September 30, 2011
Sixteen years after Dao's heartbreaking ordeal as a child sex slave, police finally have an elusive Sydney brothel owner in their sights
What broke your heart when you were 13? Bad grades at school, a birthday party without a guest shown up; worst, your parents' divorce? For Dao (not her real name), life was different.
Dao's heartbreaking childhood memoir was more than just a sad birthday party or a dysfunctional family. At 13, her young life was shattered.
Back in 1995, the girl from a small town in the Northeast was promised a nanny's job overseas but she was sold to a Sydney brothel, forced to have sex with more than 100 men over a 10-day period. Then she was arrested by immigration police and deported to Thailand.
Life after deportation was no better. After being questioned by the Thai police, Dao was thrown into a detention centre for three months. Later on, Dao shared the life pattern of most trafficked... [more]
The News Tribune
September 30, 2011
Tacoma man gets 9-year term for sex trafficking
A 24-year-old Tacoma man was sentenced to nine years in prison Thursday for human trafficking.
U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan also sentenced Lashad Alexander to three years of supervised release and imposed a $130,000 restitution fee.
Alexander pleaded guilty in February to forcing a 17-year-old girl to work for him as a prostitute.
He recruited the teen in 2005 and she worked for him until Lakewood police arrested Alexander in March 2010 after the girl called her brother for help, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Alexander occasionally hit the teen, forced her to hand over her earnings, helped her post sex advertisements on the Internet and bought condoms, motel rooms, cell phones and clothing, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
The Verona Press
September 28, 2011
Former Verona man convicted of child trafficking
A man who offered to buy an 8-year-old girl for sex while living in Verona in 2010 made state legal history last week when he was found guilty of child trafficking.
Paul M. Ketring, 40, pleaded no contest last Wednesday in Dane County Circuit Court to a felony charge of trafficking a child and could face up to 40 years in prison and fines of up to $100,000.
Ketring, who lived in an apartment on Kimball Lane at the time of his arrest in July 2010, is serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence in federal prison in Minnesota for a separate charge of possession of child pornography. His sentencing for the trafficking charge has not been scheduled.
Marianna Smirnova, a former human trafficking policy specialist at the Madison-based Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said Monday that Ketring's conviction is a first in Wisconsin since a 2008 state law against human trafficking to... [more]
September 27, 2011
Owner of modelling agency suspected of tricking women into performing in sex shows
FINLAND-Joensuu man suspected of crimes including rape and aggravated human trafficking.
Police suspect that the director of a Finnish modelling agency has taken sexual advantage of a number of young women in different parts of Finland. The 48-year-old man from Joensuu is suspected of aggravated human trafficking, rape, and sexual abuse. The suspected crimes are said to have taken place between late 2009 and early 2011.
Police say that one woman became the victim of aggravated human trafficking, and five were raped. There are at least 13 alleged victims, two of whom are underage. The youngest of the victims was 16 and the oldest were slightly over 20, says Chief Detective Superintendent Petri Rainiala of the drugs unit of the Helsinki Police.
Police say that the women had been enticed into the activities by offering them modelling work. On... [more]
Los Angeles Times
September 26, 2011
U-visas gaining momentum
For years Norma endured her husband's physical and mental abuse. But the undocumented mother of five finally decided to call police when her 10- and 11-year-old daughters told her that their father had sexually abused them.
"In that moment," said Norma, who asked that her last name not be used to protect her children, "I felt — not scared, mostly I just felt angry at myself for hiding so many things, for letting it get to that point."
She was in deportation proceedings at the time and just days away from a hearing that could have seen her removed from the country.
Lawyers with Legal Aid Foundation Los Angeles helped get her deportation deferred until the U-visa program, which provides temporary legal status to abuse victims who help police investigate crimes, took effect in 2008. In that time, Norma's husband was sentenced to six years in prison for a forcible lewd act on a child under 14 and Norma and... [more]
The West Australian
September 20, 2011
NZ woman tells of sex-slave nightmare
A New Zealand woman has revealed how an exciting Facebook invitation turned into a nightmare.
Mary Elizabeth Jones, 39, has told the New Zealand Herald how she was forced into prostitution after being duped by a Facebook invitation to join a martial arts school.
A martial arts enthusiast, Ms Jones later answered a message from the group inviting her to an intense training camp in the Philippines in October.
"They were meant to be world class and I thought this was a chance for me to learn from the best," Ms Jones told the Herald.
She was instead robbed of her belongings and thrown into a bug-infested room after she was picked up in Iloilo City Airport by a man who claimed he was the group's leader.
Jones was made to have sex with up to nine men a day, with each reportedly paying 5000 pesos (NZ$140).
"I felt utterly disgusted, and I was treated like a piece of meat," she told the... [more]
September 19, 2011
Brothers tried in US human trafficking case
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania — Two Ukrainian brothers went on trial Monday in Philadelphia on charges of tricking foreigners into slave-like conditions while working as cleaners for WalMart, Target and other retail chains.
Omelyan and Stepan Botsvynyuk are accused of luring fellow Ukrainians with promises of jobs that would pay $10,000 after three years of work, as well as $500 a month stipends and free room and board.
