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.
California Four arrested for trafficking a runaway juvenile for sex in an area hotel, including one pimp with past trafficking arrests.A teenage girl was found beaten outside of the hotel where she was being forced into commercial sex. The victim, identified only as Jane Doe, left the hotel room being rented by her traffickers and refused to return. Her traffickers threatened her with a gun and badly beat her when she continued to refuse to enter the hotel. Law enforcement identified four individuals who were responsible for the control and trafficking of the teen.
Kentucky Human trafficking victim gives birth after she was sold by own father. One of the most common but also overlooked and difficult to detect forms of exploitation is parents and caregivers selling their children.
Louisiana Man convicted last year of human trafficking involving diaper fetish arrested again. Traffickers are often repeat offenders. And fraud is an often overlooked form of recruitment and control in human trafficking.
Nebraska William Quinn, 57, was sentenced by a Furnas County judge to a minimum of 176.5 years and a maximum of 304 years in prison on 13 felonies, including counts of sex trafficking of a minor, first-degree sexual assault of a child, and the production of child pornography. Five other men were sentenced following each one’s plea to related crimes, and 13 additional men were arrested for perpetrating against the same victim. These numbers are consistent with other pedophile trafficking rings, which often involve grooming and then “sharing” of minor victims across rapists and traffickers.
Tennessee 7 Sex Buyers Charged In Tennessee Sex Trafficking Operation, including 2 charged with attempting to purchase sex with a minor.
Iowa 71-year-old Diner Owner Groomed Teenage Waitresses with Money and Drugs An Iowan man was arrested for using the teenagers who came to work as waitresses at his diner and instead plying them with Xanax and similar drugs and coercing them into regular sex with himself and his friends.
New York New York Trafficking Ring Arrested, Includes Brewer Police Officer A network of traffickers based in Queens, NY regularly enticed underage girls and young women from Mexico to come to the United States with the promise of employment (e.g. waitress, office maintenance) and once they arrived in the United States would immediately force them into prostitution. Girls were transported around the state and their movements were helped by a Brewer Police Officer, who was compensated by having girls regularly brought to him to be raped.
California Santa Clara Trafficking Ring Sentenced Four individuals were sentenced (a fifth operative is still at large) to between eight and 10 years in prison for charges of sex and labor trafficking, as well as money laundering. They trafficked immigrant women and forced them to work at various brothels around the area. Women were controlled by having their documents confiscated, threats to reveal Backpage ads to families back home, and psychological abuse. It should be noted that in the early 2010s Santa Clara made a concerted effort to eliminate IMBs in unincorporated areas and they remain closed to this day. Brothels are a different form of trafficking that now need to be similarly addressed and closed.
California Operation Home for the Holidays Concludes with 8 Arrests San Diego’s Trafficking Task Force concluded a weeklong operation that worked to identify individual traffickers and potential victims. The operation identified and referred 8 traffickers for prosecution. The Task Force also identified 26 potential victims, all of whom were offered supportive services. It is not clear if the Task Force was able to identify all victims a trafficker might be controlling, or just those that answered decoy ads.
Georgia Fulton County Arrests Four The Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit continues its work in identifying and serving survivors of trafficking and bringing traffickers to justice. In this case a 14-year-old victim was identified and connected with services while the four people involved in her exploitation have been arrested. All four face lengthy sentences that include a maximum penalty of life in prison.
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Texas Routine Traffic Stop Leads to Survivor Rescue During a routine traffic stop Richland Hills law enforcement noticed that three young men in the car were displaying potential signs of human trafficking. Since none of the young men spoke English, a Spanish-speaking officer was called to provide direct translation. After some discussion it was determined that all three young men were victims of labor trafficking, with one of the victims being under 18. Their traffickers, who were driving the car, were arrested, and all three victims were offered support and direct services. This was an amazing identification and victim-centered work by the Richland Hills police department!
Georgia: Changes to H-2A Enforcement After Georgia Trafficking Ring H-2A visas are provided to temporary workers that work in the agriculture industry. For the most part these workers come to harvest seasonal crops and return home. But because these workers labor on farms away from regular inspection or outside interaction, the system is easily abused. The recent Operation Blooming Onion, a multi-state trafficking operation based in Georgia, trafficked dozens over the years and earned millions of dollars for its operatives. HSI and the Department of Labor are working to change the approach of ICE from focusing on these potential victims, who thought they were coming legally to the country and who were trying to use these visas, and instead focus on abusive employers and recruiters.
Ohio Massage Parlors Shutdown for Trafficking Multiple tips were reported about common signs of IMBs – only male customers, business open very late at night, employees not regularly leaving at opening or close of the day (and thus being forced to live/sleep onsite). Five potential victims were identified and all were offered supportive services. AG Yost gave this statement about his office’s view on IMBs “The difference in human trafficking, simply put, is two versus three people: When money transfers to a third party and a victim is forced to engage in any kind of sex work for fear of the repercussions.”
United StatesFairfax, VA: Additional details are released about the lawsuit against Fairfax, VA officers for allegedly raping trafficking victims and hindering investigations against their traffickers.
InternationalCBP investigating Forced Labor Allegations in Irish Seafood Afghanistan: Heroin and human trafficking are the only two sectors of the economy still thrivingSpain Arrests 19 Suspected Members of a Human Trafficking Gang ‘Worst fashion wage theft’: Workers go hungry as Indian suppliers to top UK brands refuse to pay minimum wage. Shortfall of 16p a day leaves children living on just rice as suppliers to Nike, Zara and H&M in Karnataka underpay by estimated £41m.
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