Josh Duggar enters rehab, family says
Josh Duggar information turned up in Ashley Madison hack
Duggar apologized last week; family released statement Wednesday
(CNN)Josh Duggar, the eldest of the Duggar children, is going into rehab, the family said in a statement Wednesday.
“Yesterday Josh checked himself into a long-term treatment center,” the family said in a posting on duggarfamily.com. “For him it will be a long journey toward wholeness and recovery. We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change.
“In the meantime, we will be offering our love, care and devoted support to Anna and our grandchildren as she also receives counsel and help for her own heart and future,” the statement continued.
It’s unclear what type of rehab the former reality TV star has entered.
Josh Duggar: ‘I have been the biggest hypocrite ever’ 01:36
Last week, Josh Duggar apologized after his name turned up in the data of the cheating website Ashley Madison.
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife,” Duggar said August 20.
“I brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions that happened when I was 14-15 years old, and now I have re-broken their trust,” Duggar said.
The Ashley Madison hack, which included information on 32 million users, was released to the public last week.
It’s been an embattled year for Duggar, 27, who is married to Anna Duggar and is the father to four children.
He also apologized back in May after reports emerged alleging he molested girls as a teenager, including his sisters. He said then that he “acted inexcusably.”
His family’s TLC show, “19 Kids and Counting,” was canceled in May.
The Duggar family is known for its adherence to strict religious beliefs, including no sex outside of marriage. For two years, Josh Duggar was head of the Family Research Council’s FRC Action arm, a division of the conservative interest group. He resigned in May after the reports about his sisters emerged.
In the statement, the family said “we continue to look to God”
“He is our rock and comfort,” the statement said. “We ask for your continued prayers for our entire family.”
CNN’s Dana Ford, Steve Almasy and Laurie Segall contributed to this story.
-So Josh Duggar is goin’ ta rehab huh? For WHAT? Sex addiction? There isn’t any such animal, he is who he is because he was told that sexual urges were sinful and that he would burn in Hell for flogging his log! Not that he is a pinnacle of purity, NO! Is he an asshole carbon copy of his fucktard father? YES! Is he an adult person denying science and teaching further generations to be myth-believing throwbacks? YES!
This asshole stood at rallies condemning certain secular and pro-choice issues, trying to force his stupid myth onto those who were firmly grounded in reality and science, HE is a complete shitbird and a hypocritical jackass! And while I am chortling mightily at the Duggar downfall, I also understand that he is a child born of people sooo ignorant that they believe the Earth to be only 6.000 years old, and believe that a 900 year old man built an ark that saved all of the animals that we see today.
I surely hope that Josh finds it within himself that flogging his log and watching a little porn is actually healthy, and that worshiping a fairy godfather in the sky is actually akin to kneeling to My Little Pony
Josh Duggar after Ashley Madison hack: ‘I have been the biggest hypocrite ever’
By Dana Ford, CNN
Updated 10:46 AM ET, Fri August 21, 2015 | Video Source: CNN
(CNN)Reality TV star Josh Duggar is apologizing after being outed as one of the 32 million people who used the cheating website Ashley Madison.
Hackers stole customers’ information from the website and released it to the public this week, exposing something Duggar tried to keep secret.
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife,” Duggar said in a statement Thursday.
The Duggar family
He did not specifically address Ashley Madison in his statement, which was issued in the wake of the hackers’ data dump and later modified to omit the reference to pornography.
“I brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions that happened when I was 14-15 years old, and now I have re-broken their trust,” Duggar said.
Earlier this year, Duggar was forced to apologize after reports emerged alleging he molested girls as a teenager, including his sisters. He said then that he “acted inexcusably.”
Duggar, 27, is the oldest of the children who appeared on TLC’s hit show “19 Kids and Counting.” The show has since been canceled.
According to an analysis from the cybersecurity company Trustify, Duggar paid Ashley Madison some $986 between 2012 and 2015. He used the name, josh_the_man, and described himself as an “attached male seeking female,” according to the analysis.
Duggar reportedly listed some of his desires as: conventional sex, experimenting with sex toys and one-night stands. He listed travel and photography as personal interests. He said he was turned on by professional, confident women who dislike routine and have a secret love nest.
Reality star Josh Duggar: ‘I acted inexcusably’ 01:00
“As I am learning the hard way, we have the freedom to choose to our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences. I deeply regret all hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example,” Duggar said in his Thursday statement. “I humbly ask for your forgiveness.”
