|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.|
Arkansas: Apartment manager arrested for human trafficking – An apartment manager who would turn off power to tenants’ units and demand sexual favors in exchange for access to electricity has been arrested on sex trafficking charges. He is also facing rape and possession of fentanyl and meth with the purpose to deliver. This is an excellent example of officers recognizing that demanding sexual acts in exchange for anything of value (including access to a utility) is commercial sex.
California: Felon Charged with Raping, Sex Trafficking Minor in Hemet Area – A 39-year-old man has been arrested for sex trafficking a minor who had run away. He sexually assaulted the girl and tattooed her. Police discovered the situation when a tip was sent that she was “staying with” the felon.
California: San Diego-based human trafficking investigation leads to criminal charges for foreign national – A 26-year-old Mexican national has been charged with sex trafficking after he sex trafficked a 17-year-old unaccompanied minor he was smuggling into the United States. He isolated her from the group of other migrants, sexually assaulting her and seriously injuring her.
Florida: Four People Charged With Human Trafficking After Orlando Police Find Teen Dancing In Strip Club – An owner and three managers of an Orlando strip club have been charged with human trafficking after police discovered that one of the dancers was 17-year-old but had been working there since she was 15-years-old. The traffickers also advertised her for acts of prostitution using her stage name and allowed private performances and sexual activity. The owner “failed to provide “an accurate list” of employees” when requested by police. The girl said she worked multiple jobs to support herself and her mother.
Georgia: Carr: Fulton County Sheriff’s Deputy Arrested, Indicted for Human Trafficking in Cobb County – A Fulton County Sheriff’s Deputy has been indicted for sex trafficking a minor after soliciting a 17-year-old for sex in October 2022.
Kansas: Wamego man jailed in Brown County on charges of human trafficking – A 42-year-old man has been arrested on sex trafficking of an underage victim and a host of drug-related charges. An officer stopped his car, driven by a 14-year-old, while he was in the passenger seat. K-9 Officer Karla alerted, leading to a vehicle search that uncovered alcohol and drugs, including fentanyl.
Louisiana: Tennessee Man Charged in Federal Court in Louisiana with Sex Trafficking Offenses Against Two Minors and Two Adults – A 34-year-old Memphis man has been indicted on 5 federal charges in relation to sex trafficking a 14-year-old in Louisiana. He was identified as part of Project Safe Childhood.
Maryland: Elkton man arrested in connection for sex trafficking sought teenage girls at a Cecil County school – A 24-year-old man showed up to a high school with a gun demanding access to a 14-year-old student who he believed would leave with him, the girl said she became scared and chose to not go home with him before telling school staff who called police. He has been arrested for sex trafficking multiple girls he met and groomed over social media, including one he began abusing at the age of 13-year-old.
North Carolina: Greenville woman accused of human trafficking, rape, kidnapping of teenage girl – A 40-year-old woman has been arrested for kidnapping, rape, and sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl who was “mentally incapacitated” at the time of the exploitation on April 2nd. The investigation began when police were asked to perform a welfare check, and the teen told them she was a victim of human trafficking. A second person, a 50-year-old man, was arrested a week later on similar charges.
North Carolina: Sixth arrest made in human trafficking investigation involving over 150 victims – A sixth man has been arrested due to a massive investigation involving over 150 victims, with over 300 felony charges connected to the investigation. “Cape Fear Escorts/Entertainers” promised thousands of dollars for dancing but forced victims to engage in commercial sex and kept all proceeds. One of the men who was arrested lists himself as an attorney on his LinkedIn page.
New York: Local investigation leads to 18 arrests related to sexual exploitation of a minor – An investigation into the sexual exploitation of a child in the Finger Lakes area by a 49-year-old man led to an extensive investigation that led to the arrest of 18 people. The girl had been sex trafficked for 7 years, leading to the arrest of 17 in New York and one in Florida.
