MP’s human trafficking bill survives Bloc amendment

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OTTAWA — Manitoba MP Joy Smith’s quest to have child sex traffickers hit with mandatory minimum sentences survived a challenge Tuesday when a Bloc Québécois amendment to her bill was defeated.

The Bloc had tried to remove the mandatory minimums from Smith’s private member’s bill, which would have made the bill itself useless.

The amendment was defeated late Tuesday and the House of Commons will be called to vote on the bill for a final time today.

The legislation creates a new offence for trafficking of people under 18 and sets five years as the mandatory minimum sentence upon conviction. The bill sets six years as the minimum sentence for trafficking minors with aggravating factors such as sexual assault.

Currently convictions of human trafficking don’t separate victims by age. The maximum sentence is 14 years (life with aggravating factors) but there is no minimum.

Smith says too many convictions under the law since it came into effect almost five years ago have seen sentences far shorter than five years.

The legislation has been making its way through the cumbersome private members’ process since February and has been helped several times by other Conservative MPs giving up debating time for their bills to allow Smith’s on the floor ahead of schedule.

During debate on the legislation Tuesday, several Conservative MPs and a Liberal spoke in favour of the bill, but one Bloc and one NDP MP did not.

The Liberals who supported the bill, including Manitoba MP Anita Neville, have said they want the government to develop a national strategy on human trafficking including prevention, awareness and help for victims.

Human trafficking, sometimes referred to as the modern-day slave trade, is defined by the United Nations as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons” using threats, force, fraud or deception. Most of the victims are women, about half are minors and about 70 per cent are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Others end up in forced-labour situations, often as domestic help or low-level workers in drug operations.

source: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/mps-human-trafficking-bill-survives-bloc-amendment-62823427.html

Feds: Army private used Craigslist to entice and sell prostitutes

An Army private stationed at Fort Meade has been accused of running a sex trafficking business out of an off-base apartment that used Craigslist to entice at least one underage girl into prostitution.

Pfc. Craig Allen Corey II and three other men from Ohio allegedly brought from Ohio to Maryland the women they later sold for sex, according to the indictment unsealed Tuesday. Among those brought east from the Midwest was a 16-year-old girl, prosecutors said.

The sex business run from the 23-year-old’s off-base apartment in Millersville “used Craigslist and other web-based services to persuade, encourage, entice and recruit females to serve as prostitutes and promote their prostitution business,” the indictment said. They’re also accused of using the prostitution proceeds to buy Ecstasy, which they then distributed to friends, prostitutes and customers.

In the past year, Craigslist has come under fire for the sex advertisements posted on its Web pages. In April, after a Boston medical student allegedly killed a prostitute he met through Craigslist, the free Internet classifieds company started requiring posters of sex advertisements to pay. The plan, the company said at the time, was for Craigslist to better identify the people behind the advertisements.

But according to the indictment, Corey and others used prepaid debit cards and aliases when posting on Craigslist to “conceal their unlawful activities.” Using that method between April 20 and April 23, Corey posted sexually explicit pictures of a 16-year-old Ohio girl on Craigslist and gave her the moniker “Vanilla.” The advertisements worked, the indictment said, and the girl was sold for sex.

Law enforcement officials described the sex business as human trafficking.

“Protecting our communities from the threats and vulnerabilities posed by criminal organizations engaged in human trafficking is a top priority for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” said Special Agent William Winter whose agency investigated and cracked the case.

Corey faces life in prison for sex trafficking by force, prosecutors said. Among the other charges he faces are distribution of child pornography and conspiracy to distribute Ecstasy.

source: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/crime/Feds_-Army-private-used-Craigslist-to-entice-and-sell-prostitutes-8316071-62718892.html