The Duggars are known for being devout Christians who don’t believe in practicing birth control and whose children follow strict courtship rules.
Ashley Madison, which is owned by Avid Life Media, is designed to help married people cheat on their spouses. Its slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.”
CNN’s Steve Almasy and Laurie Segall contributed to this report.
Again, we are assailed with more inappropriate behavior by science-denying home schooled revisionist historians. The Lord their God sure dwelt in them to elevate their oldest son to the pinnacle of purity as evidenced by how these assholes bragged about their ultra-conservative hate-mongering as though it were legitimate, and scoffed at those who were actually being honest and forthright in their lives.
The Duggars have had to learn some hard life lessons about how their throwback myth worship has completely degraded their family foundation and called everything that they have espoused into question. I can only shake my head in wonderment as to how the sheeple of America could elevate these idiots to a top rated show on a popular network, and be so oblivious as to the stupidity of what they believed in! These idiots believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old for Christ sake! Jim Bob,(oh my fucking god, Jim Bob! What kind of fucking name is that?), was actually present at the prison release of the tax criminal Kent Hovind who is one of the biggest science deniers around along with his idiot son Eric!
I wouldn’t send this asshole toilet paper if he was wiping his ass with his fingers let alone be seen with this crackpot! Finally, the truth revealed about these people and the damage that their Quiverfull bullshit causes when taught as fact! It is high time that the Duggars, as well as their poisonous teachings, fall out of the limelight before they damage any more people into believing in extreme mythology.
The effect was first demonstrated in limited cases more than a decade ago, but by achieving it in novel ways, two groups “have made negative refraction a practical reality at optical frequencies,” said Sir John Pendry, a professor of physics at Imperial College London who was not involved in the new work.
Now, following recent breakthroughs, researchers are laying the groundwork for a “perfect lens” that can resolve sub-wavelength features in real time, as well as a suite of other optical instruments long thought impossible. These devices sidestep old optical limits by bending rays of light the “wrong” way — a phenomenon known as negative refraction.
In addition to biological imaging, perfect lenses could be used for single molecule biosensing, nanofabrication, light harvesting and (in theory) perfectly efficient solar panels, among other possibilities.
“The only prerequisite for realizing [a perfect lens] is negative refraction, which we have demonstrated,” said Hayk Harutyunyan, a postdoctoral researcher at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill., and lead author of one of the new studies. “The rest is just technical problems that one has to solve.”
From air to silver, every medium has a “refractive index” relating the velocity of light in a vacuum to its velocity inside the medium. This number, plugged into a thousand-year-old formula known as Snell’s Law, gives the angle to which a beam of light bends when it enters the medium. When light passes from air into glass, for example, the refractive index increases from about 1 to 1.5, meaning that the light slows down and its angle steepens.
In 1967, the Russian scientist Victor Veselago wondered: What if that number, and therefore that angle, was negative? His minus sign completely transformed the equations of optics, yielding fantastic new solutions in which light pulled instead of pushed when striking a surface, and stretched when it would normally compress into a shockwave. Best of all, while regular curved lenses can only form images of objects located at the “focal point,” negative refraction is achieved with a flat lens that can form images of large regions of space.
But it all seemed like make-believe. To negatively refract light, a material must somehow send its waves rippling backward as its energy flows forward. “The reaction of the scientific community to this result was initially not positive,” said Veselago, now 84. “Many believed that the negative sign … in the formula was some ‘mathematical joke’ and cannot be realized physically.”
Veselago spent several years searching for materials with a negative refractive index. “However, all my attempts failed,” he said. The concept was forgotten.
Then, in 2000, a paper by Pendry in Physical Review Letters reignited interest in the idea. Pendry proved that negative refraction enables not only flat but also “perfect” lensing because negatively refracting materials can pick up and amplify the tiny wavelets that hug the fine-grained edges of objects. Ordinarily, this “near field” radiation decays within nanometers of an object and only the larger crests and troughs propagate outward. But when near field light hits a negatively refracting medium, the minus sign transforms its decay into growth, amplifying the signal. In a perfect lens, no information is lost.
“It’s a very beautiful process if you look at the mathematics of it,” Pendry said.
