Nigth Ride with Portland Police Sex Trafficking Unit — Part 2

What about the johns and pimps? Where are the active neighborhoods?

by Dan Quatier,
Compassion Connect,

Portland police officers work to eliminate sex offenders and traffickers

What about a john/a purchaser of sexual favors? When caught, they are normally cited. If they are first time offenders, they can choose to attend “john school” to remove the citation from their record. “John school” has been designed by the officers in the sex tracking unit. In this seminar, speakers explain to the johns that the girls are being trafficked. Because they create the demand, the johns are part of the problem. If there were no demand, the problem would go away. For further investigation, see how Sweden has all but eliminated “sex for hire” by penalizing the purchasers of sexual favors.  Article here.

My observation is that the officers’ main goals are to arrest and/or prosecute the johns (the men who buy sexual favors) and the pimps (the ones who not only seek clients for the girls and women but also “own” them emotionally and psychologically). This type of prosecution demands a huge time commitment and, in particular, requires cooperation from the girl. This is not always easy to obtain because she has been brainwashed into believing the pimp is the only one on earth who cares about her. To do the job right the bureau desperately needs more officers.

Another means for identifying girls and pimps is to set up a “date” and pretend to be a john. This takes an incredible amount of resources and planning. The unit is forced to make a decision whether to work the street (possibly more impactful) or set up a sting on a specific john. Two of the four officers in this unit are women. Sometimes they become decoys in an effort to pick up johns. This is risky as they put themselves in harm’s way in an effort to prosecute these guys. Many johns have been picking up sex slaves for so long they know to check for bullet proof vests once the girl is in the car to identify her as a cop. Thus the female officer cannot wear her vest when she is on this type of mission, further putting her in harm’s way.

Community awareness must occur

Many recognize the notorious 82nd Avenue as the metro area venue for sex trafficking. I have heard people, including government officials, claim there is no problem in “their area” or “their town.” It is reprehensible that self-interests and tourism conceal the truth about teenage girls, held captive and raped, several times a night.

Websites, offering sexual services, reveal girls in Lake Oswego, Tigard, Salem, Beaverton, Vancouver, downtown Portland, etc. They are in hotel rooms, apartments or homes, essentially enslaved. Many girls will travel to a specified location, dropped off by their pimps. Hotel employees, including those from luxury hotels, look the other way or are too busy to notice. This on-line, underground business is called “indoor prostitution.” Most other suburbs and counties have no one specifically assigned to monitor the sex industry, in effect negating the problem exists through lack of enforcement.

Out of the mouth, the heart speaks

“Pimp” has become commonplace in our culture. Mainstream usage glorifies any number of things from houses, to jewelry, to “pimp my ride,” etc. Pimps are cowardly men who make money from girls and throw them away when they are no longer useful to them. Glamorizing the term “pimp” diminishes the severity of their actions. Evil becomes acceptable by simply using a negatively descriptive word in a positive manner.

Misconceptions concerning teens in the sex trade

The biggest myth about these adolescents is that they are in the sex trade by their own choice. These teenagers get lured into the trade by pimps who prey on girls who already have low self-esteem. The vast majority endured bad family situations, experienced abusive relatives/relationships, are newly homeless or are vulnerable in other ways. Pimps encounter teen victims at shopping malls, parks and similar areas, quickly discerning which girls to approach. Befriending them is the first step. Gradually, the girls start believing the pimps are their boyfriends. Then, they systematically strip them of all other acquaintances, including family. Finally, the girls have no other relationships but their pimps. The pimps break down everything about who these young ladies once were to where their self-worth is only realized by earning money for sex.

The girls appear to be free out on the street and it seems they can leave whenever they wish, but they cannot. Why? They are actually being trafficked, kept in slavery by unscrupulous men, who make their living by prostituting them. Information about how these teens are held captive can be found by typing “how to pimp” on either Google or Amazon. Why is there not a backlash from men in America about this this? Do we really believe that a teenage girl would put her life in danger, several times a day, by her own choice?

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