Indianapolis – August 15, 2021 – Ahead of the 2021 NFL season, five nonprofit organizations have convened an alliance to combat the sexual abuse and exploitation of children – a global crisis widely believed to worsen leading up to and during major sporting and entertainment events. The alliance aims to educate the public on the perennial nature and warning signs of human trafficking, empower them to report suspicious activity, and provide resources to victims and those most vulnerable to exploitation.
The success of the TFZ program led elected leaders in Alabama to enact public policies during the recently concluded state legislative session that will positively impact the lives of survivors of sex trafficking, crackdown on sex buyers and better identify victims of trafficking.
Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) Board of Trustees has formally proclaimed the college a Trafficking Free Zone. The board officially approved a resolution at its May meeting, in support of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT) Trafficking Free Zones program.
EICC asks the citizens of its Clinton, Jackson, Muscatine, Scott, Cedar, Dubuque, Johnson and Louisa County service area to join in learning more about human trafficking and eliminating it in all its forms.
Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that John Adams, 41, Mercedes Hampton-Devero, 28, Malachai Kendall, 20, and Chukuw Ossai, 31, all of Philadelphia, PA, were arrested and charged in two separate Indictments with sex trafficking of minors. Kendall was also charged with both production and distribution of child pornography, and Adams was also charged with tampering with evidence in a federal investigation.
Fifty-seven people were arrested after being accused of operating a sex trafficking operation, according to San Joaquin County Sheriff’s officials.
Sheriff’s officials said 17 law enforcement agencies, which was spearheaded by Lathrop Police Services, worked on the sting operation from April 12 to 16. They say they arrested would-be predators who thought they were meeting up with a 13-year-old child. Among those who were arrested in the alleged trafficking operation, charges include being child sex predators, being out-of-compliance sex offenders, human trafficking, pimping or pandering, prostitution, solicitation, possession of a firearm, and traffic citations. Law enforcement also cited 37 people.
A woman has been charged with trafficking multiple victims for sex through Crystal’s Day Spa in Revere, an alleged front for human trafficking, the attorney general said.
Geralda De Matos Garland, 57, of Revere, was arrested on Friday and charged with trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, deriving support from prostitution, money laundering and conspiracy, the Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday.
Chris Bates was 16 years old when he started selling nude photos of himself on the internet to adult men who pressured him for more and more images.
The demands snowballed into riskier requests, and within months the gay Connecticut teen was trading sex for dinners out, designer sneakers and other luxuries.
Bates says he was lured by the attention and what appeared to be easy money. He secretly hoped his financially struggling single mother, or anybody, would notice what was happening and protect him.
No one did — and within two years, the tall, lanky youth was living alone in a dilapidated apartment, prostituting himself to get by. His home — and an array of hotel rooms in Connecticut and Massachusetts — became a “revolving door” of sex buyers.
“I really thought I was the bad person selling myself,’’ said Bates, now 26 and living in Worcester. “I didn’t realize that I was a victim.”
In February 2020, Vestavia Hills police were able to rescue four children from trafficking and arrest the man suspected of trafficking them.
Capt. Johnny Evans with the Vestavia Hills Police Department said without the training they received as part of being named a “Human TraffickingFree Zone” in November 2019, they might not have been able to spot what was happening.
As the city continues to train its employees on how to spot and prevent human trafficking, the Police Department is seeing success in cracking down on these cases.
“Our officers now, when they’re dealing with people, know to look for certain things,” Evans said. “We’ve really been able to notice more of the signs.”
Becoming a “Human TraffickingFree Zone” is part of the Child Trafficking Solutions Project, formed in response to the passage of the state’s Safe Harbor Act, created by former state Rep. Jack Williams from Vestavia Hills.
A federal grand jury has indicted a Hollywood man and a Miami Gardens woman for the alleged sex trafficking of a 16-year-old girl.
Frantz Mersier, 30, and Paula Barboza, 25, are accused of offering a place to stay to the teenager who was a runaway from a group home, prosecutors said. According to court documents, Mersier took in the girl Dec. 6 and said she could sleep on the couch. He eventually had sex with the teen and set her up for prostitution in the three days that followed.
Barboza took naked photographs of the girl and posted them on websites known to advertise for prostitution. Then, Mersier and Barboza sold the teen for sex to four different men in Broward for $100 each. On Dec. 9, the girl called a relative and law enforcement came to get her later that day.
