I WANTED IT TO BE HER

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The search team huddled around the photograph of the homeless woman panhandling at Tropicana Avenue and Jones Boulevard.

 

The picture gave them hope.

 

They studied the woman’s leathery skin and straight blond hair. Her narrow-set eyes hugged the bridge of a small, sloping nose hung above a pair of thin lips.

 

They glanced back at the pictures of a grinning 21-year-old Jessie Foster just before she went missing eight years ago in Las Vegas, then gasped. A lot can change in that time, but those lips, that nose — could it really be her?

 

“Oh, my lord,” Mary Borchers said.

 

“Yeah, we got to go down there,” Shannon Forsythe said.

 

Borchers is an advocate for sex-trafficking victims and a friend of Jessie’s mother, Glendene Grant.

 

Foster’s story in the documentary “Trafficked No More,” which was broadcast last month on several Las Vegas television stations, had brought in new tips about Foster’s possible whereabouts. But Grant, who lives in Kamloops, British Columbia, couldn’t follow up on all of the tips.

So on Sunday, Borchers traveled to Las Vegas from Los Angeles with Forsythe and members of her sex-trafficking victims’ assistance nonprofit group, Run 2 Rescue, to resume the search into a question no one has been able to answer since 2006: What happened to Jessie?

 

They dispatched 15 volunteers to pass out fliers Monday morning. It was then — when two volunteers had handed a flier to the homeless woman — that the photo had been taken. The woman didn’t say she was Jessie, but she said the missing person on the flier looked familiar.

 

That didn’t matter to Forsythe, founder of Run 2 Rescue. If Foster is in fact a sex-trafficking victim, she could have been afraid to admit her identity.

 

“We need to cut the meeting short,” Forsythe said to the waiting volunteers at East Vegas Christian Center.

 

The homeless woman could still be near Tropicana and Jones, but Borchers and Forsythe knew their window was closing. It was almost 5 p.m. and getting dark.

 

They piled into a Ford Explorer with another woman from Run 2 Rescue and two men for protection, and sped toward Tropicana and Jones.

 

• • •

 

Jessie vanished in 2006 from North Las Vegas, like a drop of rain on the desert floor.

 

In May 2005, she had come from Kamloops to the Las Vegas Valley. A month later, Jessie moved in with her boyfriend, Peter Todd — a man Jessie’s parents, Dwight Foster and Grant, barely knew.

 

When Jessie went missing — she last spoke by phone with her mother on March 24, 2006, and was last seen by Todd on April 3, 2006 — Grant filed a report with North Las Vegas Police. After learning Jessie had been arrested in June 2005 and had an outstanding warrant for prostitution, Grant was certain their second-oldest daughter — a former honor roll student — was a victim of sex trafficking.

 

Police searched Todd’s home. They interviewed him twice. He said Jessie took her belongings and drove off. Authorities didn’t find anything suspicious, North Las Vegas Police Lt. Tim Bedwell said.

 

They tracked every lead they could, even tips from psychics, but all police ever found were animal bones in the desert. They even got two retired officers to search every recent missing-persons case for a link. They found nothing.

 

Grant and Foster insisted Todd was a pimp and blamed him for Jessie’s disappearance. With no evidence to indicate otherwise, police cleared Todd of wrongdoing.

 

Jessie’s case grew cold.

 

Nearly eight years later, Jessie’s case still haunts the department. Bedwell can still picture Jessie grinning without a care in the passenger seat of a car.

 

“We’ve conceded for a very long time that even though this is a missing-persons case, common sense says there’s been a crime committed and she’s a victim,” Bedwell said. “We just don’t know what, and we can’t find evidence.”

 

Jessie’s disappearance changed the course of Grant’s and Dwight Foster’s lives.

 

They entered a world of what-ifs and body watches, holding their breath every time human remains were found in Las Vegas.

