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Women of Vision

Beth Klein had the honor of speaking with Half the Sky’s Sheryl Wu Dunn to the Colorado Women of Vision.  Look how far they flew!  This link will take you to the video of all they accomplished.

Colorado Women of Vision

From the Director Robin Black:

This video will be broadcast on channels 56 and 57 through Denver Open Media. Because the station is a “project of the Open Media Foundation.”

Hopefully having this message broadcast in the Denver area will help the cause of eradicating child trafficking.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Beth Klein for attending our event

Please share the video and VOTE because it helps the station to broadcast it more often!

 

The Death of BackPage.com

Yesterday a dream of Beth Klein’s came true, BackPage.com died. The on-line brothel – which has trafficked more than 80% of all victims and where hundreds of missing children were sold – was removed from the web. It happened after a Senate subcommittee released its report and just before a scheduled hearing during which internal operations could have been brought into daylight. The executives of the electronic brothel were too ashamed to talk about their activities, and they all took the 5th.

The website was founded in 2004 and operates in cities around the world. It began as a part of Craigslist. In 2010 Craigslist (and Ebay related company) divested Backpage which operated for profit until yesterday.

“This is a concerted effort to build a business enterprise around the trafficking of human beings,” Yiota Souras, general counsel for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, told Newsweek last October. The center has identified more than 420 cases of missing children who wound up in Backpage ads. A separate team led by Arizona State University researchers has found more than 150 Backpage ads that feature minors.

The Report reviewed the company documents, totaling more than 1.1-million pages, and found evidence that Backpage knowingly facilitated prostitution and child sex trafficking. The business was highly profitable and experienced explosive growth, from $5.3 million in gross revenue in 2008 to $135 million in 2014.

Backpage has faced several lawsuits by women who say they were trafficked through the site and calls from The Sheriff of Chicago and others to cease its adult operations. Every lawsuit to shut it down has been dismissed ironically under an internet free speech law that Senator Ron Portman of Oregon sponsored. Ironically, Senator Portman was a co-chair of the anti-Backpage subcommittee. His law 47 U.S.C. 230 (Section 230), passed in 1996 was intended to protect websites from liability for third party content. This very law has protected the crime.

Last October, then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced charges against the website’s chief executive officer, Carl Ferrer, and its founders, James Larkin and Michael Lacey. A judge dismissed those charges in December; about two weeks later, Harris announced new charges against the men.

Back page whined: “For years, the legal system protecting freedom of speech prevailed, but new government tactics, including pressuring credit card companies to cease doing business with Backpage, have left the company with no other choice but to remove the content in the United States.”

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations issued a 53-page report on the findings from its investigation. “The company has long claimed that it is a mere host of content created by others and therefore immune from liability,” the report said. “The internal company documents obtained by the Subcommittee conclusively show that Backpage’s public defense is a fiction.” The report went on to say that Backpage had “concealed evidence of criminality” by editing ads, that it had acknowledged its role in facilitating sex trafficking and that Ferrer, Lacey and Larkin continued to own the website even though they had claimed to have distanced themselves from it.

Senator Claire McCaskill said Monday on Twitter, “It pays to never give up. Congressional investigations matter.” In another tweet, she indicated that the hearing would proceed despite Backpage’s decision to remove its adult ads.

Abolitionists celebrated the page’s death. The Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) vowed to “fight back,” saying in a statement:

“It is hard to put into words the intense anxiety, stress and sense of oppression our community is currently experiencing. Right now, thousands of individuals are wondering where they are going to go to earn money they need to pay rent, buy their family’s clothes and food and fill their metro card or gas tank.”

Perhaps a look at the job ads on Craigslist would be a good move.

Beth Klein Boulder Bar HT Presentation

On Thursday, January 12, 2017 at noon, Beth Klein, the Boulder Bar Co-Chair of the Civil Litigation Division will host a presentation on Human Trafficking at the Boulder District Court in the East Training Room.

Brad Riley from I-Empathize and Janet Drake Assistant Colorado Attorney General will discuss prevention and prosecution strategies and legislative updates.

Please contact Beth Klein 303-448-8884, if you would like to attend. CLE is available.

Beth Klein Boulder – How2Help Refugees

“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

As America balances on the head of the pin of the future, two camps firmly believe in polar opposite scenarios. And each camp is entrenched in a siloed world view, and the silos must be broken. Over the past year nationalism has vilified terrified Syrians running for their lives and made them virtual human punching bags with a tiny chance of fleeing to the United States. So little truth is known, but red-Americans firmly believe that the United States’ interests are served by shutting out the terrified refugees. Helping refugees and ensuring education and safety is the better path. Beth Klein Boulder’s suggestions on how to get into action instead of just believing are at the bottom of this essay.

About 5 million Syrians have fled since the war began in 2011. The U.S., which took in only about 2,000 refugees in the first several years of the war, has increased the number to about 12,000 this year. The federal resettlement program is administered via nine agencies that depend on the work of volunteers.

