June 29, 2011
Mexican judge sentences 4 in human trafficking case
A federal judge in Mexico has sentenced four people to a minimum of 16 1/2 years each behind bars for human trafficking, the Mexican attorney general's office said Tuesday, marking a rare conviction in a country struggling to get a grip on the illegal trade.
The investigation began because of a tip from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, authorities said.
Agents rescued four women being forced to work as prostitutes in Miami, Florida, according to a statement from the Mexican attorney general's office. An ICE spokeswoman said U.S. agents identified two of the victims in Miami and that the other two were identified by authorities in Mexico.
Their children were being held in Tenancingo, a municipality in the southern Mexican state of Tlaxcala, and the women's contact with them was conditioned on their sending money to their handlers, the statement said.
On June 7, 2010,... [more]
June 28, 2011
U.S. State Department releases human trafficking report
WASHINGTON, June 28 (UPI) -- Libya, Myanmar, Sudan and Iran are among countries considered the worst internationally for human trafficking, a U.S. State Department report indicated.
The analysis, released Monday, ranks more than 180 countries in three levels, or "tiers," depending on conditions that subject men, women, and children to sex trafficking and forced labor. The report examines how traffickers operate, who are exploited and what the government is or isn't doing to protect citizens from human traffickers.
The State Department says 27 million people were victimized by human trafficking worldwide.
"We know trafficking in persons affects every region and every country in the world, but looking into the eyes of those girls and hearing their stories firsthand brought home for me once again the very real and personal tragedy of modern slavery," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in ... [more]
The Sacramento Bee
June 27, 2011
The fight against human trafficking: Moving toward a decade of delivery
By HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
Secretary of State
Last year I met a group of young girls in Cambodia living in a shelter for survivors of human trafficking. They wanted the same things we all desire for our children: the opportunity to live and learn in safety, to grow up free to fulfill their God-given potential. But for these girls, those basics seemed nearly insurmountable. They had already endured traumas that defy description and shock the conscience.
A decade since the United Nations adopted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, there are more slaves living in the world today than at any point in history. The story of those girls in Cambodia, and the many others like them around the world, should serve as a call to action for us all. It's time to redouble our efforts and renew our resolve to end this scourge once and for all.
Times of India
June 27, 2011
2 arrested for human trafficking
CHANDIGARH: UT police has rescued 14 children and has arrested two persons on charges of human trafficking from ISBT-17 on Saturday night.
The kids belong to Gaya district of Bihar and were being taken to Manali for labour in apple orchards and in houses. They were to work on a monthly wage of Rs 500 each.
Accused were identified as Durja of Ladakh and Amka Manji of Beldari village in Bihar. 11-year-old son of Manji's sister was also among the rescued children. Durja, who is settled in Manali, had paid Rs 300 in advance to the parents of the kids who belong to Charki and Beldari villages of Gaya.
The presence of these children, 10-14 years old, outside ISBT-17 had made constable Varinder Singh suspicious.
ASP (central) Deshraj Singh said, ''A brief interrogation of two children revealed that they were being taken to Manali for labour. They told us that Durja and Amka were their guardians. They trave... [more]
The Daily News Online
June 26, 2011
Longview couple plead not guilty in forced labor case
The Longview couple accused of human trafficking entered pleas of not guilty Wednesday at their arraignment in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.
Edk Kenit and Choimina Lukas are charged with forced labor conspiracy, forced labor/attempted forced labor, and document servitude. Their trial is set for Sept. 26.
In a 22-page superseding indictment filed June 1, a federal grand jury accused Kenit, 29, and Lukas, 31, of conspiring to bring a then-18-year-old woman identified as "S.S." from the Federated States of Micronesia — the homeland of Kenit, Lukas and S.S. — to care for their three children and do other chores seven days a week without pay. The servitude lasted from the woman's arrival in March 2010 until her escape to a woman's shelter around Feb. 20 of this year, the indictment said. Several times during the month before S.S. escaped, Kenit forced himself on her sexually, the... [more]
Emirates 24/7 News
June 26, 2011
A harrowing tale of human trafficking
A woman who was lured with a job in Dubai and forced into prostitution, recounts her harrowing tale as the alleged mastermind behind her sufferings and that of dozens of other women was arrested in India last week.
