been lured or tricked into this by someone who had offered them an opportunity, offered to help. And as one of the interviewees said, there are boyfriends, not pimps, there are boyfriends. So when we look at this, we begin to see how important understanding a person’s circumstances are to becoming a contributing factor to their vulnerability and the possibility of them being exploited for commercial sex, which is a form of human trafficking.

Dave Stachowiak [00:23:42] There are so many different factors that can play a role, Sandie, certainly socio-economic, ethnic background, geography. And I believe we’re planning to spend even some more time talking about that on the next episode of kind of what are all some of that, what are some of those root causes?

Sandra Morgan [00:23:42] Absolutely.

Dave Stachowiak [00:23:42] That we should be aware of that may increase risk factors for an individual or a population.

Sandra Morgan [00:24:09] And I want to read just a couple of quotes and then we will, I know we have to answer the next question. But these Native American women described prostitution. And so I just want their words to be a voice for the voice. I want their words to have the volume here. They describe it this way. “Prostitution was an exchange for drugs and shelter. Prostitution is like suicide. The first time I was 14, he was 40. I went more toward older men because they weren’t on top of me as long. It’s like incest, no one wants to talk about it. As far as I’m concerned, all prostitution is rape.”

Dave Stachowiak [00:24:54] Just a hard thing to hear. A really hard thing to hear. And, Sandie, really, hopefully, by us spending this time answering these questions that one less person gets into that situation.

Sandra Morgan [00:25:12] I hope so.

Dave Stachowiak [00:25:13] Yeah, me too. Let’s take a look at our final question here. And actually, our final question is from Catherine again. I think she called in with two questions. And so she called the hotline for questions. And just a reminder for folks, Sandie, the number for folks to call if they do have a question?

Sandra Morgan [00:25:32] 888-3737-888 is the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. If you want to call and leave a question for our podcast, call me at 714-556-3610, extension 2242.

Dave Stachowiak [00:25:50] And that’s what Catherine did. And here’s her question.

Catherine [00:25:53] Hi, this is Catherine. And I was wondering what prevention takes place for human trafficking victims and things? Thank you.

Sandra Morgan [00:26:03] What prevention takes place. Now, if you go back to episode eleven and the frontline, you’ll begin to understand why this is such a great question. Prevention and we will, we’ll be looking at this in our next podcast more carefully and really explore this and break it down, but in the interim, for just a couple of minutes here, prevention strategies have to reach out to the root causes. And consequently, just like this story from the Native American Women Study, we have to figure out why are these women homeless? Why do they need so much? Why do they have such great needs? That’s what I meant to say. And then how can we begin to address that? That’s a serious type of prevention. Many times we hear that people are doing awareness and that’s prevention. And to some extent, public awareness is helpful. But my experience when I was working in southern Europe, we had a lot of victims who were coming from Ukraine, and Russia, and Moldova. And what we discovered was that sending people to do prevention in those countries where poverty and the need were so great, that kind of prevention wasn’t very successful. We told junior high and high school girls don’t accept that job offer to come and work in a restaurant in Athens, Greece, because it’s not really a job offer. The IOM put up big billboards that literally were on the road as you arrived at the airport to get on a plane to bring you to this fake job that you’d been offered.

Dave Stachowiak [00:27:53] Incredible.

Sandra Morgan [00:27:54] But those signs, they weren’t believed. And if you’re desperate, you’ll take more risks. And of course, the whole issue we talked about before about adolescence, they have the idea that it’s not going to happen to me and I’m going to be able to handle this. So that puts them even more at risk. So prevention strategies have to be more problem-oriented and not just about awareness.

Dave Stachowiak [00:28:21] Unfortunately, we don’t have any more time for questions on this episode, Sandie. We’ve reached the end of our time already. Now I know time flies. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still send us questions because we are going to take your questions or answer them on a future show. But before we remind folks of how to reach us with questions, Sandie, any final thoughts based on the questions today or final pieces of advice around some of the issues that folks have raised?

Sandra Morgan [00:28:48] I think the summary is that we are just beginning to get our heads around what a huge problem human trafficking is and that it’s really a symptom of a systemic problem that has to do with all of us, not just a few of us. And we all need to figure out what our part is in that. So in our next episode, we’re going to look at the roots of the problem.

Dave Stachowiak [00:29:19] And hopefully by looking at the roots of that, the problem and getting a visual and more holistic way to look at it, Sandie, we can do some more work around how to prevent this problem from happening in the first place.

Sandra Morgan [00:29:33] Absolutely.

Dave Stachowiak [00:29:35] Well, that’s just about wrapping up our time for today. And thank you for taking the time to tune in and to spend some time studying these issues. Because by studying these issues, you go out into the world with someone who understands more about this and how you can make a difference in a positive and practical way. And if you have questions for us for future episodes, email us at GCWJ@vanguard.edu or the phone number is?

Sandra Morgan [00:30:03] 714-556-3610, extension 2242.

Dave Stachowiak [00:30:09] And we’ll see you again in two weeks for our next episode. Thanks, Sandie.

Sandra Morgan [00:30:13] Thank you.

Scroll to Top