New York Times
May 23, 2012
She Has a Pimp's Name Etched on Her
We think of branding as something ranchers do to their cattle. But it's also what pimps do to women and girls they control across America.
Taz, a 16-year-old girl here in New York City, told me that her pimp had branded three other girls with tattoos bearing his name. When she refused the tattoo, she said, he held her down and carved his name on her back with a safety pin.
More about Taz in a moment. That kind of branding isn't universal, but it's very common. An alleged pimp indicted last month in Manhattan is accused of tattooing his street name on a prostitute's neck, along with a bar code. He allegedly tattooed another prostitute with a symbol of his name on her pubic area, along with a dollar sign. In each case, the message was clear: They were his property, and they were for sale.
Such branding is a reminder that women being sold on the streets in America are — not always, but often — victim... [more]
May 23, 2012
Man convicted of human trafficking, prostituting teen girls
A Marion Oaks man was convicted Monday in the first human trafficking case for Marion County, and law enforcement officials say the crime is steadily increasing locally.
John Dillinger Morgan, 23, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty in court to one count of minor sex trafficking, two counts of procuring a minor for prostitution and one count of lewd and lascivious battery. He also will serve 10 years sex offender probation.
“Some look at it as an international problem, but it's also a local issue, as evident by this arrest and conviction,” Sgt. Jerry Bevan of the Marion County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
Local law enforcement officials created a Human Trafficking Taskforce, which includes representatives of the Sheriff's Office, Ocala Police Department, the Marion County Children's Advocacy Center (known as Kimberly's Cottage), the Department of Children and ... [more]
Detroit Free Press
May 24, 2012
Club owner gets prison time in human-trafficking operation in metro Detroit
It took five years to hunt him down -- and about five hours to sentence him.
Ukrainian nightclub owner Veniamin Gonikman was ordered Wednesday to serve three years in prison for his role in a human-trafficking operation that smuggled eastern European women into the U.S. and forced them to work in local strip clubs. He is the ninth and last defendant to be convicted in the case.
Gonikman, who led the government on an international manhunt for years, admitted only to money laundering and insisted there were no "vulnerable victims," he was never on the run and lived openly in Ukraine.
Gonikman was pushing for a 10-month sentence. U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts gave him 36 months instead, still less than the 51-month prison sentence prosecutors sought.
"From the beginning, it appeared that Mr. Gonikman was involved in the plan to get the women into the... [more]
NY Daily News
May 14, 2012
Bronx judge sentences "despicable human being" to max for pimping out 13-year-old girl on craigslist
Defiant craigslist pimp gets up to 25 years; 13-year-old victim "scarred deeply"
A twisted sicko who pimped out a 13-year-old girl on craigslist in the Bronx was sentenced Monday to up to 25 years in prison.
Bronx Supreme Court Justice Megan Tallmer threw the book at Sahim Lucas, 34, handing down the maximum sentence for sex trafficking and promoting prostitution.
Lucas - who acted as his own lawyer, cracked jokes and loudly interrupted Tallmer - blasted the case as "a bunch of lies." But the judge didn't buy his antics.
"You are as despicable a human being as I have ever come across," she said sternly. "There is nothing here that would call for any type of leniency."
The victim "will never be able to erase this horrible situation from her mind or life," her mother wrote in a statement read by Assistant District Attorney Robert C... [more]
San Francisco Chronicle
May 10, 2012
Calif. voters to weigh sex trafficking penalties
California voters will get to vote on a measure that would increase penalties for human sex trafficking and require social media disclosures by convicted sex offenders.
The Secretary of State's office says the measure qualified for the November ballot on Thursday, after county election officials verified that supporters turned in more than 500,000 valid signatures.
Those convicted of sex trafficking could face 15 years to life in prison and fines up to $1.5 million if voters approve. The measure also would devote fines from traffickers to services to help victims.
Convicted traffickers would have to register as sex offenders. And the measure would require that sex offenders disclose to law enforcement the identities they use in online activities like social networking and email.
It is the sixth measure to qualify for the November ballot.
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NY Daily News
March 2, 2012
Guilty plea from thug in Mexico-to-N.Y.C. sex trafficking ring
A Mexican man pleaded guilty in Brooklyn to working for the family business — an international sex trafficking ring that goes back generations.
Angel Cortez Granados, 25, admitted Friday he wooed a woman and brought her to the U.S. as his “girlfriend” only to enslave her as a Queens prostitute traveling from john to john in a livery cab.
“I threatened her, telling her that she was alone in this country, that nobody would help her, so that she would work as a prostitute,” Granados told Federal Judge Cheryl Pollak.
He said he warned the victim, identified only as Esperanza, that he would call the cops if she didn't follow orders.
“Since she didn't have any papers, (I was) scaring her with the possibility of going to jail,” he said.
Six other members of the Los Granados ring have been charged in New York, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela Chen.
