National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Every day we bring you news articles, opinion pieces, crime stories and official information from government web sites. These are highlights, and constitute the tip of the iceberg .. a small percentage of the daily information available to those who are interested in the issues of child abuse, trauma and recovery. Stay aware. Every extra set of "eyes and ears" and every voice makes a big difference.
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"News of the Week"  

January 2019 - Week 3
Terri Lanahan
Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.

UK - Crime

Fifty-five men arrested in police investigation into child abuse in West Yorkshire

Investigators urge more victims to come forward

by Tim Wyatt

The inquiry began when seven women came forward to say they were sexually abused as children in the Dewsbury and Batley area between 2002 and 2009.

The men were arrested and interviewed over the last few months, West Yorkshire Police said. They have now been released under investigation.

They are all from Dewsbury, Bradford and Batley, the force said.

Detective Inspector Ian Thornes said the operation showed the force was committed to investigating both current and historic sexual offences against children.

“Child sexual abuse and exploitation is an abhorrent and heinous crime and one which affects some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” he said in a statement. “Safeguarding and protecting children remains the top priority for West Yorkshire Police.

“We would urge anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, whether recent or historic, to report it to the police.”

The force has specialist safeguarding units across West Yorkshire, staffed by police officers dedicated to tackling child abuse and sexual exploitation, Det Insp Thornes added.

“Please be assured that you will be listened to, taken seriously and supported by professionals with experience of dealing with these kind of offences," he said.


Former Yankees closer John Wetteland arrested on child sex abuse charges

by Zach Braziller

John Wetteland, the former Yankees and Rangers closer, was arrested Monday on child sex abuse charges, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The 52-year-old Wetteland is being accused of abusing a child under the age of 14 on a continuous basis. He posted $25,000 bond and was released Monday.

He has worked at Liberty Christian School in Texas as the school's baseball coach and also taught Bible studies. Wetteland divorced from his wife, Michele, in 2015. They had four children together. Michele declined comment to the Morning News.

Wetteland was the closer on the 1996 World Series champion Yankees and was the series' MVP. Wetteland closed out all four games of the World Series against the Braves. Wetteland's raised arms from Game 6 after the final out fell into Charlie Hayes' glove is one of the iconic photos from that championship.

He left as a free agent after that season, with Mariano Rivera emerging as the team's closer.

He spent from 1997 to 2000 as the Rangers' closer and finished as their all-time leader in saves with 150. He was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame.

Wetteland, a California native, was hospitalized in 2009 in Texas in what police described as a suicidal situation. Wetteland emerged from his home when cops arrived with his arms raised, saying he needed help. Wetteland later said the hospital trip was due to an extremely elevated heart rate.



Child sexual abuse and exploitation: 10 things a new study found

by Jenni Evans

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recently released a report on child sexual abuse and exploitation, based on a study of the approach which 40 countries took to such offences.

South Africa was one of the countries included in the study. It ranked 15th out of 40 for its measures to protect children against sexual abuse and exploitation, according to an index the EIU developed.

The study also made other observations on the scourge of abuse around the world.

Here are 10 things that emerged from the report, titled Out of the Shadows.

1) Just over half (21) of the 40 countries analysed have legal protections for boys within their child rape laws.

2) Sexual abuse is happening everywhere, regardless of a country's socio-economic status or its citizens' quality of life.

3) Sexual abuse is increasingly enabled by the internet but at the same time, an experimental internet program is "crawling" the web to find abusive and exploitative images of children to have them reported and removed.

4) Children with disabilities, those displaced through trafficking or forced migration, those living in care institutions and those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender can be especially vulnerable.

5) At household and community level, chaotic lifestyles resulting from neglect, alcohol and substance abuse are linked to most forms of violence against and among children.

6) The absence of protective relationships and environments are factors that are often predictive of sexual violence against children across cultures.

7) Education (from pre-school upwards) for children and after-school programmes can have a shielding effect, but the increased mobility to school and back raises the risk of sexual abuse.

8) Patriarchal family structures and the association of manhood with heterosexual prowess are linked to violence against women and children.

9) Engaging in sexual activity in front of a child is banned in only 19 of the 40 countries.

10) Social stigmas associated with sexual violence against boys discourage formal reporting and are exacerbated by "macho" masculine norms, homophobia and fears of being viewed as feminine, vulnerable or helpless. Boys must also be taught the language of how to report sexual abuse.


South Africa

SA legislation praised in global report on child sexual abuse

by Nico Gous

Children are threatened by sexual violence yet it is "rarely discussed, even though its emotional and health consequences linger, and the socioeconomic impacts can be devastating".

That is what the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in its index on child sexual abuse and exploitation published on Wednesday. The EIU is the research arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The Economist.

"The risks to children have been greatly increased by improved communications connectivity and mobility, which make it easier for offenders to find and lure children online."

The survey said South Africa showed its commitment to tackling sexual violence against children by enacting "comprehensive" legislation.

"Victim support and resources for legal and law enforcement professionals could be strengthened."

The report praised South Africa's training and guidance support workers in dealing with these cases.

"The department of education issues guidelines for teaching professionals, and there are similar programmes for medical, social and psychiatric workers," the report said.

It praised laws prohibiting:

Buying minors for sex

Filming or photographing of minors having sex

Human trafficking

Online grooming.

It also praised Vodacom's toll-free line offering children counselling.

The index ranked how 40 countries respond to these issues at a national level.

The World Childhood Foundation, Oak Foundation and the Carlson Family Foundation helped in developing the report, titled Out of the Shadows: Shining light on the response to child sexual abuse and exploitation.

The index did not measure the scale of the problem in each country but examined how stakeholders are responding to the threat of child sexual abuse and exploitation. It defined child sexual abuse as "anything in which a child is used for the sexual gratification of another".

One of the UN sustainable development goals is to end violence against children by 2030.

Only half of the 40 countries collect nationally representative prevalence data on child sexual abuse. Only five collect this data on child sexual exploitation.

The report found that boys were overlooked, with 21 countries having no legal protections for boys in their child rape laws. Only 18 countries collect prevalence data about the sexual abuse of boys.

It said these areas should be improved:

Access to victim support programmes

NGO guidelines for reporting on cases of sexual violence against children

Better resources for legal and law enforcement on the prosecution of sexual assault cases involving children

Child-specific rape laws or child protections in our current rape laws.

The survey considered:

A country's safety and stability

The social protection it offers families and children

The legal and regulatory protections

Government commitment and capacity

Engagement with industry, civil society and the media.


How To Talk To Your Kids About Sexual Abuse

Looking back on the Larry Nassar scandal, we spoke to experts about how to address these difficult issues with kids of all ages.

by Caroline Bologna

On Jan. 16, 2018, the world witnessed the gut-wrenching statements of 169 women and family members whose lives were affected by the criminal sexual abuse of former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University trainer Larry Nassar.

Stories like the Nassar scandal reinforce parents' and caregivers' desire to protect their children from a horror that is all too common.