Top Russian spy indicted in sex trafficking case

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Thirteen men have been indicted in an international sex trafficking case, which they are accused of using women as slaves. One of the suspects is a Senior Russian intelligence officer.
In March 2009, a senior officer in Russia’s Defense Ministry was charged with leading an international sex ring operation that involved using women as sex slaves and now a Moscow court will resume hearings of the thirteen men who have been accused.
The Moscow Regional Court will handle such a case for the first time, according to military court spokesperson Aleksandr Minchanovsky. Many are surprised at the people involved. A large number of the defendants are high-ranking government officials within the intelligence and military communities, reports the St. Petersburg Times.
Authorities believe the men smuggled more than one hundred women throughout Europe and the Middle East, including Greece, Germany, Netherlands, Israel and Italy. Unfortunately, for the past couple of decades, the name Natasha was a codename for prostitute.
One “Natasha,” according to Russia Today, thought she was going to the United Arab Emirates on vacation, however, that was not the case as she explained, “I didn’t have the slightest doubt. My best friend asked me if I wanted to join her on holiday. As it turned out, she just brought me there as a slave, took the money and left. People who are involved in this business have so many connections, they fear nothing. They have policemen, judges, even sheikhs among their clients. I’m very afraid they will find me. I’m afraid for my own life and the life of my family.”
Due to the severity of the men involved and the situation she thought she wouldn’t survive the turmoil that she went through but, months later, she escaped captivity.
Nevertheless, testimony of one suspect, who claims he is innocent, said many of the people involved did so because they had no other choice due to declines of state financing since the 1990s.
Afsona Kadyrova, a lawyer with the Angel Coalition, an umbrella organization of anti-trafficking NGOs operating in nine Russian regions, did provide good news in the sense that sex trade is down because of higher living standards and public awareness of plots that try to lure women into these areas like forced prostitution.

source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/279844

Published in: on September 30, 2009 at 10:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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Winner of Top 100 Slavery Blogs

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Roman Polanski Arrested in Switzerland

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Oscar-winning movie director Roman Polanski has been arrested in Switzerland and is being held for extradition to the United States to face charges of having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. Polanski pleaded guilty to the charges in 1978 then fled the country before sentencing.

Polanski, 76, was arrested as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award.

Polanski was arrested on a 2005 international alter issued by the U.S. government. Justice Minister Eveline Wildmer-Schlumpf said Switzerland had to act on the request and there was no political “pressure” involved. There was “no other solution” but to arrest Polanski, the minister told reporters.

Victim Plied With Champagne, Drugs

In March 1977, Polanski received permission from the mother of Samantha Geimer to photograph her for a fashion magazine at the Hollywood Hills home of Jack Nicholson. Geimer, who is now a 45-year-old mother of three, was 13 years old at the time.

She told authorities that Polanski gave her champagne and drugs and took nude pictures of her in a hot tub. He then had sex with her although she tried to resist and asked to be taken home.

Geimer has joined with Polanski’s attorneys in requesting that the charges against him be dismissed, because she wants the case to be over.

Arrest Could Lead to Freedom

Ironically, Polanski’s arrest could ultimately lead to his freedom. Earlier this year his U.S. attorneys argued that his conviction be dismissed because the judge in the case improperly colluded with prosecutors. Judge Peter Espinoza said he believed there was evidence of substantial misconduct, but he refused to rule on the motion unless Polanski appeared in court.

If Polanski is extradited and appears in court in Los Angeles, the 1978 charges could be dismissed.

He first made headlines in 1969 when his second wife, actress Sharon Tate, was murdered by members of Charles Manson Family. Polanski was out of the country at the time.

Polanski directed the movies “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown” and “The Pianist.”

Polanski himself was the subject of a 2008 documentary, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” which examined differences in the public’s attitude towards Polanski in France and in the United States, according to Jennifer Merin, About.com Documentaries Guide.

source: http://crime.about.com/b/2009/09/28/roman-polanski-arrested-in-switzerland.htm?nl=1

Published in: on September 30, 2009 at 8:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Polanski detained in Switzerland over underage sex case

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Swiss police detained Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski and could extradite him to the United States for having sex with a 13-year-old girl three decades ago, authorities said Sunday.

The controversial Polish-French director, 76, was arrested late Saturday as he arrived to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich film festival.

US authorities have been pursuing the director of “Rosemary’s Baby”, “Chinatown” and “The Pianist” for many years. The Swiss Justice Ministry said it was now waiting for a US extradition request.

Polanski fled the United States in 1978 before sentencing on a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. He admitted the charge at the time and has never returned, even missing the Oscar award for “The Pianist” in 2003.

A Swiss justice ministry spokesman said Polanski was being held under a 2005 international alert issued by the US government, related to a 1978 arrest warrant in the underage sex case.

Polanski is being held at Zurich airport, the Swiss ATS news agency said, though no official confirmation could be obtained.

A Swiss Justice Ministry spokesman said a final extradition decision could only be taken after the judicial process has been “finalised” and that appeals were possible against the arrest warrant as well as any extradition decision.

Justice Minister Eveline Wildmer-Schlumpf said her country had to act on the US request and there was no political “pressure” involved. There was “no other solution” but to arrest Polanski, the minister said.

