I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced : the title of the book says it all. The book is the autobiography of Nujood Ali, a Yemeni third grader, divorcee, international human rights activist, and winner of Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year award. That’s a pretty impressive resume for someone who is still years away from a driver’s license. But if there is one thing Nujood has proved in her life, it’s that she’s not your average kid.

When Nujood was merely 10 years old, well before the age of puberty, her family forced her to marry a man in his 30s. At her wedding, Nujood sobbed in the corner,forced of what would happen to her and miserable at the thought of leaving her family to live with a stranger. The wedding night was even worse. Despite a promise that Nujood’s husband made to her father not to have sex with her until she started menstruating, he forced himself on her the very first night they were married. After that, he forced her to drop out of school. He also began physically and emotionally abusing her regularly, and it wasn’t too long before Nujood had had enough.

She had heard about divorce, and had heard that judges were the ones with the ability to grant a divorce. So with little idea of where she was going, she snuck away from her husband, jumped into the back of a taxi, and asked to be driven to the nearest courthouse. Once there, she demanded to speak to a judge — any judge. When one finally emerged, imagine his surprise to see a tiny, determined child standing before him firmly stating, “I want a divorce!”



An Interview with “The Slave Across the Street” Author Theresa Flores

Theresa Flores wants you to know that, in the United States, human trafficking can happen to anyone. Factors such as gender, race, and ethnicity are moot in terms of who is trafficked –- and who is trafficking. As someone who was enslaved as a teenager while living in an affluent Detroit suburb, she would know.

Last month, I mentioned a new book called The Slave Across the Street. Not only was I lucky enough to get my hands on a copy (thanks, Ampelōn Publishing!), I had the opportunity to speak with the author, Theresa Flores. The book itself is haunting, almost too difficult to stomach, but impossible to put down. The story’s veracity, however, is the reason we should all read and try to wrap our heads around it: Slavery is, in fact, alive and well here in the United States, and we need to know what it is like so we can address it in meaningful ways.

After being drugged and raped by a high school classmate in the 1980s, Theresa was indoctrinated into a world of sexual servitude, forced to sneak out of her house each night and subject herself to rape and torture for the profit of others. With her family’s safety threatened and no personal support network in place, Theresa was the perfect target, stripped of her freedom for two long years.

Flores answers some of my questions regarding her story, human trafficking in the U.S., and victim resources, then and now.

In your book, it is mentioned that the particular type of enslavement you endured (you were upper-middle class, still living at home) is statistically rare in the U.S. Do you believe it is more or less frequent today than it was in the 1980s?

Since it is now the second leading crime in the world, and the fastest growing, I would have to assume that it is definitely more frequent now.

As for it being rare, I do think that other types of enslavement (runaways, kidnapping, etc) are more common, but I have heard from many women that they had similar scenarios. And if you count girls who have been “pimped out” by their fathers (I get these emails, too), then they are living at home and this would be a similar scenario as well.

In addition to the resources that currently do exist in the U.S. to prevent or address slavery and its victims, what is lacking or can be improved upon to strengthen our overall efforts?

Two things are lacking at the moment, housing and mental health counseling. These girls have nowhere to go, no other option. Many cannot return home and have run away from an abusive, dysfunctional family. So having a place for them to live in which they can also heal (therapeutic) is ideal, yet rare. There are 3 shelters/homes like this in the entire U.S. As for counseling, I never got counseling that was specific to [my experience] or even addressed the PTSD. This is crucial in a person returning to be a productive member of society. The psychological abuse is so extreme that many women cannot even hold a job afterwards. We need all counselors and therapists to be trained on human trafficking, the signs, and how to help the victim heal and become a survivor.


Child sex trade study shines light on Ohio

Nearly 1,100 American-born youths in Ohio, or about one in every three runaways who have been gone for more than two weeks, are forced into the sex trade each year, according to a new study released Wednesday, Feb. 10.

