Category: States

Trafficker sentenced for forcing undocumented immigrants to work on Ohio farms

Toledo, Ohio — Pablo Ramirez was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $70,000 fine in a trafficking-related case. “Ramirez exploited the desperation of migrant workers and, in some instances, their children for his own personal financial gain,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “Human trafficking can take many forms, and this sentence reflects the Justice Department’s commitment to combat this plague in every shape it takes.”

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Ohio man gets 42 years in prison for sex trafficking 14-year-old girl

Lima, Ohio — Man sentenced to nearly 42 years for sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl. As part of his sentence, Cochran will pay full restitution to the victim and others impacted by the crimes. “While unthinkable to most of us, sex trafficking of children is real and organized,” said David M. DeVillers, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus. “We must recognize the unthinkable and report suspicious activity for the sake of our most vulnerable”.

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Feds rescue 13-year-old girl and takedown online successor to Backpage

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.”

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Kentucky State Police Charge Man With Child Sexual Exploitation Offenses

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.

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Multiple people indicted on charges related to human trafficking operation in Scioto County

Scioto County, Ohio – A federal grand jury has indicted a Scioto County man and several of his family members and associates with charges related to a child sex trafficking operation. According to United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David M. DeVillers, the man allegedly exchanged drugs obtained in Columbus and elsewhere for sexual access to the children of drug-addicted mothers. The FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force agents began investigating Larry Dean Porter, 69, in April 2019.

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Likely trafficking survivor released on bond in homicide case

Kenosha County, WI — Chrystul Kizer is out of custody after a Chicago-based aid organization posted her $400,000 bond. Kizer, 19, was released from Kenosha County Jail on Monday afternoon. She has been in custody for two years, awaiting trial for the June 2018 shooting death of a man prosecutors admit had been sexually assaulting Kizer and other underage girls.

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Human trafficking bills wind through Georgia legislature

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.

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More work needed to combat human trafficking along I-85, Lee County

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.”

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Groves woman arrested on human trafficking charges

Beaumont, Texas — A Groves woman and a Beaumont man are facing charges of human trafficking after police located a missing juvenile in a hotel room last week. Police in Beaumont responded to the Petro Truck Stop at Walden Road and I-10 in reference to the missing juvenile. The information they received sent them to several hotels in the area in an attempt to locate the victim before they were told she was last seen at the Executive Inn, according to a press release from BPD Officer Haley Morrow.

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One arrested in Columbia County for child sexual exploitation

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.

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Federal court case with local ties highlights human trafficking issue

Beloit, Wisconsin — With Beloit positioned as a transportation hub near Milwaukee and Chicago, the Beloit Police Department says it is taking steps to combat human trafficking and raise awareness in the community about the problem. “We tell our officers that when they come across someone—especially a young woman or man—who has been battered and is reluctant to talk to police, that is the person they need to spend extra time with,” Police Department Inspector Stigler said. “They need to talk about their background, where they grew up, where they have been and who have they been associated with and who they get money from.”

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Man accused of human trafficking across several states

West Palm Beach, Florida — A man is accused of trafficking two women across multiple states, including in Florida. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrested 30-year-old Derrion Kirby early Saturday morning. According to the sheriff’s office, deputies responded to La Quinta Hotel on Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach for a human trafficking complaint where an 18-year-old woman was being held against her will.

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Human smugglers in Tucson

Tucson, Arizona — The Tucson Police Department is raising awareness about the global crisis of human and sex trafficking with the help of Faith, a young woman who was trafficking for 7 years by the MS-13 gang. “I never learned to read, or write, and now I am going to classes to get my GED,” Faith said. “I want to become a social worker so I can help other victims.”

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20th suspect in undercover child sex sting arrested

Waco, Texas — The 20th and final suspect was arrested Thursday in a local online sting in which men allegedly solicited sex from an undercover officer posing as a teenager, authorities said. Investigators this spring conducted the undercover sting designed to protect children who would potentially be more vulnerable to online exploitation as schools closed and stay-at-home orders were issued to limit the spread of COVID-19.

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Three brothers arrested for human trafficking in Lancaster Co.

