Three girls arrested in local sex trade sweep

Three girls were arrested on charges of prostitution during a four-day roundup of those involved in the sex trade industry in the valley, Las Vegas police said Thursday.

Sgt. Gil Shannon with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Vice Section said the sweep, which took place June 19-22, was intended to rescue children caught in the sex trade.

“Even one is successful when you’re taking children off streets who are engaging in prostitution,” Shannon said.

In addition, 61 adult prostitutes and five pimps were arrested locally during the sweep, dubbed “Operation Cross Country.”

Shannon wouldn’t disclose where the three girls were taken, saying only, “We have them in a safe location.”

He also wouldn’t specify the girls’ ages other than to say they were younger than 18.

Shannon said the arrests made only a small dent in the local prostitution market. He estimated that thousands of prostitutes work throughout the Las Vegas Valley.

Shannon said 37 agents with the FBI and Las Vegas police collaborated to make the local arrests.

Nationally, 345 people, including 290 adult prostitutes, were arrested in the sweep in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami and other cities.

In Reno, agents arrested 13 adults.




this is an older post


Stop Child Trafficking Now Launches 35 Walks Worldwide To Fight Child Trafficking

An International movement to bring awareness and raise funds for the global epidemic of child sex trafficking is spreading across the world. On October 2nd and 3rd, 2010 thousands will join together in 35 cities and on four continents in an international walk campaign to bring attention to the issue of child slavery.

Online PR News – 26-May-2010 – NEW YORK, NY — Thirty-five walks around the world are planned for October 2nd and 3rd, 2010 to raise awareness and support the fight against child trafficking. Thousands will take part in Stop Child Trafficking Now Walks located in the United States, as well as Australia, Canada and Europe.

The 2nd Annual SCTNow National Walk Campaign is a volunteer campaign that the US State Department calls ‘historic’. In just two years, SCTNow has grown from a national campaign to an international one and reached thousands with the truth of child trafficking.

“When my husband Ron and I founded this organization, our hope was to see an end to child slavery around the world in our lifetime. The expansion of our walks to 35 cities on 4 continents is a step closer in meeting that goal. We encourage everyone to stand up for the rights of children that are being violated through child sexual slavery by taking part in one of these walks,” said Lynette Lewis, Co-Founder of (

Child slavery is a growing issue throughout the world. UNICEF estimates that 2.5 million children, the majority of which are girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion dollar commercial sex industry. According to the US State Department, an effective campaign must also attack the demand for child slavery. In addition to raising awareness, SCTNow is working to bring an end to child trafficking by going after the predators that are fueling the child sex industry.

A special walk is being held in Fayetteville, NC – in honor of 5-year-old Shaniya Davis. Her mother is accused of trafficking her own child in order to settle a drug debt. The five-year-old girl was found dead just off Interstate 87 in a wooded area. She was last seen alive at a motel with a man that is currently charged with kidnapping. Shaniya’s memory is being honored through the Stop Child Trafficking Now Fayetteville, NC Walk.

Everyone is encouraged to take part in the SCTNow International Walk Campaign. A complete list of participating cities can be found by visiting the website at For more information about starting a walk in your community or volunteering, please email Join SCTNow in the fight to stop child trafficking throughout the world.

About SCTNow:
Stop Child Trafficking Now (SCTNow), is an organization that has chosen to fund a new, bold approach that addresses the demand side of child trafficking. With the support raised through the walks, SCTNow will deploy Special Operative Teams, teams trained to identify and gather evidence against child predators, resulting in prosecutions.


Kansas to Become First Anti-Sex Trafficking Model City in America

The federal government became seriously engaged in the fight against human sex trafficking in 2000, with the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA); a federal effort that was and still is focused on the 50,000 (a vastly conservative figure), or more victims who come each year to the United States from other countries. Sadly, many victims of sex trafficking in the United States are our own kids: under federal law, any aggrieved child sexually exploited via the Internet is a victim of sex trafficking because posting pornography or selling sex using this medium crosses interstate lines.To date the lack of systematic data puts this number at 250,000 per year.

