An Overview of Applied Behavior Analysis

Image credit: Learning Ladders Society

Since I have announced that I was accepted into the Master's in Applied Behavior Practice at Florida Institute of Technology, I have received several questions of what this field is, why I have chosen to study this field, and what I intend to do with my degree. After receiving several responses to if I should write an article on this topic, I have decided I could explain what ABA is. I will try to address every aspect of this field, but if you have any other questions, please comment at the end of the article!

Think back to when you were a child. If you're a parent, think back to when your children were young (under the age of 10). Did you ever receive a timeout, or give a timeout to your child? If you said yes to either of these questions, that's an example of ABA. Applied behavior analysis is a therapeutic approach to "correct" behaviors associated with autism or related disabilities. The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) shares that ABA "focuses on the process of behavior change with respect to the development of adaptive, prosocial behavior and the reduction of maladaptive behavior."

To better understand why a child with autism (or neurotypical child) is behaving the way they are, therapists utilize the ABCs of ABA. The ABCs refer to the Antecedents, the Behaviors, and the Consequences of the behaviors. Antecedents refer to what leads to any negative behaviors, like a trigger. With behaviors, there are two types: functional and nonfunctional. ABA therapists observe both. Consequences is what may happen after that behavior and may reinforce behaviors (either good behaviors or bad behaviors).

Here's an example to explain the ABCs of ABA. My sister and I are watching an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. My brother doesn't understand 1) why we aren't paying attention to him, and 2) why he isn't getting his show. That's the Antecedent. He starts biting the chair or his toy to get [negative] attention. That's the Behavior. What's the Consequence? How he responds to the Behavior, but also how my sister and I respond. Depending on what we do, this could cause his negative behaviors to continue, or we can respond in a way to stop the bad behaviors/lead to better behaviors.

There are some criticisms towards ABA. For example, many against ABA believe that "correcting" behaviors associated with autism isn't fair to that individual. That it takes away who they are as a person. Essentially, you're not trying to help that person with autism. You're trying to "fix" them or make them "normal." Some even consider this practice to be abusive, by trying to normalize someone with autism. Regarding this argument, I think every case is different. While ABA helped my brother, it may not have been good for another child with autism. It's up to the caretaker or even the individual to decide what is best. 

Why I chose this field is because I have witnessed firsthand how beneficial this field can be with children (or even adults) like my brother. Even now, as he is an adult, we still utilize ABA in helping him deal with being an adult. I believe this field is extremely beneficial. I also chose this field because I noticed there is a lack of resources for families like mine. After my brother graduated high school, we assumed there would be options for him regarding continuing education or day treatment centers. Sadly, there aren't. Because my brother is on the lower end of the autism spectrum, he cannot continue education nor participate in a work study program. I hope with my combined degrees in Business and soon ABA, I can help give parents more options that we don't have. I also think another option could be involved in counseling or assisting victims of human trafficking in learning how to get past their experience and begin healing. Who knows what God has planned for my life?

I hope this answered some of your questions! I am nervous and excited to begin classes at the end of the month. I do want to let you all know that because psychology is a difficult field, I won't be able to write as often as before. I will need to focus on my schoolwork. I will try to write at least once a month, maybe twice, if possible. Thank you all for supporting me in my journey!

Advice for Young Conservatives Entering Politics


I saw an excellent post on Instagram from an account called @traditionally.conservative, who shared her eight pieces of advice for young conservatives entering the political world. I thought this was an excellent post, as we should help the next generation avoid the mistakes we have made. As I have been involved in politics since early 2019, I definitely think I can share some advice with the next generation. Here is my advice to any young conservative looking to enter politics.

