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: Man arrested after possible kidnapping at Phoenix hotel – A 25-year-old man with a criminal record out of California has been charged with sex trafficking and kidnapping at a hotel after an overnight standoff. A witness reported a possible kidnapping, and police found him with a missing minor. He has been charged with sex trafficking and kidnapping.
Florida: 4 men arrested for sexually exploiting, human trafficking 15-year-old girl, Florida sheriff says – A 44-year-old man was arrested for sex trafficking a 15-year-old victim he met on an app called “Chat Avenue.” He coerced her into sending sexually explicit images and then sex trafficked her, with some exploitation recorded and posted online. Three other men were also charged with sex trafficking the minor and have been arrested. The teen’s parents recognized something was happening and took away her iPad, but she continued accessing the apps via her smart television.
Florida: Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office rescues two human trafficking victims – A Florida police department arrested two sex traffickers in two separate cases. The first was a 31-year-old man who groomed a 20-year-old woman over a dating app and then sex trafficked her after she came to live with him. The second was a 42-year-old man with 37 previous felony charges and 10 felony convictions who had been sex trafficking his victim for 15 years. She had multiple bone fractures from her trafficker and had been severely beaten before the arrest in an attempt to abort a suspected pregnancy. Both victims are now receiving support services.
Ohio: Three people facing charges in sex trafficking case in Brown County – Three people have been arrested for sex trafficking a 15-year-old girl. One man gave her heroin, meth, and fentanyl while sexually assaulting her.
Ohio: Cincinnati man charged with sex trafficking and exploiting teens – A 42-year-old man has been charged with sex trafficking two minors he picked up after they fled from a group home. He sex trafficked them to multiple men, using online advertisements, and kept all the money. When the minors resisted, he became violent.
Texas: Man arrested for child trafficking previously had child porn, sex assault of child charges dismissed, records show – A 48-year-old man has been arrested for sexually assaulting two minors and sex trafficking one of the victims, who had run away from home and was staying with the other victim. A co-defendant posted commercial sex ads featuring the victims on “MocoSpace.”The 48-year-old was previously accused of sex crimes against children, but those charges were dismissed.
Arkansas: Former LR prep football star convicted of sex-trafficking charges – A 48-year-old man was found guilty of two counts of sex trafficking; three victims testified, and he faces a maximum life sentence in prison.
Colorado: Man sentenced to 45 years for human trafficking operation – A 39-year-old man who sexually and financially exploited three adult victims and one minor was sentenced to 45 years in prison. He exploited the victims’ drug addictions, using threats and violence if the women resisted further. He also targeted and sexually assaulted a child victim. Eventually, he sex trafficked her and recorded the exploitation.
Georgia: Rome woman sentenced to 25 years in prison for sex trafficking minors – A 29-year-old woman has been sentenced to 25 years for sex trafficking two victims, a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old. She met the stranded minors in the stairwell of a Motel 6. The girls had no money, were hungry, and had no shelter or vehicle. She told the girls that if they made $200 each, she would help them get home to Alabama, but she took them to Georgia and sex trafficked them.
Georgia: GA man receives two life sentences for sex trafficking – A 38-year-old man has received two life sentences concerning sex trafficking a 15-year-old victim in Fulton and Cherokee counties. He is the fifth sex trafficker convicted for exploiting the same victim.
Louisiana: Louisiana Man Sentenced to 35 Years for Conspiracy to Commit Forced Labor and Transporting a Minor for Criminal Sexual Activity – A felon who sex-trafficked and labor-trafficked his three step-children in multiple states has been sentenced to 35 years in prison and is required to pay $979,800 in restitution. He removed the children from school in favor of “homeschooling,” requiring them to work long hours making baked goods he sold while saying the children were young entrepreneurs. He also sexually abused and sex-trafficked his two step-daughters, and seriously abused his step-son, including pouring boiling water on him.
Nebraska: Omaha man sentenced to 45 years in prison for sex trafficking of a minor – A 25-year-old man was sentenced to 45 years in prison for sex trafficking two minors he picked up from their foster home. He will remain on supervised release for life after the sentence.
