National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse


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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 ...

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  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.

April 2011 - Recent Crime News - News from other times

APRIL - Week 1


Veronica Frear, whose son Craig has been
missing 6 years, (l), and Stacy Herron, whose
sister-in-law Audrey has been missing 8 years,
(r), attend a ceremony during Missing Person's
Day on Sat, April 9, 2011, in Albany, N.Y.
  Missing, never forgotten

In Albany, relatives reflect on those lost and seek solace, energy, support from others

by KENNETH C. CROWE II Staff writer

ALBANY -- The 10th annual New York State Missing Persons Day was an opportunity to remember those who are missing and to find new strength to push ahead.

Whether they were attending their first gathering at the State Museum or had made it every year, participants walked energized and reflective.

"As you learn about this, you realize how many people are missing. It's stunning," said Tina Hamilton of Coeymans Hollow, who was at Saturday's event for the first time.

"You are energized," said Jim Viola of Bogota, N.J., who has attended every year.

Viola's wife, Patricia Viola, went missing Feb. 13, 2001. He's worked closely with Doug and Mary Lyall, who run the Center for Hope and the Missing Persons Day.

Hamilton came to the event after volunteering with her husband, Tom Hamilton, in the efforts to raise awareness and find Audrey May Herron, who disappeared Aug. 29, 2002, while on her way home from Catskill to Freehold.

Hamilton and Viola were among 125 people who attended the afternoon speeches and ceremony to remember the nearly 4,000 people missing in New York state and the 85,000 missing nationwide.

April 6 is the official state Missing Persons Day. It's also the birthday of Suzanne Lyall, who disappeared March 2, 1998, when she was last seen exiting a CDTA bus at the state University at Albany campus after finishing work at Crossgates Mall.

Doug and Mary Lyall of Milton have worked tirelessly to help others with missing relatives. Suzanne would now be 33 years old.

"As we light this candle, may this candle light the way home," Mary Lyall said as she and Marie Murphy lit a candle of hope in the State Museum's Huxley Theater. The candle was surrounded by photos of missing loved ones and T-shirts printed to further the causes of finding them.

Doug Lyall said the sting of having a missing family member is not going to go away. But, he said, it is important to assist others and to resolve to not give up.

The Lyalls presented the Center for Hope's Hope Recognition Award to Frank Williams, chairman of the Ride for Missing Children, of Utica.

"It was 19 years ago today that I became the father of a missing child," Williams said recalling April 9, 1992, when his daughter ran away.

"I was one of the lucky ones," Williams said. "Our three-year journey ended with the return of our missing child."

Since then, Williams has worked to aid other families nationwide dealing with the disappearance of a family member. He assists families with the various aspects of finding the missing family member.


  Australia Game show disgrace highlights sexual exploitation of Asian children

It is a story about show business and the lust for fame, the struggle between permissiveness and social conservatism, and child exploitation: it is a very Philippines sort of scandal.

Willie Revillame, the country's highest-paid TV identity, is under investigation for child abuse after he goaded a bawling six-year-old boy to gyrate like a male stripper before a guffawing live audience and millions of viewers.

In the March episode of Revillame's show, Jan-Jan Suan, tears streaming down his face, agreed to simulate a pelvic thrusting "macho dancer" - male stripper in The Philippines - in exchange for 10,000 pesos ($220) for his poor family.

Footage of Jan-Jan's televised humiliation quickly went viral.

Government ministers and religious leaders rushed to denounce the star. The Movie and Television Review Classification Board and Human Rights Commission announced investigations into allegations of child abuse.

At first glance, images of the skinny lad dancing nervously to a tune from rapper Snoop Dogg seem relatively innocuous.

But a closer look tells a more disturbing story. As Jan-Jan cries in distress while grimly bumping and grinding, the studio audience, including his family, is in fits of laughter, egged on by the host.

Merciless, Revillame pushes the six-year-old to keep dancing for money, mocking his performance as comparable to Burlesk Queen, the 1970s Philippines cult movie starring actress Vilma Santos (now a politician) as a bikini-clad cabaret performer whose sexy dance routine so traumatises her she has a miscarriage on stage.

"That's how hard life is. Jan-Jan has to learn macho dancing at his age, for the sake of his family," Revillame says with a laugh.

The besieged host launched a diatribe against his celebrity critics on Friday as he announced a two-week suspension of the top-rating program Willing Willie. "Don't pulverise me. I'm not a bad person. I only want to help the poor," Revillame pleaded in a histrionic 25-minute "farewell" speech, beseeching viewers to "pray for this program to be back on air".

He charged some of The Philippines' top singers and actors with leading a Twitter and Facebook campaign to push advertisers to pull commercials from Willing Willie.

The network has appointed an internal ombudsman to monitor treatment of minors.

Still, the star of Willing Willie is tipped to return to the TV screen.

The forces that put Jan-Jan in the spotlight have elements peculiar to The Philippines, but Manila is not an isolated case.

Across Southeast Asia, in TV game shows, reality programs and talent contests, product launches, advertisements and mainstream films, children and minors under the malleable Asian age of consent are increasingly depicted in a highly sexualised and erotic fashion.

Thai commercial TV broadcasts popular "mini-Thai idol"-style contests showcasing heavily made-up children as young as three in sexy get-up, dancing and singing provocatively.

Similar fare is increasingly dished up to audiences in Indonesia and in poorer Cambodia. Often it's cutesy but more often blatantly pedophile-friendly. In Thailand, where made-up toddler girls sport pink T-shirts saying "I'm Single", the press occasionally reports on controversies surrounding beauty contests for children from the age of three.

The treatment of Southeast Asian children as commodities extends from the mainstream media to bars and brothels.

Experts agree that a pernicious popular and private culture of impunity regarding sexual abuse and trafficking of children still exists in the region and is worsening. According to law enforcement agencies and academic specialists, trafficking and prostitution of young children is on the rise. Thailand today is functioning more as a trafficking hub for child prostitutes and "illegal immigrants" from neighbouring poor countries such as Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

A new study backed by the French Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia, "The Trade in Human Beings for Sex in Southeast Asia", edited by Pierre Le Roux, says sex trafficking of women and children, "already widespread internationally, continues to escalate". "Thailand is an emerging epicentre of both sex trafficking and sex tourism", the study says, noting that the first sex tourists are local and regional, followed by the smaller but persistent group of foreigners from outside Asia.

Some figures suggest as many as 250,000 women and children are trafficked annually in Southeast Asia.

Estimates of the number of child prostitutes in Thailand range from fewer than 2000 to the high hundreds of thousands. The Philippines is believed to have more than 100,000 child prostitutes.

Le Roux points to cultural factors, such as Southeast Asian concepts of "sacrifice" and the "younger sibling", as facilitating the prostitution of children and women.

Locals and foreigners often mistakenly think that with economic and social development, the scourge of pedophilia and widespread child prostitution is at least diminishing in Southeast Asia, from the heights of the 1980s and 1990s.

Australians recall pedophiles such as Robert Dunn who were tracked down by journalists and sometimes police. Cambodia has trumpeted the arrests of high-profile foreigners such as Gary Glitter, while local child abusers, the UN and NGOs attest, go unpunished.

Countering the public-relations spin, the US State Department last year placed Thailand, to Bangkok's fury, on the high alert "Tier Two watch list" for only making "limited progress" on combating and prosecuting human trafficking, including child prostitution. The Philippines also shared this ignominious status (second year running), alongside new entrants Vietnam and Laos. Wealthy Singapore appeared on the same US watch list. South Asia is not exempt, with India tagged as a top source, destination and transit country for traffickers.

Gender expert Carina Chotirawe, a professor at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, believes more work needs to be done in the region "to shift the consciousness of the parents and society as a whole on the protection of children".

"Depicting them in a sexualised manner is a form of child abuse and it is very worrying to see children appearing in such lewd ways," she says.

"The Revillame show was despicable. It felt like he was prostituting poverty, making the poor pander to him for quick cash fixes, as he does on a daily basis, and never mind if it entails a kid being sexed up and crying as he (Jan-Jan) does so pitifully.

"Willie was acting like God, dispensing patronage to parents inured to the poverty they see as their lot in life -- and if lewdness gets them instant cash, then so be it."

For Chotirawe, a deep-seated "cultural wiring" takes place in Southeast Asia where "kids are conditioned to believe that being sexy and looking grown up will get you far more".

"It devalues education, toil and perseverance," she says.

"In Thailand, you also see this even at kindergarten performances, with girls dressed up, made up and dancing to songs with provocative lyrics.

"It is no wonder that there is a link to child prostitution. Or in milder cases, if they are more well off and are fortunate to escape that predicament, they are lured to become 'Pretties' like the ones you see (parading) at motor shows."

Australian child protection activist Bernadette McMenamin, founder of Child Wise, agrees that the erotic depiction of children in Southeast Asia is bad news for the battle against sex tourism.

"The sexualisation of children is something that is happening worldwide without society really coming to grips with it," she says.


Michigan Arrests made in missing woman case

April 9, 2011

The Morning Sun

Four men have been arrested in Mecosta County in connection with a missing persons case.

Anthony Walker, 18; Anthony Darnell Rollin, 38; Thomas Vernnon Bennett, 28; all of Big Rapids, and Kepha Yaaqob Stutzman, 18, of Leroy are each charged with accessory after the fact in the Kristin Spires disappearance, The Pioneer of Big Rapids reported Friday.

Spires, 20, of Barryton vanished about a year ago.

Mecosta County Prosecutor Peter Jaklevic has not returned phone calls or spoken publicly about the case, but his office has said details will be forthcoming.

Police have referred all inquires to Jaklevic, saying he's the only one who can speak on the investigation.

Police think that Spires is dead and are trying to determine how she died and where her body has been hidden, the Pioneer reported.

The men are accused of being involved in delivering a controlled substance to Spires and assaulting her with intent to commit great bodily harm, according to the Pioneer.

The Pioneer quoted Jaklevic as saing the four delivered cocaine and possibly marijuana to Spires and that the men are charged with hiding her body to hide the crime.

According to the Pioneer, Walker had been sentenced in January to nine months in jail for obstruction of justice, with court records indicating that he was charged for "telling a false story to police in a missing person case, which resulted in police executing two search warrants, a large use of manpower by the Michigan State Police Crime Lab and an invasion of privacy on those who did not need to be searched."

Walker was in 77th District Court in Mecosta County earlier this week for a hearing when Jaklevic brought the accessory after the fact charge, which is a five-year felony, according to the Pioneer.

Bennett testified at Walker's hearing that Walker and Rollin went to his home with Spires on May 14, 2010 and that Walker, Rollin and Spires were using cocaine and marijuana, according to the Pioneer.

Friends and family of Spires, meanwhile, kept communication open on the Facebook social networking site, sharing thoughts and prayers and hoping for closure soon.

"This is not right; the family has been through too much. These guys need to say where she is," said Kristi Hart of Evart. "Come on people she is important to us... help find her."

Kristin was last seen in Big Rapids May 12 after leaving home May 8.

Mecosta County Sheriff's officials have said that Kristin's body has not been found, but they do not believe she is alive and are treating the probe as a murder investigation.

Police have been actively investigating the disappearance.


Lawmakers told Nevada a haven for sex trafficking

by Ed Vogel

April 8, 2011

CARSON CITY -- Because of its legal brothel industry, Nevada is a haven for sex traffickers who force young girls and boys into prostitution, a witness said Wednesday during a hearing on a bill to help the young victims begin normal lives.

"People know because prostitution is legal in some places in Nevada, and they think they can get away with it (sex trafficking)," said Jill Morris, an advocate for the Not for Sale campaign.

Morris was among a host of supporters who testified in favor of Assembly Bill 6, which would allow female and male victims of sex trafficking, no matter their age, to petition courts to have records of their prostitution and related convictions vacated.

The bill's sponsor, Assemblyman John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, said this is important because, when former prostitutes seek to go straight and find regular employment, they now must report arrests for prostitution on their applications.

"They can't explain that away," Hambrick said. "They don't get hired and they again are victims. These are people who have prostituted 10 to 15 times a day by their pimps."

No action was taken on the bill, although Judiciary Chairman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, voiced his support. It must be passed out of the committee by April 15, or it is dead for the rest of the session.

Boys and girls as young as 12, many of them foreigners, are forced into prostitution, said Julie Janovsky, a representative of the Polaris Project, a national group combating human trafficking.

She said sex trafficking worldwide is a $32 billion business, second only to drug trafficking among illegal ventures.

"Some of the victims have daily quotas of $500 to $1,200 a night," she said. "If they don't meet them, they are abused or tortured or even starved. They suffer severe physical and psychological trauma."

But the most unsettling part of the testimony may have been Morris' statement that Las Vegas and Reno are havens for sex trafficking because of legal prostitution in nearby rural counties.

During a speech before the Legislature on Feb. 22, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., received a silent reaction when he called for legislators to end legal prostitution.

Hambrick said following Wednesday's hearing that he supports the current law that allows prostitution in rural counties by local option. There are 24 legal brothels.

George Flint, the lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Association, testified in favor of Hambrick's bill.

He said the legal brothels "do not hire underage girls" or have anything to do with pimps. But he said 5,000 people were arrested last year in Clark County for prostitution.

"You are not going to do away with prostitution, no matter what you do," Flint added.

He said he knew a former Wyoming prostitute who struggled for more than 10 years in finding straight employment because of her prostitution background.

Las Vegas police lobbyist Chuck Callaway said his department supports the bill because it would "help turn around lives of victims of human trafficking."

Larry Struve, a representative for the Religious Alliance of Nevada (RAIN), which represents major churches, called the bill compassionate legislation.

"RAIN is about redemption, giving people an opportunity to turn their lives around and be whole again," he said.


Prostitution arrests fall as Internet provides cover


The number of people convicted in Iowa for prostitution and soliciting prostitutes has nose-dived in recent years as advertising for the sex trade has become aggressive online.

Last year, 96 people were convicted of prostitution-related charges in Iowa. That is down from 149 in 2007, according to Iowa's Division of Juvenile Justice Planning.

"The street-level stuff, we're seeing less and less," said Sgt. Chris Scott, a spokesman for Des Moines police. "They're using hotels, Craigslist, even Facebook. ... I don't want to say it's more organized, but it really is."

Police officials around the state say they do not have time to surf the Internet looking for solicitations, so they act in response to specific complaints, often from hotel or motel workers.

In Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo and other places, police set up occasional stings, sometimes using sex workers they already have arrested as bait.

But a tide of new advertising through social media and online sites is troubling to local, state and federal law enforcement concerned about human trafficking, especially that of teens.

"I was shocked when I first started looking at this," said Johnson County Sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Kinney. "I could deal with it all the time if I had the time to work on it."

A fledgling task force headed by the FBI's Omaha office has rescued six minors in Iowa and Nebraska in the past year, including a 15-year-old Bellevue, Neb., girl involved in a sex trafficking ring in Omaha and Council Bluffs.

The sting led to stiff federal sentences last month of more than 17 and 14 years for Mary Crane Horton, 32, and Nate Horton, 35, two people accused in a conspiracy to commit, and financially benefit from, sex trafficking in Omaha and Council Bluffs.

Ramon Heredia, a co-conspirator whose wife was beaten and forced into the ring, is scheduled to be sentenced Monday.

The four lived in an Omaha apartment, where Crane Horton or another operator would load photographs of prostitutes on Craigslist and other sites to solicit men in both states from the summer of 2007 to last summer. Often, the sex acts would occur in a Council Bluffs apartment.

One girl who ran away from the ring was 13 years old. The women, including Heredia's wife, were beaten in front of other prostitutes to "keep them in line," according to a federal plea agreement.

"You wouldn't think we would have any" human trafficking, said Weysan Dun, the FBI agent in charge who oversees the Nebraska-Iowa office. "Our concern is how many more are out there."

Tricks turn high-tech from Ames to Dubuque

Just a few years ago, those looking for illicit sex could take a drive down a seedy city strip or take their chances with obscure ads in the telephone book or newspapers.

But today, those engaged in the world's oldest profession advertise heavily on a range of websites such as, which some in law enforcement believe has replaced Craigslist as a leading site for the sex trade. Pimps and escort services have their own Web pages, and many have already turned up the heat on social media such as Twitter.

Sites typically provide phone numbers and hourly rates and ask would-be clients to schedule appointments. A recent search found numerous advertisements in Ames, Dubuque, Fort Dodge and Mason City, replete with photos of scantily clad women and rates that range from $40 to $250 an hour.

Some of the advertisements promise massages, dances on stripper poles, various "tricks" and "fantastic sessions."

"From what we're seeing on the federal level, I can tell you it's as prevalent as it has ever been," Dun said. "The Internet has made access much easier and, in many ways, much more anonymous."

In larger metro areas - Las Vegas, the Twin Cities, Chicago - local law enforcement agencies have special units to handle an onslaught of prostitution generated in large part by the online solicitations, Kinney said.