Sixteen missing children have been rescued after a month long operation by the US Marshals Service.
At least four of the recovered youngsters were connected to child sex trafficking in the Philadelphia area, officials say.
Authorities began Operation Safeguard on 5 February when a marshals task force took over 26 missing children cases at the request of law enforcement agencies. The marshals said that the children were considered some of the most at risk cases in the Philadelphia area, based on sex trafficking, exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse and medical or mental health conditions.
BC staff have been angered by a warning in an internal memo against using the word paedophile to describe a child sex predator.
The email sent by a senior producer told staff in the Tasmanian bureau to avoid the term paedophile even in cases where offenders had a long history of abusing children to avoid ‘marginalising’ anyone.
The justification used was advice from Tasmania’s Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS), which told an ABC reporter that use of the word could stop abusers seeking treatment therefore making it more likely they’d continue offending.
The Sports World Against Trafficking (SWAT) League announced today that it is launching the Blue B Safety Code, a simple, effective technology-based solution aimed at parents and caregivers to promote child safety. This is the first of many initiatives they are developing in their mission to eradicate human trafficking. Over 70% of survivors surveyed stated that this code would have allowed them to leave their trafficking situation sooner. Of this same group of survivors, 34% stated that they would likely have never been trafficked.
On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Maggie Hassan (D-Catherine Cortez Masto Senator nevadaN.H.), and Representatives Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio-16), Annie Kuster (N.H.-02), Guy Reschenthaler (Pa.-14), and Lucy McBath (Ga.-06) in reintroducing the END Child Exploitation Act, legislation designed to extend the period of time that technology companies are required to preserve information about child sexual abuse images they report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
The Phoenix Police Department, in partnership with other Arizona authorities, on Friday announced 37 arrests in connection to human trafficking and sex crimes. Undercover police placed ads on websites commonly sought out by suspects seeking illegal sex acts with children as part of an investigation dubbed Operation Broken Hearts. The probe targeted “sexual predators engaged in child sex crimes and human trafficking,” Phoenix police wrote in a Friday Facebook post.
Tampa, Fla. – Today, the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT) announced results from Project ReachOut to provide services to victims and potential victims of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LV week in Tampa.
Utilizing integrated online technologies to allow victims of trafficking and individuals at high risk of being trafficked, to reach local service providers, Project Reach Out distributed over 5,800 text messages resulting in 4,325 contacts with victims and potential victims.
Local governments also have backed efforts to prevent human trafficking and to raise public awareness about the issue, with county boards in Pasco and Hillsborough counties declaring January as human trafficking awareness month.
Natalie Kehn, director of outreach for the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, works to cast a spotlight on the problem, to promote education and prevention efforts and to seek help for people who have been victimized by the crime.
Legislators are taking aim at human trafficking this session with proposed laws that would help victims by making it easier to erase an arrest record and by requiring hotels and motels to stop offering hourly rates. HB 5557 proposed by Rep. Jillian Gilchrest, D-West Hartford, who heads the state’s Trafficking in Persons Council, would make it easier for victims to have a conviction erased if their crime is related to victimization due to human trafficking.
TAMPA (WFLA) – Super Bowls bring excitement, big personalities, and big money to town when the games are played. Experts on human trafficking say they also bring opportunities for the exploitation of vulnerable people.
“It can happen at any kind of big event where you are going to have a lot of men in one area away from their families,” said Micah Washinski with the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking.
We need your help to ensure that the Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF) places male victims of sex trafficking under the age of 18 at USIAHT’s Florida Safe Home.
Florida DCF identified 376 male youth victims between 2017-2019, while USIAHT’s Florida safe home provided care for only 19 victims during that period.
The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking needs your help to stop Congress from cutting over $1 Billion from victim service programs.
The U.S. Congress is working this week on the FY 2021 federal budget and initial drafts of the legislation include a 40% cut to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). These funds are earmarked for victims of crime and for grants to non-profit organizations who provide services to crime victims, and now Congress is attempting to take that money and spend it on other government programs.
The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT), in partnership with the law firm of Serrano | McGuire, is launching the first of its kind online campaign to intercept online sex buyers looking to purchase sex during events leading up to Super Bowl LV on Sunday, February 7, 2021, in Tampa, Florida.
