• March 1, 2023
  • forgingfreed0m
  • HT News

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: Man Charged with Promoting Prostitution and Domestic Battery in Natrona County – A  33-year-old man has been charged with promoting prostitution, domestic violence, and drug possession.  The victim jumped from a moving truck into traffic to try and escape the perpetrator. Despite allegations of interstate trafficking, clear trafficking indicators, and the judge saying “the victim was basically being trafficked,” the man was charged with only more minor crimes.
California: 48 arrested, 8 children rescued in major San Diego human trafficking bust – San Diego law enforcement arrested 48 people  and rescued 16 victims, including 8 children who were as young as 13 years old in “Operation Better Pathways.”
Florida: Lee County Sheriff announced an arrest in a human trafficking case – A man has been arrested in connection with the sex trafficking of a 15-year-old victim and the murder of a man who came to meet her before being robbed and shot.
Florida: HCSO: Youth pastor, foster parent arrested for human trafficking – A 36-year-old youth pastor and a 38-year-old registered foster father have been arrested for sex trafficking and a range of sex crimes after a mother discovered evidence her daughter had been commercially sexually exploited on the minor’s phone.
Georgia: ‘LOTTO’ gang members indicted in Gwinnett on sex trafficking, gang charges after 5 women rescued – Eight members of LOTTO (Last One To Take Over Gang), offshoots of the Crips and Gangster Disciples, were arrested for sex trafficking at least one minor and 4 adult women who were extracted from the premises.
Georgia: Sex offender kept teen girl in hotel room for sex, GBI says – A convicted sex offender has been arrested for sex trafficking a victim, initially paying for commercial sex then keeping her in the hotel room to exploit.
Georgia: 3 men arrested in trafficking case of Cobb County girl. – Three men were arrested for sex trafficking a minor. Authorities found the victim in distress miles from her home.
Kansas: Topeka man arrested, accused of sex trafficking a child – A 57-year-old man has been booked on two charges of human trafficking a child under 14 and child sexual abuse charges as part of an ongoing investigation into sexual crimes.
Missouri: 2 Texas men face child sex trafficking charges in St. Louis County –  Two men, 19 and 22 years old, have been arrested on sex trafficking charges for transporting and harboring two underage girls and posting ads online with the goal of commercially sexually exploiting them.Ohio: Owner of Cleveland smoke shop charged with human trafficking – A 42-year-old man has been indicted on charges including human trafficking, kidnapping, compelling prostitution, extortion, robbery, and assault. He is accused of sex trafficking a 19-year-old victim he describes as an “ex-girlfriend” who lived in a  property next to his store.
Texas: Grand jury indicts Beaumont man for trafficking underage victims – A 28-year-old man has been arrested on charges of sex trafficking multiple victims, including at least one minor who had run away from home.
Virginia: Special prosecutor appointed in megachurch pastor’s prostitution case as new emails emerge – A pastor in a Virginia Beach megachurch who was arrested for attempting to buy sex from an undercover officer he believed to be a 17-year-old but was never prosecuted has had a special prosecutor appointed to the case. Activists filed a FOIA request for documents, and Chesterfield Police Chief Jeffrey Katz stated: “Despite numerous convictions on cases with similar — and in some cases less compelling evidence — we have not been given any guidance as to where this investigation fell short of prosecutorial expectations.”
Virginia: FBI looking for more victims in Hampton Roads underage sex trafficking investigation – Police are searching for other potential victims of a man who was arrested for physically assaulting an adult victim and discussing becoming the sex trafficker of an undercover officer he believed to be a 17-year-old girl. 
Washington: 9 sex trafficking victims rescued near Sea-Tac, lawmakers want more services for survivors – An undercover operation near Sea-Tac Airport arrested four people, including a registered sex offender and gang member, and extracted 9 sex trafficking victims.