Another 783 foreign-born people have been forced into labor or sex trafficking in Ohio, according to the first-of-its-kind study.

“There are victims now in modern day slavery,” said Celia Williamson, a University of Toledo professor and lead author . She said the estimates are conservative.

In additon to the 1,078 children estimated to be forced into the sex trade, another 2,879 American-born children ages 12 to 17 are at-risk for sex trafficking and 2,534 foreign-born people are at risk of forced labor or sex trafficking, according to a 69-page study by the Ohio Trafficking in Persons Study Commission.

“This is clear evidence that we need to do more, much more, to protect our youth in Ohio,” said Attorney General Richard Cordray, chairman of the commission.

Contributing factors include untrained first responders, the lack of a stand-alone law addressing trafficking and the state’s high numbers of vulnerable youth, the study said.

“The people who are likely to encounter trafficking aren’t likely to recognize it. It is very analogous to domestic violence 30 years ago,” said Mark Ensalaco, a professor in the University of Dayton’s Human Rights Studies Department.

The criminal justice system mistakenly treats teens as prostitutes who should be arrested and punished rather than as victims, the study said. Additionally, customers in the sex trade remain protected, rarely facing prosecution in Ohio.

State Sen. Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, who serves on the commission, said she plans to introduce a bill this month that will mirror federal law prohibiting human trafficking. A year ago, lawmakers added stiffer penalties for crimes associated with trafficking but did not pass a stand-alone statute like those in 42 other states.

“State laws do play a role in the decision-making of human trafficking organizations that are sophisticated and networked,” the report said. “Those more sophisticated trafficking rings are aware of the laws and potential risk of doing business in a particular U.S. state.”

Toledo ranks fourth behind Miami, Portland and Las Vegas among U.S. cities in terms of arrests, investigations and rescues of minor sex trafficking victims.

Dayton Police Chief Richard

Biehl said there has been no direct evidence of human trafficking in the city in recent years. But, he said, it would be naive to believe it is not happening here.s

“If it’s that close, to say it doesn’t exist here would be blind,” he said. “We lack good data or intelligence to the degree to which it exists.”

source: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ohio-news/child-sex-trade-study-shines-light-on-ohio-541564.html

Child prostitution out of shadows in Seattle

Some change comes quietly.

But something has changed, those who watch such things will say, in the way Seattle and its environs view the girls and boys selling their bodies from the cities’ sidewalks and hotel rooms.

Those who make it their business point to the concrete — a first-of-its-kind shelter for prostituted youth, a new law that raises the stakes for those selling sex with children, a win against a pimp ring — and pass along the word of mouth that the kids are getting younger, the pimps a little meaner. But the hint, they’ll quietly allow, is that something larger and less tangible is happening.

About that crime of the shadows — child prostitution — the public is starting to care.

Those youths — at least the girls, initially — are the target of a joint Seattle-King County effort scheduled to launch this spring. The first of its kind in the area, the program is designed to help child prostitutes break away from their pimps, and the life, by providing shelter and treatment.

“The perception is that they are just prostitutes, nobody cares,” said Sean O’Donnell, a senior deputy prosecutor attached to the special assault unit. “The perception is, they’re signing up for this. …

“They’re people. They’re girls. They should be worrying about what they’re wearing to their high school dance and not whether they’re going to bring in quota.”

That’s a King County prosecutor — a law-and-order guy whose office walls carry a portrait of Winston Churchill and a clipping of Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer — arguing that children who are technically criminals are victims. The fun part for O’Donnell and his cohort, at least by his estimation, is that jurors have begun to agree.

A recent study commissioned by the City of Seattle identified 238 children involved in prostitution in the city. The total number, according to the assessment, was likely 300 to 500 kids in the Seattle area.

Some of those girls come from loving homes, said Julie Kays, the special assault unit deputy prosecutor. Others have fled sexual abuse at home or fallen into drug addiction.