Like many gullible victims of trafficking, Sheeja Aziz, a 34-year-old divorcee, fell for the lure of a cook's job in Dubai, only to discover later that she has been nailed.
Police believe that the alleged female kingpin behind Sheeja's case, Sauda Biwi, have trafficked and forced into prostitution hundreds of women from India, Dubai-based tabloid 7Days reported. The good news is that Sauda was arrested by Indian police last week.
Recalling her ordeal in the brothels of Dubai and Sharjah, Sheeja who was saved by the workers of Peoples Cultural Forum in Sharjah says, “They were animals with no heart. They abused me and beat me for not listening to them. I am lucky to have escaped t... [more]
The Times of India
June 24, 2011
Trafficked girls rescued from E Midnapore
KOLKATA: Ten girls who had fallen into a trap set by traffickers were rescued from a hotel in East Midnapore on Thursday. On the reception of specific intelligence, a team of officers from the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit and the Special Operations Group of the state Criminal Investigations Department (CID) swooped down on Hotel Maa Kali under Mahishadal police station during the wee hours. Seven persons, suspected to be perpetrators, were arrested during the operation.
The young women, aged between 15 and 25 years, were illegally brought in from Bangladesh and different districts of West Bengal. The victims told police that the traffickers lured them with promises of jobs while few said they were sold by their own relatives. Once in the hotel, the girls were locked up in dirty and cramped rooms and forced to entertain clients.
"Hundreds of minor girls are trafficked from Bangladesh and diff... [more]
June 23, 2011
Human Trafficking And The Terrible 'Price Of Sex'
Before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Eastern Europeans were locked inside an open-air prison. So when it finally came down, many countries were unprepared for what passed through the newly opened gates. In many countries, liberation left a vacuum that filled with lawlessness and deep poverty. In the worst cases, an epidemic of human trafficking, rape and forced prostitution ensnared hundreds of thousands of women.
Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova has sought and recorded the stories of Eastern European women who disappeared into the modern-day slave trade of sex trafficking. Her documentary, The Price of Sex, is showing this week at the American Film Institute's Silverdocs festival.
Chakarova tells NPR's Neal Conan that the stories she recorded could easily have been her own.
"We came from the same place," she says. "I grew up in a village in Bulgaria during Communism. We breathed the same air; we w... [more]
June 23, 2011
Man, ex-wife arrested in human trafficking case
In the second human trafficking case in Kentucky in two months, an Elizabethtown cardiologist and his ex-wife have been charged with harboring a Bolivian undocumented worker — their maid — for 15 years as a virtual prisoner and using her for their financial gain.
Dr. Javier Julio Arce, 58, and his ex-wife, Cristina Mier Arce, 55, were arraigned Thursday in U.S. District Court, where a grand jury alleged that they kept the woman in their service as a domestic by telling her she would be arrested and deported if she left their home.
They allegedly told her falsely that they were depositing money in a bank account in her name when they knew no such account existed. And after promising the woman — identified only as “I. L.” — a monthly salary, they paid her paid her no more than $20,000 over 12 years as she cared for their children, made their meals and cleaned their home and Dr. Arce's medica... [more]
Philippine Information Agency
June 23, 2011
DSWD, police thwart human trafficking scheme in Zambo
ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 23 (PIA) –- Acting upon information provided by a rescued human trafficking victim, operatives of the local police and social workers from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) rescued 2 more females who were about to be victims themselves in an apartment in barangay Malagutay, Zamboanga City in a joint operation conducted Monday (June 20) night.
Ms. Ma. Socorro Rojas, social welfare officer in charge of anti-trafficking from the DSWD said that the women came from Luzon.
“We have learned that the recruiter is also the one responsible for the other illegal recruitment activities that were successfully intercepted with the help of our local police and other concerned agencies in the past weeks, particularly those in Ipil where 12 women were rescued, and in Jolo, where 4 were rescued,” said Ms. Rojas. It was learned that this recruite... [more]
June 22, 2011
3 charged in attack on witness in sex-ring case
The women allegedly threatened another over her role in prosecuting 30 people tied to trafficking and Somali gangs.
