National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
EDITOR'S NOTE: Occasionally we bring you articles from local newspapers, web sites and other sources that constitute but a small percentage of the information available to those who are interested in the issues of child abuse and recovery from it.
We present articles such as this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
Here are a few recent stories related to the kinds of issues we cover on the web site. They'll represent a small percentage of the information available to us, the public, as we fight to provide meaningful recovery services and help for those who've suffered child abuse. We'll add to and update this page regularly.
We'll also present stories about the criminals and criminal acts that impact our communities all across the nation. The few we place on this page are the tip of the iceberg, and we ask you to check your local newspapers and law enforcement sites. Stay aware. Every extra set of "eyes and ears" makes a big difference.
A stuffed animal still sits in the front yard of John Skelton's house in Morenci, Mich., where the three little boys were last seen playing on Nov. 25.
Morenci tries to keep up hope for brothers' return
MORENCI, Mich. — Almost four months ago, Morenci police Chief Larry Weeks asked residents to keep their porch lights on until three young brothers, missing from this small, sleepy town came home.
Residents obliged — porch lights in town illuminated front yards and doorsteps. If Andrew, Alexander, and Tanner Skelton — 9, 7, and 5 — found their way home, they'd know where to find help.
Days turned to weeks, and soon, after the Thanksgiving Day disappearance, Morenci was blanketed with snow. Months went by and police were no longer trying to solve a missing person's case, they were looking for homicide victims.
Porch lights began to fade.
Morenci is a town on the mend, but one that remains on high alert. Residents hope for a call to search again for the boys, or better yet, one where the voice on the other end says "They're home."
Since the boys went missing, Morenci police have fielded more than 1,060 leads into the largest case in the town's history.
"It's just an enormous amount of information that we've collected," Chief Weeks said Friday from his office, a poster of the boys hanging on the wall behind him.
"It's rare if the boys aren't the last thing I think about at night or the first thing in the morning," Chief Weeks said. "I'm not confident we will find them, but I have great hope we will."
Reminders of the missing boys are everywhere. Yellow ribbons are tied to trees and lamp posts that line streets. Yellow police tape still guards the boys' father's small white home on East Congress Street, spanning the length of the front yard where the boys were last seen by neighbors on Nov. 25, 2010.
Their father, John Skelton, 39, has changed his story, investigators have said. Mr. Skelton first told authorities that he gave his boys to a woman. The woman was supposed to return the boys to their mother, Tanya Skelton.
Later, Mr. Skelton said the boys were with a group called the United Foster Outreach and Underground Sanctuary. Investigators could not find any indication that the group exists.
Mr. Skelton is charged with three counts each of kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment in connection with his missing sons. He was arraigned on March 11 in District Court. The charges carry a sentence that could keep him locked up for life if he is convicted. He is being held in the county jail in lieu of $30 million bond.
Near a small memorial of candles and a stuffed animal in Mr. Skelton's front yard, there's a small trace of snow, signaling an end to winter. Chief Weeks asks residents to remain vigilant, hoping spring brings new evidence or information as farmers work and campers and hikers traverse the thousands of acres of fields and wooded area surrounding the town.
A charity auction last evening to raise money for a reward fund was intended to help people remember.
Hundreds of people filed into the Morenci High School gym to bid on thousands of dollars of donated items ranging from the sublime — beautiful handmade quilts — to more mundane items such as Detroit Tigers' beer glasses — on display.
One of the quilts fetched $1,000 and was donated to Tanya Skelton, the mother of the missing boys. She sat front and center in the gym bleachers and burst into tears when the quilt, which bore images of her missing sons on the reverse side, was presented to her.
The fund was established so police could reward people who came forward with tips about the missing boys. It has about $10,000 in cash and $15,000 more in pledges, Morenci Mayor Keith Pennington said. He estimated the auction would bring in $20,000.
Mr. Pennington warmed up the crowd at the start of the auction and exhorted people to get out their wallets, explaining that at a charity auction the idea was not to pay as little as possible. He also had Chief Weeks take a bow.
"We want this to be a fun night," the mayor said. "We've had our share of tough days."
He then had people cheer when he named the county they lived in — Fulton, Williams, Hillsdale, and Lenawee. Lenawee got the biggest cheer by far. One man in the bleachers yelled that he had come all the way from Nashville.
Before the auction, Sherrie Tilley of Delta said she and her husband, Mike, were attending to show support for the missing boys and their family. Both had grown up and lived in Morenci until recently.
A hot item for sale was a blue T-shirt with screen-printed white lettering that showed three candles with the names "Alexander," "Andrew," and "Tanner." The space above the candles read "Prayers for a Safe Return Home."
Profits from the $8 T-shirts would be donated to the reward fund, said Codi Flower of Edgerton, who was selling the shirts and taking orders.
The auction also was intended as a community event that also might jar some memories. "We're hoping with this, what will happen, is someone will remember having seen something that they didn't think was important before and will make a phone call [to the police] and that will be the one," the Rev. Donna Galloway, pastor at United Methodist Church, said.
The fund-raiser also was meant to help the town celebrate its unity.
"It is indicative of the spirit that these boys generate," Ms. Galloway said. "Andrew, Alex, and Tanner, they didn't do anything half way."
Morenci — after all of the loss and sadness the town has endured in the past three years — needs a reason to celebrate.
Adam Johnson, owner of Johnson's Do It Yourself Hardware store on Main Street, washed "Good luck lady dawgs" off of his shop windows Friday morning. The Morenci High School girls basketball team advanced to the state's final four competition, giving the town reason to cheer. The team lost Thursday to Bark River-Harris Senior High School. Mr. Johnson will replace the message with something like "Thank you for making it to the final four."
"We live and die by our sports teams," Mr. Johnson, who lives next to Mr. Skelton, said. The Johnsons were the last to see the boys.
Meanwhile, in February, Tanya Skelton became a grandmother of a baby girl, Emma.
"It kind of rejuvenated the family," said Kathye Herrera, family friend and spokesman. "She's not a replacement, she's an addition. A great addition."
Ms. Skelton has gone back to work part time and is able to get out with friends for dinner or to see a movie, Ms. Herrera said.
But still, there's no normal, no sense of closure. Not yet. Perhaps not ever.
"I don't know how we can turn to a normal life not knowing where the boys are," Don Zuvers, the boys' grandfather, said. "There's still that hope they'll be found alive."
Hope keeps the town going.
"If we lived without hope then there would be no reason to do the auction, no reason to come together and be with each other and support and encourage each other," Ms. Galloway said.
Less than a half mile from where the boys were last seen, Ms. Skelton clings to hope.
Prostitutes' clients under scrutiny in Colorado
by KRISTEN WYATT Associated Press
DENVER — A proposed prostitution crackdown in Colorado is focusing on customers.
The state Senate planned to start work Monday on a bill that would promote a statewide network of so-called "john schools" — "scared straight" type programs for men who solicit sex from adult prostitutes.
First-time offenders could avoid jail by entering a diversion program in which they'd learn about human trafficking. Other topics: how most prostitutes start as young as age 13 and have very short life spans.
Former prostitutes also would share their stories.
Advocates say john schools reduce recidivism because prostitutes' overwhelmingly male clients have misconceptions about prostitution. Clients also often believe prostitutes are imported from other countries.
"Ninety-nine percent come from Denver. They do not come from Mexico or Southeast Asia. They're our girls, our Denver middle school girls," said Boulder attorney Beth Klein, a prominent advocate for john schools.
Last year, Klein pushed for a human trafficking law that added the sex trade to Colorado's Organized Crime Act.
"What we really want to have people do is go to these schools and be so transformed by the seriousness of this that they don't do it again," Klein said.
Klein and Senate President Brandon Shaffer, the bill's sponsor, want to see Colorado increase penalties for buying sex. Shaffer said the fine should be $10,000, with the money going to municipalities that want to set up john schools and treatment for sex workers.
Colorado currently classifies soliciting sex a petty offense, below a misdemeanor, with fines as low as $75 — less than littering in some cases. People convicted of solicitation aren't required to register as sex offenders.
Shaffer's bill doesn't require john schools but outlines a framework for a possible state network of john schools for jurisdictions that want them. Denver created a version of a john school in the late 1990s but closed it because of low numbers of johns and lack of funding, Klein said.
Large cities in other states have john schools credited with decreasing recidivism — including Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Texas lawmakers are considering a statewide john school proposal similar to Shaffer's.
Shaffer pointed out that johns who solicit underage prostitutes would not be eligible because child prostitution is a much more serious crime under existing law. He said a major goal of his bill is to increase fines so that cash-strapped municipal police forces have an incentive to go after johns and send them to treatment.
"This is a good tool, but it's not going to eliminate the problem," Shaffer said of john schools.
The bill has the support of Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, who said higher fines and a statewide john school effort could bring more aggressive enforcement of prostitution laws.
"What we're really trying to do is cut down on the enormous public harm that comes from human trafficking," Garnett said.
MEXICO CITY – Authorities rescued seven Honduran sex-trafficking victims at two bars in southeastern Mexico, while a separate operation led to the detention of seven South American teenage girls working without a visa at an establishment in this capital, officials said.
In the first raid, agents from a special unit of the Attorney General's Office for violence against women and people trafficking, or Fevimtra, and Federal Police officers rescued seven Honduran female “sex-trafficking victims at two bars in the town of Frontera Comalapa,” in Chiapas state, the AG's office said.
The authorities raided three establishments – “La Botana,” “La Parranda” and “El Rodeo” – on an unspecified date and found the Central American women inside two of them.
After questioning the victims, authorities began investigating an unidentified suspect for the crimes of “people trafficking for sexual exploitation,” the AG's office said.
Separately, in a joint operation by the National Institute of Migration, or INM, and Fevimtra, Mexican authorities detained five Venezuelan and two Argentine teenage girls without work and residence permits early Friday at a Mexico City nightspot, the institute said in a statement.
The raid was conducted to verify the immigration status of the foreign female workers at the establishment.
It is common for women and girls of different nationalities, most of them undocumented, to work at Mexico City brothels and strip clubs.
The INM said it is “sensitive to the problems facing foreigners” working at adult-entertainment establishments linked to organized crime and therefore requested Fevimtra's support in “detecting, identifying and caring for” women and girls who “may have been victims of people trafficking.”
The authorities involved in the operation offered counseling at the site “to a total of 31 females on the crime of people trafficking” and on “protecting their rights,” the INM said.
George Delany was last seen Sat, Mar 12. His
vehicle was found Sun.
State police still searching for Delany
The Evening Tribune --
Mar 19, 2011
Wayland, N.Y.— As of Saturday night, state police still haven't found missing Rochester Institute of Technology student George Delany.
Saturday evening police said they were searching for Delany, 21, along County Route 92, where Delany's cell phone was last used.
Police are still treating the matter as a missing persons incident and have no reason to believe it might be more serious.
Delany, 21, was last seen March 12, when he left a residence he shares with other college students in the Town of Chili, saying he would be back shortly.
His car was located Sunday on a snowmobile trail near Ward Road in the Town of Wayland.
Friday police said the Steuben County 911 Center was able to ‘ping' Delany's cell phone to a location about three-quarters of a mile off Henry Drum Road. The initial serach based on the first ‘ping' — a method of triangulation used to determine the location of a cell phone — centered on an area about a half mile from the road. The site is north of where Delany's vehicle was found.
Thursday police received a false report from a resident on County Route 92 — less than a mile from Loon Lake — who thought they saw a man walking who matched Delany's description. Police interviewed the man, who was found not to be Delany.
A state police helicopter and dozens of officers, state Forest Rangers, and the Massasauga Search and Rescue Team with canines have participated in the search. Other people have passed out fliers, with Delany's picture, physical description, and a number where they can reach the Wayland police.
Delany is described as a white male, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 150 pounds, with sandy-reddish hair. He was wearing a brown light-weight jacket when he was last seen.
Anyone with information is asked to call Wayland-based state police at 1-585-398-4100.
Nude man caught on security video prowling around L.A. preschool
March 18, 2011
Los Angeles -- LAPD police detectives are trying to identify a suspected burglar caught in the nude on security video at a Boyle Heights preschool.
School security video recorded March 6 shows a naked man inside an entryway at the facility.
Investigators said he was seen parading around for several minutes while engaging in strange behavior of a sexual nature.
The suspect forced his way into the Centro de Alegria preschool in Boyle Heights in the 400 block of North Soto Street, police said. Once inside, the suspect ransacked the school, looking for items of value and took some money and keys, according to police. Before he left, the suspect took off his clothes and masturbated while parading around the lobby, police said.
Police are asking anyone with information about this incident or the suspect seen in the video to contact detectives at (323) 224-0117.
Kirkwood sex trafficking defendant attacks government's claims
Bradley Cook, a Kirkwood man caught up in what prosecutors allege is a Missouri sex slavery ring, fired a broad salvo this week at the case against him, claiming that he was charged despite his cooperation with federal prosecutors and that he has been held incommunicado in several local jails.
Carter Collins Law, Cook's lawyer, filed 10 motions Wednesday and Thursday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City attacking various aspects of the case and requesting information from the government.
Many of the motions are routine. But one claims that Cook was cooperating with the FBI and had given a series of interviews about his contact with the alleged victim and the lead defendant, Ed Bagley Sr. of Laclede County.
Cook was never told that he was a suspect, and prosecutors never complained about the amount, accuracy or nature of his cooperation, the filing says.
The FBI searched Cook's home without his permission during that period, the filing says, and he was surprised when he was indicted in September on sex-trafficking charges, along with Bagley and three others.
Cook's filing asks a judge to either dismiss the whole case against him or toss out the statements he made and any evidence that derived from those statements.
Prosecutors declined to comment Friday. Law did not return a call seeking comment.
Prosecutors could argue that Cook breached the agreement by lying. A Dec. 28, 2009, letter regarding Cook's cooperation says that the agreement is void if he fails to completely and truthfully detail his involvement and that Cook will not be granted immunity for any statements regarding crimes of violence.
Another Cook motion attacks the sex-trafficking charge, saying it is unconstitutionally vague and cannot be used against a customer — only someone "involved in recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing for, or obtaining the 'female victim' for an illegal enterprise."
