There’s one girl I encountered three times. On the third try, she wanted to cooperate. She wanted to talk to me, and the only reason was that she had been told by the county, the sheriff’s department, that if she was arrested one more time for prostitution that she would be registered as a sex offender in the state. That was something that would hang over her like a scarlet letter for the rest of her life, and she was not going to have that. She said, “I can’t get arrested again, so what do you want to know?” It wasn’t about, “I need services, I need health care, I’m afraid of my pimp, come rescue me.” I’ve had many other situations in which I encountered a girl, a victim of trafficking, and she told me to go pound sand and I never saw her again. Some of those women popped up in another jurisdiction. Including the concern about possible trafficking in a database has been very helpful.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 37 – No 03 – March 2018
KK: What I’m hearing from you is a lot of these cases weren’t reported as human trafficking, so you’re overturning stones and finding these victims. It’s not a deliberate process to, let’s say, investigate four claims of human trafficking that were reported by the sheriff’s department.
CD: You’re exactly right. We had a case in east Tennessee where a girl was discovered by Knox County on the side of the road. She was in a physical altercation with her pimp and she was getting the better of him, and he called 911. The sheriff’s department shows up on the side of the road. She’s hitting him, and she says, “I did, I hit him with a tire iron.” She knew full well she would go jail, and she told her public defender, “Yes, I hit him because he had been keeping me in a state of involuntary servitude, in a state of slavery, in a state of trafficking, for about a week or 10 days.” She was completely done, and she thought the one way to get away from him was to get arrested. Kevin, I would love to know the answer to why some victims are able to escape and others are in a trafficking situation for years. Why was she one of the few that said, “I am not doing this?”
KK: When you are in a position of such oppression, you must have a very strong personality to be able to overcome that and do what she did.