 

Early on, the mystery festered like an open wound. What if Jessie is alive and being tortured? What if she died alone in the desert?

 

The macabre thoughts went on and on for the parents.

 

That first year, Grant refused to leave home and let her cupboards go empty. She struggled to take care of her two other daughters and grieved constantly. She quit her job and focused her efforts on trying to find Jessie.

 

Grant and Dwight Foster hired a private investigator and made several trips to the valley to comb the city for their daughter. Still, no luck.

 

Then, near the end of the first year, Grant said she received a sign that helped her move forward. While on a flight to Las Vegas, she had learned police had found Shawn Hornsbeck, a child who had been kidnapped in Missouri and had been missing for four years.

 

Grant knew then Jessie might not come home any time soon. Grant would be in it for the long haul.

 

“Once I knew, it was easier to wait for the next few years to go by,” Grant said. “I don’t know how to explain that, but I just knew.”

 

• • •

 

Doris weaved the Ford Explorer through the rush-hour traffic on Interstate 15, toward Tropicana Avenue.

 

“If she says, ‘yes,’ we take her right there,” said Doris, Run 2 Rescue’s outreach coordinator, who asked that her last name not be used to protect her identity.

 

“We need to get her in the car and out of town to make sure no one follows us,” Forsythe said. “Then out of the state tonight.”

 

“We also need to consider law enforcement,” Borchers said.

 

Borchers thumbed through photos of Jessie as she listened. The similarities between Jessie and the homeless woman were unbelievable.

 

Still, the searchers reminded themselves the woman might not be Jessie. There are nearly 2 million people in Clark County. The odds of finding Jessie on the streets were slim.

 

Regardless, they would help the woman if she needed it.

 

About 10 minutes later, Doris exited onto Tropicana and sped past an adult video emporium and the Orleans. They notified a safe house at an undisclosed location to prepare for Foster. A plan was formulated.

 

They prayed.

“Let it be Jessie,” Forsythe said. “Let it be Jessie.”

 

• • •

 

Grant learned long ago to give up any expectations when people searched for her daughter.

 

She knows getting worked up will only make her crazy. Instead, Grant focuses on what she can control — her advocacy work.

 

After a detective told her no one would be interested in Jessie’s story, Grant’s mission became to prove the detective wrong.

 

Jessie’s story has appeared in documentaries, books and enough newspapers to fill three scrapbooks. Grant has traveled to high schools and universities across Canada, sharing her daughter’s story. She started Mothers Against Trafficking Humans in Jessie’s name.

 

Each time Grant helps another parent deal with losing a loved one to human trafficking, or helps someone by sharing her own story, she’s keeping Jessie alive.

 

Grant also prays … a lot.

 

“I don’t lose hope, but I don’t daydream about the what-ifs,” Grant said. “Those are the ones that will put you in the psych ward.”

 

Her ex-husband, Dwight Foster, from whom Grant has been separated since the late 1980s, has struggled to move forward. Grant said Dwight Foster was consumed with Jessie’s disappearance.

 

Dwight Foster stays up all night and sleeps all day. He is no longer the happy-go-lucky guitar player he once was. He even quit his job.

 

“Somewhere in his dad mind, he probably felt that he didn’t protect her,” Grant said.

 

Grant has chosen not to live in the past. She recently moved out of the home in which Jessie grew up. Grant has moved into a new home with new furniture.

 

Grant knows she can never go back to the life where Jessie brought friends over to bounce on the trampoline and pick grapes off vines. In those days, Grant always thought Jessie would grow up and do hair and makeup for movie stars.

 

Those are just memories now. Grant knows she can’t go back to that life, even if Jessie is still alive.

 

Still it isn’t easy to move forward. Grant cries once a day for Jessie and posts often on Facebook, promising to bring her home no matter what. Even if Grant doesn’t expect answers, she needs one.

 

“It means I don’t have to think Jessie’s being raped,” Grant said. “I don’t have to think that the crows picked her bones clean.”

