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.
North Carolina Robeson County, NC Conducts Buyer Operation. Robeson County conducted a one-day buyer operation that resulted in the arrest of 5 men, including one who came to the operation site with an illegal firearm. The women that were encountered were treated as potential survivors of human trafficking and offered supportive services, if they wished to engage with them.
New York R. Kelly Convicted of Racketeering and Sex Trafficking. The courage of survivors and overwhelming evidence finally brought an end to the abuses of singer R. Kelly. To read Collective Liberty’s insight in to his abuses and how this reflects similarities and differences to other forms of trafficking read our blog here.
Washington. Trafficker Sentenced to 20 Years Jail plus 15 Years Probation. Seth Randles has been convicted of trafficking women using physical violence, threats, and extreme control – including tattooing his name on one victim. Randles took pictures of his victims to sell them online to buyers. After one victim came forward, law enforcement were able to make a case for two separate counts of sex trafficking.
Georgia. Decades in prison for first trafficking conviction for Carr County Human Trafficking Unit. Keron Hamilton, 27, of Lawrenceville, and Meyetta King-Brown, of Atlanta, were each convicted on two human trafficking charges on Sept. 24. The trafficking unit was form in 2019 and successfully achieved 30 years for Hamilton and 20 for King-Brown for trafficking a child.
Arizona This past week the Arizona Governor replaced the entire State Massage Therapy Board who oversees licensing of massage therapists. Lax oversight and enforcement that allow sexual abuse by “massage therapists” is the same behavior that permits exploitation and trafficking of women under the guise of “massage”.
Florida A former illicit massage business becomes a shop to raise funds for trafficking victims in Pensacola, FL. After its owner was arrested for owning businesses in multiple states that all trafficked women – the shop has now been repurposed to sell gift item goods and raise awareness for non-profits providing long-term supportive services for survivors.
Ohio Ohio Arrests 50 Potential Victims A recent operationto “stop human trafficking” in Columbus, Ohio resulted in 150 arrests, including 50 people arrested for the crime of selling sex. It is unclear if law enforcement believes that only minors can be trafficking victims or if somehow arresting potential victims will stop them from being forced against their will to sell sex. Either way – no traffickers were arrested, only buyers and potential victims.
Columbus, OH increases fines for buyers. The Columbus, OH city council has passed a law to establish an increasing fine scale for buyers. Previously fines were around $70, or half the price of the average speeding ticket. Now buyers will face increasing fines and the money from these fines will go to a Human Trafficking Victim Fund to provide resources for local direct service organizations and support for survivors.
San Diego, CA – Wage Theft is a Sign of Human Trafficking. An in-depth investigation in San Diego, California found that wage theft is rampant in the construction industry in San Diego County. Since March, the human trafficking unit has received 35 complaints—five of which come from construction.
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