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We monitor and fact-check media coverage of human trafficking and share the top cases with you from each week. 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.
Matt Gaetz paid accused sex trafficker, who later sent same amount of cash to teen girls In 2017, Gaetz was the only member of Congress to vote against a law that gave the federal government more power and money to fight human trafficking. Today, Gaetz is the center of an investigation involving sex trafficking of a minor and having done so across state lines. While Matt Gaetz continues to deny the allegations, there’s no doubt that any adult having sex with someone underage is not just an “inappropriate relationship.” It is either statutory rape, the manipulation and coercion of an adult who wants sex from youth, or sex trafficking because they are buying access to a minor’s body through cash or similar goods like flights, clothes, or food. Transporting a youth for the specific purposes of having sex with them is the act of a predator and is a violation of the Mann Act.
American football quarterback Deshaun Watson Could Face Human Trafficking Charges Attorney Tony Buzbee said that he has spoken to at least 24 people who have potential claims against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. A total of 22 have now filed lawsuits against him. The judge has ordered victims to disclose their identities and potentially open them to harassment and further abuse, which definitely has implications for future organized crime cases.
American DJ and record producer Bassnectar sued for Alleged Sexual Abuse of Minors The suit also accuses the producer-DJ, whose real name is Lorin Ashton, of engaging in human trafficking and manufacturing and possessing child pornography. The lawsuit, obtained by Rolling Stone, claims Ashton “solicited underage girls through various means,” including through Twitter, fan clubs, and charitable initiatives like the BeInteractive amBASSadors program.
Media typically portrays child sex trafficking as commercial sex but the reality is far more vast. Sex trafficking of children can include pedophilia, sex with a minor or child pornography – particularly devastating as the internet gives these traffickers an accessible avenue to do so.
South Carolina ‘Operation Home Alone’ leads to 10 arrests in online child sex sting The men are accused of trying to meet girls as young as ten for sex. They were all arrested last month during a four-day sting operation that involved as many as forty officers from more than a dozen different agencies.
Oklahoma Oklahoma City man, woman to each serve 15 years for child sex trafficking Traffickers offered to teach a 16-year-old child about the commercial sex business. They posted advertisements on the internet using photos they took of the child and arranged for commercial sex appointments with buyers who responded to the advertisements. Additionally, they provided the child with narcotics.
Indiana Trio charged with setting up sex-with-minor encounters, extorting clients Three Ossian residents have been charged with sex trafficking and promoting prostitution after police said they set up sexual encounters between a teen and several men who they then threatened for money. The incidents took place between 2019 and April 2020.
Texas Family charged for coordinating sex trafficking operation at Houston bar for more than a decade, US attorneys say The family members are accused of coordinating a sex trafficking operation from 2007 to 2020 at Houston bar Puerto Allegre. The victims allegedly include adults and a minor. One of the victims was brought to the United States specifically to work at Puerto Alegre, according to the allegations. The charges allege she was only 17 at the time.
Massage parlor trafficking is an insidious form of trafficking that is incredibly organized and difficult to eradicate across the nation.
Missouri Attorney General sues four massage businesses The AG’s office is seeking injunctions to close the locations, which he said violate public nuisance laws. He contends the businesses advertise on websites that solicit prostitution and two of them have reviews on message boards that describe sex acts provided at the businesses. Nuisance and zoning laws are an effective way to close commercial trafficking venues, and it is important that services and support for victims are built into the enforcement process.
Billings law to regulate massage businesses, fight human trafficking passes first reading. Our CEO Rochelle Keyhan was asked by city leaders in Billings, Montana to provide assistance, subject matter expertise, and testimony in support of an IMB ordinance in a city council meeting. The lack of regulation across the nation has allowed thousands of human traffickers to hide behind the guise of massage therapy – and it is great to see Billings join the effort to remedy their part in that regulatory gap. Our law enforcement partner Joseph Scaramucci, Human Trafficking Information also testified, lending his enforcement expertise to the conversation.
Check out our RECENT blog posts on Massage Parlor Trafficking: FACTS AND STATISTICS, Indicators of massage parlor trafficking and Recruiting women into Illicit Massage Business. Stay informed and join the anti-trafficking movement. These victims’ lives matter — there are thousands still living in the reality of this exploitation, watching our response, and they all matter. It’s time we acted like it.
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