Spirit Lake school board member charged

But in Iowa, police officials say they build cases from tips about suspicious activity, as happened in one of Des Moines' two prostitution arrests this year.

That case involved Scott D. Wicks, a school board member from Spirit Lake, who was arrested with a Des Moines woman named Deyawna Taylor at the Cozy Rest Motel at 2701 S.E. 14th St.

Scott said he didn't know how Wicks met Taylor. But Taylor told detectives Wicks paid her for sex at the motel.

Reached Tuesday, Wicks emphatically denied he did anything illegal.

The 47-year-old man said he was in Des Moines on business and was approached by a woman at a convenience store while he was buying a soda. He said the woman asked him for a ride to a place not far away and he obliged.

"I am a good family man, and I do a lot for the community," said Wicks, whose trial is April 27. "It's a shame that it happened. But where I live, you help people out."

Court records show Taylor, 24, has a long criminal history, including convictions for theft, forgery, possession of a controlled substance, OWI, child endangerment and driving while barred-habitual offender. She was not arrested in the February incident.

"Typically what they will do in a prostitution case is they will charge one but not the other," Scott said. Taylor is listed as a possible witness in the case.

Scott, Polk have most offenders convicted

Kinney, who is a member of a state human trafficking working group covering southern Iowa, was involved in 2008 in the state's first federal human trafficking case involving the sex trade. In that case, a Wellman man, Demont Bowie, was convicted of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl from Minneapolis and forcing her to work in an eastern Iowa prostitution ring run by Bowie's father. The case was prosecuted as a kidnapping.

Since then, authorities have prosecuted cases arising out of Crawford, Story, Pottawattamie and Winneshiek counties. Kinney and others have been involved in several cases in which groups have tried to lure teens into the sex trade.

"It's one of those things where if you had a vice unit, you may be able to do more," he said. "So much of this is tied into other criminal activity."

Last year, prosecutors around the state convicted 65 women and 16 men of prostitution-related charges. The gender of at least 15 people was not recorded.

The two counties with the highest number of offenders convicted were Scott with 34 and Polk with 30. Both counties have vice or tactical units.

But those in the sex trade today are also more likely to travel from state to state, and Iowans also have been arrested in stings elsewhere.



Nancy Hengeveld: Minnesota must do something about sex trafficking

Apr 09, 2011

I recently listened to a lecturer describe the following scene: In the 18th century, Tahitian parents presented their 12-year-old daughters to have sex with European sailors while family members watched. Sex with young girls became a currency in exchange for nails; when ships came to port, adolescent girls climbed on board to greet the sailors.

Apparently my husband and I were the only audience members offended; others laughed, and we were reassured that this practice was “just part of their culture” and that “the girls loved it.”

Really? Whatever happened to the idea that whether it's forced marriage and childbearing at puberty, clitoridectomy, or adults having sex with a child for whatever reason and in whatever culture, it's all child abuse, because a child doesn't have the maturity and ability to consent?

What's troubling is that attitudes haven't changed much since the 18th century. To a lot of people, pedophilia is still material for jokes. What's even more troubling is that young girls boarding ships to have sex with sailors in exchange for currency is still happening today. In Duluth.

Suzanne Koepplinger, Executive Director of Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center, and others testified before the Minnesota House of Representatives in March about their findings, which were collected from victims, members of law enforcement, and victim advocates. In her essay published in the University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Koepplinger reported that Native American girls are 7.5 times more likely to be recruited and “work on the ships” but that sex trafficking — which does not need to include transporting of victims — includes underage girls of all cultures.

Minnesota has been identified as one of 15 states with the highest incidence of sexual slavery among minors, and it rose by 55 percent in 2010, possibly because of easy access through the Internet. Girls are provided fake IDs and are recruited online or by girls already enslaved, or in soup lines and shelters in urban areas. The average age of recruitment is 12-14. Homeless girls, girls living in poverty, runaways and “throwaways” (children not provided adequate food, shelter or safety by parents), girls who have addicted parents or parents who engage in domestic violence, or girls with mental illness or who have been sexually abused are “sitting ducks” for recruiters. The average time it takes a pimp or “john” (customer) to proposition a homeless girl is 48 hours from the time she begins living on the streets.

During hunting and tourist season, demand is highest in northern Minnesota, with girls often starting out working in clubs, massage parlors, or escort services behind the scenes or providing phone sex, then stripping at clubs and private parties. Often they are told they have been selected for an audition as a model or video star.

They are given drugs to reduce the trauma and told they will make enough money to rent their own place, but it never happens. Instead, they often become addicted, and by time they reach adulthood they are enslaved to a culture that has become a means of survival, with cult-like control and domination, no work experience, and no means of escape. One study in North Minneapolis found that 90 percent of adult prostitutes wanted out but feared for their or family members' physical safety if they tried to leave or give out names; a majority of these women's enslavements began before the age of 16.

Yet, according to Koepplinger, no one has ever been prosecuted under Minnesota state law for sex trafficking of children. Though some counties now provide services to these children, most often children have been charged with crimes and sent to juvenile detention centers. Already suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and often withdrawing from nicotine, alcohol and drugs while in custody, they become angry and begin to see law enforcement as the enemy. When released, they are more likely to use drugs and alcohol to cope, making it more difficult to escape the streets, so they continue to engage in what is called “survival sex,” exchanging sex for food, shelter, safety and drugs.

House Bill 0556 is working its way through the state legislature. Also called the “Safe Harbor Bill” it will: 1) define children under the age of 18 who are selling sex to be defined as sexually exploited children in need of protection and services rather than prosecuted as juvenile delinquents; 2) define the term “prostitute” as only those over the age of 18; 3) increase the penalties for those who purchase children for sex from $250 to $750, (though it will still be a misdemeanor), and send this money to law enforcement, courts and organizations that provide advocacy for victims (such as Breaking Free); and 4) require the Commissioner of Public Safety to develop a state-wide model to provide services to sexually-exploited children and children at risk.

This bill has bipartisan support and is a good start. Even after it is passed, we have a lot of work to do to protect our children and change our attitudes in a culture that sees young girls and women as willing, consensual partners who choose sexual slavery as a lifestyle choice.

Nancy Hengeveld is a licensed psychologist with a practice in Rochester.



State should join effort to put's sex-trafficking ads on the front burner

Washington should join other states pressuring to drop its adult-services section. These sites cannot safeguard against illegal prostitution and child-trafficking ads.


WASHINGTON should join nearly two dozen other states pressuring to drop its adult-services section, an admission that these kinds of sites cannot safeguard against illegal prostitution and child-trafficking ads. is the site Seattle police used recently to track a 17-year-old girl forced to work as a prostitute. They were able to build a case against the teen's pimp, who was convicted last week under this state's enhanced penalties for sex trafficking.

A well-documented shift has moved escort services and sexual procurement of under-aged girls from street solicitation to the Internet. The biggest abuser, Craigslist, seemingly capitulated under pressure from states and shuttered its adult-ads section last fall. But it is unclear if the procurement ads closely associated with the online website have simply moved elsewhere.

Twenty-one attorneys general have shifted their sights to, which has moved into Craigslist's territory as a marketplace for prostitution and human trafficking.

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna will not say whether he plans to join the other states. McKenna should not be let off the hook on this. Washington is doing so many things to thwart child sex trafficking that battling should rightly join the list. is owned by Village Voice Media, the parent company of The Seattle Weekly. Under appropriate fire from states, the online site has taken some small steps. But success would be an end to ad sections that operate as little more than online brothels.

Without the strong arm of state laws, there is little incentive for websites like to cease their unsavory operations. A study by the Advanced Interactive Media Group noted that and Craigslist, before its shift, were two of the nation's largest online classified ad websites, accounting for about $47.5 million of the $63 million in online prostitution ads expected this year.

It is unreasonable to imagine these sites will ever police themselves. Even if they promised to reject all illegal ads, it would be difficult to verify. The best solution is not to futilely monitor online sex trafficking but to get rid of the marketplace altogether.


Child Abuse Charges Upgraded to Murder


O'Connell, Kara DOB 04/21/89 (Girlfriend)
14023 Lemon Valley Place
Tampa, Fl 33625

Garwacki, Justin DOB 03/05/84 (Biological Father)
14023 Lemon Valley Place
Tampa, Fl 33625

Upgraded Charges: (Both)

First Degree Murder
Aggravated Child Abuse
Child Abuse
Child Neglect
Failure to Report Child Abuse


Baxley, John Taylor DOB 11/02/06 (DECEASED)
14023 Lemon Valley Place
Tampa, Fl 33625

Update – February 4, 2011

Charges upgraded to First Degree Murder on both suspects. The investigation into the death of John Baxley continued with the Medical Examiner bringing in Forensic Experts to review the case. Based on their conclusion, those findings were presented to the State Attorney's Office and as a result of a Grand Jury indictment; the charges were upgraded to First Degree Murder.
See original news release below.

Original News Release:

On August 10, 2010 at approximately 9:34 p.m. deputies were dispatched to 14023 Lemon Valley Place for a report of a 3-year-old child who was not breathing. Deputies and Hillsborough Fire Rescue personnel responded and found an unresponsive child who suffered from extensive trauma to the body.

The child was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital for treatment and died a short time later. Homicide detectives have determined that the child has been residing with his father and the father's girlfriend, Kara O'Connell, for approximately one month after Garwacki picked up the child from Missouri and brought him back to Tampa.

While the child resided with his father, he had been the victim of aggravated abuse and neglect by both suspects. In addition, neither suspect sought any medical care or assistance after he was injured until authorities were summoned on the reported date.

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are anticipated.



Strategy needed to thwart child-abuse deaths


Special Correspondent

March 8, 2011

Florida residents have certainly been hit with their share of news about child tragedies in the past several weeks.

From the first days of the Casey Anthony trial, to the gruesome story of the murder of Nubia Barahona and the serious injuries inflicted on her twin brother, and now, two children have been found packed in luggage in a canal. The list goes on, and the need for action is more apparent than ever.

Often, the media and other commentators on the issue start by deciding where they should point fingers. Was law enforcement to blame? Or was it the state child welfare agency's fault? Who should take the blame for the avoidable deaths of so many children?

The unfortunate truth about child abuse and neglect deaths is how common they are – and it is safe to say that Florida is not alone. Researchers believe there are nearly seven such child abuse and neglect deaths every day in America — some 2,500 a year, many more than the number of American fatalities in two wars in the same period.

Yet the scope of the problem attracts little attention on the part of our national leaders or even the national media. The question should not be "What will it take to end child abuse fatalities in Florida?", but rather, "What will it take to end child abuse fatalities in the United States?"

Child abuse and neglect are quite common in the United States, with a child being abused or neglected every 36 seconds. A look at child maltreatment fatalities in other countries lends credence to the notion that the United States has an inherent problem with child abuse.

According to a UNICEF study, "A League Table of Child Maltreatment Deaths in Rich Nations," the U.S. rate of child fatalities is three times higher than that of Canada and 11 times higher than that of Italy. This may be related to the fact that other advanced countries have lower rates of teen pregnancy, violent crime, imprisonment and poverty.

Child abuse lands hardest on those in the poorest families. In fact, according to a 2005 Children's Defense Fund study, poverty is the single best predictor of child abuse and neglect, likely due to the enormous stress associated with it.

The impact of child abuse in the U.S. is enormous – with the issue affecting all socioeconomic and cultural demographics. According to a 2007 report by Prevent Child Abuse America, the price tag for treating victims is more than $100 billion a year. This is a conservative estimate for what it includes, and it does not even consider costs associated with the victims' families.

Even with broad public support for safeguarding every child, the reality is our nation's current commitment of resources, laws and policies for protecting children is inadequate and must be addressed.

Several groups are working on this issue, including The National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths (NCECAD). The coalition has a list of recommendations for the child welfare system and the agencies with which the system interacts: expanded services for needy families; a national strategy for better coordination of law enforcement and child protective services; changes to the current confidentiality laws associated with child abuse and neglect deaths; and increased funding for child protective services on a national level.

The federal government must develop a broad national strategy for curbing child-abuse deaths. To learn more about the problem and what the public can do to assist the movement, visit the NCECAD website and sign a petition asking Congress to hold hearings on how to decrease child abuse and neglect deaths – and save our children from avoidable deaths.

Kimberly Day is coordinator of The National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths, headquartered in Washington, D.C.


Child Abuse – An Ongoing Problem in Florida

by Juna Jinsei

Tampa Holistic Wellness Examiner

The statistics on child abuse are both incredible and shameful. One out of every fifty-eight children in the United States suffers from one form of abuse or another. Four children die per day from the effects of this abuse. That is approximately 1.25 million children who need our help.

Child abuse is broken down into two main groups: abuse and neglect. Abuse encompasses the victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Neglect includes physical neglect, educational neglect, and emotional neglect. More than half the children suffering from neglect are denied simple basic needs that most of us take for granted. This isn't because of the lack of having, it is due to the lack of caring from the parents.

Everyone in each community can guard against child abuse by remaining concerned, attentive, and willing to take action if the need should arise. Though Florida has good laws to protect these innocent children, they can't be implemented if the cases of child abuse and neglect are not reported to the authorities.

There are several tell-tale signs of child abuse that should draw your attention to a potential problem. The most common and easiest to spot are unexplained injuries, such as bruises, cuts, or burns. Another easy to detect sign is a radical change in behavior that includes: depression, rage, anxiety, and withdrawal. Regression behavior that makes the young victim seem more infantile, such as bed wetting, fear of the dark, thumb sucking, and anxiety around strangers points to abuse.

The fear of going home or feelings of apprehension displayed when the child is going to be alone with the abuser is quite noticeable, as this behavior will be constantly repeated. Sudden weight changes can signal a problem, whether putting on or shedding pounds, during a short period of time. The child may appear to suffer constant fatigue, due to nightmares or problems falling asleep. The lack of good personal hygiene is a common sign among children living in neglect. Poor performance in school can also demonstrate abuse and neglect. On the other hand, some children who miss school frequently may not show up to hide obvious signs of physical abuse.

Many children who engage in early sexual behavior or use explicit sexual language are often victims of sexual abuse and have been since an early age. Children who are found abusing alcohol, drugs, and tobacco are many times showing the lack of love in their lives, which has led them to not care about their own well being. This also includes children who become involved in gangs or criminal activity.

It is important to remember that you don't have to have proof to report child abuse or neglect. If you strongly suspect something is terribly wrong, trust your instincts. Don't hesitate. Call the authorities. You can be their voice . . . and salvation.


Arrests For Aggravated Child Abuse


Larry Lincoln
DOB 2-13-71
4807 Bristol Bay Way, apt. 203
Tampa, FL

Nina Gaston
DOB 3-14-80
4807 Bristol Bay Way, apt. 203
Tampa, FL


Failure to Report Child Abuse


Between November 1, 2010 and February 12, 2011 the defendant, Larry Lincoln struck the male victim's (age 6 and 11) multiple times with an electrical cord. During some of the incidents the defendant tied the victim's hands to the railing of a bunk bed. The 6 year old suffered scars consistent with being struck with an electrical cord on his back, sides of his torso, legs and arms. The 11 year old suffered scars consistent with being struck with an electrical cord on his legs, arms and buttocks. Gaston witnessed the offenses and did not stop the defendant.

The incident was reported to the Sheriff's Office on February 12, 2011, by someone that knew the children. Deputies responded and began their investigation. At the time of the report, the children were sheltered by Child Protection Services. Both suspects turned themselves in at the Orient Road Jail on March 11, 2011 charged with the above listed charges. The children remain sheltered.


Tampa Couple Arrested After They Use Taser to Discipline Teen

Couple Faces Child-Abuse Charges for Tasering Boy, 13


Feb. 24, 2011

(Video on site)

A Florida couple who allegedly tasered a 13-year-old boy in their care to discipline him have been charged with child abuse, Tampa police said.

Christopher Lewis, 22, and Deonijhane "Amy" Menifield, 19, were arrested earlier this week, Tampa police spokeswoman Janelle McGregor said. She said Lewis was a relative of the victim, a 13-year-old boy whose name is not being released for confidentiality reasons, and was taking care of him.

Lewis had bought the stun gun about a week before the arrest, police said. "Since that time, both suspects have been using the stun gun as a form of discipline against the victim," according to a police statement.

"The 13-year-old boy told one of the employees at his school what was going on, and the employee called the police," McGregor said."We noticed visible marks on the boy that were consistent with his story." The teenager had been tasered on his upper thigh, cops said.

Lewis and Menifield were arrested at their Tampa home on Tuesday and were both charged with child abuse. Lewis also faces charges of carrying a concealed weapon. Police said that when they arrested him, he was carrying a 12-inch hunting knife in his jacket.

A neighbor, Frances Helms, told ABC affiliate WFTS-TV that she watches the victim and saw the marks on the boy's arms this week. "It looked like a burn mark," said Helms.

"It's terrible, I would never treat a son of mine like that. It shouldn't be that way," she said.

Lewis told the station the teenager was his brother and denied using the stun gun on him. Police would not confirm the exact relationship between Lewis and the child.

Stun guns, originally developed for use by police, have been abused by private citizens in other recent incidents around the country. Last year in New Hampshire a couple were charged with using a stun gun on their three children, and in Jacksonville, Fla., a mother was charged with battery after she zapped a football coach with a stun gun during an argument.

It is legal in the state of Florida for ordinary citizens to possess stun guns, according to Deputy Dave Burney of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, as long as the guns are hand-held and do not have a "projectile device," which only police can use.


TPD: 16-month-old boy dies from child abuse

Feb 6, 2011

Update: Tampa, Florida - Dwayne Poole, the man charged with first degree murder for allegedly throwing his 16-month-old boy on a bed as punishment causing death, made his first appearance this morning at the Hillsborough County Jail.

Poole received no bond.

2-5-11:  Tampa, FL -- The 16-month-old boy police say was thrown on a bed as punishment has died.

The boy's father, Dwayne Poole, has been charged with first degree murder. That's after Ronderique Anderson  died this morning at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Related Story: DCF admits mistakes in toddler child abuse case
Related Story: Toddler thrown for playing near electrical socket

Detectives charged his 23-year-old father with aggravated child abuse after they say he was punishing the boy for playing too close to an electrical outlet. The boy hit his head on a wall or the dresser and fractured his skull, leaving him with little chance for survival.

Poole is in the Hillsborough County Jail tonight.

The family of Ronderique has released the following statement:

" Ronderique Anderson passed away this morning. The family asks that their privacy be respected during this very difficult time.

"Ronderique's mother, Fredreda Scott, made the decision to donate her son's organs, saying that even as she grieves over the loss of her baby that she hopes another child may be able to live and prosper the way Ronderique would have."


Tampa, Florida – Child Protection Investigator Accused of Falsifying Documents

February 12, 2010

by David A. Wolf

The Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff's Office will be changing how it handles child abuse cases. The changes are due to the recent resignation of Heather Stokes, a child protection investigator who has been charged with falsifying documents.

An internal affairs investigation revealed that Ms. Stokes allegedly falsified and / or fabricated twenty five investigations. Ms. Stokes has said that she did so because she was overwhelmed by the number of cases she had to deal with. She resigned shortly after the results of the probe were brought to her attention. She is the second investigator from her office to resign after being charged with falsifying documents. According to the Tampa Tribune, no children or families were harmed by the falsifications.

Investigators will now be required to photograph every child at their home, and place the photo in the case file to prove that they visited the child when they said they did. Supervisors will randomly review cases and make up to thirty quality assurance checks every month.

Statewide, more than seventy Florida child welfare workers have been caught lying about their activities in the last two years. When caught, workers almost always point to work overload to excuse their behavior.

Ms. Stokes has avoided criminal prosecution by performing more than two hundred hours of community service.

Read more about the falsification of child protection documents in Florida at Falsifications bring change in child abuse cases.


Former Moreno Valley day-care operator accused of molesting 7-year-old boy

April 7, 2011

Detectives are seeking the public's help in the investigation of a former day-care operator who is accused of molesting a 7-year-old boy in her care.

Lovetta Poole, 50, has been charged with three counts of lewd acts with a child under the age of 14 and two counts of aggravated sexual assault, according to booking information from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

Poole was being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.

Poole ran a day-care operation in her home in the 26000 block of Casa Encantador in Moreno Valley from about 2004 until December 2006, said Det. Danny Young of the Moreno Valley Police Department.

The alleged molestations occurred in August and September 2005. The alleged victim was one of eight children that Poole looked after.

The state suspended Poole's day-care license over matters unrelated to the alleged molestations. One issue was that she allegedly had failed to inform the state about a resident in her home who had a criminal record, Young said.

The boy, now 13, came forward recently to report the alleged molestation.

Investigators found the day-care center had closed and that Poole no longer lived at the address. In fact, Young said, the current residents have nothing to do with either Poole or the day-care center.

Officers arrested Poole on March 29 and she has been in custody since in lieu of $1-million bail.

“With the type of business that she had, there is that possibility” of other victims, Young said. “At this point, no other victims have come forward.”

Anyone with information should contact the Moreno Valley police detective bureau at (951) 486-6810 .


Phillip Garrido pleads not guilty to kidnapping Jaycee Lee Dugard

April 7, 2011

Accused kidnapper and rapist Phillip Garrido pleaded not guilty Thursday to snatching an 11-year-old schoolgirl from her South Lake Tahoe-area street, holding her captive for nearly two decades and fathering her two daughters.

Garrido and his wife, Nancy, face 29 charges of kidnapping and sexual assault in the 1991 abduction of Jaycee Lee Dugard, now 30. Nancy Garrido has also pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Earlier this week, Stephen Tapson, Nancy Garrido's defense attorney, said Phillip Garrido was expected to plead guilty.

"He's confessed to it, so he's pleading guilty and he doesn't want to put Jaycee through the trial," Tapson said in an interview Monday. In addition, Tapson said, Garrido was hoping to gain a measure of mercy for his wife.

El Dorado County Dist. Atty. Vern Pierson has declined to comment on the case, which has attracted international attention since Dugard and her daughters surfaced in the East Bay town of Antioch nearly two years ago. They had been held captive in a warren of backyard sheds.


Prostitutes' Disappearances Were Noticed Only When the First Bodies Were Found


To those who loved them, the four prostitutes were daughters, sisters, friends. To the person or persons who killed them and dumped their bodies in the desolate brush off Ocean Parkway on Long Island, they were disposable.

The four young women discovered off Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach — Megan Waterman, 22; Melissa Barthelemy, 24; Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25; and Amber Lynn Costello, 27 — vanished between July 2007 and last September. Each disappearance drew little or no notice. It took the prospect of a serial killer, and the subsequent discovery of four more bodies, for that to change.

The investigation was set off by the disappearance of Shannan Gilbert in May. Ms. Gilbert, 24, of Jersey City, was last seen in a seaside residential community a few miles from the first four bodies, and she is still missing. Ms. Gilbert was a prostitute, but much more: She was an aspiring actress, and the oldest of Mari Gilbert's three daughters.

In an interview, Mari Gilbert said the police failed to protect her daughter and, along with the press and the public, did not take her disappearance seriously until she became part of Long Island's latest serial-killer case.

“I think they look at them like they're throwaway,” Mari Gilbert said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “They don't care.”

Living in the margins of society, often trading sex for money with anonymous clients in anonymous places, struggling with drug addiction and estrangement from their families, prostitutes have long been invisible, vulnerable prey for the wicked and the depraved. Few notice them when they are alive, fewer still when they are missing or found dead.

The quarter-mile stretch where the four women were found is 23 miles from where another prostitute, Tiffany Bresciani, 22, was found wrapped in a blue tarp in the back of a pickup truck in Mineola in 1993, and about 30 miles from where yet another prostitute, Kelly Sue Bunting, 28, was discovered in a trash bin in Melville in 1995. Ms. Bresciani was strangled by Joel Rifkin, an unemployed landscaper who confessed to killing 17 prostitutes. Ms. Bunting was one of the victims of Robert Shulman, a former postal worker convicted of killing and dismembering five prostitutes.

In Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Kendall L. Francois admitted strangling and murdering eight prostitutes from 1996 to 1998, and storing their bodies in the home he shared with his family. In a courtroom in Seattle in 2003, Gary Ridgway, the so-called Green River Killer, who admitted to killing 48 women, seemed, when a prosecutor read his statement of guilt, to be speaking for all serial killers throughout the decades and centuries who have victimized prostitutes.

“I also picked prostitutes as victims because they were easy to pick up without being noticed,” Mr. Ridgway said in his statement. “I knew they would not be reported missing right away and might never be reported missing. I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.”

On Thursday, a Suffolk County police spokeswoman said the search for evidence and additional bodies would expand over the Nassau County line starting Monday. Richard Dormer, the Suffolk police commissioner, told reporters that the search of the brush and grassy dunes on the Suffolk side was about to be completed. The police have no immediate plans to return to the Suffolk area, though Mr. Dormer left open that possibility. He had a message for what he described as women in the escort business: “They should be very careful with their contacts.”

The oldest profession is also one of the most deadly. The bodies of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of murdered prostitutes — women, men and transgender people — have been found in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut since 1990.

“It really feels like there's just an open war against this population,” said Sienna Baskin, a lawyer and co-director of the Urban Justice Center's Sex Workers Project, which provides legal and social services to New York City sex workers. “I think it makes all sex workers feel vulnerable to violence. Even if they're working in a safe way, they live in a world where this happens regularly. From sexual assaults to stalking to theft to police brutality, these are really daily experiences that many sex workers face.”

On Dec. 17, six days after the first body was found on Long Island, former and current prostitutes and their supporters gathered at the Metropolitan Community Church of New York on West 36th Street for a candlelight vigil. The names of 70 sex workers killed in 2010 in the United States and around the world were read, as part of the seventh annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. People took turns reading the names: of Amy Lynn Gillespie of Pittsburgh and Monta K. of Berlin and Alicia Lee of Las Vegas and dozens more.

Audacia Ray, 30, helped organize the vigil. Ms. Ray is a former New York City sex worker who, like the four women found on Long Island, advertised for clients on Craigslist. “It's always frightening,” Ms. Ray said of the Long Island case. “It feels like that could have been me. It could have been one of my friends.”

Before she retired about five years ago, Ms. Ray took precautions. She would call a friend on her cellphone when she arrived at a date with a client. Her friend on the other line already knew the address, and Ms. Ray made it a point to make the call in front of the client. Ms. Ray would tell her friend what time she would call back when the date was over. If she did not call back at the appointed time, the friend would wait 10 minutes and then call her. If Ms. Ray did not answer, the friend was instructed to call the police immediately.

“Sex workers often work in isolation because of the criminalized status of the work, but I don't think sex workers live in isolation,” said Ms. Ray, now program director for the Red Umbrella Project , which helps sex workers tell their stories publicly. “There's an assumption that if your life has gotten that bad, you're expendable. That's not true. A lot of people do care. We're just not listened to.”

After her daughter went missing in late 1996, Patricia Barone, 67, tried to get news media outlets in Poughkeepsie to cover the story. Most declined. The body of her daughter, Gina Barone, 29, was discovered nearly two years later, in September 1998, in Mr. Francois' ramshackle house a block from Vassar College.

Patricia Barone is raising her daughter's child, who turns 17 next month. Gina Barone is buried in Poughkeepsie. The priest who baptized her in 1968 is the one who offered her funeral Mass in 1998.

“If one Vassar College girl was missing, we would have had cops all over the place,” Patricia Barone said. “Every one of these women is somebody's child, and people don't kind of get that. Your children are your children no matter what they do out there.”


State Closer To Cracking Down On Sex Trafficking

Advocates For Sex Trafficking Push For Tougher Laws

(Video on site)

When it comes to the fight against sex trafficking, Kathryn Xian said Hawaii is far behind the rest of the country.

“Hawaii is one of four states left in the nation that doesn't have any local laws pertaining to human trafficking whatsoever, which has allowed for the proliferation of human trafficking in this state,” said Xian.

Xian said sex trafficking, which is coerced prostitution through force or fraud, is a multi-billion dollar industry. She said human trafficking experts anticipate the industry to exceed drug dealing in the next two decades.

“The problem has become so bad and there are so many victims now that you can see them on the streets on a daily basis, so the public has become forced to become aware of it,” said Xian.

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary committee passed a package of bills aimed at addressing the demand by cracking down on the pimps and johns, by making the violation a felony instead of misdemeanor.

“There is a concerted effort through the pieces of legislation to go after the promoters themselves and once you take the promoters off the streets that will significantly reduce prostitution,” said Sen. Clayton Hee.

Under Hawaii law, if someone is caught engaging in a sexual act with a prostitute, soliciting sex or agreeing to engage in sex for a fee, the offender faces up to 30 days in jail.

The pending legislation would target habitual offenders, increasing the prison term up to five years. The sex trafficking legislation already has the support of House judiciary chairman.

Its expected to pass both House and Senate as soon as next week before going to the governor for his approval, without further debate.


4 arrested in connection to Amber Alert face judge

(Video on site)

by: Kayla Anderson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The four people arrested in connection with Tuesday's Amber Alert want the charges dropped. They were in court Thursday afternoon, challenging the charges in connection with the kidnapping of 3 year old Ismyella Rodriguez.

The debate over Ismyella's blood relation to Mario Rodriguez had a big impact in the investigation of her alleged abduction. Police couldn't prove he's the father, so they issued an Amber Alert and charged him with kidnapping. On Thursday, the debate came back into the picture again. This time, the debate unfolded before a judge.

It was a family affair in Judge Maria Dominguez's courtroom. The man claiming to be Ismyella Rodriguez's father, her grandfather, an aunt and a family friend all appeared in court. Police say Mario Rodriguez forced his way into a babysitter's home and kidnapped Ismyella on Tuesday. He's charged with kidnapping. But the defense says the charge shouldn't stick.

"The charge of kidnapping is greatly overcharged and actually fits the statute of custodial interference," said the defense, appearing via video from the Metro Detention Center.

Using the same argument, the defense said conspiracy to commit kidnapping shouldn't stick in the cases against Jason Beech and Tricia Saucedo. They came to Albuquerque from Alamagordo and were found in a hotel room with Rodriguez and Ismyella.

"They came up from Alamagordo after the incident and were not involved in any pre conversations with Mr. Rodriguez," the defense said.

The judge wouldn't drop those charges either. And she wouldn't budge in the case of Ismyella's grandfather, Ubaldo Rodriguez. He too was in the hotel room that night. He's charged with conspiracy and harboring a felon.

But KOB Eyewitness News 4 has learned the harboring charge could be tossed out, because the state statute for harboring a felon doesn't apply to parents.

The cases against all four defendants will have to be turned over to a grand jury within 10 days, which will then decide if and how the charges will move forward.


Law would help sex trafficking victims start over

April, 7 2011

by DEB WEINSTEIN -- Associated Press

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A bill pending in the Nevada Legislature seeks to allow sex trafficking victims to expunge prostitution convictions from their records.

Assemblyman John Hambrick, D-Las Vegas, told the Assembly Committee of the Judiciary on Wednesday that these convictions pop up on background checks and often keep victims from landing employment elsewhere.

Hambrick said AB6 could remove this roadblock. If enacted, expunging the prostitution convictions would require victims to petition the court. Hambrick emphasized that this would be the extent of the requirements. “There would not be a plea bargain or false testimony to turn in someone or snitch on someone,” he said.

Current law focuses on individuals convicted of engaging in or soliciting prostitution outside of licensed houses of prostitution and grants the convicted two years to request a new trial if they can find new evidence.

AB6 is different because it focuses on men and women who were forced into prostitution. Hambrick said these women and men have often been kidnapped or sold and are “often prostituted out 15 times a day, six or seven days a week.” AB6 also eliminates the two-year window and says victims can petition courts once they are no longer in servitude.

Julie Janovsky, the senior policy specialist for the advocacy group Polaris Project, said background checks are what victims of sex-trafficking dread most during job interviews. “How do they defend they were convicted for prostitution?” she asked the committee. Janovsky said wiping away the prostitution convictions would help victims “move away from the abuse of their past.”

Jill Morris, director of Advocacy for the Not for Sale Campaign, said that job interviews aside, the current system tells victims they are criminals. Morris said wiping away the prostitution convictions would undo that.

Hambrick told the committee that AB6 will not compensate for the victims' trauma but “we have got to start someplace.”

No action was taken on the bill.


Catholic Charities employee charged with sex crime

(Video on site)

CLEVELAND -- One of Cleveland Catholic Charities many missions is to keep at-risk kids off the streets and on the straight and narrow. Now an administrator is caught in an FBI "child sex trafficking sting."

Were the disadvantaged children of the charity ever victims?

Director Jeffrey English Sr. was widely admired by many children at Saint Martin de Porres Family Center, run by Cleveland Catholic Charities.

Court records indicate English is now under house arrest facing federal prostitution charges in connection with child sex trafficking.

He lives on Cleveland's east side with his wife and son. No one came to the door to answer our questions.

At Catholic Charities headquarters, there are more questions than answers.

President and CEO Pat Gareau says federal investigators told him, "There is nothing linking what English is accused of with his job."

"It's not for certain whether some of the charity's children weren't involved. All the facts of the FBI investigation aren't known. The organization doesn't know exactly what English allegedly did," Gareau added.

Investigators aren't releasing details of the case, so they don't give away evidence.

English is not permitted to have contact of any kind with children. He can't be within 1,000 feet of where kids gather nor can he volunteer or work with children.


Lecture brings issue of human trafficking home

Slavery is often a term thought to have died in the United States with the 13th Amendment, but a different kind of slavery occurs today, even in Kansas. That slavery is now known as human trafficking.