#1: Do not let your identity revolve around politics. 
More often than not, we let politics become our entire identity. My family will tell you how almost addicted I was to politics. There was never a moment I wasn't talking about politics. It's one thing to be mentioning something you see in the news here and there, like talking about a new law Biden has passed or how the J6 trial is a joke, but you can't let it overtake your life. You won't be able to enjoy your life. Politics isn't everything. While I do believe that as Christians, we have a God-given responsibility to be involved in politics, you can't let your identity be solely in politics. I have seen that putting my identity in politics is exhausting. Putting my identity in my Lord is more fulfilling.
#2: Know which issues to focus on, learn more about, or fight for.
When I became in politics, I was involved in every issue. It was tiring. Free speech, climate change, gun rights, vaccinations/masking, cancel culture, you name it, I was always writing about it. That's not productive. What I advise young conservatives to do is find issues that matter to them. You may have to look into every issue before knowing which political issues matter to you. For me, the list is simple. Abortion, cancel culture, domestic abuse, human trafficking, and pornography. I do focus on other political issues as well, but I do care about the issues listed above, and try to educate people on these things. I find it especially fulfilling when I help bring awareness to human trafficking, supporting male victims of domestic abuse/human trafficking/rape, and the harmful effects of pornography.
#3: Don't simply follow any organizations that claim to be on your side.
Boy, do I wish someone warned me of this! I trusted conservative organizations, thinking they were the best thing since sliced bread. Sure enough, once you let the glamour wear off, there's not much to these organizations. Like Turning Point USA, for example. I was a huge fan of their conferences, but I will never work for or with them again. They're basically Establishment but claim otherwise. Be wary of which organizations to follow or work with.
#4: Find a mentor. 
I actually really liked this point in the original post. Having a mentor is so important in politics. It can be anyone! My mentor was actually a former professor from the University of Florida. He helped me see the truth of these so-called "conservative" organizations, and I would tell him about my work in conservatism. He even wrote me a letter of recommendation when I applied to Gavin Rollins' internship on his campaign. He certainly kept me grounded and focused on what was important, not what was popular. We didn't always see eye-to-eye on some issues, but I always appreciated his advice.
#5: Be outspoken in your views. Don't compromise your values.
Don't be afraid to speak your mind. You'll never please everyone. I always get criticism for speaking out about human trafficking, yet that doesn't stop me. These people don't bother me because even though I have the 10 haters, I'm educating and informing 100 more people. Sadly, the times we live in, many people are willing to abandon friends or family over political views, and this can be scary. I, like many other Republicans or conservatives, have lost many friends due to political differences. It hurts, but we cannot abandon our views to please others. Even though you may lose friends or family, you will gain more than you could even realize! Also, do not compromise on your values because it's the popular thing to do. Many conservatives have abandoned their conservative beliefs to become famous celebrities. That's why so many think abortion or gay marriage should be accepted. You will gain more respect by sticking to your values, even when no one else will.

I hope you enjoyed my little tidbits of advice. Feel free to share with your friends and family!

The Border Crisis Must Be Stopped

Image credit: US Border Patrol
Department of Homeland Security

With all the problems happening in our country, from rising gas prices to the "war with Ukraine," it's easy to be distracted by what really matters. The border being one of them. Thanks to the disastrous open border policies the Biden administration pushed for, we essentially have no border. The crisis is completely out of control. Criminals are allowed to enter our country without any issue. Children and women are being smuggled or trafficked at alarming rates. Drugs are also being trafficked into the United States at alarming rates. You would think this would be a top priority for Joe Biden and Democratic politicians, but it's not.

If you dare speak out against the border crisis, you're a racist xenophobe. The Biden administration is working hard to deceive the American people that there is no crisis. Just last week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated that the southern border is in control. That's a blatant lie, and only sheep will believe otherwise. In the past few months, border patrol has been getting hundreds of thousands entering the United States illegally. Look at how dangerous the current conditions are. Specifically speaking, I mean the weather. Look at the 50+ immigrants who died in a tractor trailer with no water or air conditioning. This could have been prevented if the Biden administration would close the border.

