As I push the gurney through the sally port towards the ambulance with our police escorts, I’m able to have a few moments to myself to ponder the situation. I’ve transported many prisoners in the past and often pick up violent offenders off the streets fresh from a well deserved police “attitude adjustment” requiring a trip to the ED. But somehow this is different. This isn’t a random act of violence or even a simple premeditated crime. This man is potentially the perpetrator of organized subjugation of innocent children. The level of pure evil that spawns this behavior is unfathomable to me and I’m having a bit of a hard time with the whole situation.
I load the gurney into the ambulance and tell Kevin that I’m just going to fire off a quick 12-lead and we can start transporting. It won’t affect my transport decision as the police requested a hospital that is also a cardiac receiving center, but I need to know if this warrants alerting the cath-team if my new patient actually is having a STEMI (S-T Elevation Myocardial Infarction – heart attack). Given his skin signs and level of distress, though, I highly doubt he is.
With the 12-lead complete – normal as expected – the police cruiser pulls in behind us for an escort to the ED as we start transporting. The rote task of taking vitals and applying the monitor to a patient that I can’t talk to gives me a few more minutes to contemplate my emotional state. On the one hand I may have evil incarnate strapped to my gurney, sitting only inches from me, and that brings a flood of emotions to the surface that I’m entirely uncomfortable experiencing. On the other hand, this is a patient and I’m a Paramedic – end of story! My job is to treat the problem in front of me and be an advocate for a patient who can’t even convey his needs due to a language barrier. Conflicting emotions and logical arguments fly through my head at synaptic speed – like strobes on an ambulance – and quickly resolve in the blink of an eye.
I fall into the sequential tasks of treating my non-English speaking patient for chest pain; aspirin, oxygen, vitals, IV, nitroglycerine, vitals, nitro, etc… “Here, chew this up, don’t swallow,” I tell him as I make a chewing motion with my mouth and move my hand like a hungry sock puppet and hand him the aspirin. “Did you take any Viagra today?” Stupid question, he’s in jail, I’m a little off my game here. He shrugs in non-comprehension. I spray the nitro in his mouth. Whatever, if I crash his blood pressure out I’ll try to fix it and apologize to the docs at the ED.
The ambulance comes to a stop on the freeway as there is an accident in front of us. We heard it get dispatched as we responded to this call but I guess Kevin is a little off of his game as well since he didn’t use surface streets to bypass the congestion. I can see the police escort sitting just behind us – in the stopped traffic – through the back window of the rig.
Pulling the stethoscope from my ears after the latest check on vitals my patient turns to look me square in the eyes. In heavily accented broken English he speaks to me in a quiet voice. “I can see that you a very nice man. Is all a mistake. They not my bitches, they my sisters… I have much money. I give you. You let me go!”
- Child trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world.
- There are 2.5 million child sex slaves in the world today, some as young as 4 and 5.
- More than 1,000,000 children worldwide will become victims of child trafficking this year.
- Over 100,000 children in the U.S. are currently exploited through commercial sex, and 300,000 children in the U.S. are at risk every year for commercial sexual exploitation.
- Investigators and researchers estimate the average predator in the U.S. can make more than $200,000 a year off one young girl.
- The global market of child trafficking is over $12 billion a year.
- The total market value of illicit human trafficking is estimated to be over $32 billion a year.
- An estimated 14,500-17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the U.S. each year.
- Approximately 80% of human trafficking victims are women and girls and up to 50% are minors.
- 600,000-800,000 people are bought and sold across international borders each year; 50% are children, most are female. The majority of these victims are forced into the sex trade.
- There are open sex slavery cases in all 50 states.
- U.S. citizen child victims are often runaway and homeless youth.
- Runaways, orphans and the poor are targets for sexual predators.
- Approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation.
- There are more slaves today than ever before in human history.
Information from various sources ~ U.S. Dept. of Justice, U.S. Dept. of State, UNICEF, UN, UNODC
As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free. Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery.
Martin Luther King, 1967