California: San Diego Jury Convicts Man of Attempted Trafficking of Teenage Girl – A 35-year-old man was convicted of attempted sex trafficking of a minor after trying to groom a 16-year-old into providing commercial sex at a local street via Instagram. He was messaging an undercover officer, who arrested him when he attempted to meet the victim. A search of his phone revealed he had tried to groom multiple girls on Instagram.
Florida: Bradenton man convicted for role in attempted robbery turned deadly shooting – A 30-year-old man has been convicted of sex trafficking and second-degree murder after using an 18-year-old sex trafficking victim to get into a business. A second man held the victim at gunpoint when the victim retrieved a gun and then shot him in the test.
Illinois: R. Kelly, already serving 30 years for sex trafficking, sentenced to 20 years in federal child porn case – Convicted sex trafficker R. Kelly was sentenced to 20 years in prison for creating child sexual abuse material while sex trafficking his victims.
New York: California movie producer gets 5 years in prostitution case – A sex trafficker who attempted to transition his operation into a production company received the maximum sentence of five years. However, the judge said he would have given a higher penalty if allowed. The trafficker served eight years in prison in Cuba for sex crimes, then went on to start the trafficking ring that exploited at least 75 women between 2010 and 2017. His ring charged between $3,000 and $15,000 and kept around 40% of the fee, sometimes using physical violence to control victims.
Maryland: Baltimore man sentenced for human trafficking women from North Carolina to Maryland – A 37-year-old man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for sex trafficking multiple victims, using control of drugs as a method of control.
Texas: Aspiring Houston rapper sentenced to 27 years for sex trafficking minors, including 14-year-old runaway – A 24-year-old man who sex-trafficked multiple minor victims and used drugs and violence to control them has been sentenced to 27 years in prison after pleading guilty. 
Washington: Former Active-Duty Soldier sentenced to 22 years in prison for child sex trafficking, producing child pornography, and traveling to the Philippines to sexually assault young children – A 4-year-old former Staff Sergeant and former human resources specialist was sentenced to 22 years in prison for sex trafficking children, recording the abuse and traveling internationally to abuse his victims. He exploited low-income families in the Philippines, paying for at least a dozen children to be sexually exploited remotely and traveling to sexually abuse 6 children. He threatened to kill the girls if they resisted his assaults.

Washington: Monroe, Washington man indicted for labor trafficking, and three federal crimes for transporting, harboring, and bringing a non-citizen to the U.S. for financial gain – A 55-year-old Monroe man was indicted for labor trafficking and sexually assaulting a woman who believed she was his girlfriend when she was smuggled from Mexico. He said she owed him $17,000, demanding she do hard labor for his landscaping business while physically and sexually abusing her. He threatened to kill her children, who stayed behind in Mexico, if she refused to comply. The victim eventually escaped and asked neighbors to call the police.

Arizona: Nearly 350 arrests made during human trafficking, sex crimes operation in Phoenix area – In efforts to reduce demand during the Super Bowl, Phoenix area police and supporting agencies arrested 120 sex buyers and identified 4 minor victims and 1 adult victim. It is unclear what the other 130 arrests were for, but the low recovery of potential victims is notable.
Ohio: 6 Arrested in Lake County Human Trafficking Sting, Including City Council President – The Northeast Ohio Trafficking Task Force and local law enforcement agencies performed a demand sting, arresting six men, including the Eastlake City Council President, for attempting to buy sex. Four potential victims were identified and provided services.
Texas: 17 men charged with solicitation of prostitution in Montgomery Co. – Seventeen men have been arrested for attempting to buy commercial sex in Montgomery County
Texas: Ten arrested in Bell County prostitution sting – Bell County police have arrested 10 men for attempting to buy commercial sex.

USA: Company that hired minors to clean skull-splitters and bone saws at meatpacking plants fined $1.5 million – One of the largest companies providing cleaning services for food processing pants has been ordered to pay the maximum fine of $1.5 million for child labor violations, finding that more than 100 children were doing dangerous jobs in at least 13 locations across the country. At least three minors, including a 13-year-old, experienced chemical burns from the cleaners. Many were required to clean dangerous equipment and worked illegal hours like graveyard shifts before schooldays. Criminal charges have not been ruled out.
USA: Alone and Exploited, Migrant Children Work Brutal Jobs Across the U.S. – Thousands of unaccompanied migrant children are working in dangerous jobs across the United States, isolated and often not attending school. Many children are from Central America and are being hired despite anti-child labor laws, and the problem is “exploding.” Over 130,000 unaccompanied minors arrived in the US last year, and staffers say they are rushing verification and cannot reach over 85,000 children they attempt to check in with.
Kentucky: Department of Labor nabs another meat plant for child labor violations – The Department of Labor has identified another meat packing plant violating child labor laws and is investigating the situation for potential human trafficking.
Massachusetts: ‘I had nowhere to go’: Labor traffickers are taking advantage of the Massachusetts housing crisis – An article discussing how housing is a powerful tool for labor traffickers, exploring recent stories from Massachusetts as examples.
Ohio: An Ohio restaurant ‘forced’ servers to work 60 hours a week for just $10 in wages plus tips, the Department of Labor says – A Mexican restaurant in Ohio required servers to pay back their wages to their owner, allowing them to keep only $20 per paycheck plus tips. Cooks were paid a salary for 60-hour weeks instead of including appropriate overtime pay. The restaurant owner is required to pay the six servers and 12 cooks $245,509 in back wages.
Pennsylvania: Lawsuit over forced labor at Lackawanna County Recycling Center reinstated – A federal appeals court has reversed a 3rd Circuit dismissal of a lawsuit that argued child support debtors working at a County recycling plant for $5 per hour violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. While prison labor is not regulated under labor laws, the reversal stated that the recycling plant’s contractor was a private company. 


