More Calls Pouring Into Human Trafficking Hotlines Than Ever Before

WASHINGTON D.C. (CBS13) — The tipster’s account was grim. A woman had suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung at the hands of a man who for nine years had been forcing her into prostitution. That confidential call was received in late January by the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which relayed the tip to an anti-trafficking task force operating in Virginia’s Hampton Roads area. Within days, investigators located and interviewed the woman, and arrested the man, Naeem Lateef Odums. He was indicted on sex trafficking charges in March, pleaded guilty in June and will be sentenced in November to at least 15 years in prison. “The hotline is extremely effective,” said Michael Lamonea, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent who assists the task force. “It’s crucial to get folks the knowledge that there is help out there — there is a light at the end of the tunnel.” Many Americans know little about the hotline beyond the billboards and other public service ads providing its phone number. Yet people in the anti-trafficking field say it performs well at two vital roles — as a conduit for people to report suspected trafficking and as an immediate resource for trafficking victims in need of help. As of December, the hotline will have been operating in its current form for 10 years. In 2008, it received 3,514 calls, including just a few hundred from trafficking victims. In 2016, there were 26,727 calls, including more than 4,600 from victims, fielded by 55 specially trained staffers at the hotline’s call center. The toll-free hotline is available to field calls 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Callers can speak with the staffers in English or Spanish, or in more than 200 additional languages using an interpreting service. A Tennessee woman, Samantha Floyd, called the hotline in 2013 while taking refuge in a St. Louis church after fleeing from men who were sexually exploiting her in Nashville. Floyd said the woman who answered the call spoke with her for nearly an hour, eventually referring to her to a local advocate for trafficking victims. “The advocate was just amazing,” Floyd said. “She let me text her day or night. She connected me with a trauma therapist. Honestly, she kept me sane and probably kept me alive.” An early version of the hotline was created by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2004, but it took its current shape in 2007 when HHS chose Polaris, a Washington-based anti-trafficking nonprofit, to operate it. Its budget is now $2.85 million, including $1.5 million in federal funding and the rest from donors. “We’ve been working hard at reaching more survivors and building trust so the number of calls would increase,” said Polaris’ executive director, Bradley Myles. “We wanted to offer a lifeline to those who were stuck in a trafficking situation and didn’t know how to get help.” The largest number of calls comes from Houston, New York and Los Angeles; the most calls per capita are from Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Las Vegas and the Florida cities of Orlando and Miami. Myles attributed the rise in calls to increased awareness of the hotline and its confidentiality policy. All communications are kept confidential unless a caller consents to being connected to law enforcement or a social service provider, or if the caller reports a situation of imminent danger. Many states have laws requiring or encouraging the posting of signs with information about the hotline. Locations covered by such laws include hotels and motels, truck stops, bars and night clubs. Myles wants to expand ways that people can reach the hotline — for example, through social media apps. He expects more people will seek to text the hotline, rather than call, and hopes to raise funds so texting will be possible 24 hours a day, instead of the current 8-hour window. Polaris uses hotline data to identify trafficking trends and develop profiles of traffickers. A report issued this year identified 25 distinct types of human trafficking in the U.S., affecting sectors ranging from traveling carnivals to the forestry industry. One of the hotline’s strong points is the potential for rapid response. Rebecca Bender, an Oregon-based advocate for trafficking victims, said she recently received a late-night call from a frightened woman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who was trying to escape from her trafficker. Bender called the hotline and was swiftly given contact information for four victim-support organizations in Baton Rouge. Three were closed for the night; the fourth was open and immediately dispatched a vehicle to pick up the woman at a McDonald’s where she was taking refuge. In another recent case, Bender received a call on behalf of a woman entangled in sex trafficking in Florida who’d been sexually assaulted and was desperate to get away from her trafficker. Bender called the hotline, which arranged for the woman to fly to Utah within 24 hours using a voucher obtained through an arrangement with Southwest Airlines. About 80 percent of the calls relate to sex trafficking; the rest concern labor trafficking. One such case was uncovered through a hotline tip relayed to Teresa Collier, an intelligence analyst with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. She said police, acting on the tip, determined that a woman had been forcing her 10-year-old daughter to work at jobs such as house cleaning, abusing her and pocketing her earnings.

Northern California Residents In Deadly Head-On Crash On Maui

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Four people died and several others were injured in a head-on vehicle collision on Maui’s northwest side, authorities said. The collision happened Saturday night when the driver of a pickup truck crossed a painted median and slammed head-on into a Toyota Camry sedan with five people in it, Maui police said. The pickup driver and three people from the Camry died at the scene, police said. The other two people who were in the Camry were taken to the hospital in stable and critical conditions. Two other vehicles were involved in the crash after the initial collision. There were five people in those two other vehicles, none of whom were seriously injured, police said. Authorities identified the truck driver as 52-year-old Raymundo Hernandez-Ramirez of Lahaina. Two victims from the Camry were identified by police as California residents Charles Whipple, 36, of San Mateo and Danille McColloch, 36, of Galt. Both victims were sitting in the back seat without seat belts on, police said. The Camry’s driver also died, but his name is being withheld as family continues to be notified. The Camry passenger who is in critical condition is a 38-year-old California man from Galt. He was wearing his seat belt in the back seat, police said.

