Maryland Sex Offender Denies Killing Kidnapped Girl

Volunteers line up outside Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Md., to help search for an 11-year-old girl who police say was kidnapped from.

SALISBURY, Md. — An attorney for a man charged in the disappearance of an 11-year-old Maryland girl says his client denies harming the child.

Authorities say Sarah Haley Foxwell was abducted from her home last week. Her body was found in the woods on Christmas Day after a search that involved thousands of volunteers.

Registered sex offender Thomas Leggs Jr. was charged with kidnapping and burglary a day after the child was reported missing.

His public defender says Leggs “has denied and continues to deny any involvement in this crime.”

The 30-year-old is being held without bond. Police say he is being separated from other inmates.


Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sex offender kills himself

The probe began last week when the 13-year-old girl darted from a couple of curious police investigators and ran for a Citico Street home

Knoxville Police Department investigators work at a house where a body was found Tuesday at 429 Citico St. Convicted sex offender Robert G. Foxx, 74, killed himself in the house, according to police.

It ended Tuesday in the same house when police found 74-year-old convicted sex offender Robert Grey Foxx dead on his couch, a plastic bag pulled snug over his head.

Police said Foxx committed suicide.

He had been arrested Dec. 21 after an investigation revealed he started two years ago paying an 11-year-old girl for oral sex at least twice a week.

“I charged him with violation of the sex offender law by having a minor in his employ without adult supervision,” said Knoxville Police Department Investigator Debra Nuchols.

She said a more serious charge of child rape could have been brought by a grand jury.

Knox County prosecutors usually opt for a grand jury presentment in order to spare child sex victims from testifying repeatedly in court.

Foxx, Nuchols said, seemed unconcerned about the felony charge.

“He was mainly worried about how he would get bonded out of jail,” she said. Foxx was released from jail after posting a $10,000 bond.

Nuchols said the probe began Dec. 21 when KPD property crimes investigators Stan Cash and Clayton Madison saw a 13-year-old girl standing alone along Ailor Avenue. At the time, they were investigating thefts in the area.

“When they yelled out to her, she ran straight to his (Foxx’s) house,” Nuchols said.

Cash and Madison followed the girl and became suspicious when Foxx acted strangely during their inquiries. They ran Foxx’s name through the law enforcement computer system and discovered he was a convicted sex offender. They immediately alerted Nuchols, and the investigation was under way.

Nuchols said Foxx told her he met the girl through her mother. He said he was looking for a house cleaner years ago and accidentally dialed the woman in Lonsdale. Despite the accidental contact, the woman, who has three daughters, agreed to clean Foxx’s home, Nuchols said.

The woman, however, opted to discontinue the arrangement because Foxx kept trying to show her pornographic videos at his home.

“Mom said it made her feel uncomfortable so she sent her daughter over there,” Nuchols said.

For the next two years, Nuchols said, the then 11-year-old girl would catch a KAT bus in Lonsdale and go to Foxx’s house at 429 Citico St.

“She would go over to his house every Tuesday and Thursday and sometimes on Saturday, Nuchols said. “She’d get paid $10 a day.”

Each day the girl would spend about two hours at Foxx’s residence before returning home on another bus.

Nuchols said Foxx denied any improper contact with the girl. He claimed he was having an affair with the girl’s mother.

The girl was reluctant to reveal the relationship when questioned, Nuchols said. The girl contended that for the past two years she had been cataloging the library in his home.

“She was really shy about talking about it,” the investigator said. “But once she understood she hadn’t done anything wrong and wasn’t in trouble, she told us what had happened.

“She said he had made her watch pornography and touched her below the waist … and finally she admitted he forced her to perform oral sex on him.”

Nuchols included the state Department of Children’s Services in the probe. That agency now has custody of the 13-year-old girl and her two sisters, ages 12 and 14, Nuchols said.

Nuchols said her probe is not closed just because of Foxx’s suicide.

“I’d like to get mom on a polygraph to see what she knew,” Nuchols said.

