I promised an explanation as to why I stand up (and take a lot of heat) for not promoting certain missions and beliefs. Here it is:
In this world, we have a many, many problems and we need many solutions to fix them. We have a great deal of evil and crime and sad situations that we need to ameliorate. The question that must be answered, and answered rationally and without deep emotions influencing our determinations is "How?" And "How much of our resources?"
Resources are not unlimited. We have only so much money and manpower. Let me use an example in the health realm. People often say we should do everything possible to save the life of a human being. Well, this is certainly a fine sentiment, but is it rational? Suppose a psychopathic, alcoholic, drug-using sixty-year-old serial rapist with a life sentence has a liver that is failing. Should we do everything possible to get him another liver? Most people would think our resources shouldn't be wasted that way when there are so many children and decent adults needing one. This is probably a fairly easy example.
Now, it gets harder. What if this were a very loved family man who never drank or used drugs, but, he has so many other systemic problems that, while a new liver might give him another few months, he is going to die anyway from all the other problems. Now, we feel really bad but we might, with a bit of guilt, say the resources we have should be spent on those who have a better chance of survival.
What about Japan and the earthquake and tsunami victims? When do you call off a search? We often see people become very upset when the search efforts stop. We hear, "What if there is still someone alive under the rubble?" Well, there might be and one always hopes that this isn't true (and maybe one has nightmares forever thinking there was some poor soul still trapped waiting for the rescue that never came). But, we can't search forever. Money and manpower runs out and, at some point, we have to use what we have in a more productive way.
The same is true for criminal investigation. Here I am going to use what I am calling the 99.9% rule (although the exact number is not the point; 99.8%, 97.7%, 99.6%, 99.5%...somewhere up there). If there is one out of a thousand or two out of a thousand that might be the victim of some rare kind of crime, one cannot spend the money and manpower in incredible quantities on the off chance that this is what happened to the victim. Nor should we spend huge amounts of money on solving a problem that is only a minute part of the entire problem (not that we cannot address it, but we just shouldn't have it take over a large part of our strategy or allocation of resources).
Why do we know the names -, Jaycee Dugard, Elizabeth Smart, Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby -oh, and Colleen Stan ("the girl in the box" as most actually remember her) so well? Because these are anomalies. Almost all of children and adults abducted by sex predators are dead within an hour; a few last a day or two, and a very, very, very few are found alive years later. When this happens, we are stunned and thrilled. I had a huge grin on my face when I heard Elizabeth Smart was alive - in spite of the fact I said on television she was likely dead. Wow! Amazing! It was a great moment but it also signified a bad turn of thinking for parents and victim support groups. It has become the fashion now to believe everyone is alive until proven otherwise and to pressure detectives to search every nook and cranny of the world, track down every sighting and tip, to leave no stone unturned, just in case, just in case that missing abducted person is alive. If one stops looking or spending a lot of money and time on the search, great anger erupts at law enforcement and any other person who says the victim is likely dead and the focus should be on body recovery and finding the perpetrator.
In a perfect world, we would have unlimited resources. If this were true, I would say split the money and manpower in half and one half look for a body and the killer and the other half keep looking for a living victim. But this is the real world and money and manpower is in short supply. One must decide how to allocate the resources that are available. And the method is to follow that 99.9% rule. If all the evidence points to the missing person as being dead, one must focus on body recovery and finding the killer and getting him off the street. The longer it takes to find the body, the less evidence will exist for conviction. The longer it takes to find the killer the less evidence will exist to convict him. If we divert the money and manpower needed to get this evidence, we may not get the killer and then there is a murderer still on the streets who will commit another crime and another innocent person will die. If we spend all our time and money chasing leads that are likely to be worthless, we decrease our chances of catching the killer and we have to then live with the fact we helped create an opportunity for him to kill again. This is wrong.
It also should be noted that if one is following the evidence trail, it doesn't matter if the victim is alive or dead; we need to get the perpetrator as quickly as possible anyway (so he can be convicted and the public is safer). If it happens when one gets to the property of the abductor that the victim is still alive, then, hurray! We are incredibly happy!
The same is true for juveniles and adults in prostitution settings. If a juvenile goes missing and ends up working for a pimp, the investigation should lead one to that endangered juvenile whether the juvenile was abducted or ran away or willingly decided to become a prostitute because she was attracted to the life that was presented (as fun and exciting) or wanted the money she thought she could earn. Even an adult who ends up in prostitution for whatever reason, if she goes missing or appears to be held hostage by someone, the investigation should work to find them or free them, regardless of why she ended up in the situation. If a crime was committed or being committed, law enforcement should be working on it.
Now, having said that, the question comes down to how we spend our time and money and manpower pursuing leads. Again, I say follow the evidence at all times. If the evidence does not point to certain things, the 99.9% rule applies: you can't overfocus on something that is extremely unlikely and no evidence points in that direction because 999 out of 1000 times, you will be wasting resources looking in all the wrong places.