New York: Crown Heights man charged in twisted sex trafficking scheme – A 39-year-old man has been charged with 27 counts for sex trafficking a 19-year-old woman and assaulting a 40-year-old woman. He targeted the woman while she was homeless and promised drugs and cash, but then advertised her for sex and kept all the money she earned. He also violently controlled her and held a 40-year-old victim underwater after hogtying her. The 19-year-old victim was later able to escape and contacted the police.
Pennsylvania: Chambersburg man facing criminal charges for allegedly running a human trafficking ring in 4 counties – A 37-year-old man has been charged with sex trafficking, involuntary servitude, and aggravated assault. He targeted vulnerable women and used threats and violence against at least seven victims, many homeless and suffering from addiction. He promised them housing, shelter, and safety but then sex trafficked them and recorded their exploitation.
South Carolina: Upstate man accused of sex trafficking, recording children – A 35-year-old man has been arrested for sex trafficking four minors between ages 14 and 11. He also recorded their exploitation and has been charged with voyeurism.
South Carolina: Charleston man accused of sex trafficking, assaulting teen he met on Snapchat – A 56-year-old man has been charged with multiple sex crimes, including sex trafficking, in relation to a 14-year-old he met over Snapchat.
Tennessee: Erlanger doctor charged with more sexual offenses and human trafficking crimes involving three additional victims – A 66-year-old doctor who has been practicing family medicine for 30 years and served as the Chief of Staff at a local hospital was arrested and charged with 5 counts of human trafficking and a range of sex crimes in connection with abusing 7 victims. He has also been charged with “four counts of sexual contact or penetration under pretext of medical treatment.” The doctor had a history of disciplinary violations and drug use.
Washington: Man with homes in California and Arizona indicted for sex trafficking women in Seattle through force, fraud, and coercion – A 31-year-old California man was indicted on four federal felonies, including sex trafficking through force. His operation was uncovered when one of his adult victims jumped out of a window to escape a beating for wanting to leave, fled onto a highway, and was picked up by an Uber driver who engaged in a gun battle with the pursuing sex trafficker. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
California: Los Angeles Man Found Guilty of Nine Felonies for Knowingly Recruiting Teenage Girls for Commercial Sex Work and Trafficking an Adult via Threats – A man was found guilty of nine felonies after a five-day trial for sex trafficking a 15-year-old, a 16-year-old, and a 17-year old. He faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and could be sentenced to up to life in prison.
Florida: Two men trafficked women for sex out of a Lantana motel. How the courts resolved the case – Two men pleaded guilty to sex trafficking women out of a Florida hotel. One man received a 15-year sentence, a co-defendant who cooperated with the investigation received 5 years, or time served.
Ohio: Cleveland-area lawyer convicted in underage sex trafficking probe seeks early prison release, faces indefinite suspension – A disbarred former attorney who pushed a 15-year-old sex trafficking victim to use cocaine, bought commercial sex, and took a shower with her is seeking early release from prison because he assisted with the investigation into her trafficker who recently received 40 years in prison.
New Jersey: Atlantic City Pimp Sentenced To 60 Years Prison For Human Trafficking: Prosecutor – A man who sex trafficked two victims, using their heroin addiction to control them along with threats and physical violence, has been found guilty. He kept victims’ identification and all the money they earned. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison, must serve a minimum of 40, pay $7,000 in restitution to each victim, and pay two $25,000 fines.
Nebraska: 43-year-old Omaha man federally sentenced for sex trafficking a minor by force – A 47-year-old man was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for sex trafficking and sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl. He was convicted of unlawful sex acts with a 16-year-old and 17-year-old in Florida before these offenses but failed to register as a sex offender after he came to Nebraska. He is also required to pay $1,300 in restitution to the victim and register as a sex offender.
New York: Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 21 Years for Sex Trafficking – A man was sentenced to 21 years in prison in Brooklyn. He sex trafficked multiple victims from 2017 to 2018, using violence and threats to control adult victims and a 16-year-old victim.