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, confirmed that moves to detain the director were set in motion last week.

“It wasn’t a big secret that he was going to be in Zurich,” Gibbons said. “They had announced he was going on the Internet.”

There had been two previous attempts to nab Polanski when he planned visits to countries that have extradition agreements with the US, but each time Polanski apparently learned of the plans and did not travel, Gibbons said.

The Polish and French foreign ministers Radoslaw Sikorski and Bernard Kouchner agreed to make a joint approach to US authorities, Poland’s PAP news agency reported, including for a possible pardon from President Barack Obama.

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand condemned the arrest of the film-maker, who lives in Paris, and said he had discussed the matter with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mitterrand told a press briefing that the arrest was “absolutely horrifying” and the case was “an old story which doesn’t really make any sense.”

A petition signed by film-makers and actors including Costa Gavras, Wong Kar Wai, Monica Bellucci and Fanny Ardant voiced dismay at Polanski’s detention.

“It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary film-makers, is used by the police to apprehend him,” the petition said.

At the festival, posters with “Free Polanski” or “No extradition” were plastered in front of the cinema, with the planned retrospective in Polanski’s honour going ahead albeit without the award ceremony.

In May, a Los Angeles judge refused Polanski’s bid to dismiss the underage sex case after he failed to appear in court.

Polanski’s legal team argued that the conviction should be annulled because the judge who heard the 1970s case had improperly colluded with prosecutors. The judge has since died.

Judge Peter Espinoza said this year that while he believed there had been “substantial misconduct,” Polanski’s attempts to dismiss charges would not be heard as long as he remained a fugitive.

The woman named as the victim in the 1977 case has joined defence lawyers in urging the dismissal of the case.

Samantha Geimer, now a 45-year-old mother of three, said that Polanski asked her mother if he could photograph her for a fashion magazine at the Hollywood Hills home of Jack Nicholson in March 1977.

She said that after plying the youngster with champagne and drugs and taking nude pictures of her in a hot tub, Polanski had sex with the teen despite her resistance and requests to be taken home.

Born in France of Polish parents, Polanski was raised in Poland and narrowly came through the Holocaust. His mother died in a concentration camp.

He hit the headlines in 1969 when his second wife, actress Sharon Tate, was murdered by members of Charles Manson’s cult gang in Los Angeles. Polanski was out of the country at the time.

source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090927/en_afp/entertainmentfilmswitzerlanduspolanskicrime

Published in: on September 30, 2009 at 8:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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CRCVC Needs Your Support

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Dear friends and supporters:

It is with much regret that I must inform you of some very discouraging news concerning the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime (CRCVC). Sadly, the CRCVC has been notified by the Canadian Police Association (CPA), our core funder, that they will no longer be able to continue funding our efforts. The CPA intends to discontinue their financial support within the next few weeks. This decision came unexpectedly and has left the future of the CRCVC in an extremely vulnerable state — we must find alternative core funding immediately, or face the prospect of shutting down.

I am sure that you can appreciate how alarming this news is, not only for our staff, but for the hundreds of victims and families impacted by crime with whom we work. It is our desire to continue our valuable efforts on behalf of victims of crime in Canada. With that in mind, I have reached out to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a personal supporter of the CRCVC, in hopes that he will direct the federal government to take over as the core funder of our organization. I am optimistic that Prime Minister Harper will recognize that the CRCVC helps hundreds of victims each year for approximately the same amount of annual funding that is required to incarcerate one federal prisoner.

We need your help! Please show your support of the CRCVC by writing to the Prime Minister. In doing so, please feel free to download the form letter as a PDF or Word Doc, and send it by email (harper.s@parl.gc.ca or pm@pm.gc.ca), fax (613-941-6900) or mail to his office.

I thank you for your ongoing support of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime.

Heidi Illingworth
Executive Director

Canadian Resource Centre for victims of Crime
Visit: http://www.crcvc.ca
Email: crcvc@crcvc.ca
Phone: 1.877.232.2610

CANADIAN RESOURCE CENTRE FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME – Ensuring the equitable treatment of crime victims in Canada

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source: http://webmail.aol.com/28200/aol/en-us/mail/DisplayMessage.aspx?ws_popup=true

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Published in: on September 30, 2009 at 7:41 am  Comments (3)  
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Govt hails new policy on trafficking victims

THE Ministry of Social Affairs has unveiled a new policy relating to its treatment of victims of human trafficking, laying out a series of benchmarks intended to ensure human rights are respected as the Kingdom ramps up its anti-trafficking efforts.