Child sexual abuse may be scary to think about, but it's an important topic to address with kids of all ages. Fortunately, there are age-appropriate ways to lay the foundation and build on concepts that will help keep children safe and empower them to speak out if their boundaries are violated.

HuffPost spoke to sex educators about how to talk to kids about sexual abuse from infancy to the teen years, and how to recognize and respond to troubling situations if they arise.

Start Early By Establishing Body Autonomy, Privacy And More

Parents can build the foundation of safety from sexual abuse as early as infancy, sex educator Melissa Carnagey said. Using the proper terms for genitals, instead of cutesy nicknames, empowers children to communicate clearly about themselves and their bodies.

“By doing this, parents are creating a shame-free and open home culture around talking about the body,” Carnagey told HuffPost in an email. “Then as the child moves into toddlerhood and preschool ages, parents can help them understand body boundaries and consent by listening to a child's ‘no' or ‘stop' and reinforcing the importance of the child respecting other people's limits as well.”

“Preventative conversations with young children around sexual abuse aren't usually about sexual abuse in specificity,” sex education teacher Kim Cavill said. She encouraged parents to talk instead about the proper names for body parts, as well as body autonomy, body privacy, environmental privacy, how to say “no” and the difference between secrets and surprises.

“Body autonomy means acknowledging each person is the boss of their own body and they get to decide what they want to do with it, as long as they don't use it to hurt someone else or themselves,” Cavill told HuffPost in an email. “Body privacy means teaching children that some parts of their bodies are private and other people shouldn't look at them or touch them. Doctors should ask permission before examining private parts and a trusted grown up should be present.“

“Environmental privacy” means teaching kids about the social norms and expectations around different behaviors, like how to change into swimsuits at the community pool, how to behave in public restrooms, how to change clothes at school, and so on.

Teaching kids how to say “no” is also powerful.

“Children don't always assume it's OK to say ‘no,' especially to adults, because they're often taught to be obedient,” Cavill said. “We have to explicitly teach children how to set boundaries for themselves and support them when they do, even if it puts us into uncomfortable situations, like refusing to give hugs at a birthday party.”

Talk About Feelings

“When children can name their emotions, and recognize emotional responses in others, it gives them the ability to express their needs, empathize with others and to listen to the signals their body gives them, especially when something or someone feels uncomfortable,” Carnagey said.

“We have to be talking about what feels good and what doesn't in everyday conversations,” sex educator Lydia Bowers told HuffPost. “‘I like when you give me a hug, it makes me feel warm,' and ‘I don't like when he took my doll, I felt angry,' give children the language to describe their feelings, which can be critical in recognizing if they're feeling unsafe, scared or worried.”

When children can name their emotions, and recognize emotional responses in others, it gives them the ability to express their needs, empathize with others and to listen to the signals their body gives them.

It's meaningful to help kids practice identifying feelings like fear, anxiety, confusion, sadness and discomfort, and adults should try not to dismiss or minimize those emotions when a child expresses them.

Parents can also teach children about the ways bodies can give warning signs in relation to feelings (like sweaty palms, wanting to cry or feeling the sudden need to urinate) that are important to listen to.



Michael Jackson sexual abuse claims reignited in documentary film as former fans say they are child sex victims the world forgot

It has provoked fury within the Jackson family, but the duo's lawyer says it could be a moment of final reckoning for the King of Pop

by James Beal

NEARLY ten years after Michael Jackson's death, horrifying new claims about the singer's sexual abuse of young boys are about to hit the spotlight.
And the two alleged victims are hoping that, at long last, their years of torment will be acknowledged — and that the King of Pop will finally lose his crown.

Sensational new film documentary Leaving Neverland premieres in the US this week, featuring fresh abuse claims by Jackson's one-time fans Wade Robson and James Safechuck.

It has provoked fury within the Jackson family, but the duo's lawyer Vince Finaldi — one of just a handful of people to have already seen the movie — say it could be a moment of final reckoning.

In an exclusive interview, the Californian attorney told The Sun: “The full story of the abuse that Michael Jackson engaged in has never really been told.

“It has been kept under wraps by an army of people.

James Safechuck claims Michael Jackson abused him from the age of 10

“This is James and Wade's way of continuing to get the word out there about how they were abused by such a powerful man.”

Leaving Neverland will debut at the famous Sundance Film Festival in Utah on Friday before screening here on Channel 4 in the spring.

The two-part, four-hour documentary promises “gut-wrenching” interviews with James, now 40, and Wade, now 36, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings.

Channel 4 says the film is “a portrait of sustained abuse”, with the boys and their families “entranced by the star's fairytale existence”.

In 1988 James was invited on Jackson's Bad tour which visited London.

British director Dan Reed, 54, whose credits also include TV Bafta-winning documentary The Paedophile Hunter, added: “If there's anything we've learned during this time in our history, it's that sexual abuse is complicated and survivors' voices need to be listened to.

“It took great courage for these two men to tell their stories and I have no question about their validity.”

The Sun can today lift the lid on the chilling claims by Wade and James, detailed in lawsuits launched against Jackson's estate after he died of a drug overdose in June 2009.

Aussie Wade became obsessed by the singer from the age of two and won a dance contest to perform with him aged five.

He says the abuse began that same year and lasted until he was 14.

Court documents state that he first slept in Jackson's bed at the singer's Neverland Valley Ranch, in Los Olivos, California.

Jackson is said to have told him: “We can never tell anyone what we are doing.

“People are ignorant and they would never understand that we love each other and this is how we show it. If anyone were to find out, our lives and careers would be over.”

Jackson sorted out visas for Wade, his mum and sister to move to America in 1991.

In a 2013 interview Wade branded Jackson a “paedophile”, claiming: “Every time we were together it happened. There was no night that went by that he didn't sexually abuse me. It started with him fondling then it moved to him kissing me, like a French kiss, and then it moved to oral sex.”

Court documents describe Jackson showing explicit porn to Wade, who he had nicknamed “little one”, and pleasuring himself as the boy lay naked.

Jackson went to court for child molestation charges in 2005 but was cleared of any wrongdoing
Meanwhile Jackson was arranging for the youngster to dance in his videos — and was also allegedly sexually assaulting another boy too.

A few years earlier, in 1987, Jacko had worked with nine-year-old child actor James Safechuck in a Pepsi ad.

Afterwards, star-struck James, from Simi Valley, California, went to the pop legend's house where Jackson gave him $700 (£540) and the jacket he had worn in his Thriller video.

James and his family were also given a trip to stay at Trump Tower in New York and were treated to Phantom Of The Opera tickets.

Michael Jackson allegedly put chimes in his hallway to alert him of any guests approaching.

Jackson also took the youngster with him on his worldwide Bad tour in 1988 — and James claims that the sexual abuse began when the tour reached Paris. He was just ten.

The singer is alleged to have taught him creepy code words for sex and bodily fluids.

He also claimed that Jackson also used secret signals, such as scratching his hand with a finger to show when he wanted sex.

James says the singer even performed a secret wedding ceremony between them, with a fake ring and certificate.