Officials Say OJ Simpson Will Live In Las Vegas Area

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Officials at a remote Nevada prison where O.J. Simpson was set free early Sunday after nine years for armed robbery arranged the former football and Hollywood star’s dead-of-night departure to avoid public scrutiny. It worked. Simpson signed release paperwork just before midnight and disappeared into the darkness minutes into the first day he was eligible for release. Through efforts by prison officials to keep the time and place secret, there were no journalists outside the prison gates to capture the moment. Though publicity-prone in the past, Simpson apparently took the advice of people in his inner circle that he avoid the spotlight. He was neither heard from nor seen publicly, except when a television news crew found him in a car at a gas station on the way to Las Vegas and he declined to be interviewed. State Division of Parole and Probation Capt. Shawn Arruti told The Associated Press that the former football hero and celebrity criminal defendant plans to live at a home in the Las Vegas area for the foreseeable future. Arruti declined for what he said were security and privacy reasons to disclose the exact location of the house. Simpson was released at 12:08 a.m. PDT from Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada, state prisons spokeswoman Brooke Keast told AP. She said she didn’t know the name of the driver who met him and took him to an undisclosed location. Keast recorded and released a brief video on social media in which Simpson is told to “come on out” and he responds “OK” after walking through an open door and toward a parking lot bordered by desert scrub brush. The prisons spokeswoman also took photographs showing Simpson — in blue jeans, denim jacket, eyeglasses, ball cap and white sneakers — signing documents about 10 minutes before midnight. He later left the prison with four or five boxes of possessions in the car. Keast said she had no information about where he was going. Tom Scotto, a Simpson friend who lives in Naples, Florida, said by text message an hour after the release that he was with Simpson. But Scotto did not answer texts asking where they were going or whether members of Simpson’s family were with them. Along with Simpson’s sister and oldest daughter, Scotto had attended the July parole hearing at the same prison where Simpson went after his conviction for a botched 2007 heist at a Las Vegas hotel room — prison time he avoided after his 1995 acquittal in the killings of his ex-wife and her friend. The 70-year-old Simpson said at the hearing that he wanted to move back to Florida, where he lived for nearly a decade before he was sent to prison in 2008. That return did not appear imminent. Arruti said the only Simpson living arrangement received, investigated and approved was in the Las Vegas area. The parole official said Simpson doesn’t have permission to leave Nevada. Florida’s Corrections Department “has not received any transfer paperwork from Nevada” about Simpson that would be required for him to live in that state and be monitored there, spokeswoman Ashley Cook said Sunday. Though Florida’s attorney general has urged corrections officials to object to Simpson’s return, the department previously has said it would be required to accept a transfer if it met certain criteria. “We understand we may have to take him, if he was a model prisoner. And two of his children live here, so that’s his hook for coming to Florida,” state Attorney General Pam Bondi said. “If we have to accept him, I certainly want conditions placed on him.” Simpson’s attorney, Malcolm LaVergne, and state Parole and Probation Capt. Shawn Arruti, who has been handling Simpson’s case, did not respond Sunday to messages seeking comment about Simpson’s whereabouts. Las Vegas is a 450-mile (720-kilometer) drive south of Lovelock, and a television news crew reported finding Simpson at a gas station near his destination. Simpson declined to be interviewed, saying he had done nothing since his release but sit in a car for five hours. LaVergne said recently that Simpson looked forward to reuniting with his family, eating steak and seafood and returning to Florida. Simpson also planned to get an iPhone and get reacquainted with technology in its infancy when he began his sentence, his attorney said.paper Both LaVergne and Scotto said in recent interviews with the AP that they thought Simpson should stay out of public view and focus on family and friends. Keast said the overnight release from the prison about 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Reno, Nevada, was conducted to avoid media attention. No media were near the front gate at the time when Simpson’s car left the prison by a back road and entered nearby Interstate 80, she said. “We needed to do this to ensure public safety and to avoid any possible incident,” Keast said. She acknowledged Nevada prison officials misled the media with word about the timing and location of Simpson’s release. They had advised it would be no earlier than Monday and possibly in Las Vegas. Simpson faces restrictions during five years of parole supervision, which could be reduced for good behavior. He cannot use illegal drugs and can drink alcohol only if the amount he drinks is below Nevada’s blood-alcohol limit for driving. He also is prohibited from associating with felons or anyone who Nevada officials prohibit him contacting. And he must tell the state where he’ll be living and when he changes his residence. The conditions still apply if Simpson ends up out of state. Simpson bought his home near Miami five years after his acquittal and raised two of his children, Justin and Sydney, there away from the limelight. He lost the home to foreclosure in 2012. It’s all a new chapter for the one-time pop culture phenomenon whose fame was once again on display when the major TV networks carried his parole hearing live. He told officials that leading a group of five men into the hotel room confrontation was an error in judgment he would not repeat. Simpson told the parole board that he led a “conflict-free life,” an assertion that angered many who believe he got away with killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles in 1994. He was acquitted the following year in what was dubbed the “trial of the century.” In a statement released through a family spokesman, Goldman’s parents said they respected the Nevada Parole Board’s decision to release Simpson, but that it was “still difficult for us knowing he will be a free man again.” Fred and Kim Goldman said they will continue to pursue payment of a $33.5 million judgment awarded in 1997 after Simpson was found civilly liable for the deaths. They also said they’ll keep advocating for domestic violence awareness, victim advocacy and judicial reform. Simpson is still obligated to pay the judgment, which now amounts to about $65 million, said David Cook, a Goldman family lawyer. On Sept. 16, 2007, Simpson led five men he barely knew into a cramped room at the Palace Station casino in Las Vegas in an effort to retrieve items that Simpson insisted were stolen after his acquittal in the 1994 slayings. Two of the men with Simpson in Las Vegas carried handguns, although Simpson still insists he never knew anyone was armed. He says he only wanted to retrieve personal items, mementoes and family photos from two sports memorabilia dealers. His conviction in October 2008 in Las Vegas came 13 years to the day after his acquittal in October 1995 in Los Angeles. His lawyers called his stiff 9-to-33-year sentence for armed robbery, kidnapping and other charges unfair. Many other people characterized it as payback for his acquittal in the Los Angeles murder case.

