The Amanda Quick Show

The Fight Against Human Trafficking and the Call for Legal Reform

January 13, 2024 Amanda Quick
The Amanda Quick Show
The Fight Against Human Trafficking and the Call for Legal Reform
The Amanda Quick Show
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I'm Amanda Quick, and my journey through the shadowy world of human trafficking has unearthed harrowing tales and systemic shortfalls that fail to shield the innocent. As we navigate the dimly lit corridors of the legal labyrinth, I recount my experiences with the unsettling leniency in punishments and the legal loopholes that permit convicted traffickers to cling to parental rights. The heart-wrenching narrative of a mother coerced into coordinating supervised visits with her abuser is emblematic of the severe emotional and financial repercussions survivors endure. It's a stark reminder of the imperative need for change and awareness to fortify the defenses for the vulnerable and their children.

Amidst the turmoil, there emerges a ray of hope with the inception of the Golden Haven Foundation, a sanctuary I founded for individuals entrenched in custodial conflicts with their aggressors. This episode peels back the curtain on the foundation's mission to offer financial aid, education, and communal support, highlighting the critical need for trauma-informed legal professionals and a judiciary that can unravel the complexities of abuse. Our work is driven by a passion to ensure that survivors and their little ones are encircled with empathy and security, and I extend an invitation for you to join us on this noble quest for justice and healing.

Closing this compelling episode, I reflect on the profound solace and strength found in sharing our stories, and how these narratives can blaze a trail for advocacy and support. With Human Trafficking Awareness Month on the horizon, I urge you to harness your history, whatever your cause might be, and unite in our Milky Way community—a sanctuary for healing and mutual support. As we collectively raise our voices, we can become the beacon for those still wandering through their trials. Your story has the power to ignite transformation, so plug in, listen deeply, and let's cascade change together.

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Speaker 1:

