Students called upon to make a difference in human trafficking
Two activists against human trafficking came to campus Sept. 3 to warn female college students that they may be targeted by predators.
Lori Basey of No Boundaries International Ministries and Brian Bates of JohnTV told the audience of 15 people, mostly women, that human trafficking happens in Oklahoma City.
Bates said prostitution is a form of human trafficking and its presence is very real.
“It doesn’t just happen in big cities,” he said. “Prostitution has a new face.”
He said pimps are using social media and other forms of advertisement to recruit college students.
“They target college-age students, using terms such as sugar daddy instead of pimp, things like that,” Bates said.
“Students need to realize it’s all the same thing.
“If you are engaging in a sexual activity that you would not have otherwise engaged in if it weren’t for the exchange of something valuable, you are engaging in prostitution.
“I’ve seen where some girls do this and they think, ‘well, it’s just a boyfriend and he buys me things and he’s an older man.”
At some point these women become psychologically aware that they have become prostitutes, Bates said. Then it’s really easy for it to degrade into an addiction and before they realize it’s happening, they’re on the streets.
He told of a young woman named Libby Diaz who was murdered while taking part in prostitution.
Bates said she had been in the Air Force and thought she had everything together until she met her pimp Mario Diaz (no relation).
“He knew exactly what to do,” Bates said. “They’re master manipulators.
“Before she knew it, she was turning $20 tricks where she justified prostitution initially because they were like $300, $400, $500 tricks.”
Bates said his goal is to bring awareness when he records prostitutes and their customers for his video website JohnTV.
“I let my images and videos do all of my talking,” he said.
“People say there’s no way a 12-year-old can be prostituted; there’s no way this happens in Oklahoma City,” he said. “Then they see my videos and realize this happens every day.”
Bates said by redefining prostitution as human trafficking, the subject is being taken more seriously.
He said one of the biggest obstacles when dealing with college-age adults is they have very liberal minds. Many college students believe prostitution should be legalized because they never see the ugly face of prostitution (that is) shown on JohnTV.
“All they see is the movie ‘Pretty Woman’ … and HBOs ‘Bunny Ranch’ and stuff like that,” he said. “They don’t see any other side.” Basey said college students can make a difference and help the women trapped in human trafficking’s web.
“I would love to see a student movement happen because that will promote awareness, students becoming involved and knowing what to look for,’” she said.
Basey talked about one of their projects near Robinson Avenue in central and south Oklahoma City. This, he said, is where many prostitutes walk the streets.
“We have bought a home in the neighborhood that houses eight trained staff people,” Basey said.
“We do block parties. We get to know the neighbors. We mow yards, pick up trash. We do this to create a connection.
“Then when people see a 12-year-old walking the street, instead of them not doing anything, they call us,” Basey said.
No Boundaries International will then intervene to help the juvenile.
Occupational Therapy Assistant major Brenda Valencia attended the speech.
She said the information was shocking.
“I had no idea it was this bad,” she said. “You just think prostitution is something they agree to.
“Don’t put your blinders on,” Valencia said. “Be aware of what’s going on and take action.”
Valencia referred to Basey’s words, “Evil will triumph if good people do nothing.”
To view Bates’ JohnTV YouTube channel, visit www.youtube.com/user/videovigilanteokc.
To volunteer with No Boundaries International, call Basey at 405-513-5453 or NBINT.org
For more information, contact Bates at 405-253-4687 or email at JohnTVokc@gmail.com.