Lancaster Co., SC — Three brothers were arrested Thursday and charged with human trafficking and related offenses, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office reports. Sheriff Barry Faile said, “This was an exhaustive investigation. When it began we had little to go on. This victim is a courageous young lady, and she provided us enough pieces of the puzzle that investigators were able to put together the picture and identify the men and the location involved. These men preyed upon a particularly vulnerable young person and committed atrocious crimes against her. I am most appreciative of the efforts of our investigators and those of SLED, HSI, and the Attorney General’s Office.”

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Minnesota woman, man charged in child pornography ring

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.

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University of Dayton, Abolition Ohio offers online human trafficking services

Dayton, Ohio– Sex trafficking has increased because of job loss, a lack of housing security and reduced social and public services according to Abolition Ohio, an anti trafficking coalition organized by the University of Dayton. The public is invited to attend on Zoom The Abolition Ohio Monthly Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition Meetings to learn about resources available to students, educators, and community members in order to keep kids safe from trafficking and exploitation.

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Kentucky man arrested at Texas airport charged with online solicitation of a minor

Waco, Texas– According to investigators, 30-year-old Zene Morlatt of LaGrange, KY communicated with an undercover detective through text messages and a web-based electronic messaging service over the course of several weeks. During the conversation, Morlatt believed he was communicating with a 16-year-old girl and discussed the sexual performance of the child, used sexually-explicit language, and sent multiple obscene images.

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As Children Spend More Time Online, Predators Follow

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.

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Lawsuit alleges three Aiken County motels knew about, profited from human trafficking

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. — Three Aiken County motels are being sued for allegedly knowing about and profiting from sex trafficking that occurred at their property between August 2017 and 2018.

The plaintiff, represented by attorney Daniel R. Dalton of Mickelsen Dalton LLC in Mount Pleasant, is described as a female resident of South Carolina who is a victim of a “severe form of trafficking,” according to a complaint filed Thursday through the Second Judicial Circuit. At each location, the plaintiff was told by her trafficker to decline housekeeping; the trafficker paid for rooms in cash or with counterfeit money and a large number of men and women would enter and exit where the plaintiff stayed. The South Carolina Attorney General’s human trafficking force task force is comprised of more than 300 different agencies across the state, including some in Aiken, and is working to get to the root of the problem.

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Arizona AG awards grant money to help human trafficking victims

Phoenix, Arizona– The Office of the Arizona Attorney General awarded $275,000 to local organizations that provide support to human trafficking survivors. The grants, spread across four organizations, are expected to help about 150 individuals. The Phoenix area is expanding emergency and long-term housing options for victims of trafficking. “Now more than ever, we must ensure that this vital property and the resources it provides are available to those who need it,” Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring, the chair of the city’s human trafficking task force, said in the release.

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South Fulton makes arrest in 3rd possible sex trafficking case this month

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.

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West Tennessee registered sex offender indicted on child exploitation charges

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.

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Man charged with sex trafficking of a child

TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma man made an appearance in federal court Friday for allegedly soliciting a woman to molest her 11-year-old child in exchange for help with living expenses. “This is another case which destroys the innocence of a child and touches the heart of every justice official involved in the investigation”, Tulsa Chief of Police Wendell Franklin said in a news release. “May the work performed by our agency and our federal partners—the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Attorney’s Office—be feared by any criminal looking to exploit our innocent children.”

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13 arrested in Redlands undercover prostitution sting

San Bernardino County, California– An undercover sting in which police posed as prostitutes at a Redlands hotel to bust “Johns” who solicited sex for money on Wednesday netted 13 suspects, ranging in age from 17 to 63, officials said. San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force investigators conducted what they called an “in-call hotel ‘John’ operation,” the department said in a written statement. “During the operation, undercover officers were deployed at a local hotel to pose as prostitutes through online advertisements,” according to the statement. Online ads are a primary tool for those involved in the human trafficking of underage victims, officials added.

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15-year-old sex trafficking victim rescued after missing since April

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.”

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Melbourne defense attorney accused of using firm as prostitution front hit with more human trafficking charges

Orlando, Florida– A Melbourne criminal defense attorney accused of using his law firm as a prostitution front is facing more human trafficking charges, based on allegations that he had sex with an underage girl in exchange for legal services he provided to her pimp.
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution confirmed Wednesday that John Gillespie, 71, is facing additional counts of trafficking a juvenile for commercial sex and trafficking an adult for commercial sex.

