Police ‘failing to deal’ with human trafficking misery

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Theresa May blog: An abhorrent evil in our capital

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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Published in: on October 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Raising Awareness for Human Trafficking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://youtube/R8dAx0mfiqs

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags:

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

Colorado officials’ crackdown on human trafficking and prostitution

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

The FBI is making efforts across the nation to put an end to human trafficking, a crime that is becoming more prevalent in Colorado in recent years. According to the FBI’s Operation Cross Country VII, part of the Innocence Lost Task Force, Colorado ranked fourth in the nation for the number of operation arrests. The FBI admits that many of these individuals are likely “victims, not suspects,” according to a recent report in The Gazette. Officials arrested nine suspects in a span of three days in July, charged with connections to prostitution offenses. Colorado enforcement agencies also participated in earlier investigations that resulted in the issuance of sex crime charges. One conducted in June of 2013 focused on escorts who advertised online. The operation led to 12 arrests for prostitution related offenses. Another focused on an establishment in Golden called Happy Feet. The massage business was accused of prostitution, money laundering and tax evasion. Authorities note that they will help victims of these crimes that are pulled in from other countries. Victims are often brought to the country with the promise of a new life. Once they enter the country they must first pay off

the debt through either illegal work practices or commercial sex. Human trafficking and prostitution in Colorado Human trafficking is referred to as a modern day form of slavery. The term refers to the use of humans for exploitation and generally falls into one of two categories: forced labor or commercial sex. Operations run by the FBI focusing on prostitution are often concerned that human trafficking violations may also be present. Police departments throughout the state are concerned the level of human trafficking has increased and are reaching out to The Colorado Trafficking and Organized Crime Coalition (CTOCC) to assist in investigating and combating these violations. Agencies work to hold offenders accountable, but their efforts could lead to false accusations Although it is important to hold those who violate these laws accountable for their actions, it is equally important to drop any charges against those who are falsely accused of sex crimes. A false accusation could lead to a conviction that would negatively impact the accused for the rest of his or her life. Those accused of these crimes must take the charges seriously. A conviction can lead to various penalties, including imprisonment, monetary penalties and the need to register as a sex offender. Defenses are available that can lead to the reduction or even dismissal of charges. Contact an experienced Colorado sex crime lawyer to discuss your case and potential defenses.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1517465#ixzz2hKYRYy2H
Published in: on October 10, 2013 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Modern Slavery in Europe

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Published in: on October 10, 2013 at 10:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Texas senator cracks down on human trafficking

The U.S. Senate passed the Child Protection Act of 2012 on Tuesday, legislation several years in the making that will help protect victims of child pornography, sexual abuse and trafficking by strengthening law enforcement’s ability to apprehend the culprits.

The act — which was introduced by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and approved just prior to Human Trafficking Awareness Month in January — passed in both the Senate and House of Representatives. The bill now awaits President Barack Obama’s signature.

According to the U.S. Department of State, thousands of men, women and children are trafficked to the U.S. for sexual and labor exploitation. Many of these them are lured from their homes with false promises of a better life. Instead, they are entered into prostitution or other types of forced labor, according to the department.

“We need to provide law enforcement with every tool they need to crack down on the most vile criminals — child sex predators and traffickers — and protect the innocent young people who fall victim to these heinous crimes. This is an issue we can all agree on, and I’m pleased Congress has passed this important measure in a bipartisan fashion,” Cornyn said in a release. “I hope the President will sign this bill swiftly to bring greater justice and protection to victims and allow law enforcement to take immediate steps to stop child predators and traffickers in their tracks.”

Currently, the maximum prison term for the possession of child pornography depicting minors 18 years of age and younger is 10 years. The Child Protection Act would make the maximum prison term 20 years.

Current law gives courts the option to issue protective orders restraining harassment of minor victims and witnesses. After Obama signs the bill, however, the law will require judges to issue one if they find that a child witness is the target of harassment or intimidation.

By allowing courts to make this finding on their own motion, judges are encouraged to take an active role in protecting child witnesses in their courtroom, Cornyn said. The provision also fills a gap in current law by creating criminal penalties for intentional violation of these orders.

Other provisions originally outlined in the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act — legislation introduced by Cornyn and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) last year — that are included in the bill entail the reauthorization of funds for Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces, which train executive and judicial officials on how to deal with cases of child sexual abuse.

“Law enforcement and advocacy organizations across the country are hard at work to crack down on the scourge of human trafficking,” Cornyn said. “Unfortunately, this is a pervasive crime that continues to destroy the lives of victims. Sadly major cities in Texas, such as Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, are hubs for human trafficking due to a variety of factors, including major transportation thoroughfares, access to the border, and a high population of runaway youth who are more at risk to fall victim to trafficking.”

