Published in this summer’s issue of Paranoia magazine. It is broadly distributed, but you can order copies of this article through Publisher Ron Patton- at email@example.com.
It will also be put up on Paranoia’s website… http://www.paranoiamagazine.com/
A History of Silence:
Child Trafficking in the United States
By David Shurter
As a survivor of parents who sold my older siblings and me for sex throughout the 1950s-1970s in Omaha, Nebraska, human sex trafficking can be nothing but personal to me. Because they were involved with an organized pedophile ring, I don’t find any of it to be particularly new, but I do admit to being incredibly frustrated by the history of silence that continues to surround human sex trafficking in our nation.
Contrary to popular belief, human trafficking and child prostitution are not a new phenomenon, nor are they just a problem in developing nations, as detailed in journalist Benjamin Skinner’s book A Crime So Monstrous. The United States has a long and sordid history, too, and it is this that I would like to focus on.
The other day, I went online to search for photographs of human trafficking victims and was struck by the fact that there was not one picture that depicted boys being sold. Why is that? I wondered, considering our nation’s long history of selling, raping, and trafficking boys.
Now it’s all about Jerry Sandusky’s atrocities at Penn State, but even that official story doesn’t make sense, given that those involved risked neither their livelihood nor reputation to support and hide one lone pedophile. Before it even became public, a prosecuting attorney disappeared, along with his laptop hard drive.
It is not hard to see the similarities to what happened here in Omaha and the events concerning the prostitution of boys and the downfall of Franklin Credit in the 1980s. Chief investigator Gary Caradori and his eight year old son AJ were blown out of the sky close to the jurisdiction of one of the very people he was investigating: ex-Omaha Chief of Police Robert Wadman, who was on scene of the crash suspiciously soon. Quite a coincidence, you might say, and that’s not counting all of the incredible “coincidences” surrounding the sex trafficking of boys. Less coincidence than pattern, it is apparent that there is a group of people working to control the public’s perceptions of our nation’s problem with sex trafficking boys.
I have spent a great deal of time trying to expose what happened here in Omaha. First, I set up DavidShurter.com, then wrote my autobiography of those years in Omaha, Rabbit Hole: A Satanic Ritual Abuse Survivor’s Story. Throughout all of this, all I’ve gotten is resistance from the local police, the Nebraska State Patrol, Mayor Jim Suttle, Judge Marlon Polk, and Nebraska Senator Ernie Chambers, to name a few. Their wish is to disregard and overlook the serious allegations I have put forth concerning major people involved in government and its tentacles of power back when savings and loans were failing all over the nation and drugs-for-guns deals with the Contras abounded. In other words, the problem of human trafficking was fueled by a complex crime history penetrating to the highest offices in the land.
Still, those behind it might be rich and powerful, but they are human beings like the rest of us, no more and no less. To stop the deplorable practice of child sex trafficking, we must first understand the problem, which means opening our minds to what we may not even wish to consider, then finding the power within ourselves to hold the traffickers and users accountable. It will take all of us as a society to awaken to the gravity of this problem and learn from it in order to put a halt to the practices.
The 1981 documentary Boys for Sale shows that Omaha was not alone in the sex trade of boys in the 1980s. It depicts the pervasive practice of sex with boys in Houston, Texas—yet another dark tale of government and local authorities failing to live up to their electorates’ expectation that they will protect our most vulnerable citizens. Frank Morrow hosts a show in which Dr. Tom Philpott, history professor at the University of Texas, details the issues concerning the prostitution of boys and the power structure behind it that helps to promote and profit from the business.
Boys for Sale is mirrored in the later documentary The Conspiracy of Silence (1995), which concentrates on Omaha in the same years. Sadly, on October 9, 1991—soon after his interview was aired—49-year-old Dr. Philpott was “suicided” and investigations into what was happening in Houston came to a halt—much like what happened to “Baer boys” just before the Franklin Credit Union investigations began, though I don’t think that Dr. Philpott decided to wrap plastic around his face like the boys around here had done to them.
It is common knowledge that pedophiles do not like to work alone but prefer to share with others the exhilaration of their “conquests.” This was true long before the Internet, as groups like Dreamboard have taught us, not to mention the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) whose motto is “sex before eight or it’s too late” and whose documentary Chicken Hawk is in its entirety on the Internet to share the beliefs and practices of those who founded and fought for its establishment.
Unfortunately, instead of becoming less prevalent, it seems that pedophiles have become more empowered, like the man on Amazon, for example, who published a book on the nuances of pedophilia and how to seduce a child. Amazon eventually pulled it, but not before it hit the news and exposed the propensity of some men to publicly flaunt their perverse sexuality.
