Friday, August 16, 2013

Children Entrapped Into Prostitution & Pornography: Understanding the Problem

[Editor's Note: Our guest blogger today is author Joe Haggerty, who served as a police officer and detective with the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department for over 35 years. His area of expertise is investigations into the sexual exploitation of children, specifically those children victimized by criminals trafficking in prostitution and pornography. He also served as a senior investigator for the U.S. Attorney General's Commission on Pornography. He authored a novel titled SHAME: The Story Of A Pimp.]

By  Joe Haggerty
After spending 27 years on the streets of Washington, D.C. primarily investigating the sexual exploitation of children in prostitution and pornography and interviewing over 5,000 prostitutes and hundreds of pimps, I found the following to be the most common methods used by pimps to keep their victims on the street.
Understand that the primary targets of the pimps are young women who are runaways or throwaways.  I estimate that 85-90% of the women on the street were recruited before their 18th birthday. The youngest I personally encountered was 12, but I know of younger victims.

Love and security is probably the most powerful hold the pimp tries to establish.  Frequently these young women have lacked attention or were sexually or physically abused by a family member or a trusted friend of the family.  Pimps will shower their victim with attention, providing her the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.

Sexual advances will be limited to the victim’s consent, although I’ve known pimps who set up their victim to be raped and he comes to her rescue.  He creates a total dependence upon him, not usually with drugs, although drugs may be used as part of the seduction process.  He pays for everything—rent, clothes, food, lawyer and female necessities.  He creates structure in her life—when to get up, how much money she is supposed to earn a night (quota), what clothes she wears, time limits with tricks/johns/customers, the use of condoms and when she can come off the street each night.

Understand she turns over one hundred percent of the money she makes to the pimp and she works the street everyday even during her period or pregnancy. She is required to follow specific rules for which a violation will result in a beating. This creates a false sense of security and the mistaken belief that she is loved. To a pimplove is money.

Threats and violence are methods used by more physical pimps.  It may have been threats or violence by the pimp that forced her on the street in the first place.  After a month, more or less, she has lost all self-respect.  Conservatively speaking, she has had sex with 120 different men.  At some point the pimp’s threats against her fall on deaf ears, but in his initial seduction process he learned who had been the most significant person in her life.  He knows where she lived previously.  His threats of violence are now directed toward that significant person whether it is a family member or a close friend.  She would now be responsible for the well-being of a person she cared about.  If she actually had a child of her own, the pimp has the greatest leverage to keep her on the street and frequently he controls who takes care of the child. The Stockholm Syndrome and the Battered Wife Syndrome are common in these situations.

I cannot tell you how many times I heard a young women justify her life in prostitution by saying she was only going to work for a couple of years.  She believes at the end of that time period her man will marry her and they will settle down to a conventional life.  Many of these women still believe in the American dream, but seldom achieve it.
Although a pimp may have more than one victim on the street, in their world these victims are considered his wives.  The women will refer to each other as wife-in-laws. In that respect if a women refers to another woman as her wife-in-law then you know they work for the same pimp.  Some women successfully leave the street and their pimp.  They either go to jail and the pimp abandons them, they marry a trick or they find Jesus.  Unfortunately, many become drug addicts or alcoholics, are murdered or commit suicide.  Right now there are at least 12 states investigating serial killers whose primary victims are prostitutes.

In my book, Shame: The Story of a Pimp, which is fiction, but based on a number of cases I was involved in, you’ll learn what the street is really like.  You’ll learn how the pimps rule the street, how they will sell their victims to other pimps.  Like the pimps I described above, Shame preys on young women who he uses and abuses.  Falling in love is a huge taboo for a pimp, but Shame does and is betrayed.  This drives him to murder and eventually to a court of law. A Detroit policewoman and a D.C. Vice Detective gather enough evidence to have Shame arrested, but the trial doesn’t end favorably.  Street justice is sometimes the best justice and Shame is faced with the wrongs of his past.
I was a Metropolitan Police officer in Washington, D.C. for 35 years.  From 1973 to 1997 I worked as a vice detective, primarily doing investigations of the sexual exploitation of children in prostitution and pornography. In the mid 80’s, I was selected to be a senior investigator for the U. S. Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography and wrote a portion of the final report. 