As of Wednesday, no charge has been filed against the girl’s mother.

“The girl said she never told her mom about what was going on,” Nuchols said.

Foxx was convicted in 1991 of gross sexual imposition with a 15-year-old in Columbus, Ohio, records show. He had obtained a doctorate in psychiatry in Ohio before his conviction, said KPD Deputy Chief Gary Price. Upon his release from prison, he came to Knoxville.

Foxx apparently was a renowned chess player, also. He regularly set up a chess board in the food court of West Town Mall to play youngsters. That practice ended in 2007 after the News Sentinel featured Foxx in a picture in a match with a boy at the mall and police alerted mall security of Foxx’s status as a registered sex offender.

“After that, he was no longer welcomed at the mall,” Price said.

Price said it appears Foxx had attempted to compose a suicide note, but he had not finished the effort.

“Talking to his daughter, he had been putting his affairs in order,” Price said. That discussion helped police conclude that Foxx had opted to commit suicide rather than face another stint in prison.

Don Jacobs may be reached at 865-342-6345.

Knoxville Police Department investigators work at a house where a body was found Tuesday at 429 Citico St. Convicted sex offender Robert G. Foxx, 74, killed himself in the house, according to police.

Robert G. Foxx


Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 11:49 am  Comments (1)  
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Federal prosecutors had some rare losses in 2009

The federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles saw a string of convictions in 2009 in cases ranging from Ponzi and health-care fraud schemes to a sprawling sex trafficking case and hosted the trials of lawsuits involving such names as porn king Larry Flynt and the Beatles.

Throughout the year, federal prosecutors also handled a chorus line of repetitive bank and wire frauds, identity thefts, child porn cases, drug conspiracies and immigration matters — the bread-and-butter of U.S. District Court. Above all, however, the year was notable for an unusual series of high-profile flops for federal prosecutors.

Arguably the most newsworthy was the fizzle that closed the Lori Drew cyberbullying case. The Missouri woman had been convicted in late 2008 on three counts of the federal computer fraud act for using a fake MySpace account to harass a teenage girl who later committed suicide.

But in July, U.S. District Judge George H. Wu ruled the government’s theory unconstitutional and threw out the case against Drew, acquitting her of the three misdemeanor counts. Four months later, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles backed down from an appeal, ending the much-covered criminal case.

In another unexpected close to a closely watched trial, the former owner of a chain of Mexican supermarkets saw dozens of convictions against him on racketeering, conspiracy and solicitation of murder charges thrown out by a federal judge who cited tainted evidence.

U.S. District Judge

Stephen V. Wilson also overturned former Numero Uno supermarket chain czar George Torres’ convictions for bribery, mail, wire and tax fraud and harboring illegal immigrants.

Torres, who had spent two years in custody, was immediately set free. Before the most serious charges were tossed, the grocer had faced a possible sentence of life in prison.

In yet another surprise ending, a former vice president of the parent company of Ralphs and two ex-executives of the supermarket chain were acquitted of conspiring to secretly hire locked-out union workers and falsify records during a grocery strike.

Ex-Kroger executive Scott Drew; former Ralphs district manager Karen Montoya; and ex-area vice president Patrick McGowan were found not guilty of all charges after the downtown jury deliberated less than five hours.

The three were accused of committing labor fraud by directing subordinates to rehire hundreds of locked-out union employees under false names and false Social Security numbers to hide the activity from unions and the federal government during the 2003-04 Southland grocery strike.

The year’s losses were something of an anomaly for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which normally wins almost 95 percent of the cases it brings each year, according to Department of Justice statistics.

But federal prosecutors did have some home runs to cheer about.

In August, a federal judge sent five members of an extended family to prison terms ranging up to 40 years for luring Guatemalan females to Los Angeles, where they were beaten and forced into prostitution.

The sentencings followed a five-week trial in which the five were found guilty of dozens of counts of sex trafficking by force, importation and harboring aliens for purposes of prostitution, and conspiracy.

