Female Offenders the Perfect Victims
John Meekins, BBA, Certified Corrections Officer | September 21 | 10:15-11:15 AM | Room 2582
Topic: Law Enforcement, Direct Service | Knowledge Level: Intermediate, Advanced
In 2012, John Meekins, a Correctional Officer Sergeant at the Florida Department of Corrections, attended a voluntary training conference on human trafficking. Armed with the training, Meekins discovered a sex trafficking ring operating out of the large female correctional institution where he worked within a few months (Connolly, 2014). This presentation will be based off a case study on the trafficker and the methods used by him to recruit female offenders being released from Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Florida. This was the first, but not the only experience Meekins had with human trafficking in the correctional system. Based on hundreds of hours of research, interviews with victims, investigators, traffickers, and others, Meekins will explain the pipeline to prison for sex trafficking victims (Binzer, 2016). He will explain what makes female offenders especially vulnerable to traffickers. Attendees will learn what questions to ask a suspected victim and why you should ask those questions. Meekins will show criminal histories and arrest patterns indicative of victims and trafficker. Also covered will be the best practices for reporting their victimization. Meekins understands the unique reentry challenges they face and what a correctional institution needs to do to fix it. He will highlight the importance of vacatur laws to victims of human trafficking and how they can drastically improve the lives of sex trafficking victims and survivors. Most importantly this presentation will cover how to put a wedge between incarcerated victims and their traffickers, thus enhancing the victims’ chances of success upon release.
· Communicate that the best place to identify victims and sex trafficking rings are in local jails and prisons.
· Illustrate what makes an offender vulnerable to traffickers.
· Provide tools to identify victims of sex trafficking behind bars.
· Educate how traffickers recruit victims to be trafficked upon release from jail or prison.