Human Trafficking News

The Human Trafficking Project is an online movement working to raise awareness about modern day slavery.

We do indeed find it appalling that the Dept. of Labor is engaged in a national team effort to fight against human trafficking in both labor and sex, yet will set-aside any regulation or over-site regarding the most valuable asset our collective future worldwide has available, our children!


50 thoughts on “Human Trafficking News

  1. Club owner gets prison time in human-trafficking operation in metro Detroit
    Ukrainian nightclub owner Veniamin Gonikman was ordered Wednesday to serve three years in prison for his role in a human-trafficking operation that smuggled eastern European women into the U.S. and forced them to work in local strip clubs. He is the ninth and last defendant to be convicted in the case.
    Gonikman said his son, convicted of running the smuggling operation known as Beauty Search and was sentenced to 14 years in prison, wired him money in Ukraine. He said he received more than $160,000 in wages the women earned.
    Gonikman came to the attention of authorities in Detroit in 2005, when a woman escaped. Authorities said the women were forced to work 12 hours a day and give earnings — more than $1 million — to Gonikman.
    One victim testified before Congress in 2007 about her treatment. “I could not refuse to go to work or I would be beaten,” she said. “I was often yelled at for not making enough money or had a gun put to my face. … I was their slave.”

    U.S. states pass flurry of new anti-trafficking laws to fight sex slavery 2012-05-19 08:39:54

    by Matthew Rusling
    WASHINGTON, May 18 (Xinhua) — Holly Austin Smith was 14 years old when she was forced into prostitution. A stranger approached her at a local shopping mall and said he could help her become a model, meet celebrities and live a glamorous life.
    After two weeks of phone conversations, he persuaded her to run away with him. But Instead of making her a star, he took her to Atlantic City, New Jersey and sold her body to multiple men.
    “I knew I needed to adapt or die,” Smith told Xinhua in a phone interview. “So I became what I needed to be to survive the night. I played the part that they (her captors) wanted me to play…I just shut my brain down when I needed to, and I worked through the night for them.”
    Human trafficking, defined as coercion into sex work or labor, is a problem worldwide, with such scenarios playing out over and over again. In a bid to stem the tide of what some believe to be hundreds of thousands of victims nationwide, U.S. states have passed a flurry of legislation in recent months.
    Virginia passed a package of new anti-human trafficking laws earlier this month. Last month, West Virginia became the 49th U.S. state to criminalize human trafficking.
    Ohio created an anti-human trafficking task force in March, after a 2010 Trafficking in Persons Study Commission revealed that around 1,000 U.S.-born children are forced into sex trade in the state every year and roughly 800 immigrants are trafficked. Massachusetts passed its first anti-human trafficking legislation in November.
    Anti-trafficking activists applauded many of the laws. But despite those states’ efforts, Bangkok-based EPCAT International published a report in March saying the U.S. is only making “some progress” in protecting children from sex trafficking.
    Indeed, a number of states still fail to provide victims — both children and adults — with the full legal protection that activists say they need. According to the Polaris Project, 42 states lack “safe harbor” laws, which recognize that trafficked minors are victims and prevent them from being prosecuted for prostitution.
    Activist groups are also pushing more states to implement ” vacating conviction” laws – the majority of states have not yet done so — which ensure that sex trafficking victims are not treated as criminals and be expunged prostitution convictions from their records.
    “Trafficked persons are rarely recognized as victims by the police and prosecutors, and are thus pressured into pleading guilty and/or do not understand the consequences of the charges,” according to the website of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center.
    “Multiple arrests, incarceration, police violence, deportation, employment and housing discrimination related to having a criminal record, and social stigma are just a few of the barriers faced by those who have been forced into prostitution,” it added.
    Crystal DeBoise, co-director of the Sex Workers Project, told Xinhua that criminalizing sex work also spurs it to go underground. “The more secret the location, the less likely anyone will be able to assist potential victims of trafficking,” she said.
    Others say that stopping demand for commercial sex is the key to halting trafficking. Activists are also pushing for more victim- centered education for law enforcement.

  3. Two Plead Guilty To Gang-Led Sex Trafficking of High School Girls
    Two men associated with the Fairfax County-based Underground Gangster Crips (UGC) set have pled guilty to participating in a prostitution business that recruited and trafficked high school girls, according to announcement by officials including Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Fairfax County Police Chief Colonel David Rohrer.
    On at least two occasions, in 2009 and 2011, Dove harbored juveniles, ages 16 and 17, while they were engaging in commercial sex acts. He also admitted to purchasing a credit card that was used to pay for advertisements on to solicit customers for the prostitution enterprise.
    On May 14, 2012, Henock Ghile, aka “Knots,” 23, of Springfield, pled guilty to sex trafficking of a juvenile. In court, Ghile admitted that he was a UGC gang associate and that from May 2011 through September 2011 he transported two 17-year-old girls to work as prostitutes. Sentencing has been scheduled for Aug. 3 before United States District Judge Claude M. Hilton.
    On April 14, two others associated with the UGC prostitution operation — Michael Tavon Jefferies, aka “Loc,” 21, of Woodbridge, and Christopher Sylvia, 23, of Springfield — pled guilty to sex trafficking of a juvenile.
    This case was investigated by the Fairfax County Police Department and the FBI’s Washington Field Office, with assistance from the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force.
    Special Assistant United States Attorney Marc Birnbaum from the Virginia attorney general’s office and Assistant United States Attorney Inayat Delawala are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

  4. This really sucks and is constitutionally just wrong “Facebook’s Censorship Algorithms” WARNING! As we notified you earlier, this feature is temporarily unavailable because you’ve been making spammy and irrelevant posts on Facebook Pages. Unable to post comment, please try again. 2 seconds ago!
    ”Repeating, reposting and sharing RS&S INTL ~ Sexual Oriented Business Crime Study Center (SOB-CSC) Indeed Rgv Adjuster, education is always key to understanding and without exception… Blessings to you and all yours Lone Mountain Truck Leasing, and thank you for supporting Truckers Against Trafficking…”

