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Human Trafficking Conference Held in Montgomery

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, February 3, 2017, the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force hosted the Human Trafficking Summit in Montgomery to educate social workers and Law Enforcement officers about the growing human trafficking problem in the US.

Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Richard Love (ret) spent a career investigating and prosecuting people who traffic in children for sex, including going undercover as a pimp

Detective Love said that one child prostitute can generate $150,000 to $300,000 in revenue none of which she or he will get to keep. The girl may service 20 buyers in a day.

Love said that pimp is simply the acronym for Prostitute In My Possession. Pimps give the girl a quota and will punish the girl that does not meet her quota.

Love said that the Trafficking Victims Protection Act makes the recruitment harboring transportation provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force though proving that force was used is not a requirement under the Federal statute.

Det. Love said that when investigating trafficking our number one concern is the survivor – the children. In their mind they know that they have been sexually abused. I care more about the children we were able to save than getting the conviction of the traffickers. “We have taken care of the child that is part of our responsibility as human beings.”

Love said that girls who are trafficked become numb to the situation around them. They become desensitized. When we rescue them we have to teach them You do mean something you do have a place in this world. Some children are forced. Where the pimp gets control using: food, housing, everyday needs. The compliant child goes along because these are receiving some sort of benefit from the pimp.

The child prostitute can be male or female though 95 percent are American girls. The average age is between 13 and 17 years of age. Many are high risk, come from troubled homes or are foster youths. Particularly vulnerable are runaways, foster children and homeless children. They are particularly vulnerable. 41.4 percent are repeat runaways 46.7 percent are from foster homes. Many come from stable middle class homes (there are problems going on in that home) they are looking for something better, escape current situation, looking for someone who cares, love, fame, or money.

Love said that pimps are expert at talking to children. The pimp knows the latest music, the latest clothes that children want. Once trafficked Victims suffer from: inhumane living conditions, poor sanitation, inadequate nutrition,, poor personal hygiene, brutal physical and emotional abuse, dangerous workplace conditions working the streets (they do not know the individual, the car, or the motel they are going to), and a general lack of quality medical care.

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Love said that in pimp culture the focus is not about the child but about how much the child can earn for the pimp. There are different types of pimps: the gorilla, the Romeo, the finesse pimp, the family member, and the boyfriend.

Gangs are very involved in human trafficking. If you have gangs in your area, I guarantee you that you have child prostitution. You can sell that cocaine or marijuana one time but you can sell that child over and over again.

Det. Love said that pimps will typically use trauma to enforce their will. Those include: beating/slapping, beating with objects (bat, tools, chains, belts, hangers, canes, chords), burning, sexual assault, rape/gang rape, confinement/locked in, torture practices, seasoning initiation.
Commonly punishments will involve cigarette burn on the back of the neck, between the toes, places that you can’t see, because the pimp doesn’t want to devalue the product. Holding her head under water in the bath tub or a toilet is another commonly used tactic. Fear of drowning is a very scary feeling. The abuse is done to get a response. If a girl gets pregnant, then the baby is a controlling apparatus. You won’t make money for me you won’t see the child.

Detective Love said that the pimp subculture has its own language and terminology. The term “daddy” refers to one’s own pimp. The “bottom” or “bottom bitch” is the woman who’s been with the pimp the longest and often takes on a mid-level controlling role to keep other victims in line. The terms: “dates” “johns” and “tricks” terms are used to describe buyers of commercial sex. “Square” is trying to go straight. The “stroll” or “track” is the common area or cross-streets where street prostitution is known to occur on a nightly basis. A “pimp circle” is the process of multiple pimps swarming and surrounding one woman or girl and hissing insults at her for the purpose of humiliation and intimidation. Her pimp then arrives and rescues the girl from the staged situation to establish the idea that he is her protector. A “wife in law” is each individual in a group of women or girls that are with the same pimp. “Family”, “folks”, or “stable” refers to the group of women and girls under a pimp’s control. “Out of pocket” is a term used to describe when a woman or girl breaks “the rules” by making eye contact with another pimp it is a no no for a ho to look in the eyes of another pimp.