Still another claims that apparently because of allegations in court documents that Cook tried to hire a professional hit man to kill both the prosecutor and the alleged victim, he has been held in two county jails without any way to communicate with the outside world, including his lawyer. Personal papers and legal documents were also seized, it claims.
The motion says that Law was only allowed to talk to Cook after she appealed to U.S. marshals. The marshals often house federal prisoners in local jails.
Another motion says that as a potential victim of an alleged murder plot, Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Cordes and her office should be removed from the case because the allegations create "at least the appearance of an actual conflict of influence." If Cook were charged with any crimes based on the alleged plot — he has not been so far — Cordes could not act as both the prosecutor and a victim, the filing says.
Last month, one of Cook and Bagley's co-defendants, James Noel, 45, of Springfield, Mo., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion and admitted that he tortured the victim and paid to watch Bagley torture her. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, although he has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and could be rewarded with a lesser sentence
Another co-defendant, Dennis Henry, is scheduled for a change-of-plea March 24.
Portland police question a man in 2008 after he picked up a 14-year-old girl on Southeast 82nd Avenue and offered to pay for sexual contact. Nine bills in the Oregon Legislature would increase penalties for men who buy and sell sex from underage prostitutes.
Oregon sex-trafficking bills would increase penalties for pimps and johns
by Nikole Hannah-Jones, The Oregonian
Several bills before the Oregon Legislature would toughen penalties for men who buy and sell sex from minors, including setting steep fines and shaming johns in some cases by posting their photos online.
The bills also would set aside money for shelter and treatment for underage prostitutes.
But some of the proposals have run into opposition over concerns that fines might be too high and that johns and their families don't deserve publicity.
"If you have a professional gentleman with a family, is it fair to them?" said Sen. Floyd Prozanski , D-Eugene. "We believe sanctions of jail and fines are far more effective than putting something on the Internet."
Rep. Carolyn Tomei , D-Milwaukie, a former social worker who introduced several of the bills, disagrees.
Senate Bill 425: Eliminates the legal defense that a defendant accused of compelling a minor to engage in prostitution didn't know the victim's age.
Senate Bill 426: Requires the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to administer a grant program designed to reduce certain crimes against minors. Requires the Oregon Department of Human Services to develop a treatment program for prostituted minors.
Senate Bill 427: Requires courts to impose a specified fine on johns and to publish the person's name and photo in a newspaper or on the Internet if the person willfully fails to pay or fails to complete a community-service sentence.
Senate Bill 428: Authorizes placement of a child in a facility that provides services for victims of sexual exploitation if the child is engaged in prostitution and deemed likely to continue if released.
Senate Bill 429: Authorizes detention of a minor accused of prostitution-related conduct for up to three judicial days (days when a court is operating).
Senate Bill 430: Includes compelling prostitution as a prohibited crime for civil forfeiture.
House Bill 2699: Sets a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $6,250 fine for patronizing a prostitute.
House Bill 2714: Sets a fine of up to $20,000 for those who buy sex from minors, regardless of whether the buyer knew the person was younger than 18.
House Bill 2941: Allows a person younger than 18 to use age as a defense against prostitution charges if he or she agrees to enter a locked shelter.
"I know families will be affected by having their father or spouse or uncle's picture on the Internet, but I want you to think about how the families of these girls, and sometimes boys, are affected for the rest of their lives," Tomei said. "These men need to be publicly exposed."
The nine bills are part of a statewide effort to raise the profile of sex trafficking, a term often used to refer to all cases of underage prostitutes, regardless of whether they are coerced or taken place to place.
No one knows how many youths statewide have been involved in prostitution because the state doesn't keep numbers, but agencies say they don't have enough resources to meet the needs. And advocates have used Portland's reputation as a sex-trafficking hub -- though facts don't support this notion -- to garner support in the Legislature and for programs such as adding shelter beds in Portland.
Tomei said the number of bills signals the importance of the problem.
"I have worked with many of the children we are talking about," she said. "We want to send a strong message to those who patronize prostitutes that children are off-limits."
The House Judiciary Committee held a work session Friday on the first of the bills -- to fine men who patronize underage prostitutes up to $20,000.
Tomei said the hefty fine reflects an effort to show that a crime often considered victimless is being taken seriously.
"We wanted to get these johns' attention," she said.
But Prozanski, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee , said the fine could face a court challenge because some think it's too high compared with those for similarly classified crimes. An amendment he expects to succeed would set the fine at $10,000 for a first offense, and $20,000 and jail time for a second offense.
Other bills would subject pimps to forfeiture laws, and eliminate a loophole that allows pimps and johns to avoid tougher penalties by claiming they didn't know a prostitute was underage.
Another bill would allow authorities to detain minors arrested for prostitution for up to three days to get them help. Tomei said that would ensure that they don't run back to their pimps before they can receive treatment.
One of the more controversial bills would require courts to send photos of convicted johns to the media and the Internet if the john willfully fails to pay a fine or complete a sentence of community service.
Tomei said public shaming is necessary to send the message that having sex with children won't be tolerated. But Prozanski doubts the idea will be approved. He said studies have shown that johns who seek out young girls tend to be married and college-educated, and some legislators are concerned about the effect of public shaming on the perpetrator's families.
Advocates note that men who have sex with children outside of prostitution get no special consideration.
That, they say, demonstrates the need for a cultural shift.
"There is a tolerance here that has happened, and I cannot tell you why," said Carol Fenton of Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans . "This is not about the city of Portland being permissive and liberal. I don't know anyone who is liberal who considers the buying of sex from children acceptable. The state laws have not kept up."
Along those lines, advocates oppose the bill that would allow authorities to detain underage prostitutes, saying it further criminalizes youths who should be seen as victims.
"If a state investigates a girl having sex with a teacher or a coach, they wouldn't arrest the girl," said Dennis Morrow, executive director of Portland's Janus Youth Programs . Even with good intentions, Morrow said, forcing treatment is unlikely to work and reinforces the notion that they are being punished.
Still, Morrow said, the bill shows the state is finally getting serious about the issue. His agency has served 20 youths since December after receiving a grant from the city of Portland to open shelter beds for juvenile sex workers.
Washington strengthened its laws against pimps and johns in the juvenile sex trade last year. Since then, Morrow said, Janus has seen some of the same girls it served in Washington in its Portland programs. "If it's easier for pimps to just come across the river," he said, "they do."
Prozanski said eyes are opening in Oregon. Eventually, he said, the state will move toward a true recognition that Oregonians under 18 cannot consent to sex with an adult -- even if that adult is paying for it -- and will eventually decriminalize prostitution for minors.
"One of the things you have to realize as a legislator is that you might want to do something different, but you can only take moderate steps to reach the final goal," he said. "The bottom line is prostitution with a minor is not acceptable, period. We have a duty, an obligation, to protect minors from being victimized in such ways."
In coming weeks, most of the bills will come to a vote within the House and Senate judiciary committees before facing votes in their full chambers.
The trafficking of children and woman into prostitution, live-sex shows and pornography is on the rise in metropolitan areas of Tennessee and Georgia, officials say.
“When I thought of [human] trafficking, I thought of India ... or if it was being done in the U.S., it's with people brought over the borders,” said Jerry Redman, director of Second Life, a Chattanooga-based organization that targets human trafficking. “But it's going on here [too].”
“It's new to us,” said Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Lt. Van Hinton. “Right now we're being trained and educated about it.”
Police are investigating at least one case of possible human trafficking involving minor girls brought into Chattanooga from the Atlanta area, Hinton said. Experts say Atlanta has become a hub for children who are sexually trafficked.
Redman said advocacy groups and social service agencies are aware of suspicious activity in Chattanooga that has the characteristics of sexual trafficking.
Last year, police stopped 12 illegal immigrants in Bradley County who were traveling from Texas to Pennsylvania and were suspected of human trafficking. In Georgia, Gordon County sheriff's deputies arrested a fugitive from Romania who was wanted in connection with a human trafficking case after he was pulled over for speeding on Interstate 75.
Legislators in Tennessee and Georgia are now working this session to strengthen laws against traffickers and protect children who are rescued from modern enslavement.
A form of slavery
Human trafficking usually victimizes women and children who are forced into the sex trade. In the United States, young girls and boys often are manipulated into the trade after running away from home or being kidnapped by traffickers.
Women from other countries may be offered a false marriage proposal or a job, then brought to the U.S. and forced into the sex trade.
Because trafficking laws have been lax and because law enforcement can mistake trafficking for simple prostitution, states have been slow to respond to the growing problem, said Dr. Ron Petitte, a politics and government professor at Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn. Petitte's annual International Human Rights Symposium discusses human trafficking.
“A misconception to sexual slavery is that [the victims] want to be in it,” Petitte said.
Pimps and traffickers use fear and intimidation to keep victims working, and in many cases women and children are kept locked up, said Stephanie Davis, director of Atlanta-based advocacy group Women for Change.
Massage parlors, spas and strip clubs commonly are used to mask human trafficking, authorities said.
Legislation to curb human trafficking in Georgia seeks to protect victims from being punished and to strengthen penalties against traffickers, said Rep. Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, who is sponsoring a House bill.
“We sought to treat the victims of human trafficking with compassion,” Lindsey said. Georgia House Bill 200 passed the House 168-1 earlier this month.
The law would allow victims to avoid being charged by testifying against a suspect, he said. It also would stiffen sentences to a range of 25 to 50 years for anyone convicted of trafficking victims under 18 and would give prosecutors greater latitude to go after a trafficking suspect's assets.
The bill is now in the Georgia Senate for consideration.
Similar legislation in Tennessee would allow law enforcement to go after a suspect's property and would change charges of patronizing prostitution — used against the customers — from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Tennessee lawmakers have asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to head a statewide study to identify how much trafficking is going on in the state, said TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm. The bureau is conducting a survey by interviewing law enforcement and social services agencies.
“People are going to be surprised by the results ... [and] how often authorities see children who have been victimized,” she said.
by Paula Gordon and Sheldon Williams, Jamaica Star Writers
-- The police are now seeking a man believed to be the mastermind behind the trafficking of young boys into a sex trade throughout the Corporate Area.
Information reaching THE WEEKEND STAR is that the man operates under the disguise of being a good Samaritan who expresses interest in assisting underprivileged and displaced boys, but his true intentions are later displayed when he introduces the boys to other men for sex.
Sergeant Troy Irons from the New Kingston Police Post said that the man is responsible for trafficking underage males from several sections of the island. "He rents apartments and put up persons, mostly young males, depressed youths, people who want things," he said.
The man is believed to rent about two apartments at a time. It is alleged that at least five boys are housed in each.
Irons divulged that an operation was carried out recently at one of the apartments located in the Corporate Area. However, when the police reached the location, the man had already fled the scene. After a search of the premises only one young male was found. He was taken in for questioning by the police.
THE WEEKEND STAR also understands that the man is also wanted for larceny from a dwelling.
Allegations are that on October 1 a report was made that he had stolen several items from one of the apartments rented to him. "When he is leaving he takes small appliances from the dwellings," Irons remarked.
The man is believed to frequent the areas of New Kingston, Montego Bay, Old Harbour and May Pen.
A source who claimed to have heard about the practices of the man expressed his disgust to the WEEKEND STAR.
"The man look bout the likkle bwoy dem ... the boy nasty yuh see man. Me seh anytime me hole him yuh see ... anytime me hole him is a day like today," the source commented.
Just recently, a group of law students of the University Of the West Indies urged local authorities to give more focus on human trafficking in Jamaica.
David Brown, chairman of logistics for the human-trafficking committee at the institution, had said the issue of human trafficking is not given the attention it deserves and more should be done to address the issue.
As a result, a number of students from the faculty took to the street last week Thursday, armed with placards and banners, sending messages that persons should discontinue the act.
John Walsh, Adam's father, became a well-known crime-fighter advocate
Plea from parents: Prove ‘who killed our son'
Book details how murder of Adam Walsh in 1981 was solved
by Gracie Bonds Staples, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
March 19, 2011
Before there were pictures of missing children on milk cartons, before Amber Alerts and before there was a National Center for Missing and Abused Children, there was Adam Walsh.
His 1981 Florida murder captured the world's attention and not only changed the way police departments handle cases of missing children but how parents protect their loved ones.
More than two decades would pass before the case of who killed Adam was officially closed in 2008.
How that happened is detailed in “Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America” by Les Standiford and Joe Matthews (Ecco, $24).
Standiford, a best-selling author, and Matthews, a retired Miami Beach homicide detective who closed the case, will discuss the work at 7 p.m. today at Barnes and Noble in Buckhead.
Standiford had set out on a book tour, he said, when he got a call about a 400-page manuscript Matthews had written about the case.
“I took a look at the file and I knew right then and there I had to write this book,” Standiford said.
He also knew, he said, that he wanted to provide social context to the senseless murder of Adam Walsh so that people could appreciate the huge impact of the crime on society and Matthews' amazing accomplishments.
“Nothing could have saved Adam,” Standiford said. “He was dead within hours of being kidnapped, but imagine a mother and father having to wait 27 years to learn who had done the crime. Thank God for Joe Matthews because without him, they still wouldn't know.”
In a far-reaching recent interview, Matthews talked about how he finally fingered Ottis Toole, the drifter who confessed to the killing but who was never charged. He died in prison, convicted on other charges, in 1996.
Q: How did you become involved in the case?
A: In 1981 I was in charge of homicide for the Miami Beach Police Department and was asked to assist the Hollywood Police Department in the investigation of a missing boy, Adam Walsh.
Q: Were you surprised to hear from them?
A: It was a compliment, but it's not unusual. Police departments help each other. At the time I was teaching policemen who wanted to become polygraph examiners and they needed me to conduct polygraph examinations, so I was happy to do it. The day Adam went missing, my own wife and children were en route to the same mall where Adam was abducted, but returned home when my oldest son, Joey, got sick. It could've been our son.
Q: Did you expect to crack the case?
A: No, I didn't. My thoughts almost 30 years ago were to go in there and help Hollywood and go back to Miami Beach. That's what I did.
Q: But that wasn't the end of it for you, was it?
A: From the beginning, I was very disappointed with the Hollywood Police Department because there was chaos, confusion, lack of experience and supervision. I saw one guy taking notes on napkins. I told him in Miami Beach, I assign a detective just to handle leads, no matter where they come from, and file supplemental reports that go to you. And you decide which ones to follow. His response was, “When you go back to Miami Beach, you do it your way.” I knew the case would not be solved.