Hello everyone, welcome back to the Amanda Quick Show. I am your host, amanda Quick. Today's episode. I would like to be somewhat of a continuation of last week's episode, as it is January, it is still Human Trafficking Awareness Month and I want to have layers of this conversation because I think it's really important to not just talk about one aspect of it. You know, last week I talked about what human trafficking is in a more complete way, because what we see depicted in movies isn't all of it and my ex-husband's version of being arrested for human trafficking wasn't actually this shipping containers moving across borders, even though that does actually still happen. It's much more nuanced and I want to expand upon that because when I talk about my story, when I share what has happened or even actually while I was in it, and I would tell people what was happening and I would tell people the history in the background and his arrest and all the things, and then I would tell them about the struggle I was going through with fighting for custody and all of that, they would go wait, he's not in jail, huh. And I'd be like, no, no, never went to jail. They'd be like are you serious? Why not? Because there's this idea that if you get caught and are arrested for something such as being, you know, trying to have sex with children, you would go to jail. No, not in most US states today, and probably in other places in the world that would be true too. The reality is a lot of times it's barely a slap on the wrist. I think there are instances where they actually do. Have they actually succeeded proving the full human trafficking, which is a higher felony than solicitation? But it wasn't even the prosecutor's goal in my ex-husband's case. In my ex-husband's case, they didn't even do anything beyond and initially offered a plea deal. They weren't even trying to go to court, they just offered a plea deal with a goal to get him into sex offender probation, which is nuts. And while you might say that these are nonviolent criminals and yada, yada, yada, so is a lot of other people who are in jail, and you know people who extort money from businesses go to jail. People who you know have addiction issues and are caught in possession of drugs go to jail, but somebody trying to purchase two children for a couple of hours for their deviant behaviors no, they don't go to jail. What Like this is part of the problem. It's a huge part of the problem and that nobody really knows about, because, first of all, nobody wants to talk about it and, second of all, nobody wants to look at the fact that this is happening. What the reality is there's very little punishment for these type of things, and not only is there then very little punishment, but they remain with their full, intact constitutional right to parent. And so if they have children of their own, then if they were to separate from their spouse or whatever they now we now have a family court paddle and it's it's kind of crazy making truthfully, and I remember being like how is this my life? How is this the reality I'm living? This is nuts that I have to fight to prove the unsafety is happening with my own children. Even with this background, like, are you kidding? And the truth is, yes, they did. I had to prove that my children were directly in danger today. Not, he had these propensities and I could use this to. I could use the prior thing to say, like, obviously, this is why I'm more concerned about some of these things, but the burden of proof was first of all on me to prove that they were in danger and to prove that it was actually happening enough to cause concern for the court. Just crazy making. And so when I talk about the problems that need to be spreading, awareness in the systems like this is a big one to me, and it was so it was. It was so loud after my divorce was finalized that first of all, I was crazy. I was immensely grateful and it was this like oh my God, I succeeded. Holy crap, it worked. Huge amounts of gratitude flooded through me and at the same time, the other reality that hit me was that I succeeded at something the vast majority of people don't, and that was a really hard pill to swallow because it's not. It's just not okay and it pisses me off still today that the vast majority of people share custody with their abusers and their children's abusers. You know, when I was in therapy during my divorce, the therapist I was seeing was a very specific trauma-informed abuse therapist Like that was her, her niche, her thing, and she was the one who diagnosed me with PTSD based on how long the symptoms had been going on, how long everything had continued and that it met, you know, whatever qualifications based on the diagnostic definition, and she really tried to work with me on calming my nervous system and helping me really recognize that I was a good parent and that I did know what was best for my kids and really helped supporting me in that. And she told me some stories about other clients. She had not to scare me or to disclose anything, but to really help me understand how challenging it is to go into court and to kind of know what I'm going up against, because if you're going to have this fight you need to know what you're fighting, and she was. She told me the story about a client. It was actually a current client of hers. I don't know any names, but her ex-husband abused their son and she went to court and she got full custody. But the dad retained supervised visits because and most of the time they don't ever have a no contact order doesn't exist. Like the least amount somebody could get would be supervised visitation and this dad, unlike my ex-husband, was choosing to exercise his supervised visitation and so the supervised visitation was once a week and the mom was expected to take off work, pick up her son, drive her son to the supervised visitation place and then take and then drive him back. The burden of time off of work, the financial burden, the time burden and being, and forcing to be interact with her abuser as well, was placed on the mom and the child. It was forced to put the burden on the victims so that the victim could have a relationship with their abuser. Like that's the level of fucked up here, and this happens every day, every state all over the world. It's nuts. And not only was this dad not paying a financial piece, but he it wasn't on him to make sure any of this happened. And so she was telling me this to make sure that, should a supervised visitation be ordered, that it be that I ask for it to be ordered that he figure out how to get them there, whether he used his family members or whatever else needed to happen, that the burden of any visitation was not on me because I was the one financially providing for the kids. And it also, when she was telling me, the story reminded me 20, some years ago now, when my parents were divorced, and my parents were divorced after my dad hit my mom so hard that she had multiple root canals and she had a restraining order against him. And yet supervised visitation was ordered for me and my sister to see my dad, but my mom lived, or my mom worked about 20 minutes away from my school and the supervised visitation place was across town, another hour away from my school. So she had to take off an hour and a half before visitation and then bring us home, basically meeting three to four hours once a week. She had to take off early from work and my dad also didn't pay child support at the time never did and so the financial burden to provide for the kids, the time burden taking off work and the potential impact to her job as a full-time working person, you can't just take off four hours once a week infinitely Like that's not a choice. And so she had to ask can we change the time? And he didn't want to, and eventually the supervised visitation ended up stopped. But a lot of times the burden can remains on the victim to ensure that the abuser continues to have a relationship with