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.
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. Throughout April, Fairfax County Police Department has arrested dozens of men this month in connection with an online child predator sting. “Operation COVID Crackdown.” The age of the men ranges from 20 to 74, they reportedly used online platforms to “initiate explicit conversations and solicit sex from police officers posing as children.”
ANTIOCH, CA— 30-year-old, Cedric West, is facing felony charges of human trafficking; an enhancement alleges he beat his victim, a 16-year-old girl known in court records only as “Jane Doe,” with a bottle. The charging records he “inflicted great bodily injury” in November 2018.
Austin, TX. Advocates say the pandemic has made it harder for victims of human trafficking and other types of abuse to leave dangerous situations. Korin Arkin who manages the National Human Trafficking Hotline’s call response says economic instability breeds the type of vulnerability that sex and labor traffickers prey on.
Steven is the co-founder CEO of Valiant Consultants, a US-based firm that offers automation services for Amazon and helps survivors of sex trafficking. Each time an Amazon store opens with Steve’s team, 5% of profits go to Amazon partners that help prevent and work toward stopping sex traffickers. Steve has opened over 600 stores and has given back thousands of dollars to survivors of sex trafficking.
Terrell “Supreme” Armstead, 29, faces a mandatory minimum 15-year prison sentence after a jury in U.S. District Court in Washington convicted him. Armstead was convicted on one count of sex trafficking by a federal jury in a seven day trial.
According to charging documents, Armstead used an Instagram hashtag “#TeamSupreme” to advertise a commercial prostitution business. Prosecutors said he posted videos, images of cash and asked “Who wants to join TeamSupreme?” Armstead also promoted “the choosing season,” when pimps seek recruits or try to persuade women already working for other traffickers to change allegiances.
58-year-old Kenneth Wayne Hart has been convicted in a federal drug and sex trafficking case for prostituting women in the District and in Maryland and using the Internet to advertise, according to federal prosecutors.
He was also found guilty of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking along with sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion. Hart ran a prostitution business that recruited women to engage in sex acts. supplied the women with heroin and crack cocaine and threatened to withhold drugs.
A Scores strip club in Florida employed a “severely” disabled 17-year-old sex trafficking victim with a fake ID and allowed her to be groped and molested by grownup males, a scathing lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges.
The woman, recognized in courtroom papers as Jane Doe, was developmentally 13 years outdated when her trafficker introduced her to the chain’s Tampa location. For the following three days, the minor was plied with Xanax and booze by the club and different dancers, supplied cocaine and was pressured to carry out “sexually express acts.”
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.”
After being released from prison in 2010, ex FBI informant, Ray Lawrence moved into his daughter’s dormitory in NY City. Soon, he started doing “therapy sessions” with her roommates, convincing them that they were broken and need of fixing and that he could help them.