Q: But you did. What happened?
A: Twenty-five years after Adam went missing, John and Reve [Walsh] came to me and said, “Would you please prove once and for all who killed our son?”
Q: How did you do it?
A: I read all 10,000 pages of the file, which I believe no one else had done. Then I conducted interviews of people who had been interviewed. One interview would lead me to someone else, which would lead me to someone else who had not been interviewed by Hollywood detectives. I reviewed all the evidence and demanded retesting of the evidence.
Q: What was the most compelling?
A: I wanted to verify damage to the vehicle that was described to me by a witness, so I asked for the crime scene photos. To my surprise, I was told the photos didn't exist. I eventually obtained five rolls of film that, 27 years after Adam went missing, had not even been developed. I was the first to look at 98 photos of Ottis Toole's vehicle. That's what did it.
Q: What did the photos tell you?
A: First, they validated the damage to Ottis Toole's vehicle described by one of the witnesses. Second, the machete that Toole said he used in the beheading and the sheath that it went into were speckled with blood. Third... I had a photo of blood transferred from Adam's face onto the carpet. It shows the actual image of Adam's face. To me, it is as clear as the Shroud of Turin.
Q: Then what?
A: I did a chronology that begins six months before Adam went missing and, based on that manuscript, the case was closed.
TIPS TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE
1. Communicate with your child. Respond to whatever your child tells you; don't react.
2. Take advantage of free child safety programs, such as DNA Lifeprint.
3. There's nothing wrong with being overprotective. Know your children's friends and their parents and anyone else who is responsible for caring for your child.
MTA passengers help subdue kidnapping suspect at Green Line station
March 17, 2011
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.
As many as 10 commuters thwarted a kidnapping attempt on a teenage girl at a Metropolitan Transit Authority station in South Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon by tackling the would-be attacker, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman said.
Sheriff's transit deputies received a report of a disturbance on a train just after 2 p.m. at the Avalon station in the 11600 block of Avalon Boulevard in Green Meadows, said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.
When they arrived, witnesses told deputies that commuters at the station had wrestled a man to the ground after he grabbed an unidentified teenage girl from behind and tried to drag her away.
"Eight to 10 people wrestled him to the ground," Whitmore said. "The bystanders refused to let this occur. They brought this man to the ground, and there was a fight. It was an aggressive fight."
The teenage girl broke free and ran away, Whitmore said. The attacker fled on an arriving train. The suspect is identified as James Alfred Burnett, a 46-year-old registered sex offender with a criminal history.
When Burnett arrived at the Imperial station, waiting deputies arrested him, Whitmore said. He was booked on suspicion of attempted kidnapping. Burnett was taken to a hospital where he was treated for cuts and bruises.
Sheriff's deputies want to speak with the teenage girl. "We want her to call us," Whitmore said. "We want her to know that everything is OK."
Anyone with information is asked to call the the Sheriff's Department Transit Services Bureau 24-hour phone line at (323) 563-5000 .
For the record, 8:05 p.m., March 17: A previous version of this post identified the suspect as James Alfred Bennett.
No compassion for wife of Jaycee Lee Dugard's kidnapper, prosecutor says
March 17, 2011
Another court delay Thursday dashed speculation of possible guilty pleas from Phillip and Nancy Garrido, the couple accused of kidnapping and sexually tormenting Jaycee Lee Dugard and holding her captive for 18 years in their backyard compound in Northern California.
After a hearing in El Dorado County Superior Court, Dist. Atty. Vern Pierson criticized comments made by Nancy Garrido's defense attorney a few weeks ago, when he called for compassion for his client because Garrido was "like her mother" when Jaycee's children, fathered by Phillip Garrido, were born.
"Perhaps my alleged lack of compassion comes from my awareness of many disgusting facts concerning Nancy Garrido's personal involvement in this case,'' Pierson said in a statement.
Pierson said Nancy Garrido not only assisted her husband when he snatched Dugard off a South Tahoe street 18 years ago, but also helped imprison the girl in the couple's backyard and videotaped other young children to "provide her rapist husband with sexually perverse entertainment.''
The couple confessed to the crimes last month because Phillip Garrido, 59, hopes to negotiate a reduced sentenced for his wife, according to Stephen Tapson, Nancy's Garrido's attorney.
Tapson told the Associated Press that the last offer from the El Dorado County district attorney still had her serving a prison sentence of 180 years to life.
"Obviously if we go to trial and she loses, she goes to 500 and something years, so what's the difference?" Tapson said, adding that he was pushing for a prison term of 30 to 40 years.
Phillip Garrido would face a sentence of more than 500 years in prison under an offer from the prosecutor.
The Garridos married in 1981 at the U.S. penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., where Phillip was serving a 50-year sentence for a 1976 kidnapping and rape.
The discovery of Dugard, who gave birth to two daughters after being repeatedly raped, made international headlines two years ago, and the Garridos face nearly 30 counts of kidnapping, rape and false imprisonment. Dugard, now 30, was abducted by the Garridos when she was 11 years old.
The couple took her to Antioch, Calif., and kept her imprisoned in tents and soundproof shacks for 18 years. Phillip Garrido is accused of repeatedly raping the girl, sometimes videotaping the assaults, according to his grand jury indictment.
The prosecutor dismissed a comment from Nancy Garrido's attorney that she was an unwilling participant, noting that "she alone" helped keep Dugard prisoner for 42 days in 1993 when her husband was in federal custody on a parole violation.
Pierson also provided details of a 1993 incident in which Nancy Garrido lured a 5-year-old child into the couples' van and, while videotaping, enticed the child to bend over. It was one of many instances when Nancy videotaped children for her husband's sexual gratification, he said.
"No, I do not think that Nancy Garrido deserves my compassion,'' Pierson said.
The Garridos' next hearing is scheduled for April 7.
Billie Jean Dunn, the mother of missing teen Hailey Dunn, was being held
overnight on misdemeanor charges of hindering apprehension and prosecution,
possession of dangerous drugs and obstructing justice, officials said.
Missing cheerleader's mom to appear in court
Texas woman's former live-in boyfriend has been named as person of interest in case
COLORADO CITY, Texas — The mother of a West Texas middle school cheerleader reported missing nearly three months ago goes before a magistrate after she was accused of obstructing justice.
Officials say Billie Jean Dunn will appear in court Friday in Colorado City after she was picked up by deputies at her home Thursday night.
Jail officials say Dunn was being held overnight in the Mitchell County Jail on misdemeanor charges of hindering apprehension and prosecution, possession of dangerous drugs and obstructing justice.
They wouldn't elaborate on the charges, and calls to Mitchell County Sheriff Patrick Toombs weren't returned.
Dunn reported 13-year-old Hailey missing on Dec. 28. The mother's former live-in boyfriend previously was named a person of interest in the case.
Both Shawn Adkins and Billie Dunn deny any role in Hailey's disappearance.
Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking and Related Federal Charges
DALLAS — Marcus Choice Williams, 36, of Fort Worth, Texas, pleaded guilty this morning before United States Magistrate Judge Irma C. Ramirez to various felony offenses related to a conspiracy to traffic young women for prostitution, the Department of Justice announced.
Williams pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport individuals for prostitution; six counts of transporting individuals for prostitution; one count of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion; two counts of attempted sex trafficking by force; and one count of money laundering.
According to documents filed in the case, Williams operated an interstate prostitution enterprise headquartered in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He began operating in Texas in 2003 and, in 2006, expanded his enterprise into a multi-state operation that included advertising on websites. Williams was also known as “Cross Country Redd,” “Redd,” and “Marcus Choice.”
Court documents showed that Williams recruited vulnerable women, specifically single mothers from troubled backgrounds, and, in some cases used a combination of deception, fraud, coercion, threats and physical violence to compel the women to engage in prostitution. Williams required each young woman to secure a daily quota of money, and if operating out of town, to wire the funds to him.
“The exploitation of vulnerable women through sex trafficking is the equivalent of modern-day slavery, and will not be tolerated in this nation,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to the aggressive prosecution of all human trafficking cases.”
“The idea that an individual can be held in captivity by another person and forced to work in the world of prostitution is shocking to most people, said United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas James T. Jacks. “As evidenced by this and other cases brought by the Department of Justice, these activities are all too prevalent. This office and the Department of Justice as a whole are working to change that fact. We call upon the public to report any and all suspicious activity which may lead to apprehending and prosecuting those persons engaged in this activity and giving freedom to their victims.”
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Williams faces a sentence of 30 years in prison, if the Court accepts the sentencing recommendation in the plea agreement. Williams, who has been in custody in the Northern District of Texas since October 2010, when his pretrial release was revoked, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 20, 2011, by United States District Judge David C. Godbey.
Co-defendant Kenya Thomas, 31, of Plano, Texas, the mother of two of Williams' children, assisted Williams in managing the operation and supervising new recruits. Thomas pleaded guilty to her role in the conspiracy in December 2009.
The case remains pending against the other co-defendant in the case, Preston Petitt, 44, of Houston, Texas. According to court documents, in addition to serving as Williams' butler and bodyguard, Petitt allegedly provided child care for the other defendants and for victims while they performed commercial sex acts at the defendants' direction. Williams made thousands of dollars in profits, while the victims received next to nothing.
The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Errin Martin and Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Myesha Braden.
CORNYN, WYDEN INTRODUCE BILL TO COMBAT SEX TRAFFICKING OF MINORS
Creates Shelters to Assist Women and Young Girls in Escaping Sexual Slavery; Provides Law Enforcement Tools to Put Pimps and Traffickers Behind Bars
March 18, 2011
WASHINGTON – Flanked by law enforcement, social service professionals and advocates fighting the sex trafficking of minors, U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced legislation Wednesday to put an end to the modern sexual slavery that claims the innocence of more than 100,000 American girls and young women each year. The Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2011 is a pilot program that will create six shelters throughout the country providing a safe haven for minors who are being trafficked and sold into sexual slavery. The bill also gives law enforcement the tools to investigate, prosecute and incarcerate the real criminals -- the pimps and traffickers.
“Our nation must remain committed to ending the scourge of domestic minor sex trafficking. This legislation will provide valuable assistance to state and local governments on the front lines of battling organized criminal syndicates and violent gangs that traffic humans for labor and sex,” said Cornyn. “I am proud to partner with Senator Wyden on this important bipartisan effort.”
“It is an unrelenting fact that sex trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in this country and efforts to protect these young girls from the cycle of violence and exploitation are sorely lacking,” Wyden said. “Senator Cornyn and I believe that even one young girl sold into sexual slavery is unacceptable and we have reintroduced legislation that will give victims the means to break from their oppressors and law enforcement the means to catch and incarcerate the criminals who exploit them. We were minutes away from passing this legislation last Congress and believe that our goals will soon be realized.”
The Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking and Victims Support Act authorizes block grants of $2-2.5 million per year to six locations deemed to have significant sex trafficking activity and have a workable plan to provide comprehensive services to sex trafficking victims – including the establishment of a shelter facility -- and demonstrated participation from all levels of law enforcement, prosecutors and social service providers.
The block grants have the option of renewal for two additional years and can be used to fund:
· A shelter for trafficking victims;
· Clothing and other daily needs in order to keep victims from returning to the street;
· Victims' assistance counseling and legal services;
· Education or job training classes for victims;
· Specialized training for law enforcement and social service providers;
· Investigation expenses - wire taps, expert consultants, travel, other "technical assistance" expenditures; and
· Outreach, education, and prevention efforts, including programs to deter offenders.
Because children reported missing have been found to be at the greatest risk for becoming involved in sex trafficking, the bill also requires state child welfare agencies to promptly report information on missing and abducted children to law enforcement authorities and requires law enforcement authorities to notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) when a child is missing from state care.
More than 31,000 people have signed a petition aimed at MPs asking for Portugal to sharpen its tactics in fighting the trafficking of children and young adults for sexual exploitation.
The petition was submitted in Parliament this week and is part of an international campaign launched by the Body Shop to bring an end to the sex trafficking of children and young people.
Body Shop's ‘Stop Sex Trafficking' campaign is being carried out in collaboration with various non-governmental organisations, which in Portugal's case is the Portuguese Association for Victim support (APAV).
APAV executive director João Lazaro said “APAV is embarking on this initiative as part of a global partnership with Body Shop International, and which, in this case, is a Portuguese partnership in terms of the work that has been done in recent years to support victims of crime as well as victims who are immigrants and victims of trafficking.”
Mr. Lazaro highlighted the importance of the efforts being made by the campaign, in trying to increase awareness among the general public and the country's leaders, given that the specifics of trafficking children and young people for sexual exploitation is still an area that needs more work, in terms of investigation, prevention and awareness-raising.
Even though the full dimensions of the crimes are largely unknown, the United Nations estimates that human trafficking is the third largest international criminal industry and that some 1.2 million children and young people are trafficked every year for exploitation and cheap labour.
In the UK the Body Shop, in collaboration with ECPAT UK (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, a branch of ECPAT International) is are calling on the UK Government to introduce a system of guardianship for child victims of trafficking.
In Portugal, Sandra Costa, PR for Body Shop Portugal, said that the goal of the initiative, “to put an end to the modern day slave trade”, was one of Body Shop founder Anita Roddick's final wishes.
“We want to bring the public's attention to the existence of this crime and ask for governmental support, so we can effectively achieve real action regarding the well being, support and protection of our young people”, she explained.
More specifically, the initiative wants “governmental entities to amend the EC convention that was signed by Portugal in October, 2007.”
Globally, the petition, which is part of a campaign launched in 50 countries, has amassed some five million signatures. In Portugal, almost 40,000 people signed the document but only 31,500 signatures “were in a perfect enough condition to be submitted to Parliament”, Mrs. Costa added.
Maria de Belém Roseira, founder of APAV and a Portuguese MP, who represents such matters in the Council of Europe, vowed that, in collaboration with universities, judicial entities on the ground and with parliamentary colleagues, that the respective legislative instruments would be perfected.
She said “pressure” would be exercised “with the intention that the organisation and orientation of resources can be done in an evermore effective manner”, to fight the problem.
