It is true that Modern Smart phones have much more Computing power when compared to Apollo mission computers but computing power alone is insufficient to put your experimental rocket in space. You need to find a way to integrate all the rocket’s other control and sensory systems to your smartphone which is sadly not possible. In addition, you would also need to do away with all the flashy GUI based apps which would otherwise be heavily taxing the processor just to provide that rich user interface instead of helping out your rocket.
And of course, you would also need to be super genius – say to the level of an expert rocket scientist and a super pro computer programmer combined.
I guess we’ll have to grow brains all over our bodies first for that!
-REALLY! Posing with these two irrelevant idiots is gonna make me want to vote for your stupid corporate ass? REALLY?! Fuck you corporate Clinton AND your celebrity endorsements by privileged do-nothing, know-it-all Hollywood assholes! Give me a middle to upper middle class person who comes from working class America and I’m in! How do these puppets of the 1% know what a common person needs, and what does a right-wing rich asshole care about what would make MY life easier? Fuck the Bush’s AND the Clintons!
Oh, and FUCK those untalented asshole Kartrashians! 90% of people are followers and vacuous idiots, hence the popularity of idiots who don’t contribute to humanity!
Paid parental leave is a right, not a favor
By Elaine Eisenman
Updated 1:53 PM ET, Fri August 7, 2015
Maternity leave madness
Netflix announced Tuesday it will offer up to one year of paid parental leave for employees
Elaine Eisenman: More companies need to offer paid leave and see it as a “right,” not a “favor”
Elaine Eisenman is the dean of executive and enterprise education at Babson College and manages the Babson Executive Conference Center. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.
(CNN)In expanding paid parental leave this week, Netflix rises to the top of a relatively small number of major companies that provide substantial benefits for employees who are raising families. This is great news for their employees, and a sad reminder of the situation that about 87% of parents face.
Netflix announced Tuesday that its employees will have up to one year of unlimited, paid parental leave following childbirth, excluding the company’s DVD division. (Microsoft has already followed suit, disclosing Wednesday that it will add eight weeks of paid parental leave to its current policy, beginning in November.)
Full disclosure: As a mother of three and a soon-to-be first-time grandmother, I am biased and passionate about this topic. My pregnant daughter is a consultant with an engineering firm that, like the majority of employers in this country, simply follows federal requirements when it comes to parental leave policies.
When she asked her firm for a copy of its maternity leave policy, it sent her the Family and Medical Leave Act policy, which is federal government-mandated and provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave. FMLA can be combined with her short-term disability benefit, which will pay 66% of her salary for whatever amount of time is approved for her to recover from labor (typically six to eight weeks). The remainder of the 12 weeks allowed under FMLA will be unpaid.
Herein lies the issue: Many companies believe that they have a generous parental leave policy when, in fact, they are simply complying with the law and not truly investing in their employees’ well-being after their children’s births. Incredibly, the U.S. is the only country in the developed world that does not require employers to provide paid maternity leave. (Paid paternity leave, on the other hand, is less common globally.)
Indeed, according to the U.N. International Labor Organization’s “Maternity and Paternity at Work” report, this country and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world without paid maternity leave.
Our young, working parents struggle to afford to do the best for themselves and their families, but their choices are constrained. They must choose between paying the bills (which are even higher with the new family addition) and staying home long enough to recuperate from childbirth and bond with their infant during those critical early months.
As a business school dean and former executive, I fully understand the challenges that companies have in addressing this conflict — and the smaller the company, the greater the challenge. This challenge becomes more acute when one considers that companies such as Netflix, as well as the growing number of other companies that offer substantial parental leave, will ultimately win the talent wars for bright, innovative and committed young people.
As Netflix’s chief talent officer Tawni Cranz wisely noted, “Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field. Experience shows people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home.”
This is a simple equation: Talented people — both men and women — stay in jobs where they feel their needs are understood and their employer is committed to doing the best it can to ensure they can contribute at the highest level.
Companies such as my daughter’s current employer will say they cannot afford paid leave (as they are a small company) and are reliant on the revenue produced through the billable hours of their consultants’ work. One must ask, however: Isn’t the cost of ultimately losing and replacing talented employees who can and will move to companies with family-supportive policies even more expensive?
We know that families need support, and that new, small and emerging businesses clearly cannot afford to match Netflix’s offer. Covering a talented employee’s salary while he or she is on leave for four or more months — let alone a year — is more than the annual profits of many small businesses.
But the challenge is not all or nothing, or one year of unlimited paid leave versus FMLA only. Finding a workable and affordable middle ground is essential. The solutions are neither easy nor obvious, but it is critically important that we ask the right questions and be expansive in our thinking about how best to address this need.
