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M.Div, Psy.D, D. Min

Domestic Minor Human Trafficking


Kim Basinger RN, CA-CP SANE, SANE-A, SANE-P, CFN, DABFN, DABLEE


Abstract

This paper will increase the knowledge and awareness of readers in assessing victims or patients for the possibility they may be victims of Domestic Minor Human Trafficking (DMHT). I will explore how healthcare professionals should assess all patients for abuse, make the appropriate assessment, and obtain required referrals. As a forensic nurse and certified police officer, I developed a passion for victims of DMHT. In rural areas, law enforcement and healthcare providers are at an increased vulnerability to miss DMHT, possibly due to the low serious crime rates in these areas, however, there has been an increase in the exploitation of children in recent decades. This paper provides a review of the current literature on DMHT and three case studies that illustrate the signs of trafficking, and give examples on how to handle the situations. I also examined the laws of Texas regarding human trafficking for ways to confront the problem going forward.

Keywords: human trafficking, minors, abuse, victims, healthcare, law enforcement

Learning Objectives:

  1. List the characteristics of trafficked Children
  2. List and recognize common health implications of children that have been trafficked
  3. Compare the differences between human trafficking and Human Smuggling

Target Audience: MD, Nurses, Law Enforcement, Attorneys

Program Level: Overview

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Domestic Minor Human Trafficking



Human trafficking is a growing problem in the United States and has gained notice over recent years. The definition of human trafficking is the “systematic transportation of human beings across international borders into a state of bondage for services such as labor or sex trade industries” (Kotrla, 2011). It is a form of smuggling when a smuggler, for a fee, transports individuals from other countries into the United States with promises of gaining a “better life.” Upon arrival into the country, the smuggler delivers the individuals to a farm or business to begin employment, while the transported individuals pay the smuggler for his services. In smuggling, a transaction occurs and the contract ends, therefore, both the smuggler and his foreign-born charges are considered criminals for illegally entering this country. (Hall, 2008)

Human trafficking often originates as smuggling because it gives the victims a false sense of control and security. Trafficking occurs when the smuggler/trafficker becomes controlling, by using force, threats, duress, and coercion to control the person. Once in the United States, the victims are systematically sold to buyers who place them in labor services, domestic servitude, or the sex trade industry. The debt owed to the trafficker far exceeds what the victims could repay with their meager wages. The trafficker uses force, threatens to harm family members back home, coercion, and duress in order to exploit the victims. The victims are often beaten, sexually assaulted, given drugs, and humiliated in multiple ways. This is a typical pattern of human trafficking: the trafficker and buyer are considered criminals, and the persons forced into these services are victims. The traffickers, who exploit these individuals, may operate independently or as part of an established criminal network. A trafficker is anyone who receives money or a commodity in exchange for the sexual exploitation of another person. This may be a pimp, boyfriend, mother, brother, teacher, etc.

Due to the lucrative nature of human trafficking, a new form of the practice developed and has gained attention in recent years. Domestic Minor Human Trafficking (DMHT) or Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) is the modern day version of child slavery, and involves U.S. children. DMHT/DMST and has drawn the attention of U.S. Congresswoman, Linda Smith, who established Shared Hope International to conduct research in ten U.S. cities. According to Shared Hope International, DMST is defined as "the commercial sexual abuse of children through buying, selling, or trading their sexual services "DMST includes prostitution, pornography, stripping, escorts, and other sexual services. Studies suggest there are currently at least 100,000 DMST victims in the United States (Estes & Weiner, 2002; Smith, 2008),and up to 325,000 more at risk for becoming victims to this practice(Estes & Weiner, 2002; Hughes, 2007; U.S. Department of Justice, 2007). A facilitator is any business (gentleman’s club, strip club) or individual who allows a trafficker to operate, and the buyer is anyone who pays for, or trades something of value for sex in this context.

Recruitment platforms for obtaining potential victims involve newspaper or radio ads, internet chat room discussions promising employment offering high paying jobs, offering jobs with travel opportunities, or offering modeling opportunities. Therefore, parents of young children may be enticed to place their children in the care or training of those running these platforms, thus exposing the child to the risk of kidnapping or abduction. Recruitment activities can also include word of mouth recommendations, physical force and deception.