Theresa Flores, a victim of human
trafficking, will be speaking on the
subject at Mercyhurst College
Mercyhurst College brings awareness to human trafficking
by GERRY WEISS, Erie Times-News
Theresa Flores travels the country, speaking at schools, churches and community centers, and tells her harrowing story of being blackmailed as a teenager and sold for two years as a sex slave.
She's 45 now, 30 years removed from those dark days in Detroit and her ordeal as a victim of human trafficking.
But this weekend at Mercyhurst College, Flores will look into the eyes of the young students who attend her speech and remind them that no community is exempt from what the United Nations calls the second fastest growing crime in the world.
"Erie has a high usage of nearby interstates," Flores said during a recent interview. "A lot of girls are likely being transported on those highways as part of what is a growing sex-trafficking business."
Flores will be the featured speaker in Mercyhurst's "Project Abolition," a collaborative artistic production designed to bring awareness to human trafficking through dance, music and poetry.
The free program will be held Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the college's Taylor Little Theatre.
According to the United Nations Global Initiative to End Human Trafficking, the underground industry is worth $32 billion a year.
"The point of my mission is to educate as many people as possible," said Flores, author of "The Slave Across the Street." "The sexualization of our society has made the industry worse. The Internet has made human trafficking easy, and has changed the terms of what is morally normal regarding sex."
Flores was 15 and living in a Detroit suburb when a classmate drugged and raped her, blackmailed her with photographs, and threatened her life if she didn't become a sex slave.
She was sold to others on a regular basis for two years, telling no one for fear of her parents' safety, and escaped only after her father took a new job and her family moved to Connecticut. She kept her secret until finally telling a boyfriend in college.
Flores, now a resident of Columbus, Ohio, has been a social worker for the past 20 years. She currently serves as a director of awareness and training at a rehabilitation facility providing shelter and security to girls under 18 who are victims of sexual exploitation.
About six months ago, Mercyhurst College senior Lindsey Smith and her dance professor, Solveig Santillano, contacted Flores and asked her to speak at the Erie school.
Flores agreed -- especially after hearing that Smith started a club on campus called Project Abolition to promote volunteer efforts toward the anti-human trafficking movement. The club now has about 30 students.
"People need to know that slavery still exists all over the world. It's not something we just read about in history books," said Smith, 22. The Virginia native has been interested in the subject for several years after watching a documentary about human trafficking.
Funding for this weekend's event comes from the college's lecture series and research grants.
"There are a lot of students here who care about social injustices," Smith added. "I'm hoping (this weekend's production) will provoke people to get involved and help, whether they're donating money, time or both."
Flores said her traffickers from the early 1980s are still living in the Detroit area, protected legally by an expired statute of limitations.
She's happy that a federal human trafficking law was enacted in 2000, but Flores said additional legislation and awareness programs are needed.
"We need federal funding for shelters for survivors. We need national campaigns in middle schools and high schools," Flores said. "Human trafficking is an epidemic in this country, one that most people don't even realize."
Claire Stadt, left, with her dog, Ms. Molly, and Marshia Morton with her dog, Dusty, work
on some agility training Wednesday at Morton's home near Blodgett, Mo. Stadt and
her dog were preparing for a search mission in Kentucky on Saturday. The two are
members of the Scott County K-9 Search and Rescue unit.
Scott County search, rescue unit goes across nation to find missing people
March 18, 2011
by Erin Hevern ~
January is a terribly cold month to go boating on Kentucky Lake.
But members of a search and rescue team, with their dogs, from Scott County spent several days doing just that in 2009.
The Scott County K-9 Search and Rescue unit, formed in 2004 as part of the county's emergency management agency, had a mission to help find two boaters whose vessel had capsized about four weeks prior.
Marshia Morton, the unit's captain, remembers going out with her rescue dog at the time, Maggie, three times before finding the boys, who had drowned.
Maggie, an all-black German shepherd, jumped up quickly, digging furiously at the bottom of the boat with her paws. A bark signaled she had caught a scent of the bodies. Morton ordered the boat's operator to stop.
She was all over the boat looking for it. She's very animated," said Morton, who before leading the Scott County unit was part of a rescue team in Tennessee.
The team marked the area's GPS coordinates and waited for Maggie to lose the scent.
"Three dogs alerted in the same area; not exactly on top of the kids, but it was the right area," Morton said. "It was a relief to give that family closure."
The Kentucky recovery mission is one of many Morton and the search and rescue team has been called to throughout the United States.
Morton said she approached the county's emergency management in 2004, at a time when it was looking for a project. An agency needing the help of the unit first contacts Scott County Emergency Management, which puts the agency with the team.
"We're the only search and rescue team between St. Louis and Memphis. I saw a need," she said.
The volunteer unit consists of 12 members who spend at least every weekend training for missions. Claire Stadt, who with her German shepherd Ms. Molly joined the search and rescue unit in the summer of 2009, recalls taking three training courses with FEMA to learn standard search and rescue techniques. She and Molly have spent months training and are prepared to join the team for the first time Saturday, when they'll help at a mission in Kentucky.
Stadt said she's feeling a combination of nervousness and excitement.
"It's going to be a new experience for the both of us, working together as a team out there. I think she'll do fine," Stadt said. Ms. Molly, now 18 months old, will fulfill her national certification requirements with Stadt in May. They'll be certified by the North American Police Work Dog Association, Stadt said.
While the Scott County unit has been called as far away as South Carolina to search for a woman who went missing during spring break, the largest mission they've helped with was after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Morton and the entire team were called in to clear an area about 30 miles from New Orleans, which meant locating the hurricane's victims among the debris. The crew, whose presence was requested by the Hancock County, Miss., Emergency Management Agency, arrived seven days after the category five hurricane hit the coast.
Although recovery missions don't produce the happiest of endings, Morton said it's about helping survivors find closure.
"It's a job for the dogs; they don't realize how much tragedy there is," she said. "For me, it's a calling. The body is a shell, and when you take your last breath you're no longer there. That's how you deal with it."
On some missions, such as with the National Center for Missing Children, the rescue unit is reimbursed for trip and other expenses. More often, however, funding comes from donations and their own wallets. For their trip to the Gulf Coast, members brought their own gasoline, generator and water due to the conditions.
"It was devastation everywhere," Morton said. "There was stagnant water down there, and you couldn't take a chance on the dogs getting sick."
Some handlers, like Scott Fornkohl, specialize in what the crew calls "live finds" -- a search for a person believed to still be alive.
Fornkohl, with his 3-year-old German shepherd Kenya, were called to assist in a search in 2008, a short time after the dog became certified to participate in missions. The search was in Paducah, Ky., where an elderly man was reported missing from a senior living center.
"Me and Kenya, we worked approximately two and a half hours. We covered about 65 to 70 acres," Fornkohl said.
The time between when the person goes missing and when the team is called is critical, according to Morton.
"A dog and a handler can reduce your recovery times, and it can happen 20 times faster. In bad weather that can make all the difference," she said.
Despite their quick response, the search wasn't successful, although the crew found out later the man had taken a ride to a city 40 or so miles away.
"It's basically a big game of hide and seek for the dogs," Fornkohl said. "When we train we'll get someone to help us, they'll take a toy and go hide. She'll look for him, and the toy is just a reward."
The search and rescue group has also been called to several states to follow up on tips that resurrect a cold case.
The unit's members always assist in the search, although they know the result may not be the location of the missing person or the evidence needed to break the case.
"Sometimes it's not that you find somebody or not find somebody, but you rule an area out. We just clear the area," said Morton, citing the South Carolina search as an example.
With 200 other volunteers, the Scott County unit helped to clear a 1,000-acre plantation near Myrtle Beach, S.C.
"So they know then where she's not at," Morton said. "A lot of times that gives the family some sense that people are still looking, that people are still trying to find their loved ones."
Morton will be recognized by the CUE Center for Missing Persons in Wilmington, N.C., March 26 with an award given annually to law enforcement or emergency personnel who've gone beyond their daily duties for a greater cause.
With the help of her team, Morton has developed an educational awareness program focused on high school and college students keeping themselves safe at all times. They'll launch the program April 16 at Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff, Mo.
"I don't want them to be the reason the dogs are out searching," Morton said. "I want them to stay safe."
‘Gold Alert' program expansion for seniors, persons with disabilities proposed
March 17, 2011
Legislation aimed at getting the word out about missing seniors and persons with disabilities was introduced Thursday in the House of Representatives.
Sponsored by Rep. E. Bradford “Brad” Bennett, House Bill 51 would expand the “Gold Alert” program that broadcasts notices about missing seniors, persons with disabilities and suicidal persons. Currently, once police verify that such a person is missing, the law-enforcement agency sends an alert to Delaware media with pertinent information. Under HB 51, the Department of Transportation would also display information about the missing person on its variable message signs along roadways.
The Gold Alert program is similar to the Amber Alert, which spreads notices about missing children.
“This is just an additional outlet to reach tens of thousands of people travelling on Delaware roads to hopefully locate missing persons sooner and safer,” said Rep. Bennett, D-Dover South. “We need to look out for and protect those in society who most need our help.”
Rep. Bennett noted that several other states utilize message boards, including Colorado, Florida, Rhode Island, Ohio and Virginia.
HB 51 has been assigned to the House Transportation, Land Use and Infrastructure Committee.
Last week Derwin Smith, 42, pled guilty to interstate transportation of a minor to engage in prostitution. The girl, who was only 12, had been picked up by Smith on a Washington street. He paid her for sex in the back seat of his car and recruited her to work for him as a prostitute.
He drove the child to Atlantic City where she was paid to have sex with men over the weekend. She gave him all the money she earned. The child, who had been reported missing, managed to call a relative from the motel. Police arrived, and arrested Smith.
In a plea agreement, he will be sentenced to 121 months in prison.
This is not an isolated story. An estimated 100,000 girls are lured annually into sex trafficking. What's rare is a successful arrest and conviction of a pimp who seduced and raped the pre-teen.
"Many Americans would be shocked to learn that young women and girls are being held against their will to be used for sexual exploitation," said Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council who hosted a live video webcast on sex trafficking this week.
His first guest was Lila Rose, who attracted national attention recently for showing an undercover video of a man posing as a pimp, who asks a New Jersey Planned Parenthood clinic if his underage girls could be given birth control services. He acknowledges that some of his girls are in America illegally.
"Oh yes, we don't require Social Security and will keep things confidential," said the PP manager.
"Cool," responded the "pimp."
Lila Rose angrily added, "Planned Parenthood covers up the sexual abuse of young girls and children. We've hired actors posing as traffickers in seven Planned Parenthood clinics, who lie on the paperwork, and get taxpayer funds for providing birth control to underage sex workers. The biggest abortion chain is collecting $333 million of federal, state and local funds, and says 'We will keep confidential,' the victimization of young girls."
Perkins commented, "There are mandated reporting requirements for the sexual abuse of a child, to immediately protect those girls. We are seeing the exact opposite. Planned Parenthood is covering up abuse and working with abusers."
All federal funding of Planned Parenthood should be yanked. Prosecutors should conduct their own sting operations, arresting those guilty of child abuse - whether they are pimps like Derwin Smith or Planned Parenthood accomplices.
Is sexual trafficking happening in your city?
Do you have strip clubs, escort services or massage parlors? Then you have sex traffickers who procure the girls for the work. At what age are girls recruited? Tina Frundt told Perkins she was recruited at age 13, and spent a year and a half in jail before age 16. "Children are easily manipulated, especially if they have only one parent," she asserts
She created CourtneyHouse.org which has given 500 prostituted girls a second chance. Or you might go to SharedHopeInternational.org which has videotaped real pimps offering 14-year-old girls for $300. "They are selling our children for sex, and what's terrifying is that people are buying it, knowing that it is a child."
Why do men break a taboo and go to a child prostitute?
"Hard core pornography breaks down inhibitions. A steady consumption of porn desensitizes. It gives young men a training manual on how they will treat women," asserted Pat Trueman on the Family Research Council webinar. He should know as the former director of obscenity prosecution for the Justice Department and now director of Morality in Media.
Perkins commented, "We are told it is a harmless crime."
Not to the girls who think their worth is measured by how sexy they are, who are lured into a life of prostitution with endless men, often ending up in drugs or alcoholism.
Nor is it harmless to the men. Two Scriptures come to mind:
Proverbs 6:27: "Can a man scoop fire into his lap without being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished."
Experienced therapists tell me that half of all divorces stem in part from an addiction to pornography.
Jesus himself predicted it: "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
What's tragic is that the Obama Administration has decided to stop prosecuting obscenity. It has shut down Pat Trueman's former office.
Remember that the next time Obama says he's concerned about America's children.
----Michael J. McManus is a syndicated columnist writing on "Ethics & Religion". He is President & Co-Chair of Marriage Savers. He lives in Potomac, MD. His website can be accessed here:www.marriagesavers.org
An estimated 100,000 children are victims
of sex trafficking in the U.S. each year
Much needed legislation for U.S. child victims of sex trafficking
March 17, 2011
Excitement was brewing on Capital Hill yesterday as, Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Cornyn (R-TX) Reintroduced the 2010 Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2010 (H.R. 5575). The 2010 Act, which was introduced by introduced this week by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who were the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Human Trafficking, to Congress, in June of that year.
The proposed legislation was Maloney and Smith response to the 2009 Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking report by Shared Hope International, which reported in-depth on the high prevalence of child sex trafficking in the United States.
The 2010 bill had received significant support and many were poised to see the bill pass in December, sadly hopes were dashed as the bill failed to pass.
However the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2011 has a new breath of life and is stronger than ever. The 2011 will provide crucial funds for services and shelter, and see that victimized children are not criminalized. It is estimated that more than 100,000 children are victims of sex trafficking each year in the United States according to recent estimates. The bill, if passed, calls for the establishment of six shelters to be placed across the U.S., which would provided a much needed safe haven for minors trafficked and sold into sexual slavery. Currently there are approximately some 50 designated beds in the country for U.S. sex trafficking victims, a number that cannot be comprehended for those fighting to support the 100,000 victimized youth each year.
The Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking and Victims Support Act, would authorize a some $2-2.5 million per year to be distributed across six U.S. locations which are deemed to have significant sex trafficking activity and that can provide a working plan to provide comprehensive services to minor sex trafficking victims. The grant recipients must also show that they have participation from all levels of law enforcement, prosecutors and social service providers.
