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Western Colorado Anti-Trafficking Conference

The Klein Frank Foundation is requesting your participation in its January 11, 2019 Western Colorado Anti-Trafficking Conference.  We are seeking speakers to educate law enforcement, educators, healthcare providers and the community on the 3P’s of Anti-Human Trafficking:

  1. Prosecution of perpetrators of human trafficking.
  2. Prevention of human trafficking.
  3. Protection of the victims of human trafficking.

Contact Beth Klein at the Klein Frank Foundation 303-448-8884 to learn more details.

Beth Klein Boulder Attorney

Boulder-Based Attorney and Award-Winning Activist

Drawing upon more than 30 years of legal experience, Beth Klein is a Boulder, Colorado-based commercial litigation and personal injury attorney who has managed her own firm since 1993. During this time, Beth Klein has tried cases throughout the United States and won millions of dollars on behalf of her clients. She has been recognized among the Top 25 Women Lawyers in Colorado and Top 500 Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in the United States.

Throughout her career, Beth Klein has been a fervent supporter of victims of human trafficking. In addition to representing these individuals, she authored the state of Colorado’s anti-human trafficking laws in 2010 and 2011 following consultation with numerous states and countries. Her work in that regard helped her earn the Georgia Imhoff Activist Award and become a finalist for the CNN Hero Award.  She earned her juris doctor from the University of Denver and conducts leadership trainings.

Coming for Backpage!

la-1523054273-y237880tkz-snap-imageLet the charges and civil suits begin!

Seven people have been indicted on 93 counts of several different crimes related to the classifieds website, Backpage.com. The crimes include money laundering and running a website to facilitate prostitution.   The FBI confirmed Friday that agents raided the Sedona home of Michael Lacey, the founder of Backpage.com.

The website has been seized and shut down by the FBI.  The FBI seized the website because it was allegedly being used to facilitate crime. The FBI has done this before with other sex trafficking websites and online pharmacies.

There are 17 victims named in the documents who are both adults and children who say they were forced into sex trafficking.   The charges were filed in Arizona because the website was founded and is maintained here and it’s also where Backpage.com’s servers are located.  The Department of Justice (DOJ) says almost every single sex trafficking case involves online ads, mostly from Backpage.com.

According to the DOJ, the biggest issue with these websites is that it facilitates sex trafficking for people who would have been to sheepish to pursue sex on the streets, especially to look for children.

There have been previous cases against Backpage.com that were thrown out because to Communications Decency Act, despite its name, granted complete immunity to vitual pimps like Backpage.  The DOJ says the site has earned $500 million in revenue from prostitution since it was created.

report released by a U.S. Senate subcommittee in early 2017 stated that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children‘s data indicates that 73 percent of the child-trafficking reports it receives were related to Backpage.com.  Site executives say they are protected by the Communications Decency Act which regulates pornographic material on the internet. Executives argue that the law states internet publishers cannot be held liable for content created by third parties.  But investigators say the site lost that protection when they alerted posters to key terms related to child sex trafficking. Investigators found proof of these alerts in internal Backpage.com documents.

The site even gave the third party posters a chance to rephrase their ads so they wouldn’t be flagged for child sex trafficking. Some of the terms Backpage.com admins told posters not to use include “Lolita,” young, teenager and even “Amber Alert.”

The site’s CEO, Carl Ferrer was arrested in late 2016 on pimping charges.

Ferrer and other executives went before a Senate investigation committee in 2017 where they all invoked the fifth amendment. The charges against Ferrer were eventually dismissed.

Backpage has no immunity to protect it from civil suit for the injuries and suffering that it caused.  Klein Frank, P.C. is in the process of filing cases for clients who were minor and who were bought and sold on this malicious website.

 

Charitable Betrayals

Oxfam, one of the world’s most prominent relief agencies, could lose its funding from the British government over reports that its workers exploited survivors of a massive earthquake in Haiti, and possibly other disasters, for sex.

It is a “complete betrayal of both the people Oxfam were there to help and also the people that sent them there to do that job,” Britain’s international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, told BBC News, which noted that the nonprofit received $44 million in government funds last fiscal year.

Mordaunt spoke Sunday — three days after a Times of London investigation accused Oxfam’s then-director in Haiti, along with other workers, of running an illegal makeshift brothel after a 2010 quake devastated the country.

Oxfam has admitted to at least some of the wrongdoings alleged in the report, and the organization has promised an internal review and overhaul. “We are ashamed of what happened,” the nonprofit’s chair wrote in a statement Sunday. “We apologize unreservedly.”

But contrition may not be enough. The Times alleged that Oxfam tried to hide the years-old allegations from the public, letting its country director in Haiti quietly resign rather than firing him after he admitted to using prostitutes.

And the Guardian reported new accusations over the weekend: that the same man,

Beth Klein Boulder Attorney writes Charitable Betrayals
Roland van Hauwermeiren – betrayed all of us by organizing brothels in Oxfam camps. Beth Klein Boulder Attorney writes about Charitable Betrayals.

, was also accused of hiring sex workers in Chad.

Mordaunt told BBC that she would meet with Oxfam officials Monday, but she sounded unimpressed by the nonprofit’s promises to reform.

“If the moral leadership at the top of the organization isn’t there, then we can’t have you as a partner,” she said.

The Times’s report was based on sources familiar with the organization’s work in Haiti around that time as well as a report summarizing an internal Oxfam investigation into the allegations.

Oxfam was in the midst of a large effort on the island after the quake, which killed more than 200,000 people and left many more injured and displaced. The charity had a fund worth more than $100 million to provide relief supplies and help rebuild Haiti’s infrastructure, the Times reported.

Not my story to tell – Beth Klein Attorney

Humans are moved and inspired by stories.  No other species has the ability to tell stories.  We remember by story better than any other form of communication.

But the stories of the trafficked are often sensationalized to raise money, sell media, and sell shock value significance.    Now, the consideration point is “Not my story to tell.”  How do I as an advocate for individuals empower survivors – to speak, to remain silent, and what to say?

The choice to speak the truth of what happened is challenging.   In representing former slaves, trafficking victims, torture survivors or child sex assault victims this decision is fundamental for any goal.  I am in a very different role than law enforcement, researchers, and academia.  I am the human hired to give voice and get justice.  I am not the person who studies or arrests.

I have the role of giving voice and telling the story in the way it can make a difference.  The choice to speak or not to speak sets the course for the future.  Both are equally powerful for the person who lived the story.

Speaking raises “awareness.”  But awareness is not a measurable societal outcome.   It is measurable in terms of the response and attention that the speaker receives.  And the response is not always positive.

Speaking can lead to individual justice through criminal convictions and civil judgments.   But it is terrifying for the person who lived the story.  Fear of retribution.  Fear of cross examination.  Fear of judgment.  Fear of being public.  These are all real considerations.  A judgment, however, is like a public vote of confidence.   And it can be rewarding at the end of the Court experience.

Speaking to media is unpredictable.

I worked with a 5280 Magazine reporter on a trafficking story, and I regret it.  The reporter agreed never to re-victimize a trafficking survivor.  She promised not to be sensational.  But she buckled to the fact that shock sells.  She reported the name of a victim and graphic details that will never serve the victim.  It is now in print forever.  It is on line forever.

I will never work with any reporter again; my clients will retain complete control over their story, where it is told, how it is told, and who hears it.  My clients will be the ones who benefit from telling their story, if they chose to do so.  Reporters, movie makers, and media will not be middle men solely profiting from the telling of the story.

Three of my clients are writing books about their lives.    The stories are theirs to share, and I hope their words change the world.