 

• • •

 

Grant’s mind raced; she couldn’t sleep.

 

It was close to midnight, and Metro Police hadn’t finished scanning the woman’s fingerprints. Grant remained glued to her phone, struggling to remind herself not to expect anything.

 

Earlier that night Borchers, Forsythe and Doris had found the homeless woman. She appeared intoxicated and wouldn’t comment on whether she was Jessie. Borchers snapped three photos and sent them to Grant.

 

The first two pictures didn’t look like Jessie at all, but the third picture — could it be? Grant couldn’t say for certain. The search team needed to find out more. Borchers called Grant and gave the phone to the woman.

 

They wanted to see her react to Grant’s voice.

 

“Please,” Grant said into the phone. “I just need to hear you speak so I can tell.”

 

No response. The woman grew angrier. That’s when the search team decided to call Metro so they could determine the woman’s identity for certain.

 

“There were at least a dozen people stating that it was her, including our own team,” Borchers said. “Even law enforcement said the same thing: that it was her.”

 

After midnight, the fingerprint results came in. It wasn’t Jessie.

 

“I wanted it to be her,” Grant said.

 

The next day, the search resumed.

 

source:  http://lasvegassun.com/news/2014/feb/21/after-eight-years-hope-remains-alive-even-if-missi/#.UwdrtAFQw9k.twitter

Published in: on February 24, 2014 at 10:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sex Trafficking Bust

It was hell on earth just a few feet away from well kept homes and legitimate businesses. Young women and girls locked away in rooms above cantina forced to have sex with strangers.

“They were hiding in plain sight.” Says Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

Cell phone video captured the opening phases of the raid.. The task force alleges that pimps trafficked in the women from Mexico. The girls and young women were rented out for fifteen minute intervals. They were beaten if they failed to satisfy and then after the place closed.. they were taken to other places to have sex until dawn. Three of the businesses occupied one building.. Ironically one has a sign reading “not minors” in Spanish. Another one, Las Palmas., was right down Telephone road.

It was all under the control of a the family’s 66 year old matriarch named Hortencia Medeles Arguello. nicknamed Tencha. Most of the people indicted are related. The fourteen people indicted face a variety of charges, from prostitution to money laundering.. A family member who was not indicted says they are innocent.

“These are hardworking people. they are innocent. they go to church. they just have the wrong information and wrong people.” Says Maine Arroyo Rodriguez.

Attorney Todd Dupont might represent some of the indicted.. he says because they are related the state could have a rough time of it.

“History tells us that it’s very uncommon but it happens that family is going to want to cooperate against other family members.”

Over the course of the two and a half year investigation they rescued twelve women, five of them under fifteen. The task force knows there are more victims out there and they want to hear from them.. They say the victims don’t have to fear deportation.. They’d also like to hear about one of the accused pimps. .a Mexican national named Alfonso Diaz-Juarez.. He is on the run but has a reward on his head… But as sad as this story is.. it gets worse.. here’s why.. Those on the front likes of the human trafficking problem think the fight is far from over.

“Unfortunately I’m not sure we made a huge dent. Like the sheriff alluded to there are other businesses out there doing this and there are other victims out there. This is one case. This is one investigation.” Said Special Agent In Charge Stephen Morris with the FBI.

Thursday night’s raid netted twenty-two women. The task force doesn’t’ know yet ifd they are part of the conspiracy, are innocent employees, or more victims.

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source: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/story/23673231/2013/10/11/sex-trafficking-bust#ixzz2hbMRILDU
Published in: on October 16, 2013 at 9:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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Police ‘failing to deal’ with human trafficking misery

 

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Most victims of human trafficking are being ignored because police continue to focus on large-scale trade organised by criminal gangs, a new report claims.

The majority of people trafficked are brought into this country on their own or in groups of two or three and are left open to abuse, according to the study.