The funds from the bill will not only provide much needed shelters for victims, but also provide basic essentials, fund services such as counseling, legal services, education and job training. In addition the bill will provide specialized training for law enforcement to ensure they have the tools and training needed to investigate, prosecute and incarcerate the pimps and traffickers. However the bill will not only provided needed training but also provided salaries for patrol officers, detectives, investigators, and prosecutors. As well it will provide funding for various investigative and trial expenses, outreach, education, and prevention efforts.
Oregon Legislature considering at least 9 bills targeting child prostitution
SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Legislature is looking at ways to crack down further on child sex trafficking, such as imposing big fines for people who pay for sex with minors and publicly shaming them if they don't pay the fine.
In all, lawmakers have introduced at least nine bills targeting those who solicit sex with minors and pimps who force teenagers into prostitution.
The bills are part of an overall effort to give police the tools to more aggressively target sex traffickers.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear public testimony on six bills Monday.
One would impose a mandatory $20,000 fine on people convicted of offering to pay for sex with minors.
If a john doesn't pay the fine, his name, address and photo would be published online or in a newspaper.
Quashing demand for child prostitutes would make trafficking less profitable for pimps, said Portland Police Bureau Sgt. Mike Geiger, who supervises human trafficking investigations.
"We have to make it painful and untenable to purchase children," Geiger said.
Another bill would specify that ignorance about a person's age is not a defense for child sex trafficking charges, an attempt to prevent pimps from arguing they thought a woman was at least 18 when they induced her to have sex for money.
In a bid to create a safe environment for victims rescued from trafficking operations, two bills are aimed at promoting shelter and treatment programs for victims.
"If you can break the relationship between the pimp and the female you can help that person get out of the volatile situation they're in," said Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, chair of the committee that is considering sex trafficking bills.
Geiger and other experts in sex trafficking say it's a difficult crime to combat. Pimps use blackmail, intimidation and violence to force cooperation from teenage girls they're selling for sex. Many teens won't even acknowledge they're victims and will protect pimps, making it difficult to convict sex traffickers and forcing police to develop other strategies to identify exploited youth.
Pimps convicted of compelling prostitution face mandatory minimum sentences of nearly 6 years.
Effectively battling child prostitution must involve more than just the police, said Esther Nelson, who manages programs for exploited youth for the Beaverton-based Sexual Assault Resource Center.
Schools and health providers can help identify girls at risk, she said, and nonprofits and advocacy groups can provide treatments, services and training. Everyone can promote an environment where exploited teens feel comfortable getting help, she said.
"If they see themselves as a prostitute and they think about all the stigma that comes with that word, then they're not going to talk about that part of their trauma," Nelson said. "If they don't talk about it they're not going to get treatment for it."
Among other proposals that aren't under consideration Monday is a bill that would give police more investigative tools like wire taps for prostitution investigations.
The bills are: SB425, SB426, SB427, SB428, SB429, SB430, HB2699, HB2714 and HB2941.
MINNEAPOLIS -- A 38-year-old man was sentenced in Minneapolis Federal Court Wednesday for running a prostitution operation in the Twin Cities during the summer of 2007 that used multiple underage girls.
A United States District Court Judge sentenced Arthur James Chappell, no known address, to 28 years in prison on one count of sex trafficking a minor.
Chappell was indicted on May 2009, and convicted by a jury following a two-day trial in Sep 2010.
According to evidence presented at trial, from May of 2007 through July 3, 2007, Chappell knowingly recruited at least one girl under the age of 18 to engage in commercial sex acts.
In June of 2007, the Bloomington Police Department conducted surveillance at a hotel, where they found four adult women in a room rented by Chappell. Police later learned that Chappell was prostituting both adult and juvenile females, promoting his business through computer ads on the Internet sites CraigsList and Backpage.com. The girls were prostituted in both homes and hotels.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Bloomington Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Erika R. Mozangue.
UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center
Police say international pedophile ring smashed
by MIKE CORDER, Associated Press – Mar 16, 2011
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Police said Wednesday they have smashed a huge international pedophile ring, rescuing 230 children from abuse and arresting 184 suspects — including teachers and police officers.
The three-year investigation code named Operation Rescue uncovered 670 suspects and identified and safeguarded children in more than 30 countries by arresting people accused of abusing them, said Rob Wainwright, director of the European Union police agency Europol.
The ring was centered on an Amsterdam-based online forum called boylover.net, which Wainwright described as "probably the largest online pedophile network in the world."
"These are very serious crimes on a truly global basis," he added.
The heavily encrypted forum, whose administrator appeared in a Dutch court on Tuesday charged with sex offenses, had up to 70,000 members.
The investigation was led by Britain's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center but also involved law enforcement agencies as far afield as Australia, the United States and Thailand.
Peter Davies of the British child protection center said there would be more arrests as the investigations continue.
"Those who have been members of the site can expect a knock on the door in the very near future," he said. In Britain, police said, the children involved were ages 7 to 14.
Wainwright said the website was intended as a discussion forum where pedophiles could "share their sexual interest in young boys."
Europol released parts of online conversations and other posts including a discussion between two suspects, identified only as X and Y, about their attraction to boys wearing diapers.
Y said he had convinced one boy he needed to wear a diaper every weekend from the age of nine to 13. "They were the happiest four years of my life," he said.
After making initial contact on the forum, members would use e-mail and other electronic channels to share images and video of children being abused, Wainwright said.
While the forum did not include child pornography, "computers seized from those arrested have harvested huge quantities of child abuse images and videos," Europol said in a statement.
The majority of the 184 people arrested so far are suspected of direct involvement in sexually abusing children, They include teachers, police officers and scout leaders. One Spaniard who worked at summer youth camps is suspected of abusing some 100 children over five years.
After his arrest, the forum's Dutch administrator helped police crack the complex web of encryption measures shielding users' identities, allowing police to begin covert investigations that included posing as children online.
"What we have shown today is that while these offenders felt anonymous in some way because they were using the Internet to communicate, the technology was actually being used against them," Davies said. "Everything they did online, everyone they talked to or anything they shared could be, and was, tracked by following the digital footprint."
Australian Federal Police commander Grant Edwards said suspects arrested in Australia ranged in age from 19 to 84 and used the Internet to "prey on children with anonymity, with subterfuge and with camouflage."
He said the oldest suspect identified by Australian authorities was an 84-year-old man living in Thailand who is suspected of abusing children.
Children, Edwards said, "should be able to use the Internet safely, without fear of being approached or groomed by these online predators."
Catholic priest, former Crespi High employee, arrested on sex abuse allegations in Florida
March 15, 2011
A Roman Catholic priest who formerly worked at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, California, has been arrested in Florida on 11 counts of sexual abuse involving a 14-year-old boy.
Father William Wert had previously been arrested on sex-related charges in Washington, D.C., in 2007.
According to a Sarasota County Sheriff's Department affidavit, Wert, 54, was arrested in Venice, Fla., on Feb. 1 after the alleged victim and his father told authorities that Wert had been having a sexual relationship with the boy since September.
After reviewing evidence that included text messages, computer chats and a hotel receipt, authorities charged Wert with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor. Further investigation led to nine other sex-related counts, all allegedly involving the same victim, according to a sheriff's spokeswoman, Sarah Kenniff.
Detectives “were looking to see if there were any other local victims,” but no further charges had been filed, she said. The allegations against him include fondling, oral sex and attempted anal sex.
Wert is being held in Sarasota County Jail on $190,000 bond.
He worked at Crespi in 1987 and again from 1993 until 1999, and occasionally ministered at Our Lady of Grace Church, according to a notice that appeared in the Our Lady of Grace parish bulletin in 2007, when he was arrested in Washington. According to news accounts, that arrest was for touching a 14-year-old boy on the thigh. Initially charged with a sex offense, he was convicted of assault and sentenced to 15 days in jail.
According to Joelle Castaix of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Wert served as campus ministry director at Crespi. He also was named interim athletic director for a period in 1994.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, Tod Tamberg, said no allegations have surfaced from Wert's time in Encino, but that parishioners would be notified this weekend about the charges against him.
Calls to Crespi and Wert's attorney in Florida were not immediately returned.
Same type of DNA search used in Grim Sleeper case leads to arrest of Santa Cruz sex offender
March 15, 2011
State investigators said Tuesday they have arrested a sex offender as a result of a familial DNA search, the controversial use of genetic investigation that led to the capture in July of the alleged Grim Sleeper serial killer.
Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris announced the arrest of Elvis Garcia, 21, charged with the sexual assault and false imprisonment of a young woman at a Santa Cruz coffee shop in 2008.
Garcia was arrested for the March 19, 2008, sexual assault, robbery and false imprisonment of a 23-year-old employee of The Kind Grind coffee shop.
Harris said the assailant trapped the victim in the coffee shop's kitchen, held a knife to her throat, sexually assaulted her and then forced her into an unused refrigerator and barricaded the door.
When a protracted investigation produced no suspects, Santa Cruz police asked the state to do a familial search. It led to the genetic profile of Garcia's father in the offender DNA database.
Investigators eventually began to focus on the offender's son. A search of his trash produced a Gatorade bottle with his DNA, which matched the DNA left at the crime, police said.
California became the first state in the nation to adopt a formal familial search policy in 2008.
The DNA hunt for the culprit in the Santa Cruz attack was the 13th time the state has used familial searches since Jerry Brown approved the technique when he was attorney general.
Familial searches, opposed by civil libertarians, compare DNA left at a crime scene to DNA profiles in a state offender database.
State forensic investigators look for genetic profiles that strongly resemble the DNA of a perpetrator. Once a possible relative has been identified, police employ conventional detective work to zero in on the suspect.
The names of church officials should be included on the confidential documents to make good on the L.A. archdiocese's vow of transparency and accountability in its pledge to help heal old wounds.
March 16, 2011
After four years of waiting to learn the back story of the sex-abuse scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, victims still face one obstacle — the release of thousands of pages of confidential church documents.
Victims of clergy abuse say that release of the personnel files of dead, convicted or admitted pedophile priests will reveal the truth of the hierarchy's complicity, just as it did in Boston when a court compelled church leaders to turn over a trove of papers that showed how officials protected priests from prosecution and shuffled them from parish to parish.
Survivors of childhood abuse have long held out hope for a similar result in Los Angeles. A series of settlements totaling $710 million between the archdiocese and more than 562 victims was supposed to pave the way for a review of more than 200 priests' files long kept secret.
Last week, however, the victims again were told to wait, this time by a court-appointed referee who said he was inclined to release some of the documents publicly, but only after redacting the names of high-ranking church officials cited in them. His decision follows a request by the archdiocese to edit out the names.
Such a move would only delay justice and raise serious doubts about the Catholic Church's commitment to transparency and accountability in its handling of the decades-long scandal that created a worldwide controversy and eroded the church's moral authority.
Cardinal Roger Mahony has retired as head of the archdiocese. His legacy will be mixed. He has repeatedly said he sought to remove pedophiles from jobs in which they had access to minors and that he adopted new programs to protect children, including fingerprinting and background checks on individuals who work in the church's schools and parishes. But his public apologies and acts of contrition have done little to assuage the anger of hundreds of men and women who say the church did nothing to protect them from sexual abuse and everything to keep the truth hidden.
His successor, Archbishop Jose Gomez, now has an important role to play. He can help restore some credibility to the archdiocese by allowing the release of the documents in full, including the church leaders' names. The move would not be unprecedented. Two judges who oversaw similar settlements against the dioceses of Orange and San Diego never made broad findings that the names of the hierarchy should be redacted from documents that were released.
Such a decision by Gomez would signal that he is not interested in protecting the church over the welfare of its flock, and would go a long way toward making good on the church's promise to help heal old wounds.
The district attorney is burning a eucalyptus-spearmint candle on his desk.
“I think the press looks down upon the D.A. drinking Jack Daniels during the day,” R. Seth Williams says with a broad smile, “so I light my little stress-relief candle.”
It's understandable if the former altar boy at St. Carthage in West Philly needs to light a votive. The 44-year-old Catholic, who still attends Mass with his family at the same church, now called St. Cyprian, is the first U.S. prosecutor to charge a church official for a sickeningly commonplace sin: Endangering children whom the Roman Catholic Church was supposed to protect by shuffling pedophile priests to different parishes where they could find fresh prey.
Williams, the first African-American elected district attorney in Pennsylvania, was an orphan given up by his unwed mother. He was put into two foster homes before he was adopted at 20 months old by a Catholic family.
“I grew up treating the hierarchy of the church kind of like rock stars,” he said in his 18th floor aerie, where he keeps a small iron crucifix and a cross fashioned from Palm Sunday fronds. “If you're going to meet the cardinal, you're supposed to kiss the guy's ring, all this stuff. But it is what it is. I wish I knew the Latin translation for that.
“There's no get-out-of-jail-free card for raping, sodomizing, groping, doing anything wrong to kids.”
Msgr. William J. Lynn, who served from 1992 to 2004 as the secretary of clergy reviewing sexual abuse cases for then-Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, appeared in court Monday. He is charged with felonies for allegedly helping the cardinal cover up molesters and transferring them to other parishes.
“It was a conspiracy of silence to ensure the church's reputation and to avoid scandal,” said Assistant District Attorney Evangelia Manos.
Monsignor Lynn, a round, ruddy man in black priest's garb, sat silently in court behind his two lawyers — paid by the archdiocese — as a cheering squad of priests and parishioners watched.
Lynn's co-defendants sat beside him: a rabbity-looking Rev. James Brennan, 47, charged with raping a 14-year-old boy named Mark in 1996 in his apartment; and the unholy alliance of a priest, the sepulchral Charles Engelhardt, 64, a defrocked priest, Edward Avery, 68, and a former Catholic schoolteacher, Bernard Shero, 48 — all charged with raping or sodomizing the same 10-year-old altar boy 12 years ago.
Lynn's lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom, told reporters that the charges against his client were “a stretch” and that he was pleading not guilty.
And Richard DeSipio, one of Brennan's lawyers, went on the attack against his client's accuser, now 29. “Their witness is in prison in Bucks County for stealing his sister's credit card and using it,” DeSipio told Mensah Dean of The Philadelphia Daily News. “He's a convicted liar.”
On a local radio show on Tuesday, Brennan — a priest suspended by the church in 2006 — said he was uninterested in a plea deal, and his lawyer continued to paint the accuser as troubled.
