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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.
Human trafficking is embedded into our economies, crossing sectors, and industries, especially the hospitality industry. Traffickers often take advantage of the privacy and anonymity accessible through hotels and motels. It is crucially important for hospitality employees to be aware of human trafficking signs and report to the police as soon as possible.
Utah Utah AG Arrests Amusement Park Owner on Labor Trafficking Charges The Utah Attorney General’s Office SECURE Strike force, working closely with the Mexican Consulate and service provider Asian Association of Utah, arrested the owner/operator of Midway West Amusements, Inc. Law enforcement was alerted that the Company was illegally inducing more than 20 Mexican Nationals to work for the Company’s traveling carnival. All the workers were legally in the United States, with H2B Visas and Passports that had been kept from them to keep them from leaving the group. All the victims are safe now, under the supervision of the Mexican Consulate.
Massachusetts Man accused of trafficking women in hotel rooms throughout greater Boston Angelo Dominic Lombardo, 26, is charged with trafficking for sexual servitude and deriving support from prostitution. Prosecutors said he was accused of sexually trafficking at least three women, including two that he first met in Portland, Oregon.” He had them do a photoshoot then posted their photos on various commercial sex websites.
New York Thai Thai Bistro Owner Indicted on Labor Trafficking Charges A Schenectady County Grand Jury has indicted Piyamas Demasi, 45, owner of Thai Thai Bistro and Karma Bistro in Niskayuna, N.Y., in a thirteen count indictment, which included two counts of Labor Trafficking. Court documents allege that Demasi hired a female immigrant from Thailand to work in the kitchen of her restaurant Thai Thai Bistro. After she was hired, Demasi allegedly proposed sponsoring the woman as an expert Thai chef through a visa process that would result in a green card, which would give her permanent lawful status in the United States. Court documents allege that after the woman made initial payments toward the visa process, Demasi made her work as a server, not as a chef as Demasi had represented in the visa application, and stopped paying her wages altogether, forcing her to live off tips alone.
Arizona Phoenix-area law enforcement arrest 40 men after undercover child sex-trafficking operation Police announced the arrest of 40 men on Tuesday after an undercover investigation into preventing child sex trafficking. During the investigation, detectives placed ads on websites known to be frequented by people seeking illegal sexual contact with minors. The men were arrested on suspicion of charges that included luring a minor for sexual exploitation, aggravated luring a minor for sexual exploitation, child sex trafficking, and attempted sexual conduct with a minor.
South Carolina 4 men indicted in sex trafficking sting involving Horry County girl Four men have been indicted in federal court on allegations they participated in a sex trafficking conspiracy involving a girl from the Myrtle Beach area. Authorities allege the girl was coerced into performing sexual acts with men and women at hotels and private residences in the Myrtle Beach area as part of a “sexual dominant/submissive relationship” she developed with Hart William Grow. The defendants used social media applications including Snapchat, Wattpad, and Kik to communicate with the victims and each other, the release states.
Florida Miami Beach Resident Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking Robert Atlee Miner V, 30, of Miami Beach, Florida, pleaded guilty to charges of human trafficking, deriving support from the proceeds from prostitution, and money laundering, in addition to other charges, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The evidence collected showed that, between 2015 and 2017, Miner placed employment advertisements across the U.S on websites like Backpage.com and Craigslist.com, luring victims to his websites and ultimately to South Florida to work in positions he described as “dancers” or “companions.” Miner preyed on many of his victims’ lack of financial stability, by promising them cars, residences, and access to bank accounts upon completion of his “[dance] program.”
Washington Final suspects sentenced in connection to human trafficking ring in Pierce County The final suspects accused of being part of a human trafficking ring in Pierce County have been sentenced. Jurors convicted 38-year-old Clayton Tyrone King III of first-degree conspiracy to commit human trafficking and second-degree human trafficking earlier this year. Superior Court Judge James Orlando sentenced him to 31-1/2 years in prison Friday, which was above King’s standard sentencing range. He and fellow gang members prostituted at least 16 victims. Five were minors, and some were as young as 12 or 13, according to court records. The suspects paid for motel rooms, arranged advertisements and collected money from the operation, which they ran in 2016 and 2017 throughout Oregon.
Massage parlor trafficking is an insidious form of trafficking that is incredibly organized and difficult to eradicate across the nation.
Michigan Mt. Pleasant massage parlor owner facing deportation seeks withdrawal of human trafficking plea
A former Mt. Pleasant massage parlor owner who served more than a year in jail for human trafficking told a Westmoreland County judge that she did not understand English well enough to plead guilty in late 2019. Hui Xu, 46, testifying through a translator, claimed she did not fully comprehend the impact of her plea deal. It resulted in her being sentenced to serve just less than one to two years in jail for operating four massage parlors that state investigators said served as homes for prostitution. According to investigators, women were brought into Western Pennsylvania from China through a network that ran through Flushing, N.Y. They were required to work at the massage parlors, where they lived in deplorable conditions.
Wisconsin Massage parlor that rents property from a building Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) owns, has suspected ties to prostitution and human trafficking The business is now known as “Asian Sunny Massage.” Reports have shown that the spa advertisements had advertisements on “various illicit websites that are known as avenues for illicit sex.” A report from Fox News shows Kind allegedly made tens of thousands from renting a property he owns to a massage parlor that has advertised its spa on websites notorious for prostitution advertisements. His financial disclosure form in his 2018 and 2019 financial showed Kind made between $15,001 and $50,000 in rent income from the building in La Crosse.
We cannot arrest potential victims and then expect their cooperation in criminal cases. These arrests also limit survivors’ options; these victims often cannot obtain housing, livable wages, and other basic needs with arrests and convictions on their records.
California San Jose aims to shut down Agave Sports Bar for alleged prostitution The lawsuit — filed by the city of San Jose on July 6 in Santa Clara County Superior Court — alleges that the owners and operators of Agave Sports Bar & Grill at 544 Alma Avenue have encouraged prostitutes to solicit customers, allowed patrons to drive away when they are clearly inebriated and repeatedly violated public health orders aimed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Officers have arrested at least three women who agreed to perform sexual acts in exchange for money, according to the lawsuit.
Celebrities and high-ranking entertainment officials continue to use their positions to manipulate, exploit, and traffic vulnerable people. California movie Producer Dillon Jordan Arrested for Allegedly Running a Prostitution Ring Movie producer Dillon Jordan was arrested Thursday for allegedly running a “long-running” prostitution ring across the U.S. and abroad. Dillon Jordan is alleged to have operated an extensive and far-reaching prostitution business for years, using a purported event planning company and a movie production company to conceal the proceeds he made from exploiting women. Federal prosecutors claim that Jordan ran the prostitution ring from about 2010 to May 2017, maintaining a “roster of women who resided around the United States and who, in exchange for payment, performed sexual acts for Jordan’s clients.”
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