Florida: Polk sheriff says 213 people arrested in anti-prostitution operation – Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested 213 in an anti-prostitution operation, arresting 111 potential victims for prostitution. Only 24, mostly Cuban nationals, were identified as potential victims and provided services. They also arrested 89 buyers and “thirteen others”.
Pennsylvania: Undercover operations net prostitution arrests in Hellertown and Nazareth area – Three potential victims were arrested and charged with prostitution at IMBs, there is no indication these situations were investigated as potential human trafficking.
Texas: Nearly 20 arrested after prostitution ring bust in north Lubbock – Lubbock County Police Department performed “Operation Heartbreak”, arresting nine potential victims and charging them with prostitution. Only one potential victim was treated as such, it is unclear if they arrested her. They also arrested six buyers and no traffickers. 

Europe: International sex-trafficking ring holding Chinese women trapped across Europe, dismantled – Europol completed its largest operation against a Chinese human trafficking network operating across the EU, searching 34 houses across Belgium and Spain, arresting 28 traffickers and supporting hundreds of Chinese women who were held in debt bondage after being recruited for a range of legitimate jobs but then sex trafficked. The three-year-long investigation used analysis of over 3 000 online advertisements as evidence.
USA: US Department of Labor expands OSHA’s ability to protect
all workers by certifying special visa applications to ensure effective enforcement
 – Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been approved to provide U and T visas in order to protect victims of human trafficking they identify in their work.
USA: FACT SHEET: President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons – The White House has released results from the efforts of an interagency task force to fight human trafficking. A range of trainings across the federal government, Department of Labor’s efforts to secure restitution to victims, and “DOJ’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit will continue to lead the interagency Forced Labor Initiative.”
USA: Scientology Leader David Miscavige Served With Human Trafficking Lawsuit – The leader of the Church of Scientology has been served with court documents from a human trafficking case. Process Servers had attempted to serve him 27 times across 4 months in two states. A judge has ruled he has been served and has 21 days to respond.
Arkansas: Sanders signs executive order addressing human trafficking – The Governor of Arkansas has signed an order to review regulations, laws, and resources in the state to improve its response to human trafficking. 
California: California lawmakers take aim at social media role in youth fentanyl use and sex trafficking – California lawmakers are considering a bill that would hold social media companies accountable for the human trafficking of children through their sites, and other significant forms of child endangerment and exploitation.
Florida: Proposed sex trafficking legislation could harm victims, advocates warn – A wave of legislation intended to help survivors may harm them, according to advocates who are requesting re-writes.
New Mexico: House Bill 445 Gives Law Enforcement More Tools To Combat Human Trafficking In New Mexico – After hours of testimony from survivors a bill to strengthen and broaden laws against human trafficking and enforce tougher sentenced in New Mexico was unanimously passed out of committee to be considered by the New Mexico State Congress. The move was partially inspired by Jeffrey Epstein who owned a ranch in New Mexico but was never successfully charged for exploiting minors in the state.
New York: This Charity Fights Sex Trafficking. Bureaucracy Might Doom It. – One of the most respected services and pioneer in policy advocacy for sex trafficking survivors, GEMS, is struggling to pay its bills due to waiting for nearly a million dollars in promised funding from New York state. Many nonprofits have not been paid on-time and CEO and Survivor Leader Rachel Lloyd has maxed out her personal credit cards and missed a mortgage payment to try and protect GEMS’s clients.
Oklahoma: DNA reveals identity of man wanted since 2015 for attempted rape at gunpoint  – A man who demanded sexual acts from a masseuse who had immigrated from China, then held her at gunpoint when she refused in 2015 has been identified through DNA. The perpetrator had been fired around that time for using a company credit card to go to IMBs.
Tennessee: Tennessee bill would protect victims of sex trafficking from arrest after reporting crimes – Survivor leaders are pushing for safe reporting standards for victims of sex trafficking, who often witness or experience horrific crimes but do not report due to fear of their own arrest. 
Texas: Inside the Restore Hope Unit as Probation Officers fight against human trafficking – Highlighting the work of juvenile probation officers working to support their clients, many of whom have experienced sex or labor trafficking.
Texas: South Texas woman files sex-trafficking lawsuit against Motel 6 parent, New Braunfels franchisees – A survivor of sex trafficking is suing a New Braunfels Motel 6 for $1 million dollars for facilitating her sex trafficking. She said her trafficker chose motels that looked the other way and she was repeatedly physically and sexually abused within the building. Staff ignored her coming in wrapped in a blanket because she was so bloody from being beaten, among other obvious signs.

Copyright © *2023* *Collective Liberty*, All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: