Interview with Flint, Michigan State Trooper, Steven Kramer
Steven A. Kramer, age 44 is a community Service Trooper of Michigan State Police-Flint Post. For over the last four years, Trooper Kramer has pledged to do something to change the dynamics of the way human trafficking is viewed and dealt with in Flint, Michigan. Flint is well-known as the city drowning in so many other problems and fighting so many difficult obstacles. Studying online recorded the racial make-up of Flint consists of 57% black; 37% white while 42% of Flint residents live below the poverty line. The average household income is only $39,000.
Flint has ranked as one of America’s most dangerous cities for several years based on FBI crime statistics of violent crimes per capita.
Human Trafficking is just one more nightmare this city is trying to combat.
Human trafficking is both sex and labor trafficking. It is a form of modern-day slavery that occurs around the world and in the United States. It involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring, or receiving a person through the use of FORCE, FRAUD, or COERCION. ANYONE can be a victim of human trafficking and ANYONE can be a trafficker. Flint and Michigan State Police are hoping to bridge the gap with Flint neighborhoods.
Below is an interview with one of the heroes on Flint, Michigan streets.
How long have you worked in this field?
I have been with the Michigan State Police for twenty years. I have been in my current role as a Community Service Trooper /Recruiter for almost five years. I have been involved with Human Trafficking awareness for about the last four years. My partner, Trooper Amy Belanger also works in this field and is heavily involved with human trafficking. We have been partners for about three and a half years.
What are you passionate about?
I would say I’m very passionate about my job, especially the work I am currently doing with the community. One message I want the world to understand is there is no such thing as a juvenile prostitute! If they are under age, it is trafficking!
What does Human Trafficking look like and how does it affect American Youth?
This is a tough question to answer, because it can look like so many different things.
Human trafficking is a crime that affects victims of any age, gender, race, or immigration status. Human trafficking occurs in all parts of this country – from cities, to suburbs, to rural areas.
Traffickers/Pimps are constantly coming up with new ways to lure our youth into this lifestyle. They prey on desperation, curiosity, and naivety.
Pimps/Traffickers can be girls, women, boys, young men, and older men. Many kids are runaways at the time of recruitment. Between 100,000 and 200,000 of United States Children are taken into trafficking each year. The desired starting age is twelve to thirteen for girls and twelve years old for boys.
What motivated you to become a state trooper and more importantly what inspired you to get involved with bringing awareness to human trafficking?
My main motivation to become a State Trooper was my father. My father worked for and retired from the Detroit Police Department as a Detective Sgt. For as long as I can remember, being a police officer is all I ever wanted to be. I look up to my father and have much respect for him. I guess I wanted to follow in his footsteps. It was his suggestion to join the Michigan State Police if I really wanted to be a police officer.
I would say the more I learned about human trafficking and how it happens everywhere, I became interested in seeing what I could do to help.
I joined the Genesee County Human Trafficking task force and began to learn more about it. I also attended presentations from victims speaking about their experiences. I see how it happens and how it affects our communities. I felt that helping to educate the community was a great way to help.
Tell us a few statistics concerning human trafficking in Flint, Michigan and the surrounding areas.
It happens in Flint, Michigan the same way it happens everywhere in the United States.
Some interesting statistics:
- 62% of victims are tricked into trafficking by someone they know and trust (boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend, ect.).
- 35% of victims are sold into human trafficking by their own family.
Only 3% of victims are kidnapped.
- Every year, 300,000 children in the U.S. are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation.
- Every minute, two children become victims of sexual exploitation.
A trafficker/pimp will know within seconds of contacting their victim if they “got them”.
- It takes as little as 8 minutes for a trafficker to win over his/her target.
- 90% of all the children trafficked for sexual purposes are American children.
- There are as many as 2.8 million runaway children each year in the U.S.
- Within 48 hours of a child being on the street, 1 in 3 will be approached by a sex trafficker.
- The most common approach is the “lover boy” approach.