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Two men federally indicted for child exploitation, explicit content

Two men were indicted in U.S. District Court in Toledo on Wednesday in separate cases of sexually exploiting a minor and possessing child pornography, according to court documents. One of the accused allegedly sent nude photos of the girl, which appear to be taken by hidden cameras. He also told an Oregon man that he had been experimenting with drugs to see which ones work best on the child.

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Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to manufacturing child pornography

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

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Three face charges in sex trafficking investigation

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.

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Man Arrested in Miami-Dade for Allegedly Forcing Woman Into Human Trafficking

Miami, Florida– Police arrested a South Florida man they say allegedly forced a young woman into prostitution and sex trafficking across the area. “Human trafficking is always a very ugly crime. The traffickers, wanting those dollars, are continuously looking for young victims because that’s where they feel the money is,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “Fortunately, the Miami-Dade law enforcement community is united together to fight such predators.”

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Minnesota Sees Surge in Sex Crimes Against Minors Online

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.

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Man arrested after 15-year-old rescued from sex trafficking in SE Houston

Houston, Texas– Deputies recovered a 15-year-old girl from human trafficking and arrested her alleged trafficker. Deputies said she had been reported missing since April. “Child sex trafficking is a despicable crime,” said Harris County Precinct 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.”

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Justice Department urged to aggressively prosecute pornography vendors

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.

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Queens DA announces launch of Human Trafficking Bureau

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.”

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Man arrested for solicitation of child prostitution in Rocky Ford

Rocky Ford, Colorado– A twenty-six-year-old suspect was arrested on charges of soliciting for child prostitution and attempted sexual exploitation of a child by the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Metro Vice Unit. The CSPD MVU began investigating the suspect in April by setting up an online profile of who he thought he was soliciting sexual intercourse and sexually explicit photographs from a 16-year-old female. In actuality, it was an undercover CSPD officer.

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Online predators targeting children digitally during the quarantine

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.

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Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrests man on 10 counts of sexual exploitation of children

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.

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SLO County officials encourage parents to be aware of commercial 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.

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18 arrested in child sex sting intended to protect minors vulnerable during school closures

An online sting operation launched last month has so far netted 18 arrests of men accused of trying to arrange sex with minors. McLennan County Sheriff’s Office Detective Joseph Scaramucci said he launched the investigation early last month because he knew more children would be online and potentially vulnerable during school closures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Local officials are expected to release information in the coming week with tips for parents and guardians on how to keep track of their children’s use of social media and electronic devices. “When our children are home, (parents’) automatic position is that they are safe,” Kilcrease said. “The internet allows people to reach inside of that, and parents need to know this is how children are communicating.

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Florence man charged with human trafficking, rape and other sex crimes against minors

FLORENCE, Ky. — Boone County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Florence man Wednesday after they say he raped and sodomized several teenagers and in some cases offered them marijuana in exchange for sex acts. Merritt later told authorities he has a “thriving drug operation” and prefers to surround himself with girls aged 13-16 with whom he has some sexual contact, police say. Deputies charged Merritt with three counts of human trafficking, three counts of rape, five counts of sodomy and three counts of unlawful transaction with a minor.

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Nonprofit estimates increase in human trafficking during pandemic/COVID-19 in NWA

Sex trafficking has increased in our area due to instability caused by COVID-19, according to area non-profit Hub of HOPE.
“Despite COVID-19, trafficking continues,” said Jenny Sorey, founder and executive director of Hub of HOPE. “We would estimate that it is actually increasing, simply because of the nature of trafficking. We know that it has a direct relationship with poverty and addiction, and are we not seeing an increase of poverty or an increase of a need for financial stability?”
“Having those great needs and being in a situation where they are at high risk, their vulnerability is increased. A traffickers pleas, a traffickers grooming tactics are going to be hard to dismiss because the promises are very good, but they’re very empty,” Sorey said. “They’re promised love or attention, companionship — who doesn’t want companionship during COVID time, right? — and so many people really lend their ear to those, really, lies, empty promises of a trafficker, and find themselves then caught in sex trafficking.”

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Catholic Bishops Call on AG Barr to Enforce Obscenity-Porn Laws, Protect Youth

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.”

