Anti-Human Trafficking Trainings in Duluth


For generations Duluth has heard murmurs of the women and girls rarely seen, but commonly rumored to “work the boats.” These women, some as young as preteens, would be beckoned or brought on board, at times swimming out to the ships themselves, and move bunk to bunk servicing the various members of a ship’s crew. However, these claims seemed only speculations and the topic was taboo in most circles of society. Prostitution was one issue, but slavery in Duluth’s backyard was an unthinkable and uncomfortable subject to raise.

– Kelsey Fuhrman in Easing the traffick jam: Duluth’s emerging efforts toward combating sex slavery

September 19th and 20th Hillside Church, the Duluth Human Trafficking task force and others present training and awareness opportunities for people of all walks of life to learn about human trafficking, the sex trade, and human slavery as it exists in the Twin Ports today. The Monday night training is designed for community members, especially those from the faith community. Tuesday mornings sessions are designed for professionals in the counseling, medical, social work, law enforcement and so on. The trainings will feature speakers from Breaking Free, a Minnesota-based organization that serves “women and girls who have been victims of abuse and commercial sexual exploitation (prostitution/sex trafficking) and need assistance escaping the violence in their lives.”

Here’s a Facebook event link if you want to check it out or help spread the word that way. Contact Hillside Church or Erin Aili from A Beautiful Rescue, to register for either training or to get involved in other ways.

If you want to get some perspective on the issue of sex trafficking in the Twin Ports, check out this post from earlier this summer on PDD, the comments section is particularly lively on that one. You could also check out this news story about the Duluth Human Trafficking task force from Northland’s News Center in November, 2010

13 Comments

emmadogs

about 11 years ago

It's not just females.  Young boys are also sold on the boats, sometimes by their mothers.  I hope we start using gender inclusive language, so that men can feel more comfortable talking about their exploitation.

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

Point well taken, Emmadogs.  "Breaking Free" is focused on women and girls or I would've used more gender neutral language, that's why I quoted their mission, too.  But I'm hoping to hear what suggestions they have for our community when it comes to boys and men, as well.  The days of "you can't rape a man" or "it's not sexual abuse if they enjoy it" are, I hope, over.

emmadogs

about 11 years ago

Thanks for working on this, Wildgoose.

Camila

about 11 years ago

Very misleading headline! I'd add "ANTI-" for you if I could. :)

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

Thanks Camila.  Always nice having copy editors reading your blogs ... you folks don't miss much.

Laura

about 11 years ago

What time will this event be at?

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

Hillside Church
201 E. 1st Street
Community Event:  Monday, Sept 19: 7-9pm
Professional Training: Tuesday, Sept 20: 9am-noon

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

Actually, Goose, you need two hyphens in that title.

Anti-human-trafficking trainings are trainings to prevent the trafficking of humans.

Anti-human trafficking trainings are trainings on how to engage in trafficking in an anti-human way.

Ramos

about 11 years ago

I'm not a fan of human trafficking. However, I feel this issue has been blown far out of proportion.

In a recent Zenith City Weekly article, Richard Thomas interviewed many of the players who are involved in solving the "problem" of human trafficking in Duluth. Few could cite real instances of human trafficking, and what data was available relied on horribly flawed methodology.

Thomas writes:

"No one can deny sex trafficking occurs and, by its very nature, is hidden and hard to quantify, but highly suspect figures are cited as evidence that selling children for sex is reaching epidemic proportions.

"Minnesota saw a 64.7 percent increase in just six months, according to a 2010 study by the Georgia-based 'A Future. Not A Past' campaign, whose research keeps turning up in media, governmental, and victim advocate reports on the subject.

"However, the campaign derived its figures by looking up adult Internet ads and counting the number of photos that appeared to depict females under 18, without any attempt to confirm their actual ages nor the legitimacy of the photos.

"When pressed by a reporter, Future-Not-Past Director Kaffie McCullough acknowledged their research is questionable, but said it was necessary to get funding from the state legislature."

Counting photos of people who appear to be under 18? I find this kind of crappy science abhorrent -- not only because it makes a mockery of true investigation, but because it may well divert scarce public dollars from other, more serious societal problems.

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

That's fine to raise the point, and thanks to the link to Richard's article.  I appreciate that.  

I don't have any figures on it, I only know what I see.  I would call the block bounded by 2nd Ave E and 1st St, 1st Ave E and Superior St, back over to 2nd Ave E and up to 1st St, to be a "ground zero" of prostitution, of sorts.   I'm guessing here, but you've probably seen even more than I have.

Heather

about 11 years ago

I'm sorry, I have to disagree with Ramos.  I have lived in this area my whole life.  I know that child sex trafficking is happening.  I have seen it with my own eyes.  I know this is a huge problem and will only get worse if we continue not to do anything about it. We also need to make resources more available and known to victims so they know they have somewhere to go for help.

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

I'll let Ramos defend himself, but I am not sure that is what he was saying.  In fact, that's why I mentioned that he's probably seen more than I have, because ... he gets around and is out and about late at night and in the wee small hours when s**t gets funky in Duluth.  

I think he made a valid point that the figures cited could be a little murky and we want to be telling the truth as much as possible so people will believe there is a problem and not just a bunch of hype.  I'm a big fan of the truth. Hopefully the methodology will be discussed at the trainings -- and the barriers to getting clean citations, such as confidentiality, lack of convictions and lack of legal cases that are brought as far as a judge and jury. 

In the recent DSK case in New York city, the alleged victim's testimony was discounted because she had PTSD, had been raped before, she may have traded sex for money or protection in the past, and she consorted with known criminals and organized crime figures. That was essentially the argument for dropping all charges, right?  That makes it difficult for her to be a credible witness, but those all sound like common risk factors for exploitation and rape, too.  

In other words, in my opinion, that very hyped-up case presents a possible argument for why it is so difficult to have hard evidence of sex crimes, especially prostitution and human trafficking.

adam

about 11 years ago

Regarding the DSK case:

"Media accounts suggested that Diallo's suit was dismissed because of her 'questionable past,' but that wasn't what weakened the case most. It was that she lied to prosecutors again and again and again. The fact that she falsely claimed to have been gang-raped in Guinea probably wasn't enough to doom the case — she might still have presented herself quite sympathetically as a desperate refugee fleeing a war zone — but there were other things undermining her credibility. Diallo repeatedly confused or misrepresented crucial sequences of events to the grand jury, to police and to prosecutors. Not only did the police investigation turn up a jumble of discrepancies in her story; her own attorney permitted her, even advised her, to talk and talk and talk to all manner of tabloid media hounds. That rather unusual — I would say reckless — decision captured yet more discrepancies for the record and diminished her reliability further."
— Patricia J. Williams, "Sex, Lies and the DSK Case" in The Nation.

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