Also drawing news crews to the federal courthouse steps this year was the guilty plea entered by a Chicago-area man who admitted trying to sell nude footage of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews to a celebrity-gossip Web site after he secretly filmed her undressing in at least three hotel rooms.

Michael David Barrett, 48, a former insurance salesman, faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced on a stalking charge Feb. 22 by U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real.

Some civil filings were equally memorable.

In the case of Flynt v. Flynt, the nephews of porn king Larry Flynt were told they cannot use the Flynt name by itself on a line of adult-themed videos they plan to sell.

The elder Flynt sued nephews Dustin and Jimmy Flynt II to stop them from using the Flynt name for their new adult-video line. After deliberations lasting about three hours, the eight-member jury returned with a victory for Larry Flynt in the trademark infringement case.

And the Fab Four made an appearance — albeit in name only — on Spring Street in 2009.

In the complaint, the record label that distributes Beatles music sued the operators of a Web site that was selling the group’s music without permission for 25 cents a song.

U.S. District Judge John F. Walter pulled the plug on Santa Cruz-based’s plans by issuing an injunction halting the site from selling digital music music by the Beatles and other artists.

What the future holds for the Los Angeles-based U.S. Attorney’s Office is mostly uncertain, but one thing is virtually assured: There will be a new U.S. Attorney.

On Christmas Eve, the White House announced that President Barack Obama has selected Andre Birotte Jr., the inspector general of the Los Angeles Police Department, to be the next U.S. Attorney for the district covering Southern California.

If confirmed by the Senate, the 43-year-old son of Haitian immigrants will be the first black U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, the nation’s most populous, with responsibility for all federal litigation in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Birotte would replace Thomas P. O’Brien, a career prosecutor who left in September.


Police rescue 170 victims of human trafficking

HEAD of the Human Trafficking Unit, Nigeria Police Force, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Juliana Abah, has disclosed that the unit rescued over 170 victims of human traffickers in the outgoing year.

She said although the unit did not go abroad to arrest suspected traffickers, “132 traffickers were arrested internally.”

Mrs Abah in an interview with the Nigerian Compass at a workshop on Violence Against Women in Abuja, said more than 70 young girls had been rescued and reintegrated with their families, while close to 100 girls have been rehabilitated.

She revealed that most of the times, the suspects procured babies from pregnancies carried by their victims at between N30,000 and N40,000, depending on the sex, and sold them for between N300,000 and N400,000, also depending on the sex.

Speaking further on efforts made her unit to checkmate human trafficking, Mrs. Abah said the suspects were being prosecuted at different courts of law.

She advocated for special courts to prosecute human traffickers since “justice delayed is justice denied.”

Citing a particular case the unit was prosecuting, a medical doctor in Aba charged with illegal adoption and sale of babies, Mrs. Abah regretted that the prosecution was inhibited because judicial officers were on strike.

This kind of situation, she lamented, makes it difficult for suspects to be properly prosecuted.
“We don’t have settlement homes and it becomes difficult for the unit to continue holding victims that could provide evidence in courts,” she said.

She praised the efforts of agencies and individuals, such as UNICEF, UNIFEM, the Inspector-General of Police and NAPTIP for training and retraining of officers and for creating a child-friendly environment.
According to her, more than 5,000 officers have been trained and re-trained in the past one year.


Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 8:19 am  Comments (1)  
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Missing woman ‘took life on’

Katie Rani Nolan was someone who approached life with gusto, friends said at a memorial service in Lower Southampton on Wednesday night for the missing Oregon woman presumed dead on 11,200-foot-high Mount Hood in Oregon.

Although the 29-year-old adventurer and traveler was born in the Northwest and lived in Oregon before going missing earlier this month, friends gathered at The Well Church for an East Coast memorial service. This is where Nolan, who worked for Catholic Charities in Portland, Ore., worshiped when she attended Philadelphia Biblical University in Langhorne Manor years prior.