Three more Twin Cities women have been charged in connection with an alleged sex-trafficking ring involving young girls and Somali-American gangs -- this time for reportedly threatening and attacking a key witness in the case.
Hawo Osman Ahmed, Ifrah Abdi Yassin and Hamdi Ahmed Mohamud appeared at a detention hearing Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis on charges that they had threatened and assaulted a witness identified in an affidavit only as "MA."
Ahmed was ordered held and will be transferred to Nashville to face charges there. A U.S. magistrate judge ordered that Yassin and Mohamud each be released to a halfway house while their cases are pending.
The charges against the women bring the number of people charged in connection with the alleged sex-trafficking... [more]
June 21, 2011
Thai victims of human trafficking can stay in Canada
Temporary permits extended 2 years for 19 Thai farm workers
Nineteen 19 Thai farm workers who were victims of human trafficking are being allowed to stay in Canada another two years so they'll have time to apply for permanent residency.
In what could be a precedent-setting case, the workers no longer face being sent to jail or deported.
The workers paid recruiters in Thailand up to $10,000 each to bring them to Canada to work for employers who in some cases were abusive.
"[The ruling] is empowering for workers," said Cathy Kolar, an immigration specialist who represented the workers at a hearing of the Canadian Immigration Board, which decided in their favour. "It's empowering for future victims, because this sets a precedent [that] Canada is not going to dispose of you."
Nineteen 19 Thai farm workers who were victims of human trafficking are being allowed to stay in Canada another ... [more]
June 17, 2011
Authorities investigate case which may involve human trafficking; two women and four men may have been held against their will
Authorities are investigating a case which may involve human trafficking in Rancho Cucamonga, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
Possibly six people (two women and four men) may be the victims of false imprisonment, and two unidentified men are considered suspects in the case, the Sheriff's Department said.
On Friday at 8:20 a.m., deputies received a call from a Spanish-speaking man who said that he was being held against his will and there were several people with him. The phone disconnected and no other information was obtained.
Rancho Cucamonga detectives attempted to narrow down the location using the cell phone provider, and after several hours they determined the call came from the area of Arrow Route and Etiwanda Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga, just west of Fontana.
Detectives ... [more]
Channel News Asia
June 17, 2011
Elderly man gets jail term for human trafficking
SINGAPORE: For a reward of about S$5,500, Teo Tua Ter, 68, played a part in a human trafficking syndicate that involved children and which had established links with China and the United States.
On Friday, a district court sentenced Teo to eight months' jail for cheating an airline ticketing staff.
The syndicate helped children from China leave for the US through Singapore using fraudulently-obtained Singapore passports.
Teo had cheated a ticketing staff at Changi Airport Terminal 1 on 12 November 2005.
He duped the officer into believing that a China boy, who was with him, was a Singaporean.
She processed the boy's boarding pass which bore a Singaporean's name on it.
The court was told that it is likely to be easier for Singaporeans to obtain visas to the US compared to China nationals.
The China children would come to Singapore with their own genuine passports before ... [more]
San Luis Obispo Tribune
June 14, 2011
4 Brazilians accuse Ga. man of running sex tour
Four Brazilian women sued an American fishing tour operator on Tuesday, claiming that he coerced them with alcohol, drugs and the promise of money to perform sex acts with tourists on his boat along the Amazon.
The federal complaint targets Richard Schair, a Georgia man who until 2009 operated the Wet-A-Line Tours. It contends he recruited the four underage Brazilians and others from an impoverished community and duped them into performing sex acts on him and his customers, who were often affluent American travelers.
Schair told The Associated Press he is innocent and that the claims originated in a "quest by a competitor to ruin me" but declined further comment.
