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.
Human trafficking can be an invisible crime, but it’s happening right here in North Carolina. Stopping it will require a joint effort between individuals and organizations throughout the community. It’s often the people who don’t think they’re in a position to help who can make the greatest difference. Collaboration between individuals and community organizations is essential to increasing awareness, spotting trafficking, and improving services for victims.
Predators from North and South Carolina traveled to York County looking for sex with children as young as 10, deputies said Monday. Deputies said 10 people were arrested in “Operation Home Alone,” which was underway from March 10-14. The operation took place at several different spots, including an abandoned home in Fort Mill, South Carolina, deputies said.
“Seven of the 10 arrestees, dubbed as travelers, actually came to the residence or attempted to come to the residence of the operation,” deputies said. “The ages of the children they thought they were coming to have sex with were 10 to 17 years old.”
York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson described the web as having “holes” and “crannies” that can be used for people to prey on children.
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.”
Human trafficking has become a major problem around the world, but students at one Georgia middle school are developing a plan to help combat the issue.
Tucker Middle School was named a semifinalist in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, which encourages students to solve real-world issues using STEM. The idea is that the device can be installed like a fire alarm in airplane bathrooms that triggers a silent alarm to alert flight attendants, pilots, and the authorities.
The device will also release an adhesive for the victim to wear so that they can be tracked after getting off the plane.
HOUSTON – A 26-year-old Houston man has been ordered to prison following his convictions of sex trafficking of a minor and conspiracy to do so, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Trevien Thomas aka Triggah pleaded guilty Jan. 6.
Today, U.S. District Judge Nancy F. Atlas handed Thomas a 300-month sentence. At the hearing, the court heard a statement from the victim’s mother and sister as well as letters from the victim and others detailing the emotional, physical and financial impact of what Thomas did.
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.
Moncton’s YWCA is beginning a new project that aims to raise awareness of human trafficking — and prevent it. The Brave YW project is for girls, women, and non-binary youth aged 11 to 19.
Participants will get help with access to housing, food, mentors, counseling, and training in things like digital literacy and online safety.
They’ll also help to develop resources such as safety plans and guides about warning signs and how to help a friend who is being exploited.
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.
A woman has been sentenced to 50 years in state prison for forcing a 17-year-old girl to act as a sex slave at hotels in Mercer County three years ago, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
Ashley Gardener, 32, of Trenton, received her sentence in Mercer County Superior Court on Thursday.
She was convicted by a Mercer County jury in October 2019 of first degree conspiracy, first degree human trafficking, second degree facilitating human trafficking, first degree promoting prostitution of a minor, first degree promoting organized street crime and second degree endangering the welfare of a child.
Miami Beach Police Department officers arrested seven men on Thursday night after an investigation that lasted weeks resulted in two search warrants at two apartment buildings along the 700th block of Jefferson Avenue in South Beach. On Feb. 17, a 23-year-old victim of human trafficking that was trapped in the area called 911 to ask for help just before a severe beating.
The victim told officers she was struggling with suicidal ideations and described how she had been trapped in a cycle of abuse, prostitution, and addiction since the coronavirus pandemic began, police said.
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.
The Salvation Army is partnering with Catholic Charities to provide housing for victims of sex and human trafficking crimes.
The safe house is secure and not open to the public, but professionals provide meals, life-skill classes, and case management for the victims. The new grant gave Catholic Charities half a million dollars and a partnership with the Salvation Army which will allow them to house victims anywhere between 6-24 months.
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.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office seized the opportunity and made a record number of arrests during the Super Bowl week, as well as the recovery of six individuals believed to be victims of human trafficking. Throughout the course of the investigation dubbed “Operation Game Over,” which started Monday, February 1, 2021 and ended Saturday, February 6, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested a total of 75 people who were seeking to either buy or sell sex.
The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking would like to thank ABC News and Jackie Callaway for the opportunity to show the continued efforts we are doing with putting an end to human trafficking. The U. S. Institute Against Human Trafficking uses specialized software to find and reach victims virtually, said Natalie Kehn, director of operations for the organization, who runs its “Project Reach Out.” The institute uses the software to scrape tens of thousands of locally posted sex ads.
