Discuss the Classic Methodology Autoerotic Asphyxiation and the Key Evidence a Forensic Team Looks for When Ruling out Homicide or Suicide at Crime Scenes Involving Paraphilia
The term autoerotic asphyxiation refers to the act by which a person restricts oxygen from the brain mostly through choking with the objective of sexual arousal. The term describes the action if the person does the act by themselves. A person taking part in the action is known as the gasper and the erotic interest in the action is referred to as paraphilia. The personal interest is usually a major determinant of a case in which a person taking part in the autoerotic asphyxiation dies. The decision by the homicide investigation to classify the death as a homicide or suicide is determined by the content of the crime scene. Specifically, biological and chemical evidence inside the victim’s body and other physical evidence at the crime scene are analyzed to determine the nature of death (Koops et.al, 2005).
The main difference between homicide and suicide is that there is a victim and a perpetrator of the crime. In homicide the perpetrator is usually present at the scene of crime. On the other hand, suicide can be described as intentional attempt to end life by a person. In determining whether an incident was a homicide or a suicide, the crime scene and objects at the crime scene would enable determination of the case. For instance, if a crime scene shows evidence of a struggle between two persons, the case may be ruled as a homicide (Sergey & Edwin, 2006). The same may also be concluded if the crime scene shows DNA of another person apart from the victim’s. Witness accounts may also be used to determine the case.
The methodology of autoerotic asphyxiation mainly involved understanding majorly on the body of the victim. In an argument by Koops et.al (2005) the methodology recognizes sexual arousal as way in which a person may seek pleasure and in turn become an accident. For instance, if the person restricts air in the brain for too long, they may die from suffocation. In these cases, several factors are considered before a ruling could be made. A case can be ruled as a suicide if the victim show traces of orgasms before their death. In addition, the victim may also be aroused even after death depicting that they were in search of a sexual arousal when the accident happen. The presence of sex toys also depicts sexual activity at the crime scene before death. For a case to be considered as a homicide, sexual activity in the victim’s body is first analyzed to determine whether there are traces of DNA specifically from sperm cells. If found the case may be treated as homicide. If the crime scene shows traces of group activity it may be treated as a homicide until other evidence depict otherwise.
On most occasions, families find the situation as saddening and shaming. Sergey and Edwin (2006) are of the assumption that for this reason, when they find the body of the victim they tend to clean up and eradicate any evidence that may depict the victim was seeking sexual arousal. In these instances, the cases may be firstly treated as homicide until internal results from the victim’s body depict sexual activity and without foreign DNA.
Discuss in Detail the Challenges Investigators Face when Investigating Sex Trafficking Cases
Different from most cases sex trafficking cases requires the utmost cooperation from the victims and other witnesses in order to build a strong cases against the perpetrators. Sex trafficking may be described as actions by which a person is transported or moved illegally from one place to another and forced in participating in sexual activities. The cases may involve women, children and also men. In most cases, the victims are usually kidnapped or lured into sex traffickers’ dens with the promise of financial stability. For this reason, most sex trafficking victims are from poor backgrounds (Moossy, 2009).
One of the greatest challenges in investigating sex trafficking cases is the lack of cooperation from authorities and other relevant authorities. In countries with limited democracy, investigators may have a difficult time in collecting both evidence and witness accounts considering the authorities may fail to cooperate. In addition, some sex trafficking cases are known to top official in involved countries. In these instances, investigators may be denied access to evidence or witnesses that may provide useful information. In an argument by Moossy (2009) most investigators of these cases rely on information from NGOs to build their cases. Local NGOs may be a great source of witness accounts as a victim may have escaped and found refuge at these centers.
The other challenge is the sex trafficking cartels are created from a level of command to the ground level. On most occasions, leaders of these cartels are controlled by other powerful people may be even from the government who never come into direct contact with the victims. For this reason, investigators have little or no information of the main perpetrators of the cases. Consequently, during arrests only victim handlers are mostly arrested after which the handlers may be replaced. This has hindered efforts by investigators to completely stop the operations of sex trafficking cartels.
The victims in these cases are never willing to cooperate fully considering the experiences they have been through. In an argument by Moossy (2009) the humiliation experienced by sex trafficking victims expose them to psychological harm that investigators may lack the expertise to correct and acquire useful information. The victims usually do not want to relive these experiences thus minimizing their level of cooperation. In addition, these victims fail to appear in court after the knowledge perpetrators may be present. Victims have a huge psychological burden to have the courage to face the offender. In some cases, for instance those involving men, they victims may fail completely to provide information about their experience. This is mainly influenced by the fact that men seek to retain their masculinity in the society and such cases may change the society’s view on the masculinity (Moossy, 2009). Investigators should seek help from professions in the field of medicine specifically psychology, to enable their understanding of the victim’s emotions and experiences. From this knowledge, investigators may find it less challenging to extract information from the victim.
The violent nature of sex trafficking gangs also poses a major challenge to investigators. For instance, it may be impossible to use a PI as a victim considering the huge risks of being sex trafficked or even killed (Moossy, 2009). For this reason, the only sure way of getting information is the use of victim accounts which may be difficult to extract.
Koops, E., Janssen, W., Anders, S. and Püschel, K. (2005). "Unusual phenomenology of autoerotic fatalities". Forensic Science International, 147S: S65–S67.
Moossy, R. (2009). Sex Trafficking: Identifying Cases and Victims. National Institute of Justice Journal, 262.
Sergey S. and Edwin, E. (2006). Autoerotic Asphyxiation: Forensic, Medical, and Social Aspects. New York: Wheatmark.