child sex trafficking – Florida Keys inquiry

There is a Major Bashinsky death post fallout … post today at Meanwhile …

Received this from Connie Gilbert of Key West. She has been on my email hit list for some years now.

Sloan, is that you?!? I was trying to access my email from the botanical garden, where I volunteer every Fri afternoon (it’s verrrry slow at the moment, and my home computer has issues) and this popped up. Did my op ed piece in the Citizen — sometime early Nov., I think — address any of your concerns? My point was that we’re not into fundraisers beyond free will donations at our programs — as the rescreening of George Clooney’s deeply affecting documentary, “Playground”–he’s co-producer–this Sunday 2-4 at Casa Marina. And that money goes to the film distributor, as did most of that which we were given at the Jan. rally at KWHS. I also have secret info that will destroy the “not in the Keys” argument but await permission to reveal it. Tell your folks about “Playground” please! –cg

Hi, Connie.

Didn’t see your op ed piece.

First I’ve heard of “Playground”. Googled it, Clooney, didn’t see anything.

What is the “not in the Keys” argument?

What secret info?

I need to know a lot more.


Phone is too primitive but all I’ve got; Clooney co-produced film–please come!–argument is that we’re wrong to pursue issue as it doesn’t happen here. Fear it happens everywhere! Haven’t won back Dennis but I’m still hopeful. Come see the film tomorrow 2-4 at Casa Marina — and we’ll talk–will make copy of op-ed for you.

Sent from my iPhone


Perhaps State Attorney Dennis Ward, who initially was on Keys Coalition’s board of directors.

I wrote back to Connie:

Might come down to check it out, but I don’t even know what the issue is.

I wrote later:

Spoke with Todd German just now re several things. Then, I asked if he knew what the thing at Casa Marina is about? He said it is a continuation of Tim Gratz’s thing I wrote a good bit about last year.

I wrote not favorably to Tim, nor about the local people letting him throw their names around to promote his cause.

Child sex trafficking is horrible. However, I wish you had told me who is behind the Casa Marina event this p.m. That you did not, that you furnished no details, not even an explanation of the subject, after I told you I needed a lot more, disturbs me, Connie. As does your lending your name to Tim Gratz.

I told Todd I don’t need to see a documentary to know how bad this problem is, but it is not a problem the Keys currently face. Even so, I might get nudged to come down there later today, to observe how Gratz is going about it now, and perhaps to report on that, as well as the film.


Connie replied:

Sorry for silence, but computer has been down and this is the first I’ve gotten to mail since yesterday. Hope this afternoon allayed some concerns. Tim is overenthusiastic and not socially/PR savvy, but his heart’s in the right place; he’s also very bright and devoted to the cause. Pls suspend judgment for a bit.

Sent from my iPhone



I, Sloan, felt horrible yesterday, and spent much of the day in bed, napping. Didn’t want to go anywhere, but in my third nap, Tiger Woods came to me in a dream and by the time the dream was over and I was waking up again, feeling mostly dead, I understood I was to go down to the Keys Coalition event.

I arrived about 2:45, the movie was showing. Someone handed me a sign-up sheet, which I said I would not sign because I did not want my name on it being shown around later, implying I was recommending Keys Coalition.

I watched about fifteen minutes of the film. It was about really bad stuff, both sex trafficking and sexual child abuse, which are related but not the same thing. The different stories were horrible, but there was too much and I was wearing out fast. Several people left, who were there when I arrived. I went over to Connie and said it was too much, they were running people away with the movie about something I thought everyone there already knew about. I asked her to go outside with me, which she did.

I said what is in the film indicates the state of humanity, the problem is very old and is world-wide. There is no solution. Connie said, like the fall of Rome. I said, like the fall of humanity. The Keys Coalition woman Connie was working with, sorry her name escapes me, came out and said Tim had stopped the movie and was talking. We went back inside.