Regardless of their circumstances, Kays said, the girls tend to offer similar stories. They fell in love, their man asked them to make some money selling sex, and they couldn’t get out.

Usually there are threats, the senior deputy prosecutor said. Often there is violence.

Always, the money goes straight to the pimp.

That was the situation described by one Beacon Hill teen testifying against Deshawn Clark, a 19-year-old West Seattle pimp recently convicted on human trafficking charges.

Recalling how she ended up climbing into cars at the “fashion show” next to Seattle Center, the young woman described being propositioned by one of Clark’s friends, admitted pimp Mycah Johnson, over ice cream.

Testifying in October during the trial of one of Johnson’s codefendants, the young woman said Johnson alternated between threats and promises of love as she continued to turn tricks for him.

“He played on everything that I went through,” the young woman told the King County jury. “He made me promises that were backed up by promises. I should have known better, because I guess promises are made to be broken.”

The prosecution in which the teen testified ended in vindication for prosecutors, who’d bet that a jury could believe the testimony of prostituted teens and convict Clark on a newly minted charge, human trafficking. Following on guilty pleas by Johnson and four other men, Clark was convicted of pimping several teens as part of a West Seattle gang.

That jurors believed the young women, in that case and others, shows that the public’s view of prostitution has shifted, Kays said.

“That defense — ‘Oh, she’s just a whore’ or ‘Oh, she’s just a prostitute. You can’t believe her.’ — that isn’t going to hold water,” Kays said. “Jurors, through common sense and good sense and, frankly, kindness, are going to see that doesn’t hold true.”

Following on the work of Seattle and King County vice detectives, O’Donnell and Deputy Prosecutor Christina Miyamasu spent much of 2009 working to secure the first conviction under the state’s human-trafficking law. Authorities moved heaven and earth to do it, sending detectives across the country to bring in a reluctant witness in the case against Clark.

The resulting conviction, under a law that Clark’s attorney argued was meant for people smugglers not West Seattle teens, will likely result in a decades-long prison sentence against Clark. And that too would be a change.

Under the state law most frequently applied — commercial sexual abuse of a minor, a lesser offense of which Clark was also convicted — pimping children carries a two-year prison term for a first time offender.

A recent change reclassified the crime as a sex offense requiring registration as a sex offender, but did not increase the penalty. The maximum sentence, a 10-year prison term, is imposed only against those with multiple felony convictions.

Those caught soliciting sex from a child prostitute face a standard minimum sentence of one to three months in jail, though that penalty can be waived through a first-time offender alternative.

Speaking last month, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said that, in his view, the sentences handed to pimps and others benefiting from child prostitution don’t square with the harm done to prostituted girls and boys.

“We’re talking about kids who were taken off the streets and made sex slaves,” Satterberg said. “It’s a very dark secret in our community that most people don’t know about and don’t want to know about. … The demand for this is high, and the supply is being created by young girls.”

While locking up pimps and scaring johns may dissuade some of each, that action does little to move teen prostitutes off the streets.

At present, the state can punish children for selling sex but has little to offer. In an effort to change that, a City of Seattle-King County group is preparing to launch a pilot project to provide assistance to several dozen prostituted kids.

The program, set to launch this spring, will provide safe housing, support and drug treatment to teen girls caught prostituting, said Terri Kimball, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Division director for the city’s Human Services Department.

Initially able to care for nine youths at a time, Kimball said the program will offer transitional housing and support to 25 to 30 children a year. That effort — when compared to the hundreds of known child prostitutes in King County — will reach only a fraction of prostituted youths, but marks a first step forward for the region.

“Right now, (the girls) beat us back out to the street,” Kimball said. “There’s no place for them.”

The fledgling effort is not expected to go easy.

Many teen prostitutes, Kimball said, sell sex because they’ve been made to want to or feel they must. They love the men they’re working for, she said, and fail to see the relationship for the one-way street it is.

“In spite of everything they’ve been through, they love their pimps,” Kimball said. “Kids are looking for love and acceptance. She stands to lose all of that if she doesn’t do what he wants.”