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Mississippi Trucking Association presented Truckers Against Trafficking Champion Award

The Truckers Against Trafficking Champion Award is given to recognize and honor the creative, innovative, generous and dedicated efforts of specific TAT partners whose actions have significantly furthered TAT’s work in engaging more members of the industries TAT works with, as well as the efforts of more agencies and organizations within the state and nation, in the fight to end human trafficking and recover more survivors and prosecute more perpetrators.
“MTA member companies have trained almost 10,000 trucking industry employees in conjunction with TAT. These trained employees are acting as a watchdog on the American highways to combat this horrific crime,” said MTA President Hal Miller.

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South Fulton Police rescue human trafficking victims, suspect in custody

Lt. Marcus Dennard told FOX 5, “Upon searching the house there were males found and two other females.”
Police said the girl and woman were victims of sex trafficking. The suspect, Eron McCrary, is facing several charges including human trafficking, pimping, child pornography, aggravated sexual battery and rape in the case.
According to Lt. Dennard, the victims told detectives they were being held against their will, and forced to engage in sexual acts with other men at a motel on Old National Highway and other locations in south Fulton County.

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If you are a sex trafficking victim, there’s an effort underway in Texas to help you apply for clemency

On Jan. 11, Human Trafficking Awareness Day, we applauded Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to pardon Robbie Ann Hamilton, a North Dallas sex trafficking survivor turned advocate who committed nonviolent crimes decades ago.
Hamilton, now 58 and an advocate and mentor for victims of trafficking and those suffering from addiction, described the state’s new path toward clemency as “monumental.” Thanks to decades of advocacy and education by nonprofits like Dallas-based New Friends New Life, she explained, “we better understand the impact of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking on the victims of these heinous crimes, and so can better address and care for the victims.”

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Victim assistance grants available

TOPEKA – Five grant programs, serving victims of crime across Kansas are open for application, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Friday.
More than $2.5 million in grant funds were awarded last year from five different state programs through the office of the attorney general. Funds are used to assist local and state crime victim assistance organizations across Kansas in providing direct services to crime victims, as well as in developing prevention programs to address violence.

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Alleged Vallejo human trafficking victim rescued, two arrested

A day after a 29-year-old Vallejo resident was reported missing Solano County sheriff’s deputies rescued the woman, said to have been a victim of human trafficking.
The woman’s mother filed a report with the Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, saying she’d been missing for a week.
On Wednesday, investigators learned she was a victim of human trafficking, officials said.
Her image was reportedly posted on a human trafficking website. In partnership with Vacaville police detectives, and FBI task force officer, sheriff’s resident deputy and the Sheriff’s Enforcement Team, investigators managed to contact the woman and set up a meeting.

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Police: Sex trafficking found in abandoned Georgia home

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. (AP) — Police in Georgia say they discovered a sex trafficking operation after chasing suspects who ran from a stolen U-Haul into an abandoned house.
The City of South Fulton Police Department says officers found two adult women and one juvenile after entering the house on Thursday.
Police say investigators learned that the girl and one of the women had been forced into sex trafficking.

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Third suspect arrested in alleged Ogden sex trafficking and prostitution operation

Andre Gomez, 41, was booked into the Weber County Jail on Saturday and made his first appearance in 2nd District Court on Monday.

David Anthony Mackey, 42, Chandra Jones, 35, and Gomez trafficked two 17-year-old girls they recruited in Salt Lake City before setting up in an Ogden hotel, the Utah Attorney General’s Office alleged in charging documents unsealed by the court in late March.

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Florida AG Moody Encourages Vigilance in Protecting Human Trafficking Victims

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

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Industry Doubles Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s Call to Fight Trafficking

“I want to thank all of our transportation partners at the state and local level for their leadership in supporting this important initiative to help put the brakes on human trafficking,” Federal Highway Administrator Nicole Nason said. “Collaboration across the entire transportation industry is vital to our success in raising awareness and combating this modern-day slavery.”

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Commentary: Frontline Healers See Human Trafficking Increase Since Coronavirus Pandemic

“With closed businesses and empty streets, exploiters have become more violent and expanded their territory,” explains Amba Johnson, executive director of Dreamcatchers. “The ones coming to buy children are oddly indifferent to COVID, asking their victims if they have hand sanitizer and masks. The problem is Johns don’t care if they are children.”