Tim seemed sincere. He described efforts to get legislation passed in Florida to make it a crime to advertise/promote child pornography/sex trafficking online. He said they were trying to get other legislation passed, allowing victims sue the people who lured them into it.

I said there might be federal/state interstate law conflicts, and in any event, better to get a federal law passed to stop the online promotion. Put the perps in prison. I said a law allowing for civil damage lawsuits against perps was not a good idea because it would lure young people to get involved in sex trafficking so they could later file suit and collect big damages.

A woman in the audiences said she was a clinical social worker, and when she lived in Ohio, I think was the state she said, they passed laws against this sort of thing up there. It looked great on paper, but in effect and enforcement, nothing came of it. She said it is well known that girls who run away from home tend to get into sex trafficking. She did not sound enthusiastic about making much headway.

One segment of the film spoke of the Stockholm syndrome. Kids who get involved with sex traffickers end up liking and wanting to protect them. Make prosecution nigh to impossible.

Someone said kids in foster homes get sexually abused.

I said sexual abuse is widespread.

There was discussion of the 211 help line and the 1-888-3737-888 hotline. I said a local hotline is needed for sex trafficking and sexual abuse.

I suggested they forget about Florida and the rest of the US, and focus their efforts on trying to keep child sex trafficking out of the Keys.

They did not produce any evidence yesterday of child sex trafficking in the Keys. The one case Connie had raised in her email, Tim said at the meeting involved an 18-year old girl in Key West, who had escaped from someone she was working for. Perhaps she was lured in when she was a minor.

I left the meeting with Jenna Stauffer, who had been introduced during the meeting as a television journalist with local channels 19 and 77. I told her people who get involved in causes such as this need to be very careful, because often it is about them. I said Connie and I both had to be very careful, because we both were molested in childhood. I was trained not to project my wounding into causes that resembled my wounding, but it was hard for Connie not to do that, as is it hard for anyone not to do that, including me.

That is similar to the Stockholm syndrome. A cause comes along, which is about what happened to us, and we jump in all the way because it is ourselves we are trying to save. I wish I could save every child from what I saw in that movie, but I know I cannot, and I frankly see no way to do much about it.

I knew yesterday that I was being taken once again into when I molested my younger sister, when I was 15, about which I wrote in posts a few months ago. I also knew I was being taken back into my mother molesting me. I thought child sex trafficking is horrible, but it is no worse than child molestation, which is far more common, to the extent it dwarfs child sex trafficking. Laws on the books have not stopped child molestation, and they will not, I don’t think, stop child sex trafficking, which is not limited to girls and young women. Young boys and young men are involved, too, although not as much.

Received these emails last night from Connie:

So glad you attended and all the points you raised were very good and I am considering them.

I am going to forward some things for your review.

One of the best anti-trafficking organizations that fights trafficking is the Polaris Project which runs the National Hotline. Your idea about a local hotline was interesting. The point about the Polaris number is that their operators are so well-trained.’

Here is a link to the Polaris Project:

Attached is a copy of the laws passed in Washington state to criminalize posting sex ads for minors. Connecticut is considering a very similar law,
But we would agree it needs to be done on a federal level.

Here is a link to a news article on the proposed Connecticut law:

Note that it has a potential penalty of ten years in prison.

Here ia a link to the story about the Key West man held for trafficking.

The victim was not a minor but clearly held against her will.

Should you decide to write on the Coalition, it is interesting but coincidental that this arrest occurred only two days before our meeting.

PS asked Tim to send you e-copy of my op-ed.

Sent from my iPhone


Don’t want to swamp you with e-mails so I will try to make this the last.

1. We agree I think that a priority ought to be the passage of a federal law making it a crime to knowingly or recklessly advertise a minor for sex on the internet..
We agree that those who do so ought to be jailed. I know that a county organization has little “clout”. I am working on pulling together a group of national or regional sntti-trafficking groups that will advocate such a change, for the next Congress.

2. You made a very interesting point that if minor victims of trafficking sold on the Internet are permitted to sue it might encourage girls to enter “the game” just so they could sue. No one else had raised this point before. I will think about it and circulate it to others who had been supporting the idea.

