The Pandemic Otherwise Known as Human Trafficking….

To have a calling…and a mission in life such that other “mundane things” will somehow take care of themselves… is truly an event in which God whispers in one’s ear.  Suddenly, you know that it is the right and just thing to do….   Human slavery and the commercialization of children and adults as “commodities,” to be bought and sold is outpacing drug trafficking as the number one illegal enterprise in the U.S. and the world. It is so widespread, its perpetrators so “ingenious” in their underworld methods, so misunderstood by law enforcement and the general public regarding ever increasing ways to capture and exploit victims, that it is incomprehensible. Profit… it is so profitable that practically all other forms illegal activity pale by comparison.

“Shattered Lives” featured two committed advocates to this cause. Dottie Laster of Texas and Betty Houbion of South Carolina have not only assisted in rescuing numerous victims of human trafficking, but have continued to forge paths of understanding in their geographic areas and beyond.  Tune in to learn from the dynamic exchanges.

Listen to the podcast CLICK HERE:

  • Introduction of featured guests;
  • What does human trafficking encompass? Definitions and types;
  • Force fraud or coercion;  (including psychological) Any minor in commercial sex;
  • Harboring maintains, obtains, facilitates others- They are civilly liable – the scheme , pattern or plan;
  • Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act- Consequences up to life in prison; Abysmal DOJ stats – only 100 prosecutions in 12 years;
  • Betty on keeping track of data and Polaris Project;
  • Big gap between law enforcement, judicial court prosecutors, and what  victim advocates are seeing and results from tips;
  • FBI Police Unit of Human Trafficking – Centralize  all statistics on HT; Georgia vs. South Carolina;
  • Biggest MisconceptionsDottie -1) Movement is required;                 2) Number of those who are proactively  helping  versus the energy of trafficking itself;
  • BettyMisconceptions – 3) It doesn’t exist in the United States;             4) It occurs in “those other countries;” Domestic trafficking – we will see more and more as  we are bringing them to light;
  •  Dottie re more cases of “easy targets” –  Over the past  9 months – runaways, disrupted families, displaced children  versus BUT they are now targeting  upper middle class , two parent families kids doing well in school, still getting them;   It is growing exponentially; They are going after all targets!   It is on every corner in every place.  In her town of 48,000 in Texas, Dottie knows of 6 cases currently;
  • Betty- The situation in Myrtle Beach– A hospitality, resort area, military, agriculture are  great attractions for HT; “Incidental learning” of cases in Myrtle Beach;
  • Betty on the Prosecutor in Myrtle Beach area- We have the SC law but he says. “ There are no cases of HT in our area;”
  • Distinction between Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking-Held in service of another with service or labor component for force, fraud or psychological coercion ;
  • Dottie’s strategy for rescuing victims with police – introducing it as  DV versus HT;
  • Betty –  Her advocacy – by talking to police chiefs and introducing them to current  possible situations- those who  listen and bring in detectives to investigate;
  • Dottie on training law enforcement  –;
  • Provides you with incidents in your area   and a live feed…and training 911 callers;
  • Dottie focusing on the beginning of the case using the term human trafficking  such that it is assigned to a detective versus a first responder;
  • Betty – Call 911 first , then call the national hotline providing names of service providers and law enforcement in their geographic  area and provides a case number and audit trail;
  • Victims /advocates need to keep following up after the hotline call as they are separate from law enforcement;
  • More magazine, feature article on Dottie….;
  • “Ladyjustice” on Dottie & Betty’s personal visions and missions-How they came to fruition and  their self-sacrifice;
  • Dottie on continuing to mentor “Precious”;   Dottie’s altered dream to practice  immigration law, to excel with the Department of Justice;
  • Betty– on achieving the recent South Carolina HT Legislation…  with the assistance of a particular legislator – a 3.5 year journey;
  • Karma- July 18th…Parallel to same date of the 13th Amendment The US Constitution announced effective in 1850.
  • The new SC law becomes effective in 180 days – December 18th
  • They also beat the 150 year Proclamation Emancipation of January 1st.  Very meaningful to SC as they started the Civil War.