Even with a global scandal that never seems to stop disgorging disgusting stories, the Philadelphia grand jury report is especially sordid.
It tells the story of a fifth-grade altar boy at St. Jerome School given the pseudonym Billy. Father Engelhardt plied him with sacramental wine and pulled pornographic magazines out of a bag in the sacristy and told the child it was time “to become a man,” the report says.
A week later, after Billy served an early Mass, the report states that Engelhardt instructed him to take off his clothes and perform oral sex on him. Then the priest told the boy he was “dismissed.”
“After that, Billy was in effect passed around to Engelhardt's colleagues,” the report says. “Father Edward Avery undressed with the boy, told him that God loved him,” and then had him perform sex. “Next was the turn of Bernard Shero, a teacher in the school. Shero offered Billy a ride home but instead stopped at a park, told Billy they were ‘going to have some fun,' took off the boy's clothes, orally and anally raped him and then made him walk the rest of the way home.”
Billy fell apart and turned to heroin.
The report says Brennan knew Mark from the time he was 9. When he was 14, the priest arranged with Mark's mother for a sleepover. “Brennan showed him pornographic pictures on his computer, bragged about his penis size and insisted that Mark sleep together with him in his bed.” Then the priest raped him as he cried, according to the report.
Mark also fell apart and attempted suicide.
Out of the church's many unpleasant confrontations with modernity, this is the starkest. It's tragically past time to send the message that priests can't do anything they want and hide their sins behind special privilege.
In Seth Williams's city, the law sees no collars, except the ones put on criminals.
A Google Web Search Help thread has one searcher offering an outstanding idea! Why not place Amber Alerts on the Google home page when possible?
If you do not know what an Amber Alert is, it is a broadcast message shown on highways and other areas where a child was known to have been recently abducted. The message normally contains identifiable information about how to find the child, either by showing the car type the kid was seen in or other characteristics. It is typically only shown in areas that are within reach of where the child was abducted.
Since Google is pretty good at geo-detection, why shouldn't Google use the Amber Alert XML Schema to pull from and then display these alerts to people within a certain distance of the alert and within a certain time frame?
We know that Amber Alerts have helped 532 children return back to their homes. Google is one of the biggest and most seen home pages out there. If Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL and others adopted this, it would likely have nice success.
New interest in missing person cases after kidnap arrest
by JIM DOUGLAS
Investigators are looking for possible connections between accused kidnapper Jeff Maxwell and other missing persons cases in North Texas.
Maxwell is accused of abducting a 62-year-old Parker County woman and brutalizing her for nearly two weeks.
Maxwell was arrested at his home near Corsicana on Saturday; the woman was hospitalized.
The other cases date back to 1992, with the disappearance of the suspect's ex-wife, Martha Maxwell.
Then — in 2000 — Amy Smith vanished after her Parker County home burned to the ground.
And just last summer, Shonda Townsend disappeared in nearby Mineral Wells after leaving a friend's house.
Martha Maxwell left behind a nine-year-old son she loved, and a husband she feared. Her family has always believed Jeff Maxwell murdered her. Now more than ever, they are certain.
"I knew then, right there, that he killed her," said Martha's brother, Javier Martinez, speaking to News 8 by phone from Colorado. "I knew that because of what happened in 1987. He tried to kill her."
In 1987, Martha Martinez was found in Oklahoma, beaten, with her throat slit. She told police that Maxwell drugged her and tried to kill her, but she stayed with him for another five years.
Authorities told relatives there wasn't enough evidence to convict Jeff Maxwell.
Javier Martinez said he wishes he could have done more to get his sister out of the relationship. "Through their whole marriage, she was tortured — not abused, tortured," he said. "Cigarette burns. Sadistic. Tied up."
Martinez said he didn't know the extent of his sister's suffering until it was too late.
Now — following new charges against Jeff Maxwell — investigators are taking another look at his story that wife Martha simply left him, never again to contact her parents, siblings or son.
And her son is hearing for the first time that perhaps his mom didn't abandon him after all, and that relatives suspect his father is to blame.
Martinez said his nephew called him just after Maxwell was arrested and the gruesome details of his alleged crimes became public.
"He wanted to know what happened to his mom," he said. "Because before that, in his eyes, his mother left him. That's the story he was told by his dad."
WAYLAND, N.Y. — New York State Police say they're searching for a college student from Maryland who hasn't been heard from since leaving his off-campus residence in suburban Rochester last weekend.
Troopers say George Delany's car was found Sunday afternoon abandoned in a field in the rural village of Wayland, in northern Steuben County about 40 miles south of Rochester.
Police say the 21-year-old from Frederick, Md., was last seen Saturday leaving his apartment in the town of Chili (CHYE'-lye). Police say when he left he said he would be right back. He was officially reported missing Tuesday.
Delany attends the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he's a junior political science major.
Police have searched an area around a lake near where Delany's car was found. They plan to resume the search Wednesday morning.
With most of Senate listed as sponsors, passage of bill is likely.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
A bill designed to crack down on human trafficking that feeds the illicit sex and labor trade in Texas was given an initial approval Tuesday by a Senate committee.
In supporting the tougher punishment, the bill's author, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, told the story of a 16-year-old Oregon boy who was brought to Texas and forced into prostitution by criminals who threatened to kill his 14-year-old sister if he refused.
"This bill is important to stop this ... to stop the trafficking of human beings in our state," she said, noting that the measure follows the recommendations of a special task force that studied the issue.
Under Senate Bill 24, separate prosecutions are created for sex trafficking and labor trafficking — a move that Van de Putte said will give prosecutors a better tool to charge violators.
The bill also extends the statute of limitations for human trafficking crimes and increases the punishment for the crime of forcing someone into prostitution and for trafficking in underage children.
With a long list of supporters that included prosecutors, counseling advocates, religious organizations and a trade group of adult-oriented clubs, Van de Putte said the tougher law is needed to curb a growing problem in human trafficking that includes not only immigrants coming across the Mexican border who are being enslaved and abused but also those from other states facing similar oppression.
Last year, supporters said, 109 children in Texas were identified as victims of human trafficking — with 369 identified since 2007.
After a public hearing, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee approved the bill 7-0 and sent it to the full Senate. Because 22 of the 31 senators are co-sponsors, passage there is expected.
San Bernardino County big in human trafficking, expert says
by Wesley G. Hughes
SAN BERNARDINO - San Bernardino County is one of the biggest transit points for human trafficking - both domestic and international - in the United States, trafficking expert Marisa Ugarte told an audience Tuesday at Cal State San Bernardino.
Ugarte, the executive director of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition in San Diego, said the crime of trafficking occurs in two areas: sexual and manual labor. But she dwelt heavily on the sexual trafficking of women and children locally and through sex tourism.
Domestic sexual trafficking is abetted by pornography and the Internet, she said.
"Recruitment is done by pimps in schools and in malls," she said, adding, "Gangs are heavily involved in pimping."
"Prosecution, protection, prevention and education are proven methods of fighting human trafficking," she advised her audience of about 100 in the Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center.
There are several reasons for the county's growth in importance in human trafficking, Ugarte said. Among them:
The 15 Freeway, a major national roadway connecting the county with the ports and Mexico en route to the rest of the country. It carries construction and agricultural laborers to jobs in agricultural states and cities and sex traffickers.
Many of the major traffickers have moved inland from the Los Angeles area and its greater concentration of law enforcement.
Ugarte urged her audience to work at prevention of trafficking with coalition building and developing shelters for victims.
Each year, Ugarte convenes an anti-trafficking conference in San Diego and is an active speaker nationally and internationally on trafficking and commercial exploitation of women and children.
She brings more than 20 years of experience to her advocacy for exploited men, women and children and helping at-risk youth.
Ugarte founded the Binational Crisis Line in Tijuana. She spent three years developing social services programs in that border city.
Information is from the West Shore Regional Police Department Lemoyne, Pa.
West Shore Regional Police Chief Michael L. Hope has formalized an agreement with the A Child Is Missing Alert Program that has led to a high tech method now in place to search locally for missing children, missing elderly (often with Alzheimer's), college students, and missing persons who may be mentally or physically challenged or disabled.
Effective March 15th, upon receipt of missing persons calls; the West Shore Regional Police Department will make its first phone call to a toll-free number that rings in Fort Lauderdale, Florida—the national headquarters of the A Child Is Missing Alert Program. The call, answered 24/7/365 by an Information and Mapping Technician, initiates a rapid process of information gathering and use of sophisticated mapping systems. A Child Is Missing then launches potentially thousands of calls within minutes with an alert message detailing the missing person's description, last known whereabouts, and pertinent information. This alert message will also include a West Shore Regional Police Department phone number for use by anyone with information relating to the missing person.
This program is a free service to law enforcement. West Shore Regional Police officials will evaluate each potential activation of the A Child Is Missing Alert Program to ensure the application is appropriate to the case and to ensure the system is optimally used. Policies, procedures, and employee training will also guide the most efficient and effective use of this Alert Program.
Phone numbers that are called by this program include listed numbers and mobile numbers available to ACIM in the selected area. Mobile numbers, unlisted numbers, broadband/voice-over IP numbers, or TDD/TTY devices can be added to ensure they, too, are called in the event of an alert. To enter your cell phone, unlisted, broadband/voice-over IP or TDD/TTY device number visit www.achildismissing.org and click on “add your name” to enter your name, number, and address. This information will only be used for emergency message alerts.
A Child Is Missing is a nationwide non-profit organization that helps law enforcement agencies locate missing children, missing elderly persons (often suffering from Alzheimer's), college students, and missing persons who are mentally or physically challenged or disabled. A Child is Missing utilizes sophisticated computer mapping systems and trained technicians with the capacity to place 1,000 alert phone calls in one minute to residents and businesses in the area where someone has gone missing. To date the efforts of A Child Is Missing have been credited with more than 800 safe assisted recoveries.
Missing Endangered Alert for Arizona – Ashley Marie Kingsbury
Mar 16th, 2011 - Radio Amber Child Alert Issued
Missing Child: Ashley Kingsbury, 13
DOB: Mar 18, 1997 Sex: Female
Missing Date: Mar 14, 2011 Race: White
Age Now: 13 Height: 5'2? (157 cm)
Missing City: TUCSON Weight: 95 lbs (43 kg)
Missing State : AZ Hair Color: Brown
Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Hazel
Suspect: Jordan Anthony, 19
About 140 pounds
Authorities are looking for a missing 13 year old girl, Ashley Marie Kingsbury. She met a 19 year old man on a networking website. They arranged to meet in person on Monday, March 14th, 2011.
No Amber Alert has been issued, but Ashley is considered endangered missing. She was last seen in the area of Old Vale Road & Collosal Cave Road in Tucson, Arizona on Monday afternoon.
She is believed to be traveling with 19-year-old Jordan Anthony.
Albert Kingsbury, the girls father, arrived home about 4 p.m. Monday and found signs of a struggle in Ashley's room. He discovered she had a secret Facebook account, and she considered Anthony to be her boyfriend.
According to reports the FBI removed bedding and broken glass from Ashley's room, in addition to dusting for fingerprints.
They may be in a 2000 silver Hyundai Elantra. The car has a Utah license plate of Z75-4UV
The Rev. James Brennan, after the court session, described the judge's questioning as “harsh.”
Priests and Judge in Abuse Case Spar Over Legal Fees
by KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
PHILADELPHIA — Four Roman Catholic priests and a Catholic school teacher appeared in court here Monday in the first of what will most likely be several legal skirmishes over whether they will face trial on charges of sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of minors.
Most of them sat silently behind their lawyers at the crowded defense table in the packed courtroom, where observers included several other priests and a phalanx of news reporters.
But the Rev. James Brennan, who is accused of raping a boy in the 1990s, drew the ire of the judge when he and his lawyer said that they had expected the Philadelphia Archdiocese to pay his legal fees if he were acquitted.
The court session was intended to determine whether the defendants should have a preliminary hearing, in which the evidence against them would probably be laid out. That decision was postponed until March 25, but not before the judge, Renee Cardwell Hughes, engaged in several sharp exchanges with Mr. Brennan and his lawyer over the pay arrangement.
Judge Hughes said that if the archdiocese were paying only if he were acquitted, he might not act in his own best interest.
She said that such an arrangement would give him a disincentive to negotiate with the prosecutors, because his legal bills would not be paid “if you speak against the archdiocese.”
In a dramatic moment, the judge ordered Mr. Brennan to rise and, in frustrated and furious tones, declared that he did not understand what he had done and was not giving her straight answers.
Mr. Brennan, a slight man wearing a pullover sweater, acknowledged that he was confused, and one of his lawyers, A. Charles Peruto Jr., jumped up frequently to challenge Judge Hughes, despite her order that he remain seated.
“He's trembling back here,” Mr. Peruto declared of Mr. Brennan at one point.
Msgr. William J. Lynn, charged with conspiracy & endangering the welfare of children, leaving court.
The emotion in the courtroom seemed to echo the emotion in this city over the abuse scandal, which burst into public view last month with a scathing grand jury report that led to the suspension last week of 21 priests. The grand jury has accused the archdiocese of protecting itself rather than the victims.
The issue of the payments for Mr. Brennan became muddled after the court session, when a spokeswoman for the archdiocese said it was not paying Mr. Brennan's legal bills and had made no such arrangement.
“Absolutely not,” the spokeswoman, Donna Farrell, wrote in an e-mail.
“I am told,” Ms. Farrell continued, “that the defense for Father Brennan made that request, but there has been no meeting, no discussion, and the archdiocese does not plan to pay for his defense.”
The archdiocese is, however, paying for all of the legal bills for another defendant, Msgr. William J. Lynn, the highest church official in the country to face charges of endangering the welfare of children. The fees will be paid regardless of the outcome of Monsignor Lynn's case, according to his lawyers and the archdiocese.
Jeffrey Lindy, one of Monsignor Lynn's lawyers, said, “It would be highly unusual for the archdiocese not to pay,” noting that the monsignor was not charged with abusing minors but with covering up such abuse.
Stephen Gillers, a professor of law at New York University and an expert in legal ethics, said the arrangement was not uncommon, and could even be compared with cases in which corporations guarantee legal fees for employees who might be required to repay the company under some conditions. But, Profesor Gillers noted, arrangements to pay legal fees only if acquitted could result in divided loyalties, for both lawyer and client.
