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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.|
Arizona: Arizona police arrest 21 men in child sex crimes, human trafficking operation– Twenty-one men have been arrested in Operation Back to Skool
Alabama: Leeds man, 68, jailed on rape, human trafficking charges; police believe ‘many victims still out there’ – After a witness came forward, a man was arrested on three counts of rape and one count of human trafficking. He lived with three women at the time, seizing electronics, drugs, and guns in the home.
California: Neighbors’ action sparks rescue of women from suspected residential brothels in SJ – Neighbors in a San Jose neighborhood reported suspicious behavior in two homes after the entryways were made more visible and cars with only men were coming to the home and staying relatively briefly at all hours. Four victims were extracted and referred to services, while two men were arrested on sex trafficking charges. One man was arrested for an unrelated sex trafficking charge. An investigation into the network is ongoing.
Maryland: HSI Baltimore apprehends 2 alleged gang members, accomplice, breaks up suspected sex trafficking enterprise – Three men have been arrested for sex trafficking adult and minor victims as part “Triple X Party Kings” that operated through Maryland and Washington, DC. Many of the victims were recruited and groomed via social media or other victims.
Maryland: Maryland’s Most Wanted | Man sought after child escapes possible human trafficking – A man named Ramon Ruiz is on the run after being accused of raping a teen who ran away from her parents and was offered a place to stay by his wife. There is some indication that they may have been planning on trafficking her in San Diego, an investigation is ongoing.
Michigan: Two arrested overnight in Montcalm County human trafficking case – Two men have been arrested for attempting to buy sex with underage girls.
Nevada: 34-year-old man arrested on sex trafficking charges – A man has been arrested in Reno for sex trafficking two adult women
Pennsylvania: Meadville woman to go to trial in Mifflin County on labor trafficking charges – A woman who is accused of labor trafficking multiple teen girls who were her biological and foster children at an auto detailing business has requested to go to trial. The woman forced the girls to sleep on air mattresses at the business, did not pay them for their work, and restricted their access to food and ability to communicate and travel.
Texas: Texas cops arrest precinct chief Brian Harris in undercover prostitution ring bust – Montgomery County officers arrested 14 men attempting to buy sex, including the precinct chief of the Harris County Precinct 5 Constable’s Office. Harris was immediately terminated after the department learned of his arrest.
California: Convicted Child Sex Trafficker Sentences To 38 Years In Prison – A San Jose man who was already sentenced to 31 years in Los Angeles for sex trafficking victims has just been sentenced to 38 years in federal prison as the described “leader, primary facilitator, enforcer and main financial beneficiary” of a sex trafficking operation that exploited both underage and adult victims. He recruited and groomed his victims via social media, eventually forcing victims to work both in strip clubs and to provide commercial sex in hotels. He used violence, sexual abuse, drugs (including cocaine and methamphetamine), and food and sleep deprivation to keep his victims compliant and bring money in via nightly quotas. He also released a video of a victim engaged in sexual acts with a client to retaliate after she ran away and returned home. Unfortunately, two adult women who were likely victims were also charged with human trafficking. The article noted that “Guizar-Cuellar subjected both the child victims and his female co-defendants to physical and sexual abuse.”
Florida: Florida Man Sentenced for ‘Demented’ and ‘Twisted’ Conspiracy Duping Vulnerable Women and Children into Sex-Trafficking – A 50-year-old man has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for sex trafficking women and girls for over twenty years. The offender likely had hundreds of victims, targeted minors in group homes and the foster system, women with abusive traffickers, women in “low-end” strip clubs, and ran a fraudulent “charity” offering to help women leave sex work, then went on to exploit them. He often required women to be on dangerous starvation diets and convinced many that they had mental health issues, getting them on medications that made them more compliant. The women were forbidden from spending money they earned, turning everything over to him. He has been ordered to forfeit $3.4 Million and pay $14 million in restitution to his victims.
New York: A federal judge orders R. Kelly to pay more than $300,000 to his sex-trafficking victims – R. Kelly has been ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution to two of his victims in New York.
New York: Long Island Man Convicted of Attempted Sex Trafficking, Attempted Kidnapping, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Obstruction of Justice – A married father of two who attempted to kidnap and sex traffic two separate women who were providing commercial sex has pled guilty. Both victims jumped from his moving vehicle after he tried to take them to secluded areas. When he was arrested, he had multiple sets of handcuffs, rope, knives, and other restraint devices in his possession. Law enforcement is seeking information about any other potential victims.
Nebraska: Prosecutors seek life sentence for man in sex trafficking of a minor case that stretched from Omaha to South Dakota – Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for a man who pled guilty to four federal counts of sex trafficking three different minors across multiple states.