Pornography is Cultural Subversion

While at the most obvious level pornography exists as either an alleged celebration of the human form or as a trangressive method of making money by playing on a constellation of psychological issues: insecurity, loneliness, depression, and our need for immortality, the genre is less obviously meant for something else. Nate Abrams (a Jewish author) wrote:
Extending the subversive thesis, Jewish involvement in the X-rated industry can be seen as a proverbial two fingers to the entire WASP establishment in America. Some porn stars viewed themselves as frontline fighters in the spiritual battle between Christian America and secular humanism. According to Ford, Jewish X-rated actors often brag about their ‘joy in being anarchic, sexual gadflies to the puritanical beast’. Jewish involvement in porn, by this argument, is the result of an atavistic hatred of Christian authority: they are trying to weaken the dominant culture in America by moral subversion. Astyr remembers having ‘to run or fight for it in grammar school because I was a Jew. It could very well be that part of my porn career is an “up yours” to these people’. Al Goldstein, the publisher of Screw, said (on lukeford.net), ‘The only reason that Jews are in pornography is that we think that Christ sucks. Catholicism sucks. We don’t believe in authoritarianism.’ Pornography thus becomes a way of defiling Christian culture and, as it penetrates to the very heart of the American mainstream (and is no doubt consumed by those very same WASPs), its subversive character becomes more charged. Porn is no longer of the ‘what the Butler saw’ voyeuristic type; instead, it is driven to new extremes of portrayal that stretch the boundaries of the porn aesthetic. As new sexual positions are portrayed, the desire to shock (as well as entertain) seems clear.  

Abrams goes on to ask what reason, if any, should anybody be ashamed of such a cultural influence.  It would appear that pornography is not just a nihilistic use of pleasure to cynically pursue profit from the chronically lonely and undersexed, but it is (for some) a mode of cultural subversion in a ‘spiritual battle.’ The problem with secularists who engage in spiritual battles is that their lack of belief in spiritual things does not nullify the negative effects of “winning” on the side of evil.  To win the spiritual battle against Christian-values/Christendom in their American iteration by using pornography has all of the measurably bad effects porn has. I think the one positive thing that porn has allegedly accomplished is that neighborhoods with higher porn consumption supposedly have less sexual assaults (it’s a study I’ve heard cited but have never found). All of its known effects and qualities: lower libido, social isolation, wrong sexual expectations, being generally disgusting, and requiring the enjoyment of the debasement of others are all observably bad for individuals and civilization.   Anyway, American Christians should think of porn this way: it’s an attack on your soul, it’s a mocking of the past that brought you into existence, and it’s an attempt to cancel your continued influence on the world after you die (by dissolving the structures meant to help you raise a family).  Porn sucks. Subverting the goods of civilization sucks. And I don’t believe in associating norms and self-mastery with authoritarianism. 

Marshawn Lynch Sports ‘Everybody Vs Trump’ Shirt Before Game

DENVER (CBS SF) — Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch upped the ante in his ongoing protest during the national anthem with a shirt he wore when arriving to the stadium in Denver. Before their game in Denver against the Broncos, the Oakland Raiders stood during the national anthem except for Marshawn Lynch who sat as he has in the past. Lynch has been staying seated during the anthem since last season, showing his continued support of Colin Kaepernick’s original protest. However, Lynch made a separate, more explicit statement before the game, arriving at the stadium wearing a t-shirt with the words:”Everybody versus Trump.” The shirt is made by a company in Oakland called “Dope Era.” It’s now selling for $45.

‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Season 9: EP & Director Jeff Schaffer Breaks Down the Season Premiere

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read unless you have watched “Foisted!” the Oct. 1 episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Jeff Schaffer has seen all of the footage taped for “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” Season 9 twice — once when he was shooting it, and at least once when he was editing it. Because of creator and showrunner […]