Whatever Happened to the Kids on the Milk Carton? Human Trafficking as an Institutional Problem – Opinion

When I was a kid, I remember reading the backs of the cardboard milk cartons with great concern. I wondered if the missing children ran away, or if they were kidnapped, with the hope that ultimately, they were o.k.
Today, missing and exploited children are still very much a reality that needs to be addressed more aggressively.
In January of this year, candidate for St. Tammany Sheriff Nick Tranchina was instrumental in exposing an alleged trafficking ring extending to Florida. The perpetrators lured the minor away from home using an encrypted video game messaging app called ‘discord’.
The main issue with uncovering trafficking operations is that in many cases, it is discovered that people in official positions are helping to facilitate the operations. One of the stranger stories I heard while working for Covington Weekly came from an individual who claimed to work for the New Orleans Port Authority.
In a discussion of cargo tugboats owned by St. Tammany Parish, this individual revealed that the Port Authority initiated an internal investigation with regard to human trafficking (circa 2014), with the investigation allegedly “shut down” following diplomatic action from a foreign lobbying entity local to New Orleans.
I was not able to corroborate the individual’s claim, nor do I have the resources to deal with a defamation lawsuit. However, the point is clear: How does one conduct an investigation when systemic forces do not allow the investigation to proceed? For nearly 20 years, I followed the Jeffrey Epstein story, only to be told by anyone that would listen that it would never see the light of day.
The evidence that is coming to light related to that case delves into the darkest corners of the intelligence community, revealing a picture that is very disconcerting and unbelievable to many. His connections include military defense contractors, world banks, royal families, hollywood elite, and of course, our beloved politicians.
Nick Bryant, a journalist whose work focuses on the plight of disadvantaged children in the United States, wrote “The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse & Betrayal” in 2009. This book details corporate corruption and government cover-ups implicating businessmen, senators, media corporations, the CIA and the Boys Town organization. This writer personally viewed the 60 Minutes documentary about Boys Town in Ohio, which never aired (but may still be available online).
Locally, Rusty Burns (R.I.P.) detailed abuse at the hands of a sitting judge of the 22nd Judicial District. The text of the websites he kept is uploaded to Covington Weekly, and in it, he claimed that his biggest regret was not testifying when approached by the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office. The judge allegedly solicited some of the Sheriff’s Deputies at some point as well.
Former Sheriff Jack Strain was recently arrested for sex crimes involving mostly family members, the earliest incident going back to the 1970’s at age 14. In studying cases of abuse, it is often clear that the abuser was also abused, establishing a cyclical pattern. It is time to end the cycles of abuse. No individual has the right to harm another, and all have the right to safety and protection.
Which leads me to the conclusion that abusing children and trafficking children is not a case by case situation, it is an institutional problem, meaning there are individuals within the system that prevent information from being made public, much like a diplomatic agency shutting down an internal investigation conducted by a local agency because they don’t like the implications of the investigation. It is time that those who stand as an impediment to justice were removed.
– Timothy Achan Gates, CW Correspondent