Instead, they had their passports seized and were forced to work 16-hour shifts while living in squalid conditions, prosecutors allege. According to the charges, those complaining were beaten and one woman was gang raped.
When some of the alleged victims escaped, their families faced threats or relatives were forced into prostitution until the escapee's debts to the traffickers had been paid off.
Howard Popper, an attorney for Omelyan, said that prosecution witnesses are twist... [more]
NY Daily News
September 22, 2011
Woman forced into sex trade has prostitution convictions thrown out under new sex-trafficking law
A former Bronx prostitute became the first American citizen to have her prostitution convictions thrown out under New York's sex-trafficking law.
Leni Johnson, 22, had her convictions dismissed Wednesday after Bronx prosecutors agreed she was forced into the sex trade at age 13. The new state law recognizes child hookers as victims of sex trafficking rather than criminals - and allows their convictions for prostitution to be vacated.
"I feel very relieved and really happy," Johnson told the Daily News. "Now I can go and apply for anything without having to worry about anything coming up, and people judging me. This has been really hard on me."
In an unprecedented move for a Bronx prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Cassandra Abodeely told a judge on Wednesday of Johnson's eight years of suffering at the hands of pimps.
"Ms. Joh... [more]
September 23, 2011
Police arrest China sex slave suspect
A man has been detained by Chinese authorities after an escapee alerted police to the plight of four women being held in a basement as suspected sex slaves. Two bodies were also discovered at the scene
Police in China have arrested a man on suspicion of imprisoning and raping six women in a basement for two years, and of murdering two of them. The man, 34-year-old firefighter Li Hao, reportedly dug two rooms beneath a basement he bought in Luoyang city, Henan.
The Southern Metropolis Daily said Li, who is married and has a son, confessed to buying the 20-square-meter basement four years ago. Agence France Presse reported that Li spent two weeks a month with his captives, telling his wife that he had a night job as a guard.
He was caught when one of his captives escaped and alerted the police. The Authorities confirmed on Friday they had arrested Li on September 6.
An unnamed officer in Luoyan... [more]
The Washington Times
September 12, 2011
The missing piece of the U.S. anti-human trafficking effort
WASHINGTON, September 13, 2011—Many people in the U.S. believe that the problem of domestic violence and broken family structures only affect the immediate family. They also believe that pimping is the responsibility of the individual and fail to understand the factors that contribute to the choice.
However, sexual exploitation and trade are no longer the problem of a pimp and his family alone. It is becoming a serious problem for the U.S. society as a whole. The U.S. has been on the forefront of the fight against global human trafficking for a decade. Every year, its resources are geared towards the effort to stop human trafficking around the world. In 2010, the U.S. awarded $5.5 million to combat human trafficking in Haiti. Just last week, it also granted $500,000 to local law enforcement and other groups in Buffalo, New York to improve their anti-human trafficking ef... [more]
The Inquirer Digital
September 13, 2011
Trial set to begin for Botsvynyuk brothers in human-trafficking case
"Band of brothers," the U.S. Department of Justice calls them.
But if you're thinking World War II, parachutes behind enemy lines, battlefield heroics - wrong band.
These brothers number just five, hail from Ukraine, and stand charged with one of the most insidious crimes in the illegal immigrant underground: human trafficking.
Omelyan Botsvynyuk, 52, and Stepan Botsvynyuk, 36, are set to go on trial Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. Two more are in Canada pending extradition. One is believed to be in Ukraine, wanted by Interpol.
From 2000 to 2007, federal prosecutors charge, the brothers Botsvynyuk smuggled about 30 immigrants from their homeland to Philadelphia, promising them jobs, $500 a month, and free room and board.
Instead, the immigrants say, they were enslaved.
By night, they cleaned big-box stores and supermarkets, includi... [more]
September 11, 2011
Woman charged with forcing girl, 16, to have sex with men
A Chicago woman is accused of forcing a 16-year-old girl to have sex with strangers for money.
Ebony Mason, 27, of the 500 block of West 62nd Street, has been charged with involuntary sexual servitude of a minor and human trafficking for forced labor.
Prosecutors said Mason picked up the girl at her Chicago home last week and drove her to a hotel in the 6000 block of North Lincoln Avenue.
"There, the defendant took pictures of the victim in lingerie and posted them in an ad," Assistant Cook State's Attorney William Hall said. "They began receiving customers, who paid cash in exchange for sex acts with the minor."
Mason was arrested Friday after members of the Chicago Police Department's human trafficking task force answered an online ad on a website known for prostitution ads. Police in the sting offered to pay $200 for sex with the girl, according to court records.
September 7, 2011
Anti-Human trafficking organizations ask people to contact Senators
International Justice Mission(IJM) is sponsoring "National Call in Day" September 8 asking people to call their local Senators in support of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2011. Representatives in Texas are Sen. John Cornyn and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson both are no strangers in the fight against human trafficking and have previously supported bills involving tougher laws for traffickers and supporting victims assistance for survivors.
Time is of the essence with the TVPRA because if the bill is not voted on by September 30th then it will expire and there will be no current legislature to protect victims of human trafficking. The Senate has had numerous problems with the budget and natural disasters in several states thus causing voting on bills to be delayed.