James Safechuck claims Michael ran drills to practice putting on clothes quickly.

They held “sleepovers” at Jackson's home where he would abuse James in a secret “sex cupboard” in his bedroom, court papers claim.

Jackson put chimes in the hallway to alert him to people approaching.

Court papers also say that he held “drills” with James to practise putting clothes on quickly, drank “pink wine” and watched porn together.

Like Wade, James says the abuse stopped when he hit puberty. Allegations against Jackson first became public in 1993, when Jordan Chandler, 13, sued Jackson for sexual abuse, leading to a criminal investigation.

Jackson was cleared of abusing 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo in 2005.

Wade, then 11, gave a media interview to insist that on his own sleepovers with the singer, nothing sexual had happened. He later gave official evidence in private. Wade now says Jackson “brainwashed” him into being a “good soldier”.

Jackson is said to have told him: “They are saying we did all this disgusting sexual stuff. We would go to jail for the rest of our lives.”

Jordan's suit was settled in 1994 and the criminal case was dropped.

Then in 2005, Wade was called to testify at the criminal trial when Jackson was charged with — and cleared of — abusing another 13-year-old, Gavin Arvizo. Wade denied ever having been abused by Jackson.

Both Wade and James launched civil suits against Jackson's estate in 2012.

This was despite Wade's bipolar father killing himself three years earlier, after deciding his son might have been abused by the superstar.

It was not until 2012 that, after seeing a psychotherapist, Wade finally decided to speak out.

By then he was a well-known dance director and choreographer. He explained: “I have never forgotten one moment of what Michael did to me, but I was psychologically and emotionally completely unable and unwilling to understand that it was sexual abuse.”

Fellow alleged victim James — now a computer programmer and dad of two — adds in court papers that he “struggles on a daily basis with his panic, depression and anxiety”.

Jackson's estate have rubbished the film as a money-making scheme.

Both men launched civil suits against Jackson's estate, which were dismissed on technical grounds because the accusations were too old, without the credibility of the allegations being addressed.

But in response to the new film, the Jackson estate said: “This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.”

Lawyer Brian Oxman, part of Jackson's defence team in 2005, also told The Sun: “I talked to (Wade) Robson many times. Under oath he said Michael never touched him.


Catholic Church

US Jesuits release names of 50 priests accused of sexual abuse

by Inés San Martín Christopher White

Fulfilling a vow to release the names of all U.S.-based Jesuits credibly accused of abuse, the Northeast Province of the Jesuits released a list on Tuesday, becoming the final province of the Society of Jesus to do so.

In all, 50 names from the province were released, only 15 of whom are still alive.

The Northeast Province was formed in 2014 and includes the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and northern New Jersey.

In December, the Midwest province of the Jesuits released the names of 65 accused priests with “established allegations” against them dating back to 1955. The Maryland province, which stretches from southern New Jersey to Atlanta, also released the names of 14 credibly accused priests in December, as did the order's West, Central, and Southern provinces.

Today, there are more than 16,000 Jesuits around the globe, famously including Pope Francis. Religious order priests constitute one-third of all priests in the U.S. and the Jesuits are the largest group, with more than 2,600 priests, brothers, and scholastics.

Throughout the United States, various dioceses and religious orders continue to disclose the list of priests and religious who've been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors - a process spurred by the August release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report that chronicled seven decades of clerical abuse within the state's six Catholic dioceses.

Tuesday's list included the name of a famed Jesuit scholar who's been in Rome for decades, Father Keith Pecklers, who faced an allegation in 2008 found to be credible. He was restricted from ministry, meaning he was to have no access to children, but he still worked in the formation of seminarians.

In 2010, it became public that two years earlier the diocese of Jersey City had paid a settlement to a man who alleged he'd been sexually abused by Pecklers and a deacon when he was a teenager attending the local church of St. Paul.

Pecklers was 17 himself when the abuse reportedly took place, and in 2010 about the allegations, he said: “I was a student - I was a minor myself - so it would be impossible to be accused of that type of thing. I was 17 years old, so that's the end of the story.”

Despite the settlement, Pecklers remained a prominent scholar, contributed to and edited several books, and has been a frequent commentator on Vatican affairs for American media outlets - including the sex abuse scandals.

Most of the names revealed on Tuesday were already known, and some were even featured in the Academy-award winning movie Spotlight, based on the investigation into clerical sexual abuse conducted by the Boston Globe.

The list also includes names of individuals who served in a number of prominent Jesuit institutions, including Boston College High School, Regis High School, Fordham University, Loyala University, and America magazine.

On Tuesday, Father Joseph McShane, president of Fordham University, released a statement lamenting the names affiliated with Fordham.

“Sexual abuse of a minor or other vulnerable person by someone in a position of privilege and authority is an unspeakable violation of human decency and completely antithetical to the mission and ethos of our University,” he wrote.

Similarly, Father Matt Malone, president and editor-in-chief of America Media, said “At this time, the editors and staff of America Media are most mindful of the victims and survivors of these crimes. We continue to pray for them and for the healing of the American church.”

Despite the cascade of recent lists of accused priests, many have long argued that releasing the list of names of priests who've been credibly accused of sexual abuse can be hurtful and even unfair to a priest receiving posthumous judgment. Within the past year, many Catholic dioceses, institutions, and orders have viewed it as preferable to release the list of names voluntarily rather than through state or federal investigations.

The list of names includes every Jesuit from the province who's been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor since 1950. It's important to note that “credibly accused” and even a settlement don't necessarily mean they were guilty.

Some of those named are living, deceased, or former members with credible allegations. Some have been removed from the priesthood, others restricted in their ministry, others still banned from it completely, and a handful have been sent to prison.

According to a statement released with the list, an allegation is deemed “credible” if there is a preponderance of evidence that the allegation is more likely true than not after investigation.

“Credibility can also be established by conviction in a court or by the admission of the truth of the allegation by the Jesuit,” the statement says. “Many Jesuits on this list have not been found guilty of a crime or liable for any civil claim. Many accusations were made decades after the abuse allegedly took place, and often after the accused Jesuit had died.”

“Jesuits with allegations currently under investigation are not included on this list,” the statement added.

In a homily on Sunday, Father James Martin - arguably the United States' most prominent Jesuit priest - said: “Releasing the names is the right and moral thing to do for dioceses and religious orders-indeed, for the Church as a whole. And I am glad that the U.S. Jesuits have done this.”

“It is an essential part of the process of confession and reconciliation that needs to happen in our church. If we think of this in terms of confession, before you can be forgiven, you need to confess your sins fully,” he said. “And it needs to be done voluntarily, not because you've been forced to. You don't confess your sins only because you're forced to.”

In August of last year, the Jesuit Superior General, Venezuelan Father Arturo Sosa, released a letter calling on all Jesuits to share in the suffering of abuse victims and to help foster a culture of protection.

“We ask the Lord to accompany us in a real process of personal and institutional conversion,” he wrote at the time. “We ask that he help us not to flag in our efforts to promote a new culture of life in which all human beings find protection, justice, and dignity.”