More than 4.5 million refugees from Syria are in just five countries Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt:

Turkey hosts 2.5 million refugees from Syria, more than any other country worldwide

Lebanon hosts approximately 1.1 million refugees from Syria which amounts to around one in five people in the country

Jordan hosts approximately 635,324 refugees from Syria, which amounts to about 10% of the population

Iraq where 3.9 million people are already internally displaced hosts 245,022 refugees from Syria

Egypt hosts 117,658 refugees from Syria
The UN’s 2015 humanitarian appeal for Syrian refugees was just 61% funded by the end of the year. Funding shortages mean that the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in Lebanon receive just $21.60 per person month or around US$0.70 cent a day for food assistance, well below the UN’s poverty line of $1.90. 86% of Syrian refugees in urban areas in Jordan are living below the local poverty line.

Selfish memes garner electronic blue thumbs up on Facebook. Then sorrowful memes of pictures of dead children – how did we stand by and watch this happen? Neither are useful to middle class people reduced to nothing and starving. Action matters.

How can we, the privileged and “exceptional”, be debating hope in the face of Aleppo and the Syrian diaspora. How can kind people become so fearful, that they turn away from kindness? When kindness turns away, a violence becomes a reality. Violence becomes the norm birthed from fear and horror.

Sunday, 47 children inside the orphanage near the front line in eastern Aleppo some in “critical condition from injuries and dehydration” were bused out of hell There are many other “vulnerable children” among untold thousands of people still inside eastern Aleppo, according to estimates from the U.N. and humanitarian agencies.

France’s U.N. ambassador , Francois Delattre, urged immediate deployment of U.N. monitors to former rebel-held eastern Aleppo to avoid new atrocities. The goal of the French-Russian compromise resolution adopted Monday is to avoid a repetition of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of nearly 8,000 Bosnian Muslims – “to avoid new mass atrocities by the forces on the ground and the militias in particular.”

On Monday buses drove residents toward the western countryside, where aid workers greeted them. Many were exhausted and distressed after a nightmarish journey from an area that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has described as a “synonym for hell. About 5,000 people have been bused out since midnight, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, bringing the total number of evacuees to 15,000. Buses are expected to run through the night.

Despite what is said by France, the Russian Federation denies and questions reports of “mass atrocities every day.” But today, solitary men on shoestring budgets can bring superpowers to the knee for a time – with violence and horror.

The UN human rights office said it had reliable evidence that up to 82 civilians were shot on the spot by government and allied forces who entered their homes, or at gunpoint in the streets, over the past few hours.

“The reports that civilians – including children – are being massacred in cold blood in their homes by Syrian government forces are deeply shocking but not unexpected given their conduct to date. Such extrajudicial executions would amount to war crimes,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut Regional office.

“Throughout the conflict Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, have repeatedly displayed a callous disregard for international humanitarian law and utter disdain for the fate of civilians. In fact, they have regularly targeted civilians as a strategy, both during military operations and through the mass-scale use of arbitrary detention, disappearances and torture and other ill-treatment. As government forces gain full control of eastern Aleppo the risk that they will commit further atrocities raises grave fears for thousands of civilians still trapped.

Consider:

Donate or Volunteer With the International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee works globally and has been providing critical humanitarian aid to Syrians since 2012. They provide services from cash vouchers for Syrians to purchase food, legal assistance, employment, and education.

The IRC will be providing $100 to 500 of the most vulnerable families fleeing the current situation in Aleppo. While supporting 12 health facilities in Idleb governorate and five schools providing an education for 4,000 children.

In the United States, you can sign up to volunteer at a local resettlement office.

Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force

Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force

Our November spotlight is on the Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force (RMILTF). Founded in 2012, the RMILTF is one of several law enforcement task forces across the country funded by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), including domestic minor sex trafficking.  RMILTF represents a joint effort between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Task force members include representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the police departments of Denver and Aurora, the Colorado State Patrol, and the sheriff departments of both Arapahoe and Douglas County, along with an investigator with the 1st Judicial District Attorney’s office. Since its formation, RMILTF has recovered nearly 400 minors, arrested over 100 traffickers and trained over 20,000 individuals on how to identify and respond to potential CSEC and domestic minor sex trafficking situations.

RMILTF has routinely seen success during Operation Cross Country (OCC), the FBI’s annual nationwide law enforcement effort focused on recovering minors exploited through commercial sex. This year marked the 10th annual operation. Held over three days in October, this year’s regional OCC involved the collaborative efforts of over 280 law enforcement personnel, from 38 participating law enforcement agencies, who utilized a variety of methods to locate potentially exploited minors across Colorado and Wyoming.  Of note during this year’s operation, RMILTF personnel worked to identify commercially sexually exploited youth via social media sites and dating applications.  Over the last two years, RMILTF noted an increase in the use of such applications by traffickers and sex buyers alike to identify and exploit children.  RMILTF ranked second in the nation for OCC child recoveries and in the number of traffickers arrested. Overall, 9 juveniles (5 females and 4 males) were recovered and 11 traffickers and 32 buyers of commercial sex were arrested.  To learn how your law enforcement agency may become involved with RMILTF or to report a tip, please contact the FBI-Denver Office at (303) 629-7171.