The media doesn't try to expose the truth of what is happening. The few that have been only did so recently, because you cannot ignore what's happening. I applaud Tucker Carlson for being one of the only journalists bringing awareness to the crisis at the southern border. Isn't it interesting how the same people who said Vladimir Putin has no right to invade the sovereign nation of Ukraine are completely silent on the invasion currently happening in our own country? 

The southern border was secure under the Trump administration. That was one of his greatest accomplishments. In a few months, Biden unraveled that and now claims that closing the border is too difficult. 

What's the truth of what is happening at the border? Drugs are being poured into the U.S. and isn't showing signs of stopping. Just on July 18th, border patrol arrested a man attempting to smuggle in 250 pounds of fentanyl. Why does this matter? Drug overdoses have increased tremendously in the past few years. Drug overdoses hit an all-time high last year. 107,000 Americans died of fentanyl overdose, a 15% increase from 2020. How does Joe Biden handle this predicament? By sending one of the least useful politicians to the border, who refused to visit the southern border until she couldn't cackle her way out of not going anymore. The drug trafficking is one problem. The trafficking of humans at the border is even worse.

Claiming that human trafficking at the border isn't racist or xenophobic, as the woke mob claims. Women and young girls are being raped outside of the border by traffickers and smugglers crossing into the United States. Senator Joni Ernst spoke with border patrol agents, and she shared the following with Fox News: "The Border Patrol, they told us that about 30% of the women and girls that are being trafficked by the cartels up to the border are being sexually abused along the way. And those are just the ones that are reporting... Border Patrol agents feel that 60% of them having been abused would be a more accurate number, so it really is appalling." Ernst shared a story of two girls having been beaten and raped so badly, emergency personnel was called to help. These smugglers are doing all of this to mock law enforcement in America. As if to say, "We can do whatever we want, and can get away with it." They're not wrong. All border patrol can do is hold these migrants, then release them into the U.S. With all the talk of "Protect the children," you'd think Democrats would be concerned for the children being raped and abused by traffickers and smugglers. It's not shocking they don't care, considering House Democrats recently voted against Representative Chip Roy's bill to increase penalties against those sexually trafficking children. Nearly 60% of human trafficking cases involved minors last year. This is also the same party that believes in abortion at birth. If that doesn't disturb you or make you suspicious of how uncaring Democrats are towards children, I don't know what will make you realize.

Nothing is being done to stop the current crisis. This is not a pressing issue to the Biden administration. Instead, to please the social justice mob, the Biden administration is focused on fighting climate change. These people know there is nothing we can do to stop the climate from changing. They do know that they could change the crisis at the border, and to protect innocent children from being hurt. Open border policies don't only hurt Americans. It hurts everyone involved. People need to recognize what the real issue is. The Biden administration won't stop, because they're importing voters into the country. The border crisis must be stopped.

The Slave Across the Street Book Review


Just like my book review for Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor, this book contains gut-wrenching and dark stories that aren't for the faint of heart. The author of this book, The Slave Across the Street: The True Story of How an American Teen Survived the World of Human Trafficking, shared her story of being trafficked as a teenager. Theresa Flores' story is unique, compared to most survivor stories I have heard or read. You'll be shocked, disgusted, appalled, even nauseated by what you read. Imagining another human being could experience such horrors is heartbreaking, let alone there are men who would commit such atrocities is terrifying to consider. However, this story is not doom and gloom. It's a story of survival and inspiration. I encourage you to read these stories, because putting a face to the crime will inspire you to fight more.

Summary

Theresa Flores came from a fairly wealthy family. Her father had a great job and made a decent salary, while her mother took care of the kids. Life was good. The family moved very often due to Theresa's father's career. Her happy life would change when she moved to Michigan. She met the wrong person, the guy she thought was her friend. He would turn her life upside down, and for the next two years, Theresa would sneak out every night to do what Daniel and his cousins wanted, lest her family be harmed in refusing to do what was told. You learn in a separate chapter that her brother was also threatened by the same men threatening Theresa. What these men did to her was disgusting. For two years, Theresa was forced into performing humiliating, abusive, and harmful acts to pleasure older men, as described in several chapters (Chapter 16 was certainly a difficult chapter to read). I will spare you the details of her abuse, but let's just say it isn't easy to read. As the title describes, Theresa eventually escapes, but not because she chose to leave. It was due to her father's job relocating him. Theresa spent the next two decades healing from her pain and agony. She now uses her voice and her story to inform people about human trafficking.

