The 40-year-old woman at a treatment center in Marion County has been taken into custody on a warrant from another county for two counts of human trafficking. Mekisha Lashaun Russ is alleged to have involved an 8-year-old girl in Tampa, Fl.
Within hours, she said, she was being told to have sex with strangers for money. Thomas and an accomplice, Shanteria Sanders, gave her the drug Molly, a form of the amphetamine MDMA, marijuana and liquor to keep her compliant.
One suspect 34-year-old James Michels of Polk County, FL. traveled to meet with an undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old boy. Michels was HIV-positive yet told the undercover detective that he was not, and that he wanted to have unprotected sex.
“You’re going to have tens of thousands of extra people in your city,” Fernandez Rundle said. “My office wants to make sure we’re ready. Our concern is that a lot of predators will bring other dancers and their victims that work in strip clubs. We have seen that with other major destinations.”
Edie Rhea is a survivor of sex trafficking. Her formative years were largely spent being sold for sex by her mother’s boyfriend. It began when she was 10 and lasted until she was 17 years old. Brook Bello, like Rhea, experienced sexual abuse before being forced into sex trafficking.Their stories of rape and assault are not unique among survivors.
Matthew Doyle, 39, was arrested by FDLE agents in Spring Hill, FL. He faces charges of human trafficking, lewd and lascivious behavior on a victim between 12 and 16 years old and unlawful use of a two-way communications device.
Corporal Alan Wilkett said boys rarely admit or identify themselves as human trafficking victims. He said that’s often discovered by law enforcement after they’re picked up for other crimes.
“So it may be shoplifting or a drug charge or it could be a trespass,” Wilkett said.
Corporal Alan Wilkett heads the human trafficking division of the Pasco County, FL. Sheriff’s Office.
Wilkett said boys rarely admit or identify themselves as human trafficking victims.
Corporal Alan Wilkett heads the human trafficking division of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
“As I always say, every issue does not necessarily need a law if people are willing to take on these issues voluntarily,” Attorney General Ashley Moody, who chairs the statewide Council on Human Trafficking, said Friday during a meeting of the panel.
Strip clubs will be classified as adult theaters to ensure they’ll be regulated by the state under a legislative crackdown aimed at preventing human trafficking. Bill classifies strip clubs as adult theater so state can regulate them, protect childrenStuart Rep. Toby Overdorf co-sponsored House Bill 851 and added the adult-theater classification, in part to ensure strip club owners don’t hire underage employees.
Congressman Matt Gaetz pointed out there are an estimated 9,000 illicit massage parlors in the U.S.–more than Starbucks’ 8,222 locations. In 2018, Florida had 376 cases of human trafficking reported to the national hotline. Only California (760) and Texas (455) had more.
Jeffrey Farrell Davis, 36, who taught middle school in a Gainesville, Florida was among the men who responded to ads on Backpage.com offering a 14-year-old girl for sex. The child was delivered to so-called johns at homes and motels across north central Florida. Davis has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
Lee County, FL. Health is working with Christy’s Cause to educate medical professionals on the signs of human trafficking victims. It all started when an ER nurse noticed an increased number of human trafficking victims.
The vote was 112-0 Thursday for the bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Patricia Williams of Fort Lauderdale and Republican Rep. Rene Plasencia of Titusville, FL. The measure would include human trafficking in the health classes currently taught in Florida public schools.
Human trafficking cases initiated in fed court dropped 29% last yr. This survivor has a message for people who think it’s not happening here: “I was trafficked in Jacksonville in the year 2013 for about nine months… It’s definitely happening in Jacksonville.” said Jenna Bourne
Data shows that Hillsborough County has one of the highest occurrences of human trafficking in the nation, and one county commisioner is trying to shine light on an industry that’s thrived in the shadows. Commissioner Kimberly Overman wants to train Hillsborough County Parks Department’s summer camp staffers on how to spot the tell-tale signs of abuse. and what to do if they suspect something is wrong.
A Bay Area nonprofit is helping law enforcement officers look beyond a simple traffic stop or domestic violence call to spot the signs of human trafficking.
Officers don’t have to be in a special trafficking unit to learn what to look for to spot a potential victim using a new, free online certification program through U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking. It covers human trafficking in the forms of labor, sex, cyber, forced marriage and servitude. It was created to be accessible for all law enforcement officers.