Taking a view disputed in the court by defense attorneys, prosecutors like Kayes and O’Donnell contend that control is no accident of circumstance.

Shepherding the prosecution of five alleged members of a West Seattle gang, O’Donnell garnered confessions from four admitted West Side Street Mobb members and a fifth man. In each, the accused admitted to fostering love and fear simply to make a buck.

Describing his approach to the Beacon Hill teen, Johnson, now 20, told the court that what had begun as a dating relationship shifted within weeks of their meeting.

By his account, Johnson told her she needed to “work” so they could have a life together. Once she began working for him, he told her what to charge and demanded she give him every cent.

She complied.

Johnson, like the others, went on to matter-of-factly describe why he pimped.

“Pimping is a way to make money quickly and easily,” Johnson told the court. “This helped my reputation within the gang. … Being a gang that pimped out girls made the gang sound better to other gangs.”

The counterpoint, vocally offered by friends and family of the Street Mobb defendants, was that the girls and women had chosen prostitution.

Court records and statements outside Clark’s trial attest that several of the teen prostitutes continued to sell themselves as their pimps waited in jail. Some had been prostitutes before meeting any of the men accused.

The men may have profited, the supporters’ argument went, but the girls already wanted to sell sex.

In O’Donnell’s view, that contention is “crap.”

Conceding that somewhere, someone may have chosen to prostitute of his or her free will, O’Donnell asserted that the youths and most others working as prostitutes do so only under absolute duress.

“What’s so offensive to me personally is these pimps who are putting these children out on the street for one reason, and that is cold, hard cash,” O’Donnell said. “They are cruel. They are greedy. And the impact on these young women — whether it’s a rape, an attempted rape, a sexually transmitted disease or simply the shame — will be with them for the rest of their lives.”

Coincidentally, money has also been the hang-up for efforts to combat child prostitution in Seattle.

A collection of city, county and private funds has been tapped for the two-year pilot project to house and treat prostituted youth, Kimball said.

Due to funding cutoffs, though, organizers remain $650,000 short of the $1.4 million needed to maintain the program, Kimball said. Private donors and the United Way of King County have provided nearly half the funding secured.

Despite the difficulty, Satterberg said he’s heartened to see the community making a move.

“For as widespread as this problem is, it’s concerning that there aren’t more facilities that can deal with these kids and their complicated lives,” said Satterberg, the elected county prosecutor. “If you’ve got money, you’ve got promise. And the promise here is that Seattle will do something about this.”


Saudi Girl, 12, Sold in Marriage to 80-Year-Old Relative

In Saudi Arabia, the only thing keeping an 80-year-old man from buying, marrying, and then raping his 12-year-old relative is … nothing. It happened this week.

The girl’s mother’s attempt to prevent the her father from selling her into a forced marriage with a man over six decades her senior was fruitless. The women’s advocacy groups who have expressed outrage have seen their protests come to nothing. And the three other underage girls this man is also married to might as well have been his housecats for all the voices they got.

The reason there is nothing to stop this man or any other from raping children under the guise of a marriage? Because Saudi Arabia has no minimum age for marriage.

For Saudi Arabia, this is hardly a unique case. Earlier this year, a judge refused to grant a divorce to an eight-year-old girl who was forced to marry an 47-year-old man by her father. Girl children before and on the verge of puberty can be forced into marriage by their families, even to men who already have other wives. In fact, marrying young girls is so easy in Saudi Arabia, that some advocates working in the country fear it will become a haven for wealthy Muslim pedophiles. With no minimum marriage age or regulations on who can marry children, pedophiles could jet into Saudi Arabia, pick up a young wife for a few thousand dollars, and then have a girl to rape and control for years to come.

