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We’re back from our winter break with a full month of news. We hope you had a great holiday season and New Year!

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: Registered sex offender accused of luring Casa Grande teen girl for sex – A 47-year-old man was arrested after grooming a 15-year-old victim via social media and arranging to have commercial sex. After his arrest, officers discovered predatory behavior on his social media accounts, requesting sexually explicit images from many out-of-state teens and trying to lure them into meeting up for sex. He was charged with “sexual conduct with a minor, child sex trafficking, and luring a minor for sexual exploitation.”

Arizona: Man faces sex trafficking charges after neighbor hears screams in Scottsdale apartment – A 60-year-old man has been arrested on 5 sex trafficking charges after neighbors heard him threatening and beating a woman inside an AirBnB. She was hired as his house cleaner in May 2022, but then he began controlling her, moving to Tucson with her and eventually sex trafficking her. He recorded videos of her exploitation, held her identity documents, kept all her earnings, and whipped her if she did not comply.

California: Man arrested on suspicion of human trafficking – A 45-year-old man has been arrested for sex trafficking one minor and one adult out of a hotel. Police also say they seized more evidence of human trafficking and unregistered guns from his home.

Florida: Suspect arrested in multi-year human trafficking ring in St. Lucie County – A 42-year-old man with a history of sex buying charges was arrested for sex trafficking multiple victims using drugs as a form of control. He was also charged with manslaughter charges for giving one of his victims a fatal dose of drugs.

Florida: Maryland rapper accused of prostituting his girlfriend in Florida – A 31-year-old rapper from Silver Spring has been arrested for sex trafficking a 23-year-old after meeting her online. The victim jumped from a moving car in Miami as he was beating her. He had also stolen $20,000 from her, drugged her with cocaine and MDMA to keep her compliant, and tattooed her chest with his name and a crown (a standard style of tattoos used in sex trafficking).

Massachusetts: Boston Man Indicted for Sex Trafficking and Transporting a Minor with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity – A 30-year-old man has been indicted on four counts for sex trafficking a young adult and a minor in Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut. He initially groomed his adult victim, demanding she produce pornography and eventually engage in commercial sex. He also pepper sprayed, beat, and ran over the adult victim in a car.

Michigan: Second suspect arraigned in sex trafficking of minor saved during traffic stop in Inkster – A man has been arrested for sex trafficking an endangered missing minor from the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe after she was located during a traffic stop. The officer recognized and extracted her from the situation while arresting a potential trafficker.

Missouri: Franklin County man wanted on child sex trafficking charges – Police are seeking Donald Eugene Fields II, who has been charged with one federal count of sex trafficking for exploiting a minor from 2013-2017. He is known to frequent casinos. A co-defendant has already been arrested for buying access to the victim.

New Mexico: Roswell man charged with sex trafficking of children – Law enforcement officers have charged a man in Chavez County with sex trafficking after an investigation that began with a report of the sexual assault of a 12-year-old victim. Three young victims have been identified, and at least one was abused via Snapchat.

New York: Duo Faces Charges for Sex Trafficking 16-Year-Old Girl in NYC: DA – One man has been arrested for sex trafficking a 16-year-old victim in Brooklyn. A co-defendant is still being sought in the investigation.

North Dakota: Promoting prostitution charges dismissed for pair, filed against Cherry Blossom Massage in Bismarck – Criminal prostitution charges against two owners of a suspected IMB have been dropped. The charges have now been filed against the business.

North Carolina: Stunning accusations of sex trafficking and drug abuse by US troops at Fort Bragg – A Special Operations soldier and Green Beret has been arrested for sex trafficking a minor and a range of child sex crimes after a group of 13 soldiers also in the 3rd Special Forces Group were arrested on drug charges. “An internal review of Special Operations Command conducted in 2019 found severe issues with ethics in the community, finding that the culture of elite units’ extreme focus on mission accomplishment allows misconduct and unethical behavior to often go unchecked.”

North Carolina: Man arrested on human trafficking charges after investigation in Wilmington area – A 70-year-old man who posted his services as a “sugar daddy” was arrested on 12 human trafficking charges; he has since been charged with 17 more charges related to sex trafficking minors. 

Ohio: Zacharias get new indictment in federal court for sex trafficking – A Catholic priest in Ohio is now facing 5 sex trafficking charges stemming from the exploitation of 3 male victims, two of which were underage students at a Catholic school at the beginning of their abuse. The priest used knowledge of their drug problems and his position as a priest to exploit them for sexual favors over 20 years, beginning in 1999. His trial is set for February 2023.

