Christopher Bidorini, Erin Williamson, and Yvette Young
DescriptionColleagues Christopher Bidorini (33), Erin Williamson (40), and Yvette Young (44) discuss their anti-trafficking work and the role that race plays in the human trafficking space and the movement to end it.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Christopher Bidorini
- Erin Williamson
- Yvette Young
Recording LocationVirtual Recording
Partnership TypeFee for Service
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00:04 Hi, my name is Erin Williamson. I'm 40 years old and today is Monday, March 15th, 2021. I am recording for my home in Woodbridge, Connecticut. And I am here today with my colleagues, Chris Purdy knee and your vet young.
00:22 Hi, my name is Yvette young. I am 44 years old. Today's date is Monday, March 15th, 2021. I'm recording from Hartford, Connecticut. Where work with my friends and colleagues, Christopher and Erin. Hi. My name is Christopher bidorini. I am 33 years old days date is March Monday, March 15th, 2021. I'm recording from my home in Plainville, Connecticut with Yvette young and Erin Williamson or my colleagues.
00:52 Hi. All right, so I'm just trying to remember. Can you guys remember when we first met each other? Like the first time we met?
01:02 I think for me my recollection cuz it's been probably about 6 years. Now was that our first encounter was at one of the human anti-trafficking Response Team, where we all sort of where it has a seat at the table. I was a new heart coordinator. You guys. I think I've been Affiliated for a while, but that's the first time I saw you guys and probably had any kind of conversation with you.
01:27 Yeah, do you remember that, Chris? I think it must have been. I was a trainer. That's why I started out doing some of the human trafficking. Response, Team trainings, and I believe I met you at one of those.
01:40 Yeah, I think I was new to Connecticut. So I came from Washington DC. Having done human trafficking work in DC and then came to Connecticut and was learning the lay of the land that you all have here. Now. I feel I'd like I'm ingrained in it. I remember those days. I didn't really know anyone or anything. How did you guys each get involved in the anti-trafficking world? How did you guys get to be working on this issue?
02:09 So, I've been working at the Department of Children and Families Are CPS Agency for about 11 years, and my second year and I went to a training, my co-workers. I come to this training is awesome. You learn about human trafficking and I went and I learned a lot and I became interested in it and I decided to become a trainer and then from there, I just took off.
02:31 What are the different from me? And my child working at the village for families and children and the position was brought to my attention that the person thought that I would have some interest in doing human trafficking work. I have a history of sexual assault Crisis Intervention work, until disposition really felt to me, like going back to the beginning of my professional career, doing some advocacy, working with victims are directly. And so I took my shot and I applied for the position and fortunately, I got it. And that was the first time really, that I started to learn in Jeff. What you mean traffic in really is before that. I had all the stereotypical concepts of what you meant traffic in was that it was National people being brought here to United States to be victimized. And once I'd started as the coordinator my entire world opened up and I realize how much of a domestic issue it was.
03:31 How much work we have to do in the state of Connecticut, but also not sure what an experience for me coming into this work.
03:40 Awesome. Awesome. I've been working the house. I've been working in this field in some ways ever since I was in college. I went abroad for my study abroad in Kenya and started out working the street children there and started realizing that a lot of the girls found that the safest way for them to be on the street was either to be a with a group of girls with that, an older male, who is traffic them or that there was a single girl, who would be with a group of boys and would be kind of the wife performing sexual favors and stuff. And really what they said. Was that the police were so corrupt where I was that that was the the way for them to stay safest was to do that. And so when I came back to the United States, I started working on child sex tourism because where I was in Kenya was a heavy tourist area, in a lot of the individuals that these young children would have sex with work, Taurus. And then
04:40 And they're got it more connected to trafficking that was happening here in the United States and have continued so many years into kind of Arc work together. We had done a lot of work together. You brought up this idea of, we need to really start addressing rate and the issue of race in human trafficking and can you just kind of talked a little bit about how that came to your mind? What sparks that for you?
05:10 Stores. Do the thing is part of my job as a hardcore needed, was to try data for the stage and I had noticed that, you know, what predominant number children of color, were the ones being referred to the Department of Children and Families at the time. But never really focused heavily on it. Went to Washington DC for one of our grand prix meetings, and it was probably maybe three or four years into the ground and one of the leads from King County in Washington, state did her presentation cuz we all have to report out on how we were doing in progress. You are making an Aries wonderful in her report and she mentioned that Interstate 80 plus percent of the youth who are being referred to them wear black girls and the makeup of Kane County. And this is a combination of both adults and children was only 7% black. So there was an extreme disproportionality being represented in her body and it just
06:10 I just had to let you made me freezing pause for a minute and I started to think about our date and Connecticut was like, you know, what, why don't we not having conversations about this. I've been to his granting me is every year is the first time anything related to raise him come up and it went to sort of like here some information. It wasn't even the lead in part of the dialogue. And at the end of that conference, we had a meeting and I just can't sit still and not say something. So, I brought it up as an area that I felt like we needed to focus more on as a movement to sort of you spell where needed to fall in people's Consciousness, but I really feel like I got the energy around how important this was. So, when I came back to help me further, really start to get some traction about elevating a dialogue around race. And so I thought about you, are you, it worked out of 146 and you know, you have experience working directly with clients.