A few weeks back in my continued quest to abolish child sex trafficking in America and research for my upcoming book on the same subject, Patrick Trueman introduced me to Steve Wagner in D.C.

Steve Wagner, President and Founder, the Renewal Forum, and former Director, Human Trafficking Program, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Patrick Trueman, former Chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division, U. S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., are two of the great leaders driving the fight to stop child sex trafficking in America. Read Huff Post blog “Internet pornography is the “Sexual Revolution” on Speed” posted on 4.21.10.

Like most of us, Trueman and Wagner are on the hunt for a perfect model city on which to create the foundation for an “anti exploitation community”. What can be better than this? Meeting a desperate need with a viable solution.

On March 15 and 16, 2010, at the Kansas City (MO) Police Academy, the Renewal Forum convened the “Call for Community Action Conference” to plan the abolition of the sexual exploitation of juveniles in Kansas and Missouri. This event – cosponsored by the Attorney-General of Kansas; the Kansas City (MO) Police Department; the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas; and the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families – was a triumph is several regards.

Two hundred and fifty attended (versus an initial projection of 100), of whom a quarter were police officers. Senator Sam Brownback now running for Governor of Kansas, delivered an inspiring keynote address and the conference brought together police officers and representatives of non-government organizations to discuss how to work together to end exploitation in and around Kansas City. The conference also elicited many excellent suggestions for additional elements of a strategy of abolition.

The mission of the Renewal Forum is to end the pandemic of exploitation. Given the limited resources and urgent challenges facing today’s administration, The People cannot leave this problem to the federal government alone. State and local government agencies need to be actively involved which means that we need good laws in place at the state level. It also means that local law enforcement agencies need to start working with community organizations to find and protect the victims.

Sex trafficking is a crime in which most of the victims will not report what is being perpetrated against him or her, a situation which is taxing to the normal practices of law enforcement. Because of this challenge, we need to create models of collaboration between community organizations and law enforcement agencies, because often community organizations are better able to find victims than are the police.

According to The Renewal Forum, each year American 2300 children fall victim to commercial sexual exploitation in Kansas, and 4700 are victimized in Missouri, with nearly a quarter of this total (1650) being victimized in the Kansas City Metropolitan area. Those numbers conservatively represent one of a million communities across the country. It is not the Forum’s contention that Kansas City has a particular problem of juvenile exploitation; rather, Kansas City’s problem is typical for a metropolitan area of its size (U.S. Census estimate over 2,000,000 population), and that Kansas City characteristics, make it an advantageous place to implement a model.

To date there is no single community that has organized all of the necessary anti-exploitation programs and activities; although there are many interesting initiatives in the United States. The concept of a “model city” comes out of the realization that there is no “silver bullet” for the abolition of sexual exploitation in a community.

According to Wagner, “the abolition of human exploitation requires a community-wide continuum of response, consisting of a number of distinct yet mutually supportive activities and institutions”. Putting in place a continuum of response in one center is the purpose behind establishing a model city. The Forum’s goal is to create an environment in a single community that is so inhospitable to exploitation that the crime withers away. Once they achieve an empirical demonstration of success, the model self-replicates in other communities.

Five key elements make up this model:
1. Identifying and Rescuing Victims
2. Restoration of Victims
3. Demand Reduction
4. Local Government Action
5. Research on the Nature and Extent of the Problem in the Community

In a nutshell, employing this methodology to contact the victims, asking the right questions, working with the community and local law enforcement, and making use of the information will build the protective and prosecutorial mechanisms that could prevent further child sex trafficking across our communities and our Nation. Steve Wagner can be reached at The Renewal Forum:


REGION: Two safe houses open for sex trafficking victims

Shelters to help women in their long road to recovery

Women in need of shelter and protection after being rescued from forced prostitution now have two more safe houses in the region, one of which is the first in North County, advocates for the victims said.

Advocates for victims of sex trafficking said the new houses are desperately needed in the region, where women and girls are brought from other parts of the country —- and the world —- to be used in the sex trade.