The bottom line is that creating paid parental leave is not simply the “nice” thing to do, but rather the “right” thing to do from both a business and a family values perspective. From a business perspective, the return on investment in building employee commitment and productivity is truly priceless.
It is time for all employers to realize that companies such as Netflix aren’t simply generous. Rather, they are shrewd in redefining the competitive playing field for talent. In truth, the only unbeatable point of differentiation in the marketplace is talented people, and talented people flock to companies that support their goals, both professionally and personally.
Paid parental leave may well become a cornerstone of business success. The question, then, is how to develop both policy and practices that can and do simultaneously support family and work needs. Creating realistic solutions to these challenges is essential for all businesses, big and small
-Most modern nations offer maternity leave of 6 months to a year and that’s pretty damn cool in my opinion. Those nations also have major job protection in the event of injury as well. They also do not have privatized prisons recycling minimal offense offenders through the system until they cannot even get employment due to a criminal record. These nations also do not trap people in an endless cycle of welfare because they subsidize college and have higher educational standards in primary and high school! Colleges would no longer be driven to sell worthless degrees that could not be applied, THAT could also be written into policy!
Of course, they still ARE far to the left of Hillary Clinton and aren’t working the true prison scumbags to their potential. Those idiots could provide nations with a nice little work force that they could provide with 3 hots and a cot and nothing else, no cable TV, no pay and no weight room, just hard labor.
The point is is that a strong primary education followed by a strong subsidized college education would elevate the intelligence level of the general populace and deter more crime and poverty. Those who refuse to educate or work for a welfare check would receive nothing. As you know by now, I would also legislate birth and do away with the notion that it is a ‘right’ to have kids. It is not, it is only a right if you are emotionally and financially ready to take on that RESPONSIBILITY.
In short, maternity leave is a good start as long as it doesn’t extend to minimum wage jobs. People need to get it back into their tiny brains that minimum wage was NEVER meant to raise a family on!
I have to say that I am NOT a fucking hipster or a hipster follower. I am myself who believes in what I believe with the backing of the Matt Dillahunty quote, “I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible.” Therefore, I believe that a balanced opinion out weighs a skewed right or left opinion. I believe passionately in socialized education and Social Security, but think that privatized prisons need to be eradicated in favor of mandatory DNA convictions regarding death penalty cases. These people could be worked under hard labor conditions 6 days a week instead of being executed. They would have NO access to appeal and would become non-people, working for the good of mankind only. Therefore; NO death penalty!
Drug addicts would be afforded free needles and drugs until they OD or ask for rehab. Two rehabs and no results equal no state benefits EVER again! Demonstrate PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY and succeed, demonstrate idiocy and fail! My system would include a second chance, but would excommunicate you if you prove too moronic to save. Soylent Green could be an option because these idiots could be ground up into meal, melded with soy protein and used to feed starving nations of idiots too stupid to stop breeding in an area where food cannot be raised.
I know that people fall to bad luck at times, but they usually get back on the horse and drive on instead of breed too many kids that they cannot support. These are the common sense people that usually get tasked to support the LEGIONS of Medicaid leeches that force their entitled asses on the working people of America expecting the free ride that their lazy, worthless asses are receiving by convincing vacuum-headed liberals assholes that they are victims instead of stupid, gutless shithead fucktools.
I came from homeless uninspired trailer trash who made excuses instead of achieving and I credit me for elevating MYSELF! There was no luck or woo involved, I just decided that I wasn’t going to prison or back to the trailer park, so I educated MYSELF and didn’t act like the majority of worthless asshole minimum wagers of today. I chose to use condoms and have kids when I could feed them and put a decent roof over their heads without Section 8 assistance. I used my brain and if they can’t, then they deserve what life doles out to them. I resent helping these entitled fucks out and always will because I work for them so that they can sit on their lazy asses!
There needs to be a system of education in place to offer, or community work to perform in exchange for an assistance check, THEN these people can exercise that immense sense of entitlement that they always demonstrate when consuming services that the taxpayer provides!
In short, the focus needs to be on green energy, education, more education, and forced labor camps for hardened offenders instead of asshole lawyers and ACLU idiots that feel sorry for scumbags.
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!
Suspect in killing of San Francisco woman had been deported five times
By Steve Almasy, Pamela Brown and Augie Martin, CNN
Updated 12:21 PM ET, Sat July 4, 2015
Suspect in San Francisco killing has been deported before
Suspect in San Francisco killing has been deported before 01:09
San Francisco Sheriff’s Department says there needs to be court order or warrant to give undocumented immigrants to ICE
Kate Steinle, 31, was killed in a random shooting Wednesday at a tourist spot in San Francisco
Her accused killer, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, had seven prior felony convictions
San Francisco (CNN)Kate Steinle was walking on a busy pier in San Francisco with her father when there was a single popping sound in the air.