New York: Waterford Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Child – A 26-year-old man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempting to buy commercial sex from an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old victim. He agreed to pay $100 for the act, when he arrived, he said he only had $60 and gave $30 to the undercover officer, saying he’d pay the rest once the sex act was completed. He was then arrested. He will also serve 15 years of supervised release and will be required to register as a sex offender.
West Virginia: Teen sex trafficking case involves transmission of images, videos and area hotel meet-ups – A 41-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to sex trafficking multiple teenage girls, ” lining them up for sex with men at Hagerstown area hotels”. She accepted gifts and cash to send photos and videos of the underage victims and transported them for commercial sex acts. She coerced a 17-year-old victim and a 15-year-old victim to allow her to film CSAM to send to a buyer because she had “no other way to pay rent”. She also told a victim she had to have sex with a buyer or the trafficker would become homeless. The 75-year-old buyer has been charged in multiple child sex trafficking cases, including one with a 3-year-old victim.
West Virginia: Former police chief found guilty on child sex trafficking charges – The former officer at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department and former Chief of Police for Gauley Bridge Police Department was found guilty of sex trafficking. While he was an officer and in-uniform, he paid for a woman to engage in sex acts with a 17 year-old-girl. He faces between 15 years to life in prison.
North Carolina: Ringleader and Two Associates of Illicit Massage Parlor Operation Sentenced to Combined 6 Years in Prison – Three women who ran an IMB ring and attempted to bribe police to ignore their illegal activity were sentenced to 34 months, 26 months, and 12 months respectively for conspiracy and bribing public officials. One woman was part-owner of the businesses; it is unclear if the other owner or other people responsible were investigated and charged.
South Carolina: Mom, business owner charged in labor trafficking case involving minors – One woman has been charged with abandoning her children while another has been charged with labor trafficking the four children, often forcing them to work until 8 or 10 at night and sometimes as late as 4 AM. The women used threats and physical violence to control the children, leading to teachers reporting “obvious signs of neglect and abuse.” The children were labor trafficked by the owner of the cleaning company that serviced multiple major locations, including a local stadium. The victims are now in state custody.
Texas: Socorro residents react to stash house raid, drugs and human trafficking discovery – The raid of a suspected stash house lead police to identify six undocumented victims of human trafficking. While sex trafficking was initially suspected,”… police provided an update stating sex trafficking had been ruled out and were being treated as a human trafficking investigation,” likely meaning the victims may have been labor trafficked.
Illinois: Aurora residents sent to prison for child labor trafficking – A 27-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman have been sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for labor trafficking for two minor victims, 10 and 15 years-old, who were not their own child. They forced both to work as babysitters and servants, using violence to control them and not enrolling them in school. They were ordered to pay $98,364 to the victims in restitution.
California: 12 ‘Johns’ Arrested During Moreno Valley Prostitution Sting: RSO – Twelve men who attempted to buy commercial sex were arrested in Moreno Valley; police also identified 3 potential victims and provided services and resources.
Indiana: 32 people arrested in child sex sting – Thirty-two men have been arrested, most of them for attempting to solicit a minor for commercial sex. Johnson County has arrested 81 suspects on child sex stings since December 2020.
Ohio: Man arrested as part of human trafficking investigation – A 53-year-old man has been arrested for the 3rd time for attempting to buy commercial sex. He was arrested in May of 2021 and June of 2021 for the same offense while also in possession of methamphetamine, with felony cases pending.
Oklahoma: PHOTOS: Undercover operation targeting prostitution ends with 10 arrests in Oklahoma City – Ten men were arrested for attempting to buy commercial sex.
Pennsylvania: Arrests Made in Joint Human Trafficking Investigation – Cumberland County has completed Operation Impact Demand 4, a fourth operation targeting sex buyers in the past year. Despite the frequency of operations, police arrested 36 men.
Texas: CCPD: Eight men arrested in prostitution sting – Eight men were arrested by the Corpus Christi Police Department after soliciting an undercover officer for commercial sex. The men will be required to attend a prostitution diversion education program to learn more about why buying commercial sex is harmful; proceeds are then used to provide resources to women involved in commercial sex and took eleven into custody.
