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tv   Nightline  ABC  September 22, 2010 11:35pm-12:05am EDT

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tonight on "nightline," pornland, usa. how do girls from american suburbs, some as young as 12, get caught up in prostitution? a "nightline" investigation shows how they are tricked, trapped and traded for sex. a shark's tale. we take you hundreds of miles from civilization and beneath treacherous waves to a shark shangri-la, as we explore the breathtaking majesty of the seam's greatest killers. and, the tempest, how the tea party went from this -- to this. >> restore america. >> it's a very brief history of the political party everyone is talking about. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," september 22nd, 2010. >> good evening, everyone. it is known as one of the most beautiful and livable cities in america. but thanks to the numerous strip
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joints and massage parlors, portland, oregon, has earned the nickname pornland. and it is an epicenter for child prostitution. many of the working girls, some young for middle school, are not kidnapped or runaways. they are tricked into walking the streets in exchange for clothing, jewelry or just human love. sharyn alfonsi reports for our series, "nightline" investigates. >> reporter: they call it the track. on any given night, it is littered with pros tults and strippers. but a lot of these girls probably aren't what you think they are. how old are these girls? >> i have seen them as young as 12. >> reporter: kids turning tricks before they're old enough for high school. not runaways or one can i s ork little girls lured here. >> i'm a [ bleep ]. do you think i [ bleep ] like this? not really.
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>> reporter: portland, oregon, often voted one of the most livable cities in america. it is now a national hub for child sex trafficking. >> i went to a strip club and danced, whatever. >> reporter: how old were you? >> 13. >> reporter: katie is one of them. she's been forced to work as a prostitute since the seventh grade. how much were you working? >> pretty much every night but sundays. >> reporter: and it all started here, at this mall in downtown portland. she says she met some boys who invited her and a friend to a party in the suburbs. did it seem like a noormal party? >> yeah, there were people there drinking, dancing, having fun. that was my first, like, party-party, so i was like -- it seemed pretty normal. >> reporter: but it wasn't a normal party. it was a setup. the party she was introduced to an older guy. he started taking her out, buying her things. what was he buying you? >> purses and shoes and, like, outfits, and, like, just weird
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stuff like that. >> reporter: was he like a boyfriend at that point? >> yeah, i guess you could say, like yeah. >> reporter: but soon, he told katie he was having financial trouble. and suggested she dance just once at a strip club. even bought her an outfit and pumps. had you walked in heels before all of this? >> you know, little heels to go to church because i was big on church before this. >> reporter: when you go on stage, 13 years old, i mean, you're looking around at the guys, how old are the games? >> probably old enough to be my dad or my grandpa. it was kind of disgusting. i told him i wanted to go home, and he was like, you can't go home until your shift's over and stuff like that. and i was like, i don't work here, and he was like, you are now. i pretty much walked right into a strip. >> reporter: sergeant mike guyer heads portland's sexual assault detail. it is a classic case, he says. cute, young girls are being targeted by pimps.
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>> they look for them in the malls, on myspace, facebook. they look for them in the schools, walking around downtown or in the parks and they strike up a friendship with them, and the tactic they use is, they work to identify what their needs are. how is it going at home? and then they will use the information that this child is giving them and they will become their rescuer. i can fix all that. you're way too mature to be treated like that. i can get you nice clothes, take care of you. and suddenly, they're lavished, all the goods and affection and everything and they think, wow, this person really cares about me. >> they might say to you, like, you know, i lived through more than most 4-year-olds have lived through. and they'll say, i really love justin bieber. >> reporter: this is a victim's advocate. she sees girls from all over the country brought to portland. >> people have been tied up with saran wrap and then left in
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hotel rooms without food and water for days. people are branded with their pimps logo on their bodies and treated like animals or objects. >> reporter: why here? portland has more than 100 strip joints and massage parlors. the largest legal commercial sex industry per capita in the nation. bigger than even vegas. >> we have a very vibrant sex injury that's considered legitimate and where you find that, you also find the exploitation of children, because the sex industry is really built on the exploitation of vulnerable people. >> reporter: underage girl can make $1,000 a night for a pimp. but those girls rarely see a penny. >> that's her when she's 9. >> reporter: ruth roberts says her daughter had a nearly picture perfect life. >> i was a single mom. i was working really late at night and i was making a six-figure salary, and, i mean, my daughter was getting as and bs. she didn't need anything. she didn't want anything.