Operation Stomp Out will utilize integrated online technologies to disrupt sex trafficking operations as traffickers and sex buyers descend on Tampa during the two weeks surrounding Super Bowl LV.
“The Super Bowl brings thousands of sex buyers, traffickers, and victims to the host city every year, and we expect Tampa to be no different,” said USIAHT Chairman Kevin Malone. “We are fully prepared to intervene in sex trafficking operations using the most advanced technology available to stop the purchase of sex before it happens and provide resources to victims.”
Over the past few months, while many of us were preoccupied with politics and the pandemic, U.S. Marshals bravely carried out a series of nationwide operations that rescued hundreds of human trafficking victims in at least seven states. These victimized women, runaway youngsters and children had been enslaved into a dangerous and deadly lifestyle by criminals who used their captives’ bodies to enrich themselves.
The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking actively engages federal, state, and local government officials who sit in a position to enact public policies to assist us in our fight to eradicate sex trafficking in the United States. USIAHT understands that the federal government plays a crucial role in combatting sex trafficking. A part of our mission is to educate and enlist Congress members in the fight.
The Bible says, “My people perish from lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) Without knowledge, we are powerless; but how can we obtain this knowledge?
This knowledge must be paired with action. All of us working toward eradicating sex trafficking demand more than rhetoric; we demand solutions. This standard inspired USIAHT to develop this inaugural Congressional Scorecard. The first system that rates members of the U.S. Congress on their commitment to enacting legislation to hold traffickers and sex buyers accountable, protect vulnerable populations, and meet survivors’ complex needs.
This grading system is designed to hold federal officeholders accountable for their attempts to improve or impede the federal response to combatting domestic human trafficking and educate the public on how federal elected officials perform in this fight.
We ask that you join us in this effort to hold elected officials accountable for their actions and share this Congressional Scorecard with coworkers, friends, and family.
Kevin Malone, Chairman of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, issued the following statement following passage of Senate Bill 145 in the California Assembly to remove the requirement that adults convicted of having sex with a teenager between the ages 14 to 17 must register as a sex-offender.
WASHINGTON (WJW/AP) — President Donald Trump says human trafficking has increased and dangers for survivors have heightened during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Department of Justice has issued $35 million in grants to 73 organizations nationwide providing assistance to human trafficking victims,” Trump said.
Trump explained that human trafficking poses a threat both domestically and internationally.
“You think of human trafficking as being an ancient form of crime. It is not. Because of the internet, it’s a very modern crime all over the world, not just here,” said Trump. “My administration will never rest in the fight against human trafficking.”
Barr called human trafficking an “evil scourge,” and he thanked President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka for working to end human trafficking and help survivors. Beyond the financial support, Barr said his department will do everything possible to “investigate, prosecute and punish” traffickers.
The $35 million in Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Human Trafficking is being provided by the Office for Victims of Crime within the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs to provide housing and services to human trafficking survivors.
Fort Worth, Texas– In 2019, U.S. prosecutions under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 declined for the second year in a row. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, are demonstrating strong bi-partisan commitment to passing stronger federal legislation to improve victims’ services and strengthen law enforcement response to human trafficking.
Clinton, Iowa– The Pitt County Sheriff’s Office has assigned their first and only full-time human trafficking investigator. “They’re going to have somebody now that’s going to work with them from beginning to end,” said Sheriff Paula Dance. “Not just an officer that comes to take a report and you never see them again.”
Lake County, California– Human trafficking victims in California can now qualify for up to $20,000 in income loss paid through the California Victim Compensation Board. Signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Assembly Bill 629 (Smith and Gonzalez) has gone into effect to address the lasting repercussions of trafficking.
Washington, DC — A South Korean court has denied a US extradition request for the man behind one of the world’s largest child sexual abuse websites, Son Jong-woo. He served 18 months in South Korea for producing and distributing indecent images of children. Following his initial release in April, Son was taken back into custody after a warrant was issued for US extradition. But he will now be released again after the request was denied.
Tampa, Fla. – Kevin Malone released this statement following the arrest today of Ghislaine Maxwell, associate of Jeffrey Epstein: “Ghislaine Maxwell recruited, coerced, and abused innocent young girls to be repeatedly raped by pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and his pedophile associates across the world and we pray the justice system holds her accountable for her heinous crimes. We pray that prosecutors pursue Biblical justice as explained in the New Testament book of James that “the lamp of the wicked will be put out.”