Later in the hearing, Mr. Brennan said he had not paid his lawyers but then he said he had, with money from his bank account and from his brother. Judge Hughes reacted incredulously. She reminded him that she had spent taxpayer money for his court-appointed lawyer during the grand jury investigation because he had told her that he could not afford a lawyer.
“You lied to me,” she scolded. “You jerked me around while you played this game and came to me in tears.”
Mr. Peruto, his lawyer, said Mr. Brennan's brother had come up with the money only after the grand jury inquiry and added that Mr. Brennan had misspoken in court because he was nervous.
Mr. Brennan said in a brief interview after the appearance that he thought the judge's questioning was “harsh,” and Mr. Peruto said she had shown bias toward the prosecution.
Mr. Peruto also said Mr. Brennan's legal defense, if his case ever went to trial, could cost at least $50,000.
FRC to Host Live Webcast on Sex Trafficking in America
WASHINGTON , March 14, 2011
The Family Research Council (FRC) will host a live video webcast on sex trafficking in America on Tuesday, March 15 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
The webcast, entitled "Sex Trafficking in America: from The Boulevard to Planned Parenthood," will feature FRC President Tony Perkins , legal experts and ministry leaders who will discuss the growing threat of sex trafficking in American communities, what concerned citizens can do to stop these horrific crimes and how they can help restore those who have been brutally victimized.
"Many Americans would be shocked to learn that young women and girls are being held against their will to be used for sexual exploitation," Perkins said. "Our Webcast will explain the depth of this problem and also offer ways ordinary citizens can help combat it."
Joining FRC for the event will be Live Action President Lila Rose , who has shown through undercover videos the willingness of Planned Parenthood to cover-up the sex trafficking of young girls.
Tony Perkins , President, Family Research Council
Lila Rose , President, Live Action
Samantha Vardeman , Senior Director, Shared Hope International
J. Robert (Bob) Flores , former Administrator, U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Pat Trueman , President of PornHarms.com and former Chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section at the U. S. Department of Justice
Tina Frundt , Founder and Executive Director, Courtney's House
Lisa Thompson , Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking at The Salvation Army
WHAT: Webcast: "Sex Trafficking in America: from The Boulevard to Planned Parenthood"
Sex Trafficking: Scott Weimer, North Ave Presbyterian Church
by Susan Mittleman
ATLANTA, GA (WABE) - Pastor Scott Weimer describes the outside of his North Avenue Presbyterian church as a fortress.
"We have everything but a moat!"
But that facade was broken in 2005 when the mayor's office named the church corner as one of three hot spots in the city for child prostitution.
"We're on the corner of north avenue and peachtree street, one block south of the fox theater, the corner where our church has been located since 1898. in 2005, our corner was identified as one of the most problematic for the trafficking of children."
Weimer says he was aware of human trafficking in Atlanta, and had seen prostitution within a 4-5 block radius of the church, but was not aware that underage girls were being trafficked, right here.
"And when we heard it was on our corner, we hadn't seen it before, but then we began to notice and to look."
And then they started seeing.
"We saw an occasion or two, where a young girl would be on our corner and a black sedan would pull up, she'd talk to the driver, and she'd get in the back seat."
As Senior Pastor of the Church, Weimer felt implored to take action. He took t he issue to his pulpit on a Sunday morning, not exactly sure how his congregation would respond.
"There were older people in the church that I thought might be most offended by the subject and the fact that I brought it up in a sermon that surprised me in a wonderful way. They said to me, this is not acceptable in our neighborhood, if you need a room for these girls, then we have space in our houses.'"
Younger congregants offered to form teams and go out in the streets and rescue kids.
"And I was stunned by the response. And I felt that I needed to be a part of an answer to the question, what do we do."
So The Pastor called on other clergy, organized an interfaith gathering and invited the mayor. Over a six month period, eight churches organized, hired consultants, put together a business plan and eventually in 2008, launched the non-profit collaborative called StreetGRACE, which stands for galvanizing resources against child exploitation
"StreetGRACE's ministry has been strategic and focused, but it's also been collaborative. And so we've tried to work well with others already doing great work in this arena, and in some cases didn't have the resources, and didn't have the attention."
StreetGRACE has grown to 53 member churches and works alongside local government, businesses, social services, and law enforcement, and does everything from mentoring kids in at-risk neighborhoods to lobbying congress on trafficking bills.
"I think a problem of this magnitude will never be solved unless an entire community works together."
Weimer says he isn't sure what would've happened if after his sermon, people responded differently
"I'd like to think I'd have enough inspiration an fortitude to move forward, but the fact that they said to me, we're ready, tell us what to do,' was the inspiration to move me forward, and move us forward. "
Today it seems the prostitution has moved away from the church corner, but the pastor isn't budging on ending the problem.
"When we talk about the trafficking of children it universally strikes at the heart of people as something that is just unquestionably, morally, wrong."
Forum on sex trafficking set for Methodist University
Methodist University is serving as host to a forum to discuss the issue of sex trafficking in America next month.
The forum will feature a documentary, "Playground: Child Sex Trafficking in America," as well as a panel discussion about domestic child sex trafficking, according to Methodist.
The panel will include three experts in the field: Sharon Cooper, a forensic pediatrician and board member of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; Elzbieta Gozdziak, director of research at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University; and Charity Magnuson, director of N.C. Stop Human Trafficking.
Vida Bajc, a professor in Methodist's Department of Sociology, said the forum's purpose is to show participants that global issues, like sex trafficking, are entwined with local issues.
"It's never just happening out there. It's always also happening in our backyard in some manifestation or another," Bajc said. "There is definitely a trend locally, and that's something that the documentary makes very clear."
The school is hoping to use the documentary, which features Cooper, to facilitate a conversation about how to understand the connections between the global and local issue, she said.
The event is scheduled for April 8 at 6 p.m. at the Medical Lecture Hall at 5400 Ramsey St.
British backstreet brothels - children are held against their will
Crusade to end horror of child sex trafficking: Sign our petition today
by Damien Fletcher -
It is a sickening trade hidden away in British backstreet brothels, where children from the world's poorest countries are held against their will.
Some are under 10 years old, unable to speak a single word of English and separated from their families on the fake promise of a better life in Britain.
Sold as commodities to be bought by pimps when they arrive here, they have little chance of escape.
Their bleak journey begins in the poorest nations of Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.
But once they arrive here they are exploited by people who live in this country.
This is the shocking truth of children being smuggled into Britain every day to work in the sex trade.
And this is why the Daily Mirror is today giving its backing to the Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign.
We are joining forces with ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) and The Body Shop to urge people to sign a petition aimed at ending this modern day slavery, which affects more than a million children across the world every year.
Research by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) identified 325 children in the UK as trafficked in a 12 month period, from 52 countries including China , Afghanistan , Nigeria , Romania , and Vietnam. But these figures are believed to be the tip of the iceberg.
A Home Office study of organised crime suggests that at any one time there could be more than 4,000 victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in the UK .
The stories behind the stark figures are even more horrific.
Affia grew up in a small West Africa village until she was nine when her mother died and she was sent to another household to work as a maid, cooking, cleaning and looking after other children.
Then a man at the new house told her she had to go to the UK to work. Here Affia's world became a living nightmare as she was regularly beaten for the slightest mistake.
One day when she was alone in the house, aged 13, the father of the house raped her. Then he began inviting men over and she was forced to have sex with them.
Another child, Lisa was sold into domestic slavery in the UK at the age of 13, again from West Africa .
She says: “The woman told me: ‘you are a slave in this house. Don't touch what I didn't tell you to touch. You have to do whatever I tell you.'
“So I just keep quiet because she told me that ‘If police come to this house looking for anybody, it is you they are going to arrest because you don't have your papers.'
“One day she took the knife from the drawer and she would say, ‘Lisa I'm going to kill you, you know if I kill you, you don't have anyone in this country to find you. So I can do whatever I want with you.'
Christine Beddoe, director of ECPAT UK , says: “Children are deceived, coerced, lied to and made to believe they are coming to the UK for an education or a better life. When they get here they are sexually exploited or forced into domestic servitude.
“When they are rescued these children just need one person that they can trust - one person who works in their best interest and knows what they need.
“That is why we're calling for a system of guardianship which would mean every child victim of trafficking would have someone with parental responsibility to care and support them. That guardian would protect the child and prevent them from facing further exploitation and harm from their traffickers.”
A whole host of celebrity supporters including Matt LeBlanc, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Joanna Lumley, Yoko Ono, Naomi Campbell, Sir Ben Kingsley, Claudia Winkleman, Lily Cole, Pixie Lott and Craig David are backing the campaign.
Marika, a 16-year-old from Slovakia , was tricked by a false promise of a job into coming to the UK - and then sold from brothel owner to brothel owner, forced to work as a prostitute Cambridgeshire, Bedforshire, and Middlesex. She was eventually rescued by detectives from Scotland Yard.
Six men - from the UK , Slovakia , Turkey and Albania - were sentenced for up to 14 years in prison for controlling a child in prostitution, trafficking a child into and within the UK for sexual exploitation and running brothels.
Luljeta, a teenage girl from Albania was trafficked into Italy for prostitution, where she was brutally raped and physically abused until she was made into a drug addict.
She was recovered by the Italian authorities and returned to the Albania , only to be sold back to another set of traffickers who bought her to the UK and forced back into prostitution.
Mirielle was forced into prostitution in a sauna in London after being recruited in her home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the age of 13.
She was trafficked across the Sahara, through Spain, and to Turin, in Italy, where she was made to work as a prostitute as two years.
She was later ‘rescued' by a man who came to the Turin sauna on a regular basis. The route from DRC to London , via Italy is known to be used often by traffickers.
Audra was 17 when she was recruited by a trafficker from a children's home in Lithuania .
When she arrived at Dover , here in the UK , with four other girls in 2007, they were taken directly to a brothel in north west England and forced to work as prostitutes.
She was then moved to another brothel in south west Wales . Within 24 hours of arriving Audra was rescued by police from the Welsh brothel and placed in a safe house - after she contacted Lithuania and desperately appealed for help to return to the children's home.
If you suspect child trafficking contact:
- the police or your local Children's services
- Crimestoppers on 0800 555111
- The UK Human Trafficking Centre on 0114 252 3891 or email@example.com
- The National Child Trafficking Advice and Information LIne (CTAIL) for free on 0800 107 7057, between 9.30am and 4.30pm on weekdays, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
People involved in the sex trade still face discrimination, harassment and violence from the people charged with helping them.
A 2009 study of Chicago girls in the sex trade, conducted by the Young Women's Empowerment Project, paints a stark picture of what keeps girls isolated and vulnerable.
Even when girls sought out the support they needed – from drug treatment and foster care programs to hospitals and the police – they were denied help because of their involvement in the sex trade.
Girls describe hospitals discriminating against them and not providing full care, being physically and sexually assaulted by foster parents, and being accused of lying by the police when they seek help after being raped.
In fact, girls' reports of abuse by police outnumbered the stories of other forms of institutional violence that girls encountered by far.
Chicago is not alone.
In a University of California at San Francisco study published in 2009, 22 percent of San Francisco adult female sex workers surveyed reported having police as paying customers. Fourteen percent were threatened with arrest if they did not have sex with a police officer.
Washington cops fare no better: in a report published on people involved in or perceived to be involved in the sex trade, Different Avenues reveals that one in five people were solicited for sex by the police.
They also report that police confiscated safer sex supplies, and strip-searched and assaulted people suspected of prostitution.
These actions constitute human rights violations and are especially unconscionable coming from the law enforcement professionals who have a duty to protect people in the sex trade from violent pimps and others who might exploit them.
Lexington, Kentucky is not alone in this common crime against humanity, human trafficking. Police involvement is considered expected in most communities. However, that does not make it right and that doesn't mean we shouldn't work to stop it. How can we trust the lives of our loved ones to police officers involved in human rights violations? We can't.
Deborah Wardlaw has already been murdered to cover this corruption up. I've endured over 15 years of police harassment for having this information. What will it take to wake up a city to the truth?
Mayor Newberry claimed that “some people live lives and nobody notices them, those people's lives don't matter much”. As long as that is the attitude our leaders take, we will all continue to suffer at the hands of a government out of control.
'Hailey's Hope': Bring Them Home honors missing Texas teen Hailey Dunn
COLORADO CITY, Texas -- A beautiful white horse with blue eyes has recently been named "Hailey's Hope" by Rachel Englehart, founder and CEO of Bring Them Home in honor of missing Texas teen, Hailey Dunn.
Rachel Englehart is also the co-host of the Bring Them Home Now online radio show. Rachel rescues horses and then trains them to help search for missing people.
Rachel said she names her horses after missing children. When she was recently out in her pasture she looked into the eyes of one of her newest horses that had not yet been named.
The horse's eyes were blue, like Hailey's, so she named the horse "Haliey's Hope."
Hailey has won the hearts of many who never even knew her. When she went missing her father, Clint Dunn, says time was wasted determining whether she'd been abducted or was a runaway.
Elizabeth Ennen lived only two hours away from Hailey. She vanished just 9 days after Hailey. Elizabeth was misclassified a runaway and later discovered to have been abducted and murdered. Her family now vows to make a difference in how missing children's cases are handled, especially for children ages 10-17 who can easily be misclassified runaways. Click here to read Elizabeth's story.
No one's giving up on Hailey who has been missing for two-and-a-half months. More than 100 people took time out of their lives to come search for Hailey Dunn last Saturday.
KTXS reports that this was the largest number of volunteers out searching for Hailey since the first search party back in January.
Many of those volunteers were soldiers from Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo who have made the trip to Colorado City to search for Hailey.
“There are a lot of people that have come out to search that don't know Hailey,” Stephanie Boyd, search coordinator, said. “We're more than happy to have the people that we have here today. It means more to us than people realize."
Organizers say they still have one goal in mind - bring Hailey home.
The search party was scheduled to resume Friday and Saturday.
After 25 years in prostitution, woman helps others escape sex trade
by Dawn Turner Trice
March 14, 2011
On the evening of Good Friday in 1973, Brenda Myers-Powell put on her $3.99 lime green dress with the puffy sleeves, her $2.99 black shoes that made a crunching sound and a pair of her grandmother's cinnamon-colored stockings and stood on the corner in front of the Mark Twain H otel on West Division Street.