What is not well understood are the women who abuse young children, both girls and boys. Statistics indicate that pedophiles are generally straight men, but that doesn’t rule out women as predators, nor does it diminish the harm done to the male child when abuse and exploitation occur. The unfortunate belief is that female abusers either don’t happen or are no big deal when they do, which helps to feed the public perception that abuse of boys is not occurring, or at least to minimize the cases that do come up by disingenuously overlooking their complexities. And all abusing women are not sexually attractive teachers (like Mary Kay Letourneau) living out schoolboy fantasies. Understanding that women can be victimizing pedophiles and not just victims has been as muddied by media as the perception that men can be victims as well as victimizers. The fact to keep in mind is that violence and degradation of victims is less about gender and more about the adult’s own early trauma. Sexual abuse of boys knows no gender boundaries.
Society’s cultural mores are manipulated to suppress just how pervasive the trafficking of boys is, which is why it was surprising that Frontline ran a special on the Afghani practice called bacha bazi in the documentary The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan. In English, bacha bazi means “boy play”: young boys forced to dress and dance as women, after which they are sold to the highest male bidder and sexually molested. Even in countries where this is supposedly taboo, The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan shows that the sexual exploitation of boys is happening quietly all over the world, beyond religious or class paradigms. Those who try to stop it eventually find that the roadblocks to making a difference are overwhelming, disheartening, and even dangerous.
My experience of trying to get my family investigated for their role in key child abductions and child trafficking here in Omaha has been futile, given that many live in fear of digging up the past. The first threats when whistleblowers speak out are livelihood and families, or at the very least they are discredited and marginalized to convince those around them that they are “outsiders” and not to be believed. I have been told more than once by more than one person that what I have been trying to expose is a career killer at best.
Some incredibly powerful people are still involved with child trafficking, as became obvious when someone gave one of my booksellers an unwelcome 3 a.m. visit. Who it was, no one knows, but it was enough to convince people that what I am dealing with in Omaha is real.
Even those who do come forward to report such things are generally met with such resistance that only the most tenacious are able to keep going. Most often, they go unheard or are blatantly ignored, disregarded, and disempowered. There are many, many people out there who have lost loved ones only to be told that nothing can be done about it. Even when you tell police and local law officials that your father confessed to literally having “skeletons in his closet,” it isn’t enough to get them to do anything. In fact, they are trained to consider such allegations to be crazy, despite the fact that that is how many viewed the allegations against the Catholic Church before the exposure of their conspiracy to reroute and enable pedophile priests to molest children at will.
Widespread conspiracies exist, given that power always conspires. But these are different times, aren’t they? For the first time maybe ever, the truth has a chance of coming out. We as a nation are beginning to wake up to the issues that have been kept from us.
Why is there such resistance when it comes to child trafficking? To long to protect and defend children at all costs is not radical. You would think that our local officials would do whatever it takes to promote this normal, natural desire. And yet we are ensnared in cover-up after cover-up, and have been for generations.
Like the Catholic Church, our nation’s leaders are bent on overlooking and misrepresenting child trafficking. WHY? Why do media completely disregard and misrepresent this issue? Is it because there are more Jimmy Savile’s hiding in more BBC’s? What lies behind these desperate maneuvers?
Many of the children who have been trafficked have been used in secret government projects that have continued since MKULTRA in the 1950’s. Penn State and MIT were involved in MKULTRA, to name only two complicit institutions of higher learning. Penn State was football coach Jerry Sandusky, and some believe software genius Aaron Swartz was “suicided” because he had discovered a child porn ring at MIT.(1)
Somehow entwined with cult Satanic practices, trafficked and abducted children found their place on our altar when I was a kid. Though I don’t completely understand the connection between MKULTRA and Satanism, that there is a connection is undeniable, and both are in league with human trafficking. Neither MKULTRA nor Satanic practices have gone away; rather, they have shifted and changed in complexity.
In the years that I have been researching my family’s past, many amateur investigators have helped me along the way. The human trafficking at Penn State and possibly MIT make me wonder if pedophilia has settled into our institutions of higher learning with their connections to gifted programs and children foundations such as Sandusky’s Second Mile. So why have the media backed off from so many of the details surrounding Second Mile? Boys Town outside Omaha, THE Catholic institution for “at risk” boys, was pivotal to the prostitution and exploitation of young boys in the 1980s (and may be today, as well).