Trafficking and Texas Law


In Texas, laws were passed starting with of House Bill 2096(2003), making human trafficking a felony and giving law enforcement and the legal system the ability to successfully arrest and prosecute traffickers.

Texas Law defines human trafficking as “Traffic: to transport, entice, recruit, harbor, provide, or otherwise obtain another person by any means. Forced labor or services is defined as labor or services, including prostitution, that are performed or provided by another person and obtained through an actor’s: causing or threatening bodily injury to the person or another person, restraining, threatening or causing a person to believe that they or another person will be restrained in a manner described by Sec. 20.01(1) Texas Penal Code.

Knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, withholding or the threat there of, the person’s actual or purported government records, identifying documents, or personal property; threatening the person with abuse of the law or legal process in relation to the person or another person; threatening to report the person or another person to immigration officials, law enforcement, or otherwise blackmailing or extorting the person or another person; using any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that the person or another person will be subjected to serious harm or restraint if the person does not perform or provide labor or service; exerting financial control over the person or another person under the actor’s control as security for a debt to the extent that: the value of the services provided, as reasonably assessed, is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt; the duration of the services provided is not limited and the nature of the services provided is not defined; the principal amount of the debt does not reasonable reflect the value of the items or services provided for the debt that was incurred (Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005).

Changes that were made specifically address the trafficking of minors. These changes mandate increased penalties for the purpose of sex for sale, regardless of whether the actor knows the child’s age at the time of the offense. It is deemed a criminal activity if that person knowingly traffics another person with the intent or knowledge that the person will engage in forced labor or services, or a person benefits from participating in that offense. If the victim is under 18 and forced into prostitution, the offense is considered a second degree felony. If the offense results in the death of the victim, then it is considered a first-degree felony.

Other changes were made to Texas Penal Code Sections 43.020 (Prostitution) and 43.05 (Compelling Prostitution) establishing a defense to prosecution for prostitution, if the actor engaged in prostitution because he or she was the victim of trafficking, making the actor a victim, not a criminal. It also increases the maximum age of a child from 17 to 18 if a person knowingly causes the child to engage in prostitution, by any means.

Laws were passed to define the responsibilities of “Sexually Oriented Businesses” to include: prohibiting a sexually oriented business from employing an individual less than 18 years of age, requiring such a business to maintain a record of each employee that contains a copy of a valid proof of identification, authorizing the Texas Workforce Commission, attorney general, or local law enforcement to inspect such a record if there is good reason to believe that an individual under 18 is employed, and makes it an offense to fail to maintain a record as required (Texas Penal Code, 81st Legislative Session).

Texas has many codes in which a minor can either consent or take on the responsibilities of an adult. Two of these codes are the Texas Penal Code and Texas Family Code. The Texas Penal Code defines a child as a person less than 17 years of age. The Texas Family Code defines a child as a person less than 18 years of age. Federal law for DMHT defines a child as less than 18 years of age. This creates some confusion among prosecutors as to what to do with the 17- year-old. According to the Texas Penal Code, which is the code primarily used by law enforcement, the 17-year-old is an adult and can consent. Some discussions at conferences and coalitions focus on the fact that, in Texas, the 17–year-old will be handled by the Federal Government to prevent them from falling through the cracks.


Vulnerability Factors


In relation to the prevention of trafficking, there is no broadly accepted definition of the terms, vulnerable and vulnerability. One definition of the term, vulnerable, is “exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally” (Pearsall & Hanks, 2001). In much of the literature on trafficking, the terms vulnerable and poor become synonymous, and poverty is cited often as a leading cause of trafficking. Vulnerability, however, is not the same as income-poverty, or poverty even more broadly defined. In the development literature, vulnerability does not refer to lack or want, but rather to exposure and defenselessness (Chambers, 1995).The law precisely recognizes the term “vulnerable victim” to refer to “a victim who is unusually vulnerable due to age, physical or mental condition, or who is otherwise particularly susceptible to criminal conduct” (Mattar, 2005).The concept of vulnerability is used to enhance penalties in trafficking cases (Ibid). No one person is immune from becoming a victim of trafficking, however; traffickers tend to prey on the most vulnerable populations. These vulnerable populations may include the poor, runaways, victims of abuse in their own homes, substance abusers, homeless people, victims of bullying, children with low self-esteem, isolated, weak, have limited access to education, have social and cultural exclusion, be of a certain gender, age and movement. The occurrences of natural disasters, conflict and political turmoil weaken already tenuous social protection measures. Individuals are vulnerable to being trafficked because of conditions in their countries of origin (UN Office on Drugs and Crime).