Analysis

There's a lot to analyze in this book. For starters, Theresa broke several stereotypes surrounding human trafficking. Many Americans believe human trafficking isn't an existent issue in this country. The victims usually come from foreign countries or are smuggled at the border. While this is true, that doesn't make the U.S. invincible to human trafficking. This crime exists in our communities. Theresa is proof of that. She also broke the stereotype that human trafficking only happens to those who come from poor and/or broken families. Theresa's family was well off and lived in a good neighborhood. Human trafficking can happen to anyone. 

Additionally, I really understood what my last interviewee, Sarah, meant when she discussed "rape trafficking." What Sarah and Theresa experienced was not sex. This wasn't a consensual relationship. Theresa was raped every night for two years. She was injured several times in these "encounters." Sex implies two consenting adults, not a minor and older adult. 

There was also the issue of how many people knew of Theresa's situation. People should have recognized Theresa's silent cry for help. She asked several male friends for help, and they all ignored her. The teachers, faculty, students, and principal looked the other way. By looking the other way and ignoring what is happening, you are quietly allowing this crime to flourish. Thankfully, the times have changed, and you do see more people aware of this crime and reporting it, like in one case with an Uber driver rescuing a minor from sex trafficking. If you do read this book, I highly recommend taking your time with chapters 34 and 38. Chapter 34 discusses important facts about human trafficking, which are important to learn. Chapter 38 is a guide for parents or professionals in helping and protecting children from predators. 

Finally, understanding the healing process truly stood out to me. People think that once a victim of human trafficking is rescued, that's it. In actuality, it's just the beginning. Adjusting back to normal civilian life is similar to how a combat veteran has to readjust to civilian life. Dealing with the pain and anguish of the abuse (i.e. PTSD) that happened is a struggle, and can take years, if not decades, to heal from. It's important to understand that we, as human beings, have to be understanding and supportive of survivors. Many victims don't usually survive human trafficking. 

Conclusion

This book will truly open your eyes to the horrible world of human trafficking. I encourage you to read this novel and share it with your friends and family. Remember, education and awareness are key to fighting this crime! You can purchase this book on eBay, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble! I give this book 5 stars!! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Legalizing Prostitution Will Increase Sex Trafficking


California Governor, Gavin Newsom (aka Nancy Pelosi's nephew), just signed a pro-sex work bill. This bill bars police from making arrests for loitering for prostitution. Simply put, "loitering for prostitution" is anyone who has the intent of engaging in prostitution (i.e. buying a prostitute or acting as a prostitute). For example, a man who has the intent of having sex with a female prostitute? Neither will be charged for engaging in prostitution, Similar legislation exists in New York, and Nevada is the only state where prostitution is legal in several counties. By legalizing prostitution, this will lead to an increase in sex trafficking. (Image credit: Sex Trafficking Rogers)

Supporters of prostitution and sex work claim by legalizing this crime, human trafficking (specifically sex trafficking) will actually decrease. That is a false statement. Prostitution doesn't lower sex trafficking rates. A 2012 Study entitled "Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking?" conducted by Seo-Yeong Cho of the German Institute for Economic Research, Axel Dreher of the University of Heidelberg and Eric Neumayer of the London School of Economics and Political Science, found that sex trafficking does increase when prostitution is legal. In the conclusion of the study, the authors shared, "On average, countries with legalized prostitution experience a larger degree of reported human trafficking inflows." Compare this with countries that have criminalized prostitution, they have lower rates of sex trafficking. Without the temptation to purchase sex, there won't be a need to sell sex (either legally or illegally).