- This is where the trafficker will appear interested in a romantic relationship while gradually coercing the victim into prostitution.
If any readers might think a loved one is in harm’s way what would be a few actions you would suggest so they can get the help they need?
Be aware of and look for the warning signs.
Some warning signs of a victim include:
- unexplained absences from school,
- inability to attend school,
- runs away from home,
- makes references to frequent travel,
- sudden changes in behavior or material possessions,
- makes reference to sexual situations that are beyond ages specific norms,
- drug addiction,
- signs of physical abuse,
- Avoids eye contact,
- fearful of authority figures.
There is a lot of valuable information online at sources like the FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Polaris project, and many more.
The National Human Trafficking hotline number is 888-373-7888
What steps did you take to begin bringing awareness and getting involved?
I am a member of the Genesee County and Shiawassee County Human Trafficking task forces. I give presentations on human trafficking awareness at:
community action groups,
and anyone who requests one.
What advice would you give to parents of youth?
Monitor your children’s activity!!! I can’t stress that enough. Kids today have cell phones, tablets, computers with basically unlimited access to the Internet. Parents are too trusting of their kids. We should be keeping tabs on what our kids are doing!
There is no such thing as violating your kids privacy when they are under 18!!
You should know what your kids are doing online including:
- Who they’re talking to,
- Apps on their phones,
- Online places visited.
If anyone is interested in contacting you further what would be the easiest way to reach you?
The best way to contact me is via Email: KramerS1@michigan.gov
Storytelling is never going to go away. I am honored to have the opportunity to be an outlet of sorts to bring honor to
Michigan State Police Trooper
Steven A. Kramer
Community Service Trooper/Recruiter
Men like Steven need to be recognized for all they do to help open eyes and bring awareness to the crisis of human trafficking in Flint, Michigan and around our country. Together as a community and as a country we can make small steps to help bring awareness and support to those affected by human trafficking.
One person that has been personally impacted by his actions is Rebecca Huey. I’ve spoke with her many times. She’s a phenomenal person.
She had the privilege to meet Michigan State Police Officer Trooper Kramer, Flint Post when she was a special guest speaker as a Christian Actress for a Human Trafficking event held by the Genessee County Medical Society Alliance in 2015.
Now as an Entrepreneur, Actress and Motivational Speaker, Rebecca Huey’s life has been changed for the positive by being able to share her story with Trooper Kramer which gave her the opportunity to begin to heal. Over time, she was able to share with Trooper Kramer her story and journey and how she is overcoming and excelling today.
Rebecca is an American actress known for her award-winning role Store Clerk “Best Cast” in redemptive romance feature film Providence that came to theaters in February of 2016. She was nominated and chosen Top 10 and Top 3 in 2015 and Top 1 in 2016-2017 by fans from across the world and Faith Flix Films, Tennessee for her press release interview.
Faith Flix Films released her interview in 2015 and it has traveled around the world bringing many others hope – the only hope that can be found in Jesus Christ.
Rebecca is also a female business entrepreneur that holds a business degree from a private college and is the owner of Education Creation LLC with Trademark Cursive Kidz™.
So in her words concerning Trooper Kramer:
He is a voice for me and so many others that don’t have the strength to speak right away. He has gone above and beyond his job. He deserves to be honored and recognized for his sacrificial hard work, tireless effort to help others, superior dedication to combat human trafficking and for being a loyal trusted voice for those that don’t have the strength to speak.
He is doing so much to help so many others in human trafficking in Michigan. He has helped me more than he will ever know and he deserves to be recognized for all he is doing. -Rebecca M. Huey
America tips her hat to you, sir. Thank you. Keep up the good fight. We stand with you.
Written by Author Laura Aranda who published her first novel titled, Pushing Back the Darkness in April 2017. This novel brings awareness to human trafficking in America. You can find the book on Amazon or at her blog: Www.authorlauraaranda.com
For speaking engagements email: firstname.lastname@example.org