He also discovered a strategy for bringing the enticing possibilities to life. A material’s refractive index is calculated from its response to electric and magnetic fields. By embedding microscopic structures in a material that resonate with these fields in specially tailored ways, the material’s natural, atomic response to light, which always gives a positive refractive index, could be overridden. The first demonstration of negative refraction followed within months. A team led by David Smith, now a physicist and electrical and computer engineer at Duke University, created an artificial material, or “metamaterial,” consisting of a metal mesh imprinted with millimeter-wide geometric patterns. And as reported in a 2001 paper in the journal Science, by reversing electric and magnetic fields of specific strengths, the device negatively refracted 3-centimeter-long microwaves.
Metamaterials have spawned numerous practical applications, including “cloaking” devices that reduce electrical interference by bending radio waves around receivers, tunable satellite antennas that can access the Internet from anywhere, and vehicle collision avoidance systems. But the Smith team’s metamaterials could not be used to create lenses that negatively refract broadband visible light. They operate at a single wavelength tied to the dimensions of the material, rather than over a spectrum of colors. And their size could not be reduced enough to resonate within the visible 400- to 700-nanometer wavelength range. A new approach was needed.
“After many years of people staring at this problem of negative refraction, we’re finally getting people mastering the very, very difficult technology of making materials which have this property,” Pendry said.
In work that Pendry calls “a technological tour de force,” researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., have exploited the optical properties of objects called plasmonic waveguides to create a negatively refracting flat lens like the one Veselago envisioned 45 years ago. “Our goal was to achieve it in the most classical form, as close as possible to the original presentation back in the ’60s,” said Henri Lezec, principal investigator of the project.
For a range of ultraviolet wavelengths, the lens — made of a stack of silver and titanium dioxide layers — has a refractive index of -1, roughly equal and opposite to that of air. When light in this wavelength range bounces off an object and strikes the lens at any angle, interplay between oscillations of electrons in the two types of layers causes the light to bend back to the mirror-image angle as it moves through the stack, converging to form an image of the object on the far side. Because the lens is flat rather than curved like a conventional lens, there are “infinite axes and a continuum of focal planes,” Lezec explained. That means the device can create an image of everything in its vicinity simultaneously. So far, as detailed in the journal Nature in May, the team has created images of test objects such as rings and crosses, but “it could be a cell incorporating some flourophores,” Lezec said.
The device “allows unprecedented control of light,” he said, with immediate applications in 3-D photolithography (micro- or nano-scale printing with light), optical switching (turning light circuits on and off) and imaging. The researchers are also exploring strange physical effects that Veselago argued would be possible with a negatively refracting flat lens, including negative radiation pressure — pulling objects by shining light on them.
“Lezec actually sees this thing fly in space the wrong way; it flies towards light when you illuminate it,” Smith said. The scientists, who do not believe the object actually violates a fundamental principle of physics known as the conservation of momentum, are working on a new theory to make sense of this behavior.
Lezec’s flat lens currently dissipates too much energy to sufficiently amplify near field light and achieve super-resolution, but an almost loss-free approach to negative refraction proposed by Pendry in 2008 has also been demonstrated at optical frequencies for the first time. Harutyunyan, Ryan Beams of the University of Rochester and Lukas Novotny of ETH Zürich used a pair of high-powered laser beams to create a hologram on a flake of multilayer graphene, an extremely thin carbon crystal. Graphene is a highly “nonlinear” material, meaning it enhances the strange effects exhibited by very intense light. When a beam of light strikes the hologram, the nonlinearity causes a time-reversed replica of the beam to form on the far side of the graphene flake. This is effectively equivalent to the original beam negatively refracting as it crosses the graphene.
The results were reported in the July issue of Nature Physics. “There’s a lot of firsts in this,” Smith said. “It’s a beautiful experiment.”
The researchers say that, further optimized, the device could be used for super-resolution imaging of visible light, with some caveats. Smith thinks the laser beams used to generate the hologram could disturb a biological sample. Another challenge will be magnifying the sub-wavelength image so that ordinary cameras can pick up its fine details. This could be done, for example, by combining the graphene structure with a hyperlens, a newly developed negatively refracting lens that is curved.
Pendry, who recently began collaborating with experimentalists to build a perfect lens, believes the coveted object will be realized in the next five to 10 years. Several other scientists concur. Even negatively refracting, but not quite “perfect,” lenses will yield many practical applications, Pendry said. He compares negatively refracting devices to the laser. When its invention was first reported in 1960 “it was couched as a solution in search of a problem,” he said. “That is not the way you’d describe the laser today.”
Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent division ofSimonsFoundation.org whose mission is to enhance public understanding of science by covering research developments and trends in mathematics and the physical and life sciences.
Selling Atlanta’s children: What has and hasn’t changed
By Jane O. Hansen, Special to CNN
Updated 11:34 AM ET, Sat July 18, 2015
15 years ago, Jane Hansen reported extensively on child prostitution in Atlanta
Now, trafficked children are more likely to be viewed as victims, not criminals
Technology has transformed the illegal sex industry
(CNN)The image sticks in my mind: A female defendant is escorted into the courtroom with shackles around her ankles, making it difficult to walk. Dressed in a jail-issued jumpsuit and flip-flops, she takes a seat at the appointed table up front, until the judge is gaveled in and we all rise.
As a newspaper reporter for more than 20 years in Atlanta, I’d observed this scene before. But this time, something was different.
Selling Atlanta’s Children
Jane O. Hansen’s three-part series “Selling Atlanta’s Children” about child prostitution was published January 7, 2001, in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she worked for 25 years as an investigative reporter, columnist and member of the editorial board. Over the years, her stories captured many national awards, and she was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A series on the failures of Georgia’s child welfare system led to an overhaul of Georgia’s child welfare laws.
This defendant was chewing on her finger, had her hair pulled back in a tiny pigtail, and spoke in a high-pitched voice. She was 10.
She had been in and out of an Atlanta jail for months, as had her sister, because she was an alleged prostitute, a chronic runaway and no one knew what to do with her. When her probation officer asked whether the defendant could address the court, the judge nodded yes, and the little girl rose from the defense table. Her head bowed, she quietly told the judge she wanted to go home. Then, as she rubbed her eyes with balled up fists, she began to cry.
These children are victims, not prostitutes
Nearly 15 years ago, I wrote a series of stories called “Selling Atlanta’s Children” about child prostitution for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and I started it with that courtroom scene. That little girl was a metaphor for everything I had learned through my reporting. By meeting and interviewing her, her 11-year-old sister and other girls, I realized: There’s something wrong with this picture.
How to help sex trafficking victims
In 2000, I got a call in the newsroom from Stephanie Davis, a woman I’d never met, who identified herself as director of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation.
She told me there was a problem with childhood prostitution in Atlanta, that she knew I’d written about children’s issues before, and that she wanted me to meet with some people who could describe in detail what was happening. I was working on another series of stories, but I agreed to the meeting.
Educating Americans on human trafficking
Educating Americans on human trafficking 00:54
A week or so later, I met with a group of women that included a Fulton County Juvenile Court probation officer and some child advocates. They told me that a growing number of young girls — early to late teens — were coming into juvenile court charged with shoplifting or, more commonly, running away — an offense that applies only to minors.
Upon questioning by the judge, they learned that the girls were surviving on the streets as prostitutes under the tutelage of men who housed, fed and clothed them and, in exchange, sold them to other men for sex. I asked for numbers, but they couldn’t provide them. I asked for access to the girls. They said that because of confidentiality, that could not happen. I told them I wouldn’t use their names, but I wouldn’t do the story without meeting some of the girls involved. I also said I needed some way of determining how big a problem this was.
Back then, when people spoke of sex trafficking, I assumed they were referring to an international trade — the phenomenon of young women from China or Thailand or some other country being brought to the United States, then forced to pay back their transportation fees through sexual slavery. But these women I’d just met were telling me it was a homegrown problem. I wanted them to prove it.
When I searched for articles about child prostitution as a homegrown industry in other cities, I found only one story about an American-based prostitution ring that had exploited local minors somewhere in the Midwest.
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One of the first people I met was Fulton County Juvenile Judge Nina Hickson. Through her, I began to see what was wrong with this picture — what was wrong that day I sat in her courtroom and watched that little girl with the pigtail cry.
In Georgia in 2000, while children were being arrested, put in jail, and chained like the worst of criminals, the men selling them and having sex with them were rarely arrested.
Back then, there were no reliable statistics on the number of prostituted children. While the number of 300,000 nationwide was bandied about, I researched the genesis of that number and learned it was wildly speculative and had no basis in fact.
The human traffickers you never even notice
The human traffickers you never even notice 01:00
The best I could do was pull the numbers of adults who had gone to prison for prostitution in Georgia versus the number who had gone to prison for pimping. From 1972 to 1999, I found that 401 adults — almost all women — had been incarcerated for prostitution. Not one person had gone to prison for the crime of pimping. That told me something.
I remember the explanation given to me at the time by Mike Light, then the Department of Corrections spokesman and a former parole officer. “I think there was an unwitting bias that the woman was the perpetrator,” he said. “She was the one out having sex. …The pimp was just collecting the money.”
Because the numbers were so unreliable, my newspaper agreed to do a national survey of juvenile judges. We enlisted the help of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, who urged enough judges to respond that we were able to get a reliable sample.
A hidden problem
Child prostitution is a hidden problem that was — and still is — difficult to count.
Unlike adult women, these children — such as that 10-year-old girl — rarely came into the criminal justice system charged with prostitution. Rather they came in under a host of other charges, such as running away. Juvenile judges were often the first to identify them as sexually exploited minors who were working as prostitutes. And according to our survey, their numbers were growing.
Almost one in three of the juvenile judges surveyed said they had seen an increase in the past five years in the number of child prostitutes coming into their courtrooms. Rural judges participating in the survey reported the sharpest increase, with the typical rural judge seeing an average of three youths a month involved in prostitution.
Our survey suggested, however, that even judges viewed the problem differently, depending on their gender. Among female juvenile justices, 85% estimated they saw one or more child prostitutes a month, compared with 68% of male judges.
Read the original report
Selling Atlanta’s Children
The female judges were also more likely than male judges to complain that police weren’t aggressive enough in going after pimps and customers. Many judges participating in our survey said they believed the laws should be changed, mandating harsher penalties for pimps and “johns.”
One judge said the adults got away with exploiting children because “people don’t believe children, particularly if they’re a naughty, bad, unpleasant child.” A majority of the judges said their communities lacked services for child prostitutes in need of being “deprogrammed,” with 10 times as many judges saying they should be treated as victims rather than criminals.
Atlanta police said at the time it was a lot harder to arrest pimps than prostitutes.
As undercover officers, they could pluck the prostitutes off the streets as the girls or women worked the “track,” such as Metropolitan Parkway, or turned tricks at strip clubs, where underaged girls illegally danced. The pimps were more hidden.
Even if police were able to make an arrest, prosecutors said it was difficult to build a case against the men. They needed witnesses, but the general rule was that prostitutes didn’t testify against their boss, the pimp, out of reluctance or fear.
The problem, Judge Hickson said at the time, was that police and prosecutors often failed to distinguish between prostitutes who were adults and those who were children.
The children who were coming into her courtroom weren’t seen as victims by law enforcement, she said. “They’re seen as consenting participants.”
Partly in response to that perception, I told her I needed to find a girl 12 or younger who was allegedly being prostituted. I felt if I could paint a picture of a child who was being prostituted, as opposed to a teenager, the exploitative nature of this problem would become more real to our readers. I told her I would not use any names without her approval, as I understood the dangerous lives these young people were leading. Eventually, after she contacted other judges familiar with stories I’d done involving child victims, I think she decided it was worth the risk.
She called me one day and said, “What about a 10-year-old?” Soon after, I was in her courtroom when they brought in the little girl.
The judge explained that the last thing she wanted to do with this child was to keep her behind bars, which is where her 11-year-old sister had been waiting for three weeks. “But I’ve got to make sure she’s safe,” the judge said. There was just nowhere to put children like these because of a lack of children’s programs in Georgia.
There were plenty of beds for bad children needing punishment, but practically none for young exploited victims needing help.
At the court hearing, Hickson was clearly frustrated. She accused child welfare officials of not doing enough to find some place to put the two sisters other than jail. The probation officer complained they had done nothing to get the girls’ mother into drug treatment.
Hickson said she had never intended to keep them locked up more than a few days, and she was angry she had had to schedule this hearing to force the child welfare officials to act. They told the judge they worried about sending the girls home to their mother, whose life was controlled by drugs.
When the child told the judge she wanted to go home, Hickson said to her, “I don’t want you locked up either. But I’m also concerned about your safety and whether you’re going to stay with your mom. Are you going to stay at your mother’s?”
“Yes, ma’am,” the child said.
After the hearing, the judge took me back to her chambers where she allowed me to interview the little girl. Her eyes red from crying, the child said she was sorry for what she had done.