    Help US End/Stop Drug, Gun & Human Trafficking: Facebook’s Censorship Algorithms are constitutionally illegal…

    • Repeating, reposting and sharing:
      This really sucks and is constitutionally just wrong “Facebook’s Censorship Algorithms” WARNING! As we notified you earlier, this feature is temporarily unavailable because you’ve been making spammy and irrelevant posts on Facebook Pages. Unable to post comment, please try again. 2 seconds ago!
      ”Repeating, reposting and sharing RS&S INTL ~ Sexual Oriented Business Crime Study Center (SOB-CSC) Indeed Rgv Adjuster, education is always key to understanding and without exception… Blessings to you and all yours Lone Mountain Truck Leasing, and thank you for supporting Truckers Against Trafficking…”

      Help US End/Stop Drug, Gun & Human Trafficking: Facebook’s Censorship Algorithms are constitutionally illegal…

    • Lynn Robertson Lone Mountain Truck Leasing
      33 minutes ago •
      Sadly my friend Richard A. Sands has been told by FB that his posts (which are about fighting Human Trafficking) are “SPAM”!!! He sends his blessings to Lone Mountain Truck Leasing for their support for Truckers Against Trafficking!
      via: R…See More
      Richard A. Sands Bless you Lynn, thank you for reposting and sharing…
      2 seconds ago
      This Feature is Blocked For You
      As we notified you earlier, this feature is temporarily unavailable because you’ve been making spammy and irrelevant posts on Facebook Pages.

    Warrant requested in slayings of 4 Detroit women in ?Backpage? case
    A warrant is being sought in the slayings of four Detroit women whose bodies were found in car trunks after three of them placed online escort ads. The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says the warrant request was being reviewed Friday, but no decision was expected by the end of the day. Two men, ages 32 and 24, were arrested Tuesday and questioned in the case. They were arrested in Sterling Heights, north of Detroit. The bodies of 24-year-old Demesha Hunt and her 23-year-old cousin, Renisha Landers, were found Dec. 19 in separate car trunks in Detroit. The bodies of Natasha Curtis and Vernithea McCrary were found Christmas Day in the trunk of burning car. Three of the slain women had placed ads for “prearranged adult dating services” on, like, is an Internet bulletin board with listings for everything from child care to auto parts and forums on numerous topics. took down its “adult services” section after several widely publicized cases, including the so-called “Craigslist Killer” case, in which Phillip Markoff was charged with the armed robbery and murder of a masseuse he had hired through the web site, and the armed robbery of two other women he also found through the site. Markoff committed suicide in jail awaiting trial.

    Former Secret Service Agent Reacts to Colombia Scandal
    PHOENIX – More trouble for a group of Secret Service agents involved in a growing prostitution scandal. Congress may soon be conducting its own investigation.
    We talked to a former secret service agent who lives here in the valley. Donald Tucker is shocked by what happened — saying if the allegations are true, these agents could have comprised the president’s security.
    “There are so many bad things that could have happened with this incident, it’s mind boggling.”
    For 25 years, Donald Tucker risked his life working for the Secret Service. He’s proud of being a part of such an elite agency. So when he got a call telling him about the scandal…
    “I still have a lot of anger that these guys were to bring down the prestige of the agency that I worked for,for 25 years and do something stupid,” he says.
    The Secret Service is still trying to figure out what exactly happened at a Colombian hotel last week. An advance team of agents was preparing for the president’s visit. Eleven of them were sent home after apparently bringing prostitutes back to the hotel.
    “What if one of the prostitutes had been working for a terrorist organization and was sent to this hotel to meet with agents to find out what the president’s schedule was? The agents have the president’s schedule of where he’s going to be, who he’s going to talk to. What if some of those documents got out prior to the president’s arrival?”
    “These guys are not professional. They don’t have any integrity. They would go to a foreign country and not only embarrass the county, they’re embarrassing their agency and they’re embarrassing the president of the United States.”
    Tucker worked for the Secret Service during Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations.
    How can or do we fight worldwide corruption, the global sex-trafficking atrocities, especially when our own government officials are engaged in exploiting the victims, survivors and their families of organized modern-day slavery?
    How, in God’s name (as “In God We Trust”) can we tell or ask the rest of the World to shape-up to our own righteous Philosophy or Standards, the United States allegedly advocates, when by example we all fail, indeed, as in do as I say, not as I do?
    We must continue to publish, repost, repeat and share information for everyone’s human trafficking, modern-day slavery, prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership programs intended to provide awareness, education and enlightenment that advocates to “Look beneath the surface” in our own back-yards!

    Detroit ‘Backpage’ murders investigation turns to computers, cell phones
    The focus of the investigation into the so-called “Backpage” murders have now turned to the evidence that was collected during raids this week.
    Only Local 4 cameras are rolling as a task force of local, state and federal investigators searched a Sterling Heights home on Tuesday and removed computers, cell phones and other items.
    Two of the women were so severely burned that their cause of death is still undetermined. But the other two women had no signs of physical trauma, and even with toxicology results back, their cause of death is also unknown – an indication the killer or killers were able to hide their method.
    The evidence in December showed these women had placed escort ads on the website
    The two men taken into custody are cousins, 24 and 32 years old from Sterling Heights.
    Top forensic investigators have until Friday to find evidence that could lead to charges or the men would have to be released.

    US Secret Service agents visited Moscow strip club
    Moscow, April 28 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Ahead of a state visit to Russia by then president Bill Clinton, US Secret Service agents had visited a downtown Moscow nightclub known for raucous parties in 2000, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
    The latest revelation follows recent reports of Secret Service members visiting prostitutes in Colombia in April during current President Barack Obama’s visit.
    Secret Service staff and White House advance staff preparing for Clinton’s state visit to Russia attended events at the Hungry Duck nightclub, the daily said citing informed source. A Clinton spokesman declined to comment on the matter.
    The Hungry Duck, which opened in the mid-1990s in Moscow, featured performances by strippers and patrons, it reported.
    It was set up by a Canadian, Doug Steele, together with several partners from Georgia. They sold their interest in 1998 following a dispute with a number of influential Russian officials. The nightclub closed down for good in 2009.
    As many as 920 women supposedly once took part in a mass striptease at the Hungry Duck.