3. I agree with you that a primary goal should be prevention. One of the ways of accomplishing this might be identifying children who are at risk and getting them help. In fact, Rabbi Duda made this point at a meeting last November. If the point is helping troubled young people that becomes a meritorious objective in itself. Other than church groups, I am not sure if any social service agency in Monroe County performs this function. There is a very good but lengthy paper called to the effect “Treating Trafficking” as a health care issue. I’ll send it to you but only if you request.

Nicholas Kristof has been an advocate against child sex trafficking both internationally and domestically for years. In fact my interest in this was sparked by a piece he wrote for the NY Times that was reprinted in the Citizen.

Here is a recent piece he wrote about the internet marketing of young girls:

Totally agree with you that the people authorizing this stuff for economic gain deserve imprisonment.


It probably is no consolation to people who were sexually molested in childhood, or were lured into child sex trafficking, but I can say for a fact that I was not allowed to get away with what I did to my sister. I was given an affliction that destroyed my life, as I knew it. Eventually, everyone who abuses a child is tried, convicted and sentenced, if not in this life, then in the hereafter. As Jesus said in the Gospels, woe be unto anyone who harms even a hair on the head of a child.

I found myself thinking last night, as important as prevention of child sex trafficking in the Keys is, providing counseling to children, and also to adults, who were sexually molested or involved in sex trafficking is just as important. The soul wounding in such people is horrific. It really cannot be resolved by human therapeutic methods, but it can be alleviated some, and that can open the door to angelic healing, such as I received, such as I have seen a few women I have known well receive.

Such healing is not of this world and is not easy. In fact, it is anything but easy. And in moments, it is terrifying, as the worse of the trauma is emotionally relived in steps, until it is all relived. I told the clinical social worker after the meeting yesterday, I once was married to a clinical social worker and learned a lot from her. I did not say, after she was done teaching me what she knew, the angels taught me a good bit more, and they used me as their patient teaching model.


After putting up the post, received this:

Subject: Hi
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2012 07:21:37 -0700

Sloan, I was not trying to mislead you but the emails you received yesterday were from me not Connie. I should have noted that at the end of the e-mails. Your conclusion that they came from Connie was understandable.

I did appreciate your attendance and your article.

Appreciated your comment that I seemed sincere. I am sincere when I tell you that I am sincere! Kidding aside, this issue for whatever reason burns in my heart. I think it has something to do with the fact that I have a daughter the age of many of these victims. I think that compels many parents to be interested. And I also think I want to be involved so I can have the personal satisfaction of having contributed something to society and if we can even make a little dent in this horror –if we can save but one child–our efforts will be worthwhile. I know that is true of all who have contributed countless hours to this effort.

You made good points in the article. Re sexual abuse, I believe that the statistics indicate that 25% or more of trafficked children had suffered from sexual abuse. And it may have been before you arrived but an imprisoned pimp talked about how it is easier to lure a young lady into prostitution if she has already been abused.

There is another angle you might be interested in covering one day and that is the disproportionate number of young male homosexuals who become child trafficking victims. In part it is because of gay-bashing. A young male subjected to taunting or worse at school or elsewhere runs away from home and is soon lured in to paid sex for survival if nothing else.

This of course relates to the incident at the high school that you have wriiten about. That many trafficking victims are homosexual might make an interesting topic for you and it would no doubt surprise many. And the corollary is that one way to prevent trafficking is to ensure that the “gay-bashing” does not occur.

TIM [Gratz]

About Sloan

Darn, that would take a while. Try the autobiographical pages in the header. Ditto for header menu pages at Hatched and raised there, eventually I ran away from home. Here's a short list: Born 1942; male; spoken for; accused of all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable things, perhaps some true. Live on Key West of Weird asteroid. Publish something most days at, been at that since July 2007. That's heaps of catch-up reading, probably not recommended.
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