In the reauthorization of the TVPRA there are revisions that include suppor... [more]
The Vancouver Sun
September 7, 2011
Ont. woman charged with forcing teen into prostitution
OTTAWA — An Ottawa woman accused of recruiting a 17-year-old girl from southwestern Ontario for prostitution is now facing human-trafficking charges.
Kathrine Edwards, 22, was charged after she was arrested last week at a downtown Ottawa hotel. Police are now on the hunt for a man they believe is the leader of a human-trafficking ring.
The 17-year-old, originally from Windsor, Ont., ended up in Ottawa where a man is accused of using violence to force her into prostitution. The girl was kept at a downtown hotel and was starved until she agreed to work as a prostitute, sources say.
Police say they have identified only one human-trafficking victim, but they are looking for others.
Edwards appeared by video in an Ottawa court Wednesday. The petite woman, who wore glasses and a green sweater and had her dark hair tied back, remained mostly expressionless as her lawyer Joseph ... [more]
September 7, 2011
Hope for human trafficking victims
On the day that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided her apartment, the seven-year nightmare Laila had lived as a victim of human trafficking should have been over.
She had been forced into an arranged marriage in her home country, India, to a man who took her against her will to London and then to the United States. All the while, he kept her in a form of forced servitude – using her for labor and sex – and preventing her from having contact with the outside world.
Some days, he'd leave and lock her in an apartment without a crumb of food. When he was home, he'd rape and beat her – yanking her hair and slamming her head against a wall.
So in 2004, when ICE agents showed up in the early morning, Laila prayed for help. She watched as the man was arrested and later charged with operating a human smuggling ring.
But, Laila, who was pregnant at the time and who didn't yet speak Engl... [more]
Fountain Valley Patch
September 5, 2011
iSanctuary to Host Second Annual Sawdust Event
iSanctuary, an Orange County nonprofit organization that rehabilitates victims of human trafficking and sex slavery, will hold its second annual iSanctuary at Sawdust event Saturday at the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach.
iSanctuary was founded by Wendy Hicks and Stephanie Pollaro, a Fountain Valley native who now spends most of her time living in Mumbai, India, where, along with Orange County, the charity carries out the bullk of its mission. That mission is to rescue young women from lives in the region's sex trade, give them a safe home, and teach them to make jewelry, the proceeds from which will help the start new lives when they're ready to leave the shelter.
In Southern California, young women rescued from human trafficking are given professional development opportunties within iSanctuary's Orange County business offices.
The Sawdust event will feature food, wine and li... [more]
Latin American Gerald Tribune
September 6, 2011
Three Mexicans Get Long Prison Terms for Sex Trafficking
MEXICO CITY – A federal judge sentenced two women and a man to more than 25 years in prison for forcing a group of young Mexican women and one foreign girl to work as prostitutes in the United States, judicial officials said.
Emiliano Romero Ramirez and Maria Juana Rugerio Saucedo were each sentenced to 37 years and six months in jail, while Cristina Hernandez Suarez will serve 28 years and six months behind bars.
The convicts, arrested in December 2009 at the request of the U.S. Embassy, must also pay damages to the victims, the Council of the Federal Judiciary, which supervises most of Mexico's federal courts, said Friday.
The first two must each pay 231,608 pesos (about $18,000) and the third $11,700.
The sex traffickers recruited young Mexican women and the occasional foreigner “by trickery or force” in the central town of Tenancingo and then shipped th... [more]
August 31, 2011
'Most Wanted' Man Arrested in Sex Crimes Investigation
A Tampa man accused of child pornography and human trafficking was arrested Wednesday, according to the Clearwater Area Task Force Against Human Trafficking.
A Tampa man wanted by the Clearwater Area Task Force Against Human Trafficking and featured on America's Most Wanted was arrested in New Jersey on Wednesday afternoon, according to officials.
Special agents from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Eric Antwan Bell without incident at 3 p.m. in Parsippany, NJ.
Bell was wanted on charges including sex trafficking of a minor, producing child pornography and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
He had been living in Jersey City, according to Clearwater Police.
Bell was found based on a tip, according to Joelle Castelli, Clearwater police spokeswoman. But officials will not say whether the tip came in becau... [more]
August 31, 2011
Cochrane and Papas jailed for Oxford sex trafficking
Two men from Oxfordshire have been jailed for trafficking women and using them as prostitutes.
Anastassios Papas, 43, of Iffley Road, Oxford, was given a seven-year sentence, plus four years on licence.
Graham Cochrane, 49, of Concrake Way, Bicester, received five years for his involvement in trafficking women.
The case at Oxford Crown Court was brought after concerns were raised about their Oxford escort agency Fun Girls.
Passing sentence, Judge Gordon Risius said Papas and Cochrane had taken advantage of vulnerable girls who had come from Eastern Europe and exposed them to a degrading and often risky business.
The court heard that in January 2010 Papas had been put under surveillance for 11 days before he was caught in a sting.
At the time he denied doing anything wrong and was recorded on police tape saying: "There is nothing to suggest we're ... [more]