Online CSA

4 ways police are fighting the 'dramatic' increase in child sexual abuse online

Caseload of Saskatchewan's Internet Child Exploitation Unit more than doubled in the past 5 years

by Geoff Leo

The Saskatchewan police officers who target online sexual predators say they're being driven to use a range of investigative methods in order to slow down a problem that's seen a dramatic increase.

Over the past five years their caseload has more than doubled.

"There's just not enough time in the day to get to every file and some of them have to be put on the backburner until we have a lull," said Scott Lambie, the staff sergeant in charge of the Internet Child Exploitation Unit (ICE).

He said he and the 10 officers who work with him feel like they're using a teacup to empty a swimming pool.

"Each officer is basically doing twice the work that they were doing when the unit started," said Lambie.

In 2013, the Sask. ICE unit opened 192 new files. In 2018, it opened almost 400.

There are similar units in every province and they are also seeing rapid growth in investigative files. In 2017, Statistics Canada released a report which showed child pornography offences had increased by 233 per cent over the decade. Experts attribute that growth to new technology which has enabled offenders to easily record, upload and distribute child pornography online.

"There's lots of files that we could be working on but the resources sort of limit of what we can go after," Lambie said.

He said a file jumps to the top of the list if a child appears to be in imminent danger.

For example, police learned within the past three weeks about a sexualized video of a naked nine-year-old Saskatchewan girl posted on Youtube. Lambie said now they have to figure out who's responsible.

"There's only two really two routes for it to get posted on YouTube," he said. "There's a third-party offender involved or the child self-exploited and did it herself."

Lambie said that as horrific as it sounds, clips being posted to YouTube "isn't uncommon."

And he said that's why police are using every tool available to crack down.

1. Undercover investigations 24/7

Last week, CBC's iTeam highlighted an example of an undercover operation run by ICE.

One of Lambie's male officers posed as a 15-year-old girl named Aurora and responded to an online ad posted by 57-year-old Rodney Barras. After three weeks of texting back and forth, police had enough evidence to pursue charges against Barras.

Lambie said these sorts of investigations are not nine-to-five. Officers take their investigative tools home and sometimes even text their targets while at home with their own children.

At other times, officers will join online chat groups or social media apps, attempting to make personal connections with people sharing child pornography.

"The internet is all about anonymity. Who we're talking to doesn't really know who we are as well as we don't really know who they are," Lambie said.

Lambie said diving into this world is "a really creepy part of the job" but it's necessary in order to find people who cloak themselves in secrecy.

In some cases, police have struck a goldmine when "they've managed to acquire a lot of contact information from this person's devices and share that across the world with the other police agencies."

Lambie said many investigations require a massive amount of time.

In one extreme recent case, they arrested a man with a collection of 24 million images and videos.

Police suspected he may have been creating child porn, so they had to divide the images up between every officer in the unit and comb through them one-by-one.

2. Facebook helps catch pedophiles

Lambie said his unit receives a steady stream of solid tips from south of the border.

U.S. law requires internet service providers and social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube to report any instances of child pornography being shared through their services.

"They report that to their National Center (for Missing & Exploited Children) in the United States who funnels it up to Canada and eventually to the ICE unit where the offense is believed to have occurred," he said.

He said this process used to take months but now things move at an astonishing pace. He said if someone were to share child pornography through Facebook today "they can get it up to our desks from the U.S. within a week."

Lambie said Saskatchewan receives 250-300 of these tips every year "and by the time it gets to us, it's an investigative file ... It's got child pornography in it already identified by somebody down the line." The U.S.-based NCMEC passes on similar tips for provinces across Canada and countries around the world.

Lambie's officers can then go to court and ask a judge for permission to learn the name and address of the person behind the IP address who shared that pornographic image.

Then the tough police work begins.

"Whether that leads to charges at the end of the day, we have to look at the totality of the evidence."

3. Live monitoring shows thousands sharing child porn

Thousands of people in Saskatchewan and across Canada are sharing child pornography right now. Police have the tools to watch them do it and target them for arrest.

These images are commonly shared through what is known as peer-to-peer software. These programs allow people to share files around the world from a publicly-accessible folder on their own computer.

Lambie said because those folders are public, police are able to look inside and compare the contents to a massive database of every image or video of child pornography ever identified by law enforcement around the globe.

Lambie explained that every image contains it's own "hash value" or "DNA footprint."

"If that image is shared or that video was shared that hash value was known because of this library."

Lambie said the software shows a map of the province and flags every computer in the province that is sharing known child pornography. He said there are thousands of them and each case could legitimately be investigated by police, but because of the sheer volume, the software also flags the top ten offenders.

"We just try to hit the top ones off the list and work our way down trying to reduce the availability of it to other people around the world."

Lambie said once they find an address for a potential offender, that can lead to uncomfortable conversations.

"Six people in the home — all of them are hooked on to the internet. Which one is actually committing the crime?"

He said through their investigation they can usually figure out which device was used to share the images but ultimately, police have to knock on the door.

He said that often begins a series of "life-altering" conversations.

"The 'not-involved' parties don't have a clue what's going on. Only the suspect really knows what's going on," he said. "It's very difficult for a spouse to then have to admit to their other spouse that yes it's me."

In virtually every situation that "spouse" is a man. Lambie could only recall one case where a female was a suspect.

He said sometimes, officers are surprised by the response.

"Recently, we went through a door and the guy said yes you got me I did it … Take me away."

In other cases, people aggressively deny doing anything wrong. Lambie said some of them have worked hard to cover their tracks. He referenced one frustrating case.

"We thought we had him dead to rights and we knocked on the door, do the search, gather all the digital evidence and after we analyze it there's nothing there," Lambie recalled. "We know how they did it but we just couldn't find the artifact evidence to prove that they did it."

4. Teens targeted through social media

Lambie said one of his greatest concerns is the increase of teens being targeted for abuse and sexual extortion through social media.

He said every week he hears another story of a teen, usually a girl, who shared nude images of herself with someone online and is now in a crisis.

"Those are mostly through the walk-ins where the mom or the parent has finally been told by the child that this is actually going on. Now they're scared. What do I do now?"

He estimated this happens about 10 times a month in Saskatchewan.

Lambie said that most social media apps that teens use like Snapchat, Messenger, Kik or Instagram can be infiltrated by men looking to exploit children who are often easy targets.

He said online predators are savvy and often several steps ahead of their target. They start by making the teen think they are friends and then pour on the flattery.

"The pedophile just makes the female feel great about themselves," he said.

Then, the requests begin.

"They start by getting them to just send some basic pictures and then it's topless pictures and then it's panty pictures and then it's naked pictures," Lambie said.

"Before you know it they're threatening the child to expose them to their their friends on Facebook to family members and the child gets scared and then they're stuck in this whole sextortion."

He said once those images have been shared they quickly move around the world and can haunt the teen for years.

He said it's up to parents to be aware that pedophiles are hunting their children.

