Tag Archives: parody

Parody: Dutch Teachers Tackle Trafficking

[This post was part of an April Fools joke at Maggie McNeill’s blog.]

When a young 17 year old trafficking victim was discovered in a hotel in Valkenburg the Netherlands last fall, government officials and law enforcement authorities had to consider: how could this have happened right under our noses? The Netherlands in a major hub for human trafficking, as the country is located near the sea and has borders to various European countries such as Belgium and Germany. Major highways connect the cities, which are known to attract business men, and airports are located at both Amsterdam and Eindhoven. But a reason sex trafficking and modern slavery so often go unnoticed is because not all victims are bundled across borders in cars with tinted windows or shipped in containers. Sometimes they’re just hidden in plain sight, among other children and women, and are forced to serve Johns in their own bedroom or a hotel.

In an effort to fight this growing problem of prostitution of women and children, law enforcement and human trafficking experts are now working together with teachers to catch the earliest signs of child sex trafficking and mothers vulnerable to exploitations. “It is of the utmost importance that we intervene as earliest as possible” says Peter van Dam, coordinator of StopItNow and headmaster at Paarse Pollepel primary school. “Some children are trafficked as young as four years old, and we know from experience in the field that early intervention can prevent further trauma”. StopItNow is a collaboration between vice squads, the national coordination centre for human trafficking and the Teachers’ Union.

Teachers are now being trained to spot signs of trafficking, ask certain questions at parent-teacher-meetings and legislation is being proposed to make reporting of possible victims of child sex trafficking mandatory for all primary and secondary school teachers in the Netherlands. “You need to keep your eyes open” explains Peter van Dam. “For example if a child has a bruise, bullies others, isn’t happy to do its homework or if parents seem nervous talking to teachers, those are very clear signs something is up”. Van Dam isn’t worried that mandatory reporting might cause nervousness in parents; “if they’ve nothing to hide they’ve nothing to fear”.

“Kids as young as 5 years old are being raped daily, some estimates suggest up to one in twelve children could be victimised” warns van Dam. “First people have to decide they care about it,” he said in an interview. “Unless you acknowledge that it happens and are prepared to talk about it it’s not going to change. It all starts at the grass roots. We had 3,500 kids in primary schools in Amsterdam Sloterdijk alone, they’re a target for traffickers. It has to start from people understanding these aren’t kids in Africa. These are our kids.”

Rescue Rhetoric: Wedlock

wedlockAmy Sweeth was only 21 years old when law enforcement found her traumatised and neglected in a house in Gardenville, CL. Police officers were shocked at the extent of her injuries: almost every bone in her face was broken, she had been beaten with a metal pipe and kept in a freezing basement for days on end. Married at merely 18 years old, she is one of hundreds of thousands of women brought into wedlock each year. “Marriage and domestic violence are on the rise” says Tom Kreapy, police officer in Woodland and head of the Stop Homes Now project, a state-wide initiative to crack down on all home-related violence. In his fourteen years in the Anti-Domestic Force, he says he has seen the worst. “Young women suffer unimaginable cruelty at the hands of husbands and boyfriends. The public should be made more aware of the hidden abuses behind marriage”.

On Thursday, the Stop Homes Now Project released a report that highlights just how staggering a problem domestic abuse remains in the United Sates. According to the report, the Domestic Hotline has recorded more than 3,000 million cases of potential domestic violence between 2003 and 2013. “Marriage is happening right in our neighbourhoods” warns Angela Tite, co-founder of Concerned Maidens for America, a non-profit organisation against domestic abuse and romantic slavery. After working with victims for over a decade, she emphasises the inherent dangers of spousal relationships. “Young women are lured in with promises of love and respect, only to find themselves entrapped in what can only be called modern-day slavery. We can’t close our eyes to the dangers of marriage. The great majority of domestic abuse occurs within the home, and it is estimated that over 70% of wives experience some form of violence or coercion”.

“People who think that women voluntarily get into marriages should visit one of our SafeHouses” argues Tite. “The stories from thousands of wedlock-survivors will open your eyes. We recently had a woman come in so battered and bruised not even her mother could recognise her. Nobody would choose that kind of life voluntarily”. Kreapy concurs: “Not a day goes by that we’re not called in for another incident of domestic abuse, these are not isolated cases. Our officers are on permanent watch at SafeHouses, as husbands, wifebeaters and other spouses stalk and harass women. We must realise marriage is quite a grim practice, disproportionally victimising females”.sadchild

Not just adult women are at risk. According to the FBI, the average girl becomes involved in romantic relationships between 13 and 15, and some 500.000 American youths are at risk of becoming victims of marriage and domestic violence every year. “Child abuse is most commonly found inside homes” explains Mary Addington of No Child Left At Home, the largest organisation advocating children’s rights and safety in the US. “Children experience physical, emotional and sexual abuse in household situations, and are often witness to sexual relations, romantic relations and wife battering”. Over three thousand children and women have been taken out of homes into state-monitored protective shelters, where home-raised children and wedlocked women are rehabilitated. Some might question whether children really are better off homeless, but deputy Kreapy makes it very clear: “if it saves just one child, we must continue home-stings and neighbourhood raids. We cannot allow a single child to stay in a violent household.”

State Rep. Stephen Homer announced the forthcoming legislation that is committed to reducing the illicit ‘groom’ demand for domestic abuse along with important provisions to combat this crime. “Individuals willing to marry expose vulnerable women and children to the abusive realities of domestic violence” said Homer. “This is an important step to make sure we aggressively address some of the most deplorable, criminal activity that plagues our state”.