She said if she could, she would “change back the hand of time.” She said a relative’s boyfriend had led the sisters into prostitution. At first he “was buying us stuff.” She said she realized something was wrong “because of what he wanted in return.” He wanted money “by my prostituting.”
“He forced me. He wouldn’t let me go.” She said he took her sister and her to a hotel on Fulton Industrial Boulevard in Atlanta.
As she sat hunched over with her hands partly hiding her face, she said softly that he threatened to kill her if she left. “He’d pull my hair, and he punched me.” She was very frightened of him.
She said she would like to tell other girls her age, “Stay in school. Don’t waste your life on something like this. Some people have caught HIV and AIDS.”
She said she wanted to go back to school. Her elementary school had a mentoring program. And then this 10-year-old little girl — with no hope and no one in her life who loved and cared for her — said that more than anything, she wanted a mentor. “It would help me be better off in life,” she said. “Much better than I am.”
That day, Hickson ordered that both girls be returned home and without electronic monitors, as child welfare officials had requested. Three weeks later, the 10-year-old ran away again. Eventually police picked her up and returned her to the youth jail, where she remained while officials tried to figure out what to do with her.
“It’s not the judge’s fault,” Alesia Adams said at the time. Adams was head of Victims of Prostitution, a newly formed program to help children like the 10-year-old. “It’s not anybody’s fault. There’s just no place for these kids to go.”
In the past 15 years, I’ve thought of that child, as well as the other girls I met and profiled for the newspaper series. I’ve wondered what happened to them. The 10-year-old would be 25 today. If she’s alive.
Changing industry, changing laws
Since I wrote that series, a lot has changed. And a lot hasn’t.
Soon after my stories ran in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, people such as Hickson, Stephanie Davis and Alesia Adams convinced the Georgia Legislature to change state law so that pimping minors was no longer a misdemeanor but a felony, with prison sentences of up to 20 years, depending on the child’s age.
It was a start.
Prosecutors such as Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard called child prostitution possibly “one of the largest problems facing our young people today.” He said more than a new law was needed, and he began more aggressively prosecuting men who were exploiting minors while calling on police to more aggressively identify and arrest them.
The Atlanta Women’s Foundation set up “Angela’s Fund” to raise money to help children exploited as prostitutes. Soon Angela’s House was born as a residential safe house for a small number of children victimized by commercial sexual exploitation. While Angela’s House no longer exists, eventually two other safe houses have taken its place, thanks in part to a growing number of individuals and organizations concerned about the problem, such as youthSpark, Street Grace and Wellspring Living.
Each year, these organizations promote a “Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Lobby Day” to continue calling attention to the problem.
In 2011, they succeeded in winning passage of House Bill 200: Georgia’s Human Trafficking Law, which again increased penalties for trafficking, required training for the proper response by law enforcement and emphasized the need to treat those who were being commercially exploited as victims rather than criminals.
This year, Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia signed two new measures, both sponsored by Sen. Renee Unterman, a Republican from Buford. Senate Resolution 7 would permit an annual $5,000 fee paid by strip clubs to go toward housing, counseling and other services for victims of child prostitution, if voters approve. The resolution sets up a statewide referendum that will be on the ballot in November 2016.
Senate Bill 8, known as Rachel’s Law and the Safe Harbor Law, lays out how the money would be collected and spent. It also ensures that sexually exploited youths are treated as victims, not criminals, specifically stating that children who have been sexually exploited may no longer be charged with prostitution.
Hickson, today an ethics officer for the city of Atlanta, was there for the bills’ signing.
“The level of awareness certainly has increased,” she said in a recent interview. She believes the perception of human trafficking has also changed and is no longer viewed exclusively as a problem among immigrants from other countries.
“I think people today understand it is a homegrown problem,” she said. “You have people acknowledging that the problem exists in our metro area, and the children need to be treated as children with problems as opposed to problem children.”
But, she said, it remains critical to keep the public glare on the problem.
From the streets to the Internet
And that’s not easy, because if this societal problem was hidden before, it’s gone underground today.
Internet and cell phones have changed everything, according to Hickson and law enforcement officers. While young girls can still be seen walking the “track” in some well-known areas of Fulton and DeKalb counties, in the core of the Atlanta metro area, they are as likely to be advertised on the Internet.