Those who do summon the courage to seek help from the police or councils find themselves turned away or not believed.

The research by London Assembly member Andrew Boff suggested concentrating on organised trafficking gangs allowed many cases to slip through the net.

Mr Boff highlighted several cases including three London police stations turning away a man who escaped from his traffickers.

Mr Boff said: ‘My research shows that there is total denial that the trafficking and sex grooming of boys exists, and this can be linked to the social stigmas attached to being a male victim as well as the stereotypes of being a man.

‘Labour trafficking cases will soon overtake sex trafficking cases and yet this serious form of exploitation is also downgraded by the authorities.’

A Home Office report on organised crime published this month said the human trafficking trade is worth an estimated £130million nationwide. Some estimates put the number of victims in Britain as high as 4,000.

Theresa May blog: An abhorrent evil in our capital

Figures from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency show there were 389 cases potential trafficking cases so far this year but just 36 were picked up by the Metropolitan Police, according to Mr Boff.

His report claimed the Met’s anti-trafficking unit is overstretched and there is a target driven culture in the force.

Mr Boff said human trafficking was ‘a very complex crime’ with many hidden and informal cases, which could mean domestic trafficking of Nigerian children under the guise of informal fostering, the exploitation of Latin Americans in the au pair industry, and the sex grooming of British boys on the internet.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said it was ‘disappointed’ with the report’s conclusions.

The force insisted it took a proactive approach and ‘responds to and builds up intelligence’.

Writing for Metro, home secretary Theresa May described equated human trafficking to modern-day slavery and described it as ‘the evil in our midst’.

 

 

 

source:  http://metro.co.uk/2013/10/14/police-failing-to-deal-with-human-trafficking-misery-4144814/

Published in: on October 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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27 Virginia Beach,VA Unsolved Cases

27 of numerous Unsolved murders. Murder cold cases in the City of Virginia Beach dated back to 1970.

Published in: on October 13, 2013 at 8:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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Raising Awareness for Human Trafficking

The Marquette Branch of the American Association of University of Women hosted a meeting to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Published in: on October 13, 2013 at 8:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Raising awareness for human trafficking

The Marquette Branch of the American Association of University of Women hosted a meeting to raise awareness about human trafficking Thursday night.

There have been reports of human trafficking in the Upper Peninsula, including Ironwood.  One of the reason the U.P. has seen reports is because it’s so isolated.

Michigan as a whole is one of the top five states in the country where trafficking is exploding.  Michigan borders Canada and has a large tourism industry, two factors that increase the abundance of human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery,” Sexual Assault Advocate at the Women’s Center Kelly Laakso said.  “We tell people that slavery never really ended with the Emancipation Proclamation, it really just transformed itself moving on into today.”

“Human trafficking is basically someone–a trafficker–exploiting somebody else–the victim– for some sort of service or some sort of benefit.  Whether that’s labor trafficking or as popular culture would have popularized it, sex trafficking,” Youth Advocate for Harbor House Amy Kordus said.

One of the first steps to prevent human trafficking is to learn to identify the victim.

“Looking for (for example) if someone doesn’t have access to their identification, if they don’t have possessions that are in their control, if they’re accompanied by somebody who insists on telling a story all the time, if they’re telling you a story all the time that they’re a student or that they’re here on a visa or a tourist and there’s a lot of inconsistencies in their stories,” Kordus said.

“If you’re falling under the myths and misconceptions that it’s not here, then we don’t know to look for the victims of trafficking,” Laakso said.  “And really, stopping human trafficking starts with victim identification.”

“A lot times, these crimes are happening behind more obvious crimes you might think about,” Kordus said.  “If there’s a situation with zone ordinance or kidnapping or all sorts of criminal charges that people are more familiar with, there could be elements of human trafficking.”

“If there’s more of an awareness in the community we can push behind and look behind those crimes to look and see what’s happening.”