Only days away from her 15th birthday, she had a daughter who recently had turned a year old and an infant whom she had just taken for her six-week checkup. They were living with Myers-Powell's grandmother and needed money for food and rent.
So she decided to do what she'd seen the other women in her neighborhood do — sell her body for money.
"Rent was about $110 a month, and I made so much money that I was able to pay the rent, buy groceries, and buy my children good Easter clothes," she said. "I even bought my baby a big ol' bunny rabbit."
After that Good Friday, Myers-Powell's life in prostitution would drag on for 24 years before she'd find her way out on April 1, 1997, just days away from her 40th birthday.
I first interviewed her in 2000 when she was in a program that helped women transition from a life on the streets. I met her for the second time earlier this month at Governors State University, where she was on a panel at a symposium to help social workers understand human trafficking.
Myers-Powell, 53, hasn't just spent the last decade finding her footing, which would be laudable alone. Having found her voice, she has become a tireless advocate in preventing young girls from entering the sex trade and helping those who are entrenched burrow their way out.
One day last week exemplified her mission. She spent the early morning in Cook County Jail with the Prostitutes Anonymous group she runs as part of her job as a member of the Cook County Sheriff's Department's prostitution intervention team.
She spent the late afternoon at an Englewood library with girls involved in the Dreamcatcher Foundation, the nonprofit she co-founded in 2008 that currently needs a home.
In addition, she has co-written research projects for DePaul University. She conducted the most recent study, "From Victims to Victimizers: Interviews with 25 Ex-Pimps in Chicago," with law professor and senior research fellow Jody Raphael.
Like most girls (and boys) who enter prostitution, Myers-Powell said, she grew up in a house in which she was sexually abused. She said her earliest memory of being raped goes back to when she was 4.
"As I grew up, I remember identifying with the women on the street corner because they wore shiny clothes and I wanted to be and feel shiny," she said. "I asked what they were doing, and my grandmother told me they were taking their panties off and men were giving them money.
"I could identify with that scenario, too, because men had been taking my panties off. And I thought, 'Wow I'll probably do that one day.' It seemed inevitable."
She said people are reluctant to help those caught up in the sex trade because they don't see prostitutes as being salvageable. Also, most people think of prostitution as something that doesn't happen in their neighborhood.
"But if you have the Internet, your child probably has been approached by someone in prostitution or exposed to it in some way," she said. "And because of the way sex is viewed in popular culture, some young girls don't call having sex for money prostitution. They call it 'just getting paid.'"
She said pimps have employed the Internet to lure girls into prostitution in increasingly creative ways. They often pose as rap video producers who offer young women an opportunity to be in a video with a famous rapper.
"They say, 'Send me some pictures to see if you qualify,'" she said. "It looks professional and then he will send her plane fare to go to Miami, Atlanta or Las Vegas and the next thing you know you don't see your child for a while — if you see her again."
Myers-Powell said she decided to leave prostitution after a client dragged her for six blocks in his car when he decided he didn't want to pay. She was in the hospital for a week with injuries to her left side and most of her face. She almost lost her left eye.
She tells young women she counsels that she understands how difficult it is to change their lives.
"She feels like she's damaged goods. But I tell them, 'Yes, you are still great and beautiful and yes, you can go back home and recover from this.'"
And more than counseling, she provides necessities such as bus passes and critical telephone numbers to help women transition off the streets.
"These traffickers and pimps, they know what they're doing, such as the manipulation, the brainwashing," she said. "They make the girls believe that the only way the girl can be successful is through (the pimp's) direction. Otherwise, the girls are worthless and they have no value."
Without changing the thinking, she said the women — even those counseled during jail stays — find their way back to the streets.
Myers-Powell has been married for six years and lives with her husband and 4-year-old foster son outside the city.
"A woman like myself who started as a youth in prostitution and didn't get out until I was 39 years, proves that if it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody," she said. "You're never too young or too old to start a new life."
MUMBAI: More and more young people are running away from home to escape the vicious cycle of family abuse and poverty, but landing on the streets or in flesh trade, say NGOs working to rehabilitate runaways.
Psychiatrist Harish Shetty said that many jilted youngsters enter flesh trade after eloping since they do not have any means of livelihood. "There is a lot of human trafficking in big cities like Mumbai. Young girls and boys run away from home to escape stressful situations. But little they do they realize that the world outside is worse. They end up becoming victims of sex abuse."
A possible reason for the number of missing women being higher, according to Shetty, is that many families do not register complaints when their son disappears. "In many cases, young people run away from home to escape poverty and alcohol-related abuse. The longer they are away from home, the harder it is for them to return."
Shetty added that the police have little infrastructure to pursue individual cases and track the missing. "Unlike abroad, where there is a proper system and a person can be traced, we do not have a social security and identification system here."
Priti Patkar, founder of Prerana, an NGO that has so far rehabilitated over 200 sex workers, pointed out that many victims "elope and come to Mumbai to escape hardships at home". "But they are forced into flesh trade and then get stuck here .The fear of getting ostracized once they go return to their hometowns force them to continue this trade."
She added that many young women in Mumbai, particularly from impoverished families, run away from home and fall prey to sex trade. "While the police have become sensitive to the issue and register cases without much fuss these days, they need to crack down on the organized sex trade."
March 14, 2011 --
SCOTLAND's children's czar last night claimed the nation was failing trafficked youngsters.
Tam Baillie said authorities were failing to identify many children who are smuggled into the country by criminal gangs, putting them at real risk of exploitation for sex or labour.
Mr Baillie, the Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People (SCCYP), was speaking as a report published by his own office suggested at least 80 minors had been trafficked into Scotland in just 18 months.
The UK Borders Agency (UKBA) received just 14 referrals for under-18s who are feared to have been trafficked in to either Scotland or Northern Ireland in the same year-and-a-half period, April 2009 to August 2010.
Of those, only five have so far been officially recognised as having been trafficked.
When we fail to notice, fail to pick up the signs and fail to act on children's trauma it demands action
Mr Baillie, furious at what he saw as official inaction, said: “When children are raped or exploited as slaves in households or businesses in Scotland it becomes our national scandal.
“When we fail to notice, fail to pick up the signs and fail to act on children's trauma, it demands action.
“I hope this report will take the issue out into the open and result in action and change for child victims of trafficking.”
The SCCYP report has been billed as the first ever to try and quantify the real scale of child trafficking in Scotland. Written by Professor Rebecca Wallace of Perth College, the University of the Highlands and Islands, it was based on a survey of some 850 professionals with substantially varying degrees of understanding of the issue.
Ms Wallace said there was a discrepancy between the number of workers who said they had had concerns about a child – more than 200 -–and the number who had actually referred an individual, around 80. There was a further discrepancy between the actual number of referrals to the agency responsible for such things, UKBA. That figure was just 14.
Ms Wallace's report took the view that all children smuggled in to the country illegally were the victims of human trafficking – because, as minors, they were unable to give their consent to travel.
However, youngsters rarely perceive themselves as being victims of trafficking. Sometimes they don't think of themselves as children and working out the exact age of young people can be problematic.
Other agencies have different definitions of trafficking.
Trafficking – of adults as well as children – rarely fits the commonly held image of women and children chained to radiators or bundled in to containers against their will.
Glasgow City Council, for example, says children have been trafficked if they are being brought into the city, either from abroad or other parts of the UK, for exploitation. This can be for the sex trade, for domestic servitude or for child benefit scams.
The city was the first in Scotland to investigate the scale of child trafficking. In 2009 it said it believed some 21% of unaccompanied under-age asylum seekers may have been trafficked.
The Herald reported last week on the first ever prosecution of sex traffickers in Scotland was under way. There have never been any prosecutions for child trafficking north of the Border.
Bill Watch: Hawaii Human Trafficking Bills Appear Dead
by Sara Lin
Hawaii lawmakers appear to have killed all six bills before the Legislature that would have established laws criminalizing human trafficking.
But it is still possible for lawmakers to resurrect a failed bill, and Rep. John Mizuno told Civil Beat on Sunday that he planned to do just that by introducing an amendment to Senate Bill 77 that would put an anti-human trafficking statute on the books.
Last year, the Legislature unanimously passed a measure that criminalized sex-trafficking, but law enforcement said the bill was badly worded, prompting former Gov. Linda Lingle to veto it.
In September, federal lawyers in Honolulu filed the largest human trafficking case in U.S. history. That case involved more than 600 Thai farm workers who were kept as indentured laborers on farms in Hawaii and several other states.
Local prosecutors and law enforcement maintain that Hawaii does not need a human trafficking bill. They say existing laws are adequate.
But President Barack Obama's personal ambassador on human trafficking disagreed. In an interview with Civil Beat, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca said that it's important for states to pass anti-trafficking statutes even if they think the problem is covered by existing laws. Namely, new statutes ensure that law enforcement is retrained to recognize a modern crime.
The only related bills to survive were those proposed by Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro. The prosecutor acknowledges human trafficking is a problem for the state, but he will not push to create a human trafficking law in Hawaii. He believes current prostitution laws can be used to handle most sex trafficking cases. The prosecutor has proposed tougher sentencing for prostitution offenders and recognition under the law that some prostitutes are victims.
Hawaii remains one of five states that does not have a human trafficking law.
What it does: Amends section 28-101, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to give the "greatest priority" to cases involving promoting prostitution, when the attorney general is determining whether to fund or provide for witness security and protection.
What it does: Solicitors of prostitutes, or "johns," will no longer be tried under a misdemeanor offense if the offender has two or more prior convictions. Instead, habitual offenders will face Class C felony charges, which can result in five years of jail time.
The term “slavery” may seem rooted in the past, not associated with modern day. A U.S. professor, however, has set about to reaffirm its meaning, create awareness, and combat the slave trade.
David Batstone, a professor at the University of San Francisco, with his non-profit corporation, Not for Sale, is spearheading the fight against modern-day slavery including its most common form, sex trafficking.
But his visit here and special guest sermon for the Freedom Sunday event at the Onnuri Community Church in Seoul on Sunday was not just a coincidence.
Through his team of investigators at Not for Sale, Batstone found that South Korean women are one of the biggest victims of the U.S. underground trafficking trade.
“My team and I discovered that the second largest group of victims being brought into the U.S. today for human trafficking and slavery are South Korean girls,” he said, the largest being China.
Batstone had a private investigator referred to him, by the local police department, after discovering 13 brothels, linked together by a single owner, from San Francisco to Sacramento. All containing South Korean women behind bars and barbed wires, according to the president of Not for Sale.
The U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons report states that South Korean women are sex trafficked to the U.S., Canada, Japan and Australia.
The professor of business and professional studies also found that at its lowest estimate, 300,000 North Korean women are trafficked for sex and can be seen all throughout Southeast Asia.
“We are seeing a rise in North Korean refugees and trafficking victims that are coming to their centers starting in China and moving their way to Thailand, Cambodia and even further down to Malaysia,” said Batstone.
“This rise reflects the desperation inside the country which is leading to a flood of people who see that they have a better chance of survival by leaving North Korea.”
According to the professor, boys and girls between the age of 12 and 17 are the most commonly found victims of the sex trade.
These two reasons motivated Batstone to come to Seoul and ask the Korean community to take steps toward anti-slavery movements.
But abolishing slavery, like the U.S. had thought it had done in the past, does not simply mean freeing the men, women and children, according to Batstone. It is also allowing them equal opportunity and sparing them of judgment, difficult for a country that has strong social prejudice toward its women, with remnants of a Confucius ideology that can also be seen in the Christian community.
In taking the step to embrace these “impure” women, Batstone more specifically asked the Korean Christian community to be the first, famous throughout the world for its zeal.
“The Korean church has done to missions around the globe what no other church has done,” he said.
The California native commented on the sex trade in South Korea, including entertainment visas and marriage brokering, saying that the sex trade here is “very international and cosmopolitan,” with women from all over the globe.
According to the U.S. report, Korea is a “source, transit and destination” country for human trafficking, specifically for the sex industry.
The report states that men and women from Russia, Uzbekistan, Morocco, China and Southeast Asian countries are brought into Korea for forced labor and prostitution.
According to Batstone, the entertainment visa has been exploited in Korea, saying that government officials “simply winked and looked the other way.” The E-6 arts and performance visas are offered to those that make profits through entertainment, music, “play,” and “others of the like,” according to the immigration website.
“Foreign women from Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia, China and other Southeast Asian countries who enter the country on entertainment visas, including those recruited to be singers and bar workers near U.S. military facilities, were trafficked for forced prostitution,” said the annual report.
Batstone also commented on the issue of international brides that come into the country, saying “typically you find a high trafficking element in them,” and that the brides have “very little recourse to seek justice if they have been abused or otherwise.”
The report said some brides from less developed countries that arrive here through international marriage brokers are subjected to forced prostitution or labor.
Batstone and Eddie Byun, pastor at the Onnuri English Ministry, came together to host the Freedom Sunday and urge those to fast on March 13, donating the money saved on food to the fight against slavery.
The event took place in conjunction with churches in 150 different countries and Onnuri acting as a hub.
According to Batstone, Not for Sale does not solely work with the Christian community, but also works with business leaders, government, universities and even athletes.
Batstone became involved in the fight against modern-day slavery after the owner of his local Indian restaurant was found to have been responsible for trafficking over 500 teens, mostly between the ages of 15 to 16. During his investigation of the global slave trade, he came across a woman in Thailand that had rescued children out of slavery.
Not for Sale was found soon after to help fund anti-slavery projects, like building a center in northern Thailand for children rescued from slavery.
Google Launches Missing Persons Finder to Help Find Loved Ones in Japan
The Google Person Finder Tool is helping people relay information about those missing in Japan after Friday's 8.9 magnitude earthquake.
by Lauren Padgett
After Friday's devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami, thousands are missing and people across the world are desperate for news of loved ones.
Now, Google has launched the Person Finder Tool, a free information service for those posting information about people or looking for someone. The tool is available in multiple languages. Google uses data from the social networking sites and across the Internet to find records on missing people – they are currently tracking 64,600 records as of Sat., March 12.
According to CNN, almost 80 percent of the Japanese population is online, and people are scouring social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to find information from friends and family.