Hundreds had gathered for a service in Portland on Dec. 22.

Nolan is presumed dead after she and two other climbers were reported missing Dec. 11 and search-and-rescue operations were suspended five days later. The body of one of the climbers was found Dec. 12, including some of his equipment and a camera, but Nolan and fellow climber Anthony Vietta are still missing.

On tables and on a projector screen inside the dimly lit church Wednesday night were countless photographs of Nolan’s life and world travels. She was dressed in everything from formal dresses to ski gear. She stood on palm tree-lined roads and posed at the foot of the Great Sphinx of Giza. She smiled in photos as a young girl in front of her house and as a 29-year-old woman on Mount Hood in a photo dated Dec. 11, the same day she went missing.

“Everything about her was big and beautiful and epic,” Amy Baker, Nolan’s roommate in college, said. “She took life on.”

Nolan met many of those in attendance during a one-year program at PBU’s Wisconsin Wilderness Campus. Nolan then decided to move to Bucks County to attend the university, family members said. Following graduation from PBU in 2002, she taught single moms at an alternative school in Philadelphia, Baker said. In 2003, she went on a mission to Nepal and moved from Philadelphia to Portland the next year.

In Portland, she worked for Catholic Charities, helping more than 60 homeless women find homes, and volunteered with Transitions Global to fight sex trafficking.

“She experienced the height and depth of life like no one else,” Kate Livingstone, a Bensalem resident who met Nolan in college, said.

Nolan was lauded as passionate and adventurous, a great letter writer and a champion of the marginalized.

Danny Adler can be reached at 215-949-4205 or

December 31, 2009 02:23 AM


Strippers, Sluts and Army Wives

I find my home country, the United Kingdom, depressingly antagonistic when it comes to the subject of stripping and strip clubs. Research has linked strip clubs to rape! Violence! Sex trafficking! Prostitution! Burlesque is mere misognyny packaged in a feather boa and push-up bra!

I’ve written elsewhere about my feelings regarding the sex industry and the UK’s hostile reaction to it, but I’ve always found the US to have a more tolerant and lenient attitude to the legalized sex industry. Which is why I was surprised by James Dao’s slightly snooty New York Times article which detailed Lily Burana’s burlesque classes for Army wives.

There is a long and honorable tradition of military wives (and, these days, military husbands) going the extra romantic mile for spouses returning from war. A quiet weekend without the kids. Candlelight dinners. Some slinky lingerie.

But striptease?

As Gawker notes, the “slightly scandalized” tone of Dao’s piece seems to suggest that Ms. Burana’s classes are more significant than simply idle entertainment for army wives missing their husbands.

I’ve always felt that the US has more of a history of “redemption” than the United Kingdom. People in the UK neither forget nor forgive, and ‘pigeon-holing’ people – particularly women – is a peculiar pastime common to the snide Brit. When I say there’s no redemption, I mean that the public always consider you a man-hater if you’re a feminist, a glamour model if you’re a businesswoman. Despite being a Cambridge graduate with a BA (hons), MA, MPhil, a published book, an extensive journalism background, and a career in screenwriting, for UK purposes my brief fling as a stripper in Manhattan means that my byline in certain, supposedly “liberal” papers, will always be “Ruth Fowler used to be a stripper.” In the UK, we are cast in the image which provokes the most outrage, and we are stuck there, condemned to be man haters, sluts and strippers forever, despite what we may have achieved outside this mold, either before or after our sentence was cast.

The US, in comparison, seems to lap up the positive transformation of those deemed to have transgressed in some way. Diablo Cody’s checkered past as a stripper made a great back story in her rise to success, but the Oscar winner is certainly not someone whose bio now comprises in its entirety: “Diablo Cody used to be a stripper.” Jennifer Ketcham, the former porn-actress who appeared on Dr Drew’s Sex Rehab, is now forging a new career for herself as an insightful and thoughtful writer with a book deal in the works.

