Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Human trafficking in PA?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jan 28, 2014 3:53 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, January 29, 2014:

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Human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world.  It generates about $32 billion a year.  It's estimated between 12-20 million people are trafficked around the world.

Human trafficking forces people into the commercial sex trade or labor. 

Most victims of human trafficking are women or girls who are forced into prostitution, pornography, or exploited sexually.  Research indicates about 79% of all human trafficking is for sexual purposes.

The remainder could be called modern-day slaves -- men or women who are coerced into working for little or no pay.

Many believe human trafficking doesn't happen here -- it's a crime that occurs overseas or in big cities.

The reality is it does happen in Pennsylvania, which is considered a pass-through state, but it also is home to those who traffic in commercial sex or those who pay for it.

As part of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Smart Talk sheds light on an issue that doesn't get much attention in Pennsylvania.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-373-7888.


Appearing on the program are Timothy Bradley Jr., a human trafficking victim's advocate, Bethany Woodcock, founder of the anti-trafficking group Not in My Backyard, and Kelly Towers, Lancaster Task Force Leader of the group Love 146.


From left to right: Timothy Bradley, Bethany Woodcock and Kelly Towers

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  • Janelle Hershey img 2014-01-29 09:30

    I know that bystanders can intervene in potential trafficking by reporting massage parlors that advertise 'no appointment needed' or generally seedy-looking operations. Are there other clues that would tip off an otherwise unknowing observer? What's the best way to report such businesses? Thanks for discussing such a difficult topic.

    • love146lancaster img 2014-01-29 14:56

      I definitely encourage everyone to put the National Human Trafficking Hotline number in their cell phones. Any possible cases of human trafficking or questions can be called to 1-888-373-7888

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-01-29 09:40

    Ariel Emails:

    Good Morning Scott,

    I’m listening to your cast about human trafficking this morning.
    Do your guests feel that the decreasing age in victims could be tied to the increase in availability of internet porn whether movies, pictures, even sites offering web-cam performances where the desirable age of performers is at least in appearance getting younger and younger?

    I agree one hundred percent that we live in a hyper sexual society, and I feel that media supports this increasing over-sexualizing of men, women, and unfortunately children alike.
    Please thank your guests for their work to obstruct and hopefully end this horrifying practice.

    • Jordan Kirlin img 2014-01-31 23:50

      The studies on Pornography would correlate yes to your question/ statement.

      Pornography is such a great marketing tool for traffickers/ pimps. Those who are addicted to porn want to constantly see something new and get more. Innocence is in high Demand for many addicts (The younger the more innocent) and the fantasy portrayed in these video's is that "the girl/ boy wants it." But that's not the reality. And the addicts may not even realize, at first, how young they are because it's a slow progression. The victims have to act like they like it too... or they might not eat or be beaten... Or they will upset the Pimp that they think they love...the possibilities are really endless on this subject...and so are the stories you will hear...

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-01-29 09:45

    Okgodana emails:

    Is the "trade" a problem out in Nevada, where prostitution is legal?

    • Jordan Kirlin img 2014-01-31 23:28

      Good question, but legalizing Prostitution does not resolve the issue of Human Trafficking. What girl/ boy consciously makes the decision completely on their own to sell their body for money? There is usually Fraud in there. The majority of girls/ boys in Prostitution were sexually assaulted beforehand as young children and are usually children when they become "prostitutes" which actually means Victim if they are under the age of consent. Just by legalizing prostitution doesn't mean you don't have Victims. Human Trafficking is a bigger issue in the areas where "prostitution is legal."

  • Nicole img 2014-01-29 09:46

    Thank you for such an informative program! For people interested in getting involved in the York County Human Trafficking Task Force, a collaboration managed by ACCESS-York and the Victim Assistance Center (York County's domestic and sexual violence programs), please email

    In terms of reporting suspected trafficking activity, you can either call the national hotline (1-888-373-7888) or submit a report online at The Polaris Project website is the leading site for further information on how to help.