Texas: 25 arrested in Dallas County human trafficking suppression operation – Dallas County Sherriff’s Office and the North Texas Trafficking Task Force arrested 25 men attempting to buy commercial sex; they have all been charged with solicitation of prostitution, which is a state jail felony.
Texas: 41 men, 1 woman arrested after Lake Worth prostitution bust – Forty-two people, including 41 men and 1 woman, were arrested for attempting to purchase commercial sex at a hotel. This is the first time Lake Worth has performed this type of sting. None of the attempted buyers were from Lake Worth.
USA: Human trafficking or a guest worker program? H-2A’s systemic issues result in catastrophic violations – An op-ed discusses why the H2-A system is broken, allowing wage theft, exploitation, and human trafficking.
USA: Kids at work: States try to ease child labor laws at behest of industry – An article discussing that 11 states have introduced or passed laws rolling back child labor laws and discussing the 69% increase in cases of children employed illegally by companies.
USA: Labor exploitation of unaccompanied migrant children probed at U.S. House hearing – A U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on the plight of unaccompanied migrant children and the abuse they face, including labor trafficking and sex trafficking.
USA: DOL and HHS Announce Joint Effort to Combat Exploitative Child Labor – Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services have announced new efforts to better identify child labor cases, including those considered labor trafficking, and several coordination efforts to hold businesses accountable.
Iowa: Cedar Rapids, state assessing ramifications of possible child labor reported at Banjo Block construction site – A $49 million housing project that has received $17 million in federal funding, $900,000 in state tax credits, and $6.5 million in city tax credits to create housing has been cited for multiple violations, including workplace safety and illegal child labor. The general contractor, who ensures the project passes muster, has blamed subcontractors for the violations. Still, concerns have caused public officials to visit the site and discuss reviewing the project.
Nebraska: Parents helped get 14-year-old daughter a night job cleaning at beef plant – One of the victims of a child labor case at a Nebraska meat packing plant was a 14-year-old girl. Police have uncovered that the girl’s mother provided forged documents saying she was 22 to allow her daughter to work with hazardous cleaning chemicals that burned her during graveyard shifts. Her parents took money as teachers struggled to understand why the girl fell asleep in class and had chemical burns. Both parents pled guilty to child abuse via child labor, one of only five times the charges were brought in the last decade. Packers Sanitation, the meatpacker that is one of the largest in the country, has been penalized $1.5 million for employing over 100 children.
Wisconsin: UMOS, partners launch new effort to stop labor trafficking in Wisconsin – The Howard G. Buffet Foundation has provided $5.1 million for a three-year effort to address labor trafficking in Wisconsin to a network of local service providers.
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California: 3 arrested, nearly 100 cited in Sacramento sheriff’s operation on child sex trafficking – An operation has led to the arrest of three traffickers, two of whom had prior trafficking convictions, the identification of 3 minor victims, 31 were sex buyers who were given misdemeanor citations. Unfortunately, of the 102 people police arrested, 65 of them were providers of commercial sex and potential victims. There is no indication that possible human trafficking was investigated with the adult providers, and criminalizing providers makes them more vulnerable and likely to be trafficked.
Louisiana: Morgan City Police Make Arrest at Massage Parlor – A 47-year-old woman and potential victim was arrested and charged with prostitution for operating out of an IMB in Morgan City. Police identified the business was listed on multiple commercial sex websites and a possibly connected IMB. The police say an investigation is ongoing; it is unclear if they will attempt to investigate potential human trafficking or provide services to the potential victim.