A number of girls and women have set up their own ads that are prominently displayed on a plethora of websites, one of the biggest being “Backpage.com,” which filled the gap after Craigslist was sued and in 2010 shut down its money-making adult services section. Backpage’s escort and body-rubs section brings in millions in revenue each month, according to a 2013 report by an advertising consultant company, the AIM Group. Backpage “has succeeded Craigslist as the nation’s leading publisher of online prostitution advertising,” the report said.
(Earlier this summer, Visa, American Express and MasterCard all cut their ties with the website.) Calls and emails to representatives of Backpage were not returned.
To understand how endemic the Internet is to the world of prostitution, consider the website “The Erotic Review,” or TER. It has been around so long, there are johns who make it their business to go see escort after escort, then review them on TER. They call themselves “hobbyists,” and they post explicit descriptions of the services others can expect from a girl, whether the girl has a bad attitude or whether she’s posted a picture that makes her look better than she does in person. Attempts to reach TER have been unsuccessful.
Pimps who once exploited girls by making them walk the track can now troll the Internet for girls who are going it alone, sometimes luring them into escort services with an offer of higher salaries, payment to cover the cost of their ads and an apartment where they can rendezvous with their clients.
That means that for the 14-year-old girl from an impoverished area who is just getting started and doesn’t understand what she’s getting into, “a pimp will come along and say, ‘Instead of you staying out there in the wind or the cold, I’ll put you in a warm apartment and you’ll make a lot,’ ” says a seasoned law enforcement officer and former vice and narcotics detective. “Anyone who runs an escort agency and gets a cut from your profit prostituting, they’re pimping.”
As prostitution has moved indoors and underground, the community is less likely to see it on the streets and complain to police. So there’s less involvement by police, who are driven to respond by the community’s complaints.
That’s bad for the young victims, the officer says, as well as for the community because the sexual exploitation of underage youth remains a booming business. He worries that while demand remains strong, too many young girls — and some boys — are lured into prostitution out of view of the public and police and without understanding the consequences.
“The biggest impact is on the girls themselves,” he says. “It has a psychological, moral impact on a girl, and she doesn’t realize what she’s sacrificing. A lot of these girls become drug addicts. This is happening all over Atlanta. After 10 years, if you survive the diseases, a potential criminal record, and the psychological toil, you suddenly realize you have no education or marketable skills.
“Once you lose your looks, you’re back in the same place you started in. Any time you take a productive young person out of the mainstream of society and point her toward a criminal enterprise, which prostitution is, that’s never good.”
She said that while she is hopeful about the new laws, the growing awareness and the numbers of people and organizations fighting against child prostitution, she worries there’s a “flavor of the month” aspect; that child prostitution is a “topic that’s in style.”
“If this is a shallow issue for people, it will dissipate when the next issue comes along,” she said. Fifteen years ago, I wrote that Hickson “looks into the eyes of children who have been prostituted and she sees nothing. No hope. No dreams. No more childhood.”
Like that 10-year-old girl.
Some years after that child had stood before Hickson, the former judge got word about what had happened to her and her older sister.
For a while, they were in the care of the Department of Family and Children Services because of their mother’s ongoing drug addiction. But at some point, their mother got into a drug treatment program and eventually the girls went home.
“It was touch and go,” Hickson said. “But last I heard, they were in school.”
In the meantime, Hickson and a number of others remain committed to rescuing young girls and boys from the destruction of sexual exploitation. Top of their agenda now is to ensure that voters support the $5,000 annual fee on strip clubs in next year’s referendum.
“We have to remain vigilant because the adult entertainment industry has deep pockets,” Hickson said. “This is long-term work. There has to be a level of commitment.
-These little girls and the boys that are involved, are VICTIMS and to shackle them is an affront to all sane thinking people! The pimps need to be put in hard labor camps and the system needs to aggressively start programs to protect, rehabilitate and educate these victims to a better future! Licensing needs to be enacted for the privilege of bringing a child into the world, not the incentive of being able to sit your lazy ass on welfare! So many of these victims started as being pimped by their trailer trash mom’s boyfriends. Many were kidnapped out of good environments, yes, but millions of children born into poverty by irresponsible, ignorant parents become the ‘easy pickings.’
It is NOT A RIGHT to have a child, no matter what any knee-jerk asshole believes! It is the most important job a person will EVER do! I will continue to be as active in my community as possible and will pass out literature to open people’s eyes to this tragedy, but the people also need to put pressure on the Government to pass laws protecting these victims and that target and utterly destroy the lives of the pimps and johns involved in human trafficking!