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.
Officials in California recovered 33 missing children during Human Trafficking Awareness Month. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the children were found as part of the “Operation Lost Angels” initiative that began on January 11. Authorities say that of the 33 children recovered, at least eight had been sexually exploited.
Jacksonville FL — In a press conference promoting human trafficking awareness
Tuesday, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams announced that Jacksonville Police, along with other community partners, were involved in rescuing or identifying 35 victims of human trafficking locally in 2020. Williams says of those 35, 8 were juveniles. Those numbers are up from 2019. We reported last year when JSO announced 19 people were rescued in 2019.
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.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Twenty-two suspects were arrested after multiple law enforcement agencies in Tampa Bay teamed up to crack down on human trafficking.
Undercover detectives set up at an undisclosed motel and responded to online ads for commercial sex that had human trafficking indicators. When those responding to the ads showed up to the motel to engage in prostitution, they were screened to see if they were potential human trafficking victims.
Internet-savvy pimps are using social media to recruit young girls who have been left dislocated or economically vulnerable by the pandemic, according to a New York City detective.
Lt. Amy Caponga of the New York Police Department (NYPD) sex trafficking team says messaging apps are often used to control the girls’ movements once they’ve been trafficked and mobile payment services like Venmo exploited to get the money.
One impact of their broadening operations since the onset of COVID-19: some hotels and motels in the New York City area, once filled with tourists, have become sites for prostitution, Lt. Caponga told a recent webinar organized by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) – An undercover investigation by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office busted a human trafficking operation on Oct. 15.
The sheriff’s office said numerous women were detained for further investigation, as well as offered victim services and evaluations at the Akron General Hospital SANE Unit.
Three of those women accepted the offer for victim services, according to the sheriff.
‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ is the popular saying. The phrase is thought to have originated in part from the legal brothels of Nevada, where men are assured of anonymity. These brothels have been considered a necessary service industry in the area since the 19th century, when Nevada was populated almost entirely by male gold prospectors. There are currently 21 legal brothels in operation across seven of Nevada’s counties, and I’ve visited seven — as a journalist, not as a sex buyer. What I saw and learned was horrible.
The CEO of a California-based food company has resigned after he was charged and arrested for engaging in sexual relations with two underage girls, prosecutors said.
Ian Charles Schenkel, of Newport Beach, has formally stepped down from his role as chief executive officer of Haliburton International Foods on Friday.
Schenkel, 59, founded Haliburton International Foods in 1992 and has overseen the company’s expansion for the nearly three decades. Schenkel’s resignation comes after he was accused of engaging in prostitution with a 15-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl.
Amanda Emilia Perez, of Huntington Beach, was also charged with pimping and pandering for arranging to bring the underage girls to him for sex.
‘The exploitation of children for sex acts shocks the public conscience,’ said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.
‘It is reprehensible and it is unlawful. We will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law and we will work to ensure the judicial system protects these vulnerable victims.’
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested more than two dozen unlicensed contractors throughout a 10-day sting. The undercover operation was conducted in Sun City Center, an area where many elderly residents often fall victim to cons and scams, including construction fraud. Among the 27 people arrested, was a high-risk sexual offender on felony probation and a man who showed up to work with cocaine in his possession.
HUDSON — Police say a downtown massage parlor was a front for a prostitution and human trafficking ring.
Hudson police, in a joint investigation with the FBI’s Boston Division’s Child Exploitation-Human Trafficking Task Force, arrested three people Thursday at the Anjun Spa, 157 Main St., after an investigation, Police Chief Richard DiPersio said.
“Our detectives do a great job of monitoring these type of cases,” he said. “We received several tips from the communities, and we began this investigation several weeks ago.”
The police and FBI task force worked with the state Division of Professional Licensure Investigations to identify businesses that exploit children or traffic in adults for sexual purposes.
“Operation Patriot,” a collaborative human trafficking sting operation between 23 agencies, has resulted in 46 arrests and the rescue of five victims.
The arrests took place in two missions over a four-day span in September.
The first sting took place in Missouri City when undercover officers identified and arrested suspected human traffickers and sex buyers, commonly called “johns,” the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s office said. Officers also identified and rescued multiple victims.