"It is very prevalent, and it does not matter what part of Kansas you are from. Whether it's an urban setting, a rural setting or a suburban setting, human trafficking occurs," said Ariel Anib, junior in criminology and international studies and third-year scholar who is researching sex trafficking in Kansas.

Anib was one of two featured speakers at the luncheon and lecture, "Clogged Artery in the Heart of America: An Analysis of Human Trafficking in Kansas," provided for students and the community in the Town Hall Room at the School of Leadership Studies yesterday afternoon.

Anib is also president and founder of K-Staters That Care, a student organization dedicated to raising awareness and taking action to improve the global community.

Throughout the lecture, Anib provided an overview of human trafficking and debunked common myths about the issue.

She said human trafficking is characterized as exploitation and a form of "involuntary servitude," usually through the use or threat of force or coercion.

There are four main categories of human trafficking. While Anib said the majority of people automatically think of sex trafficking when they hear the term, she said most trafficking is actually forced labor.

"Forced labor may result when employers take advantage of gaps in law enforcement in order to exploit their workers who are vulnerable," she said.

Other forms of trafficking include involuntary domestic servitude and the recruitment of child soldiers.

Anib said there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about human trafficking because it is a vague term.

One misconception is that human trafficking is the same as human smuggling, but Anib said there are many fundamental differences.

"Human smuggling is a crime against a country's borders, whereas human trafficking is a crime against a person," she said.

Another myth is it should be easy for victims to come and report their abuse to the authorities, Anib said.

"They have been lied to by the people who are exploiting them, and they are convinced that the government does not care; that law enforcement does not care," she said.

Anib said sex trafficking is prevalent in different "hot spots," specifically in Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita. One reason for this, she said, is because Interstate 70 runs through Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, making it easier for exploiters to travel.

"People either use it as a passing point or a housing point," she said.

Anib discussed an example of sex trafficking in Johnson County through the China Rose Massage Parlors case.

"They were exploiting Chinese women and forcing them to have sex with customers under the facade of being a massage parlor," Anib said.

She said this type of exploitation in Kansas City usually occurs in nail salons, massage parlors or hotels. In western Kansas, Anib said there have been issues of labor trafficking at meat packaging plants where workers are sometimes forced to work for little to no pay.

David Link, immigration and criminal defense lawyer in Wichita, spoke about a few of the ways immigration law can currently assist victims of trafficking and provide relief. He is a partner at the Gragert, Hiebert, Gray and Link law firm, and he teaches at the University of Kansas law school.

Link said he perceives the issue of human trafficking to be a problem that is not legally supportable.

"There is an effort afoot to deny birthright citizenship to persons born in the United States of parents who are undocumented," he said.

While Link admitted that there are many issues with the immigration laws, he said there are opportunities for victims to find relief.

"The immigration law, for all its current faults and problems, has recognized the problem of persons who are undocumented but are subject to abuse or subject to trafficking or other forms of power imbalance, and that there is relief available for people in that situation," he said.

One such measure is the Violence Against Women Act. Link said this act amended the immigration laws to account for people who may have become subject to mental cruelty.

Link said sometimes marriage or parent-child relationships become an exertion of power when a person who already has citizenship threatens the other with deportation if they do not comply.

"Relief is available for people who find themselves in that position," he said.

Another provision is the T visa. The "T" stands for "trafficking," and this visa is available to victims of the crime. Link said it will eventually put them on the path toward a green card.

The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence is another good resource and starting point for people who need help, Link said.

Alba Chacon, junior in animal science, said she attended the lecture because it is an interesting and often overlooked topic. She said the main facts that sunk in were that human trafficking comes in forms other than sex trafficking and that it involves children, workers and more people than she thought.

Deb Kluttz, executive pastor of Westview Community Church, also attended the lecture. She said her church is making efforts to raise awareness and provide for the needs of trafficking victims, and she wanted to see how K-State is getting involved.

"If we can lock arms and do some things, I think that is a more powerful effort," she said. "I was thrilled they were doing several days of this for awareness' sake."

Anib encouraged the audience to educate themselves about these issues and to realize what part they can play in preventing trafficking, like by providing food, donations or education.

Both Anib and Link agreed that awareness is the first step toward lessening the human trafficking issue.

"Tell people, tell as many people as you can, because even if you tell one person, that person is going to go tell someone," Anib said.

The lecture was part of the Stop Slavery Summit 2011, sponsored by KSTC, the Union Program Council and the School of Leadership Studies.


Anything Angelina Jolie can do... Demi Moore jets into Nepal for a charity mission

by Daily Mail Reporter

April 7, 2011

Angelina Jolie isn't the only Hollywood actress lending her star power to a good cause.

Demi Moore has just spent five days in Nepal where she is filming a documentary for CNN on the sex trafficking trade.

She visited Maiti Nepal, an organisation aimed to protect women and girls from the crimes related to the sex trafficking industry and she met with Anuradha Koirala, the charity's founder.

The 62-year-old former school teacher last year won the coveted CNN Hero Of The Year Award for her work through the charity. The two women took part in a press conference raising awareness of the charity and its work.

Demi, 48, and Anuradha posed for pictures together and met with dozens of the women and girls helped by the organisation which, to date, has rescued over 12,000 women from sex slavery.

During her five day visit Demi was also escorted to Bhairahawa, one of the main entry points to Nepal from India for traffickers bringing women and children across the border.

She also visited Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha. That too was recorded for the documentary by the accompanying CNN team.

Demi posted a message on her Twitter about the trip saying: 'Excited to be visiting Annuradha and Maiti Nepal today with @CNNFreedom Project! She has rescued over 12k women and girls from sex slavery!'

The sex trafficking trade is a cause close to Demi's heart as she started her own charity supporting the issue called The Demi And Ashton Foundation, alongside her husband Ashton Kutcher.

The charity aims to raise awareness about child sex slavery and help victims.

Jolie, meanwhile, has just returned from a charity visit to the Tunisia-Libya border.

The goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees urged the world community to continue helping Tunisia with its refugee crisis as thousands flood in from its war-torn neighbor, Libya.


Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli Speaks at the Department of Education's Gender-Based Violence Summit

Washington, D.C. ~ Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thank you Catherine for the introduction. And let me thank the Department of Education for hosting this summit and bringing us together to begin working on long-term, sustainable solutions to prevent gender-based violence among young people. I am excited to be here today to talk about how we work collaboratively on the federal level to develop a comprehensive strategy.

Let me start by talking about how we at the Department of Justice approach this issue. Usually, when folks think of the Attorney General and DOJ, they think about protecting national security, about putting criminals in jail, about defending the President's health care policies. But our job is public safety in all its forms – and I feel so fortunate to work for an Attorney General who has a vision of justice that starts with preventing crime before it happens, protecting our children, and ending cycles of violence and victimization. No matter what the disagreements are in Washington about funding for particular programs, we can all agree that every young person deserves the opportunity to grow and develop free from fear of violence.

The types of crimes we are discussing here ripple across the public and private spheres: in the form of child sexual abuse, rape, sexual exploitation and sex trafficking, teen dating violence, sexting, cyberbullying, and violence in school settings against students who do not conform to stereotypical notions of how boys or girls are supposed to act. Gender-based violence is an urgent criminal justice and safety issue that demands the full attention of not only the federal government but state, tribal, local and community partners if we are to be effective. Stopping violence at the earliest possible stage in people's lives will have the greatest long-term effect on reducing crime/violence and improving the health and livelihood of generations to come. It is all of our job, every day.

I'd like to share with you some of the things we're currently doing at the Department of Justice to tackle this problem of gender-based violence by our youth, with a particular focus on the one place where we call come together -- our primary schools and our universities and colleges. Many of you know us for our enforcement – in partnership with the Department of Education – of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to protect the rights of students from all forms of harassment and violence based on gender. But we are engaged in this fight on so many other fronts as well.

One of the top priorities of this Department and a legacy item for AG Holder is the Defending Childhood Initiative. Many of you may be familiar with this initiative, but it's genesis goes back more than a decade. When Eric Holder was Deputy Attorney General, he was struck by the research that showed that for every child that came in contact with the criminal justice system, there were 20, 30, 40, 100 moments in time where early intervention could have made a difference; had one of those missed opportunities been taken, one often would have found a child affected by violence at a young age who ultimately found there way to committing violence themselves, taking drugs, having trouble in school, etc. He began an initiative on children exposed to violence, which led to much of the critical research that has taught us about the impact of violence on young people.

When he returned as Attorney General, he began immediately where he left off, in what has now become the Defending Childhood initiative. This initiative seeks to redefine how the Justice Department responds to children who experience violence, witness violence, or suffer ongoing negative ramifications from violence. We hope to harness resources from across the Department (and across other federal agencies and state, local, and tribal partners) to – first, prevent exposure to violence when possible; second to mitigate the negative impact of violence when it does occur; and third, to develop knowledge and spread awareness that will ultimately improve our homes, cities, towns, and communities. I am proud of the work we have done already in communities across the country, through our grantees and US Attorneys offices, to launch innovative programs and continue to cultivate and share best practices.

Defending Childhood cuts across the entire Department, but I also want to highlight the great work that a number of our components are doing individually. The Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is heavily involved in addressing the issues of gender-based violence. For years, the juvenile justice field has struggled to understand how best to respond to girls involved in the juvenile justice system. Research indicates that the vast majority (90%) of incarcerated girls have histories of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. They have been exposed to family violence; suffer from substance use; experience widespread school failure; and have complex health and mental health needs. In comparison to boys in the juvenile justice system, studies have shown that abuse and neglect are more common, start earlier in life, and have longer-lasting effects on girls.

OJJDP is leading two efforts to investigate ways to address the gender-based violence and victimization of our girls and its impact on juvenile delinquency: (1) the interdisciplinary Girls Study Group, designed to remedy systemic issues that result in disparate treatment of girls in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and (2) the "Strengthening Initiative for Native Girls" (SING)—which is assisting the La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians to establish a Native Girls Group focused on reinforcing self-esteem and other prevention strategies.

OJJDP has also long worked on one of the most serious types of gender-based violence, the commercial sexual exploitation of children, including domestic sex trafficking. A primary partner in this effort is the Harlem based Girls Educational and Mentoring Services program (GEMS). In addition to the outreach work they conduct in the New York City Schools, the program provides training to law enforcement and others in communities across the country on the prevention, identification, and intervention of girls being drawn into commercial sexual exploitation.

We are also learning how to respond to a new environment influencing the relationships of our young people. OJJDP has initiated research to better understand the emerging phenomenon of sexting among our youth. Early evidence indicates that girls' explicit photos are forwarded and “go viral” three times more often than pictures of boys, creating a new area of concern for our young women, which we at Justice hope to tackle.

We think that part of the answer lies in helping our young people learn to develop healthy relationships. The Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has been a leader in supporting a growing body of research into teen dating violence to better our understanding of the causes and consequences of teen dating violence, as well as the effectiveness of a range of prevention and intervention programs.

In the fall of 2005, the Federal Interagency Workgroup on Teen Dating Violence was formed under NIJ leadership. This workgroup—with representatives from the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Education, Defense, Interior, and the Office of the Vice President—meets regularly to coordinate Federal research, program and policy efforts. The group convened a 2007 conference on “Teen Dating Violence: Developing a Research Agenda to Meet Practice Needs,” which resulted in increased funding opportunities and grant support at both NIJ and NIH in this emerging research area.

We learn so much every year. We know we need to start our prevention efforts younger and younger, because the brain science tells us that the critical periods of learning and development come early and we know that young people are dating younger and younger. In so many ways, our best allies, our best teachers, our most important partners are young people themselves. We can talk about government programs and ideas coming from Washington all we want, but we have to meet young people where they are. We must recognize that teens have their own culture—their own way of relating to one another. They need to be empowered to design programs that will work for them.

Nowhere have I learned this lesson more than when I heard from a speaker you will hear from shortly. Amber Johnson was on part of a panel discussion that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Education held in December of 2009 with young people to discuss health relationships among teens. It quickly focused on how teens can best help each other, in particular through Amber's work with Start Strong.

We are excited at DOJ to support such programs. One such project funded through OVW is collaboration between the Family Violence Prevention Fund AD Council is That's Not, an interactive website about digital abuse. The website provides interactive, web-based tools and resources to prevent teen dating violence; it promotes positive friendships and relationships, raises awareness about the signs of abuse, and most importantly, educates teens about the “digital gray areas”—texting, instant messaging, social networking. In just one three-month period last year (2010) the site received 145,486 visits. Last year as part of the 15 th anniversary of VAWA campaign and the first full Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, That's Not Cool entered into a partnership with the NFL Player's Association to launch a contest that invited teens to create a callout card. The winner attended the NFL Players' Association Gala and runner's up received NFL autographed memorabilia. We are encouraged by these types of partnerships and creative thinking that find new ways to engage teens by appealing to their own interests.

Another program comes from a less well-known source – the Justice Department's Community Relations Service (“CRS”), which was created in the Civil Rights Act of '64 address conflict and civil rights issues. CRS works with young people in schools and in the community to help prevent and respond effectively to gender-based violence. CRS offers services to help support and empower youth, with the goal of creating a sustainable environment of respect and understanding in schools.

One of those services is the Student Problem Identification and Resolution of Issues Together (SPIRIT) Program—an interactive student based problem-solving program that engages students in developing solutions together to problems associated with allegations of discrimination, harassment, and hate activity in schools and creating the safest possible environment for learning. SPIRIT also engages school administrators, teachers, school resource officers, local officials, community leaders, and parents in the process of identifying and responding to these conflicts in schools creating a safe environment where student viewpoints are respected.

We know that intervening in early education is a critical step, but the work does not end there. We are alarmed by the level of sexual assault on our nation's college campuses. A National Institute of Justice (NIJ) study on the extent of sexual assault among college women found that over the course of a college career 1 in 4 women will be raped. To learn more about efforts around the country aimed at curbing this unacceptable statistic, Department of Justice leadership visited 11 universities around the nation in March of last year, including public, private, faith-based and Historically Black institutions. We spoke with students about ways to prevent violence against women on college campuses, and the role that federal, state and local government, working with university staff, faculty and students, should play in ensuring that these crimes are taken seriously and their victims and perpetrators treated appropriately. We were encouraged to see that in many instances, students had confronted the issue of sexual assault head-on and organized grassroots cross-campus efforts to educate on sexual assault and motivate others to get involved. I would note that one of the most common topics discussed and an area for future work by us was the issue of bystanders and how they can be drawn more effectively into the fight against violence – an issue that the Vice-President spoke so eloquently about earlier this week.

I know that I have breezed through a number of things that we are doing at DOJ, but they are really only the tip of the iceberg. Whether it's using the platform that the Attorney General and other Department officials have to speak on these issues, the funding that we receive from Congress to focus on these issues, or the daily work of the extraordinary people at OJJDP, OVW, and other parts of the Department, we are committed to finding solutions so that we may reach our ultimate goal of helping our youth live free of violence.

This is everyone's fight, and summits like this that emphasize collaboration across all agencies, disciplines, and age groups are critical. Thank you – for your partnership and leadership, for your enthusiasm, and for your vision of a world where our children are no longer exposed to gender-based violence or any type of violence. Together, we can usher in a new era of service to and support of the most precious and vulnerable among us; and in so doing, we can transform the country that we love for the better – one child at a time.

Thank you.


Missing Children Reports Up 4% In 2010

April 6, 2011

ALBANY—The number of children reported missing in New York State increased by 4 percent in 2010, but only two stranger abduction cases were reported, according to a report issued Wednesday by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).

The report, notes that the vast majority of children reported as missing – 94 percent – turn out to be runaways.

In 2010, the State Missing and Exploited Children Clearinghouse (MECC), which is housed at DCJS, received 20,309 reports of missing children, 19,026 of which involved runaways, according to the MECC 2010 Annual Report:

Of the 196 reported abductions, 188 were familial abductions and six children were abducted by an acquaintance. There were only two cases reported in which a child was abducted by a stranger.

The entire report, with a county-by-county breakdown on missing children, is available on the DCJS website:

In addition to releasing the report, Acting Commissioner Sean M. Byrne announced that DCJS will partner with the non-profit Center for HOPE on Saturday, April 9 to provide relatives of missing persons with an opportunity to “bank” their DNA in hopes that genetic fingerprinting will provide clues in missing persons and unidentified remains cases. Forensic specialists will be on hand at the 10th annual Missing Persons’ Day event at the New York State Museum in Albany.

New York State sponsors two key programs – AMBER Alerts and Missing Child/ College Student Alerts – that attempt to promptly enlist the public when a child or college student goes missing.

The AMBER Alert program is a voluntary partnership between DCJS, the New York State Police, the New York State Broadcasters Association, local law enforcement and others to immediately involve the public in the search for an abducted child. An AMBER Alert, which results in immediate dissemination of information on television and radio stations and at lottery terminals and highway variable message signs, is issued only when a child has been abducted and is believed to be in danger of serious bodily harm or death. In 2010, two AMBER alerts were issued:

• On April 30, an AMBER Alert was issued at the request of the New York City Police Department when a mentally disabled 12-year-old girl left home with her four-year-old sister. The girls were found the following afternoon by a police official who had seen the alert.

