01

Jun 2018

In the Know

I’d like to thank Truckers Against Trafficking for providing a platform for survivor
voices, specifically, my look back on the passage of the FOSTA/SESTA law through
an Exited Survivors Lens. I have to begin by saying I never expected Section 230 of
the Communications Decency Act to be amended in my lifetime.

In 2009, Sheriff Dart, my employer, recognized on-line sex trafficking was on the
rise with Craigslist during our local sting operations and deployed his newly formed
Human Trafficking Response Team (HTRT). Survivors would now augment the
enforcement effort of the Vice Unit to provide point-of-contact services to victims
caught in the crosshairs of sex buyers and pimps (a.k.a.) traffickers.

“Sheriff Dart has fought vehemently against online companies’ promotion of
prostitution and sex trafficking, having sued Craigslist to seek the removal of its
“Erotic Services” section in 2009 and taking further efforts against like companies.
He has also been a champion for survivors and sought to end demand for sex buying
through his National Johns Suppression Initiative.” *

As the National Johns Suppression Initiative, piloted in October 2011, continued to
gain partners, we saw a shift from approximately 39-64 percent street prostitution
to 83 percent on-line prostitution by the ninth sting operation executed during
Super Bowl 2015.

In early 2016, I barely made it back from a snowstorm in Washington D.C., where I
was representing the sheriff, to film a project with 50 Eggs Film out of Boston. The
then named Project Loophole became the now well regarded and amazingly
impactful documentary I AM JANE DOE.

Being featured as an adult survivor with Sheriff Dart and so many colleagues in the
nonprofit, philanthropic and legislative arena was absolutely surreal. I AM JANE DOE
became a vehicle for change, masterfully providing the ugly truth about on-line
exploitation of adults and children and the legal barrier Section 230 of the CDA had
caused to so many who sought remedy to the harms, criminal or civil.

In all honesty, it was rather mechanical and second nature to respond to press or
inquiries related to the documentary’s release. That is until I was asked by a partner
to support the mother of Desiree Robinson. Desiree was murdered Christmas Eve
2016, by a sex buyer who purchased her like a pack of gum or a shirt on a rack. Sold
by one trafficker to another for $250, she would never make it through the night. By
morning she had been beaten, raped and her throat slashed.

The need to amend Section 230 of the CDA became real for me as I clumsily tried to
support a grieving mother … not knowing what to say or how to support her. Over
time, I found what she needed was justice, not pity.

Eventually this courageous woman and I found ourselves holding each other up,
side by side on Capitol Hill. This included meetings with Senate and House leadership as hundreds of partners organized by many organizations joined us. This
culminated in the mother of Desiree Robinson being at the White House with her
son, where she was personally presented with the pen President Trump used to sign
the FOSTA/SESA bill into law.

I won’t spend much time addressing the narrow fix this provides to Section 230 of
the CDA as it has been reiterated ad nauseum. I won’t beat a dead horse regarding
the positive impact of the Department of Justice shuttering the largest website
contributing to the promotion of prostitution. Many myths have been put forth by
pro-prostitution individuals and groups to rebuff these victories; they are fictitious
and self-serving at best. They ignore those adversely impacted by indoor/outdoor
prostitution. Exited survivors agree that on-line or street, this is a violent and
exploitative industry that can never be made safe, which takes advantage of the
most vulnerable among us, adults and children alike. Women and girls of color are
targeted due to obvious inequalities in socio-economic status and are represented in
unspeakably large numbers.

I am my sister’s keeper; I have worked with and been associated with the majority,
broken due to domestic violence, poverty or homelessness, who, like myself, were
reduced to a commodity. We who have survived will continue to fight back against
the forced distinction between trafficking and prostitution, adult to child.

In the United Nations Palermo Protocols, which is the first global legally binding
instrument with an agreed definition on trafficking persons, contains provisions
regarding trafficking. One of them stipulates that states must adopt or strengthen
measures, legislative or otherwise, to discourage the demand that fosters the
exploitation of persons that leads to trafficking, especially of women and children.

FOSTA/SESTA did what is outlined above, by “narrowly strengthening legislation to
discourage the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation of persons.”

I will fight and dedicate my remaining years to making a safer society for my
children and grandchildren, in memory of Desiree, who did not live to see her
eighteenth birthday, but whose death was not in vain. It inspired one of the most a
momentous bipartisan legislative accomplishments in the history of the United
States.

The change I thought would never come, did. And that gives me great comfort and
hope for our future.

*Quote from Cook County Sheriff press release, 2017.

 

Marian Hatcher has been with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) for 13 years where she is the Senior Project Manager for the Office of Public Policy and the Human Trafficking Coordinator. She coordinates several of CCSO’s anti-trafficking efforts such as the “National Johns Suppression Initiative,” a nationwide effort with over 100 arresting agencies with more than 200 total partners targeting the buyers of sex as the driving force of sex trafficking and prostitution.

 

Marian Hatcher has been with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) for 13 years where she is the Senior Project Manager for the Office of Public Policy and the Human Trafficking Coordinator. She coordinates several of CCSO’s anti-trafficking efforts such as the “National Johns Suppression Initiative,” a nationwide effort with over 100 arresting agencies with more than 200 total partners targeting the buyers of sex as the driving force of sex trafficking and prostitution.

 

Ms. Hatcher is a national expert on combating the demand, sitting on numerous boards and facilitating trainings on trafficking and prostitution for various law enforcement groups including the F.B.I. and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She has traveled the country speaking at various events and conferences, shedding light on the prevalent issue of trafficking and telling her own story as a survivor of sex trafficking and domestic violence.

 

Over the past 14 years she has been featured in the Oprah Winfrey Network Documentary: Prostitution Leaving the Life, Midwest Emmy winning INK 180 Documentary, Shared Hope International Gang Trap Series, Nick Kristoffs – A Path Appears and most recently I AM JANE DOE.

 

She is a recipient of numerous awards including the 2014 Shared Hope International Path Breaker Award, presented to individuals who have dedicated themselves to tackling the demand that drives domestic minor sex trafficking. Most recently, Ms. Hatcher was awarded the 2016 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service from President Obama.

 

Ms. Hatcher received her BS from Loyola University in 1985 concentrating on Finance. Her previous experiences include working at three major corporations. On August 2015, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity, Ambassador- At-Large and Chaplaincy from CICA International University & Seminary, an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, (ECOSOC). Marian was granted executive clemency by IL Governor Bruce Rauner on December 22, 2017, and she was honored on Congressional Record for Black History Month February 28, 2018 by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin of IL.

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    Eleanor

    02 06 2018

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