Kordus and Laakso say if people see anything suspicious or think they see a victim of human trafficking, people should call their local law enforcement agency.

For more information on human trafficking awareness, visit the Women’s Center website, or the Office of the Administration for Children & Families website.

http://youtube/R8dAx0mfiqs

 

source: http://abc10up.com/raising-awareness-human-trafficking/

The Marquette Branch of the American Association of University of Women hosted a meeting to raise awareness about human trafficking Thursday night.

There have been reports of human trafficking in the Upper Peninsula, including Ironwood.  One of the reason the U.P. has seen reports is because it’s so isolated.

Michigan as a whole is one of the top five states in the country where trafficking is exploding.  Michigan borders Canada and has a large tourism industry, two factors that increase the abundance of human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery,” Sexual Assault Advocate at the Women’s Center Kelly Laakso said.  “We tell people that slavery never really ended with the Emancipation Proclamation, it really just transformed itself moving on into today.”

“Human trafficking is basically someone–a trafficker–exploiting somebody else–the victim– for some sort of service or some sort of benefit.  Whether that’s labor trafficking or as popular culture would have popularized it, sex trafficking,” Youth Advocate for Harbor House Amy Kordus said.

One of the first steps to prevent human trafficking is to learn to identify the victim.

“Looking for (for example) if someone doesn’t have access to their identification, if they don’t have possessions that are in their control, if they’re accompanied by somebody who insists on telling a story all the time, if they’re telling you a story all the time that they’re a student or that they’re here on a visa or a tourist and there’s a lot of inconsistencies in their stories,” Kordus said.

“If you’re falling under the myths and misconceptions that it’s not here, then we don’t know to look for the victims of trafficking,” Laakso said.  “And really, stopping human trafficking starts with victim identification.”

“A lot times, these crimes are happening behind more obvious crimes you might think about,” Kordus said.  “If there’s a situation with zone ordinance or kidnapping or all sorts of criminal charges that people are more familiar with, there could be elements of human trafficking.”

“If there’s more of an awareness in the community we can push behind and look behind those crimes to look and see what’s happening.”

Kordus and Laakso say if people see anything suspicious or think they see a victim of human trafficking, people should call their local law enforcement agency.

For more information on human trafficking awareness, visit the Women’s Center website, or the Office of the Administration for Children & Families website

Lake County commissioners expressed support for a local task force fighting human trafficking in the area at Tuesday’s county board meeting.

The task force was started to raise awareness of human and sex trafficking in the area, and its members approached Commissioner Brad Jones to ask if the county would be willing to commit funds toward a billboard. The advertisement would aim to raise awareness of trafficking and point victims toward helpful resources, Jones said.

“These things have happened in our area. It’s frightening. I think it behooves us to do what we can to help these organizations out,” Commissioner Rich Sve said.

Sve said they would ask a representative from the task force to come to a future board meeting to explain the billboard and its purpose in more depth.

Two Harbors Public Library director Michele Monson appeared before the board to ask for support for more library renovations. Recently, with county support, carpet was replaced in the building and Monson said she hoped the board would help with a project to install a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. She said the current system is outdated.

“It looks like something out of a 1950s movie,” Monson said.

Jones said the outdated system has been a nagging problem, as parts become impossible to find and repairs become more difficult to make.

“It has been an ongoing struggle for several years,” he said.

The board agreed they would consider the requests in upcoming budget talks.

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- See more at: http://www.twoharborsmn.com/event/article/id/25542/#sthash.SfKBK711.dpuf

Lake County commissioners expressed support for a local task force fighting human trafficking in the area at Tuesday’s county board meeting.

The task force was started to raise awareness of human and sex trafficking in the area, and its members approached Commissioner Brad Jones to ask if the county would be willing to commit funds toward a billboard. The advertisement would aim to raise awareness of trafficking and point victims toward helpful resources, Jones said.