the child, like that's a problem. That's a problem beyond all of these other things. That's a huge problem in the expectations of the victim. We talk a lot about the burden that's placed on the victimized person and yet this is not an area that we actually address. No-transcript. It was so loud that the gratitude I had for succeeding and the fact that I succeeded in a ways that many, many people don't, but that also part of why I succeeded was because of my racial and economic privilege. I am a white woman who is upper middle class and had access to financial resources In a social setting. I was taken seriously. I was seen as intelligent and educated. I don't have a college degree, but I was seen in a sense as a middle class put together person. But a black woman in poverty would not be seen the same way by today's court system. A colored person in with a mental health diagnosis a neurodivergent diagnosis would not be seen the same by the court system. I know people who are somewhat close to me who have neurodivergence and even they're not colored, but the neurodivergence has meant that the way that they interact with the court is slightly different and they are seen as the problem, even though the abuse is clearly documented from the other side. This happens every flipping day and this is the part where I start to get angry and passionate and frustrated and what the hell is wrong with people, because this is not okay. The fact that victims are forced to continue to have a relationship with their abuser is nuts. Children victims are forced to have a relationship with their abuser because they happen to be a parent. It's crazy and it's not okay. And it's part of my mission, I believe, to bring awareness not only to the human trafficking piece but almost even more so to the family court piece, because that was actually by far more challenging for me than the criminal case. The criminal case was full of shame and public and this shock, but the family court case is actually where the trauma came from. That's for me, where I just it fucking pisses me off still talking about it and I don't think that's ever going to stop, and it's part of why I started my foundation, the Golden Haven Foundation. I have just put all of the pieces together. We have 5013C, finally, and we're putting our board together and we're really trying to set up this structure to help people who are fighting for custody from their abusers and their children's abusers, because this shit's not okay. There are women shelters who help people in homelessness, who are fleeing abuse. There are food banks. There is WIC programs, women Infant Children programs to help support people, be fed and find housing. There's almost no organizations out there who can help people with the legal aspect of it. There are almost no trauma informed lawyers out there and it's certainly not required of any judge to have trauma informed education before sitting on that bench. Every single judge and jury, at the victim's expense, has to be educated on trauma. Why perhaps the victim supported their abuser for a period of time, whatever that is, why they were bonded to their abuser, what that cycle looks like, what their history is. All of it has to be educated at the victim's expense. Even then it's not taken seriously most of the time. That is a massive problem that I believe. I am here in part to share my story, spread awareness and hopefully start to get in the room with some people to actually talk about what we could do about it. I don't have all the answers, I don't have the how and the what in all the pieces. I have my story and my experience and what I know to be true for me, and obviously I don't have the lending of the lawmakers and the congresspeople and all the whatever's. But what we're doing today isn't working. What we're doing at a criminal level isn't working and what we're doing at a family court level isn't working, and to me, my mission in part is to spread awareness and use my story to change that, to change the conversation, for these systems to help people who don't have the privilege that I did the Golden Haven Foundation our goal. I have three kind of arms of it right now and you know, the more, the more we talk, the more we want to do, of course, and the first one is obvious. It's simply cash grants to help pay for the legal fees, because even filing for divorce if you're in poverty is out of reach financially, let alone hiring a lawyer, let alone hiring evaluators. My divorce cost me 75,000 fucking dollars, like that. Most people don't have access to that, and not that I expect 75,000 dollars to be the going rate, but sometimes it is. I also want to partner with lawyers for pro bono work and reduce rates and all of that, but as well as mental health professionals and people who can help with the. Actually, the diagnostic component is really important when it comes to a criminal case having a third party put the diagnosis out there so that it's not, you know, any accusations throwing around. It's simply this is what we're dealing with. So there's that component, but there's also the other part of how I succeeded, and how I succeeded wasn't just the money. The money allowed me to start the fight. The money allowed me to continue. The money allowed me to have the evaluations, to have the data be funneled through the third party in order to make my case. Yes, but it ultimately was me who decided to change and to take charge of how this was put together. And so the next part of it is education and support, mentally and emotionally, to help people get to that state of mind that they need to be in, to understand and own and to be accountable to the part that they are accountable to the choices that they made, to stay and why, and to process the emotions, to process the shame and the judgment and the guilt and all of that yucky stuff, so that they can step into the place of power and choice and trust. And if this is happening for me, not to me, and all of that. And so there's a program that I want to build to help people in support in that way so that, coupled with legal support, they hopefully can make the case they need to make, and that not in every case should contact be removed? No, not in every case. Should supervised visitation be the answer? No, like there's lots of variables here. This isn't a black and white situation. This is very much about making sure that both parties have the support they need so that the children have the healthiest possible outcome. That's the goal. But the third arm of all of this is a community, because the other thing that's true is most people in these situations feel 100% alone. They feel like nobody else could possibly understand, because this is crazy. Nobody else could be in this situation. This is insanity. Why? Why is this happening to me? But it's not just happening to you or somebody you know. It's happening to many people out there and the goal would be to foster community, anonymously and safely, to help people feel less alone, to share their story and to really empower other people to recognize that we can actually succeed at what we need to to create safety for ourselves and our children. That level of support, combined together in other ways that we can support people in those situations, is what I want my foundation to focus on that mission and we're working on it. We're getting there step by step and I've had people reach out to me, we've had a little bit of donations and part of the next step is really going to be to do some fundraising and to actually get some dollars to hopefully be able to disperse in appropriate places and get some pro bono work, get some partnerships. That's our goal. So if you're listening and you know anybody who knows anything about nonprofits who wants to make a donation, who wants to just get in touch and wants to help, please, please do reach out. Amanda at the golden havenorg is how you can get me there, and if you want to just make a donation, there