07:10 I understand. Chris has been in the movement for a while and he's a person of color and we had a good rapport Malaysian shift. So I knew he would be a good college connect with. Are not have the journey for racing human trafficking started. I was really excited when both of you were like, sign us up. We're in whatever we have to do. Let's figure it out and let you know who this work for it. So that was what the Catalyst for me.
07:36 And maybe since this is audio and not video. It might be helpful for us all to say what our race is, because people don't know that. So I'm white. I'm Aaron and I'm white.
07:47 I mean that I'm Black and I'm Chris, I am from India.
07:52 And so we all kind of have brought a different perspective, but I am curious about, you know, and Chris. I think why why do you think there has been such reticence to talk about race and the human trafficking movement?
08:09 You know what? I mean? Honestly, I'm still asking myself that question cuz I don't know. I don't understand. Why isn't at the Forefront of our dialogue because it's a Justice in the data are what they are. And this is not just in, Connecticut is also National. I just think that they've been there for years, that predominately it was white children, being victimized. Maybe, that's what made people comfortable, and, you know, should have connection to the movement of the work. I think movies like kicking, that was painting, The Narrative of, you know, a white young affluent, individuals was stolen and brought to another state to be victimized. I'm not really sure. And I'm still as I do trainers and have conversation. I still don't understand fully why he's not at the Forefront of our conversation when the numbers are so dramatically, are you? So that's my perspective right now. I haven't figured out the answer to that question yet.
09:05 I mean it I think we see that issue. Hopefully, I mean you be sure about genocide in Africa. You sure about, you know, war crimes in the Middle East in other parts of the world and it doesn't make national news, but then you have no one shooting or one small bombing an inductor European country and everyone's talking about it. So I think that's just a narrative with with our world as a whole.
09:29 I think what hurts me the most is that we're part of a movement where people truly are invested in helping and who, I think, you know, mostly a civic-minded and socially just in there thinking, but we still are struggling with this particular area. If you ask me what I think the underlined and reason for us not having a conversation and I'm going to automatically go to the racism has a role in how much people want to have that conversation. How much people want to highlight their children of color are predominantly, but that's a general sense. What? I haven't gotten was very individualized, senses of why people are really out of it in. This was a part of this movement who has understanding. This is an issue. I don't want to speak for anyone, cuz no one has clearly articulated to meet the Y, but based on what this nation is founded on in the issues of exploitation, based on race, we have in this country and that's the only reason
10:34 What about you?
10:36 So maybe it's cuz I'm way I'm going to be a little harder on, on those of us who are white. Honestly. I think it's because the movement has largely been made up of white professionals, and I think that white white people are really uncomfortable talking about race super. We don't know. We don't know the language. I think many white people aren't even aware of our race or have just recently become aware that we have a race because it's in the default. And so the idea of bringing it to the Forefront or the idea of understanding how race plays a role in the victimization is just something. I think that has historically not entered our minds. I think that's why you hear a lot more about gender because we understand gender, right? Where we're female wear mail. We get gender by because he's not thought of ourselves as having a race. We don't really get it. An end to the extent that we under
11:36 Send it. It's, it really has to do with racism. And so it really and there's this fear of being labeled as racist. And so, therefore, the default is not to talk about it, right or to be that color blind, right? The all the things that that we were kind of told growing up or, or through social media or through current media event. You just don't talk about it. So, I think it's a disservice. I don't think it's right, but I do think that it has unfortunately, LED and continues to lead to a lack of an honest conversation of the Roll race place in human trafficking has, right? So you can only share, whatever perspective you have that. I think Christopher and I probably don't have, is it because the movement is majority-white that The Narrative of the focus
12:36 Continues to be. I'm just waiting to visualize where they think that that's what's causing them.
12:43 Dialogues or jeans dentist because yet again if you have privilege and this is not an issue that impacts you or could we have this other piece of if you are white and you are given back in your socially, just in your informed that you're helping to resolve issues for these children of color until you're doing good. So you don't have to worry about highlight in the differences that exist between the victims of this family. Where do you think that is coming from? Is it more about the whiteness of the professionals? Or is it more about this idea that I'm going to help him profession? And I know children of color being victimized, but I'm helping so I don't need to focus my energy on the color of their skin.