South Carolina: 2 face human trafficking charges in Orangeburg County – A woman has been arrested for sex trafficking a child under 11 years old. A man was also arrested and charged with sex trafficking and sexually exploiting the same victim and another minor victim.

Tennessee: Woman accused of sex trafficking child for five years–  A woman has been arrested in Tennessee for sex trafficking a child, beginning when they were under 13.

California: Man gets 27 years, 8 months for sex trafficking Highland High School girls – A man who sex-trafficked multiple California teens using drugs and social media to entrap them has been sentenced to almost 28 years in prison.

Colorado: Man who sex trafficked teen girl sentenced to prison – A 33-year-old man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to sex trafficking a minor in Florida, California, Nevada, and Colorado. He advertised her on escort websites and took all of the money she earned.

Florida: – Man sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for sex trafficking girl in Broward County – A 30-year-old man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for sex trafficking a missing teenager. He had been advertising her online.

Michigan: Pontiac Man Sentenced to Maximum Term for Role in Trafficking Ring – A 23-year-old man who sex trafficked nine women has received a maximum sentence for all his charges. He also must pay $27,000 in restitution and register as a sex offender.

Minnesota: St. Cloud Man Sentenced to 10 years in Prison for Sex Trafficking – A 37-year-old man has pled guilty to sex trafficking. He sex trafficked two women in 2019, and when he failed to appear in court for those charges in 2021, he was found sex trafficking a third woman. 

Minnesota: Minneapolis man sentenced to 12.5 years for sex trafficking of 14-year-old – A man who met a 14-year-old girl at a bus stop, then raped and sex-trafficked her and another adult woman has been sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison for sex trafficking the minor victim. After posting bail, he cut off an ankle monitor and escaped, only to be located and re-arrested.

New York: Jamaica man sentenced for sex trafficking a homeless woman, forcing her into prostitution: DA – A man has been convicted and sentenced to 8 years in prison for beating, sexually assaulting, and then sex trafficking a 35-year-old homeless woman. He had had a history of violating protective orders and violence against other women.

Pennsylvania: Turtle Creek man to serve 40-year prison sentence for sex trafficking of teen – A man who pled guilty to sex trafficking a minor and using drugs to control her received a 40-year sentence.

PennsylvaniaTruck Driver Sentenced to 37 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking a Minor Victim and Producing Videos of the Abuse – An Indiana truck driver has been convicted of sex trafficking a 14-year-old and filming her exploitation. He used social media to groom the victim, offering cash to “hang out,” and used social media to maintain control.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Forcibly Sex Trafficking a Minor on – A 51-year-old man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for grooming a victim via social media and then sex trafficking her for two weeks via, which was seized in April 2018. The victim was physically abused, including being burned with lit cigarettes.

Texas: 26-year-old Houston man sentenced to 15 years for sex trafficking teenage girls: DOJ – A  26-year-old man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for sex trafficking two minors, 16 and 17 years old, around Houston. He posed as a boyfriend but used violence to control the victims if they resisted.

Mississippi: Six charged in Pike County prostitution sting – Six men were arrested for attempting to buy commercial sex 

North Carolina: Former NC state trooper charged with soliciting prostitute, crimes against nature in Charlotte – A North Carolina state trooper was arrested for soliciting prostitution and “crimes against nature” on December 22nd; he resigned from his position after his arrest. 

Ohio: 17 Northeast Ohio men charged in human trafficking investigation – Police in North Canton arrested 17 men, including a local pastor, for attempting to buy commercial sex.

USA: Non-agricultural guest workers see little justice and protection from predatory employers – A visa program allowing foreign workers to fill positions unable to be filled by willing Americans is again under examination for the amount of exploitation, including human trafficking, that occurs. Visa holders are bound to their employers and can be deported if they lose their job, making it difficult to raise concerns about poor treatment. Many abusive recruiters and employers are still allowed to use the program.

USA: U.S. creates process for exploited migrant workers to obtain protection from deportation – Department of Homeland Security has established a program to protect victims of labor exploitation, including labor trafficking, from deportation. Immigrants will be eligible for the new deferred action if they submit letters from law enforcement agencies investigating their allegations, and this is a crucial step to help protect whistleblowers.