Americans must question and probe the integrity of these institutions. As a society, we are brought up not to question the authority of our trusted institutions, many of which now serve under a corporate and military dictatorship. The opportunity to stop child and human sex trafficking lies before us, and it is our responsibility as a society to protect our children.
Remember the “satanic panic” of the 1980s and 1990s? Satanic panic was created as a counterforce to Boys for Sale (1981) and Conspiracy of Silence (1995). Children were being trafficked for sexual exploitation and key members of our society wanted to cover it up so they scapegoated therapists for implanting weird Satanic memories in children’s brains. The truth is that our nation was saddled with sociopathic adults indulging in the prostitution and trafficking of children. Reasons for the how and why of this disaster were confabulated into a bunch of nonsense headlines to distract and defend situations in which children were coming home from daycares with sexually transmitted diseases.
In the name of stopping what they deem to be a “witch hunt,” the pedophile protector squads sent out by the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) is even now bashing survivors and survivor advocates such as Judy Byington who just published 22 Faces, both on the Internet and in real life, to prevent a reconsideration of this aspect of our nation’s past. FMSF was designed and formed in 1992 by alleged pedophiles to protect and serve other pedophiles by dismissing allegations of abuse as mental illness and manipulation by our therapy community. Like NAMBLA, FMSF protects child sex exploitation, especially of our nation’s boys.
According to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2,185 children are reported missing a day. Tabulated by our own Department of Justice, this number does not include “throw away” children who leave undesirable homes and hit the streets. In Nebraska, children have been sexually exploited for years. There is still virtually nowhere to go for help, except the Salvation Army program called Wellspring, designed for women and not men. With nowhere to go and no one to help them, most trafficked youths, male and female alike, fall through the cracks of societal justice and receive nothing but a cold hand of indifference. By ignoring the problem, we have allowed our borders to become ripe for the selling of young flesh for profit. It is we who have allowed this deplorable practice to thrive. Now, pedophilia is epidemic—the exploitation of young boys as well as babies, girls, and women.
The sexual exploitation and trafficking of boys went straight to the first Bush White House. For those who naysay that George H.W. Bush was involved in trafficking children and secret MKULTRA projects, I must remind them that he was head of the CIA (1976-1977), and once CIA, always CIA. He had intimate knowledge and control of the “real” government instrument of the United States. To maintain that the man’s hands aren’t dirty with the blood of innocents is to deny what the CIA is designed to do. It is nothing more than our American version of the Russian KGB, now known as the FSB. It is no coincidence that Houston had the same issues as Omaha at the exact same time, given that the Bush family and those connected with the Bush wing of the Republican Party had a strong hold on both towns in those years. Nor is it a coincidence that boys were being trafficked in both cities, or that mainstream media eventually reported this activity as gracing the front steps of the White House with the Jeff Gannon affair (2003-2005). Consider all of the other controversies the Bush family has been involved with—drug- and gun-running, the Iran-Contra Affair, October Surprise, presidential election theft in 2000—and then try to convince me that the trafficking of boys was beyond Bush Sr.
Many of the richest citizens of Omaha were involved in what happened in Omaha in the 1980s and 1990s as they helped to fund empires that men in Washington, D.C. were building while the rest of the nation lost its shirt in the savings and loan crisis. One-room pizza joints became a national chain, contractors and real estate moguls amassed huge fortunes from sources beyond what was traditionally available in the average world. Nothing more than a small “cow town” near Offut Air Force Base at the time, Omaha earned a kind of infamy in those decades, due to fortunes acquired from more than normal ingenuity and good business sense. Drugs flowed in from the Contras; prostitution and trafficking of young boys was at its peak.
It was all connected. To separate and examine the distinctive parts is fine, but put them back together into the larger picture playing out at the time—events that have fueled human and child trafficking for generations.
So what can we do as a society to stop these disgusting practices? I wish I knew. Unfortunately, I have been at this for so long that I have run out of ideas. In Nebraska, people like Senator Amanda McGill and her staff are working diligently to shed light on these problems, but as usual, they have encountered serious roadblocks.
Educate yourself and others as to the complexities surrounding child trafficking. If and when you see injustice, get involved and do what you can to alert those around you to the problems. Most importantly, do not look away or ignore those caught up in trafficking, but rather help others to get involved in helping. If our local and government officials are unable to contend with these issues, then it is up to us, like everything else.
1. Yoichi Shimatsu, “Was Aaron Swartz killed by an MIT Satanic Child Porn Ring?” Rense.com, January 15, 2012.
David Shurter is the author of Rabbit Hole: A Satanic Ritual Abuse Survivor’s Story.