Prostitution isn't a safe industry. The same way pornography isn't a safe industry. Prostitutes have a high homicide rate. One study found that 36% of prostitutes interviewed stated their customer was violent or abusive. Gavin Newsom claims that this bill will no longer make transgenders and minority women wouldn't be targets, yet that is who is mainly hurt in prostitution. Without laws criminalizing this issue, now prostitutes are in more danger of being targeted, hurt, trafficked, or even murdered. This is a legitimate issue, yet not many are willing to look at it. "Governments that have legalized prostitution are thus able to continue profiting off of the sexual exploitation of women and children at the same time that they cooperate with international efforts to curb human trafficking," states the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Of all the issues plaguing California, Gavin Newsom (as most Democrats do) chose to do the woke and least helpful thing to help Californians.

What does human trafficking come down to? Economics. Supply and demand. Many women, men, and even children turn to selling their body for money. Traffickers understand how many people are desperate to feed themselves and their families. They'll tell the victim that there is a promise for opportunity and money, only to coerce and threaten them into prostitution. There's really no difference between traffickers and pimps. Both prey on the vulnerable for their own benefits. People will always demand sex. People will always have certain necessities in life (i.e. food, water, clothes, someplace to sleep). As long as there are vulnerable people in terrible situations beyond their control, traffickers will always have business. By legalizing prostitution, traffickers have the green light to continue their evil practices, while victims are ignored. 

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation stated that, "Many officers rely on the loitering laws to initiate trafficking investigations that have led to serious convictions for traffickers and pimps." California is one of the worst states for human trafficking. Signing this bill is a terrible mistake, but apparently this doesn't matter to the woke mob. We shouldn't criminalize prostitutes, because many are victims. That's a big problem. Legalizing prostitution will not lead to a decrease in sex trafficking cases. Instead, it's the opposite effect. Please, continue to educate your family, friends, coworkers, and anyone else you know of on the importance of recognizing human trafficking. This fight cannot be left up to the lawmakers and politicians. It's up to us.

Understanding Human Trafficking from a Survivor's Perspective


Understanding the dark world of human trafficking can be challenging. By listening or reading stories of human trafficking survivors gives us a glimpse of what modern-day slavery is. In this interview, I spoke with Sarah, a survivor of child sex trafficking or as she describes it, "rape trafficking," which we discuss later on. I ask you to read this, even if it becomes uncomfortable. Without exposing ourselves to the truth, we will never understand how horrible and evil this crime is. 