"The parents should be aware of what their children are doing with their phone or their computer or any online application," he said.

He said parents need to check their children's "friends" list on social media app and ask their kids if they have personally met them or just interacted online. He said many predators hide behind fake profiles.

When asked for his best advice to parents he replied quickly.

"Take phones away from kids."


Turpin kids ‘not bitter' about abuse by parents

Inside the Turpin Family House of Horrors

The adult children who were allegedly held captive by their parents and abused say they are survivors.

In an interview with the US Today show a year after they were freed, the children's lawyer said the seven adult children of the 13-child family are doing well.

“They're not bitter. They really take every day as it is, as a gift,” Jack Osborn said. “They want people to know that they are survivors.”

The adult Turpin children, who were so malnourished when discovered that police thought they were minors, now live together.

“The older children are extremely protective of the younger ones. So, when they do have time together, it's a lot of nurturing. There is a lot of reassuring,” he said. “And one of the things that they're grateful for is they've got each other.”

Last year, the world watched in horror as prosecutors described abuse the Turpin siblings had suffered at the hands of their parents, David and Louise. Twelve of the 13 children, who range from age two to 29, were allegedly beaten, shackled to their beds, malnourished, denied access to the bathroom and permitted to shower only once a year.

“They do worry about their parents, and I think at times they do miss their parents,” Mr Osborn said.

“They came from a situation that seemed normal to them. And now, they're in a new normal,” he said. “For really the first time they're able to make their own decisions. What they're going to eat … where they're going to go, what they're going to study.”

“They're still becoming independent,” Mr Osborn said. “And they'll tell you that it's kind of a lifelong thing.”

The Turpins have pleaded not guilty to nearly 50 charges of torture, false imprisonment and child abuse. They face life in prison if convicted.


Ask Amy: Adult hopes to confront mother over childhood abuse

by Amy Dickinson

Dear Amy: I am so angry with my mother. My father was abusive, and during his rages when I was a child, my mother would either defend him, or ignore it completely — as it was going on! I don't understand her refusal to protect her own child.

I want to have a long, deep conversation about everything. But she refuses! Whenever I bring it up, she gets upset, insists that she was a good mother and won't talk about it.

Amy, what do I do? I need this closure so I won't be so angry all the time. I need to tell her how I feel so we can start to heal things. But I can't force her to talk to me.

I don't want to walk around with this forever. I have poured my heart out to a therapist, but it's my mother I really need to speak to. Please help.

Angry Daughter

Angry Daughter: I am so sorry that this happened to you.

You need to accept that you will not get what you are looking for from your mother. You didn't get it as a child, and you likely won't get it now. Even if you can persuade her to acknowledge what happened in your past, talking with her may not fix things for you. You may pour out your heart and find that you're still very angry. This is understandable.

Write down your story as a letter to your mother, written from the perspective of the hurt child. Share this with your therapist. Decide whether you want to send it. Then you should find ways to nurture and sooth the child within. Seek ways to “mother” yourself, bestowing the acceptance, love and support that you wish you'd had from her.

If you haven't already done so, visit the site for Help for Adult Victims of Child Abuse (, for ideas, suggestions and connections.

Recovery is a challenging process, and you may experience setbacks. Don't let your mother's denial derail your recovery.

Dear Amy: My sister's husband loves to fish with my husband, who is disabled and fishes a good bit. Years ago, my brother-in-law started coming for a week each year to stay with us and fish with my husband all day for seven days.

We have never invited him to come here. He never gives us more than a week's notice, and I have been receptive to it because my sister gets a much-needed break from him (he snores loudly and she cannot sleep). We have a pack of dogs that bark the entire time he is in our home. My nerves are shot by the time he leaves.

This year, he is coming again. The problem is that my husband cannot do this like he used to. I work, and having him here is a huge burden on me.

Please tell me how to tell my sister and her husband this without hurting their feelings or causing any anger. My husband will not admit that he cannot go like he used to, so he says okay when my brother-in-law texts him and says he's coming.

Upset in Georgia:
I assume that there were several years where this loose arrangement worked out well for everyone, and now it is an annual “tradition.”

One thing most families do very badly is to change entrenched traditions.

If you want this behavior to stop, you will have to set boundaries and be clear about your needs. If your husband no longer wants to do this but can't say so, you should act as his gatekeeper and do it on his behalf.

Contact your sister and brother-in-law and tell them, “This annual visit worked out for many years, and ‘Bart' loved his fishing time. But he's not well enough to do this, and I am overwhelmed, so we're going to have to cancel this year's visit. Let's talk about a weekend date when we can all get together.”

Be direct, honest, friendly and firm. Don't pile on explanations about the dogs or other disruptions. Use the word “cancel.” And take good care of yourself.

Dear Amy: I liked your advice to "Concerned Mom," whose daughter drank a whole bottle of wine over a short time during dinner, but now that Mom knows about her daughter's drinking, she should not serve alcohol. She also needs to go to Al Anon meetings.

Been There.



Human trafficking is a global epidemic. And we can all help fight it

by Jane Mosbacher Morris, for CNN Business Perspectives

Jane Mosbacher Morris is author of Buy the Change You Want to See. She is the former director of Humanitarian Action for the McCain Institute. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Counterterrorism as an advisor and in the Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues as a detailee. The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own.

Perspectives: Jane Mosbacher Morris

Human trafficking is an estimated $150 billion industry, and one of the fastest-growing transnational criminal activities of the 21st century. Trafficking may seem like a distant problem or one that doesn't touch us personally, but we are unwittingly involved any time we buy something made by exploited labor.

Human trafficking is the word used to describe people being forced to work against their will in inhumane conditions, for little or no pay — whether in a factory in China, trash heap in India or private home in New York. It's also used to describe those held through coercion, fraud, force or the threat of force in the sex trade or in combat. Victims are often lured by false promises of decent work. Traffickers often take passports and money, and make threats against victims or their families if they try to escape.

As consumers, we inadvertently participate in this tragedy when we buy or use something made by these captives. While in the past, people made their own clothes or knew the seamstress who sewed them, and maybe lived down the street, today, the vast majority of clothing is manufactured outside the United States. Computer parts, too, come from all around the world. This means we literally do not see our products being made — or the conditions in which the producers work. Child labor trafficking in particular plagues many of the products we use today. The U.S. Department of Labor lists 148 goods made in 76 countries that are at significant risk of being made with child labor, including tobacco from Brazil and cotton from Burkina Faso.

While this sounds like a depressing aspect of globalization and an area out of our control, we can actually make a real difference in people's lives through our behavior as consumers. Tweaking what we buy and who we buy it from is surprisingly easy — and cost-affordable — and can have a real impact on producers here and around the world.

I first discovered the power of "conscious consumerism" in 2013, when I met former sex trafficking victims in India. These women had escaped exploitation and were now gainfully employed, doing dignified work in a sewing cooperative in Kolkata. I was traveling with the McCain Institute, a nonprofit I'd gone to work for after nearly a decade spent focusing on anti-terrorism and global women's issues in the U.S. Department of State. As I'd seen again and again, women who escaped or were rescued were vulnerable to re-exploitation if they couldn't find a good job.


U.S. prosecutors charge several in global sex trafficking ring

by Clyde Hughes

(UPI) -- Federal prosecutors have charged six people with running an Internet-based sex trafficking ring connected in the United States, Canada and Australia.

FBI agents in Oregon joined law enforcement agencies in more than a dozen cities internationally, officials said. The agency took control of websites like and hundreds of other domains the bureau said were used in the ring.

Five people were charged with conspiracy and use of interstate facilities to promote, manage, establish, carry on or facilitate a racketeering enterprise. In a second indictment, another person was charged with similar counts.

Prosecutors said in a statement the mastermind recruited women primarily from China to travel to the United States, Canada and Australia to engage in prostitution and other trafficking activities. Customers would use the website as a call center and women were dispatched to "dates" around the world. Authorities said the ring built a database with about 30,000 customers around the world.

"Vulnerable women looking for a new life in the U.S. instead find traffickers who cash in on their cultural isolation by profiting from the sale of sex services," FBI Special Agent In Charge Renn Cannon said.

"In many cases, these women lack the language skills and understanding of American civil rights to ask for help or assistance from law enforcement. For that reason, we need community members who suspect such illegal activity to come forward to help us," Cannon added.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Friday the ring operated out of Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Those visiting the site Friday saw a message that it had been seized by the FBI.

Toronto Police took one suspect into custody this week, who will be extradited to the United States. Two others appeared in federal court Tuesday and one Wednesday. The whereabouts of two of the suspects are unknown.


Slavery in the shadows: Survivor tells her painful story for Human Trafficking Awareness

There are several warning signs for human trafficking, including poor physical and mental health, a lack of control over their lives and harsh working conditions.

They met at a club through mutual friends, so Sara thought she was safe with him.

He romanced her, quickly and smoothly. He'd surprise her at her job to say hello and learned her class schedule. His attention was absolute.

“He was literally a dream come true of a boyfriend, for any girl,” she said.

She thought he was perfect; for the first month, he was. When he started withholding affection, she'd do anything to get it back.

She wouldn't understand the manipulation games he was playing until much later.

The day everything changed, her boyfriend persuaded her to audition for a modeling gig to make some extra money. He happened to know the guy who was looking for models.

She was going to college in Southwest Florida and had a part-time job at a mall, but he wanted her to do the modeling gig, so she did.

Her boyfriend drove her to a hotel and gave her specific instructions for where to go. He said he'd wait for her in the parking lot.

“That should have been a red flag, but I didn't see it as a red flag,” she said.

That night was the first night Sara was sexually assaulted. What followed was about six months of drug-hazed sexual servitude. The man she thought was her boyfriend became her trafficker.

Sara was trafficked for sex from the Naples area to Miami, Tampa and Orlando in 2012. She was 21 at the time. She shared her story with the Daily News for Human Trafficking Awareness Month (January).

To protect her identity, her real name and certain details of her life are not being printed. Her story was confirmed by Linda Oberhaus, CEO of the Shelter for Abused Women & Children, where Sara received help.

Human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery, involves the use of force, coercion or fraud to exploit people for sex or labor.

Millions of women, men and children are trafficked annually around the world, including the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Human trafficking is considered among the most lucrative criminal enterprises, second only to drug trafficking.

People might think human trafficking is a faraway problem, but it can happen in any community.

The first documented case of human trafficking in Collier was in 1999. A man escaped from a trailer in Immokalee where people were being held and forced into labor, according to Sheriff's Office Detective Sgt. Wade Williams.

The man ran to a nearby home and called 911. He told investigators the trailer was padlocked at night and that the workers were released during the day to pick tomatoes.

The investigation was turned over to Homeland Security. Abel Cuello, the labor contractor accused in the case, ultimately was sentenced to federal prison.

The Collier County Sheriff's Office conducted 98 investigations into allegations of human trafficking between 2014 and 2017. (All of the figures for 2018 are not yet available.) Of those, 93 cases were investigated as sex trafficking, and five were investigated as labor trafficking.

All of the sex trafficking victims in Collier have been women and girls. Investigators have identified male victims in labor trafficking cases.

The investigations yielded 20 arrests on human trafficking charges — 15 from one case.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 2015 announced the arrests of 15 people suspected of running a human trafficking ring that operated in Collier, Lee, Hendry, Polk and Miami-Dade counties. The investigation began in 2013 when a Collier deputy identified a sex trafficking victim during a traffic stop.

Most of the victims in that case were brought from Mexico and Central America. The court cases for the suspects still are pending.

Williams said 69 trafficking victims were identified during the course of those investigations from 2014 to 2017. Eighteen of the victims were juveniles.

Williams said the Sheriff's Office has seen an increase in human trafficking cases over the years but not necessarily an increase in activity. That's because in 2012, the Florida human trafficking statute was amended to strengthen the definition of coercion and make it more comprehensive.

Coercion now is defined by activities such as using or threatening to use physical force; restraining, isolating or confining someone, or threatening to do so, against that person's will; destroying or withholding someone's passport; lending money to establish a debt that must be worked off through labor or other services; causing or threatening to cause someone financial harm; and providing drugs to someone for the purpose of exploiting them.

The changes also clarified that using any form of coercion to force someone into commercial sexual activity is trafficking.

Williams said the changes essentially redefined what used to be considered prostitution. For example, before 2012, it wasn't considered trafficking if a pimp provided a woman with drugs to get her to engage in commercial sex.

Now law enforcement looks at many prostitution cases as potential cases of human trafficking.

“We have a better understanding now that we didn't before,” Williams said. “The law has accurately redefined what we have learned over time as the true nature of what's going on.”

IndyStar columnist Tim Swarens spent more than a year investigating a lucrative business where abused children are bought and sold.

Williams said trafficking rings that are brought to the United States from other countries, as was the case with the 2015 human trafficking bust, are generally tied to organized crime. The operations are more complex and operate as brothels.

Exploitation lies in manipulating a person's vulnerabilities. Foreign traffickers are able to manipulate victims by instilling fear about their immigration status or making them dependent by bringing them to a country where they don't understand the language and customs, according to Williams.

Trafficking operations in the U.S. can be less complex. The vulnerabilities are different, too. Traffickers target and manipulate people who have experienced sexual and physical abuse, according to Williams. They also exploit the vulnerabilities of people who are addicted to drugs, have run away from home or suffer from mental illness.

In Williams' experience, many of the victims who have been rescued from traffickers in Collier have experienced sexual and physical abuse, sometimes from a young age. Williams said traffickers sometimes try to create a false perception of family among people they target.

He said traffickers will sometimes sweet talk targets and make them believe they're in a relationship in the beginning stages. They'll psychologically manipulate victims and threaten them with violence to keep them in line.

“They'll give the girls the boyfriend experience, give them love and attention and affection,” Williams said. “All the things they want that the pimp can exploit. The pimps will say, ‘I'll take care of you, I'll love you.'”

The girls just have to do one thing for them, and they'll always be taken care of.

“They'll get their drugs, they'll get their protection,” Williams said. “They don't have to worry about anything.”

Human trafficking can sometimes go hand-in-hand with drug trafficking. Traffickers will ply victims with drugs to addict them and keep them compliant. They will sometimes buy in large quantities.

“They use multiple levels of coercion to keep control,” Williams said.

Local human trafficking cases

One prominent case in Collier County involved two men, Gregory Hines and Keith Lewis, who were arrested in 2016 on suspicion of trafficking at least four women.

The Sheriff's Office started investigating Hines in July 2015 after receiving information that he may have been involved in selling women for sex. They later identified Lewis as a possible accomplice, according to court records.

The women were advertised on Backpage, a classified ads website that was known to be used by traffickers to find buyers. The website is no longer working. It was seized by the federal government last year and became the subject of an investigation into whether the site willingly promoted sex trafficking, including of underage girls.

The Sheriff's Office received information during the investigation that Hines and Lewis were holding a woman who was overdosing in an East Naples hotel room and needed medical attention.

The investigation would have continued if it had not been exposed by the rescue, but by then authorities said they had enough probable cause to arrest the men.

Investigators said Lewis and Hines preyed on at least four women, giving them heroin and cocaine in exchange for sexually servicing customers. The women were addicted to drugs, according to the Sheriff's Office, and the men withheld drugs at times to keep them compliant, sending the women into severe withdrawal. Lewis and Hines kept the money the women made from servicing clients, according to the arrest report.

Both men face charges of human trafficking, racketeering, drug trafficking and deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution, court records show.

Lewis is scheduled to take a plea Feb. 28. Hines' trial is set for Feb. 11.

Help for survivors

Williams said one of the biggest challenges of investigating human trafficking cases is working with victims. Sometimes they're uncooperative, sometimes they're terrified. Sometimes they've been so beaten down, physically and mentally, they don't know how to function on their own and accept help without strings attached.

Sometimes, to be rehabilitated, they need everything from intense psychological therapies to drug treatment to job training.

“Sometimes it's like rebuilding a human being from the ground up,” Williams said. “Only it's worse than that, because you're trying to give a clean slate to someone who was wired in such a terrible way.”

The Sheriff's Office partners with various local agencies to provide services for victims — Catholic Charities, the Florida Department of Health in Collier, the Children's Advocacy Center and the Shelter for Abused Women & Children.

The shelter is the county's dedicated service provider for human trafficking victims. Staff members provide emergency shelter, emotional support, safety planning, individual and group counseling, legal support and housing assistance.

The shelter has housed or provided services to 55 victims over the years, according to Oberhaus, the shelter CEO. It provided emergency shelter to 16 trafficking victims in 2015 and to 19 victims between 2016 and 2018.

Most victims are referred to the shelter by law enforcement when detectives arrest traffickers. Victims sometimes aren't aware of the shelter or don't feel they're in a safe enough place to call and ask for help.

“And sometimes they don't identify themselves as victims at all,” Oberhaus said.

Victims have sometimes returned to traffickers, Oberhaus said, because the “trauma bond" between traffickers and those they target is strong.

“Traffickers are master manipulators,” she said.

She sometimes hears from people in the community that the shelter seems like a sad place to be, she said.

“But really everyone who's here today, they're safe,” Oberhaus said. “We're all about transformation and getting past the point of trauma. I can only imagine how many people are outside our gates who are victims of human trafficking and can't access us.”

Sara, the woman who was trafficked in 2012, didn't know what happened to her was considered trafficking until she met Oberhaus at a local networking event. Sara shared her story with Oberhaus, and they went to the Sheriff's Office together to report Sara's trafficker.

According to Williams, the man had been under investigation for years. Authorities identified a few possible victims, but some were uncooperative and some said they were too scared of his violence to talk about him. Detectives were in the process of working with the trafficker's victims when he died last spring, Williams said.

“I no longer have to look in the shadows and check my back,” Sara said.

She said she knows she is a survivor, but sometimes she doesn't feel that way. She still feels shame and embarrassment over what happened. She was raised by conservative, Catholic parents, she said, and was very innocent. She said she thinks her trafficker took advantage of that. He told her they would travel and be a team and live a good life, luring her with the promise of adventure and independence.

The day Sara got away and never looked back, she finished serving a year-long sentence at the Collier jail on charges related to credit card fraud. She took the fall for her trafficker when she was arrested.

She went back home to her parents after being released and tried to go back to a normal life.

“I just wanted to move on with my life,” Sara said.

Sara is now married and told her husband about being trafficked. She said he's been supportive and understanding of her.

One day she hopes to identify herself as a trafficking victim, write a book and do public speaking to help others who have been trafficked.

“One day I won't want to be anonymous anymore,” Sara said. “I'd want my story to help, even if it's just one person. I just have to overcome my own obstacles of shame and embarrassment.”

She said she knows what she could possibly face if she writes a book or speaks publicly about what happened to her. People can be cruel, she said, but it's all about who you want to be and how much you want that for yourself.

“Who cares what they say and think?” she said. “What matters is you and only you.”

She said she wants anyone who has been in her situation to know that recovery is possible.

“You don't have to be broken,” she said. “It's not the same recovery road for everyone. Not everyone will feel how I feel. Not everyone will surpass trauma the same way. It's about how bad you want out.”

If you are or know a victim of human trafficking, call the national Polaris Project hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or the Shelter for Abused Women & Children at 239-775-1101. For the National Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1-800-799-7233. For the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1-800-500-1119.

Indications someone might be a victim of human trafficking

Not allowed to speak for themselves.

Not free to come or go at will.

Shows signs of being denied food, water, sleep, or medical care.

Works excessively long and/or unusual hours.

Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, nervous, or paranoid.

Has few or no personal possessions.

Has bruises in various stages of healing.

Avoids eye contact.

Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off.



FBI busts global sex trafficking ring with Australian outposts

by Sally Rawsthorne

The FBI has shut down a global web-based Asian sex trafficking ring with outposts in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane as well as other cities worldwide. is among the dozens of websites shut down and boasts of "companions" including "Asian Amy" and "Asian Jenny" being available to its customers. and have also been shut down, and visitors to the site are now greeted with an image of the US Department of Justice's logo and a warning that "THIS WEBSITE HAS BEEN SEIZED".

The FBI says that these women were not escorts, but victims of sex trafficking from China.

Prosecutors in the US will allege the sex trafficking ring worked like a call centre, with customers contacting "dispatchers" via encrypted messages and the alleged syndicate keeping a database of 30,000 customers worldwide from previous visits with prostitutes. paired customers and sex workers, the website said before it was shut down.

"You'll always be greeted by a friendly, supportive voice at the other end of the line when you call our number, and that voice will be absolutely committed to steering you into the right companion connection when you call."

On Friday afternoon, the number had been disconnected.