North Carolina: Man sentenced to more than 300 years in prison following child trafficking investigation – A 55-year-old man has been sentenced to three counts of human trafficking a child for sexually exploiting a minor, receiving over 300 years in prison. The victim had been placed in a kinship placement with a third cousin at age 13. The new guardian bought illegal drugs from the defendant. When he saw the 14 year-old-victim, he began texting her new guardian, requesting sex acts in exchange for drugs. The sex trafficker was given access to the minor at least three times, where he assaulted her in exchange for narcotics. The victim eventually told her stepsister, who contacted the police in 2020. The former legal guardian pled guilty to conspiracy to commit human trafficking and was sentenced to 9-16 years in prison.
Ohio: Priest Convicted of Sex Trafficking for Abusing Three Victims – A 56-year-old Roman Catholic Priest has been convicted of five counts of sex trafficking for exploiting three boys he met at a local preschool, coercing them even as adults to provide nonconsensual sex acts, using their drug addictions as means of control.
Pennsylvania: Reading man sentenced to decades in prison for sex trafficking in Berks – A 52-year-old man has been sentenced to 33.5-69 years in prison after being convicted of human trafficking, and 14 other charges, The man sex trafficked a woman he met who was struggling with addiction. Once she could not pay for drugs, he sex trafficked her, using access to drugs and violence to control her and two other offenders.
Wisconsin: West Allis man sentenced to federal prison for sex trafficking minors in the Philippines – A 67-year-old man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for traveling to the Philippines and sex trafficking at least 5 minors aged 11 to 17. He also recorded some of the exploitation. He has been ordered to pay $40,000 in restitution to his victims at $10.000 as a special assessment.
Montana: Couple charged with human sex trafficking at Missoula massage parlor – A couple operating an IMB in Missoula, Montana has been charged with multiple felony sex trafficking charges. Investigators noted that the victims seemed to be sleeping on the premises in unsanitary conditions, remote-control cameras were present in the facility, and it could be locked from the outside. Investigators believe the couple exploited Chinese women. Bail has been set at $1 million each.
Washington: Massage-parlor fugitives sue over seized money – A couple wanted on charges stemming from their ownership of multiple IMBs in Washington have filed a lawsuit against Chelan County police regarding the seizure of over $150,000 in assets. The pair was previously arrested on similar charges in Louisiana in 2019, but the case was dismissed after payment of court costs.
Washington: 4 more Tri-Cities massage shops closed for human trafficking allegations. 3rd raid this year – Six massage businesses have been shut down, two for lacking licenses and four more after police found evidence of human trafficking. Nine potential victims were identified, and four agreed to receive services. Some businesses are linked to a more extensive network identified in an investigation by King County. One Tacoma man is listed as the owner of 13 massage parlors across the state.
Global: 1,426 potential victims identified in global operation against human trafficking – Operation Global Chain, which took place from May 8th to May 15th across 44 countries, arrested 212 people, including 138 suspected human traffickers. The effort also led to the identification and recovery of 1,426 potential victims. The most common forms of exploitation were: sex trafficking, labor trafficking in criminal enterprises, and labor trafficking through forced begging rings. Over 130,000 law enforcement officers participated.
Michigan: Local Man Arrested for Human Trafficking and Unlawful Imprisonment – A man has been arrested after grooming a woman “at least 20 years younger” over social media, then holding her captive for 5 years while labor trafficking her. She performed sexually explicit webcam shows, and he pocketed all her money. He also was arrested for sexually assaulting and strangling the victim and using a computer to commit a crime. The victim seized an opportunity and escaped in 2020, sparking an investigation that took over a year to fruition.
Georgia: Peachtree City couple charged with labor trafficking conspiracy, forced labor and alien smuggling – A couple has been arrested for labor trafficking 10 victims in their two Mexican restaurants. The husband is charged with 5 counts of alien smuggling for commercial gain, while the wife is charged with one similar count; the other four victims were in the United States when the couple began labor trafficking them. The couple used violence, threats, and ” abuse of law and legal process” to keep the victims working in inhumane conditions.
Georgia: Motel Manager Pleads Guilty to Coercing Labor and Sex Acts by Female Victim – A 70-year-old man has pled guilty to sex trafficking and labor trafficking an adult victim. The hotel owner hired the woman, who had struggled with heroin addiction and was seeking to regain custody of her child. He offered the victim a job, an apartment and an attorney but sexually harassed the victim, eventually demanding sex acts in exchange for avoiding homelessness. He also threatened to report alleged drug use to child welfare services or law enforcement to keep the victim compliant.