13:24 So I think it's a complicated thing. I think part of why you don't even answer is cuz I don't think it's a single narrative. A reason. I think, I think some of it is it kind of lack of language of how to talk about it. I think some of it is a fear of looking self-reflection, right? If you look at the anti-trafficking movement, it's still many people still refer to as modern-day slavery and there's a lot of issues with that and that we can get into in a little bit. I also think that if you look at the imagery, the imagery has historically been white girls in some sort of chains with a black man being the trafficker. And if that doesn't resonate with racism, I don't know what does. And. So, I think there's going to have to be some sort of Reckoning within the anti-trafficking movement, that we've contributed to stereotypes that.
14:24 I really been hurtful and then I'm going to be really Frank. I think some of it has to do with donors and a fear of how donors are going to respond. I think there's some donors that will really Embrace this and I think there are some donors and and to be honest, we even saw at 11:46 and we have posted things about race and trafficking and the intersection between race and trafficking. We have gotten some feedback from followers from donors that we should stay in our lane that race does not have to do with it that. Well. How do we know it's not socio-economic and so, you know, that is a reality that's out there. Now at 11:46. I think one of the things I love about it is that we take that as an opportunity to provide education, right? So we try to meet those individuals where they're at and talk to them about how socio-economic he doesn't explain what it what we're seeing. It doesn't explain the data. That there is a disproportionate number of children of color that are being trafficked and
15:24 Really? No child should be traffic, but I think that it's you have to make a very conscientious decision as an anti-trafficking organization that you're going to step into this sphere, where you're going to have really difficult conversations. And I don't think everybody is comfortable. Having difficult conversations. Are you so interesting that you talk about the rationale is almost it's more socio-economic but it's almost like they're all saying that just missing the fact that there's disparities. When you look at those deals on economic factors among people of color, very interesting that you said that I was just going to add that, you know, I heard one person say that people think of prostitution as a victimless crime and I think you will have the same thought about trafficking and I think people think that even further when it's young girls and boys have color because there's this idea and our culture, there's a stair
16:24 Do you have this implicit bias that they're just actualized? And I have seen that happen. I think, in in meetings where we discuss cases, where it's, like, a young black girl, not a victim. She's just ratchet. She's just like that. She likes to twerk and this and that. So they're viewing things differently because of their race and assumptions. They have about the culture and how specialized that culture is. You see that bias.
16:50 Remember once doing a train of the trainer and we were talking about the racial breakdown of the population in someone who is on a train and who was doing at each bag of Latin girls is hot and promiscuous and sexy. And so that was the perception that was held of those young girls almost indicating that. That's one of the reasons why they were email being victimized at a higher level. So I think there is and this was a person of color that I had done that color. Do you see that mindset of how the narrative which starts historically right for the part of the week that I've been doing do the presentation? I'm doing is trying to connect back to this historical context of how people of color were victimized in this nation. So I really do a focus heavily on Native culture and colonization as well as American slavery and looking at how those individuals were exploding in the mindset of those who exploit.
17:50 And that they were just objects and that they were property and that they could be used for sex in labor, without consequences, whatsoever. To their white slave owners or to their white colonizers will wait, and you think about forestry and encouraging that we staying human trafficking who sings happy for you was in American slavery to use when you were colonizing the native people, right? And so, the mind has been taught from generation to generation. And we now live in a society where the stereotypes and biases are attached to these children and not. His legacy has given current gay individuals permission to use children of color in this way, because it's justifiable that story. I told about the Kent County story. When I see this, she said in her presentation, was that the buyers for these young black girls were waiting on, because it's a predominantly, white Community, very affluent community. And that's where a lot of those white men. They did not want to buy in French.
18:50 Sexy white girls because they didn't want to be reminded of their daughter or their relatives right? There was easier to ignore the black child. Then it was 6 for the child. That would look more like that. Racially, right? And you see that same mindset when I talk about Survivor stories and when we did that article and let's talk about racing, you in traffic in a week, highlighted the survivors perspective. We see how we played a part in the victimization process for that particular Survivor. So we have enough, I think this is the part that is frustrated more to me than anything. I'd really allows me to be grounded in a racially rooted. Is we have stories. We have survivors of color who share that. We have data from the man. Abolition that says of the Geordie of the perpetrators of the buyers are white men with money. We have that. We have data, we have information but yet it is not changing. The narrative one, bitch. I was still grounded in this idea.