  9. Tampa strip clubs “pays to play” like 2009
    Super Bowl for Republican National Convention

    Daniel Ruth: Strip clubs in Tampa love the Republican National Convention too, Mr. Mayor

    This is the kind of thing that probably has Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn burying his head in his hands and thinking to himself: “Maybe I should have made it the 6-mile rule.”

    What would a Republican National Convention extolling the virtues of family values and dredging up the obligatory 537,000 references to Ronald Reagan’s “Shining city on the hill” be without Tampa’s foremost economic stimulus — naked women.

    As well, the proprietors of these va-va-voom clubs plan to import additional fair maidens from other venues for the dining and dancing and . . . well, pick your poison pleasure of the GOP attendees to kick back and relax after a hard day of bemoaning the sad state of Judeo-Christian ethics in America.

    Hizzoner, who as a City Council member championed the infamous 6-foot rule between pulchritudinous floozies and their customers, which has been enforced with all the gusto of cracking down on people who engage in the premeditated act of tearing off mattress tags, can’t be happy with the efforts on the part of the hussy community to intrude on the feel-good/flag-waving/Bible-thumping RNC.

    Well, at least Newt Gingrich ought to be feel right at home. The Secret Service, too.

    Prosecutor: Smuggler should pay $1.6M to women he forced to be strippers
    Detroit— A stripper smuggler should spend more than four years in prison and pay almost $1.6 million to 12 dancers forced to work in Detroit, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
    Prosecutors made the argument in a sentencing memo for Veniamin Gonikman, one of the country’s most wanted fugitives until his arrest in January 2011.
    Gonikman was the mastermind of a group that smuggled women into the United States and forced them to work as exotic dancers in Metro Detroit, prosecutors said.
    “For nearly four years, Gonikman actively placed multiple young women in a position of exploitation and sought to enrich himself off of their hard work,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow wrote. “He recruited the majority of the victims from his own club in Ukraine and smuggled them into the United States.”
    His capture ended a multi-year manhunt. Gonikman fled the country after being indicted in 2005 and had been living illegally in Ukraine using fake passports and tried to bribe a government official who came to arrest him, according to court records.
    In 2005, Gonikman was charged in a 22-count indictment with trafficking in persons, forced labor, alien smuggling, money laundering, extortion collection and conspiracy, among other charges.
    The arrest came almost four years after Gonikman’s son was sentenced to 14 years in prison for smuggling women from Eastern Europe and forcing them to work in Metro Detroit strip clubs.

    At U.S. State Department, kids get sex scandal primer
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Children participating in the State Department’s “Take Your Child to Work” day event on Thursday were treated to a discussion of prostitutes and strip clubs as reporters pressed for answers on a widening Secret Service scandal.
    State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland opened the daily news briefing with a salute to the handful of underage observers who joined journalists for the mid-day run-down of global events.
    Nuland said the State Department was investigating the conduct of one U.S. Embassy employee allegedly involved in an incident in Brazil, the second of two embarrassing scandals to emerge this month involving U.S. officials and sex workers in South America.
    One Department employee jokingly moved to cover his daughter’s ears as the discussion began, but for the most part the roughly half dozen children present stared dutifully at the floor from their seats along the sidelines of the briefing room. None asked any questions.
    The State Department has a “zero tolerance” policy for sexual misconduct, Nuland said.
    “Members of the Foreign Service are prohibited from engaging in notoriously disgraceful conduct which includes frequenting prostitutes and engaging in public or promiscuous sexual relations or engaging in sexual activity that could open the employee up to the possibility of blackmail, coercion or improper influence,” Nuland said.
    She noted that activities that could promote sex trafficking, which the State Department specifically targets as part of its human rights portfolio, were particularly out of bounds.
    “The department’s view is that people who buy sex acts fuel the demand for sex trafficking, and given our policies designed to help governments prevent sex trafficking, etc., it is not in keeping with the behavior that we want to advocate and display ourselves,” Nuland said.

    Secret Service Scandal Expands to El Salvador, Brazil Prostitute Sues
    Published April 26, 2012
    Fox News Latino
    After a sex scandal in Colombia, and accusations of Marines gallivanting with prostitutes in Brazil, now the Secret Service is saying it’s investigating more agents behaving badly, this time in El Salvador.
    The agency is probing an incident to determine whether its employees hired strippers and prostitutes in advance of President Barack Obama’s trip to El Salvador last year. The disclosure came hours after the Homeland Security secretary assured skeptical senators that a separate prostitution scandal in Colombia appeared to be an isolated incident.
    The El Salvador probe is the latest incident raising question of unprofessional behavior among federal agents in the wake of a widening prostitution scandal in Colombia. The latest allegation, by Seattle television station KIRO-TV, quoted anonymous sources as saying that Secret Service employees received sexual favors from strippers at a club in San Salvador and took prostitutes to their hotel rooms ahead of Obama’s visit there in March 2011.
    Prostitution is legal in both Colombia and El Salvador.
    Separately, the Washington Post earlier this week cited unnamed “confidants” of the Secret Service officers implicated in the Colombia scandal saying senior managers tolerated similar behavior during official trips.
    It described a visit to Buenos Aires in 2009 by former President Bill Clinton, whose protective detail it said included agents and uniformed officers. During that trip, the Post said, members of the detail went out for a late night of partying at strip clubs.