A Zephyrhills man is behind bars after deputies say he had sex with a 15-year-old runaway. Deputies say Jael Aguayo, 24, offered the victim a hotel room and Xanax in exchange for sex with him and his friend.
The most recent case of human trafficking that I have been involved in, and they are many, is that of Angelica, a 15-year-old girl sold by her mother to her employer. This boss is a rough, crude man, the owner of several mini-buses, from which he earns a lot of money that enables him to buy children for sexual abuse.The most recent case of human trafficking that I have been involved in, and they are many, is that of Angelica, a 15-year-old girl sold by her mother to her employer. This boss is a rough, crude man, the owner of several mini-buses, from which he earns a lot of money that enables him to buy children for sexual abuse.
Children in Florida public schools would be taught about the dangers and warning signs of human trafficking under legislation headed to the state House floor. The House Education Committee voted unanimously Tuesday for the bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Patricia Williams of Fort Lauderdale. The measure would include human trafficking in the health classes currently taught in Florida public schools.
Michael Harrison Hunt, 53, of Panama City, FL. has been charged with human trafficking and sexual battery on a victim under the age of 18, according to a release from Panama City. He continues to be a person of interest in the quadruple shooting Friday that left one dead and three seriously injured.
A Tampa firefighter was among four men arrested for solicitation in Hillsborough County, according to the sheriff’s office. Brian Hatzler, 46, is a Tampa Fire Rescue firefighter. The sheriff’s office says he was in his duty uniform when he solicited sexual acts from an undercover detective. Hatzler was arrested along with 30-year-old Curtis Hargrove, 44-year-old Lucio Martinez and 25-year-old Jawuan Hicks.
When Florida authorities shut down 10 massage spas last month and charged hundreds of men with buying sex, they broke a longstanding pattern of meting out minor charges and punishment for owners, letting patrons off scot-free and turning a mostly blind eye to signs of human trafficking.
Ten spas have been closed, and several people have been taken into custody on sex trafficking charges. The owner of Orchids of Asia Day Spa, 58-year-old Hua Zhang, was arrested Tuesday on 29 prostitution and related charges. Police in her arrest report said they watched video of her employees performing various sex acts with two dozen customers.
Roger DeHart walked from the Broward courthouse to the front steps of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., DeHart, 48, logged 1,065 miles on foot during his “No More Miles” walk. First S.T.O.P, which stands for “Saving Teens and Others from Predators.” And now DeHart is ready to put on his walking shoes again.
When Tampa Bay Tech’s government class came up with a mock bill to pass among peers, Anjali Sanichara took it as a challenge. Sanichara chose to draft a bill which would provide amnesty to human trafficking victims.
Victims are often forced to commit crimes, Sanichara explained, crimes they would otherwise not commit and should not be prosecuted for.
While most girls planned their Sweet 16 birthday parties, Connie became a victim of sex trafficking by a serial sex offender father who was also her pimp. She was that girl next door. No one ever suspected she was being sold for sex
Punish buyers. Provide services to victims. Raise awareness at sites where human trafficking takes place the most. Those were the top-line recommendations Monday as the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee heard testimony from experts on the issue.
In the days and weeks before the victim of a double homicide died by gunfire, he had been posting videos on social media showing off cash and drugs. In the public Facebook videos, Maxwell Phillips, 31, flashes wads of cash — mostly $100 bills — and sings along to music while smoking marijuana blunts. Filming most of the videos is Brooklyn Alsobrooke, now 18, and the other victim of the double homicide just after midnight Wednesday in the 3000 block of 8th Avenue, not far from Central Elementary School.
But court records obtained by the Sun Herald show she also was named as a 17-year-old victim in a human trafficking case that Phillips was arrested in on July 17, 2018.
When authorities busted what they say is a multimillion-dollar human-trafficking and prostitution ring in Jupiter last month, law enforcement spoke out against the horrors endured by women taken as literal sex slaves. The trafficking, they said, was not a “victimless crime.” But nearly two weeks later, the majority of the victims remain behind bars as law enforcement seeks their cooperation in the case.
Proclaiming freedom! Edie Rhea was in fourth grade when she was first molested by her mother’s boyfriend. One thing led to another, and Edie was ultimately trafficked by him as a way to support his business. By the time she was 17, Edie had been sold to approximately 150 men and women. It wasn’t until she left home that Edie first experienced freedom.