In the US, penitence is a requirement for redemption or transformation. We must, as women, leave behind our past without hiding it, acknowledge our “wrongs,” prove to ourselves and to the public that we are worth more than an unfortunate and cliched byline based upon a small but colorful section of our past.

Which is why the tone of Dao’s article on Lily Burana shocked me somewhat, hinting as it did of old-fashioned disapproval, a hint of patronization. Perhaps it could be because Ms. Burana, unlike myself, unlike Diablo Cody, unlike Jennie Ketcham, has not left the “sordid” world of the sex industry entirely behind – she has brought it into a new decade sans scandal, sans the sweaty, seamy, dark, unpleasant side the public devours hungrily, convinced there is nothing good about a career which hovers uncertainly between demeaning and empowering. Lily Burana is brave enough to strip away (pardon the pun) all the accumulated BS which has been tacked onto a lost performance art, and teach that art to others. Not in an effort to win the war on terror. Not just, as Dao seems to imply, for the enjoyment of absent husbands. Not for any purpose or fulfillment. But simply as art for art’s sake.

And maybe because she’s challenging convention in this way, there can be no redemption for Lily Burana in Dao’s conservative America.

I don’t think the spirited Ms. Burana will be entirely heartbroken about that.


Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 7:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Dover Police looking for sex offender who did not register his address

Clarence Smalls

Dover Police are looking for a sex offender who registered his address at a location that doesn’t exist. Police say Clarence Smalls who is 39 years old did not register his address with the State Bureau of Identification. Smalls is a tier 2 sex offender. Anyone who knows where he is should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333.


Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 12:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Death on the Shore

Sarah Haley Foxwell

Thomas James Leggs Jr Sex Offender

Our view: The kidnapping and murder of an 11-year-old Salisbury girl raises questions about how best to prevent such horrific crimes from happening.

Sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated.

What happened to Sarah Haley Foxwell, the 11-year-old Eastern Shore girl kidnapped from her home and found dead on Christmas Day, is every parent’s worst nightmare. In custody in Wicomico County on charges stemming from the case is Thomas James Leggs Jr., a 30-year-old convicted sex offender.

An innocent young girl and a man with a history of sex offenses in two states. That’s about as heinous as it gets, and it’s no surprise that many on the Shore – and perhaps elsewhere in Maryland – are not only saddened but outraged at this terrible crime.

But whether this particular horror should give rise to any significant changes in Maryland sex offender laws is, at best, unclear. At the moment, focus needs to be placed on fully investigating the crime and prosecuting the guilty party. It should be noted that although he is in custody for her kidnapping, Mr. Leggs has not been charged with Sarah’s murder – at least not as of our deadline for publication.

One thing that the youngster’s death has proven, however, is the goodness of so many of the victim’s neighbors. An estimated 3,000 people from this rural area volunteered to search for the Wicomico Middle School sixth-grader on Christmas morning.

That’s more than 3 percent of the county’s population. The equivalent act in Baltimore County would require 25,000 people to assemble on this sacred Christian holiday and instead of opening gifts or listening to church hymns, spend it out in the cold, trudging through snow-covered fields. In addition, anonymous Eastern Shore donors have already offered to pay for the girl’s funeral.

The recent pronouncement by Wicomico County’s sheriff and state’s attorney that the incident “screams for the death penalty” is unfortunate, however, particularly given that it appears the evidence to support such a verdict has not yet been collected.

The pronouncement may also suggest a troubling desire for revenge is in the air. While understandable under the circumstances, that could prove unhelpful to both the furtherance of justice and to any potential reforms of child abuse laws that might actually be justified.

Clearly, some update of Maryland law pertaining to child abuse cases in necessary. To comply with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, the state will need to change its sex offender registry between now and July in a manner that better assesses the seriousness of their crimes and potentially tracks them longer.

But on a more basic level, lawmakers need to investigate what actions might be taken to reduce the number of sex offenses that take place in this state. Mandatory minimum sentences, restrictions on plea bargaining and suspending good time credits for convicted pedophiles may sound good but, in reality, can be counterproductive.