A US man convicted of running a sex trafficking ring out of his elderly parents’ sprawling suburban home was sentenced today to nine and a half years in prison.
Raymond Rodio III, 49, was arrested in April 2019 and pleaded guilty in February this year to charges including sex trafficking and promoting prostitution.
After he completes his prison sentence, The Long Island man must register as a sex offender and spend five years under court supervision.
“This defendant had a sex dungeon in his parents’ home and forced women into sex slavery,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said.
LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury today returned a superseding indictment that charges a San Gabriel Valley woman with sex trafficking five immigrant women by hiring them to work at massage parlors and forcing them to engage in commercial sex acts.
Mei Xing, 59, a.k.a. “Xing Mei,” “Anna,” and “Boss,” of San Gabriel, is charged with five counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion. Xing previously was indicted on June 12 on one count of sex trafficking, and today’s charging document adds four additional victims.
PALM DESERT – Thirteen suspects were arrested on prostitution charges during a 12-hour Solicitation of Prostitution operation in the city of Palm Desert. On 09/23/2020, members of the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT) with the assistance of the Palm Desert Special Enforcement Team (SET) and Palm Desert Business District Team (BDT), conducted the sex trafficking demand reduction operation from 11 AM until 11 PM.
ATLANTA — U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr says the federal government is awarding more than $100 million in grants to target human trafficking.
The money will go to task forces combating human trafficking, to victim services and victim housing.
Barr made the announcement Monday in Atlanta with presidential adviser Ivanka Trump and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
President Donald Trump’s administration in August awarded $35 million in Justice Department grants to organizations that provide safe housing for victims of human trafficking.
The Honorable William K. Sessions III sentenced Brian Folks, 45, to twenty-two years and six months in prison today, followed by ten years of supervision upon release. A federal jury in Burlington, Vermont, previously found Folks guilty of 13 federal felonies after a nearly three-week trial back in May 2019. Evidence presented at trial showed that Folks ran an extensive and violent sex and drug trafficking operation that sold heroin and cocaine base throughout the greater Burlington area and forced young, drug-addicted women to prostitute.
Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s oldest daughter and one of his top advisers, will pay a visit to Atlanta with U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Monday.
A White House official confirmed the visit to Channel 2′s Richard Elliot. The trip plans to highlight the Trump administration’s initiatives to protect survivors of human trafficking.
Trump and Barr will meet with Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia first lady Marty Kemp, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and state and federal law enforcement.
“The Trump administration continues to fight tirelessly to end the scourge of human trafficking in our communities. The leaders and community members we’re meeting with in Atlanta are on the front lines of this fight and are critical to our efforts to end this horrific crime,” Ivanka Trump said. “I look forward to learning more about the critical services they provide and announcing additional funding and resources from the Trump administration to assist in these efforts.”
DALLAS — Two Dallas men were arrested Sept. 9 after a grand jury indicted them on charges of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and sex trafficking of children, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Texas.
A third man, accused of advertising sex with a minor online, is already in federal custody and faces the same charges.
Investigators rescued the girl after posing as a buyer responding to the online advertisement. The victim was “clearly a child under the age of 18 in both her physical appearance and mannerisms,” according to a search warrant application written by investigators.
Kention Obryan Johnson, 35, and Sergio Trinidad Carvajal, 30, visited the hotel room where the child was kept, according to the U.S. Attorney.
Two Prattville women were charged with human trafficking after they were allegedly caught encouraging other women to engage in sexual activity for money.
According to court records, a 21-year-old woman was arrested Saturday about 9:30 p.m. at a downtown Montgomery hotel after she enticed another woman to assist her in performing a sexual massage. The woman, unbeknownst to her, had coordinated a meeting with an undercover law enforcement officer by answering a message on a website, according to her arrest affidavit.
The U.S. Marshals Service recently launched a nationwide effort to recover missing and exploited children. Three major operations rescued over 100 children, many of them from sex traffickers. But a disturbing trend discovered during the operation should launch a nationwide investigation into the American child welfare system. PJ Media reached out to USMS for details on the rescued children and was told that the majority of them came from foster care. This information was ignored in the initial media reports on the operation. Dave Oney, press contact at the USMS, responded via email to questions about the rescued children.