    • Report: Secret Service sex scandal spreads to El Salvador an agent said they “did this all the time”
      In El Salvador, KIRO-TV reporter Chris Halsne spoke to a U.S. government subcontractor who claims to have accompanied a group of Secret Service agents to a strip club shortly before Mr. Obama’s 2011 trip to the country. The subcontractor, who is not named in the KIRO-TV report, claims members of the Secret Service advance team received “sexual favors” in a VIP section of the club. Additionally, the subcontractor said at least two of the agents took escorts back to their hotel.
      According to the subcontractor, an agent said they “did this all the time” and “not to worry about it.”
      On “CBS This Morning” Thursday, Halsne told Erica Hill and Charlie Rose that the subcontractor mentioned the agents’ behavior to him last year while he was on assignment for another story in the country. Only after the Colombia scandal broke nearly two weeks ago did the subcontractor agree to talk about the 2011 trip on the record, Halsne said.

    Napolitano: Secret Service scandal ‘inexcusable’
    There was no risk to President Barack Obama as a result of a prostitution scandal at a Colombia hotel that involved a dozen Secret Service officers, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate panel Wednesday.
    Napolitano, who was facing questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee for the first time since the scandal erupted earlier this month, testified that the alleged behavior by Secret Service employees is “inexcusable” and a “thorough and full investigation is under way.” She said the officers’ behavior “was not part of the Secret Service way of doing business.”
    “All 12…have either faced personnel action or been cleared of serious misconduct,” Napolitano said. “We will not allow the actions of a few to tarnish the proud legacy of the Secret Service.”
    Napolitano also said part of the investigation will include a review of training to see “what if anything needs to be tightened up.”
    When asked by committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., if Secret Service officers are specifically training on issues related to having intimate relationships with foreign nationals, she said the training is “focused on professionalism, on conduct consistent of the highest moral standards.”

  14. Three more out at Secret Service
    Obama: ‘Knuckleheads’ shouldn’t discredit Secret Service
    President Obama defended the Secret Service today, saying that the “knuckleheads” implicated in the Colombian prostitution scandal shouldn’t discredit the entire agency.
    That brings to nine the number of Secret Service officials who have resigned, retired, or been fired over allegations of bringing prostitutes to hotel rooms in Cartagena, Colombia.
    The actions now account for all 12 agents initially implicated in the prostitution scandal. But U.S.Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said “the entire investigation is not over.”

    Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks on Human Trafficking for the Frank and Kula Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series
    Little Rock, Ark. ~ Tuesday, April 24, 2012
    Here in the United States, we can all be encouraged by the fact that policy leaders – from both parties – are deeply committed to this effort. Early in his Presidency, President Obama declared January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, calling on our nation to acknowledge modern-day slavery and to recommit ourselves to stopping and preventing human trafficking. This call has been echoed by many other key, committed leaders – from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia; by both Senators [Mark] Pryor and [John] Boozman; and by Governors, Mayors, Attorneys General, and District and County Attorneys nationwide. Let me assure you: the Department of Justice is committed – and I am committed – to answering this call.

    Detroit judge disrobes, texts photo to bailiff
    Third Circuit Judge Wade McCree, who specializes in sexual misconduct cases, admitted he texted a shirtless photo of himself to his bailiff’s cellphone, where her husband found it.
    The angry husband has filed a complaint with Michigan’s Judicial Tenure Commission, which declined to comment when contacted by on Tuesday, citing confidentiality requirements imposed by Michigan courts. It is not clear what penalty — if any — the married McCree faces for sending the photograph.

    Pope slams sex tourism and organ trafficking *new!
    Pope Benedict XVI called on the international community to tackle sex tourism and organ trafficking on Monday, slamming the abuse, torture and exploitation of minors in particular.
    Tourism can facilitate people trafficking “for sexual exploitation or organ harvesting, as well as the exploitation of minors,” the pope said in a speech to mark the 2012 World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Tourism.
    These are “evils that must be dealt with urgently since they trample upon the rights of millions of men and women, especially among the poor, minors and handicapped,” the pope said.
    The United Nations estimates there are around 2.5 million victims of human trafficking in the world at any one time.
    The pope — who has faced thousands of clerical sex abuse scandals in Europe and the US since becoming pontiff — condemned “the exploitation of minors, abandoned into the hands of individuals without scruples.”

    In Spain, Women Enslaved by a Boom in Brothel Tourism
    La Jonquera used to be a quiet border town where truckers rested and the French came looking for a deal on hand-painted pottery and leather goods. But these days, prostitution is big business here, as it is elsewhere in Spain, where it is essentially legal.
    While the rest of Spain’s economy may be struggling, experts say that prostitution — almost all of it involving the ruthless trafficking of foreign women — is booming, exploding into public view in small towns and big cities. The police recently rescued a 19-year-old Romanian woman from traffickers who had tattooed on her wrist a bar code and the amount she still owed them: more than $2,500.
    In the past, most customers were middle-aged men. But the boom here, experts say, is powered in large part by the desires of young men — many of them traveling in packs for the weekend — taking advantage of Europe’s cheap and nearly seamless travel.
    “The young used to go to discos,” said Francina Vila i Valls, Barcelona’s councilor for women and civil rights. “But now they go to brothels. It’s just another form of entertainment to them.”
    There is little reliable data on the subject. The State Department’s 2010 report on trafficking said that 200,000 to 400,000 women worked in prostitution in Spain. The report said that 90 percent were trafficked.

    America, Land of the Slaves: Domestic Sex Trafficking
    Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the United States (and the world). As of one year ago, I didn’t even know that sex trafficking happened on our streets. Prostitution, yes- Nevada still has legal brothels- but not trafficking. Not the luring, kidnapping, drugging, routinized raping, and killing (homicide is the leading cause of death in prostituted girls) of young girls for money. Sadly, I was blinded by a Western paternalism that points fingers at the rest while quietly committing homegrown crimes against humanity in every single state and every major city in the country. Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, I’m shocked.