The term “human trafficking” and details of its underworld have been defined as a serious domestic problem in recent years. Current penalties for certain child exploitation offenses still do not recognize the aggravated nature of that crime when it is committed against young children.

In response to this, the Dallas office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Homeland Security Investigations and leaders from 17 other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies formed the North Texas Trafficking Task Force two years ago.

Designed to combine expertise, training and law enforcement to identify human traffickers and prosecute them while also protecting victims, the NTTTF also consists of six police departments from the DFW area, including Plano.

With the human trafficking industry being even more secretive than other crimes, ICE relies heavily on tips from the public to dismantle these organizations. To help further educate the public, the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign was created to increase awareness.

“You can’t put a dent in it unless the public is aware because that is where the majority of our leads come from,” said Carl Rusnok, spokesman for ICE Central Region in Dallas.

With 29 press releases on ICE’s website pertaining to child pornography and exploitation in November alone, it’s clear that these crimes are increasing and the problem is mounting. Many people still do not understand that these threats are so close to home, said Shawn McGraw, group supervisor for the NTTTF.

“We view it as the public is not aware of it and people are still kind of shocked when you bring it up to them,” he said. “This is relatively new — it’s a learning process. It’s still so new people don’t know what it is or that it’s happening in their backyards. We have very few experts in it.”

In an effort to evolve the law to more effectively keep traffickers behind bars, prosecutors will typically use whatever laws they can to combat this crime, McGraw said.

“It’s taking the tool out of the tool belt and using it best you can,” he said.

If they’re not charged with trafficking, they use similar charges like harboring or a multitude of violations in order to create the outcome they want. The more arrests that are made, the more ICE and the NTTTF can help perfect the law.

Last year, the NTTTF made 48 criminal arrests, but there’s a lot more work to do, said Sean Carson, assistant special agent for the NTTTF. Cornyn’s act will hopefully enable them to do just that, he said.

“Our goal is to get more cases before judges to get these violators taken down,” Carson said. “They’re selling human flesh for profit. They’re earning large sums on a commodity that is reusable and resalable, much more than narcotics or illegal arms.”

source:http://www.scntx.com/articles/2012/11/30/news_update/5946.txt#share

Ask Paula Deen, Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, Emeril for Fair Trade S’Mores This Summer

  • This week marks the official beginning of summer, and for many people, that means a favorite childhood campfire treat — the s’more. But as child labor, forced labor and  trafficking continue to fuel the cocoa industry, traditional s’mores might leave a bitter aftertaste. That’s why chocolate lovers across the country are calling on some of America’s favorite celebrity chefs — Paula Deen,  Bobby Flay,  Rachael Ray and Emeril Lagasse — to post Fair  Trade  s’mores recipes and additional information on their websites to  help  raise awareness about potential solutions to the problems that  plague  the cocoa industry. Sadly, none of these chefs have made a Fair Trade s’more, yet.Across the country, campers and other people with a sweet tooth are participating in a fun summer action called “We  Want More from Our S’mores,” where concerned consumers make their s’mores  using Fair Trade Certified chocolate to support positive change in the  cocoa industry. But they know that a gooey, delicious Fair Trade s’more treat made on the grill by Bobby Flay or with some extra Southern love by Paula can help inspire real change in the cocoa industry. That’s why they’re asking these chefs to put Fair Trade on their plate and stand up for kids in the coco industry.

    (more…)

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 2:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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How to End Sex Trafficking in Massage Parlors in Your Community

This is part two of an interview with Jessica Goodman, a student activist at
Carnegie Mellon University who is doing research on anti-trafficking issues and
helping rally support for a proposal that would help end sex trafficking in Pittsburgh
massage parlors. Here, Goodman outlines how you can get a similar ordinance
passed in your own community. To read part one, click
here
.

1) Investigate. Read through the johns’ boards; see how many
massage parlors are in your area. Making a map helps; ours was color-coded by
city council district to make it easy for people to see how close these places
are to our homes and schools. Be warned: these boards can be extremely graphic
and disturbing.

2) Identify. Look for the best person or office to introduce
the ordinance. Perhaps your county has more investigative powers than your city;
maybe your state house is the best place to look. Ending human trafficking is a
non-partisan issue, so feel free to look for supporters from outside of your own
experience. We have received wonderful support from the religious community in
Pittsburgh, including Sister Jeanette Bussen, a local nun and anti-trafficking
activist who I would never have met without this work.

3) Instigate. Start drumming up community support. Ask to
talk for 15 minutes at the ends of college clubs’ meetings, present to church
groups and contact local fraternal organizations. Ask local massage therapists
if they know where illegitimate establishments are located; because johns
sometimes confuse good businesses with places to buy sex, some massage
therapists have been sexually harassed by them. These places are deeply embedded
in our communities — in Pittsburgh, not one of the 15 brothels posing as
massage parlors is more than a few blocks from a church, synagogue or mosque. It
is an issue on everyone’s plate, whether we know it or not.