Former detective Christopher Butts, along with five other men, were arrested following a months-long operative against child sex crimes.
PHOENIX — A former detective with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is accused of trying to entice a minor for sex for the second time this year.
The arrest came after a month-long sting operation to catch sexual predators in a joint law enforcement operation called “Operation Home Alone 2” in Pinal County.
“Operation Home Alone 2” was designed as a proactive operation to combat child sexual exploitation and child sex trafficking. Between Aug. 26 and Sept. 3 multiple arrests were made as a result.
Over the last five days 18, people were arrested in San Joaquin County for attempting to have sexual contact with a minor – tying the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department’s record for an operation of that type.
And with additional resources allocated to the investigation including some provided from the Federal government, the net for nabbing those who would wish to harm a minor was much larger this time around.
According to Lathrop Police Chief Ryan Biedermann, the operation also included representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the California Department of Justice, and even the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office that aided in apprehending somebody who was aggressively pursuing the undercover decoy online but was outside of the operation’s jurisdiction.
The U.S. Marshals announced this week that they had located and rescued eight missing children in Indiana. The missing children recovered in “Operation Homecoming” were said to be “highly endangered.”
The children were “considered to be some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases in the area based on indications of high-risk factors such as victimization of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sex abuse, physical abuse and medical or mental health conditions,” according to the statement released by the U.S. Marshals Service, Southern District of Indiana.
(LUBBOCK, TX) – The Lubbock Police Department’s Special Operations Division, Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigation Division, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and Homeland Security Investigations conducted a two-day prostitution operation, August 31 through September 2, at local hotels on Avenue Q which resulted in fifteen arrests
GREAT FALLS — Corey James Cannon has been charged in Great Falls with aggravated promotion of prostitution.
On August 25th, the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) consulted with Great Falls police officers about an ongoing investigation regarding Cannon, who is an active-duty airman assigned to Malmstrom Air Force Base.
Court documents state that Cannon attempted to have sexual contact with a youth in Great Falls and was arrested on or about August 6th. OSI took jurisdiction of that investigation and seized Cannon’s phone.
Dozens of kids were rescued in “Operation Not Forgotten” this week. While most of the activity in the investigation was in the Atlanta area, WSB-TV reports that three arrests were made right here in Pinellas County. The two week search for missing children was an effort to find victims of sex trafficking. In all there were 9 arrests. Three of them were at an unnamed motel in Clearwater.
James Garcia has been charged with aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy and incest with a minor. WSB reports a U.S. Marshal Senior Inspector says Garcia was found in the Clearwater motel with a missing 3 year old.
PHOENIX — Mesa police arrested eight suspects as part of an undercover operation targeting child sex crimes and human trafficking, the department announced Thursday.
Operation Vampire Cough had officers and undercover detectives placing advertisements on websites commonly used by individuals to seek out illegal sex acts.
Suspects solicited or made deals for various child sex acts and were subsequently arrested, the department said.
ATLANTA – Law enforcement officers describe them as some of the most challenging recovery cases in the state, but Thursday the U.S. Marshals Service announced the rescue of 39 missing children from all over Georgia.
During a two-week-long effort, dubbed “Operation Not Forgotten,” the Marshals Service worked with state and local law enforcement to rescue 26 children and safely locate another 13.
A 15-year-old girl said she was passed off to multiple men in exchange for money, Kentucky police said.
Steven Hargrove, 40, of La Vergne, Tennessee, was involved with the girl for “some time,” according to Kentucky State Police.
The girl’s mother said she was following a vehicle her missing daughter was in Monday night in Daviess County, state police said. She told police the car stopped at a gas station, where an officer soon arrived, according to an arrest citation.
Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said at a Wednesday, Aug. 19, press conference that Matthew J. Hyde, 40 believed he was speaking to two 14-year-old girls who really were sheriff’s deputies acting as “chatters.” “He had a 15-minute phone call with one of our decoys,” noted Swanson. “In his truck when he was arrested, he had two loaded firearms, a police ID, a police badge of which he was not associated with.” Hyde also previously worked as an officer for the Mt. Morris Police Department, Clayton Township Police Department, as well as a Genesee County Parks ranger.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday arrested the pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, alleging that he groomed and sexually assaulted minors for years, beginning in Toledo, OH. Special Agent in Charge Eric Smith said the Rev. Michael Zacharias, 53, is believed to have groomed and sexually assaulted minors since the late 1990s.
Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Acting Chief of Investigations Christoph Kimker and Parsippany Police Chief Andrew Miller announce the arrest of Mcquacy Goodridge, 28, of West Orange, NJ. Goodridge has been charged with four counts of Human Trafficking, Sexual Assault, Promoting Prostitution, Criminal Coercion, and Terroristic Threats.
GENESEE COUNTY, MI – A law enforcement operation targeting child traffickers led to the arrest of 17 people. Over the course of five months, Swanson said that a team in his department known as GHOST – the Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team – had set up six stings, during which law enforcement agents posed as 13, 14, and 15-year-old children on social media sites.
Morris County, NJ. Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Acting Chief of Investigations Christoph Kimker and Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department Chief Andrew Miller, announce the arrest of Mcquacy Goodridge, 28, West Orange. Goodridge has been charged with four counts of Human Trafficking, in violation of N.J.S.A.
MIAMI — A 17-year-old South Florida boy is facing sex trafficking charges after being accused of selling a 14-year-old girl on social media. Miami Springs police officers were called to the Runway Motel on Tuesday night to check on a teenage girl who had run away from home after a family dispute.
LANCASTER, PA — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that Barry Schiff was sentenced to 55-141 years in prison on charges of human trafficking and related offenses. “Schiff deliberately chose vulnerable victims—women and girls who were marginalized members of their communities– and sexually, physically, and emotionally abused them. These women and girls endured dehumanizing exploitation by countless people.
With children and adults spending more time online due to virtual learning and increased working from home, the center says there are more opportunities for children to be exploited online. The center says in the first quarter of the year they became aware of predators openly discussing the pandemic as an opportunity to entice unsupervised children into producing sexually explicit material.
In recent weeks, the sheriff said 16 men have been arrested for soliciting sex with undercover detectives they believed were minors. They were swept up in what the Hillsborough County, FL. Sheriff’s Office calls “Operation Small Talk,” an online chat operation. Some of the men included a former sergeant with a Tampa Bay-area law enforcement agency and a registered sex offender.
“The overall goal … was to locate and arrest subjects who were willing to make overt efforts to pay minors to engage in sexual acts,” the department said in a statement. The suspects contacted officers they believed were 15 or 16 year old girls and agreed to exchange money, drugs or alcohol for sexual acts Killeen, Texas Police said.
(KUTV) — A Kearns, Utah man is facing child sex trafficking charges — accused of forming a relationship with a young teen, and using that relationship to victimize the girl to make money.
According to charging documents, Craig Thomas Defa, 27, met the girl when she was 14 and he was 22, back in 2015. Two weeks into their relationship, it became sexual.
LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) – With more children at home, experts across the nation are predicting higher rates of human trafficking, and with many students being schooled virtually, the cause for concern is even higher.
According to Pittman, with more children at home, sex trafficking and other crimes are a concern.
“One thing for any parent when it comes to anything when it comes to your child of any age is to be aware,” Pittman said. “Be involved, be aware of what your child is doing, be aware of who they’re with, who’s their social circles, who’s their friends.”
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Detectives arrested 15 people, including a California Highway Patrol officer and a prison employee, after they allegedly tried to meet minors to engage in sex acts.
Kern County Sheriff’s Office investigators posed as children online to meet the suspected predators, who ranged in age from 21 to 54 years old.
“The detectives received numerous correspondence from child predators, who agreed to meet in order to engage in lewd acts with a child,” a sheriff’s release said. “Undercover detectives subsequently arrested the suspects when they arrived at the meeting location, while others were arrested at their homes.”
Nashua, New Hampshire – Eight people were arrested Wednesday following an investigation into the large number of reported cases regarding child exploitation on the internet during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities said.