    Repeating, reposting and sharing… thank you Lady Justice, the jury, prosecutors and law enforcement… indeed it is about time that everyone else took off their blinders to “Look Beneath The Surface”…
    Detroit man convicted of human trafficking
    A 33-year-old Detroit man has become the first person convicted under Michigan’s human trafficking law for forcing two teens into prostitution in the city, Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Friday.
    Sedrick Leman-Isaac Mitchell, also known as “Gruesome,” was convicted after a four-day jury trial on eight charges, including prostitution, racketeering and first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He faces up to life in prison when sentenced April 11.
    The charges stem from an investigation into a prostitution ring by Michigan State Police and the FBI through the Southeast Michigan Crimes Against Children Task Force.
    The investigation showed Mitchell recruited two girls, then 14 and 15, to prostitution in 2010 and 2011.
    They lived in a house on Detroit’s east side with other girls who prostituted for Mitchell and were forced to turn over their earnings to him under threats of violence.
    “We will remain vigilant in stopping those who seek to enslave our children and profit from human trafficking,” Andrew Arena, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit division, said in a statement.
    A state law banning human trafficking was strengthened in 2010 and those changes went into effect in April.

    Accountability & Action: USAID’s Counter-Trafficking Policy
    Posted by Sarah Mendelson on March 22, 2012
    Editor’s Note: This Sunday, March 25, marks the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade. We thought it would be a good opportunity to invite Sarah Mendelson to guest blog about an important new anti-trafficking initiative at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She is USAID’s deputy assistant administrator at the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict & Humanitarian Assistance.

    Shared Hope
    Vote for an amazing women and the founder of Shared Hope, Linda Smith, for the 10th annual Human Rights Award! Linda is a leader in the global movement to end sex trafficking of women and children around the world. She has worked tirelessly through her leadership to provide education and training, prevention strategies, research, and policy initiatives.!/entry/250602
    Submitted by: Shared Hope
    Linda Smith is a leader in the global movement to end sex trafficking of women and children around the world. In 1998, while still a member of the U.S. Congress, Linda traveled to Falkland Road in Mumbai, India—a notorious brothel district. The hopeless faces of women and children forced into prostitution compelled Linda to found Shared Hope International (SHI). Linda founded SHI to support care, shelter, education, and vocational training through the Women’s Investment Network (WIN) at Homes and Villages of Hope. SHI also provides leadership in education and training, prevention strategies, research, and policy initiatives.
    In 2011, Linda commissioned the Protected Innocence Initiative, a landmark initiative to comprehensively combat child sex trafficking by assessing US state laws and providing a blueprint for legislative action. Additionally, Linda designed an integrated training and awareness model, Do You Know Lacy?, aimed at educating a variety of audiences using a multi-dimensional approach.

    Report Human Trafficking, 24 Hours
    To report suspicious activity to law enforcement:
    To reach a non-governmental organization:
    National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline
    Human trafficking is a crime and a human rights abuse involving commercial sexual exploitation of a child or the use of force, coercion or fraud to compel someone into labor servitude or commercial sexual exploitation. Thousands of men, women, and children are trafficked in the United States every year.

    Please repeat, repost and share, asking your legislator(s) to pass and enact this bill…
    H.R.578 — No Parole for Sex Offenders Act (Introduced in House – IH)
    This Act may be cited as the `No Parole for Sex Offenders Act’.
    For the purposes of this Act:
    (1) CRIMINAL OFFENSE AGAINST A VICTIM WHO IS A MINOR- (A) The term `criminal offense against a victim who is a minor’ means any criminal offense in a range of offenses specified by State law which is comparable to or which exceeds the following range of offenses–
    (i) kidnapping of a minor, except by a parent;
    (ii) false imprisonment of a minor, except by a parent;
    (iii) criminal sexual conduct toward a minor;
    (iv) solicitation of a minor to engage in sexual conduct;
    (v) use of a minor in a sexual performance;
    (vi) solicitation of a minor to practice prostitution;
    (vii) any conduct that by its nature is a sexual offense against a minor;
    (viii) production or distribution of child pornography, as described in section 2251, 2252, or 2252A of title 18, United States Code; or
    (ix) an attempt to commit an offense described in any of clauses (i) through (viii), if the State–
    (I) makes such an attempt a criminal offense; and
    (II) chooses to include such an offense in those which are criminal offenses against a victim who is a minor for the purposes of this section.
    (B) For purposes of paragraph (1), conduct which is criminal only because of the age of the victim shall not be considered a criminal offense if the perpetrator is 18 years of age or younger.

    Woodhull is the first organization to ever get the issue of sexual freedom as a fundamental human right “on the table” at the United Nations, and we were especially happy to note that the Obama administration is taking human rights abuses against sex workers seriously, and is willing to stand up for what is right. It was particularly significant because this was the first time the United States accepted that sex workers’ rights are a different issue from human trafficking victims and that sex workers’ rights are human rights.
    Today we’d like to recognize the work that is being done in D.C. and throughout the country to protect the rights of sex workers, and reaffirm our commitment to achieving the goals outlined above. If you’d like to read more about the groups working on sex worker rights, check out this site. Also, Best Practices Policy Project, HIPS, and Different Avenues.

    Fighting Sex Trafficking, 1 Hotel Room At A Time
    Group Works To Identify Hotels Used By Traffickers
    Repeating, reposting and sharing (CNN) — Kimberly Ritter could not believe what she was seeing. Girls wearing almost nothing at all, suggesting all sorts of sexual acts, listed on page after page of’s escorts section. When she looked closer at the photos, she noticed something eerie. She could recognize the rooms.
    Ritter is a meeting planner at Nix Conference and Meeting Management of St. Louis. She and her co-workers work with 500 hotels around the world and visit about 50 properties annually. She can identify many hotel chains used in escort ads by their comforters, bathroom sinks, air conditioning units and door locks. Sometimes, she can also identify a specific property.
    Meet Kimberly Ritter, sex trafficking sleuth. A child protection code of conduct Ritter has become a force in the international anti-trafficking movement, where she uses her expertise to identify the mainstream middle-end and high-end hotels used by traffickers.