She fell to the ground, struck by a bullet, the victim of what police say appears to be a random killing.
The man accused of firing the deadly shot — 45-year-old Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez — is an undocumented immigrant, a repeat felon who has been deported five times to Mexico, according to immigration officials.
It would have been six, a federal law enforcement source told CNN, except authorities in San Francisco wanted him on a drug-related warrant.
So U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which had Lopez-Sanchez in its custody in March after his release from federal prison, turned him over to San Francisco deputies. ICE said they requested an immigration detainer, asking that the agency be notified before Lopez-Sanchez was released.
But San Francisco is a city that doesn’t honor such requests and the sheriff’s department released him. Freya Horne, chief legal counsel to the San Francisco County Sheriff, told CNN that he was let go because there was no legal cause to detain the suspect.
On Wednesday evening, he shot the 31-year-old Steinle at Pier 14 once in her upper body, according to police. He was found about a mile away an hour later and arrested. CNN could not determine on Friday if he has an attorney.
Family: She was loving, smart, beautiful
Steinle’s father told the San Francisco Chronicle there was one pop and his daughter fell to the ground.
Video shows several people trying to help the young woman.
“She just kept saying, ‘Dad, help me, help me,'” Liz Sullivan, the victim’s mother, told CNN affiliate KRON.
Steinle, a medical device salesperson, died at San Francisco General Hospital. Sullivan said her heart stopped twice on the way to the hospital and she died during surgery.
“She fought for her life,” Sullivan said. “They said how strong she was but they just couldn’t save her.”
Family members called her loving, smart and beautiful. Her cousin said she loved her mother and father “more than anything.”
Several of the dozen or more people on the pedestrian pier took photos of the suspect and showed them to police.
Suspect had seven felony convictions
ICE said it turned Lopez-Sanchez over to San Francisco authorities on March 26 for an outstanding drug warrant. The agency requested an immigration detainer, but Horne said San Francisco officials believe that violates Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The sheriff’s office said, “When Mr. Lopez-Sanchez was booked into the jail, there was no active Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) warrant or judicial order of removal for him.”
The department would have returned Lopez-Sanchez if there had been a court order or warrant, it said.
Charges were dropped March 27 but Lopez-Sanchez was held until April 15 while the sheriff’s office determined there were no other warrants for his arrest and he had completed his federal prison sentence.
According to KRON, San Francisco’s policy on undocumented immigrants “states that a law enforcement official shall not detain an individual on the basis of a civil immigration detainer after that individual becomes eligible for release from custody.”
The federal law enforcement source told CNN the sheriff’s department “didn’t even need to hold him. They simply could have notified that they were going to release him and we would have gotten him.”
Police said Lopez-Sanchez last lived in Texas, where he was on probation. ICE said Lopez-Sanchez has seven felony convictions, four for drug offenses. His most recent deportation was in 2009.
He was released from federal prison in March after serving several years for felony re-entry after deportation.
Lopez-Sanchez is in San Francisco County Jail and faces a homicide charge. ICE has requested another immigration detainer.
-I do not blame all immigrants from Mexico for crime, but I do believe that a strong border fence with automatic fingerprinting is the answer and that the system of injustice in ‘Murca needs to change starting with the scum sucking lawyer. This asshole mentioned above should have disappeared down a fucking hole forever and been beaten to death by his fellow scumbags. These shit fucks have too many rights to appeal justly given sentences and gated community liberals continue to pour out sympathy for these animals leading to the death of more innocent people.
In a world of justice, the common man doesn’t have to mortgage his life to get representation. In a just world, DNA evidence is always allowed and if you have the weapon in your hand and fresh blood on your shoes, you do NOT get referred to as “My client.” In a just world, a worthless criminal disappears into the system and is worked to death and that is the end. Innocent people need better representation and the guilty need less rights.
The fact of the matter is that someone’s daughter is now dead because the way too liberal system had dropped the ball and this career criminal asshole was afforded ‘Rights.’ Shame on these fucking idiots for being responsible for a beloved family member’s death, the death of someone who was an employed producer and mattered in the village scheme. She was killed by another worthless unemployed criminal piece of shit who just wandered over our joke of a border. Praise to those who work their asses off to accomplish the dream, but there needs to be 100% more accountability at our southern border that we share with a third world failed state run by drug cartels.