Case Study Number One: Sally


Sally, a minor, was born and raised just outside of Chicago, IL in a small middle-class suburb. Her mother died when she was 16, leaving her confused and angry at a difficult time. Her boyfriend, Tom, was 18 and already living on his own. Within a year, she was living with Tom and helping him pay the bills with a part-time job at a convenience store. That winter, construction jobs were hard for Tom to find, and the couple faced eviction. Tom convinced Sally that she owed him for all of the months of rent he had paid. He told her she could make some quick money by having sex with a few men; that no one would need to know and that Tom would protect her. To get through it, Sally got drunk. The next time she did it, she got high. Each time, Tom took all of the money. He said it was safer if she did not have to handle the money. When Sally told Tom she wanted to stop her prostitution, he hit her, got her high, and reminded her of how after her mother died, he held her all night long while she cried.

Tom said he loved her, but they needed the money; she owed him. In this case, Sally is a U.S. victim of domestic violence and trafficking and Tom is using emotional coercion and physical violence to enslave Sally. However, since Sally is a minor, emotional coercion and physical violence are not required to criminally prosecute Tom for human trafficking. Sally may be eligible for a range of social and legal services, but will not need immigration services. (Bruggeman & Keyes, 2005)


Case Study Number Two: Carmen


Carmen legally came to the United States to work as a housekeeper for a family of diplomats; she was receiving only $50 a month for her services. The husband sexually assaulted her, while the wife yelled at her for the smallest perceived shortcoming. They made Carmen work 12 hours each day. Carmen spoke little English and only left the house to attend religious services with the family’s children. Carmen finally found at her church, a man in the choir, to talk to about her situation, which offered her sympathy and found her a place to stay, if she decided to leave.

When she finally left, she moved in with the man’s sister-in-law. They began dating within a few weeks, but he quickly became violent toward her. He said that Carmen owed him everything for his help in getting her away from the diplomats. However, by this time, Carmen knew other women at her church and was able to get help. Carmen was a human trafficking victim, whose trafficking made her vulnerable to the domestic violence she encountered upon escape. (Bruggeman & Keyes, 2005)

Case Study Number Three: Amy


Amy, a 17-year-old U.S. citizen, ran away from her mother’s home in Oceanside, California and moved in with her high school boyfriend. The boyfriend quickly convinced Amy to work for him, as a prostitute, and to recruit other girls to do the same. After working as a prostitute for one day, the boyfriend took Amy to Las Vegas, Nevada and introduced her to his friend, Ray. Amy worked for her boyfriend for one night in Las Vegas and then told him she wanted to go back to California. The boyfriend threatened Amy, saying that if she left, he would find her and beat her. Ray approached Amy and convinced her to work for him instead of with her boyfriend while bragging that he possessed cars, an apartment, and had the means to buy her nice clothes. Amy agreed to work for Ray. Ray then lied to the boyfriend stating Amy had been sexually assaulted and went back to California. Meanwhile, Ray drove Amy to the prostitution locations, told her what she should charge customers, and how to avoid solicitation by law enforcement. Ray also ordered Amy not to socialize with other prostitutes, look at any other black males, or speak with her mother. He told Amy, while working as a prostitute, she had to make $1000 per night. Amy gave all of the proceeds directly to Ray, or sometimes to another of Ray’s prostitutes to give to him. Ray instructed Amy that if she was arrested, to provide the name and date of birth of another prostitute, who was over eighteen years old.

Amy testified that Ray gave her a birth certificate of a woman who was over eighteen. She estimates she made approximately $11,000 working as a prostitute in Las Vegas and all of it went to Ray. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police arrested Amy for prostitution. Following her arrest, Amy returned to Oceanside and continued working for Ray. He then drove her and another prostitute back to Las Vegas where she stayed with Ray and continued to work for him.