Question #1: "If you could, please introduce yourself to my audience."
Answer: "My name is Sarah. I live in the state of Colorado, but I grew up in San Diego. I have three children who are all adults. 20, 22, and 26. They all live in the same town as me. I was a stay-at-home mom for many years. I went to college with the intent of becoming a prosecutor or lawyer, but life took a different turn. I've always stayed in an advocacy role, so I made it a point to help others when it is possible."
Question #2a: "Can you explain how you got forced into the world of human trafficking? 
Answer: "Well, there are several ways someone is forced into human trafficking. The kind that I experienced, which is quite common, was familial trafficking. It's harder to detect. There's a lot of secrecy behind closed doors. There are often children involved. My parents were divorced, and my mom was very sick for many years. She had 13 major surgeries in seven years, so she became addicted to drugs. When she was home, she was often passed out on the couch or in her room. There weren't many eyes on me, which provided the opportunity for me to be trafficked. I was in a dysfunctional home situation. It's a sad situation. I was born into this world. It started at a young age for me. This was the norm. A very evil norm."
Question #2b: "How did you manage to leave?"
Answer: "At some point, when I was 9 or 10, my mother decided to switch religions and became Catholic. One of her doctors was Catholic, and that led her to become Catholic. The people selling me and trafficking me did it on the weekend. I was sold, raped, and tortured every weekend. My mother would attend Mass. I noticed that on the weekend she would be at church, while I was left to be sold and trafficked. I thought that if I could be with her, I wouldn't have to be trafficked. I should mention that she never knew I was trafficked. I never told her. I started to beg her, nag her, and ask her to let me go to church with her. It took about a year before she did. I guess she thought I was a religious child. She began to take me, and that meant I wasn't left with all these bad people on Sunday. The blessing I had from the Catholic church was that Mass wasn't only on Sunday, it was Saturday too. I figured if I went to Mass on Saturday too, I wouldn't be with those bad people on Saturday either. I became Catholic and didn't have to be with those evil people again."
Question #2c: "What was the healing process like?"
Answer: "It was very long. This happened to me at a young age, like three or four years old. I can put a timeline together and remember what happened to me. For example, I remember being sold and raped at 5, because I can also remember my kindergarten teacher's name and wishing she could care for me. The reason this took so long, and I want people to understand, is that it's the destruction of your soul. Your body is not your own. You are no longer seen as a unique human being, but as an object to be sold numerous times. Getting back to the question, I had incredible friends in high school because I didn't have a good home life. Unfortunately, in my 20s, I met the wrong people. I was involved with a bad, but influential man, which led to two separate court trials, causing more damage and trauma to me. I couldn't take the time to heal, as I was so busy in court. That's why victims get lost. People think we appear normal or healed when we aren't. I also, unfortunately, married the wrong person, because I went back to my original victimhood mentality of trying to survive the only way I could and by going with men I was familiar with. Once I filed for divorce, I began searching for a good counselor who specialized in trauma counseling. I found an EMDR counselor, which worked for me. I also think being in the right environment, with the right people, is very helpful in healing. I got a job and worked with some amazing people. I had a huge support network. The final component in my healing journey was God, who is the ultimate physician. I was more focused on the fatherly aspect of God, as my earthly father was an evil man. There was spiritual healing as well. I never spoke up for myself, but now I have great empathy and compassion to help others. I also dare to speak up for myself and stand up for myself against threats."