Canadian man Zongtag Chen is accused of masterminding the global syndicate and recruiting women to work in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and other cities, while Chinese national Weixuan Zhou, 37, is accused of registering and maintaining the websites.

Mr Chen was arrested in Toronto, with police expecting to extradite him to the US to face charges. Mr Zhou has not been arrested and is thought to be in China.

"These advertisements typically featured scantily clad Asian women, under the guise of being 'escorts', which were, in fact, advertisements for illegal prostitution," the indictment states.

The syndicate also allegedly used individuals to rent hotels and apartments to turn into brothels.

No arrests have been made in Sydney. It is understood that the websites are hosted out of the USA.

The FBI says that vulnerable women were exploited by traffickers cashing in on cultural isolation by profiting from the sale of sex.

"Trafficking adults for sex can at times be overlooked by our society because some believe the adult victims have a choice," said Billy Williams, US Attorney for the District of Oregon.


Human Trafficking Reaches 'Horrific' New Heights, Declares U.N. Report


Human trafficking has taken on "horrific" dimensions, according to the 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons released this month by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The report, which looked at data from 142 countries between 2014 and 2016, points to two particularly disturbing trends, says Angela Me, chief of the research and trend team at UNODC. The first is the increasing number of girls forced into trafficking, most frequently for sexual exploitation. The other is the growing prevalence of trafficking as a tool of war.

Nearly 25,000 cases of human trafficking were reported to UNODC in 2016, up from approximately 20,000 in 2014 and 17,000 in 2013. Me cautions that the increases reported by UNODC may reflect more trafficking, or, alternatively, greater reporting by authorities, or perhaps a combination of both.

There are a number of other notable findings from the report.

Exploitation comes in many forms

Sexual exploitation remains the most common form of human trafficking, at 59 percent of all victims, says Me. But there are many other types of exploitation. Forced labor is the second most prevalent form of trafficking, at 34 percent overall and 82 percent for men, with the greatest prevalence in southern, east and west Africa, and the countries of the Middle East.

Types of forced labor run the gamut from agricultural to domestic work — as well as mining, including for gold, diamonds and minerals, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

And there are still other reasons why traffickers prey on people, says Me. One is organ removal for medical transplantation, with the report citing estimates of between 5 and 10 percent of all kidney and liver donations worldwide derived from trafficking.

Conflict creates new opportunities for traffickers

Violent conflict is happening in more countries today than in the last 30 years, according to the report. The crises have caused millions of refugees and displaced persons to flee their homes. The journey makes them vulnerable to traffickers offering jobs, help or travel arrangements that turn out to be fraudulent, leading instead to forced labor, sexual exploitation or other types of trafficking.

At greatest risk are children traveling alone, often after having been separated from families and communities in the course of the conflict.

Boys are most often recruited for military units as soldiers, bodyguards or laborers helping armed groups move from camp to camp. UNICEF has also documented the use of children as young as 8 in suicide attacks.

Girls are increasingly targeted

A growing number of girls are victimized, generally for sexual exploitation or housework. According to the report, in 2017, 23 percent of trafficking victims were girls below the age of 18, compared to 21 percent in 2014 and 10 percent in 2004.

Forced marriage — girls and women seized as non-consensual sex partners and for domestic work — is prevalent in areas of armed conflict. In Sierra Leone, for example, armed groups sought out and coerced females between the ages of 13 and 22 to be their wives, according to the country's 2016 Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.

Females from marginalized or minority groups are also often targeted for forced sex and sexual enslavement. ISIL, for instance, sold Yazidi females as commodities for sexual exploitation, domestic servitude or what the report describes as "distribution" to military camps, presumably for forced sex and domestic chores.

Trafficking happens everywhere

The majority of victims are trafficked within their own countries or regions. But among reported cases, 1 in 10 victims are transported to another part of the world. This "destination" trafficking, transporting people from one part of the world to another, usually from less economically developed areas to wealthier countries.

The complex arrangements necessary for long-distance trafficking reflect the involvement of larger organizations, says Me. Many routes originate in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia, going from there to the Middle East, or Western and Southern Europe.

The world is getting better at combating human trafficking

Some progress is being made in combating trafficking, says Me. Almost every country in the world has passed legislation to criminalize human trafficking, though more attention needs to be paid to protecting the victims caught up in the trafficking.

Data collection — which will aid catching traffickers and in planning anti-trafficking initiatives — is also improving. UNODC recently tested a new methodology for estimating the numbers of trafficking victims, Multiple Systems Estimation (MSE), in four European countries.

In the Netherlands, MSE found that there are four to five times as many victims as those detected, many of whom are trafficked underage Dutch girls — a finding that led, in turn, to policy discussions about launching awareness programs in Dutch schools.

The awarding of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize to Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict has also brought greater visibility and attention to the issue. But as the data shows, much more work remains.



Pennsylvania foster family charged with abusing, starving 3 young kids

by Michael Rubinkam, Associated Press

A Pennsylvania foster family beat and starved three young children over a period of six years, even staging a videotaped fight between two of the children in an effort to cover their tracks, police said.

Brenda Parise, 60, and her daughter, Amy Parise, who is turning 33 on Wednesday, were arrested Monday on felony child endangerment charges and other offenses.

According to a police affidavit, the Parises beat the children - who were 6, 3, and 11 months when they were placed in the home in 2011 - with a belt and paddle and withheld food from them. When the children were fed, they were made to eat cross-legged on the floor with a hand behind the back, and were largely given bologna sandwiches and sometimes chicken, authorities said.

Amy Parise allegedly forced one child to assault a sibling and shot video of the assault in an effort to mislead Luzerne County's child welfare agency. On another occasion, her mother allegedly dragged a child across the floor. Both women repeatedly gave one of the children a higher-than-prescribed dose of medicine, according to court documents.

A third family member, 30-year-old Shawn Parise - who lived next door and is Brenda's son and Amy's brother - was also charged with beating the children.

All three defendants in the abuse case were jailed Monday after failing to post bail. Court documents don't list a defense attorney who could speak on their behalf.

The children were placed in the home by Luzerne County Children and Youth Services in December 2011 but weren't removed until December 2017.

It wasn't clear why or how the children were permitted to languish for so long or whether an investigation into the handling of their case by child welfare authorities has been launched. A phone call seeking comment was placed to the director of Luzerne County Children and Youth Services on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services declined to comment on the case Tuesday but noted the state agency regularly reviews county children and youth records for compliance with state regulations.

The last several state inspections of Luzerne County Children and Youth Services found persistent staffing shortages and numerous other deficiencies, and the county agency's certificate of compliance was changed to provisional status in 2015. The regular compliance certificate was restored in 2017 after state officials determined Luzerne County had made sufficient progress in fixing the problems.

The persistent abuse left marks, bruises and severe scarring on the children's bodies, police said. All three children were malnourished and suffered from scabies, a condition caused by mites that burrow under the skin and lay eggs. One child was hospitalized in 2014 for failure to thrive and extreme weight loss.

Police said the home was in deplorable condition.