Louisiana: Thibodaux massage parlor operator accused of prostitution – A separate 47-year-old woman and potential victim was arrested and charged with prostitution for operating out of an IMB in Thibodaux. The woman was also charged with prostitution; it is unclear if police are investigating potential human trafficking or if they have provided services to the potential victim.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma City woman arrested for prostitution following massage parlor investigation – A 62-year-old potential victim was arrested for prostitution, and her name and photo were shared with the public. The IMB’s massage license had lapsed, and the potential victim did not have a license for massage. There is no evidence that this was investigated as a possible human trafficking case or that the potential victim received services.
New Jersey: Two women arrested for alleged prostitution after raid on Woodland Park spa– Two workers at a massage parlor were arrested on prostitution charges; their names and pictures were shared with the public. There is no indication this was investigated as a potential human trafficking situation, and only potential victims were criminalized.
New York: 2 Women Arrested In Raid Of East Northport Massage Parlor: Police – Two women have been identified and charged with prostitution and unauthorized practice of a profession after a raid of an IMB. Their names were released to the public; there is no indication that this was investigated as a potential human trafficking situation.
Texas: 11 People Were Arrested in Human Trafficking Operation in Lubbock – Police in Lubbock County, Texas, arrested seven men who attempted to buy commercial sex. Unfortunately, they also arrested and charged four women and potential victims with prostitution. There is no indication that services were provided or that investigators investigated for possible human trafficking.
Texas: 2 accused of sex trafficking teens arrested at hotel near Lambert Airport – A 22-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman have been arrested for sex trafficking 16 and 17-year-old victims. It is unclear if the woman was also sexually exploited and is a potential victim.
Texas: Unlicensed massage therapist arrested for prostitution in Spring – A 42-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with prostitution at an IMB; police say the business was licensed, but she was not. There is no indication this was investigated as a possible human trafficking situation or that she was treated as a potential victim.
USA: Criminalized Survivors: Today’s Abuse to Prison Pipeline for Girls – Center on Gender Justice & Opportunity at Georgetown Law and Rights4Girls have released new research examining the criminalization of minor victims of human trafficking. The research report looks at victims accused of being traffickers, survivors who harm their abusers in self-defense or to escape, and survivors who report sexual abuse and are charged with false reports.
USA: Whistleblower tells Congress that govt is delivering migrant children to human traffickers – A whistleblower and multiple experts have testified that undocumented, unaccompanied children are being released to human traffickers and forced to work off their “debts.”
Florida: Study finds disparate gender differences in victims of child sex trafficking – A study examining how minor victims of sex trafficking are still criminalized. She found that boys were significantly more likely to be criminalized from a sample of “2,643 incarcerated youth involved in prostitution”, of which 75% were male. Of those respondents, 43% disclosed that they were victims of sexual abuse growing up, and a majority (85%) had witnessed serious violence. Female victims were more likely to have been separated from their families, lived in group or foster settings, and were more likely to be homeless when arrested than male victims.
Minnesota: Imprisoned Minneapolis sex trafficker sues St. Cloud accuser over books – A man who is currently serving an 85-year sentence for sex trafficking women and was the third generation of a familial sex trafficking ring, “the largest federal prosecution of a juvenile sex trafficking ring in U.S. history,” is suing one of his victims for writing three books about her experiences. He claims, despite being convicted of sex trafficking, that the victim is defaming him. The 51-year-old will have to prove that his victim intended to cause harm and damage his reputation, the victim has filed a countersuit.
Ohio: Judge: Sex trafficking survivors from outside Ohio can sue hotel chains in Columbus court – A judge has greenlighted many civil suits by out-of-state victims against Ohio hotels to proceed in Ohio courts. Hotel chains being sued include Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Red Roof Inns, Choice Hotels International, Six Continents Hotels Inc., Holiday Hospitality Franchising, and G6 Hospitality. Attorneys are arguing these companies are well-aware of exploitation but did little to nothing to stop the exploitation of their clients.
Montana: Montana governor signs bill strengthening human trafficking law – Montana state courts have never successfully convicted an offender of human trafficking but have signed a new law updating their laws better to fit with common forms of sex trafficking and labor trafficking, and have attached sentences including mandatory minimum sentences.JOIN US >>
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