Las Vegas, NV– A fourth man was arrested as part of Monday’s online prostitution sting aimed at combatting the online sexual exploitation of children. Each was apprehended on suspicion of attempting to solicit a 15-year-old girl for prostitution. The arrests unfolded during a sting carried out by an FBI Child Exploitation task force.
Newbury Port, Maine – A 42-year-old volunteer firefighter was arraigned Friday in Newburyport District Court on 20 counts relating to an online undercover Newbury police sting targeting sexual exploitation of children.
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.
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.
Dallas, Texas — U.S. Atty Erin Nealy Cox announced the seizure of the “online successor to Backpage”, a website that has facilitated many cases of youth trafficking. “DOJ didn’t stop with Backpage, and we’re not going to stop with CityXGuide,” Nealy Cox said as she assessed what’s in store for the North Texas Trafficking Task Force. “If you are going to facilitate exploitation online, we’re not going to hesitate to seize your site and bring charges against you.”
Franklin County, KY — On June 24, 2020, the Kentucky State Police Electronic Crime Branch arrested Tim Riggs, 63, on charges related to child sexual abuse material. Riggs was arrested as the result of an undercover Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) investigation. The investigation was initiated after discovering the suspect distributing and possessing prepubescent child sexual abuse material online.
Ohio– The U.S. Attorney’s Office, for the southern district of Ohio, says 28-year-old Nicholas Salvadore Cochran was sentenced 42 years in prison. Aside from the prison time, Cochran has been ordered to pay full restitution to the victim, court costs, and a fine, as well as remain under court supervision for life.
Boyle County, Kentucky– A man was arrested as the result of an undercover Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) investigation. The KSP Electronic Crime Branch began the investigation after discovering the suspect was uploading images of child sexual exploitation online.
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.
Columbia County, Georgia — COLUMBIA COUNTY (WFXG) – On Friday, June 5 the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, assisted by the Thomson Regional GBI Office, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and the GA Department of Community Supervision executed multiple search warrants in Columbia and Richmond counties. Officials searched the home of Mark Christopher Greene and charged him with three counts of possession of child pornography and three counts of distribution of child pornography.
Green Lake, Wisconsin– The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin has filed charges against Julio Cesar Veleta Veleta, 35, and Amabilio Garcia Rivera, 32, for sex trafficking; sex trafficking by fraud, force and coercion; and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking, according to the criminal complaint.
Princeton, Minnesota — According to complaints filed in Mille Lacs County District Court, a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension human trafficking task force officer was alerted to information from a confidential informant that Deitrich and Miller had been offering sexual intercourse with Deitrich and a juvenile female for sale to a third party in exchange for money and methamphetamine.
Glasgow, KY — Following an investigation that began after a February complaint, Barren County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Terry Hagan, 55, Friday on a charge of promoting human trafficking victim under 18 years old and five counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performance by a minor, according to his arrest citation.
WSJ SPECIAL REPORT– Jennifer Gross had warned her 12-year-old daughter about the potential dangers of socializing with strangers online, but said the message had often fallen on deaf ears. Now the preteen understands the concern. Since mid-March, the daughter has received several flirtatious messages from accounts that appeared to be from adult men on Instagram, Mrs. Gross said.
Hollywood, Alabama — Police in Hollywood arrested a 78-year-old man on multiple charges related to solicitation of a child. Officers from the Hollywood Police Department received information that Lipham was contacting male juveniles via Facebook messenger soliciting them for inappropriate images and videos.
South Fulton, Georgia– A 15-year-old victim was rescued and a suspect arrested as a result of a trafficking investigation on Tuesday, police said on Facebook. The suspect faces a host of charges related to trafficking, abuse, and exploitation. According to the police department, two other cases of possible human trafficking were investigated in South Fulton this month. Two more victims were rescued.
Memphis, Tenn.– D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee announced an indictment agains a 54-year-old registered sex offender. The indictment alleges that in February 2020, Patterson was found to be in possession of a cell phone that contained images and videos of child pornography. Further investigation resulted in identification of the children depicted, and Patterson’s role in producing the images and videos, which were made between December 2019 and February 2020. The children were all under twelve years of age, and at least one was younger than ten.