  • Nicole img 2014-01-29 09:48

    Additionally, here in PA, one of the most pressing needs is for advocacy in the PA State House of Representatives to pass Senate Bill 75, a bill that will substantially improve the investigation and prosecution of trafficking in PA. Call your Representative today and tell him or her to get this bill passed into law immediately!

    • love146lancaster img 2014-01-29 15:04

      Agreed! It is so important to call your house representative and ask for their support of SB75. Please consider calling today!

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-01-29 10:18

    Mary from Harrisburg ask:
    Could the Recovering/Missing Children Act help fight human trafficking?

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-01-29 10:20

    Paul from Harrisburg ask:
    Are there male victims of human trafficking?

    • Jordan Kirlin img 2014-01-31 23:34

      Yes, I was just talking with a male victim in the City of Reading, Pa today. He was forced to do sexual acts if he wanted to eat, because his parents deprived him of food. In NJ recently there was a raid on a "Male Prostitution Ring." here is the article.

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-01-29 10:21

    Mike in York recommends the book "Natashas" about international trafficking.

    • love146lancaster img 2014-01-29 14:59

      Yes- this is definitely an informative read. Also by Victor Malarek is the book "The Johns". It delves deeper into the demand side of human trafficking and answers the questions what sort of man purchases another human for sex.

  • Maria38 img 2014-01-29 10:35

    I am glad to hear your program. I wish reporting phone numbers would be readily available, e.g. in women’s public bathrooms.
    A couple of years ago I am sure I saw a case of a young woman being sold but did not know where to turn and what to do. I was at Hershey amusement park waiting for my three grandchildren to finish a ride. A few hundred feet away I saw a man holding a young woman (probably in her teens). He held her in her finger tips, not quite pulling her but walking quickly a foot or so ahead of her. She was very, very thin, in very high heels. She was looking around. I have no doubt that she was in trouble. I unfortunately was taken by surprise and did not react fast enough.
    The picture of seeing her has never left my mind. Are amusement parks a place to look for pimps?

    • love146lancaster img 2014-01-29 15:01

      Yes, amusements parks can be a place that trafficking occurs. Pimps will commonly hang out at malls, movie theaters, high schools etc looking for new, young and vulnerable girls to groom and pimp out. They frequently prey upon the girls who look lost and along or seeking attention.

  • love146lancaster img 2014-01-29 14:53

    Thanks again for tuning in to Smart Talk this morning and learning about Human Trafficking. One thing that we did not get to touch upon during the show was what action steps can be taken and how the every day person can join the growing abolition movement. Let me share just a few points:
    1. Strengthen Law Enforcement & Victim Services
    2. Raise Community Awareness – through outreach, media, and trainings
    3. Engage Civil Society – local and national advocates, community organizations, churches, and colleges
    4. Anti-Demand Campaign
    5. Outreach to groups at risk
    6. Establish protocols within the travel and tourism industry including local hotels
    7. Distribute Victim Recovery Materials
    8. Strengthen laws to facilitate persecuting traffickers and rescuing victims

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-02-04 14:40

    A February 4, 2014 news release from the FBI:
    The FBI, in partnership with more than 50 law enforcement agencies, recovered 16 juveniles during an enforcement action focused on commercial child sex trafficking. Additionally, more than 45 pimps and their associates were arrested, some of whom claimed to have traveled to New Jersey from other states specifically for the purpose of prostituting women and children at the Super Bowl.

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-02-07 12:35

    As a follow-up to this program...
    (February 7, 2014) Two former Luzerne County residents have been charged with conspiring to force a minor female to engage in prostitution and illegal sexual activity and transporting her to New Jersey and New York to do so.

    The U.S. Attorney's office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania says 26-year-old Travis Humphery and 24-year-old Kyoni Humphery could face from 15 years to life in prison if convicted of the sex trafficking of a minor charges.

    The Humpherys also were charged with weapons offenses.