Category: States

Over 100 arrested during undercover human trafficking operation in Hillsborough County

Sheriff Chad Chronister, with Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in FL, said among the most disturbing arrests involved Jason Fitzgerald, 36, and Luis Colon, 29. An undercover detective posed as a stepfather with a 14-year-old girl, and arranged a time for the two men to perform sex acts on the fictitious child. The sheriff said the acts they requested to do are “so repulsive, that I won’t even begin to describe them.”

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South Jersey men forced women into their sex trafficking ring for years, jury finds

Two South Jersey men, Barry “Bear” Schiff, 52, of Galloway, and Kenneth J. Crowell, 35, of Blackwood, ran an organized sex trafficking ring stretching into Pennsylvania, coercing and forcing six young women into sex work and collecting the profits. One victim told police that Schiff threatened to “chop her up into little pieces and throw her in the river” when she said she didn’t want to work for him anymore.

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Selah Freedom opens safe house for trafficking victims

Selah Freedom, a Florida-based charity organization with a mission to end sex trafficking, recently opened its newest, and largest, safe house at an undisclosed Kenosha County, WI location. It will offer a safe residential program for those rescued from sex trafficking, educational planning, job placement, trauma therapy, life skills, and medical assistance.

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Man charged with sex trafficking, luring victims through website promising help

South Florida man, William Foster, 48, formed a fake nonprofit called “Foster’s Care.” Its sophisticated website claimed it provided free service to victims of human trafficking. Foster targeted young women in group homes, shelters, or those working at strip clubs, particularly low-end ones, where the teens were likely to have violent pimps they wanted to escape.

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Statewide anti-human trafficking campaign launches in Tyler

The campaign called “Can You See Me?” includes a series of billboards depicting scenarios of the most common forms of human trafficking in the U.S. They are displayed in public spaces and transportation hubs across Texas to equip the public to recognize indicators and report suspicious behavior to dedicated hotline numbers.

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Reflection Ministries prepares to open village for human trafficking victims

Reflection Ministries of Texas is set to open “The Village” – a set of homes that will house victims of human trafficking – at the beginning of next year. Lisa Bownds, founder of Reflection Ministries, said they have several acres of land with five cottages. Four of the cottages will be used for housing and the last cottage will be a multi-purpose building used for counseling, therapeutic services and training classes.

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Sex traffickers using social media to target children

Cindy Malott, Director of Advocacy Services for Crisis Aid International, works with survivors of sex trafficking. She said social media is now the “most common way” she sees traffickers are making initial contact with victims. “Every app you can imagine,” said Malott. “Even apps specifically focused for young children.”

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Trafficking victims can clear arrest records, but it isn’t easy

Florida law that passed in 2013 allows victims of human trafficking to clear records of arrests that resulted, but process can be slow and complicated. The Justice Restoration Center in Dunedin, FL, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping trafficking victims erase criminal records. Executive director Brent Woody said Florida has the best such law in the nation, and his organization has worked with more than 200 victims.

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Police: Ellington man, owner of ‘sex dungeon’ arrested again in human trafficking investigation

Simon Hessler, 47, of Ellington, CT, has been charged with four counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and four counts of risk of injury to a child. Hessler was previously arrested last year after seeking out girls between the ages of 10 and 12 online with the intent to train a young girl in his “slave quarters” and have sex with the girl.

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Advocates in State College Urge Education and Training on Human Trafficking “In Your Backyard” At Summit

In 2018, 127 cases of human trafficking were reported in Pennsylvania, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. At the 2019 Rural Human Trafficking Summit hosted by the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health at Penn State Tuesday, advocates said that to target and stop trafficking, the public needs to first recognize the situation.

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Bombshell $10M suit claims two NYC hotels turned a blind eye to sex trafficking

The trafficker would always pay for the rooms in cash and when he didn’t have money for rooms at the Econo Lodge in N.Y.C., NY, he allowed hotel staff to rape the 10-year-old girl “in lieu of his payment for the rooms,” the papers show. There was even a bowl of free condoms displayed at the front desk that the victim would use when they ran out, the suit states.

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Human trafficking lurks in Sunshine State’s shadows. Join the anti-trafficking movement. | Opinion

“Thanks to many years in the fight, nonprofits have the insight and resources needed to craft effective legislation and policies. USIAHT, for instance, offers a program called the “TraffickingFree Zone” that equips businesses, churches, counties and other communities to reduce demand and combat trafficking.” writes Sharon Bates, an abolitionist with the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking.

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North Bay runaway teen turns up in Oakland, 32-year-old man charged with trafficking her

Kevin Fuqua, who authorities wrote goes by the nickname “Knote,” was pimping a teen girl who had run away from her home in Solano County, CA. Investigators say they uncovered text messages that indicate Fuqua was physically abusing the girl. Fuqua knew the girl was underage — having attended her 17th birthday months before the arrest — and forced her to walk areas known for prostitution until she made $500 per night.

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D.C. leaders hear from public over proposal to decriminalize sex work

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.

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Former Sex Workers See Value in Trafficking Education

This month, Florida became the first state in the nation requiring sex-trafficking education as part of every student’s curriculum. “Tragically, human trafficking is an epidemic in our country,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said upon passage of the new rule. “Children of all ages need to know and understand the hazards of human trafficking and how to protect themselves from dangerous predators.”

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Kansas Made This Sex Trafficking Survivor A Criminal — She Wants Another Chance

Hope Joy Zeferjohn, a Topeka, KS native, became a victim of the commercial sex trade while in state custody, ran away, and was sent to prison for aggravated human trafficking. Despite federal and state laws that bar prosecuting children for prostitution, Zeferjohn is serving a nearly six-year sentence in the Topeka Correctional Facility and will spend a lifetime on the state sex offender registry.

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How Pace in Ormond Beach is working to prevent human trafficking

Pace Center for Girls has a specific focus on preventing sex trafficking. Pace Center for Girls works towards long-term solutions by building resiliency through gender-responsive services and support (including physical health, mental health, legal, and education); social emotional learning; and developing coping skills in a safe and trusted environment.

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Porn Producers Accused of Fooling Women Get Sex Trafficking Charges

The owners, Michael James Pratt, 36, and Matthew Isaac Wolfe, 37, and two employees, Ruben Andre Garcia, 31, and Valorie Moser, 37, of two popular pornographic websites were charged this week in San Diego, CA with sex trafficking and other crimes. Using “deception and false promises” they lured women who had answered modeling advertisements on Craigslist to participate in sex videos that were posted on the internet.

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200 Filipino Nurses Win Human Trafficking Case vs New York Nursing Home

The New York lawsuit stated that employees were required to pay a contract termination fee of up to $25,000 if they left before the end of their term. US District Judge Nina Gershon found owners Benjamin Landa and Bent Philipson liable for violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). This act “prohibits the use of threats of serious harm or abuse of legal process to obtain the labor or services of a person.” This not only includes physical abuse, but also circumstances where employees are forced to work to avoid getting harmed.”

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7 men convicted for sexual exploitation of a minor following Mohave County-led sting operations

The Sheriff’s Office released an update of the results of seven of those arrests Wednesday through a press release “in an effort to promote transparency. ”Each man was arrested on multiple counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and was subsequently convicted. They have each received either jail or prison terms. No minors were harmed during the sting operations, Anita Mortensen, spokeswoman for the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, told St. George News Wednesday.

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