The North County safe house is nearly ready to serve victims, advocates said.

It is being sponsored by several organizations, including the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, the Vista Soroptimist Club and other volunteers.

Another safe house opened in San Diego earlier this month and is being run by Generate Hope, a new nonprofit that provides long-term recovery services for victims of sexual exploitation.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Marisa Ugarte, director of the nonprofit National City-based Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, which rescues victims of sex trafficking.

The coalition also helps run a safe house in South Bay, Ugarte said.

But North County has long been recognized by victims advocates and law enforcement as the hub for sex trafficking.

When women are rescued from a prostitution ring, there are few shelters specifically designed to meet their needs, advocates said.

“These women are brainwashed by their pimps,” Ugarte said. “They are traumatized and filled with fear so that they will not testify against them.”

Victims often are torn from their families and taken to unfamiliar places to serve as prostitutes.

Some are young women and girls brought from other countries, such as Mexico, to work in migrant camps.

In one such case, Adrian Zitlalpopoca, a Mexican man, was found guilty in January of smuggling two women from Mexico to Vista to work as prostitutes in North County migrant camps.

In another case, local teens reportedly were used by criminal gangs to work the streets of North County.

Ten documented Oceanside gang members were indicted in federal court last year on charges related to pimping three teenage females.

Recovery can be a difficult process, said Holly Hepburn, director of program development for Generate Hope.

“These girls have gone through so much, and it takes them years to go through the recovery process,” she said.

Generate Hope’s safe house in San Diego has three victims living in the facility, Hepburn said.

The organization has three other women participating in its long-term recovery program, she said.

The program, funded largely through public donations, offers education, job training, life-skills training, individual and group therapy, recreational activities and other support services.

In North County, the Vista Soroptimist Club has long worked to raise awareness of the sex trafficking problem.

Club president Catherine Manis said she became aware of the problem when she was executive director of the Vista Townsite Community Partnership.

When she became president of the Vista Soroptimists in 2005, Manis said, she decided to use the organization to shed light on the problem.

She organized town hall meetings and presentations on human trafficking and sex slavery.

Subsequent club presidents continued the group’s focus on the topic, Manis said.

A donor recently stepped forward to provide a home that would serve as a safe house.

With the help of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition and two Catholic nuns, they decided to open the shelter.

The two nuns, Sisters Jean Schafer and Sheila Novak, are making final preparations at the house, whose location was not revealed to protect the future residents.

It will house four to six victims at a time, the nuns said.

Schafer and Novak previously operated the Hope House, a safe house, for the California Central Coast Coalition to Stop Enslavement, an anti-human-trafficking organization in Santa Cruz County.

For more information, visit the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition’s Web site at or Generate Hope at


Sex workers are not criminals

Women working in the sex trade need protection, not prosecution – which is why soliciting should be decriminalised

While Thierry is a sex-worker activist and Cath is an anti-prostitution one, believe it or not we do have some common ground: both of us are trade unionists, for instance, and both of us identify as feminists.

Obviously our analyses on prostitution/sex work are also very different. But despite our different opinions, there’s one thing we do agree on: sex workers shouldn’t be criminalised.

In fact pretty much all of those involved in the sex worker/prostitution debate agree with the repeal of soliciting laws, but because we’re usually too engrossed in fighting with each other, so far we haven’t managed to reach any consensus. And while we’ve all been way too busy arguing over other things, those most in need of our help, those for whose sake this repression needs to end, continue to suffer violence as a result.

Laws on soliciting are unfair because they target street sex workers/prostitutes who are often the most vulnerable. Consequently, it makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for sex workers/prostitutes to report the crimes they suffer and to get rid of pimps. In some cases, we’ve even heard testimonies of women who’ve had to give freebies to police officers to avoid their arrest. This is rape.

We believe the criminalisation of sex workers/prostitutes helps to legitimise those who attack them. People have to stop seeing sex workers as offenders, who they can exclude, discriminate against, or abuse. Indeed, we believe that if sex workers/prostitutes had the protection of the police instead of being harassed, crimes such as the murders in Ipswich in 2006 wouldn’t have been committed so easily.

