Get your own public relations department for a fraction of the cost. Shelly Sindland is a former award-winning journalist who is now helping her clients to be seen, heard and noticed through both conventional media and social media. With more than 20 years experience under her belt, Shelly has an immeasurable knowledge of the media industry and knows how to get you covered. From media marketing to photography, press releases to media training and crisis communications, Shelly does it all. She is one-stop-shopping which will only save you money. A familiar face you've seen on Connecticut television for almost two decades, Shelly is also known for her work behind the camera. As both a professional photographer and blogger, Shelly's former blog Pampers and Politics had more than a quarter million page views to date before retiring it to pursue new ventures. Her new blog showcases those more personal stories that you won't find anywhere else. In 2012, her popular vision and calendar featuring Connecticut Female Firefighters called Guts & Glamour was featured on several television stations and in newspapers around the State.
Hartford, CT: Marie, whose real name and identity are being protected due to the nature of the crime, never thought she’d be living this nightmare.
At 23 years old, she was recruited by a friend to meet a man who promised her a job in marketing back in 2008.
“It’s what I had studied in college,” Marie said. “I needed a job. I was depressed and dealing with a lot of issues. So, I went with my friend to a party so I could meet “this man” who promised me a job, but instead, what I got was a living nightmare.”
Marie never made it to the party. On the way there in the car, she was drugged and when she woke-up, was forced to have sex with men.
“My shoes were missing. My purse was gone. I had no cell phone and was out in the middle of nowhere. I knew if I didn’t cooperate, my life would be over. So, I did what they told me to do hoping the nightmare would end.”
But for Marie the nightmare was only beginning.
For 40 days and 40 nights, Marie was forced into a life of prostitution, handing over all her money to a pimp, the man who had promised her a job in marketing.
“I was a good girl up until this point in my life,” said Marie. “I was coerced into doing something I didn’t want to do and for 40 days and 40 nights could not find a way out.”
That was until she was arrested in a sting.
“It ended my torture but also got me a criminal record,” she said. “I was treated as a criminal and not a victim. Every time I apply for a job, that prostitution charge comes up; something I was forced to do."
Under a proposed bill before the Connecticut State Legislature, that would change.
H.B. 6696 authored by State Representative Jeffrey Berger (D-Waterbury) would redefine human trafficking laws in Connecticut to protect people like Marie who were coerced into the sex-slave industry but ultimately charged with prostitution.
“People have this misconception that sex-slaves and human trafficking is an immigration issue,” said Raymond Bechard author of the book, The Berlin Turnpike, which exposed the human trafficking problem in Connecticut. “Most of these sex-slaves are young girls from right here in Connecticut and other parts of New England who make the choice to trust a friend; a decision which costs them everything.”
H.B. 6696 would also help people like Marie expunge their records. Besides redefining human trafficking in Connecticut, the bill creates a Second Chance Act which would expunge the criminal records of anyone convicted of prostitution but is later determined to be the victim of human trafficking.
“We need to send a strong message that these types of horrible crimes will not be tolerated in our state,” said Rep. Jeffrey Berger, Deputy Speaker of the House. “This bill, which I authored, will send a serious message that human trafficking must be treated as the crime it really is. Victims need to be treated as victims and the men and women who put them there need to be put away for a very long time.”
H.B. 6696 also goes after so-called Johns. Right now, under Connecticut law, soliciting someone who is the victim of human trafficking is considered a misdemeanor. Under the proposed legislation, that would be bumped up to a felony.
“This is not only a world-wide problem but it’s a domestic problem,” said Jim Amann, Speaker Emeritus of The Connecticut House of Representatives who was involved in two pieces of legislation fighting human trafficking and is now a powerful force in fighting the crimes of human trafficking. “More than 300,000 children under the age of 18 are lured into the sex-trafficking business. The average age is just 13 years old. Yet, there is a stigma attached to the crime and it’s usually the girl who gets arrested and not the John or the pimp. This has got to change and under this proposed bill, it will!”
As for Marie, her nightmare is inescapable yet she is speaking out about her captivity to help others currently being forced to work as sex-slaves.
“My cause is to fight for the girls who are U.S. citizens and being trafficked right in their home states. Immigrants who are forced into working as sex slaves get federal protection and help. Yet women who are U.S. citizens and forced into a similar fate are often treated like criminals. I am a victim, not a criminal. The current state laws need to change.”
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
COMMERCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN MAKES THE RIGHT CALL BY DECLARING THE PROPOSED HOME HEATING OIL TAX DEAD ON ARRIVAL.
Chris Herb, vice-president of Connecticut Energy Marketers Association, which represents 600 home heating oil companies around the state, comments on the Commerce Committees’ decision to kill House Bill 6650 which would have taxed, for the first time ever, home heating oil in the state:
“ We want to thank Senator Gary LeBeau (D-East Hartford), Representative Chris Perone (D-Norwalk), Senator Clark Chapin (R-New Milford) and Representative Laura Hoydick (R-Stratford) of the Commerce Committee, along with other members of the committee, for recognizing that this is the wrong time for a tax on home heating oil. We agree with their wisdom and foresight that the bill would have had a negative impact on homeowners already struggling to get by. We appreciate Senator LeBeau's immense effort of working with our industry to achieve conservation without a new tax. The recognition of the committee that their constituents and the businesses that serve them comes before a new tax is commendable. We look forward to working with them as the legislature moves forward.” ~ Chris Herb vice-president, CEMA
With just a few more days to go until election day, I chatted with Dr. Ken Long about the psychology behind politics on The Talk of Connecticut. Dr. long (pictured below) is a political science professor at The University of St. Joseph in West Hartford. We covered the heated U.S. Senate race between Linda McMahon and Congressman Chris Murphy, the last Presidential debate and negative campaigning, why do candidates do it? Short answer, because it works.