PIERRE, S.D. — Legislation to better protect and help victims of human trafficking in South Dakota will take effect on July 1. “This bill takes important steps to protect our state from the horrors of human trafficking, crack down on traffickers, and provide for victims through expanded services and resources”, said Governor Noem.
Dallas, Texas — Cyntoia Brown Long says sex trafficking is often not “black and white” and there is no “perfect victim,” as evidenced by her own case and the ongoing case of Chrystul Kizer, a teenager who is accused of killing her alleged sex trafficker and was released on bond last week.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT) today announced support for the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act (Act) to end the use of “warrant-proof” encrypted technology utilized by sex traffickers and buyers to conceal their criminal activities.
Atlanta, Georgia– The Georgia Senate passed legislation Thursday that would punish convicted human traffickers who transport victims via commercial vehicles by banning them from obtaining a commercial driver’s license. House Bill 823, by Rep. Houston Gaines, would impose a lifetime ban on driving a commercial vehicle for persons convicted of human trafficking-related offenses.
“We are especially excited that our friend Heather Fischer has been appointed Special Advisor for Human Trafficking”, said CEO Kevin Malone. “I have worked alongside Heather on many efforts to stop human trafficking in the United States and abroad. She is one of the most passionate and capable champions in this fight and will be an invaluable ally for those of us on the front lines fighting this scourge.”
Auburn, Alabama– Multiple agencies in Lee County have gotten together this year to discuss the growing problem of sex and human trafficking. “[There are] kids [who] don’t really have a way to make money, a lot of times they have to do things that they don’t like to do in order to get food, to get shelter,” Teresa Collier, an intelligence analyst, said. “So a lot of times what we see are those runaway kids, they’re engaging in survival sex.”
Sacramento, California — With signers from 192 countries, anti-trafficking expert Laila Mickelwait’s “Traffickinghub” petition to shut down Pornhub for allegedly enabling and profiting from the sex trafficking and rape of women and children on the site has surpassed one million signatures.
Mississippi– A human trafficking bill championed by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn survived the Senate on committee deadline day Tuesday. HB 1559 was designed to directly address the housing service gap for minors who are trafficking victims.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) needs to act now, according to the bishops, because first “there are direct victims: the persons used in the productions. Many have their consent (even if technically legal) compromised by desperate circumstances while, for others, consent is completely absent.”
“The department rightly pursues human traffickers; however, virtually unchecked proliferation of pornography fuels the demand that frequently results in commercial sexual exploitation,” said the bishops. Unprecedented, unlimited, and anonymous access to pornography via modern technology has led users to seek more and more extreme videos.”
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Human traffickers aren’t stopping despite the health threats from COVID-19—and neither will we cease our efforts to stop them. It is abhorrent that unscrupulous individuals would take advantage of the pandemic and try to lure people through the use of force, fraud or coercion for nefarious purposes when so many find themselves on hard times. We need to continue to be vigilant in our fight to combat human trafficking. Know the signs of human trafficking, and if you see something, say something
AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that his office, leading the Human Trafficking Prevention Coordinating Council, released Phase I of a five-year strategic plan to halt and prevent human trafficking in Texas. The Coordinating Council is the first single entity in the state to focus solely on coordinating efforts to combat human trafficking, and the strategic plan uses a multi-phased, integrative approach to eradicating and preventing this heinous crime.
A law passed by Congress in 2005 mandated that the Justice Department provide research, statistical review and analysis of severe trafficking of persons every two years in order to know the scope of the problem. Unfortunately, only one was ever done, in 2009.
This new bill will mandate that a comprehensive national study on human trafficking will be conducted every two years there will be statistical information available to the public to see as well as help experts in human trafficking to learn how human traffickers are currently operating and how to stop them. Kevin Malone, president of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, said that these national studies “would be a tremendous help because a lot of people don’t believe the problem exists.”
“The anti-trafficking community received a major shot in the arm this morning with President Trump’s announcement,” said Lance Lemmonds of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking. “President Trump has committed more federal resources and more national focus on combating the systematic buying and selling of our nation’s kids than any administration in history.”