• On July 3, an AMBER Alert was issued at the request of the New York State Police after a five-month-old child was abducted from court-ordered foster care in Essex County by non-custodial parents. The child was recovered near Memphis, Tenn. and the abductors were arrested.

The Missing Child/ College Student Alert program is used in cases that do not meet the AMBER alert criteria. In those cases, broadcast station managers decide if and when to disseminate the information; highway variable message signs and lottery terminals are not used. Last year, one Missing Child/ College Student Alert was issued:

• On Jan. 24, an alert was issued at the request of the New York City Police Department after a seven-year-old boy, Patrick Alford, went missing from foster care in Brooklyn. The boy is still missing.

“It’s hard to imagine anything more terrifying or heart-wrenching for a parent than to have their child go missing, regardless of whether the child is lost, abducted or ran away,” Acting Commissioner Byrne said. “Last year, every county in New York except Hamilton reported at least one missing child case. Twenty-eight of the 62 counties reported an increase in missing child cases, and 20 experienced a double-digit increase. We are committed to doing everything we can to, first, prevent these disappearances and, two, to facilitate the prompt and safe return of children when they do go missing.”

DCJS staff will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday – Missing Persons’ Day – to collect DNA from family members of missing persons. The initiative with the Center for HOPE allows relatives of missing persons to “bank” their DNA for comparison against unidentified remains.

The Center for HOPE (Healing Our Painful Emotions) was co- founded by Doug and Mary Lyall, to assist families who have experienced the heartaches and challenges of having a loved one that is missing. The Lyalls’ daughter, Suzanne, has been missing since March 2, 1998.

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; operation of the DNA databank and criminal fingerprint files; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry and a toll-free telephone number (1-800-262-3257) and website that allows anyone to research the status of an offender:

The Missing and Exploited Children Clearinghouse was established within DCJS in 1987. MECC provides investigative support services for law enforcement, assistance to left-behind family members and community education programs. It also operates the 1-800-FIND-KID hotline (1-800-346-3543), where information about missing children and leads can be reported 24/7.


  UAE: Emirati officer accused of human trafficking in Rhode Island

April 6, 2011

An Emirati military officer has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Rhode Island on human trafficking and other charges after the officer allegedly took a Filipino woman working as a maid for him and his family to the United States and then kept her there under slave-like conditions.

Arif Mohamed Saeed Mohamed Al-Ali, 46, who is currently enrolled in a one-year program at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, is accused of taking the woman's passport, forcing her to work long hours without pay and forbidding her from talking to anyone outside the family or attending religious services, the Providence Journal reported Wednesday.

Al-Ali is also accused of providing authorities with false documents in an attempt to prove he paid the woman $19,000 in wages, which were allegedly never transferred to her. Al-Ali pleaded not guilty on Tuesday. The woman, who ran away in October, is reportedly in hiding.

Human rights organizations have long been critical of the treatment of Asian and African domestic workers employed in Arab countries, and sadly, stories like the one that allegedly took place in Rhode Island are not uncommon in the region.

According to the Journal's report, Al-Ali had hired her through a company based in the United Arab Emirates, which has been singled out for its poor treatment of foreign workers. The situation in the region is so bad that the government of the Philippines has already banned its citizens from going to certain Arab countries to work as maids and nannies.

Several local initiatives have been launched over the years to raise awareness regarding domestic worker abuse in Arab countries. In 2008, a high-profile media campaign titled "rahma" or "mercy", aimed at Saudi citizens, sparked controversy with a series of shocking print and television advertisements featuring foreign drivers and maids wearing dog collars and horse bridles with the tagline "don't deny me my humanity."


Man who volunteers at high school in Azusa arrested on suspicion of having sex with student

April 6, 2011

A 23-year-old man who volunteered at Gladstone High School in Azusa was arrested on suspicion of having sex with a 16-year-old student, police said Wednesday night.

Eric Doung was arrested on felony sex charges and was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, the Azusa Police Department said.

Doung is also a volunteer at Tustin High School and El Modena High in Orange, police said.

The parents of the student contacted authorities after they believed their child had an inappropriate relationship with the volunteer, according to police, who did not say whether the student was a girl or boy.

Doung is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday at the Pomona courthouse.

Anyone with information is asked to call Azusa police Det. Jerry Jarrett at (626) 812-3200 .


Dead Camp Counselor's Mom Feared He Was Molester

Sandwich Camp Good News Worker Found Shot Inside Truck

(Video on site)

BOSTON -- The mother of camp employee accused of molesting a boy at the Cape Cod summer camp had a startling response to his suicide Wednesday.

Sandra Devita, who now lives in Florida, told the Boston Herald she feared her son might be a molester and she confronted him about it, but he then stopped talking to her 19 years ago.

“He's my kid, I hate to say it ... I was afraid of this. He was doing some stuff that I thought was strange,” she told the Herald.

Charles “Chuck” Devita, 43, of Forestdale, was found dead of a single gunshot wound inside his truck at Camp Good News, police said. DeVita was a groundskeeper at the camp, which also made headlines when Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown revealed he was abused as a child.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe said the man who was found dead was the subject of an abuse allegation. A law enforcement source told the Herald DeVita left a note saying he was “tired of being accused” of molesting children.

Earlier this week, a former camper came forward after Brown's abuse revelations surfaced and said he was abused while attending the camp in 1985.

The Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office this week launched an investigation into accusations by that camper, now a 36-year-old man, who said he was repeatedly assaulted at the camp in 1985 when he was a 10-year-old camper.

He said the employee still worked at the camp.

"The person my client accused of sexually molesting him is Chuck DeVita," said attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents the man. The camp issued a statement saying, "The Camp Good News family is deeply saddened by the loss of our long time employee. Our heartfelt prayers are with Chuck's family," and a current camp worker vouched for his character.

"Chuck is by far one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. He has a heart of gold and would give anyone the shirt off his back," co-worker Kathy Ciccotelli said.

Garabedian said DeVita would have been in his late teens at the time and has held many posts at the camp over the years.

"The criminal case will end against Chuck DeVita. You cannot prosecute a person who has died. I will bring a civil suit, if possible, against the estate of Chuck DeVita and the supervisors at the camp," Garabedian said.

Garabedian said his client was saddened by the circumstances "Victims have many reactions to death of their alleged perpetrators. A lot of them feel sad that a person died. Others feel cheated they didn't get to confront their alleged perpetrators," Garabedian said.

Brown said he has nothing to do with this case. He hasn't been contacted by investigators, and he said he doesn't know the alleged victim that came forward Tuesday.

Brown said he doesn't even know if the man who abused him 42 years ago is still alive, and if he is, the senator has made it clear he has no interest in pursuing any charges.


Hearing witness says Nevada is haven for sex traffickers

by Ed Vogel


CARSON CITY -- Because of its legal brothel industry, Nevada is a haven for sex traffickers who force young girls and boys into prostitution, a witness said Wednesday during a hearing on a bill to help the young victims begin normal lives.

"People know because prostitution is legal in some places in Nevada, and they think they can get away with it (sex trafficking)," said Jill Morris, an advocate for the Not for Sale campaign.

Morris was among a host of supporters who testified in favor of Assembly Bill 6, which would allow female and male victims of sex trafficking, no matter their age, to petition courts to have records of their prostitution and related convictions vacated.

The bill's sponsor, Assemblyman John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, said this is important because, when former prostitutes seek to go straight and find regular employment, they now must report arrests for prostitution on their applications.

"They can't explain that away," Hambrick said. "They don't get hired and they again are victims. These are people who have prostituted 10 to 15 times a day by their pimps."

No action was taken on the bill, although Judiciary Chairman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, voiced his support. It must be passed out of the committee by April 15, or it is dead for the rest of the session.

Boys and girls as young as 12, many of them foreigners, are forced into prostitution, said Julie Janovsky, a representative of the Polaris Project, a national group combating human trafficking.

She said sex trafficking worldwide is a $32 billion business, second only to drug trafficking among illegal ventures.

"Some of the victims have daily quotas of $500 to $1,200 a night," she said. "If they don't meet them, they are abused or tortured or even starved. They suffer severe physical and psychological trauma."

But the most unsettling part of the testimony may have been Morris' statement that Las Vegas and Reno are havens for sex trafficking because of legal prostitution in nearby rural counties.

During a speech before the Legislature on Feb. 22, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., received a silent reaction when he called for legislators to end legal prostitution.

Hambrick said following Wednesday's hearing that he supports the current law that allows prostitution in rural counties by local option. There are 24 legal brothels.

George Flint, the lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Association, testified in favor of Hambrick's bill.

He said the legal brothels "do not hire underage girls" or have anything to do with pimps. But he said 5,000 people were arrested last year in Clark County for prostitution.

"You are not going to do away with prostitution, no matter what you do," Flint added.

He said he knew a former Wyoming prostitute who struggled for more than 10 years in finding straight employment because of her prostitution background.

Las Vegas police lobbyist Chuck Callaway said his department supports the bill because it would "help turn around lives of victims of human trafficking."

Larry Struve, a representative for the Religious Alliance of Nevada (RAIN), which represents major churches, called the bill compassionate legislation.

"RAIN is about redemption, giving people an opportunity to turn their lives around and be whole again," he said.


Justice Could Be Near For Calif Girl Held 18 Years


A California woman who was abducted as a girl in 1991 and held captive for 18 years may be about to get her first measure of justice.

Defendant Phillip Garrido , a convicted rapist accused of fathering Jaycee Dugard's two children by rape after kidnapping her with his wife, is expected to plead guilty Thursday as part of a plea deal that would keep him in prison for the rest of his life.

The agreement was outlined last week during a closed-door meeting that attorney Stephen Tapson says he attended with prosecutors, Garrido's public defender and the judge presiding over the highly publicized case.

Tapson represents Garrido's wife and co-defendant Nancy Garrido.


Please don't legalise prostitution, say victims

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) Twenty-year-old Noor was just 10 when she was sold off to a brothel owner and forced into sex trade in West Bengal. She was rescued by activists a decade later and went on to become a vociferous community mobiliser. Noor says prostitution should not be legalised.

‘Prostitution is a vicious world. If a woman gets trapped, it sucks the life out of her. Only traffickers and pimps profit from it. Legalising prostitution will not empower women,' Noor told IANS when she was here for a conference.

She said when a girl first enters the brothel, she is called a ‘chukri' or a trainee prostitute, offered a roof and two meals a day but her earnings are kept with the brothel owner.

Even if she is given the permission to go after a year or so, she is not given the money. So she returns.

As age progresses and her clients wear down, she becomes an ‘adhya', meaning half. She is given half her earnings but has to pay for her bed and food. She stays on until a miserable end.

Fatima Nat Dhuniya, another survivor of the sex trade, said instead of legalising prostitution, what is actually needed is an amendment in the law so that clients and not the victims are held accountable.

‘All organisations and individuals who say that prostitution should be legalised have not lived our lives. If you really want to help us, change the law so that next time the policeman does not harass the woman and punishes the client instead,' Dhuniya told IANS.

‘If there is no customer, the shop will close,' she added.

Dhuniya said she was married off at the age of nine. She kept going back home to be with her friends and play with them, but she was always sent back.

‘I found it strange that my mother-in-law used to keep five girls in the house who served clients. I was exploited and beaten up by my husband,' she said.

‘Then I met a woman from an NGO who said it was really on me if I wanted to fight my way out of the mess. I started speaking to the girls and found that they were bought for a price and had to serve clients. But the money remained with my mother-in-law,' she added.

With great difficulty and even greater courage, she told her parents – who had no idea about the situation – and left the house. Later she helped the girls escape.

Today she works as a community mobiliser who helps the daughters of sex workers study, so they are not forced to go the same way.

According to Sheila Jeffreys, feminist scholar and political activist from Australia where prostitution is legalised, it has not helped combat illegal sex trade.

‘Legalisation of prostitution in Australia has not helped in combating the illegal industry, nor has it helped in overall betterment of women,' said Jeffreys, who has authored the book ‘The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade'.

‘Eighty percent of the brothels in a state for instance are illegal and organised crime thrives in these illegal brothels,' she added.

Suggesting instead to make a law or amend the law that criminalises the client and not the victim, Ruchira Gupta of Apne Aap, an NGO that works for the upliftment of women who have been victims of sex trafficking, said: ‘Maybe we can take the lead from Korea.'

‘South Korea has passed a law that punishes buyers. In the Philippines too, more and more people – which includes a lot of men – are moving the senate, taking up the issue of prostitution and how victims should not be victimised. So we can follow them and amend our law, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, so that the victim is not punished,' Gupta told IANS.

Gupta, who organised a conference of survivors and members of civil society from at least 11 countries in the capital this week, also released a list of 10 reasons why prostitution should not be legalised.

‘Legalisation of prostitution promotes sex trafficking, increases child prostitution and does not protect women in prostitution. It increases the demand for prostitution and thereby boosts the motivation of men to buy women for sex in a much wider setting,' said the list, endorsed by several activists and survivors.

‘And women in systems of prostitution do not want the sex industry legalised or decriminalised,' she added.

Those in support of decriminalisation of prostitution say it will control the sex industry, will promote women's health and give them the power to stop being exploited by removing the menace of middlemen.

Quoting the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Apne Aap said there are 1.2 million prostituted children in India, of which girls form the majority.


Human trafficking closer to home than many realize

by The Inkwell Editorial Board

You might know Georgia as home of cotton fields and the Varsity, but few think of it as home of a major human trafficking problem. Human trafficking, which can come in the forms of either sex trafficking or labor trafficking, is a global issue with a little-known local presence.

In 2009, the FBI arrested a couple from Ellenwood, near Atlanta, for "forced labor; document servitude, which is confiscating someone's passport and visa; and harboring an alien for financial gain," according to the FBI website. This minister and his wife, along with their live-in, illegal unpaid maid, are a perfect example of local human trafficking. But not all trafficking is quite so mild. While slavery itself is plenty revolting, instances of sex trafficking have been discovered in Atlanta and are being investigated in Macon.

In fact, Macon will hold a massage ordinance hearing April 19 at Macon City Hall to discuss massage spas suspected of fronting for sex trafficking. Of course, it's possible that these massage spas are perfectly legitimate, but history proves this common guise is certainly worth an ordinance or two that can completely eliminate the possibility of more.

One common misconception that follows human trafficking is that people are physically restrained from leaving., a website dedicated to putting an end to human trafficking in Georgia, explains that the chains that bind people to human traffickers are rarely physical, but more often of a financial nature. Victims are forced into slavery to pay their debts or escape threatening situations. Not only is this horrifying to victims, it should be horrifying to you.

The U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 defines sex trafficking as follows: "Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. A victim need not be physically transported from one location to another in order for the crime to fall within these definitions."

As uncomfortable a topic as this one may be, it's a problem that will only fester if ignored. Illegal prostitution and trafficking exists, and until we're willing to watch for the signs and call people and businesses out for their unethical actions, it can only get worse. Taking down this filthy global business that brings in $32 billion per year, according to, is worth the effort it will take.

Georgia legislators are making small steps in the right direction with House Bill 200, which proposes an increase in punishment for child traffickers and customers. The bill passed through the House and Senate and now awaits Gov. Deal's signature. Still, this change alone is not enough.

It's up to people like us to keep our eyes and ears open and not to shy away from issues that make us squeamish. Human trafficking may not always be obvious, but it is always wrong. If you were in a strange place, where people spoke a strange language and demanded you did strange things, without question you'd want someone fighting on your behalf, too. has a list of questions that may help you identify sex trafficking if you ever find yourself wondering. But remember, this is a mobile problem, so even when one sex shop shuts down, another may open a few miles away to replace it. Only a large movement can stop human trafficking altogether, and that kind of movement takes people and interest.


Natasha Herzig - talks to kids
at high her former school
  Former Sex Slave Natasha Herzig Speaks Out About Human Trafficking

Natasha Herzig is working to raise awareness of human trafficking ten years after she was abducted and forced to work as a sex slave, reports the Medford Mail Tribune.

Herzig was 19 years old when she was kidnapped in the spring of 2001.

After being approached at the mall, she was lured to a fake meeting at a restaurant with a woman posing as a representative of a makeup company. When Herzig left the eatery, a man with a gun forced her into a nearby Mercedes and drove her away.

Over the next 10 months, Herzig's captor brought her and her fellow victims around the country to serve as sex slaves at major sporting events and conventions.

He constantly threatened her and her family, forcing her to call her parents and say that she was fine in order to avoid having them file a missing person report.

Herzig made the decision to escape while she was in New York, where she saw her kidnapper beat another sex slave so severely that her eye almost came out of its socket. She and her friend called the police, who soon returned them to their families.

She now works to raise awareness of sex trafficking, drawing attention to the fact that it continues to happen even in the United States.