    On the heels of last week’s capture of a mother who allegedly made money selling her children for sex, John Walsh to take on fast-growing criminal industry by profiling individuals wanted in connection with rampant spread of modern-day slavery
    WASHINGTON, DC (February 13, 2012) – Lifetime is set to air a two-hour special edition of its pioneering crime-fighting series “America’s Most Wanted” that will focus on the rampant global problem of sex trafficking on Friday, February 24th, at 9:00pm ET/PT. Hosted by John Walsh, the special will take on one of the most illicit and overlooked crimes known to affect millions of women and children in the U.S. and across the globe. The special comes on the heels of last week’s capture of a Georgia mother featured on the December 16 episode of “America’s Most Wanted” for allegedly selling her two young daughters for sex.
    “Of all the people wanted for the most heinous crimes you could ever imagine, those involved in sex trafficking are some of the worst kinds of individuals ever to exist,” said Walsh. “They need to be stopped immediately and with the help of our Lifetime viewers, we’re going to put some of these sorry excuses for human beings away for a long time.”


    Slated for the November 2012 Statewide General Election Ballot, the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act will strengthen penalties against human trafficking and improve Megan’s Law against online predators.
    Victims are counting on you and California to speak up! Your signature will help place the CASE Act measure on the ballot so voters can vote for it. ****NEW DEADLINE: MAIL IN PETITIONS BY FEBRUARY 29, 2012****

    KY: Bill would strengthen penalties for human trafficking
    FRANKFORT, KY. — Advocates for victims of human trafficking urged passage Wednesday of legislation that would strengthen penalties for the crime.
    “This piece of legislation is needed specifically to further protect children who are victims of human trafficking,” said Rep. Sannie Overly, a Paris Democrat and sponsor of House Bill 350.
    Castellanos, who regularly conducts training for police officers, said the new legislation would provide more tools to law-enforcement officers for combatting trafficking and recognizing it when they see it.
    The new legislation also would target the customers fueling the demand for trafficking victims, not just the traffickers.
    “This is a demand-driven crime,” Castellanos said. “If it weren’t for the perpetrators who are purchasing these children for sex, (traffickers) wouldn’t have a business. Holding the buyers accountable is essential.”
    In Indiana, Gov. Mitch Daniels recently signed legislation toughening laws against human traffickers.

    Former cop charged in sex trafficking case
    Just last month, Bob Morrison, director of the non-profit Freedom and Restoration for Everyone Enslaved, held a workshop in Reading, teaching residents how to identify the signs of sex-trafficking.
    Morrison said the industry is lucrative and the demand is high.
    “You can imagine people being easily corrupted by being able to make that kind of money,” said Morrison. “So, it’s not a surprise that someone could be ensnared by something like that.”
    Officials said Paul Sewell and a partner, Michael Johnson, were charged by a federal grand jury in July 2010.
    U.S. authorities alleged that Miko wired money to Johnson’s prison account at the Federal Detention Center as a bribe, all to prevent criminal investigators from finding out that he, Miko, was involved in the business.
    “I believe everyone has their price. So, in a circumstance where there is that kind of opportunity, corruption can hit people at all levels,” said Morrison.

    Alleged Denver metro area sex ring exemplifies national trend in human trafficking
    The crime ring had all the makings of a traditional street gang: A clear hierarchy, members who tattooed the group’s name on their bodies, girlfriends at the ready to help cover their tracks.
    But rather than drugs and guns, the organization whose indictment was announced this week trafficked primarily in young girls, prosecutors have alleged.
    It’s a trend that, according to experts, is growing, not just overseas or in big port cities but in towns across the United States.
    It all comes down to what’s best for business: While commodities such as guns and drugs are gone once you sell them, a human-trafficking victim — isolated, afraid, potentially addicted or dependent in other ways — provides an ongoing profit stream.
    “For people who are ruthless and don’t care what they do to other human beings, it is a very attractive business proposition,” said Denver lawyer T. Markus Funk, a former federal prosecutor and co-author of the recent book “Child Exploitation and Trafficking.”
    The new law, which may be used against anyone accused of selling, trading or leasing another person, made trafficking a more serious felony than pimping or inducement of child prostitution.
    The 70-count indictment against 14 people announced Monday accuses four men of heading up the child-sex ring: Patrick Lloyd McGowan, 22; Chad Armand Gow, 20; Roy Manuel Ibarra-Gonzales, 20; and Bryan Steven Burns, 20.
    According to the indictment, starting in January 2011, the men began persuading girls under age 18 to prostitute themselves. The men lined up customers, coerced the women into having sex with them and kept the money the women made. The men also gave the women alcohol and drugs, and threatened them with violence, the indictment states. The indictment lists five women by initials only and does not state their ages.
    Funk called the indictment a “textbook case” of trafficking that is impressive because of the number of people indicted. But he said it’s nowhere near the end.
    “This is happening in virtually every medium- and large-sized city virtually every day of the week, every week of the year,” he said. “You see an arrest like this, it’s an indication of how much more of this is out there.”

    Women found dead linked to escort site, one woman missing
    January 31st, 2012 – The Detroit Police Department announced the deaths of four women in November. This week, three of these women have been linked to the adult escort services website Backpage. These women’s bodies were found in the trunks of cars in Detroit.
    Another woman, Kalisha Madden, has been missing since November 28th, 2011. Kalisha also worked in the sex industry as an exotic dancer. Ms. Madden is the mother of six children and greatly mourned by her community.
    The deaths and disappearances of sex workers are entirely too common in the United States. The United Nations recommended to the United States, “…ensure access to public services paying attention to the special vulnerability of sexual workers to violence and human rights abuses.” (UPR)
    If you have any information about Kalisha Madden, please contact the Detroit Police Department immediately.