Pennsylvania – Philadelphia Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking Two Teenage Girls – A man has been sentenced to fifteen years in prison for sex trafficking a then 16 year-old-victim and her 15-year-old friend who he convinced her to recruit, then sexually assaulted. The girls were sex trafficked across state lines.
Wisconsin: Beloit man gets 20 years for sex trafficking crimes – A man who sex-trafficked a 16-year-old girl, using access to drugs and the threat of withdrawal to keep her under control in 2018, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Washington: Mother sentenced to 23 years in prison for sex trafficking 6-year-old daughter – A 31-year-old woman has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for sex trafficking her six-year-old daughter to a man she met on the Plenty of Fish dating website. The man filmed his sexual exploitation of the young child via a camera on the cat tree in his apartment; he has also pled guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Global: Is Your Supply Chain Susceptible to Forced Labor? – This Industry Week article shows how forced labor impacts supply chains in the US and abroad.
Indiana: Alleged human trafficking hotspots back open – Four IMBs that were raided after a year and a half investigation have gradually begun to reopen with changed ownership and other details.
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Georgia: 2 awaiting trial for Fulton teen trafficking face more charges in DeKalb, attorney general says – A man and woman are facing a second set of sex trafficking charges for a separate case involving a minor. It is unclear if the woman was also being sexually exploited.
Louisiana: Police arrest 8 people accused of human trafficking, prostitution at Terrebonne Parish massage parlors – Four massage parlors were raided, and a married couple has been charged with human trafficking. It is unclear if the woman in the couple was being sexually exploited, and police arrested six other people on prostitution and drug charges, which may include victims being trafficked at the parlors.
Ohio: Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force searching for woman following indictment – A man and woman have been charged with human trafficking and promotion of prostitution. While the man has been arrested, the woman has fled and is currently a fugitive. It is unclear if she is a potential victim or “bottom.”
New York: ALERT CENTER: Selden woman arrested in massage parlor investigation, police say – A woman in long island has been arrested for practicing without a license after complaints of prostitution at a local massage parlor. There is no indication that this is being investigated as a potential human trafficking situation.
Global: Human Trafficking and the “Commercial Activity” Exceptions to International Immunities – The American Society for International Law discusses international immunities and how they intersect with charging human traffickers.
Global: ‘Pig butchering’ a global human trafficking scam – Traffickers and scammers are increasingly turning to sending random, fake “wrong number” messages and striking up conversations with vulnerable targets, often asking for money and promising a lucrative future.
US: Preventing and Addressing Human Trafficking in the Wake of Disasters – DHH’s Administration for Children and Families has released a blog on how organizations can proactively address human trafficking connected to large-scale disasters.
Georgia: Fulton County Board of Commission Approves $500,000 to Fight Human Trafficking – Fulton County has approved half a million dollars to address human trafficking and support its victims. This includes plans for an 8-acre campus dedicated to housing, mental health support, and job training for survivors.
Michigan: Fact check: Police debunk claim of sex trafficking attempt in Dearborn, Michigan – A police department in Michigan is having to set the record straight because of a viral Facebook post that claims a man attempted to kidnap a woman using white gloves that a local detective explained were covered in knock-out drugs. No such incident was reported, and there is no credible evidence that this has been used as a tactic.
Mississippi: Mississippi university forms research center on human trafficking in state – The University of Mississippi is starting a center focused on researching and collecting data on local human trafficking.
Montana: Montana Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force receives national FBI award – The Yellowstone County Area Human Trafficking Task Force has received the FBI’s Director’s Community Leadership Award for their activism and awareness building in Montana.
Pennsylvania: Sex trafficking lure of fentanyl laced money was not real, Palmyra police say– A Pennsylvania police department investigated social media reports claiming traffickers were locally using fentanyl-laced cash placed on sidewalks to lure and kidnap victims. The department determined no reports were made regarding the incident, meaning this is likely another viral hoax regarding human trafficking. Two adult women who were also commercially sexually exploited were also charged and pled guilty.
Texas: Solutionaries: How ‘modern slavery’ thrives in the U.S. through visa programs – A Nigerian woman details her labor trafficking experience and some of the gaps in the visa system. Most foreign labor trafficking victims come to the United States legally.
Texas: Bastrop County grand jury declines to indict caretaker at center of The Refuge abuse scandal – A grand jury said there was not enough evidence that a worker from The Refuge who sold sexually exploitative images of minor survivors of sex trafficking could be charged with a crime. She allegedly offered the victims drugs and alcohol in exchange for the images. U.S. District Judge Janis Jack has requested a federal criminal investigation into the exploitation and abuse of residents. Eight other workers were accused of physical and sexual abuse, and many criticized the organization’s minimal employee screening process. The organization seeks to have its license restored to care for sex trafficked youth.
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