"Natasha has been so courageous in telling her story," said Ashland, Oregon police detective Carrie Hull. "She is getting ready to testify against her kidnapper, her pimp. And she has just testified on Capitol Hill on sex trafficking."

According to International Crisis Aid, there were approximately 100,000 to 150,000 sex slaves in the United States between 2001 and 2005. The organization provides rescue services to people who have been abducted by sexual trafficking rings.



Hospital Unit Dedicated to Helping Sexual Assault Victims

MISSION - A Valley hospital has become a safe place to help sexual assault victims, including those rescued from the sex trafficking world.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS got an exclusive look at this unit in the Mission hospital. It is quickly becoming a safe place to help sex trafficking victims.

As we've reported more sex trafficking victims are being smuggled through the Valley. Once they're rescued or escape, they need medical attention.

The nurse who started the unit didn't want victims to walk through the emergency room, past a lot of people to get to her. She didn't want them to be traumatized again.

Somewhere deep inside Mission hospital is a safe place. No doctors or nurses rushing around, no patients rushing in.

Evonne Lopez is a sexual assault nurse. She gave us a tour of the secret unit. It's called the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner unit, or SAFE.

Lopez says since the unit opened they've had 200 victims pass through their doors. The victims are mostly children, mostly under 18 years old.

"They look like lost little girls that got caught up in some kind of system and didn't know any better," said Lopez. "Now they're getting help."

Four sex trafficking victims came through the doors here in the past few weeks. They were rescued by Rio Grande City officers during a traffic stop. The suspected traffickers smuggled the girls from Camargo to prostitute them. She says the rescues are picking up.

Lopez examines victims to see what kind of injuries they have. She uses a secure digital forensic imaging camera to document their injuries.

She's creating a legal paper trail through pictures.

"They can't be photoshopped so they're admissible in court," she added.

The camera cost $25,000. It helps Lopez find injuries on victims that aren't visible to the naked eye. She expects to use this system a lot more for trafficking victims.

"I think the more people are aware, the more the victims will be rescued, the more we'll see them coming in," said Lopez.

She says the demand to help victims could make the unit at the hospital an even bigger place soon.

Evonne Lopez tells us when victims walk through her door, they immediately have access to counseling, shelter and whatever else they need. The unit is funded mostly by private donations.


Sex slavery continues in Europe in spite of progressive attitudes

by Jim Kouri

International human trafficking, especially sex-slavery, appears to continue unabated despite law enforcement operations, government studies and even politically-correctness. There are several scholars and organizations in the United States who have advocated the legalization of prostitution in order to remove the crime from the sex trade.

But, as with most programs dreamed up by the American elite, there may be a downside to the legalization of prostitution and the sex trade. If one removes the profit motive for an illegal activity, organized crime will always subvert the system in order to maintain their profits.

For example, in the Netherlands, the recent arrest of pimps and "window brothel" owners in Amsterdam's red light district revealed the continuation of organized crime gangs involved in the sex trade. And this is almost 11 years after the legislature in the Netherlands passed the so-called Brothel Law.

The rationale for the law, at least in past, was legalizing prostitution would reduce the presence of organized crime in the sex trade. Brothels were licensed, opened for health inspections, and both owners and prostitutes would be taxed as would any other legitimate business and worker.

The progressives hoped the new legislation would curtail the involvement of criminal organizations in prostitution by legalizing the sex trade and allowing sex workers to form part of the legal economy.

Unfortunately after more than a decade the Brothel Law is at best limited in its success, at worst another exercise in liberal futility.

Organized crime gangs did what organized crime gangs usually do: adjust their operation and search for loopholes in order to achieve illegal profits from criminal activity.

For example, the Brothel Law stipulates only those able to legally work in the Netherlands could seek employment in the sex trade.

This opened the door to "exotic" women and those exotic women were usually illegal aliens being forces at times into participating in the sex trade. These illegal alien women -- some still in their early teens -- are from outside the European Union or from those countries in the EU not eligible to work in the Netherlands.

As a result, criminal groups are able to exploit the potential of trafficking women from outside the EU to work in the sex trade, allowing them to profit from prostitutes working outside the legalized sex trade.


Siddharth Kara
  Author explains economics of ‘modern-day slavery' to STC

April 6, 2011

by Naxiely Lopez

The Monitor

McALLEN — In order to stop human trafficking, society must attack the problem with an economic perspective, author and consultant Siddharth Kara said during a speech Wednesday morning at South Texas College.

Kara — presented as “one of the foremost experts in human trafficking and modern-day slavery” — has spent the past 11 years in 20 different countries throughout six continents exploring the underworld of at least 1,000 victims of slavery, he said.

The author of “Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Global Slavery” was invited as a keynote speaker for STC's fifth annual human trafficking conference, aimed at raising awareness and creating a networking platform for professionals within related fields.

“Slavery still exists in the modern world,” Kara said. “Far more needs to be done.”

Almost 1 million people are trafficked across international borders each year and countless more are kidnapped or sold within their own countries, conference organizers said.

But Laura Peña, a senior adviser to the U.S. State Department's under secretary for democracy and global affairs, warned the audience about the common misconception that there must be movement in order for people to be trafficked.

Peña, who gave the opening remarks, spoke about the role the federal government is taking in trying to prevent this type of crime, for which prosecutions have increased, she said. Many countries are beginning to take action against the illicit practice, but much is left to be done, both speakers said.

“Borders are porous,” Kara said as a projector screen displayed a picture of a segmented portion of the U.S.-Mexico border fence, drawing laughter from the audience.

In Mexico, many victims won't come forward because of the threat of organized crime and corrupt law enforcement and public officials, Peña said.

Kara suggested increasing salaries for anti-trafficking prosecutors, judges and others in the field to deter them from taking bribes. He also said creating special fast-track courts and fully funded victims' witness protection programs would help.

Extreme poverty drives many people into the business, he said. At least 1 billion people worldwide live on less than $1.25 a day.

Kara estimates there are between 30 million to 36 million slaves when taking into account those who are trafficked as a result of a lack of a reasonable alternative.

“Some people say, ‘You voluntarily entered into that world,'” Kara said. “But is it really a choice when the alternative is starvation and death? I argue no.”

Without including that group, Kara estimates there are at least 22.5 million slaves.

“It's not just a moral crime … it's an economic crime,” said Kara, whose background is in law and finance.

Traffickers maximize their profits by eliminating labor costs, which lowers operating expenses and allows manufacturers to sell products at a lower cost to consumers, he said.

“Labor is always the highest-cost component,” Kara said.

Human trafficking as a business practice is enticing because many countries do not punish the traffickers financially, he said. That means traffickers can generate an immense profit at almost no risk.

In order to create a risk, which he said will deter the use of forced labor, countries have to dole out harsher punishments for those who take part in human bondage.

Before concluding the speech, Kara recounted a comment he heard from a Nigerian girl named Gift who was a victim of sex trafficking.

“Do you think anybody really cares about people like me?” she asked him.

“And that's a question I ask you,” he said. “Do you really care?”


Quebec TV station launches missing kids app

by QMI Agency

A public safety television channel in Quebec has released a smartphone app aimed at helping police find missing children.

Avis de recherche, or, launched the app called Child Alert on Wednesday for the iPhone, and plans to launch a version for phones that run Google's Android operating system soon.

The app allows parents to create and save a detailed profile of their children -- height, weight, eye colour, distinguishing features, and photographs.

"When an Amber Alert is activated, time is crucial and every minute counts -- so having an electronic ID profile on a cellphone seems like an extremely valuable tool. We will clearly be able to save a lot of time by broadcasting accurate details of the child," said Sgt. Jean-Yves McCann, Amber Alert co-ordinator for Quebec's provincial police force.

"And broadcasting photos will greatly increase our chances of success. I would therefore encourage parents ... to use this application, which could become a kind of police insurance if your child ever disappears or is abducted."

The app costs $0.99, and part of the proceeds will go to charities that help locate missing kids, said


Tracy's Blue Alert legislation gains approval

NASHVILLE — Legislation that would immediately put out information about suspects when a police officer is missing, injured or killed in the line of duty, has received approval in two key committees in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Senate Bill 655, sponsored by Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) and Rep. Vince Dean (R-East Ridge), was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday and the House Finance Subcommittee Wednesday.

Tracy said the bill would put into place a Blue Alert system in Tennessee that would work similar to the America's Missing Broadcast Emergency Response, or AMBER Alert, system used to get instant information out regarding serious child abduction cases.

“As with AMBER Alerts, which are only posted when police suspect a child is in danger, the Blue Alerts would be used when a suspect has not been apprehended and is considered a serious threat to the public,” said Representative Dean. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation would use the statewide infrastructure of the AMBER Alert system to facilitate a Blue Alert.”

“A criminal who harms law enforcement officers won't think twice about harming average citizens,” added Sen. Tracy. “This is a quick way to get this information posted so law enforcement can catch the criminal to bring them to justice and save lives.”

According to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, any cost to establish the Blue Alert System can be accommodated within existing resources using the current messaging framework.

“There will be little, if any, cost to operate the Blue Alert system,” added Rep.Dean. “This bill allows us to get critical and timely information out to the public and help us locate those who pose a great threat to the public's safety.”


Jessica Loghry
  Babysitter accused of burning boy with cigarettes

A 20-year-old Tampa woman was accused of burning the back of a 3-year-old boy she was babysitting, according to a Tampa police arrest report.

Jessica Loghry was arrested Wednesday and charged with aggravated child abuse, according to an arrest report.

The child's mother left the boy in the custody of Loghry. The mother had dressed the boy in the morning and didn't notice an injury.

She picked up her son after running some errands. When she went to give him a bath, she saw two cigarette burns "to the center of his lower back," according to the arrest report.

The burn marks do not appear accidental, police said. Loghry, who smokes cigarettes, denies the allegations.

She's being held at a Hillsborough County jail with no bail, according to jail records



Westminster police look for man who tried to kidnap high school student

April 5, 2011

LOS ANGELES -- Westminster police are looking for a man who grabbed a La Quinta High School student and tried to force her into his car.

The 18-year-old student was walking alone Monday about 7:30 a.m. near Brookhurst Street and Bishop Place when she was grabbed from behind, the Westminster Police Department said.

She screamed and struggled as the man opened his car door and tried to push her inside.

The two tumbled to the ground, police said, and the student ran away.

“This incident has us very concerned due to the suspect's aggressiveness,” Cpl. Van Woodson said in a statement.

The man is described as Latino, 30 to 40 years old, about 5 feet 10 with fluffy dark hair.

He was wearing a dark hoody and dark jeans, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at (714) 547-3207.


  Sex Trafficking Survivor Says Anyone Can Become a Victim

by Farrah Fazal

RIO GRANDE VALLEY - A sex trafficking seminar attracted more attendees this year. Organizers believe the recent increase in human trafficking bust is driving the attendance. A few weeks ago Rio Grande City police found three sex trafficking victims who'd been smuggled to the Valley from Camargo, Mexico. Officers say they were raped and forced into prostitution by their traffickers.

During the conference one sex trafficking victim captivated the audience when she told her story. Her name is Theresa Flores. She hopes her story can show victims that they can escape.

The story in the pages from the book she wrote is hard to imagine, but Theresa Flores lived through every single disturbing minute of it.

"I was targeted by a group of older guys who were involved in organized crime...they decided they would make money off me," she explained.

Theresa was only 15 and living in Detroit, Michigan with her parents. She was a good kid, didn't do drugs, and she wasn't a runaway. She met the wrong people.

One day an older boy from school offered her a ride home. He drugged and raped her. A couple of days later he told her his cousins took pictures of their encounter and they were going to make her earn them back.

They demanded she sneak out of her home when they called. One night two of the criminals took her to a seedy motel.

"There were about two dozen men waiting for me, I was was a sea of men...they auctioned me off all night long until I passed out and they left me for dead," she recalled.

She woke up in her pajamas, no shoes.

"They threaten to kill my parents and kill me...they would watch me," she said.

Two years later she escaped the torture.

It's been twenty years since that day. Theresa says the most important lesson behind her books is that sexual slavery can happen to anyone.

She is spreading her message and trying to bring awareness to sex trafficking. She made small soap bars, she wrapped and put the National Trafficking Hotline number on them. She gave them out to hotel managers during the Super Bowl. She hopes one of the soaps ended up in the hands of a trafficking victim.

The National Trafficking Hotline is 888-3737-888.


  In U.S. Prisons, Inmates Sold Into Sex Slavery

In prisons across the country, gangs are selling their fellow inmates into sex trafficking in order to increase their power and profits.

Ex-convict Scott Howard, a survivor of the prison sex trade, described being smuggled from prison to prison over a two-year period. His “owners” -- members of a white supremacist gang -- sold him to a group of Norteño gang members, who forced Howard to prostitute himself in exchange for $7 to $20 per sexual encounter, an abuse that was repeated over the course of many years.

“The situation is an epidemic. Dozens of us were being forced into prostitution, and I can assure you that as I speak there are other (prisoners) who are being forced into prostitution. The last time I was sold (for sex), the ‘client' paid with four boxes of cookies.

It's horrible what goes on, and in prison no one comes forward to help us!” said Howard, who was released from prison in December 2010, after serving 10 years on fraud charges. He now works as a reformer, seeking solutions that will protect prisoners from sexual abuse.

The sex trade is dominated by national criminal organizations such as the Mexican Mafia, the Sureños and the Norteños, who sell young prisoners for sex in order to finance their activities, according to an annual report issued by the National Center on Gang Intelligence.

The report, despite participation from local, state and federal agencies, does not include statistics on the overall scope of sex trafficking networks in prisons.

According to Howard, the underworld of prison prostitution networks range in size from prison to prison. Within a three-month period, Howard said, he was transferred to five different correctional facilities within the state of Colorado, and at each one, new gang members were awaiting his arrival so they could continue selling his body for sex.

Lovisa Stannow, executive director of Just Detention International (JDT), an organization that advocates for the protection of prisoners and seeks to eliminate sexual assault behind bars, said a key part of the problem is the secrecy under which detention centers operate throughout the country.

“U.S. prisons are more closed to external and independent monitors than anywhere else in the world, which is really troubling because this country accounts for about a quarter of the global prison population,” said Stannow.

A number of prison sex-trafficking cases have reached the offices of JDT, which causes Stannow to worry that the problem is not an isolated trend.

“When someone is in prison, the government has a responsibility to protect them, and it's regrettable that this isn't happening. Prisoners come to feel they are no longer part of society, which is very dangerous because many return home and the extreme abuses they've suffered end up impacting their communities,” Stannow explained.

According to court documents, when Howard reported the incidents of abuse, Colorado correctional officers responded by saying that the abuse occurred because Howard was a “drama queen.”

“I find it ironic that while (the U.S. government) spends thousands of dollars to eradicate slavery around the world, it does not provide the resources to eliminate the problem it has within its own prisons,” said Howard.

“It got to a point where I was surviving on crackers and water, being sold over and over again... The physical and psychological abuse becomes so extreme that you begin to think it's better not to be alive,” said Howard, who continues to see a psychologist to heal the emotional damage left by the outrages he suffered.

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), approved in 2003, requires that all prisons adopt a zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse. The law, however, is still far from meeting its target.

“Sexual abuse in prison is preventable, but we have to fight to make it a reality,” concluded Stannow.

Phillip Garrido   Phillip Garrido expected to plead guilty in kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard, attorney says

April 4, 2011

Accused kidnapper and rapist Phillip Garrido is expected to plead guilty to snatching an 11-year-old schoolgirl from her South Lake Tahoe area street, holding her captive for nearly two decades and fathering her two daughters, according to an attorney involved in the case.

Garrido and his wife, Nancy, face 29 charges of kidnapping and sexual assault in the 1991 abduction of Jaycee Lee Dugard, now 30. Nancy has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and Phillip is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Placerville.

That's when he is expected to plead guilty, said Stephen Tapson, Nancy Garrido's defense attorney.

“He's confessed to it, so he's pleading guilty and he doesn't want to put Jaycee through the trial,” Tapson said in an interview.

In addition, Tapson said, Garrido is hoping to gain a measure of mercy for his wife.

Susan Gellman, Phillip Garrido's attorney, did not return calls for comment. El Dorado County Dist. Atty. Vern Pierson declined to comment on the case, which has aroused international attention since Dugard and her daughters surfaced in the East Bay town of Antioch nearly two years ago, where they had been held captive in a warren of backyard sheds.

Although Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister is not expected to sentence Garrido on Thursday if he does plead guilty, the 60-year-old convicted rapist faces hundreds of years in jail, Tapson said.

“It was 530 years to life, the last I counted,” Tapson said. “But in essence, he's going away for a half century, anyway.”

Nancy Garrido, however, plans to go to trial, with the trial date to be set Thursday. Tapson said Phillip Garrido will testify on his wife's behalf during the proceedings, which are expected to last several weeks.