On January 31, 2020, “Trump signed an executive order Friday creating a position within his domestic policy team dedicated solely to fighting human trafficking. The order proposes an additional $42 million in funding for service programs and prosecutions…The order also establishes a federal working group on housing for trafficking survivors and a website listing the government’s anti-trafficking resources.”
New York Senator Alessandra Biaggi noted that “human-traffickers rely heavily on public transportation to move their victims, in plain sight, across the country.” In his veto memo, Cuomo noted that the New York Interagency Task Force Against Human Trafficking already offers a training that “meets the minimum requirements” outlined in Biaggi’s bill.
Weeks after a human trafficking sting netted more than 100 arrests in Hillsborough County, FL. commissioners took a step Wednesday to eradicate forced labor, domestic servitude and sexual exploitation within its borders.
Radisson Hotel Group announced a partnership with ECPAT-USA, a policy organization seeking to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and has become the latest hospitality company to sign the organization’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, joining several hotel, airline and travel management companies.
A bill that would decriminalize the selling and buying of sex in the nation’s capital will NOT move forward this year, lawmakers said, after an emotional hearing and thousands of emails revealed deep divisions among D.C. residents. Similar proposals in New York and Massachusetts, among other states, have also failed to gain ground.
The Senate Education Committee unanimously passed the bill on Tuesday. The curriculum would be part of public schools’ health education and would focus on how to recognize and understand human trafficking.
Ohio lawmakers proposed a bill to create a public registry that will include the names of people who are convicted of buying sexual services. The bill’s goal is to increase penalties for johns and pimps.
U.S. District Judge Miranda Du in Reno, NV, said in her ruling “that plaintiffs were unlawfully forced into prostitution and sex trafficked in Nevada and other states is not sufficiently traceable to Nevada laws … as opposed to other factors, namely the illicit behaviors of private bad actors.”
“The real issue lies in demand for sex with young people, with millions of Americans seeking out and purchasing sex with our most vulnerable citizens. As more and more buyers enter the market, sex trafficking of vulnerable youth will increase exponentially because of the statutory protections afforded by legalized prostitution.” writes Kevin Malone, President of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking.
Dane County, WI Executive Joe Parisi announced that he’s including $80,000 in his 2020 budge to create a new position for Project Respect, a program that helps juvenile and adult survivors of trafficking.
The bill at the center of the hearing would amend existing city laws to eliminate criminal penalties for selling or buying sex in the District. If passed, it would make the District the only U.S. jurisdiction to legalize prostitution, outside of some areas of Nevada where legal brothels exist. Prostitution involving minors and coercing others to engage in sex work against their will would remain illegal.
A diversion program for victims of human trafficking is spreading to cities around the country. The model has roots in Columbus, Ohio, where a judge decided to direct women toward rehabilitation instead of jail.
State leaders, law enforcement and experts in the field of trafficking joined survivors at the Human Trafficking Summit Monday in Orlando. Speaking at the summit, Governor Ron DeSantis said ending sex trafficking begins with prosecuting traffickers and clients.
News that Epstein, a billionaire who made his money as a financier, used Teterboro as home base for his fleet of private planes, and that he allegedly trafficked underage girls through the airport, was first reported last week by NorthJersey.com and the USA TODAY NETWORK.
Attorney General Ashley Moody held a meeting Wednesday with the Statewide Council on Human trafficking in Tampa. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chronister and Pasco County Sheriff Nocco spoke to address the Super Bowl being held in Tampa in 2021.
Alexander Acosta, the US labor secretary under fire for having granted Jeffrey Epstein immunity from federal prosecution in 2008, after the billionaire was investigated for having run a child sex trafficking ring, is proposing 80% funding cuts for the government agency that combats child sex trafficking.
Democratic Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed the legislation, which passed unanimously in the House and Senate, that rids victims of sex trafficking — even those who cannot prove they were trafficked — from prostitution convictions, so as long as they are not convicted of other crimes for three years, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The judgment means Backpage.com, LLC, Website Technologies, LLC, Posting Solutions, LLC, and Amstel River Holdings, LLC will have their certificates of formation cancelled 31 days after the current federal criminal charges against the company are resolved.
State lawmakers are pushing a bill that would create a public database, similar to the state’s registry of sex offenders, that would list the names, photographs and addresses of pimps and johns who are convicted.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to human trafficking. My bill is a commonsense solution to hold countries accountable. Understanding where this money comes from and where it’s going gives countries the ability to crack down on these crimes.
