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.
Alabama: Investigators Identify 12 Arrested In Tuscaloosa Prostitution Bust – Twelve buyers were arrested and charged after a two-day operation by the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force at a local hotel.
Georgia: Georgia AG investigators looking for man with unique alligator chest tattoo – Georgia’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit is seeking a man with a distinctive chest tattoo that reads “Florida Boy” with features an alligator. Anyone with potential information is asked to call 404-577-TIPS (8477).
Louisiana: FBI opens sweeping prove of clergy sex abuse in New Orleans – The FBI and the Louisiana State Police have opened an investigation into whether sexually abusive clergy crossed state lines.
Michigan: Eight Arrested in Grand Traverse County Child Sex Trafficking Operation – Investigators posed online as children under the age of 16 and arrested 8 men seeking to have sex with them.
New York: Money laundering investigation leads to closure of Olivet University campuses in New York – A private, evangelical university at the center of a federal investigation into human trafficking and money laundering has just been ordered to cease operations on its New York campus. The New York Commissioner of Education says the university has not made sufficient steps to become compliant.
New York: Husband and wife allegedly used violence to force women into prostitution, porn – A Manhattan couple has been charged with sex trafficking, labor trafficking and promoting prostitution. The couple is alleged to have sex trafficked women in hotels across the northeast, while also forcing them to create content on Only Fans and applying for government support under their names. They used violence and drugs as methods of control. It is unclear if the wife was also exploited and we hope the investigation established whether she was also a victim before charges were filed.
New Jersey: From Mexico to NJ: State Police Dismantle Human Trafficking Ring – New Jersey State Police have disrupted a sex trafficking operation that preyed on vulnerable women and girls migrating from Mexico. Four people have been arrested on human trafficking charges and two suspects remain at-large.
Texas: Edinburg couple charged with holding migrants hostage – A Texas couple is alleged to have kidnapped and held three undocumented migrants in their home for about two weeks, forcing them to repay a surprise $12,000 “debt” they claimed was owed after the victims after the victims paid $4,500 to be smuggled across the US-Mexico border. The victims were forced to clean, babysit, sell fireworks at a roadside stand, and sell drugs outside of a bar. At the same time, the traffickers were attempting to extort family of the migrants while supervising calls. The victims were told to say they were being treated well but were able to speak in an indigenous, minority language unknown to their traffickers, telling their family they were being exploited.
Massachusetts: Muriel Close of Rehoboth sentenced for helping recruit victims in sex trafficking operation – A woman has been sentenced to twelve-months of home confinement for what prosecutors described as helping a prolific sex trafficker recruit victims. While the pimp was sentenced to 11 years, she seems to have been sex trafficked by Brown as well. While the sentence took this into consideration, the best practice is to not criminalize victims, even the “bottom”.
Montana: South Carolina man sentenced for sex trafficking Montana women and girls – A man received 30 years in prison and lifetime supervision upon release after sex trafficking at least 9 women and girls and dealing cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines. He targeted vulnerable people, generally homeless and/or struggling with addiction, and used the internet to groom them. He then used drugs, threats, and violence to maintain control as he sex trafficked them across multiple states.
Nebraska: Man gets 10-20 years in sex trafficking case, victim was York County teen – A man has been sentenced to 10-20 years for sex trafficking a 15-year-old victim that he met over Snapchat.
New York – R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison for federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges – R&B singer R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years after sex trafficking minors and adults for decades. The singer replaced his firm with one that successfully overturned Bill Cosby’s guilty plea and is claiming indigence, though prosecutors are seeking the sale of rights to his music in order to cover fees. Female prosecutors involved in the case dealt with direct death threats and having their location broadcast by a supporter of R. Kelly. Kelly still faces charges in Illinois and Minnesota.
Virginia: Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years in prison for sex trafficking crimes – After years of litigation and delays Ghislaine Maxwell has finally been sentenced to 20 years. While she acknowledged her conviction she took no responsibility for her actions.
Global: The Economics of Exploitation – Summit Economics has issued a new report on the basic economics of exploitation.
US: The Sale of Migrant Slaves to American Ranchers is a Multi-Million Dollar Business – A journalist investigating labor trafficking of undocumented ranch workers alleges profits of $200 million dollars over the past four years. Taking their identity documents, refusing pay, limiting water and keeping them in fields with electrified fences are all common tactics of control.
