About Me

  Patricia Hammell Kashtock

Aka: Pat Kashtock. Mother of three, wife of one. BA in Social Work and Biblical Studies. Graduate work at Virginia Tech interrupted, then derailed by oldest child’s brain tumor...

My life has not followed the course I planned. But I am not complaining. Pain is to be expected in a world broken apart from its Creator.

The miracle resides in the ability to find joy when least expected...

 

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Windows to the Woman’s Soul (W2WSoul)
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Blessings,

Pat

For What It's Worth

Each life is a journey. The voices of many guides try to direct us, saying, “This is the path – walk in it!” Yet each one leads in a different direction.

I believe only one Voice can be true. That Voice will lead us in ways most unexpected, into worlds yet undiscovered. It will lead us up the hill, around the river and through the forest. And sometimes, it will lead without mercy.

Or so it seems.

I have made listening for that Voice and following it, my life’s quest. I will share some of what I have heard that Voice say with you. But I am not in the business of telling people how to think or what to believe. Each has to decide for himself. Only you can decide if you find the truth of the Voice in these words. And only you can decide how much it is worth to know the Voice, and follow.

But for me, it is worth the whole world.

And then some…

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Tuesday
Nov032009

For Runaways, Sex Buys Survival: NY Times

The Polaris Project sent this article.

RUNNING IN THE SHADOWS For Runaways, Sex Buys Survival

 

Published: October 26, 2009, New York Times

ASHLAND, Ore. — She ran away from her group home in Medford, Ore., and spent weeks sleeping in parks and under bridges. Finally, Nicole Clark, 14 years old, grew so desperate that she accepted a young man’s offer of a place to stay. The price would come later.

They had sex, and he soon became her boyfriend. Then one day he threatened to kick her out if she did not have sex with several of his friends in exchange for money.

She agreed, fearing she had no choice. “Where was I going to go?” said Nicole, now 17 and living here, just down the Interstate from Medford. That first exchange of money for sex led to a downward spiral of prostitution that lasted for 14 months, until she escaped last year from a pimp who she said often locked her in his garage apartment for months.

“I didn’t know the town, and the police would just send me back to the group home,” Nicole said, explaining why she did not cut off the relationship once her first boyfriend became a pimp and why she did not flee prostitution when she had the chance. “I’d also fallen for the guy. I felt trapped in a way I can’t really explain.”

Most of the estimated 1.6 million children who run away each year return home within a week. But for those who do not, the desperate struggle to survive often means selling their bodies.

Nearly a third of the children who flee or are kicked out of their homes each year engage in sex for food, drugs or a place to stay, according to a variety of studies published in academic and public health journals. But this kind of dangerous barter system can quickly escalate into more formalized prostitution, when money changes hands. And then, child welfare workers and police officials say, it becomes extremely difficult to help runaways escape the streets. Many become more entangled in abusive relationships, and the law begins to view them more as teenage criminals than under-age victims.

Estimates of how many children are involved in prostitution vary wildly — ranging from thousands to tens of thousands. More solid numbers do not exist, in part because the Department of Justice has yet to study the matter even though Congress authorized it to do so in 2005 as part of a nationwide study of the illegal commercial sex industry.

But many child welfare advocates and officials in government and law enforcement say that while the data is scarce, they believe that the problem of prostituted children has grown, especially as the Internet has made finding clients easier.

“It’s definitely worsening,” said Sgt. Kelley O’Connell, a detective who until this year ran the Boston Police Department’s human-trafficking unit, echoing a sentiment conveyed in interviews with law enforcement officials from more than two dozen cities. “Gangs used to sell drugs,” she said. “Now many of them have shifted to selling girls because it’s just as lucrative but far less risky.”

Atlanta, which is one of the only cities where local officials have tried to keep data on the problem, has seen the number of teenage prostitutes working in the city grow to 334 in February from 251 in August 2007.

The barriers to rescuing these children are steep: state cuts to mental heath services, child welfare agencies incapable of preventing them from running away, a dearth of residential programs where the children can receive counseling.

After years of abuse, trauma and neglect, the children also tend to trust no one. The longer they are on the streets, experts say, the more likely they are to become involved in crime and uncooperative with the authorities.

“These kids enter prostitution and they literally disappear,” said Bradley Myles, deputy director of the Polaris Project, a nonprofit organization based in Washington that directly serves children involved in prostitution and other trafficking victims. “And in those rare moments that they reappear, it’s in these revolving-door situations where they’re handled by people who have no idea or training in how to help them. So the kids end up right back on the street.”

For the rest of this chilling article that also talks from the pimps perspective, please go here

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