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  • Writer's pictureKaren Brittingham-Edmond

Exploitation Of Vulnerable Members By Human Smugglers: Even Relatives Can Be Culprits

April 26, 2024

Commentary/Straight Talk

The exploitation of vulnerable children by human smugglers and untrustworthy family members is an issue that cannot be taken lightly. It is a sad reality that even relatives can be culprits in this heinous act. The physical and emotional toll that this form of exploitation takes on the victims is immeasurable, and it is our responsibility as a society to put an end to this practice. 

Today's report will delve into the consequences some children have unfortunately experienced due to being stolen or tricked into going to another country illegally to obtain a better education. Human traffickers are horrible people. As Americans, we can see the negative impact that Sanctuary City Mandates have on missing children and vulnerable populations. Since the enforcement of Sanctuary Cities under President Ronald Reagan 1981-1989 and George Bush 1990, more than 801,358 Americans have gone missing, and by 1993, the average rate of missing persons spiked to 980,712. The number of missing people skyrocketed in the nineties. As of 2022, North America has over 525,000 new cases of missing citizens.

The Sanctuary Movement was spearheaded by the Evangelicals, Protestants, and Catholics here in America who had a problem with the success of the Civil Rights Movement that empowered Black citizens to vote. Their most prominent leaders were Jerry Farewell and Pat Robertson, just to name a few. The goal was to escort an entire group of people with whom nations had a huge problem with human trafficking into North America unvetted. By doing so, Reagan, Bush, Farwell, Robertson, and a multitude of evangelicals put unaware citizens in danger. In the 60s and 70s, cases of abduction were drastically lower compared to 1990, when over 801,358 citizens popped up missing. 

A sanctuary city is a district that limits or denies its cooperation with the national government in enforcing immigration laws. Said effort blocks the ability of the federal government to intervene and protect citizens. As well as prevent human smugglers and kidnappers from entering the country. The primary goal was to overflood areas where Black citizens had the majority-minority vote and make Hispanics the majority-minority voters. As of today, Hispanic Special Interest Groups have accomplished to replace Black citizens in N.J., for example, as of 2020, to become the minority-majority of voters just as Ronald Reagan, Jerry Farwell, and Pat Robinson planned by implementing and supporting the Sanctuary Movement. While employing and breaking federal laws. Per evangelicals and their Confederate allies, this was the only way to deter the Black vote plus block the reparation demands of Black citizens after the murder of MLK. What happened next was policies that would quickly incarcerate Black citizens, first fruits of the Civil Rights Movement, our children. And in breaking the law, the illegal trade of drugs, guns, slavery, plus gang propaganda exploded. Moreover, the media during this period (1980-2000) was designed to reintroduce and reinforce negative stereotypes about Black citizens. Many Americans were shocked by the reintroduction of cuss words and the N**** word being used in music, movies, and T.V. in this time period up until now.

Historically, per the Brittanica Encyclopedia: "Los Angeles was the first city to enact sanctuary policies, with a focus on undocumented immigrants already in the United States. The police chief enacted Special Order No. 40 on November 27, 1979, stating that police officers should not inquire about immigration status and should provide city services to everyone equally. San Francisco followed suit, passing the "City of Refuge" resolution in 1985 and the "City of Refuge" ordinance in 1989, requiring that all city employees stop immigration policing and provide city services to all residents regardless of immigration status." Sanctuary City, City of Refuge, Sanctuary Movement sounds so Christian and good. Unfortunately, studies have revealed that:

  • Sanctuary cities harbor criminals, creating a dangerous environment for U.S. citizens.

  • Sanctuary policies defy federal laws to which state and local governments are bound.

  • Sanctuary policies prevent local and state police officers from doing their jobs.

Hence, Sanctuary Cities and states can be noted as one of the primary factors that increase the number of missing children in America. No child or person, per the Constitution of the United States, should be threatened with slavery ever.

Victoria Climbie's story will hopefully shed light on the horrific events that occur to children brought into a country illegally. Climbie's story exposes what so many countless numbers of missing and exploited children experience. And why Federal Immigration enforcement must be allowed to do its job in preventing and stopping human trafficking fatalities.

Victoria's parents, Francis and Berthe Climbié, were approached by the child's great-aunt on her father's side, Marie-Therese Kuoao, in 1998. She came all the way from Paris to request that her nephew, whom she barely knew, allow one of their children to come live with her in France with the promise that the child would receive an excellent education. Marie-Therese Kouao showed up acting kind and loving. Francis and Berthe Climbe had seven children. They loved all of their children, but Victoria had a unique spark in her. Victoria was kind, always smiling, and an inspiration to her family and the school she attended.

Above picture: Victoria Climbe at home in The Ivory Coast, West Africa, in 1998.