The feds identified t... [more]
The Miami Herald
May 10, 2012
Bradenton woman pleads guilty to sex trafficking
BRADENTON, Fla. -- A Bradenton woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to sex trafficking of minors, recruiting four underage girls to work as prostitutes and promoting the business by taking sexually explicit photos of the girls and posting them on the Internet.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Tampa says that Neang Prom faces up to life in prison when she is sentenced. According to a plea deal reached Wednesday, the 30-year-old Prom and her boyfriend, Eric Bell, recruited the girls, who were ages 15 to 17, by offering them a place to live.
Bell pleaded guilty earlier and will be sentenced June 20.
This case was investigated by the Clearwater Area Human Trafficking Task Force, the FBI, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
The Jerusalem Post
May 10, 2012
18 years for human trafficking ringleader
Saban found guilty of false imprisonment, possession of premises for prostitution, money laundering, confiscating passport.
The Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday sentenced the ringleader of an international human trafficking ring to the maximum possible prison term for that crime - 16 years - plus an extra two years and seven months.
Rahamim 'Rami' Saban was convicted in January of trafficking hundreds of Ukrainian, Russian, Moldovan, Belarusian and Uzbek women into Israel for prostitution, in what the Tel Aviv District Court said was one of the largest human trafficking operations in Israel's history.
Saban's international network of criminal associates 'sourced' the women in Eastern Europe and persuaded them to come to Israel to work as waitresses and bar staff. They would then smuggle the women into Israel via Egypt and Turkey.
However, once in Israel, the women were sold to escort ... [more]
May 9, 2012
Human traffickers jailed by Dubai court
DUBAI // A man who promised a woman a job as a secretary but instead forced her into prostitution and raped her was today sentenced to six years in jail.
The Dubai Criminal Court sentenced QA, a 42-year-old from India, to three years for human trafficking and a further three years for rape. His compatriot SS, 26, also received three years for human trafficking
The woman, MR, came to Dubai expecting to be paid Dh3,000 per month as an office worker and was told her accommodation would be included. When she arrived at Dubai International Airport last August the two men took her to an apartment in Riqqa and locked her up. They told her to forget about the secretary job and instead frequent bars where she would meet customers who would pay for sex.
She was given a mobile phone and forced to call men to offer massages and sex services, which she did for 15 days.
QA would take her to hotels to perform t... [more]
May 7, 2012
McGinn urges Backpage.com to check ages on sex ads
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn joined the mayors of 50 U.S. cities in urging Village Voice Media to require identification for people posting escort ads on Backpage.com — its online ad service that has come under scrutiny from authorities for allegations that it's used to promote child prostitution.
"There is an urgent need to act quickly, as cities continue to find advertisements on your site that reflect underage sex trafficking," the letter by the United States Conference of Mayors said Monday. "We are making every effort to stop the ongoing trafficking of underage individuals, but these efforts are made more difficult by the inadequate safeguards of your website, Backpage.com, to prevent underage sex trafficking."
The leaders criticizing the ads include the mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Austin, Texas, and Laredo, Texas.
Backpage.com critics say the site is used to... [more]
May 7, 2012
Kidnapping, Trafficking Suspect Found and Arrested
20-year-old suspect Kadeem Kirk has been arrested on Monday morning according to Debbie Tanna, Public Information Officer.
The Fayetteville police apprehended Kirk at his grandmother's residence. Officers acted on a tip by a viewer who had seen Kirk's mug shot in a media report.
Kirk was sought after on charges for kidnapping and human trafficking of a 13-year-old Fayetteville girl over the weekend.
Bond has been set at 1.9 million dollars.
May 4, 2012
3 Twin Cities Somalis guilty of sex trafficking
A federal jury in Tennessee on Friday convicted three Minnesota men for their role in an interstate sex trafficking ring run mostly by Somali gang members. Six others were acquitted of all charges.
The nine defendants were among 30 people -- most from the Twin Cities -- charged in connection with a human trafficking ring that sold Somali girls into prostitution over the course of a decade, authorities say.
The jury of six men and six women deliberated for five days before returning a split verdict in the case's first trial. The remaining defendants could face trial, although nothing has been scheduled.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Van Vincent said Friday's verdict shows that the jury found that sex trafficking did occur. He added that the government will continue to prosecute these kinds of cases.
"It's very important for victims to understand that you can come forward, people will listen and ... [more]
May 5, 2012
Sold into a life of despair
LATE Friday night on the outskirts of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. As we enter the village of Samghandi our taxi's headlights cast beams of light onto swarms of mosquitoes and figures standing at the roadside. The car comes to a halt outside a neon-lit bar and Patrick Baudin gets out to meet our contact. The men shake hands and Baudin, a Christian pastor originally from the Ivory Coast, summons us to follow him with a nod of his head.
''We should be quick,'' he says over thumping dance music as we walk into the venue. Inside, there are mirrors on the walls, and a green light throws a strange hue across a dance floor where young girls dance and wait tables, watched by men drinking beer. We sit in a corner and some of the girls join us. All hail from either Nigeria or Burkina Faso. Some have braided hair and nearly all wear miniskirts and tight vests; they could be out clubbing at the weekend in any town or city. But the ... [more]