Speedy Trials Sought in Texas Rape Case


LIBERTY, Tex. — A state judge said Monday that he would push to hold trials in late July for 14 men accused of repeatedly raping an 11-year-old girl last fall in Cleveland, Tex.

Thirteen of the 19 men and boys arrested in the case appeared before Judge Mark Morefield in state court on Monday as part of a routine arraignment proceeding. Six of the men were arraigned for the first time on charges in connection with at least six rapes of the girl over a three-month period. All pleaded not guilty, and the judge set July 6 as the next court date.

Judge Morefield, a newly elected Republican, made it clear that he wanted speedy trials. “This case, like the other cases, is important,” he said as Timothy Ellis, 19, was arraigned on charges of continuous sexual abuse. “I want to start trying these cases in July, subject to the scientific evidence being available.”

The judge's comment was the first mention that the government may have forensic evidence. In early December, Texas Rangers searched a house and an abandoned trailer where the victim was allegedly attacked by multiple men on Nov. 28, but law enforcement officials have yet to say whether any scientific evidence was discovered.

At the request of the district attorney, the judge has issued an order barring lawyers, family members and law enforcement officials from talking to reporters.

Fourteen men and five teenage boys, ages 14 to 27, have been arrested in the case. According to indictments, the girl was raped at least six times between Sept. 15 and December, and at least three of those attacks involved multiple people. Some of the participants recorded videos of the assaults on cellphones, and those pictures went viral in the local schools, prompting an investigation in early December.

Most of the defendants declined to talk to reporters outside the courthouse. Before his appearance in court, Mr. Ellis expressed dismay at the charge. “They are trying to make us look bad,” he said.


  The sex slaves next door: Sex trafficking aimed at Hispanics takes over the U.S.

by Daily Mail Reporter

April 5, 2011

They were promised a better life, one full of love and opportunity.

But the reality couldn't have been further from the truth.

Young women and even girls from Latin America are being brought into the U.S. and made to work in residential brothels as part of a new trend in sex trafficking.

The girls are promised the world - marriage, a good job, a nice home, money - but when they arrive in the land of the free they are physically abused, held captive and forced to work as prostitutes, sometimes servicing up to 40 men in one day.

Amador Cortes-Meza, leader of an Atlanta sex trafficking ring, was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison last month for the sex trafficking of minors, conspiracy, smuggling charges and many others relating to bringing ten women and girls into the U.S.

He met Cristina when she was just 24 years old in a rural village in Mexico. He told her he loved her and brought her to the U.S. to build a life with him.

Or so she thought.

She said: 'That's when I realized he was not telling me the truth. A man who loves a woman would not make them do that. I lived under his humiliation, I lived under the beatings, under the fear, there was nothing I could do.'

When another one of Cortes-Meza's victims asked to be returned to her family, she testified, he repeatedly dunked her head in a bucket of water until she felt she was drowning.

Another had an iron thrown at her, slicing open her head.

One of the woman asked: 'Why did he do that to women? He has a mother who is a woman. We're human beings.'

These women are the perfect example of an insidious form of slavery spreading across the United States – prostitution operations that traffic in women and children from Latin America.

According to MSNBC, in these operations, 'closed-network' houses of prostitution cater to customers of a specific race or ethnicity, in this case, Hispanic women and Hispanic customers.

One non-profit anti-trafficking group labels them Latino Residential Brothels, or LRBs.

Secret: The Latin residential brothels are so discreet that no one in the
neighbourhood knows what takes place behind closed doors, where
young women are held captive and sold for sex
  The leaders set up in average neighbourhoods and use coded advertisements in Spanish language newspapers, or by handing out false business cards and word of mouth to attract specific customers.

The young women, some as young as 13, are all lured in similar ways - promised jobs and better lives, smuggled into the country and then held captive until they pay off their 'debt' and forced to live under the ringleaders' control for years.

They are usually moved from one brothel to another to prevent them from establishing roots and escaping.

The Latino brothels rely on what amounts to slavery. The girls are held captive, denied choice, denied freedom of movement, denied dignity, their bodies sold by someone else for sex.

Interviews with law enforcement and advocacy groups and independent research has found that Latino residential brothels have spread to at least 25 states over the past 20 years.

The Polaris project, which combats human trafficking and modern day slavery, released a report in 2009 about Latino residential brothels, an initial attempt to connect the dots of a national trend.

Executive director Bradley Myles said: 'We're still only beginning to wrap our brains around how big this issue is. Imagine all of the trafficking that goes on across the United States, Polaris has the job of being that single hotline for all of it.

'We're starting to get calls in from all 50 states, and we're hearing about this type of network more and more.'

According to MSNBC, one of the biggest challenges facing law enforcement agencies, besides locating and infiltrating the closed network brothels, is getting the cooperation of the victims.

Traffickers keep women and girls under close supervision, and often take away their personal identification. If they are in the country illegally, they are told that the police will arrest them for prostitution and then deport them.

One girl freed from a brothel in South Carolina in 1998, reported that she was caught escaping, locked in a closet for 15 days and then raped.

But, according to experts, victims are often too afraid of law enforcement to come forward.

“They devalue life to such an extent to turn a young girl into nothing more than a money generating profit item,” said Brock Nicholson, special agent in charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement Investigations at the Department of Homeland Security, which investigated the case. “They brought back slavery.”


'Punish clients, not sex trafficking victims'

New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) Fatima Nat Dhuniya was all of 9 years when she was "married off" and then landed in the world of sex trade. More than a decade later, she stands confident as a community mobiliser and said that the laws in the country should change so that the client is punished and not the victim.

"As long as there is a buyer, the prostitution system can never be dismantled," Dhuniya said at a press meet here Tuesday.

Dhuniya and 60 other delegates, including survivors of sex trafficking and prostitution and members of the civil society from 11 countries working on the issue, came together for a four-day conference in the capital.

Some of the countries whose delegates participated in the conference included the Phillipines, Taiwan, Nepal and Korea.

"It's like this - in a shop if there is no customer then the shop will ultimately close. So, in the sex trade if the client is punished, the trade will also come to an end. Most of the girls are forced in the trade and exploited," said Dhuniya, who escaped from the clutches of prostitution with the help of an NGO and now helps other victims to do the same.

Ruchira Gupta of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an NGO which organised the conference, said: "Most of the sex workers we meet tell us that the police only victimises them. What's the point in victimising the victims? The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act should be changed to hold clients accountable."

Aurora J. De Dios, president of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Asia Pacific, said: "This is the first time our survivors are coming together to talk about common issues and challenges that they face and the ways of dealing with these problems and trying to solve them".

Gupta said that the survivors of sex trafficking want their perpetrators, who repeatedly raped them, to be punished, not because of what they did to them but because it will serve as a deterrent to the perpetuation of the sex industry.


Oregon House targets child prostitution, approves $10,000 fine for paying for sex with minor

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon House unanimously voted Monday to impose a mandatory $10,000 fine on people convicted of paying for sex with a minor, advancing the first of several bills targeting child sex trafficking.

The 60-0 vote sent the measure to the state Senate, where the Judiciary Committee was scheduled Wednesday to consider four other bills aimed at cracking down on johns who solicit underage prostitutes and pimps who force young girls into prostitution networks.

"The buyers of sex just keep victimizing these kids over and over again with little consequences," said Rep. Carolyn Tomei, a Milwaukie Democrat who sponsored the bill that passed the House.

Tomei said HB2714 "makes the statement loud and clear that children are off limits." The measure seeks to decrease the demand for child prostitution by slapping johns with harsh penalties beginning with a $10,000 fine for a first offense and doubling it for a second offense. A third and subsequent conviction would result in a $20,000 fine and 30 days in jail.

The bill prohibits judges from waiving or suspending the fine, but allows them to lower it if they determine a defendant couldn't afford the whole fee.

It also stipulates that not knowing a prostitute's age is no legal defense for paying for sex with a minor.

Rep. Greg Matthews, D-Gresham, said pimps target teens with low self-esteem and give them a sense of belonging to groom them for sex work, and he said no neighborhood is immune.

"There are no limits to where this can spread," Matthews said.

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 six years.

More legislation targeting sex trafficking was expected as the Senate studies other proposals. Lawmakers have considered publicly shaming johns by publishing their names, addresses and photos in a newspaper or on a website.

They're also looking at bills aimed at promoting shelter and treatment programs for victims, a bid to break the bond between pimps and their victims.


  The CNN Freedom Project - Educator and Parent Guide

CNN Student News -- Description: This year, CNN will join the fight to end modern-day slavery and shine a spotlight on the horrors of modern-day slavery. The CNN Freedom Project will amplify the voices of the victims, highlight success stories and help unravel the complicated tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life. You can find more information and stories at The CNN Freedom Project.

If you choose to use this project with your students, you may want to use these questions and learning activities to help your students understand the problem of modern-day slavery and steps that can be taken to end it.

Teachers and Parents: The themes of the Freedom Project include the sex trade, human trafficking, torture and murder. We urge you to preview all videos and content to make sure that they are appropriate for your students.

Suggested grades: 11-12, College

Suggested subject areas: Social Studies, World History, Sociology, Contemporary Issues, Current Events

General Discussion Questions -- Use these questions to focus students on the topic of modern-day slavery and ways to confront it.

1. What is slavery? Where and in what periods of time has slavery existed? Do you think that it exists anywhere today? Explain.

2. Do you believe that slavery is fundamentally wrong? Explain your reasoning.

3. What is "human trafficking"?

4. What economic, social and other conditions do you think promote human trafficking?

5. What does "exploitation" mean? What are some of the ways in which humans are exploited throughout the world?

6. In what ways are children sometimes the victims of exploitation?

7. What actions do you think that nations can take to stop human trafficking and exploitation?

8. What do you think could be done to raise awareness about the issues of modern-day slavery and human trafficking? What do you think might be the potential impact, if any, of raising awareness about these issues among consumers and policymakers?

9. Do you think that there is anything that individuals can do to stop and prevent human trafficking and exploitation? Explain.

Research and Learning Activities -- Use these activities to expand students' understanding of the topic as they enhance their research and media literacy skills.

Identifying "a Hidden Population"

Point out to students that it is difficult to get an accurate number of enslaved individuals because theirs is "a hidden population." Ask: What credible information exists about modern-day slavery, and how could students go about finding it? Challenge students, working in groups, to seek out the facts behind slavery and human trafficking. Have each group share its findings and sources with the class. What facts or statistics surprised them most or made the greatest impression? Direct students to use what they have learned to create a website on human trafficking that both informs and prompts people to take action.

Freedom as a Basic Right

Throughout history, some countries have addressed the issue of individual freedom in their governing documents. Help your students learn more about the priority that nations put on freedom by assisting them in searching online for copies of national constitutions or laws. As a class, examine some of these documents and identify how each addresses human freedom. Was slavery allowed when this document was first published? Is it allowed now? To what degree, if any, is freedom portrayed as a basic, guaranteed right? Conclude with an examination of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and discuss its focus. Why do students think that slavery still exists, in spite of national and international declarations that promote individual freedom?

Role of Business, Government and Consumers

Ask students to consider the role of child slave labor in the production of goods around the world. Have groups of students conduct research to learn more about the use of child labor in sweat shops and fields. Use these questions to guide students' research:

• How are children being used as slave labor?

• What are some conditions under which these children work?

• What are the long-term effects of this work on childrens' health?

• How might a society suffer in the long-term when children produce its goods?

Have groups present their findings. Present this question for class discussion and debate: Who do you think should be responsible for eradicating the practice of child labor: businesses, governments, consumers or someone/something else?

Taking Action

Lead a class brainstorming session to generate a list of approaches that students can take to help raise awareness about human trafficking and ways to stop it. Have the class vote on one approach and work together to make it happen. That approach might include producing a PSA (Public Service Announcement) or orchestrating an email campaign to business and national leaders. Have students choose roles in the project and be held accountable for that part.

2010 CNN Hero of the Year

Each year, the CNN Heroes initiative celebrates everyday people who are changing the world. The 2010 CNN Hero of the Year was Anuradha Koirala. Anuradha and her group, Maiti Nepal, have helped more than 12,000 victims of Nepal's sex trafficking business. Students can be inspired by this incredible woman and how she protects the powerless by reading and watching her story. (Teachers and parents should preview this content to determine whether it is appropriate for your students.)

Students can also nominate their own heroes on the CNN Heroes website.


The Ten Themes of Social Studies

5. Individuals, Groups and Institutions

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.

6. Power, Authority and Governance

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people create, interact with, and change structures of power, authority, and governance.

7. Production, Distribution and Consumption

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people organize for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

The National Curriculum Standards for the Social Studies are produced by the National Council for the Social Studies.


Effort To Ban Human Sex Trafficking May Be Revived

Advocates Say Hawaii Law Weaker Than Other States

by Daryl Huff

HONOLULU -- Proponents of laws meant to treat sex workers less as criminal and more as victims may see some of their proposals pass the Legislature, despite predictions that a new sexual human trafficking proposal was dead for the year.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Clayton Hee said he will bring together prosecutors, human trafficking awareness groups and defense attorneys together to find a compromise.

The state House had put aside the human trafficking bill, in favor of several proposals from Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, which would increase penalties on pimps and repeat prostitution customers. Human trafficking awareness groups said the treatment of prostitutes as criminals makes it difficult for law enforcement to target the organized crime and others who profit from the sex industry.

They said people get involved in prostitution because they are coerced or victims of drug addiction, and not out of personal choice.

Prosecutors said changing the prostitution laws would make cases more difficult to prosecute. Hee said he will try to craft new language, incorporating the concerns of awareness groups, into the bills proposed by prosecutors.

That would make the proposals part of conference committee negotiations and potentially lead to final passage, but, Hee said, he considered survival of the human trafficking proposal still very unlikely.



Survivor to share personal account of human trafficking, sexual slavery

by Sanne Specht

Natasha Herzig, keynote speaker at a sexual assault awareness seminar planned Wednesday in Ashland, will speak about surviving the brutal world of human trafficking — a world that rolls right through the Rogue Valley, police say.

"Natasha has been so courageous in telling her story," said Ashland police Detective Carrie Hull. "She is getting ready to testify against her kidnapper, her pimp. And she has just testified on Capitol Hill on sex trafficking."

Portland is listed as a national hub for child sex trafficking. Herzig's story of terror and triumph began in a Northern California town. The Rogue Valley is on the Interstate 5 corridor between the two, Hull said.

"I don't want to panic everyone," Hull said. "And I know these are difficult conversations to have. But it is simply too naive to believe sex trafficking is not happening here."

It was spring 2001 when the then-19-year-old Herzig was approached in a well-populated mall by a woman who asked the pretty blond college student whether she wanted a job in the makeup industry.

Herzig became uneasy during a follow-up meeting at a local restaurant. She excused herself on the pretext she needed to get her sweater from her car.

Her plan was to leave and never come back. But it was too late. A man with a gun was waiting in the parking lot. She was forced into a black Mercedes.

The man was James Vernon Joseph, aka "Spyder." He placed Herzig in "mental chains," breaking her down physically and mentally during her months of sexual slavery, Herzig said recently on "The Joy Behar Show," where she appeared with John Walsh, host of the "America's Most Wanted" television show.

"Each day is a day of survival," Herzig said.

To avoid the police attention of a missing person's case, Joseph had Herzig call her parents. Listening in on the calls, he coached her on precisely what to say, she said.

"The entire time she was gone, her family thought she was fine," Hull said. "People think this only happens to kids who are out on the streets."

Herzig said Joseph threatened to kill Herzig's family members, beat her on a regular basis, and forced her into prostitution. The pimp took Herzig and other young women to sporting events and conventions across the nation, selling them to men willing to pay thousands of dollars, Hull said.

The trauma continued for 10 months until Herzig and another captive managed to escape in New York. Herzig said her breaking point came after seeing another victim beaten so badly her eye was nearly protruding from its socket.

"I called somebody, and said, 'Please call my parents,' " she said.

The police arrived. Herzig and her friend were saved. But Joseph was gone.

Sexual assault experts know the process of recovery is never an easy one. Herzig's life was forever changed the day she was stolen. She told television producers it took years to reclaim her self-esteem.

"When you feel like you're worth nothing, you're going to treat your body and yourself like you are worth nothing, and while you're healing you're making a lot of mistakes because you're trying to find out who you are," she said in an interview with "America's Most Wanted" producers.

During that process, Herzig made a series of X-rated films. The media has hammered Herzig, Hull said, not understanding that acting out sexually can be a common experience among those who have been sexually abused.

"There are reasons why that happened. She's been so courageous, knowing this is in her past. She could have turned to drug use or alcohol and people would have been much more understanding," Hull said.

Herzig said in her interview with "Wanted" producers that girls who have survived sex trafficking often end up in clubs or on the streets because it is a reflection of their self-worth.

"Your behaviors and actions that you display are now how you see yourself and that goes back to what you're being told when you're trafficked," she said.