Once you have the knowledge, the institutional and the community support, you
may need to address the concerns of local business owners, consult law
enforcemen and make sure that your case is as solid as possible. And ask for
help — the Project to End Human Trafficking and I are committed to getting this
passed in Pittsburgh and elsewhere. If you live in Pittsburgh, please consider
volunteering for or donating to the Project to End Human Trafficking
or handwriting a letter of support to Mayor Ravenstahl.

I am a bit of a policy wonk, so my first reaction to a new issue is to do
research. For me, reading through all of the materials put out by the National
Human Trafficking Resource Center, calling the National Human Trafficking
Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 for information on anti-trafficking organizations in
my area and reading the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report
gave me enough of a foundation to form an opinion about how to best combat
trafficking in Pittsburgh.

If you are better with counseling than I am, volunteer to work with
survivors. It can be satisfying work, if not always fun. If you only have a
little time, consider writing a paper on trafficking. I bet you $10 donated to
your favorite anti-trafficking organization, I can take any term-paper topic and
find a way to make it about ending trafficking. Seriously. Email me.

The most important thing any student can do is to learn the signs of human
trafficking. Confinement, abuse, debt-bondage, threats, minors in commercial
sex, adults in jobs they can’t leave — these are things anyone can see anytime
and report to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888). The call
specialists keep track of all of the tips they receive and pass them on to law
enforcement. Together, we can end sex trafficking in our communities.

source: http://news.change.org/humantrafficking.rss

Tell Village Voice Media to Stop Child Sex Trafficking on Backpage.com

Child sex trafficking on Backpage.com, owned by Village Voice Media, is becoming a disturbing trend.

Earlier this week a Georgia man was arrested for pimping two 17-year-old girls around the Nashville area. Detectives responded to a suspicious ad on Backpage.com and drove to a motel. There, they found the teens and their 37-year-old pimp, as well as a laptop computer, likely used for the online advertising. Just four days prior to that, four people in Denver were arrested for forcing a teen girl into prostitution. They also advertised her sexual services, including semi-nude pictures, on Backpage. And last year, a South Dakota couple was arrested for selling underage girls for sex on …. wait for it … Backpage.com yet again.

Backpage’s terms of use, of course, prohibit advertising for illegal commercial sex acts or exploiting minors, but both are happening anyway in Nashville, Denver, and Sioux City. And like Craigslist, Backpage and their parent company Village Voice Media are doing little to prevent the sale of children or trafficked adults on their site. Village Voice Media has a duty to ensure that young girls aren’t being abused in the commercial sex industry with help from their website, and that they aren’t facilitating human trafficking.

humanPlease, ask Village Voice Media to stop child sex trafficking on Backpage.com.

source: http://humantrafficking.change.org/blog/view/demi_moore_sells_personal_toy_collection_to_end_child_sex_trafficking

Ask Gov. Schwarzenegger to Release Human Trafficking Victim Sara Kruzan with Time Served

Sixteen-year-old human trafficking victim Sara Kruzan was sentenced to life in prison without parole when, in a desperate act to escape captivity, she shot her pimp. When Sara met G.G., the 31-year-old man who would become her pimp, she was only 11. G.G. groomed Sara two years before he raped her.  By then, his control was complete and he forced her into prostitution.  Sara and the other girls who G.G. exploited were out on the streets from 6pm to 6am, every night.  Twelve hours a night, seven days a week, for three years, Sara was raped by strangers so G.G. could profit.  After three years, she snapped, and she killed him.

Now 32, Sara has spent half her life in prison as a model prisoner, and has asked Gov. Schwarzenegger for clemency. Sara was arrested and tried in 1994, before anyone was using the term “human trafficking” and when the country was still struggling to understand issues like domestic violence and pimp control that give one person coercive control over another. So there was no expert witness at Sara’s trial to explain how her years of repeated rape, trauma, and abuse had affected her actions. There was no expert to tell the jury that with counseling, support, and care, Sara could heal from her traumatic past and grow to be a strong and moral woman.

Sara’s clemency plea has been submitted to Gov. Schwarzenegger, and the decision of whether or not to release her with time served rests solely with him. Sara Kruzan deserves hope.  She deserves hope that she didn’t survive being raped and sold for three years for nothing.  She deserves hope that the darkest chapter of her life has passed, and a horizon lies ahead.  She deserves hope that she can change, grow, and flourish as a woman. But in life without parole, there is no hope.

Tell Gov. Schwarzenegger that human trafficking victims deserve support and care, not prison. Ask him to release Sara with time served.

source:http://humantrafficking.change.org/blog/view/what_will_the_election_mean_for_imprisoned_trafficking_victim_sara_kruzan

Published in: on October 29, 2010 at 6:41 am  Comments (1)  
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