19:50 Black man, victimizing white children and so I just go there right now, is to try to change that narrative as much as possible, so that we can utilize our children of color and people of color in general, because I think that mindset of your just an object to a creature, to be bought and sold and used still exist in 2021 and that in itself is concerned. And the question is, how is this movement going to start to ship that narrative and it doesn't T1 black woman on a journey with a few colleagues to get that work done.
20:25 Chris, I'm curious. I know you work with a lot of the use that, that have been trafficked in the state, and I'm wondering how race has shown up for those use and how has it played a role in their recruitment? Their exploit, their grooming, their exploitation, even their recovery when they're working with providers. How has race played a role? In all of that risk factors? We know that, you know, one velvet with DCF involvement with the Juvenile Justice System goes, both are disproportionately children of color. And so automatically you have that feeding into it. And then I think we hear stories about how children of color can be sold at a different rate and their white peers and the impact it has on a child, you know, just imagining as a teenage years, you talk a lot about self-esteem and self-image and self-worth and what happens to those things when
21:25 Your literal worst as defined by traffic, or with the numerical monetary value varies from somebody who's white. So imagine being a child that's black and being sold for $75 an hour, but you're pure, who is white is being sold for $150, an hour and what message I sent you that victim and that you and then also that impacts, their self-esteem going forward, and that continues as I desire to be pulled into the light, try to be better or to be worth more. And speak will be there.
22:03 Yeah, I think those are all clear role and then when we see a lot of our use of color when they're trying to address this in in treatment, I think a a lot of our providers don't understand trafficking. I think, it differs significantly from just sexual abuse cuz there's so many additional layers there and then if providers don't understand the racial Dynamics, they can't address them appropriately. And I think that creates a barrier.
22:30 Yeah, so, I agree. I think people are really uncomfortable. Even you trained, therapist bringing up the role of race in any kind of victimization, but especially trafficking, as we're talking about it. I am curious Chris from your perspective is Reese, something that people should proactively sort that provide you would want to see providers proactively, bring up with use asking kind of has race played a role in what you've experienced and if so, how would you want to let that be brought up by the youth? How is you and vision that coming up in a victim provider relationship?
23:13 I think there has to be an opportunity for the used to bring it up. But I think sometimes use may not recognize and part of the the role of a therapist or providers to help them gain Insight, understand what happened in process it and so maybe they need to bring that up. And I think it's part of that idea of you know, we talked about people who have historically will say. Oh, I don't see, color will know, it's important to see colors Imports are recognized how color played a role in that person's life and their experiences. And so for a therapist to do that and say, you know what, I recognize that you're a person of color. How did that impacts your experience? I think that'd be really impactful for, for providers to acknowledge.
23:57 Yeah, and I would actually argue it. Also it plays a role for white Survivor. So I had a Survivor, I was working with was white and she actually met another Survivor who was a person of color who was mail and had a very strong reaction when she found out that that individual was a Survivor because that individual for her look like all of the buyers. So she had always had buyers of color. And so the idea that a male of color could also be a victim was I really just shook her. And she had to really kind of reformulate how she thought of this type of victimization how she thought of these type of perpetrators. And I think that that's so I actually I would also argue that race plays a pretty big role for white victims as well or can play a role that we need.
24:57 To unpack, right? That that also might need to be unpacked when you're providing services and capturing the history of their victimization is important. And when I do my presentation on this topic, I always say, please do not make this. Make you believe that we are in the gate in the victimization of those individuals who a white because your race race can play a factor in your position. They're also big race. Them become too complicated conversation. If it's soon as we talked about children of colored people of color and I want to get some statistics. Do people have context of why this is a dialogue? So nationally like 77% of victims.
25:46 Trafficking are people of color in the state of Connecticut for about a 5-2 plus year window over. 60% Annually of victims of, that would be referred to DCF. We're children of contact the reason why this conversation even if it was because of this before, but I want I don't want anyone to walk away from listening to this recording is thinking that we don't value the victimization of white children and adults is important because it is, I think what we're trying to say is that this should not happen to anyone. We know that any person can become a victim. We know anyone could be a perpetrator a buyer. But we do have to be able to begin to do is have a balance dialogue around when Reese factors and what does that mean and be prepared to address the issues that come up with Children of color because you're also dealing with other forms of Oppression and other levels of victimization when they live in a system that is set up to make them feel already.
26:46 And that, you know, there's so much this Corporation. I'll be across all system of support. For these communities, that there is no dealing with another issue. So it's really trying to make sure that we're looking at a child, the whole adult only doing treatment at work.
27:03 Yeah, I know. I think that's a really good point. I'm curious still going looking at the individual child. How important do you think it is for children of color to have representation in their service providers to see themselves and see other individuals of color among their service provider team.