Herzig now is 29 years old, married and has children. She works with advocacy groups, is a guest speaker at law enforcement conferences and is doing what she can to bring awareness to sex trafficking.

No specific laws regarding sex trafficking had been written until 2004, when the Child Protect Act was passed. In March, Herzig testified in Washington, D.C., in support of U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden's anti-sex-trafficking legislation, Hull said.

Herzig is also preparing to testify against Joseph. The alleged pimp was arrested by U.S. marshals as he walked out of his upscale Woodland Hills, Calif., home just days before her story was told on Walsh's show. Joseph is slated to face charges for promoting prostitution and second-degree assault in New York.

"I can't say enough about how courageous she has been. There are other victims of this guy who are afraid to (speak)," Hull said.

Sexual Assault Awareness symposium

When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 6

Where: Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall

Admission: Free, but general admission tickets are required for guaranteed seating. They're available at the Ashland Police Department, SOU Stevenson Union Room 312 and the SOU Women's Resource Center.

For more information: Contact Ashland Police Detective Carrie Hull at



Safe Neighborhood for Child Sex Victims Opens

GLENDALE - It's a project that's been in the works for 2 years.

Project Streetlight's safe house for teenage victims of prostitution has officially opened its doors.

It's hard to believe, but child prostitution is a booming business in the valley.

"People tend to think about sex trafficking in places like India, Cambodia, they don't think about Phoenix or Scottsdale, but it's happening," says Jami Thorne from Streetlight PHX.

"Between 100,000 and 300,000 domestic children are trafficked every year in our country, and it's estimated there are only on average 100 beds available in our country for these children," says Melodee Bosna.

Streetlight's mini-neighborhood has six homes, complete with kitchens and multiple bedrooms.

They can take in about 30 girls.

Before now, the victims were housed in jails.

"Up until the last four or five years, the common attitude within the system was that these girls were delinquents or criminals, there weren't any other resources available to them."

In the Phoenix area alone, police estimate more than 200 girls are forced into sexual slavery a year, and they come from all backgrounds.

The girls who come to Streetlight's campus can stay as long as they want to. They'll go through a comprehensive psychological and physical rehabilitation.

"Oftentimes when a police officer will rescue a girl, the first thing that they do is feed them. They turn 100 percent of their earnings over to their pimp. If they don't, they pay for it," says Thorne.

For security and privacy reasons, the Streetlight's location is not made public.

Follow this story

Streetlight Phoenix


  Calif. closer to taking children off the market

According to one pro-family advocate, a California bill that would inflict tougher penalties on the human trafficking industry is a step closer to eliminating sex-slavery in the state.

Under the Abolition of Child Commerce, Exploitation and Sexual Slavery Act of 2011, an additional $25,000 for the Victim-Witness Assistance Fund would be inflicted on any individual in the state who is convicted of committing a sex crime against a victim who is under 16 years of age. It would also apply to anyone who attempts to or does have sexual relations with a prostitute under the age of 16.

As A.B. 12, proposed by Assemblyman Sandre Swanson (D), would ultimately implement stricter penalties on sex crimes and sex traffickers, Ron Prentice of the California Family Council points out that it would also rob the sex trafficking industry of some profits.

"It's essentially, truly a drop in the bucket compared to the kind of money that's being made," Prentice explains. "It's difficult to compile statistics that are clear in terms of how many people are missing because of trafficking, but if you think on any given Sunday of looking around your church and finding people who have disappeared, maybe never to be seen again, these children in particular are forced to become sex and labor slaves and [are] earning those who traffic people billions of dollars."

According to Swanson, more than 800,000 people are trafficked worldwide, including in the United States, every year for bonded labor and sex slavery. In California, children enter the industry on average at the age of 12.


  Ending Sexual Violence: One Student on One Campus at a Time

from the White House

by Sara Jane Bibeau

April 04, 2011

I love being a student at the University of New Hampshire. It's in a beautiful part of the country, the campus is gorgeous, and there are so many opportunities for students to grow and develop.

But I never imagined those opportunities would include introducing the Vice President of the United States.

Today I was able to stand up and talk about an issue that is so important to me: ending sexual assault. I believe we can all work together to change the culture so that rape and sexual assault are not tolerated. Teens and young women experience the highest rates of sexual assault. Our generation has the chance to make it stop.

The Vice President feels the same way.

Today he shared the stories of victims, talked about the progress we have made, and challenged us to take the next step and prevent rape before it ever happens.

Along with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the Vice President announced comprehensive guidance to help schools, colleges and universities better understand their obligations under federal civil rights laws to prevent and respond to the problem of campus sexual assault. This guidance makes clear the legal obligations under Title IX of any school, college or university receiving federal funds to respond promptly and effectively to sexual violence.

The Vice President was able to speak for young women and men whose voices had been silenced by rape and other forms of sexual violence. He inspired me to continue my work as an advocate for victims, and keep speaking publicly about the devastating consequences to our society. He also gave us the confidence to carry on our fight to end sexual violence. In his words, “not just to decrease it, to end it.” The Vice President reminded us that as individuals we can make a difference, one person at a time. As he said:

These are your friends, these areyour classmates, the people you study with. You need to watch out for each other. You are the first—and best—line of defense…The more and more you bring attention to the issue, the less and less the behavior goes unnoticed, unreported and unpunished, and the more and more attitudes begin to change.

I was both honored and privileged to introduce Vice President Biden today, but what I'm really excited about are the next steps. I believe that this event was just one of many great things to come here at UNH and across other communities in our nation.

Know your rights under Title IX? Learn more.

Read the full text of the guidance, as well as a fact sheet.

For more information about the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and the anti-discrimination statutes that it enforces, please visit their website.

Sara Jane Bibeau is a senior at the University of New Hampshire and a volunteer advocate with their Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program


Editorial An Epidemic of Rape for Haiti's Displaced

Life after Haiti 's earthquake has been especially difficult and dangerous for displaced women and girls. In addition to the ongoing crises of homelessness and cholera, a chronic emergency of sexual violence prevails in the settlements where hundreds of thousands still live, well over a year after the disaster.

Groups of Haitian women have been struggling to defend themselves, banding together to prevent assaults and now taking their case to a wider world. At a hearing March 25 in Washington before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a grass-roots group, Kofaviv, joined other human-rights advocates in pressing for an end to what they called a rape epidemic. The police, they said, rarely patrol inside unlighted camps or investigate attacks. Victims live in constant fear and shame while attackers go unpunished.

Their evidence, compiled in a wrenching petition delivered to the commission last fall, led the commission to demand urgent action by Haiti to protect its women and girls. The Haitian government, beset by political and other crises, has failed to do its job. But others, including the United Nations, the United States and other international donors and aid agencies, can and must do more.

The camps need more police and better lighting. Community groups need training and resources to protect victims and identify predators. Women's groups must be drawn fully into relief and reconstruction planning.

While the world's attention has turned elsewhere, Haiti's misery remains. The U.N. reported in March that contributions to its ongoing emergency appeal are lagging and funds are running out for even such basics as clean-water delivery and sewage removal. This month's meeting of Haiti's recovery commission and the selection of a new president may begin to put the recovery back on track. Women and girls in Haiti's camps must not be forced to live in constant fear.


Savannah Martin, 7, was pulled from a pond in
Lawton Sunday. Savannah, who was autistic and
recently trying to learn to swim, drowned. Her
brother, Tommy, 2, was saved by a neighbor.
  Special alert sought to help find wandering children who take off

A special alert similar to an Amber Alert is being sought. The group wants to call it the "Mason Alert"

April 4, 2011

Special alert sought

A Kansas group wants law enforcement agencies to issue a special alert when someone with autism or a similar condition wanders away from a caretaker.

The Mason Allen Medlam Foundation has gathered 11,000 signatures from people who support the creation of a Mason Alert, founder Sheila Mason said.

Mason, of Colwich, Kan., is the mother of Mason Medlam, 5, who drowned in July after wandering from his home.

She said she hopes to get 15,000 signatures and get an alert created.

“The whole point is to keep these kids alive,” Medlam said. “Once they start to wander they are attracted to water.”

Drowning is a leading cause of preventable death among autistic children, she said.

There are 770,000 autistic children under age 18 in the United States.

The petition can be signed at mason allen medlam


  Joe Biden talks campus sex assault prevention in NH

by Associated Press

April 4, 2011

Vice President Joe Biden is calling attention to the problem of sexual assault on college campuses with a visit to the University of New Hampshire, which has been at the forefront of efforts to teach onlookers to intervene in potentially dangerous situations.

Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will be at UNH Monday to introduce new guidance to help schools, colleges and universities understand their obligation to prevent and respond to sexual assault.

For the last several years, the school has offered a "Bringing in the Bystanders" program, which combines a marketing campaign with workshops to train students to become active bystanders, rather than focusing on just telling men not to be perpetrators and women not to be victims.


  3 locals cuffed in sex trafficking sting

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) Authorities arrested the final suspect in our area for a minor sex trafficking scandal.

Homewood Police arrested 36-year-old, Cleveland Jointer for allegedly traveling to meet the minor to have sex with her.

The child was at a Homewood motel.

Her mother and grandmother, Amber and Alesha Abrams made the arrangements.

The trio are charged with several felonies, including sexual abuse and trafficking of a child under 12.

The child is now with Alabama DHR.

Joiner was arrested by US Marshals on Thursday and all three are now in custody at the Jefferson County Jail.


Human trafficking industry in Michigan

by Katie Head

Vanguard Staff Writer

April 4, 2011

Slavery is no longer just a term from the past. There are an estimated 27 million slaves worldwide, a number that surpasses the number trafficked during the transatlantic slave trade.

The week of March 28 was Human Trafficking Awareness Week. Students and faculty participated in a three day event about this worldwide issue.

Ann Coburn-Collins, the moderator of the events, said she wants to increase awareness so that people knew exactly what has been going on.

“We don't really acknowledge that human trafficking still goes on today,” she said. “That's why I titled this program Modern-day Slavery, Right in My Own Backyard.”

Collins said that she wanted everyone to be aware that this was happening in other countries as well as the U.S., a destination point for trafficking.

The first event was a screening of the film “Very Young Girls,” which focused on tween sex trafficking in Brooklyn, N.Y. The film highlighted girls who were tricked by men twice their age into selling their bodies for money.

Silence is not golden and the word slavery is no longer just a term from the past. There are an estimated 27 million slaves worldwide, a number that surpasses those trafficked during the transatlantic slave trade.

The week of March 28 was Human Trafficking Awareness Week. Students and faculty participated in a three day event informing them of this worldwide issue.

Ann Coburn-Collins, the moderator of these events, set out to increase the awareness of human trafficking so that people knew exactly what has been going on.

“We don't really acknowledge that human trafficking still goes on today. That's why I titled this program Modern-day Slavery, Right in My Own Backyard,” she said.

Collins said she wanted everyone to be aware that this was happening in other countries as well as the U.S., a destination point for trafficking.

The first event was a screening of the film “Very Young Girls,” which focused on tween sex trafficking in Brooklyn, N.Y. The film highlighted girls who were tricked by men twice their age into selling their bodies for money. These girls were trapped by these men through use of threats, beatings, and this captivating feeling of love that they felt for them.

The Girls Education and Mentoring Services (GEMS) saved most of the girls in this film. GEMS was founded by Rachel Lloyd, a young woman who had been sexually exploited as a teenager.

Following the film, there was a brief discussion of how to recognize victims of trafficking along with where they could be found.

On Tuesday was a panel discussion that included Miss Michigan, Bay City native Katie LaRoche. She was joined by Jennifer Fopma, executive director of the Safe Place Shelter; Meredith Weill, a fellow at the Human Trafficking Law Clinic at the University of Michigan; and Jane P. White, director of the State of Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force.

At the beginning of the event, White asked for the participation of all attendees. Her objective was to inform the audience of the difference between prostitution and trafficking.

The mission of the Michigan's Human Trafficking Task Force is to facilitate a collaborative effort to prevent trafficking of persons within the state, prosecute perpetrators and to protect and rehabilitate trafficking victims.

“We want to build awareness in Michigan communities on issues directly or indirectly relating to human trafficking,” White said.

Speaker Meredith Weill explained of the legal aspects. Immigrants who are trafficked and get caught face deportation. Those sent back face the danger of being killed back in their own country if the trafficker has connections. The Human Trafficking Clinic she works for, however, is able to help them qualify for visas to block their return.

The students in this clinic also run a community outreach and education initiatives and conduct research about laws relating to human trafficking.

“Awareness is incredibly important because human trafficking is not completely understood. There are a lot of misconceptions,” Weill said.

Jennifer Fopma, Executive Director of S.A.F.E. Place, stressed that it is tough to recognize the victim. Many trafficking victims will not readily volunteer information about their status because of fear and abuse they've suffered at the hands of their trafficker. They may also be reluctant to come forward because of despair, discouragement, and a sense that there are no viable options to escape their situation. They might even fear retribution to themselves or family members.

“We look for non verbal signs as well as verbal when mentioning law enforcement, their reaction usually says it all,” Fompa said.

S.A.F.E. Place provides shelter, court advocacy, referrals and comprehensive counseling programs for victims of domestic violence.

While discussing how people get trapped into trafficking, Fompa explained that first the victim must be separated from their possible trafficker and made to feel safe before questioning by authorities.

“If leaving made them safe everyone would, but it doesn't make them safer,” Fompa said. Miss Michigan Katie La Roche started by having everyone closing their eyes and picturing themselves in the shoes of those being trafficked.

“If we allow ourselves to walk in the shoes of those who are being exploited we will no longer be able to look away from it,” said LaRoche, the founder of the non-profit One World One Future. The organization is a female-led organization dedicated to saving victims of human trafficking.

“The number one approach is awareness,” LaRoche said.

Not everyone participates in Fair Trade, which is an exchange system that is focused on empowering producers by providing them with resources and opportunities, and ensuring their basic rights.

Fair Trade is a movement that promotes companies that only do businesses with other companies in countries who agree to protect human rights. Without the agreement, there is a greater chance that the goods the company buys were made by workers who may have been trafficked.

LaRoche encouraged attendees to send a letters to Hershey, Target and other companies not participating in Fair Trade. These companies were mentioned in the showing of the documentary “The Day My God Died,” a documentary about the experiences of young girls in the child sex trade.

“If we do nothing, we are condoning it,” Fopma said, “We are saying these people are expendable.”


Atlanta skyline

Sexual Exploitation of Children Hits Close to Home

In a big city like Atlanta, we face a number of social issues. But lately, one in particular has caught my attention. Because it's possible that some people I know could be fueling the problem, child sex trafficking has recently hit home. In addition, it's occurring in our community.

According to Junior League of Atlanta President and Buckhead mom Audra Dial, Atlanta is one of the top three cities in the county for commercial sexual exploitation of children. She's become familiar with the issue based on her role in the organization, which adopted human trafficking as a cause because of its urgency.

"It is something that until a few years ago, no one was talking about because it was so difficult for people to understand," she said. "An estimated 350 girls are exploited each month for commercial gain, within 48 hours of leaving home a child is approached for exploitation, and there are not nearly enough beds to house the victims of this crime in Atlanta or the Southeast," said Dial.

Certainly, these are alarming statistics. But, there are more.

"The primary areas where this activity is occurring is in Buckhead at Peachtree and Pharr roads and also in Midtown at Peachtree/North Avenue," said Dial. "I drive by the Buckhead area all the time, and the Midtown location is near my office so it is difficult to realize that this exploitation is happening under our eyes."

In 2009, the Schapiro Group, a local research firm, conducted a survey on the demand side of commercial sexual exploitation. Here are some statistics that were uncovered:

  • 12,400 men each month in Georgia pay for sex with a young female .. 7,200 of whom end up exploiting an adolescent female

  • These men account for 8,700 paid sex acts with adolescent females each month, which means that each adolescent female is exploited an average of three times per night.

  • Forty two percent of the men who respond to advertisements for sex with young females are from the northern suburbs located outside of I-285

Armed with this information and more, organizations and individuals are bringing awareness to this exploitation.

"To address the problem, we can educate our friends on this issue, call the police if we see a young girl in a potentially dangerous situation so that she can get help, and most importantly, tell the businesses in these areas about this problem and ways they can help combat it by providing a safe place for the girls to wait if they are in trouble," said Dial.

She also explained that children that are typically unable to resolve conflict and have low self-esteem, can be vulnerable to another who makes them feel special, like a pimp. "It's critical to empower children to be confident in who they are and create an environment where they feel comfortable in communicating to you as the parent," said Dial.

Earlier this month, the Georgia Legislature passed HB 200, which is designed to make it easier for law enforcement to go after pimps and others who exploit minors for sex. It's also designed to increase penalties for the crime of human trafficking and sexual servitude. The bill was sponsored by Majority Whip Ed Lindsey of Buckhead.

Moms, there's a movement afoot. How will you address this problem in Buckhead? To learn more about the issue or to get involved, visit and

Disclosure: Columnist Beth Okun is a member of the Junior League of Atlanta.


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