I worked with the DC homicide squad and homicide detectives from Arlington, Virginia and the Virginia State Police in a series of prostitute homicides that took place in 1989-90.  From 1998 until 2005 I was an in-service training instructor at the department’s academy. I was the co-founder of a grassroots organization initially dedicated to rescuing kids from the prostitution streets and was chosen by Children of the Night in California as one of the top ten police officers in the country in rescuing child victims of prostitution. 

I have a published novel, Shame: The Story of a Pimp, which tells the fictional story of a pimp from birth to death.  Although I used real incidents from several of my cases, I changed names, locations and circumstances. I refused to write a non-fiction novel about the sexual exploitation of children as I felt it would further exploit them.  However, I tried to portray the way the prostitution streets really are and the violent and exploitive nature of pimps.  I have been married 33 years, have six children and 11 grandchildren.  Email:  

Friday, August 2, 2013

BEYOND RECOGNITION: An LAPD Helicopter Pilot’s Story of Survival Over Adversity

[Editor’s Note: We are privilege to have Ron Corbin as a guest today, a man who served during the Vietnam war as a helicopter pilot, surviving two tours of duty in that war-torn country before serving another six years as an LAPD police officer and pilot. Corbin’s flying career with LAPD ended when he and another police officer crashed in the mountains above Los Angeles, leaving his trainee dead and Corbin with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 70 percent of his body. He left LAPD, continued college and graduate studies, and later served with Las Vegas Metro Police Department. Beyond Recognition, among other things, is about his love of flying and his story of survival over adversity.]

By Ron Corbin

After two tours in Vietnam as a chief warrant officer pilot flying Huey “slicks,” the Army offered me a direct
commission to a 2nd lieutenant if I re-enlisted. With no end in sight to the war, accepting “Uncle Sam’s” offer would mean another combat tour. I decided not to push-my-luck,” and signed-out.

To make a living as a husband and father, I returned to my old job in Southern California at UPS, putting on hold my career ambition of continuing to fly. While watching TV one evening at dinner time, a recruiting ad came on for LAPD. In the commercial, the helicopters flown by officers assigned to the Department’s air unit flashed across the screen. I looked at my wife, Kathy, and asked her what she thought about me joining the police department.

She wasn’t too keen on the idea, knowing the hazards of being a police officer. She suggested I look into the City or County Fire Department and trying to fly for them. To me, having to be a fireman first with no guarantee of ever getting to be a pilot didn’t seem any safer of a profession than being a street cop. So in my warped sense of humor, which at the time seemed logical to me, I justified my thought by saying that “I had been shot at in Vietnam, so being shot at as a cop won’t be that big of a deal. Running into a burning, smoked-filled building seemed to be a stupid idea, so I’d rather be a cop.” And with that, I started the process of becoming a Los Angeles Policeman in 1971.

After a few years fighting crime “Adam-12 style” on the streets of LA, I was one of the first two or three former military-trained pilots to be accepted into Air Support Division (ASD). Eventually I became one of their flight instructors.

During my two-year tenure as an ASD police pilot, my military training and past experience became a contention of jealousy and resentment by the unit’s chief pilot. I was called an “F-ing jet jockey.” More bitterness evolved when I was appointed by the training sergeant to be an IP under the chief pilot’s supervision.

Ironically, not wanting to be a firefighter due to the dangers of fire, I ended up receiving 70 percent 2nd & 3rd degree burns from a helicopter crash. It was June 11th, 1976, and I was the instructor pilot (IP) training another police student pilot. While landing to a pinnacle in the mountains separating the San Fernando Valley from the greater LA basin, our Bell 47-G model helicopter experienced a loss of power. We crashed and rolled down the mountain 167 feet in a ball of fire. My trainee, Jeff Lindenberg was killed, and I was fortunate to survive.

