19 October, 2012

Prostitution in Colorado Springs

Today we are asking people to wear red to bring awareness to Human Trafficking and the mission to make it STOP!! Many are gathering together to attend the latest hearing for a convicted pimp in Colorado Springs. He is charged with selling at 16 year old girl. 

Following his arrest, a mandatory protection order was issued forbidding contact between the victim and the perpetrator. That protection order has been violated at least three times, and each time he has been rearrested, the court has actually lowered the amount of his bond making it easier rather than more difficult for him to return to the community and reoffend.

The message these actions send is that the offense is not a serious one; that the victim’s safety is not of great concern to the community and that the perpetrator poses no ongoing risk to others.

As a community we must stand up to this type of crime and loudly cry NOT HERE, NOT NOW, NOT EVER! A good beginning would be to enforce the protection order by
holding the defendant in custody or raising bail to an amount that would convince him to stay away from the child victim. 

Below is a video a local news organization ran back in October. There are so many things wrong with it that it's hard to know where to start... 
  • If the girls are under 18 they are automatically considered a victim of prostitution under the TVPA Act passed by Congress back in 2000. 
  • They are prostituted women and children not prostitutes.
  • CSPD said this in the interview: "Years Ago you would see a lot of women on the streets walking, soliciting, nowadays with the internet it's more behind closed doors. What we're finding is that it brings in a lot of cash and younger girls are getting more interested in making that much money, so they're using their bodies."  It takes out the person who is selling them and the person buying them. No 13 year old girl decides to sell herself online without someone coercing her to do it (aka the defendant at the start of the story). This is a very sickening statement from a law enforcement agency. 
  • The story makes it appear that the prostituted girls are the problem. It does not speak to demand or the fact that law enforcement is doing nothing to catch or prosecute the purchasers.
  • All the "penalties" at the end are against the victims. There is nothing against purchasers or pimps.
How can you help?
  • We have two letters you can download and send to the judge in the case. They are here and here.  
  • Contact local news agencies help educate them about the reality of the current case and offer up LTHF or The Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado as places to go and get additional information. 
  • Write other news stations (the Gazette, Independent, etc.) and write about why this issues needs to be framed in a different light. 
  • Contact Dan May, District Attorney: 520-6000 and ask him to prosecute the Travis Baker case as human trafficking.
  • Let us know what else you are doing, so we can get behind you!