Francis Climbe's Aunt Marie-Therese Kouao arrived, claiming that she and her children have been living in Paris and find the Paris school systems excellent. Kouao was referred to as being affluent and well-off by Francis Climbe's family members. So, after much thought, the parents selected seven-year-old Victoria to live with her Great Aunt Marie Therese Kouao, whom the child barely knew. Victoria's father believed this opportunity for a quality education could transform his child's life. Because of the obedience of Victoria's nature, the seven-year-old child did not question her parents' decision. The first red thumb showed up quite quickly for those trained in child abduction scenarios. On the day Victoria was packed up and ready to leave with her Great Aunt Marie Therese, Kouao told the parents that she had a passport for a girl named Anne, whose parents would allow her to come live with Kouao in Paris but suddenly declined.

Kouao convinced Victoria's parents that Victoria could only go with her if she used the previous child's Anne identity. Victoria's parents were perplexed. The flight to Paris was scheduled, and Victoria's bags were packed, but Kouao dropped this sudden bomb of confusion. The parents thought they were doing the right thing for Victoria, so they promptly complied with Marie's request. Hence, before the child left home with her Great Aunt Marie Kouao, Victoria's mother made Victoria's hair just like the little girl Anne's picture in the passport by adding extensions to Victoria's hair. This assisted Marie Kouao in illegally making it through customs with 7-year-old Victoria, now called Anne.

Upon arriving in Paris, Victoria found that her great-aunt had a tiny project apartment. And not a house, as she told her parents. Although Couoa enrolled Victoria in school in Paris, Couoa's evil intentions towards the child began to manifest. In the beginning, Anne's teachers and new classmates thought highly of Victoria, now going under the alias of Anne. Anne was friendly, kind, talkative, plus highly intelligent. Anne's (Victoria) teachers and schoolmates loved Anne. This is why the teachers voiced their concerns about Anne when the seven-year-old's attendance decreased rapidly, plus her appearance and personality changed. Anne, the new seven-year-old student who was originally a bright and bubbly child, became sullen and withdrawn and sometimes fell asleep at her desk for long periods.

Teachers took notes on how the once friendly and trusting Anne had cuts and abrasions to her face and head, and when the school questioned Anne's Aunt Marie Kouao about bruises and scars, Kouao claimed Anne had a skin rash. Kouao even produced fake medical documentation diagnosing Anne with an ailment she never had. As the New Year came and went. Victoria missed more school because Kouao was beating Victoria regularly, and per reports, Kouao was afraid that child protective services would be alerted. The school demanded that the seven-year-old Anne be taken to the hospital because of the repeated welts, bruises, and marks on the child's body. However, the hospital would take Marie Kouao's fake medical document as the primary reason that the child had so many cuts, scrapes, and welts. Even when cigarette burns on the child's skin were apparent. 

On March 25, 1999, Victoria, under the alias of Anne, came to school wearing two wigs. The teachers and students were shocked. As teachers inspected the child's head, they found her hair was shaved off, with evidence of cuts and bruises on the little girl's scalp. When the teachers asked Anne who had shaved her hair, Anne responded with a smile that she had done this to herself, which her teachers did not believe. Anne's teachers demanded that the French Social Services do something immediately concerning Anne. 

But her Aunt Marie was already one step ahead of the Paris School System. When social services arrived in April 1999 at Marie Therese Kouao's apartment, Victoria and Marie were gone. Kouao left France, moved to London, and obtained council housing for her and Anne. Marie  Kouao used Victoria as an excuse to get immediate housing. Marie did not enroll Victoria in the London school system once moving to London suddenly. This means that Victoria was vulnerable to her abductor's ungodly behavior full-time. And there is no evidence, even when the child was alone with teachers, doctors, and nurses, that she admitted that her name was not Anne but Victoria.

Kouao, while in West London, went to see a distant relative named Esther, who worked in a hospital. Esther said that as soon as she met Anne (Victoria), "she knew something was wrong." Esther asked Anne why she was wearing a wig, and Anne said it was because she liked the wig and smiled. Upon Esther's inspection of the child's head, she found bruises and blisters, which Marie claimed were a skin condition. Esther believed the marks to be burn marks that a child did not make. Esther observed how frightened Anne was around Marie. Just like any other kidnapped child would be.

Esther did not see Marie or Anne for weeks. Per Esther, when her cousin Marie showed up with Anne, the child looked malnourished and had a gash on the side of her face. Marie claimed that Anne had fallen on an escalator. At this point, Esther demanded to see where they were living. Once arriving at the hostile, Esther found their living arrangement to be horribly crowded and filthy. Esther immediately contacted the Brent Social Service Department. Esther clearly stated her concern to the Social Service Department and feared for Anne's (Victoria's) life. Esther was sure that Brent Social Services would visit the child immediately. Weeks passed, and no one checked on Victoria. 