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we had money. we had a good house, good life. >> reporter: but there was one thing her daughter did want. >> she was 15, just starting high school, her dad and i were divorced, and her dad got a girlfriend couple years older than my daughter, so -- my daughter became really jealous and wanted to be with him all the time. >> reporter: you told him, what, you said, if you're not around -- >> she's going to go find a father figure. >> reporter: she did. he turned out to be a pimp. >> reporter: she was walking the streets. he would put her in shoes that were too small. she had blisters this thick when i saw her a month later. he wouldn't let her come in unless she had money. he would leave her out freezing in the cold. he would make her have sex with all of his friends. >> reporter: and how old was she? >> 16. >> reporter: 16. ruth says her daughter was, quote, rented to men on craigslist. >> 20 seconds after the posting went up, the phone started
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ringing off the hook. >> reporter: ruth says she spent her live savings trying to save her daughter, convince her to leave prostitution behind. but she was too afraid. >> she says she got handcuffed to the steering wheel of a car while her pimp went into a house, said, i have to take care of something. he came back in the car, bloody, head to toe, changed his shift and they went out to eat and she thinks he killed somebody. >> reporter: today, ruth believes her daughter is no longer working as a prostitute, but every day, she is fearful. and when you don't hear from her -- >> i just think she got into the wrong car, she's lairing in a ditch somewhere. >> reporter: katie did escape from her pimp. she had to wait months for shelter. but she is now far away from portland and she hopes to stay away. for "nightline," i'm sharyn alfonsi in portland. >> for resources about helping victims of the sex trade, you can visit the "nightline" page at
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our thanks to sharyn alfonsi for that report. when we come back, we'll take you into the tranquil deep to see what paradise looks i was driving in northern california. my son was asleep. i really didn't see it coming. i didn't realize i was drifting into the other lane. [ kim ] i was literally falling asleep at the wheel. it got my attention, telling me that i wasn't paying attention. i had no idea the guy in front of me had stopped short. but my car did. my car did. thankfully, my mercedes did. [ male announcer ] a world you can't predict... demands a car you can trust. the e-class. see your authorized mercedes-benz dealer for exceptional offers through mercedes-benz financial. ♪
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bob ehrlich pretends to be for the working guy... but he's not on our side. i thought i knew bob ehrlich, but then i found out... he raised property taxes on every maryland family... and business. he increased college tuition... by 40%. 40%. and i thought i knew bob ehrlich. he was against raising the minimum wage. made $2.5 million... working for a lobbying firm. $2.5 million? he's not really on my side. with this tough economy, we really need a governor on our side. if fishing along a secluded tropical reef miles away from another soul sounds like your idea of paradise, then you'll relate to the subjects of our next piece. sharks. hundreds of them. whose presence on a coral reef in the south pacific is an important barometer for
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measuring the health of our oceans. these creatures are critical in keeping the seas in balance, as jeremy hubbard reports. >> reporter: it is a predator's play ground. some of the most shark infested waters in the world. >> how many sharks are here? maybe 50? this is amazing. >> reporter: these sharks have likely never seen humans before. they live in one of the most remote stretches of the south pacific, where an underwater eden exists. a beautiful, wet wilderness, in peril. >> this used to be a really nice coral forest, with really big coral. but now, most of the corals are very small and most of them are dead and covered by algae. >> reporter: this man, a signist tnd national geographic explorer, has travised here with his team to measure the health of the ocean. and the best way to do that is to check the reefs. >> coral reefs are the rain forest of the sea.
