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.”
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”.
PIERRE, S.D. — Legislation to better protect and help victims of human trafficking in South Dakota will take effect on July 1. “This bill takes important steps to protect our state from the horrors of human trafficking, crack down on traffickers, and provide for victims through expanded services and resources”, said Governor Noem.
Dallas, Texas — Cyntoia Brown Long says sex trafficking is often not “black and white” and there is no “perfect victim,” as evidenced by her own case and the ongoing case of Chrystul Kizer, a teenager who is accused of killing her alleged sex trafficker and was released on bond last week.
Tulsa, Oklahoma — Police arrest a man and woman for allegedly trafficking a 21-year-old female at a Super 8 motel. Officers said a woman called 911 to check the motel for her daughter, whom told her she was being prostituted.
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.
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.
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.
Fremont, California — A Bay Area man is in federal custody and awaiting extradition to Texas, where he is set to face federal charges that allege he set up sex trafficking websites on an international scale, raking in $21 million in proceeds within a two-year span.
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.
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.
Albuquerque, New Mexico– A new FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force welcomed six Bernalillo County law enforcement officers to its ranks after they were deputized. The officers are authorized to help investigate federal crimes for the multi-agency task force, which was created in April.
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.
Colorado Springs, Colorado– A man was arrested and is being charged with attempted human trafficking of a minor in Colorado Springs. In 2019, the National Human Trafficking Hotline reported 176 cases of trafficking the state of Colorado.
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.”
Beloit, Wisconsin — Employees from jobs spanning multiple industries have received training in spotting the signs of human trafficking in a bid to alert authorities sooner of possible dangerous situations.
Mississippi– A human trafficking bill championed by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn survived the Senate on committee deadline day Tuesday. HB 1559 was designed to directly address the housing service gap for minors who are trafficking victims.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Boise, Idaho — Amanda Forest survived a life inside the world of human trafficking, now she wants to help other victims in Idaho. “What we are aiming for is a survivor-centered approach,” said Forrest. “We are dialing in on ending the demand.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hillsborough County, Florida — As the state reopens following the coronvirus pandemic, Hillsborough County is ramping up plans for Super Bowl LV. As part of the preparations, County Commissioner Kimberly Overman led the effort to form the Commission on Human Trafficking.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
According to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, Merritt was selling marijuana to a 13-year-old in exchange for sexual acts. Investigators say Merritt raped and sodomized the victim multiple times.
While being interviewed, Merritt allegedly admitted that he had a thriving drug operation that targeted teens between the ages of 13 and 16 years old.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Izaak Shaquilie Blocker, 24, is booked into the Multnomah County Jail on 65 charges, including ten counts of rape, nine counts of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct, and four counts of compelling prostitution.
Izaak Shaquilie Blocker is accused of forcing an underage girl into prostitution, as well as physically assaulting, strangling and raping her himself, according to the indictment. A grand jury also indicted Blocker on charges related to allegations of taking sexually explicit photos of her, giving her cocaine and a tattoo without a parent’s consent.
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.
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.
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.
A stolen U-Haul led South Fulton police to a child sex trafficking and ecstasy selling operation Wednesday, leading to three arrests and two victims being “saved from a life of misery,” authorities said.
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
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
“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.
“As an organization, we know how critically important it is to still fund human trafficking prevention, especially right now,” Stevenson said. “I think that we need to find a balance between making sure people’s immediate needs are met…because something like not having food or shelter, those are vulnerabilities that can lead to trafficking.”
“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.
L.A., California- Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for underage youth has not waivered and the Los Angeles County Probation Department continues to be at the forefront battling the recent increase of cases of commercial sexual exploitation of children, or CSEC.
Dallas, Texas – With COVID-19’s closures of nonessential businesses, many trafficking enterprises are violating those restrictions. These venues of sex and labor trafficking operate behind the façade of a commercial front business — like illicit massage venues used as a cover for sex trafficking.
After large scale investigation of human trafficking in Sutton, Nebraska a man has been arrested. A 58-year-old man was arrested in Clay County on charges of sex trafficking of a minor, child abuse, three counts of pandering, and two counts of solicitation. Cloet was lodged in Clay County Jail.
Nampa, ID. Rucker the golden-doodle puppy, is a new therapy dog for survivors of sex trafficking, sexual abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence at the Family Justice Center. Rucker gives people comfort by allowing others to hug him. He has a great temperament and calm demeanor.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania a federal judge is allowing a sex trafficking plaintiff to continue with claims against the hotel franchise Marriott. The claim states that the three hotels in Philadelphia failed to stop activities. The federal judge denied the hotels efforts to dismiss the claim
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.