    Prostitution sting shows human trafficking issue
    The sheriff thinks that people in the community should take a special interest in human trafficking, and hopes that a crackdown on prostitution will make criminals think twice before bringing the sex trade to the area.
    Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn says that the crime goes beyond those involved directly:
    “There are a lot of drugs that go with the prostitution, other crimes go here. Recently up in Detroit there were prostitutes that were hired and then murdered. And again, we don’t need those types of crimes, that type of violence going on in our community.”

    Montgomery County massage parlor owners charged with human-trafficking
    Montgomery County police said Friday that investigators began probing the businesses in September and found that they were were “havens” for human trafficking. Prostitution brothels were operating under the guise of being massage or acupressure parlors, according to police.
    Authorities charged 31-year-old Mauricio Alexa Garcia Guardia, operator of Executive Body Work at 966 Hungerford Drive; 48-year-old Howard Hao Wang, operator of Tropical Spa at 620 Hungerford Drive; 47-year-old Robert Carrasco, operator of Pink Spa at 932 Hungerford Drive; and 46-year-old Feng Liu, operator of Ya Ya Spa at 751 Rockville Pike.
    Guardia, Wang and Liu are charged with human trafficking; all four men are charged with conducting prostitution.

    At U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), we support the DHS Blue Campaign’s efforts to combat human trafficking by helping to protect victims of these horrible crimes. USCIS provides immigration relief in the form of T visas and U visas, which allow victims to remain in the United States and assist in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. These visas also provide a pathway to lawful permanent residence and permit certain family members to join them in the United States.
    For more information on the Department’s efforts to combat human trafficking, visit or In an emergency, call 911. To report human trafficking call the ICE tip line at 1-866-347-2423, and for related questions or to speak to a non-governmental representative, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.

    Human Trafficking Rescue Project
    Liu admitted that she fraudulently entered into employment contracts with two Filipino housekeepers, whom Liu then brought to the United States to work for her on B-1 visas. Liu paid them significantly less than the contractual amount and forced them to work excessive hours. Liu’s restitution payment represents full restitution for the hours they actually worked, based upon a work schedule of 16-18 hours per day, six-and-a-half days per week. The victims have been certified as victims of a severe form of human trafficking under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. As a result, they will receive government support for a T-visa, which would allow them to legally live and work in the United States.

    Metro Approves Knabe Sex Trafficking Campaign
    Metro will create a public awareness campaign related to human sex trafficking and post the information on buses, trains, and its website.
    The Metro Board today unanimously approved a public awareness campaign related to human sex trafficking spearheaded by Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, according to a news release.
    Metro plans to post information about sexually trafficked youth on Metro buses, rail cars, and trains, as well as at stations and on its website.

    How Pimps Use the Web to Sell Girls
    Lauren Hersh, the ace prosecutor in Brooklyn who leads the sex-trafficking unit there, says that of the 32 people she and her team have prosecuted in the last year and a half — typically involving victims aged 12 to 25 — a vast majority of the cases included girls marketed through Backpage ads.
    “Pimps are turning to the Internet,” said Hersh. “They’re not putting the girls on the street so much. Backpage is a great vehicle for pimps trying to sell girls.”
    Craigslist backed out of this sector after public protests. Pimps then moved to, which is owned by Village Voice Media, owners of The Village Voice weekly newspaper.
    Attorneys general from 48 states wrote a joint letter to Backpage, warning that it had become “a hub” for sex trafficking and calling on it to stop running adult services ads. The attorneys general said that they had identified cases in 22 different states in which pimps peddled underage girls through Backpage.
    The attorneys general cited a 15-year-old girl who was being forced to have sex with men last year in Dorchester, Mass. The pimp marketed the girl through Backpage.
    But Backpage isn’t budging. Indeed, it has fought back with personal attacks on those, such as Ashton Kutcher, who have linked it to human trafficking.

    Backpage Takes Heat For Prostitution Ads That Are Everywhere
    Backpage has taken a defiant tone with the AGs and prosecutors who accuse it of aiding prostitution. The company was recently blamed for prostitute killings in Detroit but Backpage showed that the victims had advertised on at least 15 other sites and there was no evidence the killer had relied on Backpage to find the victims. Its executives are quick to supply the links and Internet code words that show just how ubiquitous Internet prostitution really is. (Try searching for “BBBJ” or “talent gigs” and lots more action pops up.) While Craigslist and other sites have discouraged the use of phone numbers, advertisers simply spell them out or place them in photographs; Google the numbers and you’ll see they are often for dubious-looking escort services. Many of those even have explicit Google reviews.
    Kristof acknowledges “there’s some risk that pimps will migrate to new Web sites,” but it seems obvious they never left. So when the AGs declared victory over Craigslist in 2008, it may have been a little premature.

    Escort Ads, Sex Slaves and Four Dead Women
    Prostitution is dangerous, often deadly. According to Canadian figures, women who have been prostituted have a 40 times higher mortality rate than other women. As seen in our own backyard here in New York, a serial killer is believed to have targeted at least four sex workers who had advertised on Craigslist, dumping their bodies, and seven others, on or near Jones Beach Island on Long Island. Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer in Washington state, killed at least 48 women, and Willie Pickton, a pig farmer from near Vancouver, British Columbia, who confessed in 2007 to killing 49 women. These notorious serial killers targeted prostitutes specifically because they knew no one would be looking for them.
    Pimps and johns are not the ones who suffer in the sex trade. Prostituted people are far more likely to get arrested, go to jail, be killed, or become infected with diseases, compared to the people who use them. The Nordic Model of legislation, adopted in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, the Philippines and South Korea, is worth pursuing. It makes the purchase of sex a crime, so johns end up in trouble, not prostituted people. The laws reduced the demand for commercial sex, and in Sweden, have reduced the number of women in prostitution from 2,500 to 1,500 during the first three years. It recognizes that the human rights of prostituted people are far too often abused, and it punishes people who exploit other people’s bodies, instead of punishing the exploited people a second time, as our system too often does.
    Every prostituted person under 18 is a trafficking victim, and a rape victim. You can’t give consent if you haven’t reached the age of consent. Sex without consent is rape. And minors who are prostituted are automatically considered human trafficking victims, under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The act also considers adults to be trafficking victims if they are made to engage in a commercial sex act through “force, fraud, coercion” or any combination of the three.
    If can’t monitor its ads carefully enough to keep nudity out of its ads, how can anyone believe that it can keep underage people from being offered up for sale? How can it know that it isn’t advertising trafficked people, those who are selling their bodies as a result of fraud or coercion? It can’t. It should cease and desist. Today. Before another person affiliated with it — someone’s child, someone’s mother — shows up dead in a trunk in Detroit.