The following month, Ray sent Amy to Miami alone where she worked for two days. Amy then left Florida and returned to California with Ray. She stated she was afraid of Ray, and although Amy never told Ray she wanted to leave, she feared doing so after seeing him beat and choke another prostitute for minor disobedience. Amy knew Ray owned a gun, witnessed Ray beat another prostitute who tried to run away from him and if she tried to run away again, Ray threatened to shoot her.

Upon leaving Miami, Amy and Ray traveled to California and then returned to Las Vegas where she was arrested again. This time the police identified Amy as a minor and placed her in a runaway shelter in California. Amy remained at the shelter for just over a month before she ran away with another pimp, but then chose to return to Ray. Amy continued to work for Ray in California, until her arrest where she was incarcerated in a juvenile facility. When Ray was arrested, he pled guilty to two federal counts of child sex trafficking by force. In a plea agreement, Ray admitted he was a pimp to two minor girls and he had them work as prostitutes in Los Angeles, Orange County, and in Las Vegas. Ray required the girls to engage in commercial sex acts and give him all of the money they earned. He used coercive methods to ensure the girls would perform sex acts in exchange for money. Ray also kept a close watch over the girls, while they worked as prostitutes making them believe that if they disobeyed him, or broke one of his rules, it would result in physical harm. In June 2007, Ray was convicted of human trafficking and sentenced to 100 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release. (Hall, 2008)


Recognizing Victims


In order to be considered a victim of DMHT, the victim must be a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident under 18 years of age and be engaged in prostitution or other commercial sexual exploitation. These children are vulnerable and may come from an unstable home life, suffer physical or sexual abuse, be a runaway, be exposed to drugs, be homeless, or be victims of poverty. They will usually not identify with being victims because they have been slowly groomed to the process by receiving the love, attention, food, shelter and clothing they crave and see their trafficker as a boyfriend they love. These children do what they are asked out of love for the trafficker and refuse to expose the trafficker. These children may find it difficult to leave their situation due to the love and trust they have for the trafficker, fear of further abuse, fear of law enforcement, having no financial means to leave, and fearing threats to their families.

Recognizing victims of DMHT can be difficult, at best, so accurate assessment is crucial. Ask yourself the following; Are there any indicators, such as evidence of abuse, signs of branding or tattooing? Does the child seem to have excessive amounts of cash? Does the adult appear to be controlling or abusive? Has the child been skipping school? Does the child appear to have a heightened sense of fear, anxiety or depression? Does the child possess a false form of identification? (Sexual Assault and Family Violence Investigator Course Student Manual, 2010)

Law enforcement, healthcare providers and domestic violence attorneys, have a unique opportunity to identify victims of human trafficking and to assist them in seeking medical, mental, and legal relief. First, it is important to educate them on the dynamics and circumstances common to human trafficking situations. They need to learn the definition and the warning signs and understand that human trafficking occurs in contexts other than those most often depicted by the media (Bruggemn & Keyes, 2005).

The following questions may be useful in screening your clients for human trafficking.

  • Have you ever been forced to work?
  • Did anyone ever threaten to hurt you or your family, if you did not work?
  • Did anyone force you to cook or to clean the house?
  • Were you lied to about the kind of work you would be doing?
  • Did anyone take your money?
  • What would have happened if you did not give that person your money?
  • What did you fear would happen if you left?
  • Were you ever forced to do something sexual for your abuser or someone else?
  • Have you been involved in commercial sex?
  • Did you know others in the same kind of situation you were in?
  • Were you able to keep your identification documents with you, or did someone take them from you? (Bruggeman & Keys, 2005)

  • And for immigrant clients:

  • How did you enter the United States?
  • Were you able to keep your passport, visa or identification with you, or did someone take it from you?
  • Were you working to pay off a smuggler or other debt?
  • Were you free to find another job to pay the debt, or were you forced to work at a certain place? (Bruggeman & Keys, 2005)



Physical and Emotional Impact on Victims


Victims of DMHT can have a host of medical and mental issues related to their situation. They live in deplorable conditions with poor sanitation, inadequate nutrition, poor personal hygiene, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, working in dangerous work conditions, and having lack of medical care. Medical conditions common in these children are sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), HIV/AIDS, pelvic pain, rectal trauma and urinary difficulties. Unwanted pregnancy is common and often a result of sexual assault/abuse or prostitution. Pelvic inflammatory disease resulting from untreated STD’s or unsafe abortions can lead to infertility. Dental issues are usually present due to poor oral hygiene and poorly formed and rotten teeth. Tuberculosis and other undetected or untreated diseases like diabetes and cancer are prevalent and substance use and abuse are also common. Psychological trauma from daily mental abuse and torture, including depression, stress-related disorders, disorientation, confusion, phobias, panic attacks, as well as feelings of helplessness, shame, humiliation, shock, denial, or disbelief often manifest.