Due to my injuries, continuing need for skin graft reconstructive surgeries, and years of required rehab, I was pensioned-off from LAPD. At the age of thirty, I was faced with an uncertain future. My two greatest loves, police work and flying, had been taken from me in the blink of an eye. I was also suffering tremendous “Survivor’s Guilt” from the accident. Telling my side of the story would help with closure.

So, after thirty-six years, I finally decided to document some of my memoirs about my accident and the investigation. Having written only a few short magazine articles before, I never really considered myself as being an author for a major book. But, published or unpublished, I knew that doing so would leave something for my children and grandchildren to remember me…and it would expose the truth of what really happened that fateful day. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you’ve got something to say.”

Beyond Recognition was written to expose the truth of what happened in my accident. Rumors and speculation from hangar talk formed among the other pilots and observers in the unit. A lot of misinformation was given to the widow of my trainee, Lesa Lindenberg. As a result, she naturally shifted blame to me as the IP who was charged with keeping her husband safe. I wanted an opportunity to set the record straight.

Upon researching the transcripts from the investigation, I discovered that the post-accident investigation could not determine a cause; so typically, blame was slanted towards pilot error.

During the Board of Inquiry that was formed to investigate and interview, several interesting things occurred. The chief pilot took advantage of my hospitalization and traumatic amnesia to feed the board members lies and misleading statements that reflected negatively on my judgment and the flying skills of my student pilot.

The NTSB investigator, to this day, has never interviewed me, yet submitted her report as a matter of record as to what she thought the physical evidence was that led to the cause. As the IP and sole survivor, I find that quite intriguing.

And lastly, when litigation convened between the City of LA, the LAPD, and corporate attorneys representing Textron, Lycoming, and Bell Helicopter, a vital piece of wreckage recovered at the accident scene “mysteriously disappeared” from all the other pieces retained for investigation. This was nothing short of a “cover up” to protect and shift accountability of others’ responsibility and involvement.

Beyond Recognition goes beyond physical appearance that I exude with all my burns and scars. It goes beyond comprehending that military pilots have training and experience that cannot be duplicated from learning to fly at the local airport. It goes beyond the tolerance I needed to accept unwarranted blame for the accident by peers and friends. And it goes beyond understanding what it is to suffer a lifetime of “Survivor’s Guilt.”

Ron Corbin served two tours in Vietnam as an Army helicopter and instructor pilot.  He received numerous unit and individual ribbons for combat action, to include being awarded the Air Medal 31 times, once with a “V” device for valor.  Honorably discharged in 1969, he joined the LAPD as a policeman and pilot/instructor pilot for the Air Support Division.  Retiring from LAPD after an on-duty helicopter accident, he finished his college and graduate education.

He holds a Masters in elementary education and a Ph.D. in security administration with an emphasis in terrorism threats to America’s nuclear resources.  Joining the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 1993 as a crime prevention specialist, his specialty was Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).  He attended training in this discipline at the National Crime Prevention Institute, University of Louisville.  His CPTED subject matter expertise led him to be interviewed in Reader’s Digest, Sunset Magazine, PetroMart Business and Las Vegas Life magazines.

He also was responsible for publishing Metro’s in-house training journal, the Training Wheel.  Ron has been a contributing columnist to Las Vegas Now magazine as well as a guest lecturer on Royal Caribbean International Cruise Lines, addressing citizens’ personal safety issues.  He is the previous author of stories published in several anthologies, and recently authored Beyond Recognition (Oak Tree Press), a memoir about  his helicopter crash with LAPD.  Ron retired as LVMPD’s academy training manager in 2011.  He and his wife Kathy have three children, six grandchildren, and live in Las Vegas.