For recruiting, pimps go to the bus stations watching for children getting off the bus. The pimp or other kids recruit from bus stations, at the mall, or at Amtrak stations. Much recruiting has moved to the internet. Technology is the greatest facilitator of child sex ever. Pimps use it to befriend children and it is also used to find buyers of children for sex. You just post an ad online and wait for calls. Det. Love said, “Any device with internet access is a danger to children. Pimps are using the internet to recruit children.” Actual talent agencies don’t put ads on Craig’s List looking for models. Those are pimps recruiting.

Typical trafficking locations include motels, hotels, adult entertainment clubs, bus stations, casinos, the internet through technology, massage parlors (especially the Asian massage parlors)

Det. Love said that there are males also being trafficked but it is usually in a different arena.

There are young males walking the streets, they call it survival sex. The majority of the time it is not under the recruitment of a pimp, they are doing it themselves.

Det. Love said that pimps do give these children drugs; but typically are not giving them so much that they can’t go out and get money for the pimp.

Most pimps are Black males. We are seeing an increase with younger White males being involved in pimping particularly on college campuses and in the high schools. In the Asian community you have Asians pimping out girls.

Greg Zarzaur is a lawyer who is suing backpage.com on behalf of a trafficking victim. What role do dating sites and adult sites that make money selling ads to pimps have in the trafficking business and can they be held liable?

Patrick Gage’s family was in hotel business from the 1960s to 2016. His family owned Carlson hotels which owned both the Raddison Hotels and Country Inn chains. Gage said that prostitution has been illegal in the US for 100 years. Trafficking and prostitution has moved into hotels. It has become part of the fabric of our industry.

Gage said that his great aunt looked into how Carlson can fight trafficking. Hotel clerks see who is coming in the doors. The maids clean up the rooms and know what is going on in the rooms. Gage said that things to look for include: paying for room with cash or a prepaid card; extended stay but have no luggage; excessive foot traffic in and out of the room; frequently requesting new towels and linens; submissive behavior; requesting information about the local sex industry; and when you clean the room there is sex paraphernalia (like used condoms) all over the room.

In response to a question from the audience, Gage said yes there are people in the hospitality business who are using their hotels for trafficking. In a chain you should remove that franchisee immediately. That does happen, but I don’t know how common that is.

Chris and Anna Smith told the group about the home for sex trafficked boys that they have started in North Carolina, Restore One.

The state Human Trafficking Task Force is looking at how state and local government can battle human trafficking. State Representative Jack Williams (R-Vestavia) chairs the task force. He addressed the group that morning.

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal activity in the world, trailing only drugs. It is estimated that between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked in the US each year.

 

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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In Case You Missed It

Tuberville calls for term limits, balanced budget and lobbying reform

Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.

Brandon Moseley

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Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville (TUBERVILLE CAMPAIGN)

Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville’s campaign began emphasizing key structural reforms that the Republican nominee hopes to advance if elected to the U.S. Senate including congressional term limits, withholding lawmakers’ paychecks unless a balanced budget is passed and a ban on former officials becoming lobbyists.

“Only an outsider like me can help President Trump drain the Swamp, and any of the proposals outlined in this ad will begin the process of pulling the plug,” Tuberville said in a statement. “Doug Jones has had his chance, and he failed our state, so now it’s time to elect a senator who will work to fundamentally change the way that Washington operates.”

Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.

“You know Washington politicians could learn a lot from the folks in small town Alabama, but Doug Jones … he’s too liberal to teach them,” Tuberville added.

Polls consistently show that term limits are popular with people across both political parties, but the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that imposing term limits would be adding a qualification to be a member of Congress and that can only be done by constitutional amendment.

It is an unspoken truth that when Americans send someone to Congress they never come back. They either keep getting re-elected like Alabama’s own Sen. Richard Shelby, who is in his sixth term in the Senate after four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. On the other hand, they may become lobbyists getting paid to influence their colleagues on behalf of corporations, foreign governments or some well funded non-government organization.

Tuberville said he would ban that practice.

A balanced budget amendment almost passed in the 1980s and again in the 1990s.

Since that failure, Congress has increasingly passed bigger and bigger budget deficits. The U.S. government borrowed more money during the eight years of President George W. Bush’s presidency than the government had borrowed in the first 224 years of the country combined.

President Barack Obama followed and the TARP program propped up the post-Great Recession economy. Rather than cutting the deficit, President Donald Trump invested billions in the military and a tax cut without cutting domestic spending. The 2020 coronavirus crisis has further grown the budget.