Mental health. Children with exposure to trauma typically experience affective, behavioral and cognitive problems. Increased incidences of acute anxiety and stress disorder, affective disorders, conduct disorders and personality disorders have also been recognized. Other mental health problems may include low self-esteem, suicidal ideation, poor academic achievement, disassociation and poor interpersonal relationship quality. Drug addiction and various somatic symptoms may also be results of their captivity. Human trafficking victims are at high risk of posttraumatic stress disorder. For example, one study found that 68% of trafficked women suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (Isaac et al, 2011).

Physical trauma. Most trauma results from forced manual labor or from direct physical violence by the trafficker or his/her clients in order to control the victim. Any form of bodily injury may be a result of extreme physical stress. Cigarette burns, fractures, bruises, contusions, and burns are common injuries secondary to physical violence. However, bodily injury that does not correlate with the history provided must raise suspicion of abuse and violence. Tattoos found on the body may serve to identify the victim as belonging to a particular trafficker or pimp. This permanent reminder of captivity serves to brand the victim in such away they are further de-identified and de-humanized; the victim is a commercial product. If unsafe, non-hygienic practices were implemented in the placement of the tattoos, hepatitis and other blood borne diseases are of a concern.

Reproductive and genitourinary issues. Adults and children, who are victims of the sex trafficking industry, are at high risk for acquiring multiple sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection. Women and pubertal female children are at risk for pregnancy and abortion-related complications. Menstrual cycles are an issue in the trafficking world, where such normal gynecological experiences are considered distasteful and undesired in a victim. A common practice reported among the victims, and enforced by the traffickers in an attempt to maintain a steady work product, is the use of cotton, sponge and mattress stuffing inserted into the vagina to block menstruation. Such practices cause abnormal discharge, chronic vaginal and cervical infection and pelvic inflammatory disease. Pain during intercourse and an unpleasant odor from infections are also unwanted side effects, even after time in captivity.

Infectious diseases. In addition to being at risk for acquiring multiple sexually transmitted diseases, human trafficking victims tend to exist in squalid conditions in both the work and living environments placing them at risk for various respiratory and other infections such as tuberculosis.


Health Care Response


According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Campaign to Rescue and Restore Human Trafficking Victims, the healthcare provider will need to assist the victims in meeting four overarching needs, namely: Their immediate needs of housing, food, medical, safety and security, language interpretation and legal services. They may need consoling for their current mental health status. The victims may need income support, via cash, or living assistance. Finally, for international victims, their legal status, T-visa, immigration, certification, must be determined (if over 18) (Isaac, Solak, & Glardino, 2011).

The children often suffer nightmares and night terrors, flashbacks, physiological arousal, sadness, lack of energy, emotional instability, shame, guilt, isolation, and re-victimization. Many suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Project REACH, 2006). These conditions will cost our healthcare and legal systems millions of dollars throughout their lifespan. These children need sensitive, compassionate access to health and mental care. Access to services should mirror those that are in place for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, i.e. emphasis is on a team approach and non-judgmental treatment. Healthcare workers, law enforcement, social workers, physicians, and counselors must deliver care in concert.

Law enforcement and healthcare providers must maintain a high level of suspicion when dealing with children presenting with risk factors because identifying these victims is paramount. Those dealing with victims need solid, culturally competent communication skills to develop rapport and trust so, histories or statements should be taken in a private, secure location away from the trafficker. Reassure the victim that the trafficker is the offender and they are in no way responsible for the abuse they have suffered because identifying with, and dependence upon, their abusers may be significant.