Florida: 12 arrested in Hillsborough County human trafficking sting – Twelve men have been arrested for attempting to buy commercial sex from undercover officers, including two men who were on probation. One of those men was a sex offender who was charged with procuring a minor for prostitution, impregnating a child, and using a child to promote a sexual performance, among other crimes.
Oklahoma: 10 Arrested in Prostitution Sting at SW Oklahoma City Park – Oklahoma City police arrested ten buyers for attempting to solicit commercial sex at a local park with a history of being used as a commercial sex recruitment venue.
Tennessee: 4 Arrested in Multi-Agency Middle Tennessee Human Trafficking Operation – The TBI Human Trafficking Unit and other Tennessee law enforcement agencies have arrested four men attempting to buy commercial sex from minors. All three have been charged with one count of Trafficking for Commercial Sex Act.
Texas:First joint human trafficking operation in Beaumont results in seven arrests – Beaumont police and the FBI arrested 7 men attempting to buy commercial sex; three of the men were trying to purchase sex acts from minors through decoy ads.
Texas: Over 20 men arrested following sting operation targeting solicitation of prostitution in Montgomery Co. – Twenty men were arrested for solicitation of prostitution, a felony in Texas.
Virginia: Six arrested in Chesterfield underage prostitution sting – Six men have been arrested and charged with a total of 19 offenses; all 6 had attempted to purchase commercial sex from a minor. Chesterfield has convicted 36 similar cases since 2021.
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California: Two Women Arrested For Prostitution At Visalia Massage Parlors – Two women at two separate IMBs were arrested in Visalia and charged with prostitution. There is no indication that the situation was investigated as a potential human trafficking operation.
Georgia: CCSO: Human trafficking victims located in sex sting – Coweta County police arrested 15 buyers, 1 for “pimping” and one for human trafficking. While police identified 4 victims of human trafficking and provided services, they chose to arrest and charge 8 more potential victims with prostitution.
Oklahoma:Police: Oklahoma woman faces prostitution charge after offering agent sex for money – A potential victim was arrested for prostitution at an IMB in Poteau, Oklahoma. There is no indication that police investigated possible human trafficking.
New York:Women Arrested For Prostitution During Long Island Massage Parlor Raid – Three women from Flushing and Queens, aged 47, 49, and 51, were arrested on charges of prostitution and the felony 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 human trafficking.
Texas: 13 Arrests Made in Blue Heart Human Trafficking Sting Operation in Lubbock – Police in Lubbock County, Texas, arrested thirteen people in a mislabeled vice operation, arresting three buyers, one man on the promotion of prostitution, and seven women for prostitution. Two women were identified as potential victims and not charged, but the other seven were criminalized.
USA: Deutsche Bank settles lawsuit with Epstein accusers for $75 million – The major German bank has agreed to pay $75 million to victims of Jeffrey Epstein to settle a class-action lawsuit saying they profited from facilitating Epstein’s trafficking ring.
USA: Man wanted for child sex trafficking placed on FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list – The FBI has placed 58-year-old Donald E. Fields II of Missouri on its 10 Most Wanted list; he is accused of sex trafficking at least one child in Missouri for 4 years. Fields is a 6’4 white man, roughly 220 lbs, has a tribal tattoo on his right shoulder and is considered armed and dangerous. The FBI is offering a $250,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Colorado: Migrant explains how she fled for America to escape sex trafficking – A Guatemalan migrant who fled to the United States after escaping sex traffickers speaks out. Gang members demanded she provide commercial sex and help recruit more victims, then threatened to kill her when she refused. Instead, the then 17-year-old chose to flee, coming to the United States as an undocumented migrant.
Florida: Man accused of raping woman at Orange County massage parlor – A man who violently raped a massage therapist has been arrested and charged with sexual battery and false imprisonment. Massage therapists are often targeted by sexually violent criminals as IMBs are less likely to involve police officers to avoid detection.
Iowa: Pieper Lewis gets 20-year sentence, but then is placed on probation again – A victim of sex trafficking who was convicted of killing her abuser and recently escaped from her monitored living facility has been placed on probation. She has been sentenced to 20 years if she fails to complete probation.
Ohio: Canton attorney honored by national victims’ assistance organization – An attorney who provides pro bono support for victims of human trafficking, especially in the severely underserved family law area, was honored by the National Organization for Victim Assistance with the Morton Bard Allied Professional Award.
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