Our Unique Program Has an Inside Track to Reaching Victims
. . . especially Victims Who Want a Better Life.
One of the biggest problems most organizations trying to fight sex trafficking have to face is also a very difficult one to solve:
How do we get the girls away from their pimps?
The answer to this, ironically, arose from a person who had been putting prostitutes in jail for most of his career. When King County Sheriff’s Deputy Andy Conner hatched the idea for the Genesis Project, he realized he himself was the answer to this problem.
The best person to rescue these girls is a police officer.
Two Keys to Freedom – Our Inside Track
Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) are ideally placed to be able to help victims of sex trafficking.
1. Direct Access
No one else who cares about these girls has the kind of access to them that LEOs have.
And with The Genesis Project drop-in center – an effective alternative to jail – trained officers now have a place they can bring any prostituted girls they find on the street who want help. Now they can treat them as victims, not criminals.
Andy’s close ties with law enforcement – 16 years of experience, including more than 8 specifically working with victims of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) – make him the perfect ambassador to lead these girls to a chance at freedom.
Deputy Conner also works with the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force, (now called Child Exploitation task force) focusing on sex trafficking crimes involving minors. One of his goals is to train other officers to better identify and interview victims of sex trafficking, using a victim-centered approach that will help child trafficking victims feel comfortable enough to escape.
At the drop-in center, the girls can rest and recover in a safe location. They can clear their heads, and then consider getting the help they need to change the direction of their lives.
2. Transportation Security
A second advantage of using LEOs to find victims of human trafficking is because they can provide security for their transportation. Other organizations fighting trafficking have a much harder time with both of these issues.
It all depends on access and safety.
One of the greatest obstacles to escaping a pimp is, where do you go, and how do you get there? With the pimp controlling your money, having no car, the fear of being followed, and no secure place to go – even if a girl wants to escape, she has a lot to overcome.
But if an LEO finds her, treats her with understanding, and offers to take her to the drop-in center, she can more easily overcome both these challenges.
She has a place to go, and a safe way to get there.
The LEO Advantage
There are other reasons using LEOs to find trafficking victims is so effective. Here are a few examples:
- LEOs can access children sold online, through undercover stings. These victims are usually isolated and traditionally very difficult to find and rescue otherwise.
- Victims who have been “arrested” for prostitution cannot deny being trafficked. Under everyday conditions, a typical victim will not acknowledge being trafficked out of shame or fear. Police with evidence of trafficking have taken away that ability to deny it and can open them up to help.
- LEOs can have access to victims without pimp interference. Victims who have been arrested can be spoken to without direct interference or intimidation from the pimp.
- Police can provide protection from pimps, and legal resources. Victims often have a fear of retaliation or consequences from their pimp if they were to escape and then get caught. Law Enforcement involvement gives them a certain degree of security. LEOs can work on a case to get the pimp put in jail and can help victims navigate the legal system more effectively.
- LEOs are rescuers with the ability to defend themselves. Many survivors of trafficking have told us they had multiple people offer help while they were in “the life.” However, they knew that those people were not prepared to defend themselves if the pimp were to find them. So they refused help out of concern for the welfare of those helping them. LEOs are the people best equipped to defend themselves against criminals, and are often the only people feared by pimps, which gives the victims a sense that they can get out and be okay.
How does our program work? What do we do with the girls who want our help? Learn all about our mission and vision, and see if there’s a way you can use your strengths and skills to help.