Criminalisation of soliciting is a sexist law and it’s one that concerns all women, because any woman who goes out at night without being accompanied by a man can be suspected of soliciting. All women should have the right to occupy public and nocturnal spaces, legally, and without fear of harassment or violence.

Criminalisation of soliciting is also racist. It’s frequently used, for example, to arrest migrant sex workers/prostitutes and deport them. Victims of trafficking deserve our protection; they should have the legal right to choose to live in the UK for as long as they want, and they should not face deportation back to countries where they run the risk of being re-trafficked by those who trafficked them here in the first place.

Soliciting shouldn’t be an offence and it shouldn’t be classified as antisocial behaviour. If society doesn’t want sex workers/prostitutes working on the streets, then measures should be taken to provide those who are at risk of sexual exploitation with better economic options, routes out or professional reorientation, and harm-reduction help when they suffer drug and other addictions. Repression is never a solution: it only pushes those who are among the most vulnerable away into more remote and dangerous areas.

So, in the run-up to the election, we’re calling on all political parties and on the current government to put an end to the criminalisation of soliciting. In Cath’s view, this should go hand in hand with the further criminalisation of those who purchase sex, an idea which Thierry completely opposes, but on this one issue at least, we’re both in complete accord.


The happy hooker myth is a far cry from reality

The myth of the so-called “happy hooker” — an Irish Belle de Jour who enjoys her work in the sex trade — was exploded when the criminal empire of Thomas Carroll came crashing down.

Carroll’s victims in Ireland and Britain were all vulnerable, in many cases trafficked from Africa, and some were as young as 15 when they were flown to Ireland under false pretences.

The case shed new light on the twilight world of the Irish sex trade, which is now multi-dimensional.

Now Irish criminal gangs are joined by shadowy gangs from eastern Europe, including Romania, Albania and Russia, and Africa — especially Nigeria. Chinese gangs are also running lucrative massage parlour operations in the same way as brothels.

Carroll, 48, his wife Shamiela Clark, 32, and his daughter Toma Carroll, 26, were sentenced after admitting money laundering. The early admission in the case meant that the full details of the police investigation both here and in the UK were not revealed.

Thomas Carroll and Clark also pleaded guilty to conspiring to control prostitutes, including women who were trafficked into Ireland from Portugal, Venezuela, Brazil and Nigeria.

Thomas Carroll was jailed for seven years and Clark for three-and-a-half years. Toma Carroll was jailed for two years but was freed immediately because of time spent in custody awaiting trial.

Thomas Carroll and Clark moved their “headquarters” to Castlemartin, Pembrokeshire, Wales, after the gardai uncovered the prostitution ring running in the Republic and the North.

All the women, who were mainly from South America, Portugal and Nigeria, worked as prostitutes here, in Britain and the North, with some moving around to different locations to ensure customers always had “fresh” faces to choose from.

Six of the women had been trafficked and forced into prostitution.

It is a trap that many women find almost impossible to escape from, according to Geraldine Rowley of Ruhama, which works with women involved in prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation, including women who are victims of sex trafficking.

“Though there have been instances when the State, through the gardai, have managed to free women, in most cases, girls have to free themselves from their traffickers, which is risky and dangerous and demands they display both courage and resilience,” she says.

“When a woman is a victim of trafficking, it does not mean in the majority of cases that she is physically chained or in a locked room with the windows barred — though that does happen.

“In most cases, it is their minds that are imprisoned. All the women who were the victims in the Carroll case were allowed to come and go and let out during the day. They worked on their own but they were constantly under the control of Carroll and his gang,” she adds.

It has now emerged that all the women trafficked were from Nigeria and came from Benin City and the surrounding rural areas in the state of Edo in the south-west of the country.

Some 80 per cent of the women from Nigeria who have come to the attention of the authorities here came from this area. All had taken part in ceremonies or traditional African rituals where they swore an oath to do what they were told.