Question #3: "What tactics did your trafficker use to control you?"
Answer: "I remember being in first or second grade, and my father took a knife to my throat. He told me to open my mouth, which I did. He moved it around my mouth. Picture that! I was a child with my father putting a knife in my mouth. I remember him telling me, 'If you say anything, I will cut your tongue out,' and I believed him. I never told anyone about my experience, and I didn't start talking about it until five years ago. I even remember someone threatening to kill my family, and that's something Elizabeth Smart shared that happened to her. When you threaten a child's family, they are completely compliant. Some other tactics used to control me were what you'd hear a prisoner of war experience. I would be held underwater, to the point of drowning, and be pulled up to hear 'Have you had enough?' I'd be tied down and tortured with knives and icepicks. It's a terrifying experience and a sadistic method. People need to understand that there is brainwashing involved, as well as manipulation, threats, coercion, and even torture. Human trafficking is the slow dehumanization of a person. It isn't anything like in the movies. It's not some stranger kidnapping another person, although that can happen. It usually involves some familiarity, and we walk among other people appearing as if nothing is wrong."
Question #4: "How did you realize you were a victim of human trafficking?"
Answer: "That's a great question! Human trafficking is a recent term, like in the last few years. I'm a grown woman with adult children, so I always knew I was sold, tortured, and raped, but I never knew the term or name for it. It wasn't until the media described this crime, that's when I realized "That is what I experienced." I never knew the name for it. I had experienced it and heard it happen to other girls my age. I remember I walked in on that happening. A young girl I knew. Once I read about the three aspects of control involved in human trafficking (force, coercion, and manipulation), and compared them to what I went through, that's when it clicked for me. I experienced human trafficking, which is what the media and police call it, and it's a federal crime. I was trafficked. There's no statute of limitations, thank goodness."
Question #5: "As someone who experienced trafficking, what do you want people to understand about this issue?"
Answer: "For starters, I don't like the term 'sex trafficking.' I don't think the word 'sex' belongs there. Sex indicates consent, and there's nothing consensual about being coerced or forced into sex. I also think that there are laws that should be made to protect victims, and that won't happen until society wakes up. This isn't to criticize anyone who doesn't understand the issue. I just think the term should be more fitting, so 'sexual assault trafficking' or 'rape trafficking.' I think people's eyes gloss over sex trafficking, and think of prostitution or sex work, assuming it's a choice when it's not. People don't understand the horror of this crime. That's why I speak out about what happened to me because that's how we raise awareness of this issue. Nobody will understand why we all have to fight. This goes for all people, from the FBI to the local police. Victims should be treated with respect, compassion, and dignity. If you don't, that person will never testify or help investigations. We should fight for victims' rights."
Question #6: "You shared a post stating that sex trafficking shouldn't be called sex trafficking, but instead, rape trafficking. Could you explain your view on this?"
Answer: "Several years ago, when I learned about sex trafficking, my heart got so sad. Not just for the victims, but regarding the term itself. It doesn't explain what happens. People will casually mention sex trafficking as if they were talking about a normal topic. I always thought, 'Oh my gosh, wake up! Children and adults are being raped.' I felt like if this was described bluntly and honestly, people would realize how awful this crime is. Nobody would be okay with allowing this. If this media delved into what happens to the victims, people would be more open to fighting this issue, but that's not happening. Calling this 'rape trafficking' or 'sexual assault trafficking' is more descriptive and accurate. A 13-year-old cannot consent to sex. It's rape. Sex is between two consenting adults. Anything less than that is sexual assault or rape. Until the public recognizes this crime for what it is, victims of rape or human trafficking are never going to think they have a voice. And if we don't understand what this issue is, we won't be able to help a victim heal and become whole again."
Question #7: "Do you think the porn industry has desensitized consumers of human trafficking and the victims?"
Answer: "I absolutely believe that. What many people don't realize is that porn stars are forced into this world. They're trapped and cannot get away. These videos and images stay on the Internet forever. They feel like they cannot get out. On the consumer side, people don't think that what they're watching is probably a victim of rape or trafficking. If people understood that, I would like to think fewer people would consume porn. If you go to PornHub (which I don't recommend at all), you can search for '5-year-old girl screaming while being raped' and there will be numerous videos or images showing that. What's concerning is the people who are watching that sort of content. Only pedophiles enjoy that sort of content. Educating people on the truth about porn goes hand-in-hand with fighting human trafficking. Human trafficking is a big part of porn. While you're in your apartment watching a video of sexual intercourse, you could be watching a crime happen without knowing. It's a crime against humanity. We cannot eradicate the entirety of pedophilia. But if we could get people to understand that pornography is the dehumanization of a person, that makes a major impact. I would tell someone, 'Imagine someone putting a gun to your head and telling you to make a pornographic video and let us put it online, or we'll kill your mother. How would you feel now about watching that video?' Pornography desensitizes you and messes with your mind. Countless studies are proving that. Porn kills your soul and kills relationships."