In addition to the lack of a minimum marriage age, Saudi society contributes to families selling their daughters at incredibly young ages. Promiscuity (or even the appearance of non-Koran-sanctioned interaction with men) on the part of a female shames the whole family in some parts of the country. So some fathers decided to avert this risk by forcing their daughters into marriage before they are old enough to have an interest in dating or having relationships with boys. It’s a practice akin to reducing teen auto fatalities by cutting off all 16-year-olds’ feet to prevent them from driving. In other words, it’s a pretty bad plan to address the possibility of teen promiscuity.


Christopher Thomas Jr. Is Broken Beyond Repair

Christopher Thomas Jr., 19, is one seriously f**ked up individual. He’s looking at a felony statutory rape charge after allegedly raping an 8-year-old girl and tasing her 10-year-old brother when he tried to intervene. According to court documents, while Thomas was visiting the residence on January 6th, the girl and her brother began to argue. Thomas allegedly called the girl a brat and gave her three choices – tell her dad, get a spanking, or get raped. The girl picked “none of the above” so Thomas picked for her. He took her into a bedroom and proceeded to rape her. The little girl told Thomas she didn’t like it and he responded, “You better like it,” and continued to violate her, threatening to hurt her and her brother if she told anyone. When the girl’s brother entered the room and attempted to intervene, Thomas whipped out a taser and tased the kid’s arm. Though their mother returned home shortly after the assault, neither child informed her of what had happened. Later that same evening, after mom had gone to bed, Thomas raped the girl again. And, once again, when big brother tried to intervene, he got another tasin’. Thomas told both children that the girl was being punished for being a selfish brat and once again threatened bodily injury if either child opened their mouth. And if you think this story couldn’t possibly get any worse…it can and it does.

That same night, brother and sister were sitting in the living room when they heard their 3-year-old sister screaming and it sounded like it was coming from Thomas’ room. The kids couldn’t enter the room to check on the toddler because something was blocking the door. I don’t know what happened next, but the kids state that they later found the toddler sitting outside of Thomas’ room – her face, arms, and chest were red, her pants were sagging and her diaper was ripped open. The boy child finally told his aunt and his dad about the incidents on January 9th. Thomas was arrested on the 12th. And this is where it gets really f**king weird…

Thomas initially denied touching the 8-year-old inappropriately, but eventually copped to it. He told officers that he didn’t actually penetrate the child’s vagina, but humped her “until he was ready to ejaculate, then pulled out and ejaculated on her panties and back.” He stated that he had been molested as a child and had a dream about it the night before violating the girl. When he awoke from the dream, he wanted to “make someone feel the way he felt.” He also admitted that in December, he forced the child to disrobe and lay naked on the bed so he could see what it looked like. He was interrupted by the sound of another adult in the home that day and told the child to get dressed.

Thomas further stated that on one occasion in November (November reviews), he caught the 10-year-old boy humping his toddler sister – the 3-year-old mentioned in this story. Thomas said he stopped them, took the boy aside and told him he “needed to get it out of his system.” Thomas told the boy he needed to use baby oil when he did it – to make it feel better. Thomas and the boy went back to the room and Thomas told the kid to put baby oil on his penis. The kid wasn’t real comfortable doing that in front of Thomas, so he hid inside a closet and applied the baby oil. Then he proceeded to hump the toddler again while Thomas was chatting on the computer. After the 10-year-old dismounted the toddler, Thomas oiled up, pulled down the child’s diaper and began humping. He stated that he did not vaginally penetrate the child. He also stated that he failed to ejaculate “because she smiled at him while he was doing it.” Oh. My. F**king. God.