This ceremony is an important part of their belief system. When they swear the oath, they do not know that they are being sent to another country to work in the sex trade. Many think they are going abroad for education or other work.

In the Carroll case, some of the women were told they were going to Ireland to work as seamstresses.

But when they arrived here the reality was different and they were working as prostitutes within days of arrival. In their own minds, they were tied by the oath of obedience.

In a statement supplied to police, one of the girls told how she suffered verbal abuse because she was crying. She was told this was “putting the customers off”. It is understood the girl was just 17.

As part of the oath, they were told by a shaman or witch doctor back in their home country that they would die, or someone they loved would die, if they did not adhere to this code of obedience.

Once here, the control was copperfastened by threats of violence. Many were assaulted.

Until three or four years ago, Nigerian prostitutes did not work in Ireland — now they form the biggest foreign cohort working in the sex trade — though Brazilian women have also been sent here, or arrived of their own volition over the last few years.

According to Ms Rowley, some of the girls are very intelligent, though poorly schooled. Many of those who have escaped the clutches of traffickers have made extremely good progress since they went back into education.

Many of the women were born into difficult and abusive families and into poverty. In some cases, there is a background of sexual abuse. It means they are the perfect targets for the traffickers and the sexual exploiters.

Putting it in very cold business terms, the traffickers have realised that this part of Nigeria is a rich harvesting ground filled with a human commodity — women who are easy to control and ripe for exploitation.

Because of their status as aliens in this country, the women are almost entirely in fear of going to the authorities and they come from a culture where corruption is rife. They believe only those with money can expect that their complaints to police will have any impact.

“If you ask any of these women ‘Why didn’t you go to the police’, they just look at you. They would say to us ‘you need money to go to the police’,” says Ms Rowley.

“The traffickers in their home country would have the money and, therefore, in the minds of the girls, they would have the power,” she added.

Many of the women who are undocumented become dependent on their pimps to protect them from the authorities. It is this climate of fear that keeps them under control and afraid to strike for their freedom.

“I think the Carroll case did shock people. These stories even shock us,” says Ms Rowley.

“They are horrendous on a human level. As part of the ritual back in Edo to ensure obedience, one woman was put in a coffin during this ritual. This was to show her ‘If you don’t obey this is what will happen to you’.”

Ruhama is seeing 20 to 30 new women each year who have been victims of trafficking and sold into the sex industry under duress. A majority of women who are coming to Ireland, albeit from countries of poverty, do come of their own free will to work in the sex industry.

“Some of them would pay their own flight over and they would get a percentage of the money they earn but those six women involved in the Carroll case got no money and lived in terrible conditions. On the scale of exploitation, they would be extreme cases.”

What has been noticeable in recent years is that on- street prostitution is at much lower levels in Ireland. But there remains a number of women who take their chances on the street — falling prey to violence and sexual assault from punters.

“They are not going indoors because they are not going to allow anyone to control them. There is a myth out there about indoor prostitution. They call it high-class, but most of it takes place in dingy flats in unhygienic conditions,” Ms Rowley says.

Most of the women now involved in on-street prostitution are dealing with some form of addiction — either drugs or alcohol.

“What we find is that they go down the street and if they are not strung out they will call it a day when they have enough money made.”

Ruhama has a van working on the streets at night-time and sometimes the girls will get a lift back to where they live at their own time of choosing.

For most of these women working the streets, there is no pimp saying ‘you have to go with that client’. They can look into a car and sum up the potential customer and say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and decide which sexual services they will offer.

But Ms Rowley says that even though they are not under the control of a pimp, most are pushed in the direction of the sex trade by financial circumstances. Many have had abusive or difficult childhoods, abusive adult relationships and dependency on alcohol or other forms of drugs.

There are always some women who choose to come here to work in the sex trade. But they quickly become dependent and have to pay the shadowy figures who set them up in apartment blocks or organise their advertising on websites. Some are paying protection money to criminal gangs, especially in the midlands and the west of Ireland.

“Some women who have come into Ruhama have said that their pimp had a gun. There are only a small group of women who can manage to keep themselves safe and have their book of regular clients, but they are few and far between,” says Ms Rowley.