The prakas – or ministerial directive – launched on Monday lays out benchmark standards to protect the basic rights of trafficked persons and ensure their reintegration into society, according to Minister of Social Affairs Ith Sam Heng.

“In order to responsibly protect the rights of victims of human trafficking, we need to have a clear policy and minimum standards for protection,” Ith Sam Heng said at a workshop marking the launch of the new policy.

“The policy and minimum standards set out regulations for civil servants and [NGOs] to do their work and protect the right of the victims [of trafficking].”

Since its passage in 2008, the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking has come under fire from rights groups, who say it has conflated trafficking with voluntary sex work, resulting in widespread police abuses.

The new policy orders that victims of trafficking be granted a series of basic rights, including the rights to safety and protection, individual identity, privacy, dignity, justice and freedom of movement.

“[Victims] deserve our compassion and immediate action from our government to relieve their hardship and suffering,” the prakas states.

Samleang Seila, executive director of local NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said the policy, by taking power from police and NGO service providers and granting more of a say to the victims themselves, could help prevent voluntary sex workers from being caught up in raids by anti-trafficking police.

However, he said it could create new problems in genuine instances of sex trafficking.

“[The policy] seems to be giving special rights to the victims to decide whether to proceed with a criminal case,” he said.

“My concern is that sometimes the victims [of trafficking] are under the influence of the perpetrators.”

Other advocates, however, said past experiences did not bode well for the implementation of the new policy directive, however high-minded.

“Since the implementation of the [2008] law, the police have been unable to adhere to a rights-based enforcement of the law, despite being handheld by NGOs throughout the process,” said Sara Bradford, a technical adviser for the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers.

“Repetition of this method, which has proved to be a failure, is a waste of donor money and of time.”

The prakas cites figures from UNIAP showing that just 9 percent of Cambodian sex workers were “deceived” into entering the industry.

Regulatory vacuum
Ing Vannrithy, a coordinator in charge of Anti-Trafficking and Reintegration Office of the Social Affairs Ministry, said fair implementation of the 2008 law had previously been hamstrung by a lack of specific guidelines for law enforcement officials and NGOs.

“We found that the process of the recent law enforcement against human trafficking continued to suffer from a lack of standards,” she said.

On a visit to Cambodia earlier this month, Luis CdeBaca, director of the US state department’s office to monitor and combat trafficking in persons, noted the “confusion” between trafficking and non-coerced sex work but said the recent arrest of three American paedophiles in Cambodia was a sign things were improving.

US embassy spokesman John Johnson said the passage of the prakas, which was developed with US technical assistance, was an “important step forward” for Cambodia’s anti-trafficking efforts.

“The United States believes it is important to ensure that individuals who have been victimised receive quality care and support in line with acceptable international norms,” he said.

“[The ministry’s] successful collaboration with NGOs during this process has been essential to the success of the policy and indicates the increasing leadership role that the government is now playing in combating human trafficking.”

source: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2009092928634/National-news/govt-hails-new-policy-on-trafficking-victims.html

Family holds out hope for missing son

Brian Sullivan
THIS IS AN OLDER POST BUT NEEDS TO BUT TOLD

Chili, N.Y. – For the Sullivans of Chili, the long wait for word of their missing son continues. Brian has been gone a year.

“It’s on your mind 24 hours,” said Daniel, the young man’s father.

“You just try to keep busy doing something throughout the day. It’s not easy.” said Barbara, Brian’s mother.

Times are hard for the family.

Brian Sullivan disappeared early in the morning of July 8, 2007. According to reports, the a 19-year-old Churchville-Chili High graduate had spent the previous evening watching a movie at a friend’s house, then bought breakfast at the drive-through of a Chili Avenue Burger King. Investigators found a receipt for the food stamped with the time of 5:38 a.m. in Brian’s car. The red 1995 Pontiac Sunfire was found in front of a 100-acre wooded area on nearby Lettington Avenue.

Law enforcement officers swung into action.

“There was a grid search performed where his vehicle was last seen,” said Cpl. John Helfer of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s deputies, U.S. Army Reserve troops, members of the Gates-Chili Fire Department and others combed and re-combed the area while a state Police helicopter flew overhead, searching the woods three times.

The story made all the local news outlets, and family members passed out or hung posters bearing Brian’s smiling picture and asking for help in the search. When the search didn’t turn up useful leads, the Sheriff’s Office turned to the New York Branch of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for additional help.