The lawsuit in federal court in north Georgia was brought by four unnamed plaintiffs who said they were between 12 and 17 when the sex acts took place. It was filed by attorneys from Atlanta law firm King & Spalding an... [more]
June 15, 2011
Hotels, Airlines Work to Stop Human Trafficking
A woman boarded a plane with two children. When she reached her destination, she handed the children off to a man. A flight attendant noticed the strange exchange and alerted law enforcement officials, who stopped the man before he left the airport. Thanks to the flight attendant, a human trafficking ring was busted.
Similar incidents have taken place on flights from Ukraine to Chicago. Last week, flight attendants reported a potential human trafficking operation on a flight from Zurich to Chicago involving 30 young girls.
Such events are commonplace, said Nancy Rivard of Airline Ambassadors International, which works to prevent modern slavery transportation on commercial airlines. The group trains flight attendants and pilots about how to spot potential traffickers and how to respond.
She is not alone in this mission.
Advocates to combat human trafficking through private-sector initiatives... [more]
June 13, 2011
Jury convicts Georgia woman of trafficking 2 Nigerian women
Atlanta (CNN) -- A Georgia woman has been convicted of human trafficking and other charges for bringing two Nigerian women to the United States and forcing them to work in her lavish home like slaves, the U.S. Justice Department said Monday.
Bidemi Bello, 41, was convicted on eight counts by a federal jury late last week: two counts each of forced labor, trafficking for forced labor and making false statements in an application to become a U.S. citizen, and one count each of document servitude and alien harboring.
"The evidence showed that this was a case of modern-day slavery hidden within an expensive home in an upscale neighborhood," said Sally Quillian Yates, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.
Bello recruited her first victim, identified as "Laome," in 2001, according to prosecutors. The girl was 17 when she traveled, using a fake British passport that Bello had got... [more]
June 11, 2011
Police, activists rescue 32 children from sweatshops in New Delhi
New Delhi, June 11(ANI): In a major crackdown on child labour, activists from a local NGO, along with police officials, rescued over 32 children from sweatshops in New Delhi on Saturday.
Activists of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, along with police, swooped on units operating in Delhi's Mongolpuri area and rescued the children.
Most of the children belonged to Jharkhand and Bihar, and were working in dingy, subhuman conditions when rescued.
Interestingly, the NGO's action came a day before the World Day Against Child Labour.
The rescued children would soon be repatriated to their families as per the legal provisions.
Ten people have been arrested in the case and would be punished under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act and Juvenile Justice Act.
"We have rescued 32 children working as bonded labourers from this area. All these children are victims of human traf... [more]
The Richmond Register
June 11, 2011
Parents plead not guilty to human trafficking
RICHMOND — A Berea couple indicted on human trafficking charges pleaded not guilty Friday in Madison Circuit Court.
Kathy Hart and her husband, Anthony Wayne Hart, are accused of forcing their daughters to perform sexual favors in exchange for money and gifts.
They remained Friday in the Madison County Detention Center.
Anthony's bond was reduced Feb. 28 from $25,000 cash to $25,000 cash or property, but Kathy's bond remains at $25,000 cash because of charges she faces in another county.
The two were indicted for “... arranging for their 13- and 14-year-old daughters to provide companionship and affection to male individuals in exchange for money and goods ...,” the indictment reads.
The incidents reportedly took place between Oct. 10, 2009, and Feb. 24, 2011.
Human trafficking is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Madison County authorities began ... [more]
The Times of India
June 10, 2011
Child trafficking racket busted, 2 minors rescued
NEW DELHI: In yet another incident which shows how trafficked children below the age of 14 are sexually abused by fake placement agencies, the southeast district police has arrested the owners of a placement agency in East of Kailash for exploiting two girls aged 14, from Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, for the past one year. The accused have been identified as Rajesh and Ranbir Singh.
The incident has provoked the unified Anti-Human Trafficking Cell of the Delhi police, led by the crime branch, to consider slapping stringent sections under the Child Labour Act against anyone found employing children below the age of 14 in the city. "We have directed all officers to treat all child labour complaints seriously and prosecute the employer as well," said additional CP (southeast) Ajay Chaudhry.