Instead, policymakers need to think creatively about how best to prevent such violent acts from taking place at all. Requiring those convicted of sex crimes to wear GPS monitoring equipment upon their release from prison might prove more helpful.

Another option: hiring more social workers to intervene in cases of potential child sexual abuse or investing more taxpayer dollars in mental health services for victims to help prevent another generation of abused kids growing up to become abusers.

That’s not to suggest that lawmakers should not consider whether sentencing guidelines are adequate or even whether this is the one exceptional crime for which mandatory minimum sentences are justified. Perhaps it is. But this is a complex matter that needs to be examined in a careful, thoughtful way, and not hampered by the distracting din of hang-’em-high posturing by the usual back-benchers.

Let Sarah Haley Foxwell be remembered not as a cry for vengeance but as the precious gift that she was, for the love her family, friends and neighbors have shown her in life and in death, and perhaps for motivating reforms that might genuinely prevent harm to others. Readers respond There truly is nothing more horrific than a crime against a child. My instincts say to put Thomas Leggs in the local prison in Snow Hill and let him fend for himself. Where is the aunt’s accountability? I can’t imagine the grief she is experiencing right now, but as the child’s legal guardian she had a responsibility to protect that little girl and she failed miserably. There is no quick fix, I’ve been a long outspoken liberal all of my adult life, but crimes like this reach deep into my primal senses and make me question the very core of my belief system. Sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated. They just can’t. Lynn Canade Execution is the proper course for this individual if found guilty in a court of law. The rights of our children need to be placed first, before the rights of sex offenders. No early parole for sex offenders would be a good start. jay It is not true that most who are labeled sex offenders are recidivists. A New York study found that 8% of registered sex offenders were arrested for a second sex offense within 8 years of their date of initial registration. In New York (and probably in other states), 95% of those arrested for sex crimes are first time offenders who are not listed on any registry. We should not paint sex offenders with too broad a brush. They are not all the same, just as everyone convicted of a drunk driving offense is not an alcoholic. Once out of jail, former offenders should be given a chance. They must be permitted to find employment and housing and to rebuild their lives. Hopelessness is a risk factor too. David Hess The issue is not so much that a child sex offender must serve time beyond his sentence. The issue remains that the system failed this child. The man was convicted in MD of a sex crime. He served time in DE for a sex crime against a minor in 2001. He was recently charged with another crime in MD. How much does it take to develop a pattern? Like the bomber in Detroit, why weren’t the red flags notices and acted upon? From news reports, the guy did everything but leave a note as to his intentions. And some fault needs to be laid at the feet of the aunt/guardian. She was entrusted to care for another’s child – and approved by the courts. She knew that Leggs was a sex offender yet exposed the child to him. As a single parent, she needs to be responsible for the kids first and foremost. I am a single dad and my kids will never meet a date until she has morphed into a “significant other,” and that for sure is not happening in less than a month. John Frenaye Many people say sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated. However, the Texas State Auditor in 2007 released a report showing that sex offenders who completed the Texas Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) were 61% LESS LIKELY to commit a new crime. That seems to show promise. After all, in 2002, the U.S. Dept. of Justice reported that only 5% of sex offenders released in 1994 returned to prison for a new sex crime. Yet we spend millions on registration of more than 650,000 sex offenders in the U.S. based on information available in the early 1990s, when research on sex offenders was poorly funded – if it was even considered. Treatment works. The research shows this. (See “An Audit Report on Selected Rehabilitation Programs at the Department of Criminal Justice,” Texas State Auditor, March 2007, Report No. 07-026. Retrieved Oct. 20, 2009. , and “US Dept of Justice Report on Sex Offender Recidivism,” ) Sam Caldwell Rarely do sex offenders get caught the first time they commit a crime. When they do get caught and sent to prison, they learn how to be more efficient criminals to not get caught in the future. That means there are many cases never reported or prosecuted. This leads me to wonder, whose safety and rights are we more concerned with? It just doesn’t make sense to risk children’s futures or lives by releasing these offenders. Shelly Faust All sex offenders should spend the rest of their lives in prison, or, upon causing a death, the death sentence should be applied. They may not kill but still ruin many lives after the fact. Lock them up forever; no matter what you say, they cannot be rehabilitated. charlot


Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 11:53 am  Comments (3)  
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Local Organization Makes a Global Difference

Shaniya Davis

In recent news, 5 year old Shaniya Davis of North Carolina was reported missing. As the story unfolded we learned that Shaniya had actually been sold into prostitution by her mother. The nation was outraged at the thought of such a beautiful little girl being prostituted. With our eyes glued to our T.V. screens we watched the surveillance video showing Shaniya holding on to her soon to be pimp with the trusting embrace of a child as they entered into a motel.

Perhaps we could sleep better at night if we knew that this was just some sort of random occurrence, an act of a deranged parent. Unfortunately, Shaniya is one of thousands of little girls being exploited daily in the U.S. and abroad. Thousands of innocent girls are being kidnapped and sold into this million dollar “business” and forgotten by the rest of the world until a face like Shaniya’s appears on our daily news and even then, we shake our heads in disbelief and tuck our kids in bed safely and soundly as we go on living our lives normally until it happens to us.

One Washington, D.C. organization has decided to not stand by and continue shaking its head. In D.C., sex trafficking is a $100 million annual business. Innocents at Risk realizes that it takes action, partnerships and a voice loud enough to speak for those that cannot speak for themselves.
Innocents at Risk – a 501 (c)(3) organization was founded by Deborah S. Sigmund to fight human trafficking and child exploitation. Its mission is to “educate citizens about the horrific global and local problem of human trafficking and work to prevent it”.

By partnering with the Department of State, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education, Department of Homeland Security, ICE, Custom Border Patrol and the D.C. Task Force, Innocents at Risk has been able to raise awareness and increase the realization of the severity of the issue of sex trafficking.

Recently I had the honor of attending a Cocktail Reception at the Mexican Cultural Institute, celebrating the partnership between Innocents at Risk and Airline Ambassadors. This partnership will not only expand the visibility and awareness of this issue but it will save many lives from this horrible reality. By equipping flight attendants with the proper resources to recognize passengers that are being trafficked, many young girls will be saved.

In addition to the aforementioned partnerships, Innocents at Risk has joined forces with Courtney’s House in raising money to establish a shelter in Washington, D.C. to protect children 18 and under that have been trafficked.

Even with multiple partnerships and new and innovative ways to fight sex trafficking, Innocents at Risk and other organizations like it still need the help of every woman and man that has Shaniya’s face embedded in their hearts and minds.

“To see but not to see. To see but to deny. To see but not act is a crime against a child. You can all do something. You can make a difference. Save a child”.
– Queen Silvia of Sweden

To find out more about Innocents at Risk or to join in their efforts please visit: or call 202.625.4338



Transnational traffickers exploit the vulnerability and instability inherent in being moved to a foriegn country

The United States is known as a destination country for transnational trafficking networks that bring foreign nationals into the U.S. for purposes of both sexual and labor exploitation. Foreign national trafficking victims in the U.S. are primarily from Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Sex trafficking cases of foreign national women and children brought into the U.S. are known to occur in a wide variety of locations in the commercial sex industry, such as massage parlors, hostess clubs, commercially-fronted brothels, residential brothels, escort services, and strip clubs. Labor trafficking cases of foreign nationals brought into the U.S. occur in domestic work environments in private homes; small independently-owned family businesses such as restaurants or nail salons; peddling and begging rings; and larger-scale labor environments such as agricultural farms or large sweatshop-like factories. These cases involve both documented and undocumented migrant workers, and they can occur in both legitimate and underground industries.


Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 8:39 am  Comments (1)  
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