27:28 I think it's extremely important. I think just that, you know, having somebody who understands your life experiences, at least from a racial perspective. Kent can really make a difference for some use. You know, I've had used that would come to the Department of Children and Families that were children of color. And what size, you know, what? I'm tired of sitting in a room full of people that don't look like me and I'll get assigned the case. Somehow, he must give it to him, and it's interesting how my report and my relationship with them was so much different than battle other workers. That were why. I mean, just my my brace, I think played a role in my ability to have that child open up cuz they saw someone who's like, okay. Well, you kind of look like me. Maybe you, you understand me in a different way. But yeah, I think it represents a presentation is important.
28:22 I mean, you're also a pretty fun guy in a pretty cool guy. Your personality could be a little bit while I agree, 100%, We were just saying I think representation is important. I think there's a connection that people make me Sunder lived experiences that sometimes does not work cross culture across the race. And so the movement doesn't need to be more diverse. The reality is that from Top executive positions, all the way down to Lifestyle that work in it and then there needs to be more representation. So more of these issues are being discussed in Our Stars, the same and that there are folks who are passionate about making sure that, you know, we're keeping a lens on this particular issue another victim to this crime or receiving the support they need and not being dismissed or disregarded because of a lack of context by the person who
29:22 Those people making decisions legislatively or otherwise, don't understand why it's important to support this particular movement because of the impact, it has on the victimized because they made this record it because race is a factor. So I just, I can't emphasize enough from every single later. In this movement, more work to be done around this particular issue.
29:48 So you brought up the legislator and obviously, if we're talking about large sale systems changed, lawmakers are a critical component policy is, is integral in this. So what do you think the impact is of the fact that most legislative bodies are predominately white? And what impact do you think that has on laws boa, specifically related to human trafficking? But also other legislation that might be peripherally related, housing, legislation education, legislation things. That certainly impact the youth we work with but might not have the term human trafficking in them.
30:30 I think it's a factor for sure that predominately our legislators are weight and making decisions that impact everyone's life. But when I find fascinating from doing the five or six years, when issues of human trafficking, I brought in front of the legislation. The focus isn't on the race of the victims. It's always on. What is that piece of legislation that needs to be done and then go into my before changes related to human trafficking or wait till it's really hard to say, would things be different is, you know race was discussed during that conversation with the outcomes be different. If it was majority people of color present an issue in front of a legislative body. I can't gain how that would change but what hasn't been very clear about doing this work for so long. We don't bring us up when we have those conversations at the legislative level and testimonies that is not the key issue. That's highlighted. And so the representation mean
31:30 It appears that there's an issue that is predominantly or wait individuals because we don't ID or identify what victims look like with this crime other than insects early. That's a hard one to answer. And I know we're talkin about race predominately today, but I think we have to look at gender to. And so as the mail in the room, I'll be the one to bring that up. We know as you had mentioned, a vast. Majority of buyers are white men who are making six figures or more. And we look at legislators. What do we see receipt? Predominantly white men? And we know that there have been things across the country, where legislators have been found to be involved in buying, or and trafficking. I'm so I think that plays a role as well.
32:15 Yeah, yeah. For sure.
32:19 A lot of legislative working, you know, we've been partners for several years.
32:25 Legislator legislative office building to Advocate. We have one coming up soon this legislative session. How do you think race factored into the decisions that are made at
32:36 And it's interesting, because every time we've done a presentation, if we did a presentation last year at the lob about race and trafficking, we've done presentations throughout the community, every time we've done it. We have packed rooms. We I don't think we've ever spoken to a room where the subject has been. The headline has been we're going to talk about recent human trafficking where that room has not been packed, which indicates to me that people want to hear about this. They want to learn about this. So how come it's not translating from kind of the larger? Symposiums are the larger conferences to the day-to-day discourse. I'm not sure. But I agree that it doesn't, it hasn't filtered in a lot to the day today, just course. Now, I do, I do see movement. I do think things are getting better. I'm I'm seeing a lot more people bringing it up.
33:35 As it relates to the legislature. I think it's really hard, I think.
33:42 Certainly, I think I need to do a better job of raising it. I think there's there's other people that, you know, that testify. I think when I look back at who kind of hard to keep people that always show up to testify when there's a trafficking related Bell, they do tend to be white. And so I think, you know, it's on us, we need to bring it up. It is hard grass because I think that you are correct that a lot of legislators do if they're going to empathize with one of the key players in this situation, it make you the buyer and so that is who they're going to think of her. So when we talked about, you know, holding buyers accountable, or, or what we need to do to eradicate this,
34:35 Their point of reference is going to possibly be. Well, if it's not me, I might have a friend who drew does that. I might have a cousin or brother and that might be their point of reference as opposed to. I have a sister who who, you know was caught up in that. I have a young niece who was caught up in that we're young nephew. And so I think that those conversations need to happen. I'm not sure if they need to happen publicly. And yes, I think that that could backfire on those of us who are trying to pass legislation that, I'm not someone who likes to shame legislators. I must they obviously need you and I are involved in it, but I do think that you can have those conversations one-on-one when you're providing education in between sessions and when you're having those discussions, yeah, I think that it's, it's an important thing to bring up.
35:35 Cactus Road, and I found that I think specifically with the issue of human trafficking, people find it very interesting. It's fascinating. You know, what, I tell people about me doing anti-trafficking work till like that. So cool. And I'm like, okay, that's an interesting word, you know, just their perspective of it is, it's really cool subject and it it's really popular right now and so must be great work to do it. So I think people are interested in the topic as a topic and they become overwhelmed with emotion when I hear about it, but then they don't want to follow up. They don't want to take Ashley. Just want to come to hear the stories in and learn about it and trying to be able to stay then went to a trafficking training, but a lot of people don't want to get involved in the work.
36:21 Sometimes, that's okay. It's some of those people we might not have dogs in the director of those people can donate. We need people that do volunteer backpack drives for us. But I think that it is a, it's a very, very emotional issue. And I also think that you have a visceral response sometimes among individuals who are want to hold somebody accountable. And I think in my, in my opinion, one of the ways that I would like to see the anti-trafficking movement shift. In general, is moving a little bit away from a juvenile, judicial a criminal justice approach and more towards a public health approach at both in terms of focus, but also in terms of legislation and monetary investment, I think I'm
37:21 Yes, do I want a whole traffickers accountable? Of course, I mean I think do I care? If buyers are held accountable, probably tell lesser extent. I really am. I want to hold the traffickers accountable. What do I care? If victims are taking care of and have services and supports and reduce the risk for re victimization. That's my number one priority. I would take if I could take any three of those which and I could only have one, I would absolutely invest all my money in supporting victims and any investing in prevention, education and prevented of effort. So this doesn't happen. When you look at where we're spending our time and our energy and our resources. We are so disproportionately spending those energies and resources on the first two on, are we holding traffickers account? Are we holding buyers accountable, you know, there's this whole debate, should we? Legalize are not legalized, prostitution? What impact will that have on humans?
38:21 And in my mind, we are wasting copious amounts of time, energy and resources. That should be would be better invested in talking about. How do we support victims? How do we prevent vulnerabilities? How do we provide enough preventive support so that this doesn't happen in the first place. And when it does, those individuals are taking care of. But you know what? I find fascinating. What you just said, Aaron is that if most of our resources and energies going to the traffic. We're doing a really crappy job. Not being held accountable victims are being arrested and sent to jail. So he kills me right. Then, there's so much energy and money and resources invested in that legal side of it. And it's not manifested in anyone really.
39:13 Servin the consequences for their actions and behavior and it still brings up the question of the, why, why is it that we don't have one Constitution provides? Why is it that we don't have no prosecution for traffic but we have such high level of victimization, right? And then when you throw in race as a factor, even though nobody wants to talk about it, why was she in less prosecution? Because children of color or people colored don't have as much value in words that end up eating criminalizing, a white men who are predominately the buyer's or even a diverse group of traffic as well. That include, you know, diverse racial groups is not just men of color, where are victimizing. And if you take a look into who gets for the traffic, is that we know cuz he knows wait, like Asian Latin. All of them are the ones who are getting prosecuted. Is it a diverse group of people were being prosecuted for the traffic inside? Or is it for Domino's?
40:13 We're going to jail for this crime, even though they're not. The only ones better or Prosecuting. So freaking me out of my hoping, you know, as we move forward in his work is, how do we really have a conversation about human trafficking as a racial justice issue, when you talk about this becoming a public health issue, how do we talk about the dynamics of support? So you're talking about services and victims, is it? Not focusing in that area? Because the numbers are speaking to predominantly children of color or people of color. So that's why that's not happening until all the energies going to say, let's worry about traffic, but we're not going to really do anything cuz only look at the data and Analysis here. It's predominantly white, men who are buying and with the traffickers, maybe we'll prosecute the people of color, but let the other folks go because of their race, there's so many we talked about the justice system and all the other systems of Oppression that we have in this country. Are we surprised or shocked?
41:13 Five or six years of doing his words that we still struggle in One. Race is such a factor in this particular.