are some links on the website the golden havenorg as well, and otherwise. The other part of this I want to talk about is this concept of mission driven. So I just shared my mission based on my story, this human trafficking awareness, this people who are fighting for custody from their abusers and their children's abusers. That awareness, the mission driven by my story. It's shaped where I'm passionate about. It's shaped what matters to me. It's shaped what pisses me off, what I can talk about and take a stand against. And it's not taking a stand against in this like, oh, you're all wrong and I'm right. This is a. I have a fire lit in me to help people in these situations, because I know how much it sucks and I know that these people don't want to be where they are. Because I've been there, I know what it's like to go to sleep and have your mind or try to go to sleep, I should say and have your mind race in every single scenario and worst case scenario and not be able to sleep and have your nervous system heightened for not days, not weeks, years. I know what that life is like and I know that nobody is consciously choosing that life. Thanks everybody. Yes, we all have lessons to learn. Yes, on some level we are repeating patterns that lead us to those places. But once we get there, nobody's happy. And so I, that mission driven part of me, knows that through the power of my story, other people first will feel like wait, it's not just me, other people out there, they've experienced this too. They get it and they got out. They got out by standing in their power, by asking for help, by finding connections and relationships, by broadening their network of support. Everybody knows somebody. All of that that comes, the level of inspiration that can come from reading not only that, somebody else has been there, but they have come out. And this is how and these are some things I could do and then being able to reach out to an organization that's founded based on those principles and it's founded based on the values that every single child, every single parent, every single caregiver has the right to be safe, to experience safety and what that means and what that looks like. That is huge. But the other thing that I'm passionate about is not just my direct experience and what I believe should change from it, but I'm also passionate about everybody else who also has a big story, who also has big experiences, who also wants to use those stories to change the damn world, who also wants to do everything I'm doing. And then some those people also speak to me. They're also hugely passionate and they also need help and they also need support and they also need to feel safe and seen and know that they're not alone and to heal from their stories and to release the shame and trauma and judgment and guilt and everything that they're holding onto. Those people are often attracted to me and come to me and talk to me and share their stories. But I want to do more. I want to do more to help those people, whether they're coming from a similar situation, whether they come through my foundation and get support in that foundation, or whether they just have a totally different story. That also needs to be shared. What I'm coming around to in myself as we step into 2024, as I evaluate every arm in my business, every arm in my life truthfully is what I'm all-encompassing here, as I share these awarenesses in Human Trafficking Awareness Month, as I share how the criminal and family court system, like, if anything, contribute to the human trafficking and the cycles of abuse physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, financially that happen in the world today, as I also share that and I share what I see to be done about it and the steps that I want to take today to do something about it. I also want to use this as a call to action for everybody else out there who also has those big stories, who also has a big thing to say and a big thing they need to share and awareness they want to spread. Whether your mission is based on homelessness and poverty, whether your mission is based on racial inequality and diversity and all of the inequities that are happening in the world today, whether your mission is based on some other arm of the education system, the legal system, the financial system, the medical system, all of it, whatever your story is about, it's important, it holds weight, it holds gravity for why you're here On some level your choice to live that experience, to overcome that experience, to come out the other side, a different person, a person who knows more, who is more compassionate and more understanding of trauma, of whatever the thing is, holds direction and it holds clues about what exactly your big mission is. Your big story, this call to action, is to say if you feel called to tell your story, if you feel called to change the world based on that story, if you feel like you can see some of these challenges and problems and inconsistencies and injustices in our systems and society and the way that we're structured, it's time to do something about it. It's time to step forward and say I have a story too. It's time to share what happened to me. It's time to share what I see needs to be changed. It's time to take action. It's time to use the power of that story, the emotional component, what actually happens, the who, the what and the how and the how it made you feel and all of it. It's time to use it. It's time to use it and it's time to share it and it's time to stop hiding from it. I don't believe that everybody has this mission to put all their stuff in a plaster and I don't think that you have to go be super public about everything you've ever went through, but I do truly, 100% believe that the bridge between those who have overcome and those who have not yet is the stories. If you feel like you're here to help other people go through what you went through, the way you reach them is the story. The way you reach them is to say you're not alone and I know, because I've been there too, and this is what I went through, this is what I went through and how I felt as I was going through it. You don't have to say, yeah, me too. You just have to say this is what happened to me and they will go. Oh, my God, you're telling my story. The call to action is to step into that place, whatever vehicle it is. Maybe it's a conversation with a girlfriend, maybe it's writing it in a book, maybe it's speaking it on stage, maybe it's simply just having the conversation with yourself about the story that you are here to share. Whatever it is the power of your story for those who feel this big mission. I am calling you and saying it's time. It's time and I am here to support and, however I can, my goal is to support these mission-driven people, create more impact using the power of their story. I worked on that understanding this morning and it is very crystal clear the power of our stories creates the impact to change the world. It's as simple as that Using the power of a story, unwinding the safety in sharing that story, feeling safe mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically, so that we can share the story, so we can release the judgment, so we can help empower others. If that's you, I invite you to reach out. Get in touch. I have my community, the Milky Way. I also am going to be starting some new offers that I believe will support people who don't want to do that alone, who feel like they need a safe container to unwind this, who feel like there's still more healing to be done and yet they know they need to do it. Wherever you are on that journey, I am here. I would love to be support. Please do get in touch. My contact information will be in the show notes. I would love to hear from you. Lots of love everyone.

Human Trafficking and Custody Challenges
Support in Custody Battles Against Abusers
Empowering Others Through Shared Stories
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