As time passes, Marie obtains a job and asks Priscilla Cameron to watch Anne, to which Priscilla agrees. Priscilla and her daughter Avil ran a daycare and gladly accepted the child. The children who attended Priscilla's daycare found that Marie would only speak to Anne in French in loud and violent ways. Upon listening closely, children in Priscilla's care who spoke French found that Marie called the 7-year-old Anne wicked and vile things in French every day and reported it to Mrs. Priscilla. Soon, Priscilla and her daughter found that Anne had burn marks on her head under the wig plus noticed fresh cuts on Anne's fingers that Priscilla and her daughter repeatedly bandaged and applied medicine to. Marie claimed that the seven-year-old was cutting herself. Priscilla no longer believed Marie's lies and contacted protective services. And before you knew it, Marie quickly moved to 267 Somerset Gardens in North London with Victoria. 

To make matters worse, 43-year-old Marie-Therese Kouao had her 27-year-old boyfriend move into the apartment with her and seven-year-old Anne. Carl soon joined in with the abusive violence focused on Victoria. After being repeatedly molested by her Great Aunt Marie and her Aunt's 27-year-old boyfriend, Victoria began to wet the bed. This infuriated both Marie and Carl, so they made her sleep in a garbage on the floor with a pillow in the bathroom.

One day, Marie suddenly appeared at Priscilla's daycare and asked if she could watch Anne. Priscilla immediately agreed to care for the child. When Anne was at the daycare, the seven-year-old child was bubbly and happy. Marie would leave Anne there from 7:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. On July 13, 1999, around 2:00 A.M., Marie showed up at Priscilla's door with Anne in the late hours, telling her that her boyfriend did not want Anne in the home any longer. 

Marie showed up at her doorstep with Anne, wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt and slacks when it was hot outside. Priscilla and her daughter realized that Anne was in danger. Upon entering Priscilla's home, Priscilla and her daughter realized the seven-year-old had a baseball cap covering her face and a long-sleeved tee shirt and slacks. Upon lifting the hat off of the child's head, they saw fresh razor cuts, bruises, and a chunk of flesh missing and hanging under the child's right eye. Priscilla and her daughter cared for Anne's fresh wounds, which were visible to them. Anne smelled of strong urine. So Priscilla made Anne a hot tub and let the child bathe. Priscilla gave Anne fresh pajamas to put on and sent her to bed in her guest room. Priscilla and her daughter agreed to take Anne to the hospital in the morning and call protective services.

On an aside note, Marie Couoa consistently wrote and called Victoria's parents regularly, claiming that Victoria was happy and doing well in school even when the child was not enrolled in school.

In the early morning, Priscilla heard groaning from Anne's room. In the daylight, Priscilla and her daughter finally witnessed the totalities of Anne's afflictions. She had razor cut marks all over her body (not just on her fingers). Puss was oozing out of the child's body, and her small, frail body was decorated with multiple cigarette burns and blisters as if someone had poured scalding hot water on the child's body. Priscilla and her daughter quickly took the child to the Central Middlesex Hospital Emergency Room.

The E.R. doctor, Dr Aobi, recorded numerous wounds on the child's body. Dr. Aobi found out that Brent Social Services was alerted of this child's condition months ago and never followed up on Esther's complaint. Dr. Aobi, a pediatric specialist, was disgusted at social services and made Brent Social Services come to the hospital and place the child in protective custody with 24/7 police protection.

Anne's condition began to improve, and she began to smile. Still, in comparison to the original sparkle of the innocent young child from the Ivory Coast, Victoria now looked like the image of children who lived during the Antebellum South during chattel slavery in North America.

To make matters worse, a new consult was assigned during the morning rotation by the name of Dr. Ruby Schwartz, and after visiting the wounded and beaten Victoria in the hospital bed deemed that Victoria wasn't abused despite the multiple cigarette wounds, cuts, blisters, and molestation marks Dr. Ruby Schwarz overruled all the other doctor's diagnosis and changed Anne's diagnosis to scabies. She told the police to leave by revoking the protection order made by Brent Social Services. And she released the child back into the arms of her abductors and abusers. Social Services briefly met with Marie and Victoria and claimed that the child would be safe with Marie and her boyfriend. Per courtroom records, at this time, the seven-year-old became a punching bag for her Aunt's boyfriend, Carl. 

Victoria's abductors and abuser rained terror on this innocent child for months until both abusers decided to pour what court records claim to be a teapot of scalding hot water on Victoria's head and body while in a bathtub as well as burning the child with a metal teapot. Marie, at that time, took Victoria to the North Middlesex Hospital. In less than a week, in the care of Marie and her boyfriend, Victoria had to be admitted to the hospital for extensive burns to her face and body. Belt marks, plus more cigarette burns. At night, the nurses mentioned that Victoria was a ray of sunshine until her Aunt Marie showed up in the morning. Nurses noted that Anne would become so fearful that she would urinate on herself at the appearance of her abductor. More Social Services reports were made, but on August 6, 1998, Victoria was again released into the care of her abductors her Great Aunt Marie and Marie's boyfriend Carl.