Thomas stated that he likes porn. A lot. He likes to masturbate while watching porn. A lot. He admitted to showing the 10-year-old porn on the computer. Thomas says that he feels uncomfortable around girls his own age and often has problems getting an erection with them. When asked about other possible victims, Thomas stated that, as a juvenile, there were several occasions where he had sexual encounters with other juveniles who were related to him. When asked to rate his “urges” to molest children on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being an uncontrollable urge, Thomas answered with a 9. Would Thomas feel the urge to do this again if let out of jail? Thomas answered that question with an “I’m not sure.” Bond was set at $250,000. If convicted, he could spend a minimum of 10 years in prison. Yeah…this one can’t be fixed. Put him under the jail, would ya?

source: http://www.dreamindemon.com/2010/01/22/christopher-thomas-jr-is-broken-beyond-repair/

Published in: on January 23, 2010 at 11:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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True or False? Brown threatens legal action

Representatives of Massachusetts Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown say Democratic candidate Martha Coakley has until Tuesday to retract an incendiary campaign mailing or Brown will take legal action. At issue is a Coakley flier charging that Brown would have Massachusetts hospitals turn away all rape victims, a claim which a Brown spokeswoman called “a lie,” “patently false,” and “atrocious.” “The campaign is calling on Martha Coakley and [Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman] John Walsh to retract the false statement,” says Tarah Donoghue, a spokeswoman for the state Republican party who is speaking on behalf of the Brown campaign. “We’re going to give them until Tuesday morning to do the right thing.”

The flier, sent recently to voters by the Massachusetts Democratic Party, says: 1,736 WOMEN WERE RAPED IN MASSACHUSETTS IN 2008.  SCOTT BROWN WANTS HOSPITALS TO TURN THEM ALL AWAY.

The inner pages of the flier claim Brown will “take us backwards on women’s health and rights.” While Brown objects to the entire content of the ad, his lawyer argues that the front page is such an outrageous falsehood that it violates Massachusetts law governing false statements in political campaigns.

“The lie is on the front page, which is what the voter sees when they open up their mail,” says Dan Winslow, counsel for the Brown campaign. “There is a lot of room in a political campaign for rough and tumble and sharp elbows and advocacy. But the bottom line is, you can’t lie. You cannot lie to try to win an election, particularly at the 11th hour when it may be too late to change the lie. That in itself corrupts the democratic process.”

Winslow cites a state law which says “No person shall make or publish, or cause to be made or published, any false statement in relation to any candidate for nomination or election to public office, which is designed or tends to aid or to injure or defeat such candidate.”

The controversy stems from a 2005 Massachusetts law which requires hospitals to make emergency contraceptives available to rape victims. During debate on the law, state senator Brown offered an amendment that would have exempted medical professionals with “sincerely held religious beliefs,” particularly at a number of Catholic hospitals in Massachusetts, from the law’s requirement to provide emergency contraception. If no one at a given hospital could provide the contraception, Brown’s amendment required that hospital to transfer the rape victim to another facility where she could receive emergency contraception, at no cost to the victim. Brown’s amendment failed, but he voted in favor of the final bill.

Coakley’s campaign has hit Brown on the issue at several points in the campaign, running ads that said, “Brown even favors letting hospitals deny emergency contraception to rape victims.” But the new flier takes Coakley’s accusations to a new level, charging that Brown would have hospitals turn away all rape victims. While Brown objected to the earlier ads, saying they distorted his record, he did not threaten legal action until the new flier was sent out.

Not only did Brown vote in favor of the final emergency contraception bill, his campaign says he also made it very clear during the debate that he supported emergency contraception for rape victims. To bolster his case, the Brown campaign provided the Washington Examiner a copy of Brown’s talking points from June 2005, from which he made his remarks to the Senate. “First and foremost, I fully support this legislation and recognize the importance of access to EC [emergency contraception] for rape victims,” reads the first talking point.

“This amendment will not hinder the distribution of emergency contraception throughout the Commonwealth,” the talking points continue (emphasis in the original). “I am offering this amendment because I feel that it is wrong to mandate an individual to do something that is against their ‘sincerely held religious beliefs.'” In addition to the talking points, the Brown campaign also provided what it called “a contemporaneous (but not verbatim) narrative of [Brown’s] remarks made on the Senate floor by State House News Service.” That narrative supports Brown’s version of events.