In recent years, law-enforcement agencies have focused on arresting and prosecuting human traffickers who profit from exploiting others. But a months long investigation in Martin and Palm Beach counties,was one of the largest in recent memory that targeted the buyers whose dollars allow trafficking organizations to thrive.
The “zombie-like” victims in the South Florida spa sex case in which Patriots owner Robert Kraft is entangled could be part of a $20 million human trafficking ring with ties to China where “the men are the monsters,” a local sheriff says.
Investigators said they believe the women who work at the massage parlors were from China, and that they thought they would be working in legitimate spas for the chance at a better life. A health inspector found them to be enslaved and living a nightmare.
Kraft’s legal woes may be a boon to the world of late-night comedy and talk radio, but to those touched by the moral rot of human trafficking, there’s nothing amusing about this. Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, FL. is the definition of seedy: a strip-mall storefront where immigrant women were essentially held in captivity, forced to sleep on massage tables and prepare food in a back alley.
“Sex trafficking is rampant in our city, and eradicating it should be a top priority when the new mayor of Tampa, FL. enters office,” says Geoff Rogers, C.E.O. and Co-founder at The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking.
Her name is Lanyun Ma, and she’s a 49-year-old Orlando woman who ran East Spa in downtown Vero Beach. “It’s very difficult to charge somebody with that,” acknowledged Detective Sgt. Phil Huddy, who supervises the detective division at the Vero Beach Police Department. Ma was seen transporting numerous women with suitcases to and from the spa who are believed to be victims of human trafficking, according to her arrest warrant.
“Unfortunately, it takes something like a Robert Kraft or someone of celebrity status to get the attention on human trafficking that it deserves, said Keven Malone President and Co-founder of the U.S. Institute Again Human Trafficking. Malone also said,“In a lot of these so-called massage parlors that a lot of the women are not there by choice. They are being forced and coerced — especially in this situation, those women were enslaved. This is human trafficking.”
Kevin Malone, president and co-founder of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking told Fox News, “Florida’s trafficking bust in massage parlors is just the tip of the iceberg. This is happening all across the country.” Noting that many of the IMBs are managed by Chinese organized crime syndicates, Malone said the women involved “are taken usually to New York, where they are trained what to do.
“The rest of the country needs to pay attention of the fact that people are out there buying sex from trafficked victims every single day” says Stephanie Costolo Florida Regional Manager of the Trafficking Free Zone with the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking.
With Super Bowl in Miami, FL. for 2020, “A lot of these major sporting events attract thousands of men to a city where they primarily will drink and party and oftentimes purchase sex,” said Kevin Malone, co-founder and president of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking.
Hillsborough County leaders are looking at ways to fight back against human trafficking. At Wednesday’s Board of County Commissioner meeting, Commissioner Kimberly Overman proposed forming a task force to combat the crime, saying she wants to send a clear message. Tampa Bay has zero-tolerance toward human trafficking in general, whether it be for sex trafficking or labor traffic,” Overman said. “Hillsborough County is not ground zero, but close, to some serious problems that are causing a great deal of pain in our community.”
For months, a 33-year-old Amber Lynn Peak of Lake Worth, FL. sex-trafficked teenage girls and gave them cocaine and the mood-altering drug Molly “so they could stay awake and have more prostitution dates,” a 17-year-old told investigators.
A 33-year-old Lake Worth, FL. woman was arrested Sunday on charges including human sex trafficking of a minor and child abuse after investigators say she introduced two teens to a phone application that allowed them to advertise themselves for prostitution.
Two teenage girls were recently rescued in South Florida following two human trafficking arrests, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced Friday in a news release. Jamaal Denmon, 36, of Texas, has been charged with human trafficking of a victim under 18 and human trafficking of a victim under 18 for commercial sexual activity.
Hope Green a human-trafficking survivor says, “there was never really a time when I did not get trafficked, as early as my earliest memory. Hope is one of the guest speakers this Saturday at the “Light Up the Night” event presented by Pasco County, FL. Sheriffs Dept. at Trinity College of Florida. Ticket are free.
Click “read more” for her story and more details on the event.
Police in Florida have arrested a man for forcing a 14-year-old girl to have sex with other men for money.The Tallahassee Democrat reports the victim told investigators that 36-year-old Tyron Watson arranged sexual encounters between her and men since she was 13. She also told police Watson had sex with her at least twice.
Dozens of women and children in Jacksonville, FL. were rescued from the horrors of human trafficking last year. “Traffickers want to sell people because they want to make money. So if we can reduce demand and no one was buying human beings—that’s really how we’re going to end human trafficking,” said Kristin Keen.