This child trafficking racket was busted on June 8 when two minor girls were recovered from one of... [more]
7th Space Interactive
June 9, 2011
USDOJ: Maryland Couple Charged with Domestic Servitude of Filipina Woman
WASHINGTON- A federal grand jury in Greenbelt, Md ., indicted Alfred Edwards and Gloria Edwards, both of Upper Marlboro, Md ., on charges arising from a scheme to compel the labor and domestic service of a Filipina national.
The indictment was announced by Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the FBI.
“Human trafficking robs victims of their freedom and dignity and it will not be tolerated in our nation,” said Assistant Attorney General Perez. “We will prosecute all cases of human trafficking to the fullest extent of the law.”
"The United States Attorney's Office will continue to work with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and federal and state agencies and nonprof... [more]
Detroit Free Press
June 8, 2011
Human-trafficking case: Club owner denies hiding
The government had him on its Most Wanted Fugitives list.
He says he was never hiding out, lived openly for years in a Ukrainian village, and no one ever came looking for him.
In a human-trafficking case that is unfolding in U.S. District Court in Detroit, nightclub owner Veniamin Gonikman -- charged with smuggling women into the U.S. and forcing them to work at Detroit strip clubs -- is disputing the government's fugitive theory.
Specifically, Gonikman, 53, says he lived in a Ukrainian village for nearly five years with his now 14-year-old daughter. He said he has evidence to prove he wasn't on the run, including a driver's license in his name, a speeding ticket, auto insurance for his Cadillac Escalade, a small business and a letter from the village council backing his story.
"His whereabouts were no mystery," his lawyer, Walter Piszczatowski, argued in court documents filed Fri... [more]
June 8, 2011
Police identify Scots human traffic gangs
NINE major crime gangs are trafficking people into Scotland for the sex trade and forced labour, police have warned.
Chinese Triads and Albanian smugglers are among the groups to have been picked up on the radar of the elite Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) as it steps up its fight with the international underworld operating north of the Border.
Gangsters can make tens of thousands of pounds every year from every person they smuggle into the country illegally, especially in the highly lucrative and increasingly common brothels of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Whitelock, the SCDEA's head of intelligence, said: “We know there are Chinese and south-east Asian crime groups involved, Nigerians and gangs from eastern Europe, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Albania.
“They are all predominantly bringing in women to work in the Scottish se... [more]
7th Space Interactive
June 7, 2011
Child Sex Trafficker Sentenced in Oregon to 40 Years in Prison
PORTLAND, OR—James Albert Jackson, 39, was sentenced to 480 months in prison today by United States District Judge Michael Mosman after pleading guilty on March 3, 2011 to one count of an indictment charging him with the sex trafficking of a minor through force, fraud, and coercion. Jackson was also sentenced to five years of supervised release.
The case arose in September 2008, when a 15-year-old female, “AK,” was arrested for prostitution on the streets of Portland. At the time, she feared that James Jackson would kill her and agreed to accept help from police. Members of the Tigard Police Department, FBI, and the Sexual Assault Resource Center received the child and worked to transport her to a safe house out of state.
Months later, after starting to feel safe, AK was ready to describe how Jackson trafficked her from Seattle, Washington to Portland.“Today, the 40-yea... [more]
June 6, 2011
PAKISTAN: Selling children to pay off a debt
LAHORE, 6 June 2011 (IRIN) - Muhammad Ahsan gave his son away to his employer, a brick-kiln owner, after failing to pay back money he had earlier borrowed, but feels embarrassed that the boy has ended up working as a domestic helper in the latter's home in Lahore.
“I owed him Rs.100,000 [US$1,176] I had borrowed and couldn't afford to pay back,” Ahsan said. “He agreed to write off the amount if I `gave' him my 10-year-old son, Sajjad, to work in his house as a domestic worker, washing dishes and cleaning floors.
“I am ashamed because I have in fact `sold' my son, and ended his schooling to do so. But perhaps I can now afford to educate my two younger sons.”
His story is not unique. Despite laws that forbid it bonded debt labour is common in Pakistan. The US government, in a 2009 report describes Pakistan as a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the p... [more]
The Voice of Russia
June 3, 2011
Russian students denied admission to the Work and Travel Programme
Interview with Jan King, Work Experience Programmes Director for the Cultural Homestay International, a non-profit organization.