“These things have happened in our area. It’s frightening. I think it behooves us to do what we can to help these organizations out,” Commissioner Rich Sve said.

Sve said they would ask a representative from the task force to come to a future board meeting to explain the billboard and its purpose in more depth.

Two Harbors Public Library director Michele Monson appeared before the board to ask for support for more library renovations. Recently, with county support, carpet was replaced in the building and Monson said she hoped the board would help with a project to install a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. She said the current system is outdated.

“It looks like something out of a 1950s movie,” Monson said.

Jones said the outdated system has been a nagging problem, as parts become impossible to find and repairs become more difficult to make.

“It has been an ongoing struggle for several years,” he said.

The board agreed they would consider the requests in upcoming budget talks.

Tags:

- See more at: http://www.twoharborsmn.com/event/article/id/25542/#sthash.SfKBK711.dpuf

Colorado officials’ crackdown on human trafficking and prostitution

Human trafficking is on the rise in Colorado. Enforcement officers are working to remove offenders from the community, but these efforts could lead to wrongful convictions.

The FBI is making efforts across the nation to put an end to human trafficking, a crime that is becoming more prevalent in Colorado in recent years. According to the FBI’s Operation Cross Country VII, part of the Innocence Lost Task Force, Colorado ranked fourth in the nation for the number of operation arrests. The FBI admits that many of these individuals are likely “victims, not suspects,” according to a recent report in The Gazette. Officials arrested nine suspects in a span of three days in July, charged with connections to prostitution offenses. Colorado enforcement agencies also participated in earlier investigations that resulted in the issuance of sex crime charges. One conducted in June of 2013 focused on escorts who advertised online. The operation led to 12 arrests for prostitution related offenses. Another focused on an establishment in Golden called Happy Feet. The massage business was accused of prostitution, money laundering and tax evasion. Authorities note that they will help victims of these crimes that are pulled in from other countries. Victims are often brought to the country with the promise of a new life. Once they enter the country they must first pay off
the debt through either illegal work practices or commercial sex. Human trafficking and prostitution in Colorado Human trafficking is referred to as a modern day form of slavery. The term refers to the use of humans for exploitation and generally falls into one of two categories: forced labor or commercial sex. Operations run by the FBI focusing on prostitution are often concerned that human trafficking violations may also be present. Police departments throughout the state are concerned the level of human trafficking has increased and are reaching out to The Colorado Trafficking and Organized Crime Coalition (CTOCC) to assist in investigating and combating these violations. Agencies work to hold offenders accountable, but their efforts could lead to false accusations Although it is important to hold those who violate these laws accountable for their actions, it is equally important to drop any charges against those who are falsely accused of sex crimes. A false accusation could lead to a conviction that would negatively impact the accused for the rest of his or her life. Those accused of these crimes must take the charges seriously. A conviction can lead to various penalties, including imprisonment, monetary penalties and the need to register as a sex offender. Defenses are available that can lead to the reduction or even dismissal of charges. Contact an experienced Colorado sex crime lawyer to discuss your case and potential defenses.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1517465#ixzz2hKYRYy2H
Published in: on October 10, 2013 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Modern Slavery in Europe

Human trafficking is the 21st century’s modern form of slavery, and it concerns the entire European Union. Trafficking in human beings is an extremely profitable business for organized crime and can take different forms of exploitation; from sexual exploitation and illegal adoption to forced labor, domestic work, illegal trade in human organs and begging. Human trafficking can target men and women as well as girls and boys of different nationalities, relying on threats, fraud, deception, and different forms of coercion and abduction.

 

The question to address is how to overcome this dramatic phenomenon and what measures to take to diminish the number of victims in the EU in general, but particularly in the Eastern Partnership countries.

 

Very often the root of this phenomenon lies in economic disparity, lack of opportunities and employment, poverty, gender inequality and discrimination. Today, unemployment particularly affects women who, striving to survive in their home countries, take up and leave their homes in search for work and a better life elsewhere. Their helplessness can be exploited by traffickers looking to sell cheap labor abroad.