A St. Petersburg, FL. woman who trafficked a 14-year-old girl for commercial sex was sentenced to life in prison. Katilia Brekeysha Seymour, 35, was convicted Jan. 24 of one felony count of human trafficking of a minor, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
A modeling gig set up by her boyfriend was the first night Sara was sexually assaulted. What followed was about six months of drug-hazed sexual servitude. The man she thought was her boyfriend became her trafficker. Sara was trafficked for sex from the Naples area to Miami, Tampa and Orlando in 2012. She was 21 at the time. “You don’t have to be broken,” she said. “It’s not the same recovery road for everyone. Not everyone will feel how I feel. Not everyone will surpass trauma the same way. It’s about how bad you want out.”
Maria Ann Counts, who was arrested for the kidnapping, rape, and sexual exploitation of a Bonney Lake teenager, has pled guilty to all charges last week. The dramatic saga began May 9, 2018, when Lily Christopherson disappeared from her home in the middle of the night.
Last week’s arrest of seven adults on charges that they kept two boys prisoner in a St. Petersburg mobile home serves as a warning that predators are using popular gaming platforms such as Fortnite and Minecraft to lure in children. At least one of those boys was contacted through the online gaming app Discord.
Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons (TIP) is a form of modern day slavery. It is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of threat, use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse or exploitation.
Are you or someone you know being trafficked? Is human trafficking happening in your community? Recognizing potential red flags and knowing the indicators of human trafficking is a key step in identifying more victims and helping them find the assistance they need.
The last person is now in custody after a human trafficking ring was busted in St. Petersburg, FL. As Gruwell was transferred to the Pinellas County Jail, FOX 13 asked him if he had anything to say about his actions and he answered…
Seven people in St. Petersburg, FL. have been arrested for human trafficking involving two teenage victims. Investigators believe one victim was lured through Discord, an online gaming app that allows direct communication and the other victim was lured from his family with promises of a better life, instead he was moved into a filthy trailer and used as a sex slave for nearly a year.
The trafficking free zone is USIAHT’s flagship demand reduction program with a modular approach based upon proven practices from around the United States. St. Pete is the latest city to implement this program declaring themselves a ‘trafficking free zone’. A police task force was designed to focus on arresting and prosecuting sex buyers instead of those who are being sold.
Dept. of Health in Collier County, FL. spreading awareness on human trafficking … Florida ranks third in the nation as a human trafficking destination. … traffickers can travel from Miami through Naples and Collier County through Tampa
Former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager and vice president Kevin Malone is a passionate man. Thanks in part to pastor and Crazy Love author Francis Chan, Malone would be introduced to his new devotion — the fight to abolish child sex trafficking — in 2009.
The crazy holiday shopping season is a prime time for sex crimes and there’s a tactic criminals are now using that parents need to know about. Barletta is on a mission to create awareness about sex trafficking to help victims get out of it, and her message to holiday bargain hunters is don’t leave your daughters on their own without a serious talk.
A safe house for child victims of human trafficking will be opening in Pensacola this spring. It’s for girls between the ages of 12 and 17. Organizers say it will be the first home of its kind in our region. The next closest one is in Orlando.
The Middle District of Florida, including Northeast Florida, has the most human trafficking cases in the state. Florida now ranks third in the country with 59 active human trafficking cases in federal court last year. Jacksonville is an attractive place for human traffickers.
The St. Petersburg Police Department started a new task force whose purpose is to fight human trafficking. They started their new Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit in July. There are eight people in the unit. Sgt. Mitch Detty is in charge of seven detectives.
The woman behind a now viral Facebook Live video says she regrets using the term ‘human trafficking’ to describe what happened at a local grocery store but does not regret bringing awareness to the issue.
Representatives from the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association announced the launch of an online training course on human trafficking specifically designed to help restaurateurs and their employees.
A Clearlake man who was arrested on charges of human trafficking, pimping, pandering and abuse of a dependent adult in February, will face trial in Lake County Superior Court. A preliminary hearing on July 19 found enough evidence existed to proceed with the case against Timothy Lee Williams, said Lake County District Attorney Don Anderson.
Lake County prosecutors expanded their case Wednesday against a Lakeport couple accused of recruiting a high school student to become a prostitute, charging them with selling three more victims into the sex trade.