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DOT doubles progress in human trafficking fight

Those that have signed on to the effort “are joining the Department to ensure that America’s transportation systems are not hijacked to facilitate human trafficking,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao on May 7. “These companies are on the frontlines of helping to ensure the safety of our traveling public.” A goal of the effort is to get one million employees trained to help fight the crime, according to DOT.

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AG PAXTON ANNOUNCES COORDINATING COUNCIL PLAN TO HELP ERADICATE HUMAN TRAFFICKING

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.

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FBI task force focuses on human trafficking amid coronavirus

The FBI child exploitation and human trafficking task force in New York is currently working on a number of cases in which victims trafficked for sex were advertised as being virus-free or willing to wear a mask and gloves.

“They’re trying to work in safety measures to ensure that customers would feel at ease to meet up with people in the ads,” FBI special agent Brian Gander told ABC News.

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SEX TRAFFICKING INCREASING DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Co-founder of the organization says the sex trafficking numbers are up during the pandemic and the virus is making it harder to get to the women.
“The opportunities for them to get to safety is actually lower and it has created a challenge in our response. Also being able to find placement for them because just like many other medical facilities and shelters, they are overrun right now and not accepting new individuals for their own safety,” says Sarah Mckinnis, Co-Founder of Willowbend Farms

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Human traffickers still coming to the Central Coast amidst pandemic, officials say

“Traffickers notoriously prey upon the vulnerability of other people. So if you have a group of people who are now even more vulnerable and are looking to make income, secure their future, and are looking to find some type of normalization; they might be more susceptible to offers or lies or tactics traffickers use to gain that person’s trust only to exploit it later for a profit,” explained Danielle Borrelli, Operations Coordinator for the California Cybersecurity Institute.

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L.A. County Fights Child Sex Trafficking, Hopes Lessons Are Adopted Broadly

“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.

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Central Florida attorney accused of trafficking teen girls from his Melbourne home

A central Florida attorney is accused of operating a human trafficking ring out of his Melbourne home. He trafficked young girls as young as 15. He said they needed to pay off legal fees and rent for staying at his home. He was recently arrested when he was going to pay a 16 year old girl to have sex with him, and try to recruit the girl to live with him at his home. He is facing charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, unlawful use of a two-way communication device and human trafficking of a minor.

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Operation COVID Crackdown: 30 men arrested in connection with online child predator sting

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.”

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DeWine frees Alexis Martin, sex trafficking survivor convicted of pimp’s murder at 17

A sex trafficker survivor from Ohio will be released from prison. “She will be sent to a group home and she will be under supervision for an extensive period of time. When the victim was 15 years-old she planned the murder of the trafficker. When she was 17, she received a sentence for 21 years. Ohio’s Supreme Court chief justice knew that he had forced her into sex trafficking but kept her sentence.

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Mayor Turner And City Council Approve Hotel Ordinance To Combat Human Trafficking

he mayor of Houston, Texas and the city council approved the Hotel ordinance to combat human trafficking. The ordinance requires hotels to train employees on human trafficking. Houston is the first major US city to have an ordinance. It requires them to train employees in human trafficking and in labor trafficking. The ordinance prohibits retaliation against employees that report tips.

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Reno residents plead guilty in child sex trafficking case

Two residents in Reno, Nevada have pleaded guilty to one count of attempted sex trafficking. The man and woman that were charged orchestrated the sexual exploitation of a child last summer. The investigation was led by the FBI’s Northern Nevada Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. The hearing is set for June 3rd.

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Tampa organization says sex trafficking demand has increased amid coronavirus pandemic

In Tampa, Florida experts believe sex trafficking is not slowing down even with the pandemic of COVID-19. In fact Connie Rose who is the executive director of Victims to Survivors thinks that it is actually growing from this virus. Since predators are able to spend more time online luring and grooming children especially those who are in poor living conditions with family instability

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COVID-19 pandemic making it tougher for human trafficking victims to find help, advocates say

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.

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Coronavirus threat isn’t stopping sex trafficking in Jacksonville

With Covid-19 going on, human trafficking isn’t stopping in Jacksonville, Florida. A news team in Jacksonville spoke with a woman who is currently living in a hotel and said she is working to keep food on the table and a roof over her head. The woman said she’s worried about running into serial killers and rapists. Advocates for sex-trafficking victims contend that there’s a growing demand for the sex trade despite the risks posed by coronavirus.

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