 

Lithuania has become the most important country for transit between Eastern and Central Europe, as well as a destination country for women and girls subjected to human trafficking. Lithuanian women are victims of sex trafficking in Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Sweden, Finland and Norway. Women from Eastern bloc countries are transported from these countries through Lithuania to Western Europe, with about 12 percent of them remaining and working as prostitutes in Lithuania. Once they are entangled in the prostitution business in Lithuania, they suffer from discriminations and sexual exploitation before perhaps being trafficked onwards to Western Europe.

 

Lithuania is trying to combat all forms of human trafficking and to protect the rights of victims. The government has strengthened anti-trafficking laws, but large challenges still remain.

 

Anti-trafficking activities undertaken in cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries can help to build networks between Lithuania and other countries in the battle against human trafficking. In November, the Eastern Partnership summit will take place in Vilnius. The countries involved have placed their hopes for commercial integration into the European family on this meeting. However, factors like deficiencies in human rights, the rule of law, the fight against corruption and human trafficking are getting in the way of Eastern Partnership countries’ integration into Europe.

 

To overcome these shortcomings, we need to boost coordinated actions against human trafficking between European Parliament member states and Eastern Partnership countries to cooperate effectively with each other across borders.

 

In Lithuania and other EU member states, as well as in Eastern Partnership countries, the main effort has to go towards raising the population’s awareness and making the profile of the trafficking problem clear and understood. These public awareness actions should target potential adult victims of trafficking and in schools and universities, where they can take different forms like seminars, public lectures and other anti-trafficking events.  My country is undertaking such a public awareness action by filming a movie about a Lithuanian girl who becomes a victim of human trafficking, which will hopefully contribute to understanding the trends of human trafficking both inside and outside a country.

 

Legislation against human trafficking is an effective legal instrument but further coordinated actions among member states and non-EU countries to address the issue must be taken in order to put these legal instruments into practice. These coordinated actions can include the establishment of partnerships and training among government agencies and groups both inside and outside the EU.

 

Despite the implementation of different legislation targeting human trafficking, the working methods of human trafficking can change and can adapt to these legal frameworks and provisions. But a better understanding of the human trafficking phenomena and an effective reaction from citizens can help to diminish its flow. Identifying the extent of the problem in the EU as well as outside can be the key to stemming the increased levels of human trafficking. In Lithuania, Europe and outside the EU it is time for everyone of us to act on each level — local, national and European — in order to eradicate the slavery of the 21st century: human trafficking.

 
 
source:  http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/modern-slavery-in-europe/487603.html#ixzz2hKVIfo00

Published in: on October 10, 2013 at 10:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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US Victims of sex trafficking ‘need the body of Christ’

 

Victims of sex trafficking 'need the body of Christ'
Although largely unrecognized, sex trafficking in the U.S. is a serious problem, and its victims needs the loving support that the Catholic Church can give, says the head of a D.C.- based ministry.
“We need to get people to pay attention to the plight of American girls,” said Candace Wheeler, founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Restoration Ministries, which seeks to bring Christ’s love and aid to victims of sex trafficking.
“These girls need the body of Christ, and the body of Christ needs them.”
 
Human trafficking is a pressing problem in the United States. According to the Department of Justice, 82 percent of reported U.S. human trafficking between January 2008 and June 2010 involved sex trafficking allegations, and as many as 300,000 children are at risk of sexual exploitation each year.

 

“Every country has this problem,” Wheeler told CNA on Oct. 1, but there is a lack of awareness, and many people “are more concerned with foreign women and girls being trafficked than with their own.  People often assume that women and children who are trafficked “choose to be there” and have “written them off,” saying that “they’re bad girls, they’re runaways and throwaways,” she added.  However, many of the girls at risk for sex trafficking are from broken homes or the foster system, and “they have typically been violated before the age of five.”