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The government has borrowed trillions to prop up the economy and provide stimulus while investing billions into medical research and treating the virus victims. Congress is currently debating a fifth stimulus package that would add more to the deficit.

Both a balanced budget amendment and a term limits amendment would have to be ratified by the states if passed by Congress. Tuberville is challenging incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama.

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House passes General Fund Budget

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the state General Fund Budget on Tuesday.

The General Fund Budget for the 2019 fiscal year is Senate Bill 178. It is sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, carried the budget on the House floor. Clouse chairs the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.

Clouse said, “Last year we monetized the BP settlement money and held over $97 million to this year.”

Clouse said that the state is still trying to come up with a solution to the federal lawsuit over the state prisons. The Governor’s Office has made some progress after she took over from Gov. Robert Bentley. The supplemental we just passed added $30 million to prisons.

The budget adds $50 million to the Department of Corrections.

Clouse said that the budget increased the money for prisons by $55,680,000 and includes $4.8 million to buy the privately-owned prison facility in Perry County.

Clouse said that the budget raises funding for the judicial system and raises the appropriation for the Forensic Sciences to $11.7 million.

The House passed a committee substitute so the Senate is either going to have to concur with the changes made by the House or a conference committee will have to be appointed. Clouse told reporters that he hoped that it did not have to go to conference.

Clouse said that the budget had added $860,000 to hire more Juvenile Probation Officers. After talking to officials with the court system that was cut in half in the amendment. The amendment also includes some wording the arbiters in the court lawsuit think we need.

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The state General Fund Budget, SB178, passed 98-1.

Both budgets have now passed the Alabama House of Representatives.

The 2019 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2018.

In addition to the SGF, the House also passed a supplemental appropriation for the current 2018 budget year. SB175 is also sponsored by Pittman and was carried by Clouse on the floor of the House.

SB175 includes $30 million in additional 2018 money for the Department of Corrections. The Departmental Emergency Fund, the Examiners of Public Accounts, the Insurance Department and Forensic Sciences received additional money.

Clouse said, “We knew dealing with the federal lawsuit was going to be expensive. We are adding $80 million to the Department of Corrections.”

State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow, R-Red Bay, said that state Department of Forensics was cut from $14 million to $9 million. “Why are we adding money for DA and courts if we don’t have money for forensics to provide evidence? if there is any agency in law enforcement or the court system that should be funded it is Forensics.”

The supplemental 2018 appropriation passed 80 to 1.

The House also passed SB203. It was sponsored by Pittman and was carried in the House by State Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. It raises securities and registration fees for agents and investment advisors. It increases the filing fees for certain management investment companies. Johnson said that those fees had not been adjusted since 2009.

The House also passed SB176, which is an annual appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bill requires that the agency have an operations plan, audited financial statement, and quarterly and end of year reports. SB176 is sponsored by Pittman and was carried on the House floor by State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatham.

The House passed Senate Bill 185 which gives state employees a cost of living increase in the 2019 budget beginning on October 1. It was sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville and was being carried on the House floor by state Rep. Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery.

Polizos said that this was the first raise for non-education state employees in nine years. It is a 3 percent raise.

SB185 passed 101-0.

Senate Bill 215 gives retired state employees a one time bonus check. SB215 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Guntersville.

Rich said that retired employees will get a bonus $1  for every month that they worked for the state. For employees who retired with 25 years of service that will be a $300 one time bonus. A 20-year retiree would get $240 and a 35-year employee would get $420.

SB215 passed the House 87-0.

The House passed Senate Bill 231, which is the appropriation bill increase amount to the Emergency Forest Fire and Insect and Disease Fund. SB231 is sponsored by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette.

State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chathom, said, “Thank you for bringing this bill my district is full of trees and you never know when a forest fire will hit.

SB231 passed 87-2.

The state of Alabama is unique among the states in that most of the money is earmarked for specific purposes allowing the Legislature little year-to-year flexibility in moving funds around.

The SGF includes appropriations for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, the courts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Corrections, mental health, and most state agencies that are no education related. The Alabama Department of Transportation gets their funding mostly from state fuel taxes.

