By Holly Austin Smith — From her column Speaking Out in the Washington Times Communities
PHILADELPHIA, PA, May 7, 2013 – Building working relationships with other advocates and organizations is important in any field of advocacy, including anti-human trafficking. Listening to and learning from others increases personal growth and perspective. Over the next few weeks, several advocates and organizations will share their ideas, efforts, and achievements. Readers are encouraged to reach out to interviewees in order to learn more about their philosophies, goals, and strategies.
This week’s featured Crime Victim Advocate is personal friend and professional ally, Greg Bucceroni. Greg is a powerful advocate for boys and girls at risk for abuse and exploitation. His voice is vital in the fight against child sex trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).
Greg, what would you say is your personal mission statement?
Advocating for victims of crime and at-risk youth.
How did you get involved with anti-human trafficking advocacy/speaking?
Between 1977 and 1980, I was a victim of child sex trafficking and child pornography. Between 1980 and 1982, I worked as a mob associate with the Gambino crime family’s illegal pornography establishments in New York City, Atlantic City, and Philadelphia. In November 2011, after Jerry Sandusky’s case became public via the news media, I decided to break my silence of child sexual abuse and victimization via sex trafficking. I publicly speak out regarding my victimization at the hands of Jerry Sandusky and other serial pedophiles, as well as mobsters who sexually exploited me and numerous other troubled kids.
Did any organization or advocate play a significant role in your healing / empowerment process?
Woman Organized Against Rape (WOAR) in Philadelphia, PA; advocate Jill Mair played a big role in my healing.
Are you working on any current projects?
I am currently [consulting for] law enforcement officials in addressing current and past child sex trafficking and child pornography concerns and investigations. I also speak as an independent victim advocate, and I coordinate a small neighborhood watch program in Philadelphia.
Please share any recent speaking events, awards, accomplishments, or experiences.
I appeared on the Dr. Phil Show in 2012. I also spoke at the WOAR 8th Annual “Take it All Back” Community Walk and Speak Out at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia on April 20th. I have also been mentioned on various websites and in newspaper articles.
What has been your greatest achievement or most meaningful moment while advocating against human trafficking?
Changing the way child sexual abuse and / or child sex trafficking [cases] are investigated and coordinating with other officials in Philadelphia.
What message about human trafficking do you most want to communicate to the public?
There needs to be additional awareness for warning signs between parents, family members, and officials, including law enforcement, regarding at-risk youth victims. Warning signs must include potential offenders and others that become criminal enablers of child sex trafficking and sex trafficking.
How can the public help you with your plight?
Raise awareness regarding child sexual abuse and sex trafficking. If you suspect something, say something.
What message would you like to pass to other survivor advocates and speakers?
Together in a united voice we can collectively reduce child sex trafficking through education and advocating.
Have you created an organization?
I coordinated a small neighborhood watch program in Philadelphia.
What is your organization’s mission statement?
Reduce crime, advocate for victims and at-risk youth, and support law enforcement.
How can people reach you or your organization for questions or more information?
Address: PO Box 22714, Philadelphia, PA 19110