California: KCSO arrests 9 suspects on suspicion of labor trafficking, kidnapping 16 victims – Sixteen victims were recovered after one escaped and began banging on doors, pleading for help and saying his wife and 12-year-old child along with about 15 other victims were being held in a nearby house. After his escape, the victims were moved, but police took the complaint seriously and soon located the victims at two other addresses after receiving warrants. The victims were aged 8 to 66 and had immigrated from Mexico. Police arrested 9 traffickers on charges of “kidnapping, false imprisonment, human trafficking for labor purposes, criminal conspiracy, child endangerment, and accessory.”

Florida: Polk County Farm Boss Heads To Prison For Coercing Migrant Laborers – A man who forced migrant workers on H-2A visas from Mexico to live and work in inhumane conditions has been sentenced to ten years in federal prison. He was also ordered to pay $175,000 in restitution. He underpaid and overworked victims, charging exorbitant fees, keeping their passports, and threatening them with deportation if they resisted. Victims were also forced to live in crowded, unsanitary conditions.

Minnesota: New Rules Discussed to Redefine Charges for Labor Trafficking in Minnesota – A bill seeking to strengthen laws against human trafficking, closing loopholes that labor traffickers use and enhancing penalties when victims are minors, trafficking continues for an extended period, or a victim suffers bodily harm or death.


Alabama: ‘Operation Holiday Blues’ makes 21 arrests in drug and prostitution stings – Alabama police arrested 8 people on prostitution charges, including an 18-year-old and a 19-year-old, publishing their names and photos. There is no indication their situation was investigated as possible human trafficking or that potential victims received services or support.

Connecticut: Two charged in alleged juvenile sex trafficking case in Norwalk – A 60-year-old man and 35-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of sex trafficking multiple minors. It is unclear if the woman is a potential victim and was also being sexually exploited.

Florida: Two North Texans face charges after allegedly driving 17-year-old girl to Florida for sex trafficking – A couple has been charged with sex trafficking a minor. A 32-year-old man from North Texas is described as setting up appointments, while the 21-year-old woman was charged with sex trafficking because she recruited more girls. It is unclear if this woman was also being sexually exploited and may be a victim.

Illinois: Employee arrested for prostitution after allegedly performing acts on man at massage parlor in Cary – An employee at an IMB has been charged with prostitution, and her name and photograph have been published. There is no indication she was treated as a potential victim of human trafficking or that the business’s owner is under investigation.

Louisiana: 4 arrested in undercover massage parlor investigation in Slidell – Four employees of an IMB have been arrested and charged with prostitution. There is no indication this was investigated as a possible human trafficking case.

Massachusetts: Ex-North Attleboro woman arrested in prostitution bust in Attleboro gets pretrial probation – A woman who was arrested on prostitution charges as a manager at an IMB where potential victims were living at the facility received pretrial probation. There is no indication this was investigated as a possible human trafficking situation or that she or other potential victims received proper services.

Maryland: Sex Trafficking, Prostitution Charges Filed Against 2 MD Women: Police – Two women have been charged with prostitution and running an IMB. While some victims were identified, it’s unclear if police have investigated the existence of higher-level traffickers, such as an owner.

Oklahoma: Undercover operation leads to prostitution charges in Oklahoma City – Police identified a possible IMB, then arrested two employees on prostitution charges, naming them and sharing their photos. There is no indication that police investigated potential human trafficking or provided services for the potential victims.

Pennsylvania: Spa Manager Busted For Prostitution In West Chester: Police – A 40-year-old woman and manager has been arrested for prostitution at an IMB. It is unclear if the ongoing investigation considers her or other employees a potential victim. She was named, and her photo was shared.

Vermont: Rainbow Spa manager pleads not guilty in human trafficking case– A woman who claims to have been hired via an ad in a Korean publication to manage an IMB where all employees were required to live and work on the premises is fighting prostitution charges against her. The woman claims she made $700 per week, about $17.50 for a 40-hour week, and was subject to similar restrictions. There is no indication that this was investigated as a possible human trafficking situation or that the owners have been investigated as potential traffickers. The IMB has a New York-based owner with ties to Flushing, New York, a common feature of organized IMB networks.

Global: New Study Assists Pediatricians With Identifying Trafficked Children – A new study offers information to help pediatricians identify children experiencing human trafficking.

