We monitor and fact check media coverage of human trafficking and will share the top cases from each week with you. A broad view of what is happening across the country can be translated into action, allowing us to collectively change the system and the public narrative.

We often have a predisposed idea as to what a trafficker looks like, and sometimes it isn’t what we think. Sometimes the exploiters are high powered or well-known members of our communities.

New York: Well-known doctor and legislator arrested in sex-for-drugs sting in Suffolk County A well-known Suffolk County doctor and legislator has been arrested for allegedly attempting to exchange oxycodone for sex. Dr William Spencer was taken into custody in a parking lot Tuesday afternoon and will be arraigned Wednesday in Central Islip.

Ohio: Famous Portsmouth attorney indicted in relation to human trafficking case Michael Mearen, 74, might be facing over 70 years in prison if he is convicted, according to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. The charges against Mearen revolve around criminal activity in southern Ohio that involved six victims between 2003 and 2018.

Ohio: Grand jury returns 10-count indictment on Findlay priest accused of sex trafficking The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Father Zacharias, 53, then the pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Findlay, in August. Agents alleged that he had groomed and sexually assaulted minors beginning in the 1990s, when he was a seminarian in Toledo

We appreciate the recent focus on child sex trafficking on social media, but let’s make sure we’re leaning on the facts and real cases.

Louisiana: Illinois man charged with child sex trafficking in Lafayette Williams took photographs of the underage girl and used those photos to create advertisements for sex, according to the affidavit. Officers found those advertisements on Williams’ cell phone, according to prosecutors.

New Jersey: Three indicted in human-trafficking of 14-year-old in Atlantic City An Atlantic County couple was indicted this week for trafficking a 14-year-old girl for sex at an Atlantic City casino. A retired corrections officer who allegedly paid to have sex with the young girl was also named.

Nevada: Reno man found guilty for sex trafficking, faces up to multiple life terms in prison Kevin Belcher, 28, of Reno was found guilty on three counts of sex trafficking of a child under 16 and faces a maximum sentence of multiple life terms in prison.

Texas: Beaumont PD: Prostitution sting/Anti-human trafficking operation leads to 21 arrests Collective Liberty provided live intel support to law enforcement in Beaumont, Texas for an operation targeting pedophiles engaged in commercial sex. We are thrilled that law enforcement use innovative technology and propriety intel reports to arrest 21 buyers who were soliciting sex, including from minors.

Massachusetts: Attleboro massage parlor shut down, manager faces prostitution charges A South Attleboro massage parlor has been shut down and the manager is facing prostitution-related charges. Police allege the manager was operating a brothel out of the business. Two Asian women working at the business were not arrested. We at Collective Liberty are proud of the work by the Attleboro Police Department who were trained at our New England Training Institute sponsored by the New England Coalition Against Trafficking. They were able to combine their expertise with best practices from our training to good use, ensuring swift action and the proper handling of victims.

Ohio: Pregnant woman was one of 109 women arrested in human trafficking operation in Columbus area Victims of human trafficking victims shouldn’t be arrested. If these women were trafficked they have already gone through horrible exploitation now deserve freedom, privacy and respect, similar to victims of rape and sexual assault. If not – then these arrests have created additional vulnerability for them making it difficult for them to get jobs, leases on housing, and creating additional debt through court system fees. These are vulnerabilities that traffickers will eagerly exploit.
**To read more about this case and why we need to shift away from arresting potential victims, read our CEO Rochelle Keyhan’s Letter to the editor published in the Columbus Dispatch.

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