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they have the greatest diversity in the oceans. of all the fish that live in the sea, one-third live in coral reefs. >> reporter: and the best way to know if a reef is healthy, he told us, you should look for sharks. lots and lots of sharks. sharks are a very important part of the marine ecosystem. they are like the lions of the african savannah. they make sure it's in balance. >> reporter: if there's an abundance of sharks around the reef, that means there's a lot to eat there, which means the reef is alive and healthy. if there aren't a lot of sharks, that's trouble. >> diving here is not for the faint hearted. >> reporter: he traveled hundreds of miles from tahiti, taking the reef of five islands. little specks in a vast ocean. while his work is under the water, kcrew member mike's job s to check the ecosystem's health.
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he'll likely be the first person to set foot on this island in years. but getting there might be more dangerous than one might expect. >> to the right! >> reporter: the only way to shore is to swim through killer waves, risking being ripped apart on the jagged reef. massive breaking waves thrust to the reef. undertoe pulls him back. he's in trouble, and must be rescued. >> oh, man. >> reporter: once finally on shore, there's surprising evidence of humans. nonnative palm trees planted, eager to produce coconut oil. >> here's a pure mat of guano. it's just pure, absolute rich -- >> reporter: it was used at the time in fertilizer. and though it's so remote here, there's still trash on the
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beach. a rue man imprint in the middle of nowhere. you'd never know it underneath. the robust reef is an owe way sis, three times the coral you'd find in most parts of the world. but here and a couple of other stops, he and his crew are not finding as many sharks as they would like. >> the sharks were not abundant. >> and small, as well, so -- this place has been fished. >> 400 miles from tahiti and people come here to fish sharks, huh? >> and it doesn't take much effort. all the sharks are very small. they're not as abundant as they would be in other places. >> reporter: as the team presses on, hundreds of miles to the next islands, they find further evidence of human encroachment on an ecosystem in peril. >> this is what i found this morning. >> do you know anything about it? >> well, we definitely need to do something about this and prevent the destruction of the
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reef. >> reporter: still, they find a bounty of life that eases some of their fears. but where are the sharks? they do find a school of barracuda and parrot fish, twice as much fish as they found at the last reef. >> and large smamers everywhere. they are the most abundant predator at the reef, ready for any opportunity, any weakness. any mistake. they even eye me. if they were any bigger, we would be in trouble. >> reporter: and then, finally, the prize. sharks. black tips, white tips and gray reef sharks. a fearful sight for most. a welcome sight here. this is proof, finally, this ecosystem is healthy. >> wow. so many fish. >> like 150 species. crazy. >> yeah.
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the sharks are big and fat. and lots of big jacks chasing around. >> one shark swimming around right now. >> reporter: off one of these islands there is eight times more life than the hawaiian islands or the florida keys, including more sharks than they ever expected. more predators than prey. an upside down food pyramid. is it too much of a good thing? for some reason, it seems to work, not just here, but at the last island, too, where they find a flourishing reef with at least ten times more sharks than other reefs around the world. and a lagoon that would take your breath away out of fear, if you weren't used to swimming with a swarm of black tip reef sharks. >> you can't see this anywhere in the world. the sharks are the species that go away the first when humans arrive to a place. this is a symptom of the health of the system. this is the system really
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healthy, really pristine. >> reporter: their travels through treacherous waters have paid off. they rediscover the south pacific of 200 years ago, with islands that seemingly transport them in time. and a prosperous swath of ocean where the top predator rules over an underwater eden that appears untouched by the present and gives hope to scientists for the future. i'm jeremy hubbard for "nightline." >> wow, what a magnificent spot. "journey to shark eden" airs this friday on the national geographic channel. thanks to jer hi hubbard for that report. and coming up, a spot of tea -- partying. ♪
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♪ [ male announcer ] every business day, bank of america lends billions of dollars, to individuals, institutions, schools, organizations and businesses. ♪ working to set opportunity in motion. bank of america.