USA: GirlsDoPorn founder, on the lam since 2019, arrested in Spain – New Zealand millionaire Michael James Pratt was arrested in Madrid, Spain, after hiding from law enforcement for three years. He was one of the FBI’s Most Wanted persons and was the ringleader of the GirlsDoPorn sex trafficking operation that victimized hundreds of women and girls. All co-defendants were convicted for luring victims with promises of modeling and them coercing them into being filmed and exploited, then threatening them. The website earned them over $17 million; a judge has already ordered $12.5 million to be provided to survivors in restitution.

USA: Banks – What Should You Know? Civil Liability for Failure to Detect Human Trafficking – An article describing civil liability for financial institutions for not complying with anti-human trafficking efforts. 

USA: Abolish Trafficking Reauthorization Act of 2022 – The Abolish Trafficking Reauthorization Act of 2022 was signed into law. It includes essential protections for minor victims. “Under the legislation, courts would be allowed to deviate from harsh sentences for child sex trafficking and sex crime victims who commit serious offenses against their traffickers or abusers. It also requires judges to consider the diminished culpability of children relative to adult offenders any time a child is sentenced in adult court.” It also provides grants for anti-trafficking work, promotes confidentiality for survivors, and gives child welfare agencies more authority to identify and respond to potential sex trafficking. 

USA: Peters and Portman Bipartisan Bill to Fight Human Trafficking Signed Into Law – The Countering Human Trafficking Act of 2021 has been signed into law after a bipartisan effort. This creates the Center for Countering Human Trafficking, a specialist team within the Department of Homeland Security that will also oversee the Blue Campaign.

Arizona: Flagstaff PD considering new policies – After botched attempts at investigating sex trafficking operations, Flagstaff Police Department was told they must receive training and work on best practices to investigate potential sex trafficking operations ethically and effectively.

Arkansas: Jury says west Little Rock motel owes sex-trafficking victim – An Arkansas jury sided with a survivor of sex trafficking, ordering a Little Rock motel to pay the victim $477,000 in damages for turning a blind eye to her exploitation and allegedly rampant criminal activity.

Florida: Review of Florida’s public list of sex buyers finds effectiveness is limited to reduce demand for prostitution – Despite launching a public directory of convicted sex buyers, Florida has only included one name on the list since its inception. The article asks why the tool has not been used as intended.

Hawaii: Native Hawaiian women and girls experience sex trafficking and violence at alarming rates, report says – A new report identified that Native Hawaiians are disproportionately likely to be victims of sex trafficking, while a disproportionate amount of buyers attempting to buy sex with a 13-year-old were active duty military members (38% of the men arrested)

Massachusetts: Worcester woman sues ex-official, diocese over coerced sex allegations – CEO of Living in Freedom Together Worcester and Survivor Leader Nikki Bell is suing an ex-official and the Worcester Catholic Diocese who employed him. Bell says the former director of a local soup kitchen used his position to coerce sex from her and multiple vulnerable women. She also says the Worcester Dioceses failed to investigate the three submitted complaints properly and worked to shield themselves from liability instead of helping victims. 

Michigan: Michigan governor grants pardon to woman who survived human trafficking  – A survivor of human trafficking who was trafficked from age 15 to 36 and developed a criminal record due to her trafficker’s demands has been pardoned by Governor Whitmer.

Rhode Island: Out of Prison for Sex Trafficking, RI Man Started COVID Unemployment Scam – A 20-year-old man was sentenced to 5 years in prison and 5 years of supervised release for sex trafficking two minors (age 14 and 16) has pled guilty shortly after his release to unemployment scamming. He was released in late 2019, and from March 2020 to May 2021 he fraudulently filed for unemployment under his name and stolen identities in at least 10 states. His parole officer uncovered the fraud in February 2021. 

Romania: Andrew Tate detained in Romania over rape and human trafficking case – Andrew Tate, a US-born British national and professional kickboxer, has been arrested in Romania for rape and sex trafficking. Tate was a millionaire and created “Hustler’s University,” claiming he had become rich by convincing his “girlfriends” to offer sexually explicit webcam performances, then taking most of their money by deceiving them. He has a history of accusations of domestic violence and described hypothetically beating and strangling girlfriends who accused him of cheating in interviews.

Virginia: Former Fairfax Co. police chief was alleged client in VA sex trafficking ring: victim – A survivor of sex trafficking testifying in a civil case has accused the former police chief of Fairfax County, Virginia, and three other officers of receiving commercial sex from victims in exchange for not arresting their traffickers. The victims were lured from Venezuela and Costa Rica, forced to have sex with up to 17 buyers per day, and required to perform dangerous and degrading sex acts. The former police chief now works in Ashville, North Carolina.

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