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: Prostitution Sting Led By Murrieta Police Leads To 12 Arrests – The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce and Murietta Police Department arrested twelve men for attempting to purchase commercial sex, and one man was arrested for pimping. A potential victim was identified and referred to services, and her case is being investigated as a possible sex trafficking case.California: Thousand Oaks man charged with human trafficking, sex crimes with minors – A 4-year-old has been accused of sex trafficking an adult woman, sexually propositioning a minor, and possessing CSAM. He was previously convicted of unlawful sex with a minor in 2006 and human trafficking of a minor in 2017.
Florida: Moffitt cancer researcher, firefighter arrested in human trafficking sting: deputies – Three men were arrested for attempting to purchase commercial sex from who they thought was a 14-year-old. The arrestees were a firefighter, a cancer researcher, and a food vendor who regularly has access to children.
Florida: Disney employee, 12 others arrested in Polk County child sex sting, deputies say – Twelve men have been arrested for attempting to purchase commercial sex, with three of those men believing they were buying sex with a minor. Notably, there was an employee who had worked for Disney for 16 years and a man who installed internet filters on school computers to protect children.
Georgia: Carr Announces New Indictment in Multi-Defendant Human Trafficking Case in Clayton County – Georgia’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit has reopened a 2019 case closed by local police involving a 15-year-victim, pursuing leads she gave in a forensic interview. This has led to the arrest of two buyers and more charges against one of her already convicted sex traffickers.
Massachusetts: Ellington man, eight others arrested in undercover Mass. prostitution bust – Nine men were arrested for attempting to buy commercial sex, including two from out of state, over a 4-hour operation.
Maryland: Annapolis Police arrest suspected sex trafficking driver, relocate victim to safety – A 27-year-old man has been arrested for sex trafficking a woman in Maryland. The victim says she was moved from New York and sex trafficked to pay off a debt her traffickers claimed she owed them for being brought to the United States. She was kept in an apartment and was only allowed to leave when driven to a buyer’s location. In the raid, police seized over $9,000 in cash, 18 grams of cocaine, and business cards with the trafficker’s number. The victim was referred to services.
Nevada: Las Vegas pimp sex-trafficked 15-year-old girl as prostitute, police say – A 22-year-old man has been arrested for kidnapping and sex-trafficking a 15-year-old girl on the Las Vegas strip. An adult woman also seems to have been exploited by him; it is unclear if he will face charges relating to her commercial sexual exploitation.
Oregon: Bend Police posing as minors arrest 28 in four-month sex crimes sting – Twenty men were arrested for attempting to buy sex from minors, and eight were arrested for attempting to purchase sex from adults in Bend, Oregon. The police say that over 200 people initially contacted their undercover officers, but not a single person reported the post to law enforcement after learning an alleged minor was involved. Multiple people stating they were victims of the buyers arrested have come forward since the arrests.
Pennsylvania: Accused Polish Hill rapist indicted on federal sex trafficking, child exploitation counts – A man has been charged with seven counts of sex trafficking as well as racketeering and production of CSAM (Child Sex Abuse Material) in Pennsylvania. He was previously charged with drugging and raping six women, recording their exploitation, and possessing child pornography. He claimed to use drugs to control his victims and attempted to delete CSAM from his cell phone when he asked to use his phone to call his employer.
Pennsylvania: Ten men arrested in prostitution sting in Hampden Township – Ten men have been arrested for attempting to buy commercial sex from an undercover officer.
Texas: Report: Abilene woman accused of sex trafficking daughter for drug money – A mother has been arrested for sex-trafficking her child for three years. The child came forward, saying that her mother would allow men to sexually assault her for money every other day, then use the money to buy drugs. Other children in the home confirmed her story, and the mother failed a polygraph test.
Texas: Evidence of possible human trafficking found during illegal game room bust in Aldine area, HCSO says – An industrial building in Harris county has been shut down, accused of hosting illegal gambling, a chop shop, and an illegal bar that operated until 8 AM and served alcohol to minors. During the raid, law enforcement officers noticed potential signs of human trafficking and investigated potential exploitation at the building.
Texas: Waco prostitution sting leads to arrest of seven alleged johns – Seven men were arrested in Waco for attempting to buy commercial sex.
Virginia: Martinsburg Man Charged with Commercial Sex Trafficking, Other Charges Pursuant to Suspicious Incident – A West Virginia man has been arrested and charged with commercial sex trafficking, abduction, malicious wounding, and simple assault. Officers responded to a call reporting a woman attempting to exit a vehicle while a man was holding her by her hair. The responding officer found the victim under an underpass after she had been pushed from the moving vehicle. The trafficker was later arrested.
Virginia: Tips to police about possible human trafficking at Oceanfront lead to arrests – A series of tips from the public have led to multiple human trafficking arrests in Virginia Beach, as well as the arrest of an adult man sexually abusing a 12-year-old foster child who had run away from home.
Washington: Eight People Arrested in Sex Trafficking Sting by Othello and Moses Lake Police – Police for a small town in a rural area of Washington teamed up with another police department after “receiving information that individuals were traveling to Othello thinking police did not have the resources to act against sex trafficking,” arresting eight men for attempting to buy sex.
Wisconsin: Pleasant Prairie Police arrest 11 during undercover human trafficking operation – A Wisconsin town arrested 11 men who attempted to buy sex from an undercover officer.