Nevertheless, the Coakley ad has been sent out, and its timing presents a particularly difficult situation for Brown. The Brown campaign issued the threat of legal action on Saturday, but given that local courts will be closed on Sunday and also on Monday, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Brown’s lawyers could not take any action until Tuesday at the earliest. And Tuesday, of course, just happens to be Election Day.

Still, Brown appears determined to act, even if the final resolution of the controversy is irrelevant to the outcome of the election. “The law creates a forum after the election for the facts to come out,” Winslow says. “Scott Brown cannot have this lie stand.”

Published in: on January 21, 2010 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Man charged with sex trafficking out on bail

A man charged in a sex trafficking conspiracy has been released on bail, according to his lawyer. Rand Hooks, 50, was released earlier this week to the third-party custody of his wife on a $20,000 unsecured bond, said attorney Darrel Gardner. Hooks will also be on electronic monitoring, Gardner said.

In granting the release, U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Smith noted that Hooks is not charged with crimes of sex trafficking involving juveniles, Gardner said.

Hooks is the owner of the East 50th Avenue apartment where part of the prostitution business allegedly operated and is accused of various crimes, including exchanging rent money for sex.

The three others charged in the sex trafficking conspiracy remain in jail. They are Keyana “Koko” Marshall, 21, Sidney Lamar Greene, 39, and Sabil Mujahid, 52, the alleged ringleader.

Federal prosecutors say the ring involved underage girls, some recruited from the Alaska Federation of Natives convention and an Anchorage shelter for homeless teens. Prosecutors say the sex trafficking often involved coercion, threats and physical abuse, including beatings and rapes.

The trial for all is scheduled for February 2011.

source: http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/crime/story/1095782.html

Man gets life sentences in girl’s kidnapping, assault

Edward AdamsEdward Adams

A man convicted on multiple felony counts tied to the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl three years ago was sentenced today to multiple life terms.

Edward Adams, 27, was convicted in November on one count of first-degree kidnapping, one count of battery with intent to commit sexual assault and seven counts of sexual assault for an incident that happened Dec. 14, 2007.

That afternoon, the girl, now 15, had plans with a friend after school. When those plans fell through, she began to walk home by herself.

At about 2:30 p.m., she encountered Adams, who was in a public area near a local junior high school.

He approached her from behind, grabbed her and said, “Don’t scream, don’t run, I have a gun,” she testified at the trial.

Adams then forced her to walk with him about a mile to an abandoned apartment near Buffalo Drive and Charleston Boulevard, where he assaulted her.

District Court Judge David Barker today sentenced Adams to a maximum of life on all of those counts, with each to run consecutively. He was sentenced to a one-year concurrent term for a single count of open and gross lewdness.

Prosecutor Craig Hendricks argued for the maximum sentence, calling Adams “one of the worst of the worst.”

“To kidnap a young child off the street is the worst thing that could possibly happen to a kid,” Hendricks said. “I guess the one good thing he did do is allowed her to leave and did not take her life.”

At trial, Adams’ defense contended the sex acts between the girl and the then-24-year-old man were consensual.

Adams didn’t speak during Wednesday’s hearing and expressed little emotion as the sentence was handed down.

His court-appointed attorney, Jeffrey Maningo, said Adams had submitted a written statement to the judge in which he expressed “regret and remorse” over what happened.

In arguments, Maningo and Hendricks both referred to Adams using methamphetamine at the time of the assault, although that wasn’t introduced at trial.

“I think methamphetamine is an absolute monster. There are daily crimes committed because of methamphetamine and it really does change a person’s character,” Maningo said.

He said Adams’ drug use wasn’t an excuse for what happened as much as it was an explanation of a possible catalyst.

Maningo asked the judge to run the terms concurrently. Had he done so, the earliest Adams could have stood before the parole board was in 10 years.

“I understand (the victim) and her family wanting all the big numbers stacked together,” he said. “But I don’t think it really achieves anything more than if you run them concurrently and allow the parole board to do their job.”