Victoria Climbie was born on November 2, 1991. On February 25, 2000, at the age of just eight years old, Victoria Adjo Climbié was tortured and murdered by her abductors/false guardians. She had been burnt with cigarettes, tied up for periods of longer than 24 hours, and hit with bike chains, hammers, and wires. Things finally came to a head when Victoria's Great Aunt Marie who attended the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, took Victoria to said church and told the leader to perform an exorcism on the 8-year-old child on February 24, 2000, because she claimed Victoria was possessed. Victoria's Great Aunt Marie claimed that all the marks, burns, and cuts were self-inflicted by none other than Victoria.

Elders of the church knew Marie was a liar. By this time, Victoria could barely walk; she was pale and unable to speak.  One church elder immediately picked up the child, ran to the hospital, and called child protective services. Victoria's body temperature was 27 degrees. Victoria had organ failure with severe dehydration. She was transferred to St. Mary's Hospital and placed in the ICU. After repeated respiratory arrests, Victoria succumbed to her 15 months of torture at the hands of a family member who was insane.

The Victoria Climbie case was a tragic example of child abuse and the failure of the child protection services.  Victoria Climbie was a beautiful eight-year-old child from the Ivory Coast who was initially sent to live with her great Aunt Marie-Therese Kouao and later lived with her great Aunt and her great Aunt's boyfriend in London, Carl John Manning, who were both convicted of her murder. 

The tragic fate of Victoria is a stark reminder of the dire consequences that can result when basic rules and laws are not followed to protect innocent children and vulnerable populations. It's alarming to think that even authorities such as customs, social services, and police failed to intervene in time to save Victoria from the likes of human traffickers who use children for free labor, sex trafficking, and organ stealing. It's high time that we, as Americans, take a strong stance against this heinous crime and say no to any form of child exploitation. We must also address the issue of unvetted immigrants who come to America, for example, under false pretenses, while ignoring the hundreds of thousands of American citizens who go missing each year in direct correlation with the enforcement of Sanctuary policies that go against federal, plus child protective services rules. The Sanctuary Movement and their sympathizers who break federal and Constitutional laws and put American citizens in danger must be held accountable for their actions. And made an example of. It's time to put a stop to this Confederate ideology plus a trick to re-activate slavery by another name that American citizens ancestors fought both the Confederates and their Spanish allies to stop. Saying you're against slavery and child abduction while holding the door wide open to allow human traffickers in a felonious. We can not follow fools any longer, especially the rich racist ones that come in all colors.

It is imperative that we, as a society, recognize the wrong policies, actions, or laws that have resulted due to Sanctuary policies initiated originally to disenfranchise Black citizens. If you have been following the events in New Jersey and have started to see the bigger picture, it is time to take action. Please copy and paste the petition below to Governor Murphy's contact link, sign, and submit it - only by confronting the people in authority with the truth while acknowledging the past mistakes we as adults allowed to happen in these past 40 years and coming clean. Is the only way to make positive change happen and create a better future for everyone—even insourced immigrants. Remember, wrong will only become right if someone speaks up and makes a change. It's your turn to take the mic because we can no longer follow fools. Please enjoy Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down."

Kindly, Karen Brittingham-Edmond,

Editor/Publisher of the relaunched Echo

N.J.'s oldest Black-owned newspaper since 1904,

"In Concern of the Negro."

Dear Governor Murphy and the Democratic Party,

I am writing to express my deep concern about the growing instances of child abuse and human trafficking in New Jersey. As a responsible community member, I strongly feel we must take urgent action to combat this menace and protect our most vulnerable citizens.

It is painful to acknowledge that many children are being subjected to exploitation by human smugglers and traffickers, as well as by untrustworthy family members. The physical and emotional trauma that these children endure is unimaginable, and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are safe and protected.

I urge you to take immediate action to strengthen the laws against child abuse and human trafficking and to ensure that those who are involved in these heinous activities are brought to justice. We must also provide support and assistance to the victims of these crimes, including counseling, medical care, and legal aid.

Furthermore, I strongly advocate for stricter measures to prevent the rise of sanctuary cities in New Jersey. Such cities have been proven to harbor criminals and create a dangerous environment for our citizens, especially children. They also defy federal laws and prevent local police officers from doing their jobs effectively. We must not allow these policies to continue, as they increase the risk of human trafficking and the abduction of our children.

I hope you will take my concerns seriously and work towards creating a safer New Jersey for all our citizens, especially our children. Thank you for your attention to this critical matter.


[Your Name]


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