ICE says there were 849 human trafficking investigations in 2018, they say there were 1,500 arrests and 538 convictions and the agency wants people partaking in big events to be on the lookout for possible victims.
“We are excited to build this Human Trafficking Unit with dedicated staff who will work every day to protect our state’s most vulnerable and put buyers and traffickers behind bars,” Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement.
Laws cracking down on human trafficking are on the books in all 50 states, but convictions are notoriously elusive, and state prosecutors haven’t come close to matching the success their federal counterparts have had in winning cases.
“As I always say, every issue does not necessarily need a law if people are willing to take on these issues voluntarily,” Attorney General Ashley Moody, who chairs the statewide Council on Human Trafficking, said Friday during a meeting of the panel.
Traffickers who sell women and children for sex in Nebraska could have their phones tapped by law enforcement and face prosecution years or even decades after their crimes under a sweeping new bill set for legislative debate.
A Tuscon, AZ. man who was a high school volleyball coach will avoid jail time after having been convicted of having sex with one of his players. The roommate of Robert Forman II roommate became suspicious that she might be an underage student player as well as the victim’s parents then saw their daughter leaving Forman’s house.
The posters are required to be placed in or near bathrooms in hotels, airports, train and bus stations, urgent care centers, emergency rooms, strip clubs, women’s health centers, abortion facilities, family planning clinics, truck stops, roadside rest areas and more.
Strip clubs will be classified as adult theaters to ensure they’ll be regulated by the state under a legislative crackdown aimed at preventing human trafficking. Bill classifies strip clubs as adult theater so state can regulate them, protect childrenStuart Rep. Toby Overdorf co-sponsored House Bill 851 and added the adult-theater classification, in part to ensure strip club owners don’t hire underage employees.
The vote was 112-0 Thursday for the bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Patricia Williams of Fort Lauderdale and Republican Rep. Rene Plasencia of Titusville, FL. The measure would include human trafficking in the health classes currently taught in Florida public schools.
“The support of my administration and the strength of the Heart of Texas Human Trafficking Coalition is having an impact, not only in Central Texas, but throughout the state,” Det. Joseph Scaramucci told KWTX.
Scaramucci was the keynote speaker at the fundraising luncheon at the Austin Country Club in Austin, TX. Within one hour, the event raised more than $300,000.
Human trafficking cases initiated in fed court dropped 29% last yr. This survivor has a message for people who think it’s not happening here: “I was trafficked in Jacksonville in the year 2013 for about nine months… It’s definitely happening in Jacksonville.” said Jenna Bourne
When state Rep. Vincent Pedone, D-Worcester, stepped up to Statehouse podium in 2006 to call for the regulation of massage therapy, he was quickly met by laughter and catcalls that filled the chamber and cut him short. The bill that passed that day — despite lawmakers’ laughter, but policymakers and society still don’t take massage, and the human traffickers who increasingly hide behind it, seriously.
Nevada lawmakers are considering a bill that takes the first step toward treating survivors of child sex exploitation as victims, not criminals. Assembly Bill 151 ensures Nevada’s compliance with federal law requiring states to tweak their child abuse and neglect statutes to include sex trafficking.
Unlike the portrayals popularized by Liam Neeson’s 2008 film thriller, human trafficking victims are rarely snatched during vacation getaways or from coffee shops, and they are rarely sympathetic characters with squeaky clean backgrounds, Libby Coles, chairwoman of the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission.
“They answer misleading ads for “massage” work, are forced to live in substandard conditions, work illegal hours “on call,” and made to feel through fear and violence that they have no choice but to comply, says Rep. Yvonne Lopez of New Jersey.
Punish buyers. Provide services to victims. Raise awareness at sites where human trafficking takes place the most. Those were the top-line recommendations Monday as the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee heard testimony from experts on the issue.
The state of Nevada’s Senate Bill 7, if adopted, would additionally provide that a customer who violates such a prohibition by knowingly soliciting a child who is less than 14 years of age for prostitution is committing a sex trafficking crime, and therefore is guilty of a Category A Felony, life in prison with possible parole after 15 years.
Under House Bill 397, which is a safe harbor law sponsored by Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold, those who were under the age of 18 when convicted of prostitution could apply to court for a clean slate. Under the current law, defendants have to prove they were coerced into prostitution.