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four years ago, bob ehrlich got fired as governor of maryland. working to set opportunity in motion. for good reason. first, he protected tax loopholes for giant cable cable companies.
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then, he let utilities jack up our rates 72%. and for the last four years, he worked as a hired gun for big corporations, even a bank that took billions from a taxpayer funded bailout. ehrlich sides with corporate executives again and again and again tell bob ehrlich big banks and billionares don't need help. middle class marylanders do.
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with bill weir. >> like any successful party, it has everyone talking. what seemed like a fad at the beginning has become a powerful national movement capable of upsetting conventional wisdom. but how did it really get started? as we bear down on the vital midterm elections, john berman brings us the very brief history of the tea party. >> reporter: this is a tea party. >> how do you like your tea? >> reporter: this is a tea party. and this is a tea party. so, how did we get from this to this to this? it starts here, boston, massachusetts, 1773. pesky colonists decide the british have more than just bad teeth, but also, bad taxes.
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destruction of a good drink leads to creation of a revolution. fast forward 236 years. economy in the toilet. national mood, in the sewer. welcome to your new job, mr. president. government enacts big stimulus, big housing relief. it all costs big money. enter big journalism. >> this is america. >> reporter: big objective journalism. >> how many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills, raise their hand? how about we all -- president obama, are you listening? >> reporter: meet rick, on-air editor for cnbc. >> we're thinking of having a chicago tea party in july. all you capitalists that want to show up -- >> reporter: he orders up tea party. not this kind -- but this kind. strikes a chord with outsiders and insiders. >> you vote against america's future, we're going to fire you.
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>> reporter: freedom works posts guide for how to organize your own tea party. grass roots gets busy. april 15th, 2009, tea parties go national. >> we are spending way too much money and we're making our poor grandchildren pay for bills that are being accumulated now. >> reporter: fox news goes wall to wall. >> celebrate with fox news. >> they report. you decide. summer of 2009. obama health care push. >> this is a serious problem for america. >> reporter: tea party push back. no, not this kind -- but this kind. town meetings gone wild. >> i want to know if it's coming out of my paycheck. >> reporter: tea party called fringe, racist, a fad. tea party starts calling the shots. beck scott brown in massachusetts. he's running for ted kennedy's seat, or, rather. >> it's the people's seat. >> reporter: brown wins. tea party rolls.
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tea party actually, lots of tea parties. tea party nation, tea party express. new american tea party. tax day tea party. tea party revolution. they hold a convention. and invite a sensation. >> god bless you, tea partiers, and god bless the usa. >> reporter: tea party loves palin. you wrote a song about her? >> yes. ♪ sarah, american woman ♪ sarah >> reporter: tea party goes big time. glenn beck takes washington. incumbents, beware. even republicans. down goes bennett, down goes murkowski, down goes castle. tea party favorites roll. table is set for november. set for a tea party. no, not this kind -- but this kind. i'm john berman for "nightline" in new york. >> history of the tea party. 220 seconds. thanks to john berman for that.
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when we come back, the trials and tribulations of pitch shop eddie long. first, here's what's coming up next on "jimmy kimmel live." >> jimmy: thanks, bill. tonight, jeremy renner, jamie king, music from hey monday, and laughing babies. i can't possibly come up with anything cuter than that. "jimmy kimmel live" is next.
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if they have their way, we're facing a mountain of debt and a massive tax increase. employers will continue to leave our state, taking their jobs with them. the next four years will impact the next decade, so we've put together a road map to 2020. a plan that brings jobs back to maryland by reducing spending and lowering taxes. let's make the maryland we love not just good, but great. now let's get down to work.
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tax on everything you buy? that's in andy harris' unfair tax plan. 23% sales tax. a 23% sales tax will cut my business in half. would be devastating. andy harris' 23% sales tax absolutely makes no sense. 23% sales tax would really make things unaffordable. that's too high for the average american out here. i don't know how we would manage it really. don't like that idea. we can't afford andy harris' idea. i'm frank kratovil and i approve this message.
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