Bolstering our nation’s efforts to identify missing and exploited children, Verizon is partnering with NCMEC to strategically utilize online ad space. NCMEC’s founder John Walsh reports, “This innovative partnership will allow NCMEC to reach vast new audiences through Verizon’s digital media assets, and we believe this increased exposure will directly result in more missing children coming home safely.”
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — A 15-year-old girl is back home after she was recovered from a 31-year-old man’s apartment after she had been reported missing since April. The suspect, Jerreck Hillard, 31, was arrested without incident. At the time of his arrest, he was out on bond on three other felony charges. “Child sex trafficking is a despicable crime,” said Pct. 5 Constable Ted Heap. “Thanks to the hard work of our Major Offenders Division and the DPS, we were able to get this teenage victim out of harm’s way and back home.”
PHILADELPHIA — On May 19, ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced that a man pleaded guilty to charges of manufacturing and attempted manufacturing of child pornography. These charges arose from the defendant’s sexual abuse of an infant and his videotaping of that abuse. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 200 years’ imprisonment and a mandatory minimum term of 15 years.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 19,000 individuals for crimes against children
PORTLAND, Ore. — Three people have been indicted by a grand jury in connection with an on-going human sex trafficking investigation, according to the district attorney’s office. According to court records, the alleged crimes occurred in 2019 and 2020 and involved a minor victim. This case is being prosecuted by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking Team, which includes two attorneys, an investigator and a victim advocate.
Minnesota– The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension recorded more than 1,000 complaints involving child pornography or other forms of cyber exploitation of minors in March and April 2020. The disturbing statistic represents a 30% increase in complaints received over the same period last year. Sadly, the spike in reports of online child exploitation while the United States is under lockdown isn’t unique to Minnesota. The National Center of Missing and Exploited Children recorded more than 6 million tips concerning online child exploitation in March and April 2020. This figure is three times higher than the number recorded over the same time period in 2019.
WASHINGTON, DC- A former colleague of Attorney General William Barr is backing a letter from three Catholic bishops asking Barr to aggressively pursue anti-obscenity prosecutions in the wake of increased traffic to online pornography sites with the onset of COVID-19. The bishops’ letter followed a March 9 request by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska for a federal investigation into Pornhub, one of the largest online porn sites. “Pornhub’s incredible reach has a much darker side than the image of harmless fun that it tries to project,” Sasse wrote. He cited a case from last October in Florida in which the abductor of a 15-year-old girl was charged with uploading more than 60 videos of her exploitation to the site.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced the creation of a Human Trafficking Bureau that is exclusively dedicated to combating sex and labor trafficking by aggressively prosecuting traffickers and buyers of sex. The bureau will also connect survivors of trafficking with meaningful services to empower them to escape their traffickers. “The sex trafficking industry is brutal, degrading and illegal enterprise that far too often profits by forcing women, children and members of our transgender community into prostitution,” Katz said. “This new and dedicated bureau within my office will combat those who would victimize others with aggressive investigations to end this industry.”
Atlanta based BARK, a technological parental monitoring tool, specifically reported a 23 percent increase in online predators they have had to report to law enforcement since the quarantine began. Their data is supported by a recent alert by the FBI that warns parents to be vigilant about screen time. BARK says as soon as children are old enough to use technology, they’re old enough to hear about tricky people who might try to talk to them online.
A Clayton County man has been charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of children, according to the GBI. “This arrest came after an investigation … into the possible sexual exploitation of children via an online service,” a spokeswoman wrote. The agency has made multiple arrests across the state as part of its efforts to identify people who are involved in the child pornography trade and the online sexual exploitation of children.
San Luis Obispo County officials are encouraging parents and families to be wary of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) as children are spending more time out of the classroom and on the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Linda Belch, adult and children’s services deputy director, says it is important for families to have open, regular conversations with children about the importance of cyber safety.
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.”
“As we move forward to take our next steps to better identify and support youth who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation, I hope agencies across the country can apply the lessons learned by L.A. County and apply them during this COVID-19 era and provide victims the services and ongoing support that they need,” said Michelle Guymon, who founded and leads the CTU.
Authorities in Oregon arrested Oeming in January as part of a sting operation targeting child prostitution. He was charged with online sexual corruption of a child in the first degree and booked into the Lane County Jail.