    Michigan Man Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Participating in International Child Pornography Ring and Producing Child Pornography
    Joshua Boras, of Lapeer, Mich., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips. In December 2010, Boras, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of participation in a child exploitation enterprise and one count of production of child pornography. Today’s sentencing is the result of an international investigation into the “Lost Boy” online bulletin board. The Lost Boy bulletin board, according to court documents and proceedings, was dedicated to men who have a sexual interest in young boys and was established to provide a forum to trade child pornography. Federal authorities, working in conjunction with a coalition of international law enforcement agencies, shut down the Lost Boy bulletin board approximately three years ago. As a result of the investigation, 16 named defendants were charged in the United States and arrested for their roles in the bulletin board. To date, 15 defendants have pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial, and one defendant died in custody. Approximately six more men have been charged with child molestation as a result of the investigation. The investigation also led to the identification of 27 domestic victims of child abuse, some of whom were portrayed in images posted to the Lost Boy bulletin board.

    DHS Blue Campaign Announces New Human Trafficking Trainings
    Human Trafficking Awareness Training
    Human trafficking is a hidden crime, and the first step to combating it is to identify victims so they can be rescued and help bring their perpetrators to justice. The Blue Campaign has developed awareness and training materials to help increase awareness and educate on the indicators of human trafficking.
    To learn the indicators of human trafficking and how you can report it, take our general awareness training.
    Take the training
    Take 5 minutes over a cup of coffee with your family, friends or colleagues to learn about Human Trafficking and what you can do to help stop it. Take the Human Trafficking “Coffee Break” Training (PDF, 1 page – 250 KB)
    As an employer or employee, find out what you can do to help fight human trafficking. You can take the individual training and you can also review the Blue Campaign Toolkit. You will also be able to download the Toolkit and forward it to your employees, colleagues, or industry association members to help raise awareness about human trafficking and the Department’s resources.
    Take 5 minutes over a cup of coffee with your family, friends or colleagues to learn about Human Trafficking and what you can do to help stop it. Take the Human Trafficking “Coffee Break” Training (PDF, 1 page – 250 KB)
    Law Enforcement
    We have collected a series of training resources from across the federal government as well as our private-sector partners to help train law enforcement officers on the indicators of human trafficking. Learn more.
    Federal Employees
    The Combating Human Trafficking Training for Acquisitions Personnel is specifically tailored for the U.S. Government acquisition workforce on combating human trafficking using the pertinent provisions of the federal acquisition regulations (FAR). The FAR provides remedies for the acquisition workforce to use against contractors who engage in human trafficking, including debarment. | view trailer | take training (login required)

    SD case could change some sex trafficking laws
    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The failure of federal prosecutors in South Dakota to successfully charge three men accused of trying to buy sex from minors with commercial sex trafficking has set up a court battle. The outcome could limit or expand the potential punishment for johns in underage prostitution cases.
    If U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson’s deputies are successful in an upcoming appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, anyone who tries to buy sex from underage girls over the Internet could be punished in the same manner as those who force underage girls into prostitution.
    There is little precedent for charging johns with sex trafficking, according to Renewal Forum President Steven Wagner. His organization focuses specifically on underage sex slavery in the United States. To date, no appeals court ruling exists on cases where johns are charged with commercial sex trafficking of a child.
    U.S. attorneys in Missouri have prosecuted and obtained guilty pleas for commercial sex trafficking from several johns, but most federal prosecutors don’t make the cases a priority, Wagner said.
    Wagner feels the aggressive approach and serious punishment is appropriate for buyers and worries that an appeals court decision in the South Dakota cases could sway other federal prosecutors from taking the same tack.
    “The failure of these cases could have a chilling effect across the country,” Wagner said.

    National Child Abuse Prevention Month (April)
    From The NCAPM (April) – Join Hearts and Hands by Joining Army Of Angels, Our Parent Organization
    Posted by Kathleen McLaughlin on January 24
    Army Of Angels is a national coalition of child advocacy businesses, groups, individuals, organizations & clubs dedicated to maintaining a safer world for children. Founded by Kathleen Moore, the group works to cultivate positive partnerships, shoring up resources necessary to embrace & support families, effectively shielding them from violence & crime.Join –….
    Spread the word. Every invitation counts:

    IJM is calling on 27,000 Americans to urge President Obama to help end slavery once and for all.
    Nearly 150 years ago, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation – but slavery endures here in the U.S. and around the world. Experts estimate there are 27 million people held in slavery today.
    It’s time to take a stand, and say to traffickers and slave-owners around the world: This ends with us. Sign the letter to President Obama and let your signature stand for 1000 people who need freedom.

    Human trafficking a growing crime in the U.S.
    DETROIT — A University of Michigan janitor. A Ukrainian nightclub owner. A Detroit man nicknamed “Gruesome.”
    The three men, authorities say, are all tied to a growing crime: human trafficking.
    According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking has become the second fastest growing criminal industry — just behind drug trafficking — with children accounting for roughly half of all victims. Of the 2,515 cases under investigation in the U.S. in 2010, more than 1,000 involved children.
    And those are only the ones we know of. Too often, authorities say, victims stay silent out of fear, so no one knows they exist.

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