Question #8: "Why do you think it's important for survivors, like yourself, to share their stories? Why do you think it's important for people, like my readers, to listen to your stories?"
Answer: "Because this isn't a topic you can learn in a book. I think that if people who have experience with this speak out, it could make a big impact. If I speak up, I could give someone else the courage to speak out. If more people speak up, then more awareness will be raised in law enforcement and our community. It's a ripple effect. What you don't know, you won't know. If you don't understand how violent rape trafficking is to another person, how is there going to be light shone on this issue? If we don't use our voice, there won't be help that exists. I share my story to give people a new perspective on this issue. Regarding your readers, it's the reason is fairly similar to the previous question. If they see something suspicious, they'll know what to be aware of and to report it. Also, there are many jobs where you come across human trafficking. When I was a child, none of my teachers knew the truth about what I was experiencing. They saw I would be vomiting daily, and assumed it was because of my mom being sick when it was something more traumatic. However, that didn't stop them from treating me with compassion or kindness. My teachers saw a small child who was very sick and wanted to help her. Knowing what is happening with this crime could be a major impact on the victim's life. One person can make a huge change. The more we know, the more compassionate society can be. Victims and survivors cannot remain invisible. We were invisible when we were victims, we cannot remain that way."
Question #9: "What do you want people to remember from your story and our conversation?"
Answer: "I want people to remember that when you hear that someone was victimized by sex trafficking, please know what that means. Their journey isn't over after being rescued or manage to escape. The road to healing is long. We didn't experience this once. It's happened numerous times. Don't wait to get help. Get it early."
Question #10: "What can people do to join the fight against human trafficking?"
Answer: "There's a lot you can do for free. You can gain a higher sense of awareness. That's why we are doing this interview. Awareness is critical in this issue. It's a key part of fighting this issue. You can vote. Ask candidates about how they will fight human trafficking. You can screen that person. If they're not willing to fight for the little people, they're not worth voting for. You can get involved with nonprofits or churches that help survivors. You can donate if you don't have the time. Know which ones to donate to though. Make sure they are solid organizations. There are a lot of things that can be done to fight this issue. We can help survivors. It's not only the therapy they need. Sometimes they need help with getting their life back (i.e. getting their license or important paperwork). We can make an impact in this dark world."

Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your story with me. This has truly been an honor, and I hope everyone learned something and understands why this fight is so important. 

Child Marriage in the United Stated of America


The existence of child marriage is an atrocity. The fact it is legal in majority of the United States is even more appalling. Child marriage is a crime in and of itself, yet not often discussed. The same way I have discussed that a child cannot consent to performing in pornography or prostitution, it applies here. A child does not consent to marriage; this is a form of forced marriage. (Credit to the original creator)

Child marriage is defined as "any formal marriage or informal union between a child under the age of 18 and an adult or another child," according to UNICEF. How often does child marriage occur? You would think it's a rare occurrence, but sadly, it's not. CBS News shared that between 2000 - 2015, more than 200,000 minors were married in the United States, majority being young girls married to an older man. The only states that have strict laws that do not allow child marriage in any case are the following: Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. These laws require that someone can only marry if they are of the age of 18 or older, no exceptions. Most states think this is government overreach and aren't on-board with banning the practice of child marriage.

To put things into perspective, let's look at the most extreme cases of child marriage that happened in the United States, according to World Population Review.
  • In 2010 in Idaho, a 65-year-old man married a 17-year-old girl
  • In Alabama, a 74-year-old man married a 14-year-old girl
  • In Tennessee, three 10-year-old girls married men ages 24, 25, and 31, respectively.
  • The youngest boy to marry was an 11-year-old who married a 27-year-old woman in Tennessee in 2006.
Why isn't this issue discussed enough? The idea that a young girl could marry an older man is disgusting. This is not a marriage. This is a forced marriage and possible human trafficking situation, where one party has more power and authority over the other. For the victim, it robs them of their rights as a human being. Girls who are married before the age of 18 are more likely to drop out of school, never to receive a proper education. Many are likely to experience sexual or domestic abuse. Now, I'm sure there are some who would think that if that child is old enough (i.e. 16 years old), they could have the common sense to leave or runaway, even file for divorce. Unfortunately, any legal options for a minor is limited. The child of the marriage isn't allowed to try to file for divorce, nor can they run away due to strict laws that prohibit children from running away.  

This is not an issue that happens overseas. The United States is currently allowing the marriage between a child and a grown man/woman. What can be done to fight this issue? There are two paths you can take, either one or both. First, start talking about it. This issue is widely ignored because it's uncomfortable. That's why this issue still exists. By making this a conversation, you make people aware this is an issue we must fight. Second, contact your lawmakers and representatives. The people we elect are supposed to fight for what we want, and we want children to not be allowed to be married. It hurts our most vulnerable. This article is not meant to shame anyone who was part of a child marriage or the product of that marriage. It's to bring awareness to a travesty that is allowed in our great nation. Stand up and join me in this fight. Child marriage cannot be allowed to continue in this country.