Ms. King, thank you so much for being with us today. At the beginning of the year, the US Consul General in Moscow has stated that the Department of State implemented new rules for the admission, and, as a result, many Russian students this year have been denied admission to the Work and Travel Programme. What are these rules and why were they implemented?
First of all, these regulations are called the Pilot Programme, and these new regulations apply only to six countries – Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Belarus and Bulgaria. And the reason is because the Department of State has discovered incidents of fraud with job offers for students from these countries. The new rules begin by saying “any student that finds job or the Russian agency ... [more]
The Local Sweden
June 3, 2011
Stockholm mum acquitted of trafficking
The 47-year-old Stockholm mum, who last year was sentenced to prison after keeping Polish women under “slave-like conditions” has been acquitted of the trafficking charges by the Svea Court of Appeal.
The Polish women, reported to be in their early twenties, were forced to work as cleaners and nannies for up to 19 hours per day, seven days a week in return for slave wages.
It was discovered at the time that the young women were housed in a cramped closet in a lavishly furnished three-bedroom apartment in the Stockholm suburb of Solna.
According to newspaper reports the young women were subjected to threats of violence and were forced to steal clothing and home decor on behalf of their employer who had originally promised them a monthly wage of 10,000 kronor ($1,400).
One of the women in fact received eight kronor a day for four months, while another received no money at all, according to the ... [more]
June 3, 2011
Police arrest mother, pregnant pimp for trafficking 14-year-old
Human-trafficking police rescued a 14-year-old Rayong girl allegedly pimped out for prostitution by her mother and sold to foreigners by a pregnant Pattaya woman.
Using an undercover foreign police volunteer as cover, police May 21 arrested Panthippa Kampan, 38, after she allegedly took 1,500 baht for the child at the Paragon Place Apartments in Naklua. Inside, officers found the girl sitting in a towel and robe.
Panthippa reportedly confessed to police she'd been hired for 500 baht by the girl's mother, Jiraporn Sa-ngob, to sell her daughter to foreigner tourists.
The alleged pimp, two months pregnant, said she needed the 500 baht for an illegal abortion.
Questioned by police, the 14-year-old told police she'd been raped by her cousin when she was 9 and that her mother forced her to drop out of school in sixth grade. After that, she was pressed into working so her Jirap... [more]
May 31, 2011
Mexican Consulate's Campaign Against Trafficking Nets Two Cases
The Mexican Consulate has fielded hundreds of calls in the first two months of its campaign against human trafficking, but only two have yielded actual allegations of sex and labor trafficking.
One was of a minor who had been allegedly trafficked to San Francisco from Mexico, says consulate spokeswoman Gabriela Mardero Jimenez. Another was of a person working in oppressive conditions who was threatened if he or she went to the authorities.
Since the "One Call Could Save Your Life" campaign launched on March 28, the consulate's hotline -- 415-354-4555 -- gets about 10 calls a day. "There's tons," Jimenez says. But the vast majority of callers confuse human trafficking with labor violations. The consulate refers immigrants with such complaints to a law firm of labor attorneys.
Threats constitute the big difference between labor violations -- "not paying you but you're free to le... [more]
June 1, 2011
Nigerian 'baby factory' raided, 32 teenage girls freed
LAGOS — Nigerian police have raided a home allegedly being used to force teenage girls to have babies that were then offered for sale for trafficking or other purposes, authorities said on Wednesday.
"We stormed the premises of the Cross Foundation in Aba three days ago following a report that pregnant girls aged between 15 and 17 are being made to make babies for the proprietor," said Bala Hassan, police commissioner for Abia state in the country's southeast.
"We rescued 32 pregnant girls and arrested the proprietor who is undergoing interrogation over allegations that he normally sells the babies to people who may use them for rituals or other purposes."
Some of the girls told police they had been offered to sell their babies for between 25,000 and 30,000 naira (192 dollars) depending on the sex of the baby.
The babies would then be sold to buyers for anything from 300,000 naira to one m... [more]