For example, almost all young boys abducted off the street are abducted by lone sex predators who are not part of any organized sex ring. Johnny Gosch, the little newspaper boy who disappeared a couple of decades ago, is likely dead and buried on nearby farmland. The chances of him being alive today and still the captive of a sex ring are extremely remote; no evidence points that direction (and the bizarre stories from the mother and convicted felons and ethically-questionable private investigators do not count as credible evidence). Therefore, 99.9% of investigative efforts should be trying to locate Johnny's body and evidence to convict his killer.
The same is true for Kyron Horman. All evidence points back to a person he knows and was the last person to be seen with him. It is a waste of resources to investigate every speculation that Kyron is alive and being held as a sex slave. Follow the evidence trail.
Now, IF that trail led to some strange anomaly - the 99.9% anomaly - and that victim was seen being abducted in the vicinity of a sex ring that was just found to be setting up operations in a particular area, then by all means, check out that lead! In that case, there would be a reason to consider it a possibility. Also, the rule or the percentage can change if there is a change of culture or economics. The enslaving of Asian women in sex rings DOES exist in the United States and if I got a call from a worried mother in China who said she thinks her daughter is being kept captive in New York City, I would consider that not as much as an anomaly because there is evidence that there are quite a number of female Asian immigrants who are experiencing this.
As to public awareness of problems and how we perceive the issues of the sex trade and how we allot resources to combat the problem of prostitution in general and how we save people from prostitution and rescue them from it, this is another 99.9% rule worth looking at.
As it stands now in America, very, very, few juveniles or adults are abducted off the street and forced into prostitution. Even some of the stories of this may be flawed (I am not saying this one or that one; just we should be aware that sometimes we are not hearing the complete truth) in that the victim may not want to admit to the circumstances leading up to the captivity; she/he may be embarrassed that they wanted to party, or wanted to do drugs, or even wanted to make a buck through selling of their bodies. They may have willingly gone with the perps and even willingly participated in the acts and then things went seriously wrong. What started as consensual behavior escalates into nonconsensual crimes and now the individual needs to be saved from whomever is abusing them.
The reason this happens is the quality of human beings, if one can call them that, one can get hooked up with. A pimp may start out as a "boyfriend:" a young woman or teen is new in the big city and "Bobby" helps her out with a place to stay and some money. She is so grateful and he seduces her. She now is his girlfriend. Eventually, he suggests she could make some money through sex and she reluctantly tries it to please him and because she has no money to live on. Eventually, his real character comes out and she finds that he gets the bulk of her income and forces her to sleep on a mattress in a room with his other "girlfriends." She is given drugs to ease the feelings of degradation and soon she is a drug addict. Bobby beats her when she questions him and now she is terrified of his anger as well. Could she leave? Possibly. She might be able to leave town and he wouldn't follow her but she might be afraid she can't get drugs or she won't have a place to live or she may still "love" him. It is complicated and she needs help to get out of there. Bobby, the lowlife pimp, needs to be put in prison for the next decade or two.
Some girls also go into prostitution because they simply want to. And they do get a lot of what they were looking for, especially girls on the high end of the spectrum; bottle girls, call girls, and escorts. They can make big money and buy fancy clothes and hang out with the rich and famous and party hardy. Some don't have quite that level of a lifestyle but they still like the fast life. A good portion of these girls do not have pimps and they are not under threat of any kind. There are other who do have pimps/"boyfriends" who run them around and live with them; it is not as bad a life as the streets, but the fact there is a creepy guy of any sort in the picture raises the level of danger. Sometimes a girl at this level will get killed by her pimp/"boyfriend" in a domestic matter. He didn't kill her over prostitution but for the same reasons other husbands and boyfriends kill their women: "She isn't going to leave me or defy me." It is a matter of power and control. For girls in prostitution, the chance they are going to get a man with power and control issues is substantially higher than those not in the life.
So, how do we help victims of prostitution? We focus on preventing children from running away from home. We help runaways before they get into prostitution. We try to keep kids away from drugs and early sex experiences. We try to work with the community to protect our children from local scum and give them tools to work with for good lives. We work with parents and teach better parenting. We try to educate young men and women to stay far away from any form of prostitution: street prostitution, massage, parlors, strip joints, go-go dancing, escort services, bottle services, call services, adult films, adult services like Craigs List, any sort of sex for money kind of stuff....and educate them to stay away from drugs and careless sexual activities. And we fund law enforcement and support laws that put pimps and others running the sex trade in prison. We also need to get rid of the concept some believe that "prostitution is a victimless crime."
THIS is where our money and efforts should go. We need to face the fact that most everyone in prostitution DID NOT get abducted by strangers into the life. Hyping "stranger abduction by sex traffickers" as a big problem in the United States is wrongheaded and takes the focus off of how pimps and other sex industry handlers get their workers and it takes the focus off of how victims ended up there. We need to put our money and manpower into what constitutes 99,9% of the problem and not the few aberrations that exist.
This is what will save lives and because I want to save lives, I am going to keep speaking up to do so.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
Friday, March 18, 2011
I promised an explanation as to why I stand up (and take a lot of heat) for not promoting certain missions and beliefs. Here it is: