|Governor Parnell signing sex trafficking bill.|
Experts testifying before a new Alaska task force on sex trafficking said Monday the teenage victims often are too afraid and embarrassed, and sometimes too addicted to drugs, to come forward.
The comments were made at a hearing to address sex trafficking, which authorities say is notoriously underreported. Among the most vulnerable are chronic runaways whose own parents have quit looking for them, said Detective Sgt. Kathy Lacey, who heads the Anchorage Police Department's vice unit.
"Those kids are falling through the cracks," she told the panel.
Jolene Goeden, an FBI special agent in Anchorage who investigates sex crimes, said there have been seven federal prosecutions of human trafficking cases, noting that not all of them were filed as trafficking cases. In the seven cases, 105 trafficking victims were identified.
Recorded conversations with a victim identified as "Heather" also were played. She said her pimp initially was treated her well and told her she would not want for anything, then the relationship deteriorated to the point where she was beaten for being even a dollar short, hogtied and gagged and thrown into an "underground tunnel" for days.
"It was brutal," she said.
The state task force aims to gauge the prevalence of human trafficking and prostitution in Alaska, as well as the services available to help victims. It also plans a December public hearing in Bethel.
Apparently the task force will report its findings to the legislators by January 15th.
I actually don't know how excited any of us should be at the possibility that Todd Palin will be investigated, but I DID send an e-mail to Parnell a while back telling him about Shailey's book, and telling him that if he was serious about really DOING something about this problem he would prove it by bringing Todd in for questioning and talking to Shailey and some of the girls she worked with as well.
I never received a response.