  • Betty’s report on recent Training in Columbia, SC, “HT and Trauma Informed Care” And… they asked for more….
  • Dottie –Wish List – creating the awareness; *** HT is a direct attack on families; Men who buy sex versus not; Couldn’t locate a control group;
  • Trying to find 100 men who have not bought sex in a month;
  •  Dottie – Case in point Message Protect your family!                               A client, who was married for 37 years, did not know her husband was unfaithful, bought his prostitute, and left her for the women.           The wife is now dying of an STD related cancer Message – Practice  safe sex even in a committed relationship; TRUST but Verify;
  • 9.5 billion dollar business… or more  Dottie’s’ adopted daughter Lizbeth; She is in mental hospital. Lizbeth- is not safe anywhere…. men prey upon her;
  • Betty – An example in a church group – A woman who was sold by her mother and still living with her mother, Church people are  mentoring;   They can’t make a normal life;
  • Dottie– More on Lizabeth’s horror… The AFTERMATH the women or significant others…are in danger;
  • Dottie – Huston – They are looking at a location in which $200,000 a week is being made; Who is paying $160 at a time for this?
  • Betty – A book recommendation:  “The Johns Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It “by Victor Malerek. Dottie – “A good read, enlightening… but the John’s sound like middle school kids…                   so ridiculous in their responses about women and sex.” Their attitude carries out into society and other female relatives.  They treat them as objects;
  •  Ladyjustice asks about time frames  and grooming;
  • Betty’s response –  HT rings will trade them up, versus, needs for major events via trading and bartering;  Trafficking one or two victims –Betty gives an example;
  • Dottie – Traffickers also move to sisters and friends. An example of a very accomplished girl; Scanning, roving and grooming.              The demand is not able to be met;
  • Dottie – Women don’t buy sex on demand; Women are wired differently.  ***Therefore, traffickers meet the insatiable demand                            by force, fraud, coercion.  Demand has to go down and people who buy sex need to be punished and humiliated…  Celebrity examples…
  • Dottie – We have to demand accountability and we need to demand that those engaging in the crime  are mentally  ill; (whereas currently, perpetrators go home to their wives)
  • Social isolation of victims – How can we expect to isolate victims further by removing electronic devices?
  • Dottie – My daughter didn’t do anything unsafe; Two incidents.  Society praises rewards and encourages this behavior.  The second man “wanted to have sex with a porn star.”
  • Betty – on documentation…. To help victims with funds the victims are undocumented people. *** It’s a business, the victim is the product. The victim wears out and can’t be sold, they will kill her, throw her away, get diseased, committed to a mental institution etc.
  • “Ladyjustice” What is it that advocates, law enforcement and the public needs to do to need to do in order to make a real change?
  • Betty  – We need to talk the money out this business; to reduce the demand, buyers need to be accountable, prosecuted and jailed;  Change the myth that prostitutes choose their careers;
  • Betty: Examples of Change – The Rose Project in Phoenix AZ;

The Johns Schools; The State of Washington will introducing a law based on the Swedish model criminalizing the activity of johns;

Trauma Informed Care for victim service providers;

  • BettyImportant Change in Perspective – Ask what happened re your experience versus What’s wrong with you? ‘Facilitating choice and empowerment for victims;
  • Betty on Good Example of  Active Organizations – Soroptimists International;  Salvation Army, United Methodists,  Zonta International,   It takes everyone in sync –law enforcement government agencies and not for profits;
  • Funding???? Laughter… Laughter…. Dottie – Wrote $6.5 funding for grants   ‘Too many strings…..  So…. she gets limited funding from training and public speaking…  She is there to educate any group.  She’s also been an informant for the FBI; work with the media ‘Bringing the trenches to the people who need to know….
  • Dottie – If you are a victim- I will help you for free.  If not, you need to contribute. Dottie’s contact info:
  • Betty’s contact information: E-mail:;   
  • Update on a collaborated case between Dottie & Betty;
  • Call for donations for Susan Murphy –Milano;
  • Thank you and Goodnight;




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