Before handing down his sentence, Barker referred to Adams’ prior felony convictions, adding that at the time of his arrest in this case he was a fugitive from parole in California.

Adams was a three-time felon at the time he victimized the young girl, Barker said.

“Mr. Adams, as a consequence of that history and the terrible things you did to this girl, you are and remain a continuing threat to this community,” Barker said.

Adams’ record didn’t include previous arrests for sexual assault, Maningo said. One of the crimes was for car theft.

In Nevada, multiple acts in a single criminal encounter can be charged separately, as they were in this case.

The only term that will run concurrently is the gross misdemeanor count of open and gross lewdness. For his felony convictions, he received a minimum of five years and a maximum of life on the kidnapping and battery charges; the sexual assault counts were a minimum of 10 and maximum of life.

The victim and her mother submitted written statements to the judge.

“On that day, for the long hour I was taken from my family, it was a horrible nightmare and all I can say is I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy,” the girl wrote. “I just hope you understand you have taken away a special part of my life that can’t ever be replaced.”

Her mother wrote that, “in my eyes, there is no sentence long enough.” She wrote that she didn’t believe Adams was sorry for what he had done and was critical of him for never showing emotion during any of his court appearances.

“Are you sorry? Well, all I can say is I hope today and this day forward you’re as scared as my daughter and my family was (the day of the assault).”

She thanked Adams for letting her daughter come home alive.

At trial, Adams was found not guilty on two other counts of sexual assault.

The earliest he would be eligible for parole is in 80 years.

source: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/jan/13/man-gets-life-sentences-girls-kidnapping-assault/

Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 3:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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Human trafficking in Mexico targets women and children

Even before her 18th birthday, Maria had already been enslaved by a gang of human traffickers and held in captivity for four months in her homeland of Mexico.

While a prisoner, Maria witnessed a sickening trade in human life and recalls how young girls were drugged, forced into prostitution and then murdered.

What makes Maria’s story so special is that she was one of the lucky ones who were able to escape.

Maria, whose real name we aren’t using, used to live in the border town of Ciudad Juarez.

The city is home to two drug cartels that fight a bloody turf war for lucrative smuggling routes to America.

In a four-day period, 41 people were murdered, while over the past decade, 450 women were killed and 3,000 went missing.

“Today girls are still going missing but their bodies are never found,” Miguel Perea, a local journalist told Britain’s Channel 4.

“There’s no trace of them and their mothers and families of these girls — they haven’t got a clue what’s happened to them.”

Maria described how at the age of 16 she was lured off the streets by a young man who promised the world, but delivered nothing but pain.

She was raped, drugged and sold for sex. “They took a gallon of gasoline and started pouring it over a girl,” Maria said.

“One of the men told me if you don’t do as I say I will do the same to you.

“I wanted to look away, but they didn’t let me. Even though the girl was on fire they kept hitting her and they were laughing as if they were enjoying what they were doing.”

Maria described a cross-border trade in young children and babies — with orders coming in regularly from the U.S.

“They stole the children and one of the gang members took a six-year-old kid that I had to look after for three hours.

“He told me he wanted to see his mummy then I started crying and said ‘I don’t think you’re ever going to see your mummy again.’”

The claims that Maria made were so serious that she was asked by the Department of Homeland Security to come to the U.S. to tell her story.

Mexican authorities accompanied Maria on her trip to Houston to work alongside U.S. authorities on the case.

The U.S. State Department estimates that more than 20,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year — mainly destined for the sex trade.

Authorities have launched an immediate investigation into Maria’s story.

“I want to tell the story so that in the near future, other girls don’t go through the same,” Maria said.

“Women are sold, they are abducted, bought and even killed by these men.

“If these men are ever found, jail won’t be enough to make them pay for the way they’ve made us feel.”

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source: http://www.wiminswatch.org/human-trafficking-in-mexico-targets-women-and-children-with-video/