USA: Congress must recommit to the global fight against trafficking. – Staff from anti-trafficking group International Justice Mission are calling on Congress to re-commit to anti-human trafficking work, including reauthorizing the lapsed Trafficking Victims Protection Act citing serious crises and likely spikes of human trafficking worldwide.
USA/South Africa: Facebook Tells Judge to ‘Crack The Whip’ To Gag Black Whistleblower Alleging Human Trafficking – A former employee is accusing Meta of offering a call center job only to require him and others to review reported content. The workers were paid $2.20 per hour and allege that they were fired for trying to form a union asking for a living wage and better treatment while reviewing the graphic content.
Florida: Fla. Judge Tosses Class Suit Over Massage Spa Surveillance – A lawsuit against individual Vero Beach Police officers asking for millions in damages has been thrown out after the judge ruled that the plaintiff failed to show that his privacy had been unduly violated.
Illinois: Chicagoland massage parlor owners charged with promoting prostitution, money laundering – A three-year investigation by the Naperville Police Department led to promotion of prostitution and money laundering charges for four owners of IMBs in the area.
Massachusetts: Former owner of Mantra Dhevi Spa pleads guilty to COVID relief fraud after lying on applications about prostituting employees – A former owner of an IMB pled guilty to fraud after falsely applying for COVID emergency relief for her business and receiving $7,066.
Utah: Midvale massage parlor accused of sex trafficking workers – A Midvale IMB owner has been arrested and charged with sex trafficking. An officer was offered a commercial sex act by an employee, when the owner arrived she was found with $12,500 in cash and the state IDs of her employees in her purse. The victims were not charged or named.
Washington: New effort to combat human trafficking in King County after Renton massage parlor bust – A woman has been charged with unlawful imprisonment and promotion of prostitution after she hired an immigrant woman and then forced her to take explicit photos and advertised her for commercial sex online. Despite being threatened, the victim was able to runaway and call 911.
CLICK HERE TO DONATE >>
California: Sex-Trafficking Sting Nets 12 Men, 1 Woman, 1 Child In La Quinta – Riverside police set up a buyer sting, but after arresting 12 men (and a male minor) they also arrested a woman on prostitution charges. There is no indication they performed any kind of human trafficking investigation.
North Carolina:13 charged in High Point undercover prostitution sting – The High Point Police Department arrested thirteen people, including naming and charging six people with prostitution and promoting prostitution. There is no mention of services or anti-human trafficking efforts.
Wisconsin: Sex trafficking victim Chrystul Kizer wins key Wisconsin court ruling – Survivor Chrystul Kizer was charged at 17 for killer her sex trafficker, but claims she was acting in self-defense. The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld a previous ruling, citing that her status under a recent Wisconsin law is a “complete defense to a charge of first-degree intentional homicide”.
Alabama: Shelby County law enforcement set to fight human trafficking during World Games – The World Games is being held in Birmingham, Alabama this year and hosting 3,600 athletes from more than 100 countries for 11 days. Local law enforcement and larger anti-human trafficking groups, including Collective Liberty, are working to support them to address any associated human trafficking.
California: California will end arrests for loitering for prostitution
California: Newsom pardons Sara Kruzan, imprisoned as a teen for killing man who trafficked her – A sex trafficking survivor has been pardoned for the murder of her sex trafficker who had been exploiting her since she was 11-years-old. The then seventeen year-old was convicted in 1995 and spent over twenty years in prison before her sentence was commuted. Kruzan has dedicated her life to community service, and advocates are pushing for better treatment of abuse survivors.
Global: Interpol says 700 human trafficking victims rescued across Africa and Gulf
US: CFPB Helps Survivors Mitigate the Financial Consequences of Human Trafficking – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued new rules to protect human trafficking victims who experienced financial abuse. Survivors can now submit documentation of their trafficking situation and credit reporting companies must block any negative marks from impacting their credit reporting. This applies to smaller credit reporters who provide “employment screening, tenant screening, check and bank screening, personal property insurance, medical, low-income and subprime, utilities, retail, and gaming”.
JOIN US >>