Wyoming: Gillette human trafficking sting brings training and awareness – Collective Liberty Faculty Detective Joseph Scaramucci and Uprising Wyoming trained law enforcement officers in Wyoming, followed by a sting that ticketed three men for attempting to buy commercial sex from an adult and arresting one man who believed he was traveling to have sex with a 16-year-old.
California: Man gets 30 years for sex trafficking of teen in San Francisco, Oakland – A 26-year-old man has been convicted of sex trafficking a 17-year-old victim in Northern California. After she was extracted from the situation he removed her from the care of a group home and returned to sex trafficking the victim the next day.
California: Man faces 25-plus years in prison in Vaca human trafficking case – A man in Vacaville has pled guilty to human trafficking an adult woman, sometimes from prison, and using threats and access to fentanyl to control her. Police responded to reports of an armed burglary, where they identified that the young woman was actually a human trafficking victim.
Missouri – SGF sex traffickers get 20, 30 years in prison – A 43-year-old man has been convicted of sex-trafficking a 15-year-old-girl and sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. His partner, a 37-year-old woman, has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.
Minnesota: Minneapolis Man Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Trafficking– A 40-year-old man has pleaded guilty to sex trafficking a 14-year-old developmentally challenged girl he recruited at a bus stop in 2020. The victim described her trafficking violently sexually assaulting her multiple times per day, often strangling her until she passed out. Police located her due to suspicious commercial sex ads and traced the number to the victim, who they knew was a minor.
New York: East New York Man Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison For Attempted Sex Trafficking of 15-Year-Old Girl – A Brooklyn man who raped a 15-year-old girl and then sex-trafficked her out of underground strip clubs has pled guilty and received a sentence of 8 years in prison.
US: Holding Employers Accountable for Severe Safety and Health Violations – The U.S. Department of Labor released a blog post discussing the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
US: US rail strike averted, but labor deal faces tough union votes – The Secretary of Labor helped broker a compromise with American Rail workers and avoid an impending strike after companies and unions had been unable to reach an agreement after two years, potentially stranding 30% of US goods in the event of a strike. The unions represent 115,000 essential workers fighting to improve wages that had been frozen for three years, the ability to receive certain kinds of healthcare, and take sick leave without punishment.
California: Wage theft whack-a-mole: California workers win judgments against bosses but still don’t get paid– A discussion of how companies dodge paying victims of wage theft even after court orders
Michigan: Police: husband, wife used massage parlors as fronts for prostitution – A couple in Imlay, Michigan have been arrested for owning and running two illicit massage businesses. Police note that most clients were “from out of town and drove 40 to 50 minutes” to patronize the IMBs. Four potential Chinese victims have been provided with services and police are asking for any women who have had interactions with the businesses to contact them. They are clear they are examining potential evidence of human trafficking.
CLICK HERE TO DONATE >>
Florida: Police chief among 160 people arrested in Florida sex sting – Polk County’s Operation Fall Haul II led to 160 arrests, with a majority labeled “Offer to Commit Prostitution” with their names and images shared. Seven human trafficking victims were identified and anonymized. The operation arrested 65 buyers including the Deputy Police Chief of Cartersville Georgia Police Department, a corrections officer at Lake County Correctional Institution, and multiple employees of schools and Disneyworld among others. There is no discussion of traffickers being arrested.
Global: No region is ‘immune’ as the number of people in ‘modern slavery’ climbs to 50 million – The UN’s International Organization for Migration has released a long-awaited report, saying that people experiencing forced labor, forced marriage and human trafficking rose sharply from an estimated 40 million to an estimated 50 million, partially exacerbated by the economic uncertainty of the pandemic.
US: A Target Sex-Trafficking Hoax Is Once Again Going Viral On TikTok – Another false claim about human trafficking has gone viral, claiming that people are luring victims to be kidnapped and trafficked by starting a Marco Polo game in major chain stores. There is no evidence of this happening.
US: Unsubstantiated claim of fentanyl-rose trafficking scheme spreads online – Another viral claim about traffickers using roses laced with fentanyl made by a woman in Clinton, Mississippi has gone viral. While this story was sourced to one woman who contacted police after the incident they have been unable to substantiate her story and there have been no other similar incidents shared with the National Human Trafficking Hotline or other law enforcement agencies that were contacted.
Global: FBI offering $100k reward for newest Most Wanted fugitive accused of sex trafficking, child porn – Michael James Pratt, the head of a sex trafficking ring that targeted women and girls is currently a fugitive while his other co-defendants have all been found guilty. Pratt also owned pornwikileaks.com where he doxxed the women he had already exploited. He is a New Zealander with a high net-worth and “may visit New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Singapore, Japan, Chile, Croatia and France”.
Iowa: Teen sex trafficking victim faces 20 years in prison for killing alleged rapist – 17-year-old sex trafficking victim Pieper Lewis is awaiting sentencing on voluntary manslaughter and willful injury charges after killing a 37-year-old buyer after he raped her multiple times and fed her drugs at age 15. The survivor says she raped by the buyer and refused to go back until her trafficker threatened her with a knife, demanding she go to the abusive buyer’s home for marijuana. After the buyer raped her again she killed him. Her trafficker has not been charged with a crime.
JOIN US >>