 

“When they have been violated by a family member, by someone who is supposed to be taking care of them, they have linked love and sex together,” Wheeler explained, adding that these girls “are easy prey” because “by the time she’s 11 or 12, traffickers can just spot a girl who has no self-worth.”  Because of their troubled family situation, “all they’ve ever known, in most cases, is brokenness,” she said, and as a result, “healthy feels scary for them.”  While it is possible to escape from the “mindset” of trafficking and abuse, it is difficult, she continued, requiring both consistency and an understanding of what normalcy is.

 

Wheeler’s organization, Restoration Ministries, works to identify victims of trafficking, going regularly into prisons and mental institutions, where victims of sex trafficking are often held, in order to build relationships with people.  “Just sitting down and listening gives them value and validation as people,” she said.  From there, Restoration Ministries works to intervene in current cases of trafficking and prevent future cases.  Ultimately, fighting sex trafficking requires a big-picture, cooperative approach, Wheeler said.

 

“We have to have the right laws in place, but the laws have to be enforced,” she explained. But a legal solution alone is not enough. Factors leading to sex trafficking often start with the family, and it is crucial that a long-term solution take the family into account as well.  Many times, Wheeler said, girls are sent back to abusive homes with a court order to participate in family therapy, but “the families don’t participate, or it’s lip service.”

 

Another challenge is that psychological therapy for victims takes times – often years – to be effective, she said. Many cities become frustrated when therapy, which can be expensive, does not quickly yield results, and therefore limit or end funding for it.

 

Despite these challenges, however, Wheeler remains hopeful. She said the Church has come together to help trafficking victims in recent years.  “We don’t need government money, and they don’t really have any anyway,” she said, calling for religious and church communities to “really come together and be strategic,” while at the same time offering up “prayer and fasting” to aid victims of sex trafficking and eliminate its root causes in the U.S.

 

 

source:  http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/victims-of-sex-trafficking-need-the-body-of-christ/

Published in: on October 10, 2013 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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Deputies from 3 counties get GBI sex trafficking training

The GBI is training deputies from three counties in our area on how to combat sex trafficking. For the next couple of months, deputies from Richmond County, Greene County, and Taliaferro County will be taking the course.

Greene County deputy, Patrick Paquette, has taken the course before. He says, “This sex trafficking, it’s an epidemic, and it’s larger than what people know, it’s not highly publicized at this point.”

Paquette knows firsthand how important training for this sort of thing is. Two months after he attended his first GBI sex trafficking course, he rescued a victim during a traffic stop on I-20 in Taliaferro County.

“He had brought this child from the Atlanta area, brought her to Augusta exploited her all night in Augusta and was leaving Augusta when we came in contact with him,” he explains.

Training officers what to look for is important, Paquette says, because sex trafficking is a problem that’s being recognized more and more in Augusta.

“I stop cars all the time eastbound on I-20 with these children, with these prostitutes in them, headed to the Augusta area,” he said.

On Valentine’s Day, he was making traffic stops along I-20 in Greene County, and he was shocked with what he found.

“More than 50% of the cars I stopped that particular day had escorts in the vehicle heading to Augusta,” he says.

Cities along major interstates, like I-20, are prime targets for the human sex trade. Paquette works with the Interstate and Criminal Enforcement Unit, and she says, “Right here on Washington Rd., we have tons of motels where they can jump right off of I-20 and utilize those hotels, jump back on I-20 and move on, and that’s why I think it’s so large in the Augusta area.”

He says it’s not something the community needs to overlook. “They’re exploiting these young girls. It’s no different than selling drugs. They’re making a profit off of this stuff and it’s huge.”

Once the training is complete, 200 Richmond County deputies will have gone through the course.

 

 

source:  http://www.wrdw.com/home/headlines/3-local–227137341.html

 

Published in: on October 10, 2013 at 10:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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