“We assign these cases to our case managers,” said Ed Suk, the branch’s executive director.

The case managers, who are generally highly trained investigators, can help develop leads for law enforcement personnel.

“It can involve database searches, the development of high-quality posters, the targeted distribution of those posters around the country,” Suk said.

It’s essential to keep the case, and the person who’s missing, in the public eye.

“One out of six kids is returned as a result of someone seeing a poster,” said Suk.
Though family members can pass out posters, help push the search, seek solace or take other actions, waiting for word of their loved word, whatever that word may be, is often terrible for them to experience. They can often go through a range of emotions, from “a tremendous sense of grief and loss to a sense of hope that they passionately cling to,” according to Suk. As they approach a year without word on the loved one, a family can find it more and more hard to stay positive.

“There will be some realization that the leads are much fewer and fewer far between,” he said.

As easy as it is to get wrapped up in all of the terrible potential outcomes in a missing persons case, there is still a basis for hope, Suk said.

“You can come up with all kinds of ideas and scenarios,” Daniel said.

Barbara sometimes hopes that Brian just took off for his own reasons.

“He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do; he didn’t know if he wanted to go back to MCC,” she said of Brian, who had taken classes at Monroe Community College.

One of three psychics Barbara consulted while searching for information on her son seemed to support this idea. The psychic told her that Brian was in Buffalo amongst bad companions, but that “he was good, and he was going to leave these people.”

“That was the one good thing; that he was still alive,” she said.

At the same time, she found it hard to accept that Brian would’ve just left behind the car he’d just bought, all his clothing, and about $1,000 of new sound-recording equipment.
“It’s still in the box,” Barbara said.

Helfer said investigators continue to search for clues to Brian’s disappearance.
“At this point, there haven’t been any new leads,” he said. “It’s still an ongoing investigation.”

Family members and friends have helped the Sullivans cope with the months of uncertainly, and four months ago, on Daniel’s birthday, someone else came into their lives. Their 21-year-old daughter, Brittney Murphy, gave birth to a blue-eyed baby boy.

“That is a blessing that we have,” Barbara said. “He’s just happy and thriving, and that makes me happy.”

Daniel called the cherubic boy “my birthday present.”

The Sullivans have contacted the crime show “America’s Most Wanted,” hoping to put Brian’s case before the nation, though they haven’t heard back from the show. Today, the family had planned to gather in the area in which Brian disappeared. They talked about releasing balloons bearing his picture and asking those who find them to help in the search for Brian.

“Please, don’t forget Brian,” Brittney said.

If you have information on the disappearance of Brian Sullivan, please call 911.

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source: http://www.mpnnow.com/news/x833728134/Family-holds-out-hope-for-missing-teen

Published in: on September 29, 2009 at 10:55 am  Comments (4)  
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What Happened to Brian Sullivan?

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THIS IS AN OLDER POST BUT THIS STORY NEEDS TO BE TOLD!

It’s been a year since Chili’s Brian Sullivan went missing. His car was found on Lettington Avenue in Gates, by a wooded area that my friends and I used to roam around when we were young. A receipt from the Burger King in Gates, on Chili Ave., was found in Brian’s 1995, red Pontiac Sunfire, and was time stamped on Sunday, July 8, 2007 at 5:38 a.m. Brian’s bank card was found in the car. Brian was 19 years old when he came up missing. He was a long-time classmate of my older son at Churchville-Chili Schools and also a team mate on Chili Lions Pop Warner Football. I coached Brian for a season with the Lions. I know Brian’s Mom and Dad, Barb and Dan Sullivan. Here’s a video of Barb and Dan, speaking of their concern and heartbreak that the family has experienced since Brian’s disappearance.

Brian Sullivan is 5-feet-11-inches tall and weighs 170 pounds. He was last seen wearing blue-jean shorts, a blue pin-striped button-down shirt, and a green baseball cap. He was last heard from when he left a friend a voice mail at 6:10 am on Sunday, July 8th, 2007. He has not been seen or heard from since.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Sheriff’s Central Records Unit at (585) 753-4177. You can also email nysvicap@troopers.state.ny.us

The Sullivan Family is offering a $2,500 reward for information about Brian’s whereabouts.

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source: http://www.rochesterconservative.com/blog/what-happened-to-brian-sullivan/

Published in: on September 29, 2009 at 9:45 am  Comments (1)  
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