The Legislature also gives ALEA a portion of the gas taxes. K-12 education, the two year college system, and all the universities get their state support from the education trust fund (ETF) budget. There are also billions of dollars in revenue that are earmarked for a variety of purposes that does not show up in the SGF or ETF budgets.

Examples of that include the Public Service Commission, which collects utility taxes from the industries that it regulates. The PSC is supported entirely by its own revenue streams and contributes $13 million to the SGF. The Secretary of State’s Office is entirely funded by its corporate filing and other fees and gets no SGF appropriation.

Clouse warned reporters that part of the reason this budget had so much money was due to the BP oil spill settlement that provided money for the 2018 budget and $97 million for the 2019 budget. Clouse said they elected to make a $13 million repayment to the Alabama Trust fund that was not due until 2020 but that is all that was held over for 2020.

Clouse predicted that the Legislature will have to make some hard decisions about revenue in next year’s session.

 

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Day Care bill delayed for second time on Senate floor, may be back Thursday

Sam Mattison

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By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The day care bill, which would license certain day care centers in Alabama, was once again delayed on the state Senate floor after one lawmaker requested more information.

Its brief appearance Tuesday ended with state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, saying a compromise had not yet been worked out with the bill’s detractors.

Alabama’s Senate has been hesitant to act on the legislation because of complaints of state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, who has been an opponent of the bill since its introduction last year. The bill’s delay on Tuesday marks the second time its been taken off the Senate’s agenda.

The bill has had a rocky time in this year’s session, but the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said she is still confident about its passage out of the Legislature.

Warren, D-Tuskegee, filed the bill this session with the support of influential lawmakers including Gov. Kay Ivey, who told reporters last year that she though all day cares should be licensed.

Mainly sparked by the death of 5-year-old boy in the care of a unlicensed day care worker, the bill had great momentum coming into this year’ session.

Despite the growing support from lawmakers, Religious groups had concerns that the bill would increase state-sponsored reach into religious day cares in churches and non-profit groups.

Spearheading the dissenters was Alabama Citizens Action Program, a conservative religious-based PAC.

Warren, proponents, and ALCAP announced a compromise to the bill while it was still in the Alabama House.

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Announced by ALCAP originally, the new bill was a weaker version in that it did not require that all day cares in the state be regulated. Instead, religious-based day cares would only need to be registered if they received federal funds. At a Senate committee meeting in February, Warren said a similar requirement was about to come from federal law in Congress.

The bill moved through the House in a overwhelming vote in favor of the proposal and passed unanimously out of a Senate committee a few weeks ago.

Warren, speaking to reporters after its passage from the House, said she was unsure if the bill would encounter resistance in the upper chamber.

It was the Senate that killed the daycare bill last year amid a cramped last day where senators took the bill off the floor. The bill may face similar complications this year, as lawmakers seem to be preparing to adjourn within a few weeks.

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Fantasy sports bill fails on Senate floor

Sam Mattison

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By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Would-be Fantasy Sports players in Alabama will have to wait to legally play in the state following a Senate vote on Tuesday.

The Alabama Senate decisively killed a bill to exempt fantasy sports from the state’s prohibition on gambling.

Not even entertaining a debate on the Senate floor, the proposal was killed during a vote for the Budget Isolation Resolution, which is usually a formality vote preluding a debate.

Fantasy sports are contests where participants select players from real teams to compete on fantasy teams using the real-world players’ stats.

Since 2016, the practice has been illegal in Alabama following a legal decision by the Attorney General’s Office that categorized it as gambling.

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, predicted the bill’s failure during a committee meeting two weeks ago, where the bill passed unanimously.

Sen. Paul Sanford speaks to reporters after a Senate Committee meeting on Feb. 28, 2018. (Samuel Mattison/APR)

Speaking to reporter’s after the committee meeting, Sanford said the decision to file the bill was mainly a philosophical belief that the practice shouldn’t be illegal.

Sanford, a fantasy sports player before its ban, said that fantasy sports are a way to bring people closer together and not a means to win money. The Huntsville senator is not seeking re-election.

The bill’s failure in the Senate follows its trajectory last year too. A similar version of the bill, also sponsored by Sanford, failed in the Senate during the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session.

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Since Sanford is retiring, it is unclear if the bill will even come back next session, or if it will even have a Senate sponsor.

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