41:20 Yeah. Yeah, and I think this a part of that, that question is so much of this is caught up in very large systems right there. It's caught up in the education system, the criminal justice system. It's caught up in the child welfare system. All of which we have copious amounts of data show are disproportionate treat treat children of color differently and children of color are disproportionately and involved in the criminal justice system. There, just before, is not involved in the child welfare system. I guess one of the things that I am curious about is at that systems-level, what would you like to see change? You both been involved in the child welfare system. You've both had used to have been involved in the Juvenile Justice System. What do you think and end education system? What do you think? Are some of the changes we need to see?
42:18 I'm going to say this, but I'm just going to get one response and Christy. I'll let you try again cuz I don't want to be woke up the whole time. But I think that versity and representation is one of things I would like to see when I was a hardcore. Need your, I was one of a few handful of people color on that. Sat at tables that were making decisions about the movement and the work that needed to be done. If we're going to change my assistant, know any representation of people come from the communities that are being victimized, and marginalized and fortunately, negatively impacted by the system that we live. In doesn't mean it's going to automatically switch over the more representation, my help shift that narrative in that dialogue. When I went to granting me and see if I was one of a handful of people of color across nine, different grants that was sitting in the room to be able to elevate and how conversation where we could have even been brought up as a discussion or even highlighted as a major issue, or who would have been able
43:18 The issue of race Wars the representation as a set of all levels in his work is critically important.
43:26 So, I would, I would definitely agree with Yvette in that the, you know, having a diverse group of people at the table is important, but I think even making a priority within the agencies that are responsible for addressing trafficking need to have people that are designated to be addressing trafficking. A lot of the people at these agencies that are doing cheskin work, or doing trafficking almost like an extra-curricular, I call it activity is on top of the regular job. There are people that are designated specific to be working on human trafficking and that's across multiple departments and agencies are supposed to be responsible for addressing this issue, but nobody's really taking, you know, the lead.
44:10 Yeah, I think that's, that is probably true in a lot of States. I know where in Connecticut but I don't think they were alone in experiencing that as a white person. What would you want to see from other white people? What would you hope that my colleagues? Who again as we've discussed are overrepresented among in the anti-trafficking movement in terms of the professionals. What do you want from us? What what can we do?
44:41 I can't do that. I want people to move as quick as I want people to stop saying I'm woke for not doing the work, right? I want you to stop saying, I understand, I get it. When you at tables, you're not pushing a dialogue or you're not changing in there. You could, you sit in positions of power. Right? So we know that predominately white individuals are in positions of power in this conversation about the state level, to make some decisions related to this. I don't want to hear that. You get it. I don't want to hear that. You have the date and, you know, and you're doing your back. I want people to stop saying they're conscious and aware, but actually make the moves and push the system to change. If you have the ability to change of policy or practice, change it. If you have the ability to have a conversation related to this issue and really make, even though it's going to be uncomfortable to talk about, how do we make a difference and what are we going to do?
45:41 The consul presentation and walk away is in Rowlett hardware. And I wish we could do something. But then go back and you have a sphere of influence and you don't use it. I want people to do me like as a person of color. I'm doing a presentation. I came back to Connecticut and spoke to both of you because I didn't want to just know. There was a problem. I just started on it, but that I was actually going to do something. And if that's my time and energy turned against actually tried to music from media, when at work, I'm doing to my training. It's a start to get people to understand this. If you didn't just start today at this issue, has a history and that we live in a nation and its DNA is racism. Like this nation is built on human trafficking. It's built on this Plantation and unless people want to be cognizant of that and try to hold on question, the people in your immediate family that is allowing for this crime to perpetuate. We're not going to get anywhere. So I'm passionate in saying, I don't want to hear people talk.
46:41 About what they want to do in your best interest, any water. If you have a position of influence and power, use it to change a narrative immediately, not wait until someone of color forces you to do it.
46:55 How about you? Crest hard to follow that?
47:01 I would love to see my white peers. Be more like you Aaron. I think you use your voice. I think you Advocate, every opportunity you can get. And that, that's rare. So I was just like, oh, everything you bested and commend you for for always being at the front with this working and speaking out.
47:25 And I'll just say, just an echo with Chris and saying cuz once every God, part of this Movement, we started talking and we started doing the article doing the radio show, one of the conversation there. And then I had a couple of times with what we're doing nationally when she was sitting at tables at traffic in tables, how she was starting to elevate the conversation about race. And so you are a prototype, you are an example of what we need white leadership book, like, in this movement, is to challenge, you know, the regular standard of way of doing things and thinking and bucking the system. I know that in your organization, you guys have been doing a lot of work around racial Justice and educating your staff to the dairy, informed and aware of what they need to do and how they need to be mindful of when they're working with Christ. That's the work that I'm talking about actually doing something that just saying you feel empathy for or you regret that this is happening, but you have actually chicken changeable steps to try to change the system that you work with him. And that is what we need for.