Conclusion


Once a trafficking victim has been identified, the victim has both essential immediate and long term needs that need to be addressed. The urgent needs are food, shelter, clothing, acute medical care, crisis intervention and if necessary, an interpreter. Long term needs include legal assistance, mental health counseling, safety planning, ongoing medical care, cultural orientation, education, employment planning/job training, ongoing case management, child care, client advocacy, drug treatment, and English language assessment/instruction.

International victims may also apply for a U-visa, if trafficked after entering the U.S., to enable them to stay in the U.S. to participate in the investigation and prosecution of their case. DMHT happens in our country at an alarming rate. Coalitions are popping up in response to this horrific crime. DMHT is a problem we cannot tolerate. It is estimated there are 100,000-300,000 minors in the United States who are involved in DMHT. Developing safe harbor laws and mechanisms to refer youth to Child Protective Services has been part of that process and according to Shared Hope International, shelters designed specifically for victims of DMHT are being developed.

In order to care for victims/patients of international human trafficking and DMHT, we must first acknowledge the problem has the potential to exist in all communities. To accomplish this, we must provide education to everyone; recognition is the key. In order to provide the services needed, we must accurately screen all victims/patients for abuse as well as signs of trafficking. All practitioners in dealing with victims/patients of trafficking should also have a clear understanding of the dynamics of this crime, as it not only relates to their job, but as it relates to the victim/patient, the community, public health and safety.


References

Chambers, Robert. (1995). Poverty and livelihoods: Whose reality counts? Environment and Urbanization, 7(1), 189.

Estes, R. J., & Weiner, N. A. (2002). The commercial sexual exploitation of children in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Work, Center for the Study of Youth Policy.

Hall, Roy. (2008, December). Domestic human trafficking: An internal issue, The Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, Retrieved from www.state.gov/documents/organization/113612.pdf

Ibid. 387

Isaac, Reena, Solak, Jennifer, and Giardino, Angelo P. (2011). Health care providers' training needs related to human trafficking: Maximizing the opportunity to effectively screen and intervene, Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk: 2(1), Article 8. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/childrenatrisk/vol2/iss1/8

Isaac et al. (2011). Health care providers' training needs related to human trafficking, The Berkeley Electronic Press.

Kotrla, Kimberly. (2011, May 16)Domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States, Retrieved from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6467/is_2_55/ai_n54399224

Mattar, Mohamed Y. (2005) Incorporating the five basic elements of a model anti-trafficking in persons legislation in domestic laws: From the United Nations protocol to the European convention, Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law, 14(2), 385.

Pearsall, Judy and Hanks, Patrick, eds. (2001) New Oxford Dictionary of English, Oxford University Press.

Project REACH, Psychological Trauma and Human Trafficking, 2006.

Sexual Assault and Family Violence Investigator Course Student Manual. (2010, January). 219-235.

Shared Hope International. Retrieved from http://www.sharedhope.org/files/demand_fact.pdf

Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, Jean Bruggeman & Elizabeth Keyes (2005).

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna

Additional information on Human Trafficking can be found:

  1. FBI: www.fbi.gov
  2. Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking Campaign: www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking
  3. Shared Hope International: www.sharedhope.org
  4. U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/help/tip/htm
  5. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: www.unodc.org/unodc/trafficking_human_beings.html
  6. U.S. Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section: www.usdoj.gov/criminal/ceos/trafficking.html


About the Author

Kim Basinger has experience in differing aspects of law enforcement. She has been a Master Certified Peace Officer since 1996. Currently, she is commissioned with the Franklin County Sheriff Department in Mount Vernon, Texas. She has been a Registered Nurse since 1988, and is certified, in Texas and internationally, as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (S.A.N.E.) for adults and children for 16 years. Kim is also a Certified Forensic Nurse, Certified Forensic Consultant, Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Nurses, American Board of Law Enforcement Experts, and Fellow of the American College of Forensic Examiners International. She is also the self-employed owner of S.A.F.E. Solutions. S.A.F.E Solutions is an organization providing resources such as: forensic medical exams, education to law enforcement, healthcare, and legal advocacy consultation.

Awards: Medical Excellence Award, 2004 Crimes Against Children Conference Edith Rust Medical Excellence Award, 2007 Texas Association Against Sexual Assault



Published by Dr. Robert O' Block in The Forensic Examiner March, 2015