48:25 Thank you. I mean, honestly, I I learned from both of you guys. Do, you know, it's, it's definitely needs to be a collaborative effort because I would not be able to do this. If I had talked to email the event. If you hadn't come back from that conference and really push this issue if we hadn't delved into it, you know, I certainly, I can't guarantee that I would be talking about it the way that I do to be honest. So I think that it, it does take all of us because, you know, we need people of color to say, hello. Hello. You guys are missing something critical and then we also need white people who are currently in a lot of those positions to take it up and 2 to bring it to the Forefront. And I also, I would add that, you know, as white people are in positions of in which they can hire individuals, other individuals in positions of power that they should look at representation. And that, that is a key variable and N really important.
49:25 Something to look at and I think a lot of people are scared to talk about that. But I think you guys have both pointed to the importance of representation and in some it in some organizations that's going to mean white people actively looking at representation and considering it as part of their hiring process and recognizing that they're not representative. So I guess in my final question at if in five years and that's a short time for it. I don't think we're going to solve all of the racial justice issues in the that time. By any means if in five years you were to reflect and and you are able to say, you know, what, we have made progress as a movement. I can see progress has been made. What would that look like five years down the line? What would you like to see?
50:18 I've always been a big advocate for awareness and prevention. I think, once our kids are brought into the life of trafficking. It is very hard for them to admit. You are acknowledged it and to identify them. So I've always said that prevention is key. And so making training mandatory among, you know, teachers and school and providers, you know, making it just really a priority to make sure that everyone is educated on this topic is going to be huge. And so I think making we're make we made a lot of progress. I think we're getting our awareness training that we have out there and training sons of people. But I think we need to continue and make sure that everyone is trained in red wonder where those are red. Flags knows what to look for. I think that's most important for me personally.
51:09 And would you like to see race tied into some of that training as we go around?
51:17 I think with me more representation across the entire system in all levels of influence is going to be something. I would hope to see you in 5 years from now. I think more survivors are the colors prospective elevating. And, you know, really been able to have that scared the influential Drive, the movement in the direction. We need it to go. I think, for me and five years, I would hope that we have legislation that fully protect. Our victims, are not their buyers and traffickers. And then five years from now. We should see more accountability on the fire in Topock aside. So we can reduce the number of individuals who are being victimized. If we continue to focus just on the victims and survivors and we do nothing about the demand side of this work, or we do nothing about holding, the traffic is accountable. And this is a crime that you'll continue to commit because they're on their license minimum and so we have to value or or victims more
52:15 And show them that we value them by holding those who victimize them accountable for their actions. I'm hoping legislatively we have strong laws in place that will allow for that to happen more and for me in five years. I hope to continue to be doing awareness work related to Traffic in and also around racing human trafficking. And hoping that I reached a large enough population around the topic for there to be a little bit more understanding of why, this is an important topic just to be discussing any of that. Your your comments again in this is one of the things I think is important for white people. To realize is it made me realize that you don't 5 or 10 minutes ago. I was talking about how I didn't care as much. If we help buyers accountable. I didn't care as much about holding the traffickers. I cared more about providing victim services and prevention education, put in some ways, but I'm also saying is not hold people accountable for what they're
53:15 They're doing against children of color. So I think that it's important again for us, white people. We're going to keep making mistakes. We're going to keep saying things and not realizing the implicit nature of what we are implying and in our seats, but I realize when you were speaking, that that is what I said that, that is the implicit message. I was sending is let's not focus so much on holding white people, accountable or purchasing our children for sex and let's focus on providing services, but you're absolutely right yet, but we do need to also hold people who are, who are white and not just white or predominantly white accountable for committing crimes against children. So I really again, I appreciate both of you. I'm always learning from both of you. I appreciate your the grace with what you allow me to make mistakes. As I learn and continue to educate me as we walk through this together.
54:15 Hopefully, our Collective work and and other people's work in this field can really Elevate. This issue is, I'm glad everything you had brought this up and that we were able to come together. The trio again to really Elevate this conversation. And I think what I would want to say that those who were listening is just how the conversations like we just spent about 40 minutes or so, talking about this and we all realize in the conversation and download things that we need to do and work on or what else we need to do to make the system better. And only way that happens is to just having a conversation. So I just want everyone to go back to your family, go back to your organization and bring the topic of how the conversation know it's going to be awkward and uncomfortable. But at the end of this year might come up with some solution or you might have some insight that helps you figure out how to do the work better.
55:09 I also am in so thankful that we were able to give added opportunity to have this conversation. And I'm hoping that in the future. Listen, back to this and think about, you know, how horrible this thing that happened back in the day and that it's not happening now, but maybe it's been eradicated that way.
55:29 Great. Well, thank you both.