“The nature of the business is that men want variety. They want different women and criminals have found that it is best to move them around a good bit.”

In the past decade or so, four women who have worked in the sex trade in Ireland have been murdered.

Last year, at the Belfast trial of a Chinese Triad human trafficker known as a “snakehead”, it emerged that a 22-year-old Chinese prostitute called Qu Mei Na was strangled and left in the boot of a car. It was learned that she had been abandoned as a baby as part of the harsh “one-child” culture in parts of China, through which female children are shunned, sold or simply killed by their family.

She was forced into sex slavery after paying Triad human traffickers to get her into Europe.

Her traffickers got her into Dublin on a student visa through one of the fake foreign student colleges before she went to Belfast in 2002.

A particular cause for concern with Ruhama is their difficulty in making any real contact with the vice trade involving Chinese women.

“We have been unable to help any Chinese women by getting them into our programme,” Ms Rowley says.

“Methods of control can change between the different ethnic groups and there is evidence that many of the Chinese women are trapped in some sort of debt bondage.

“The women are told that they owe exorbitant sums of money to pay for the travel to Ireland and their accommodation. That is one of the ways they lure women in.

“The trouble is the debt can never be paid off and they are trapped,” says the Ruhama spokeswoman.

“The Chinese community is so closely knit that it is hard to make inroads. There are different telephone numbers for the Chinese brothels which all link back to a main switchboard so it means that if the gardai move in and close a premises, they can just move on and set up again somewhere else with the same telephone numbers.”

Ireland is one of the most expensive places to buy sex, which means massive profits for the pimps, and is one of the reasons why foreign criminals have targeted this country.

Ms Rowley believes that we need a new Sexual Offences Bill to tackle the new modus operandi of the criminals, and to address the use of mobile phones and the use of the internet.

“And I think that the telephone companies need to take corporate responsibility. They should be shutting down numbers which are being used for prostitution and they should be supplying intelligence to the gardai,” she says.


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.”


Vancouver Olympics get an ‘F’ for failing to curb sex trafficking: group

Vancouver Olympic Games organizers have received a failing grade for their efforts to curb sex trafficking into the city, a think-tank announced Tuesday.

The Citizens Summit Against Sex Slavery, a coalition of women’s groups, academics and politicians, gave the Vancouver Olympic organizing committee, the B.C. government and the federal government an “F” for “failing to make sure women and youth are secure against human trafficking during the 2010 Olympics.”

Benjamin Perrin, a law professor at the University of British Columbia specializing in human trafficking, said he knew of “dozens” of young women, mostly from major urban centres and native reserves, who were being sent to Vancouver to deal with an expected surge of tourists seeking prostitutes.

Spikes in prostitution often coincide with mass sporting events, said Perrin. He said the 2004 Summer Games in Athens and 2006 World Cup in Germany are just two recent summits that attracted fleets of sex-trade workers to meet the needs of a typically wealthy, male audience.

“I’m very disappointed to say we were expecting this,” said Perrin, pointing to recommendations his group made in 2007 to the RCMP and VANOC to prevent a surge in human trafficking before the Olympics.

“Fortunately, what is apparent today, is that a number of woman who have been brought to Vancouver for the purpose of being sold for sex during the Games by their traffickers have been rescued,” said Perrin. “How many more out there, who are going to be subject to exploitation, we just don’t know.”

Many of these cases, Perrin said, are abetted by the popularity of online classified websites, such as Craigslist, that feature “erotic services” listings.

The listings are anonymous, helping travellers from around the world set up appointments with prostitutes before they set foot in Vancouver.

In the U.S., customers must provide credit card information before responding to a post. However, that’s not the case in Canada, allowing a “virtual sex slave market to flourish outside the reach of police and intelligence services,” a release from the summit said.

Vancouver police aren’t planning any crackdown on prostitution during the Games, said Const. Lindsey Houghton.

“Street-related prostitution existed before the Games, it will exist during the Games and it will exist after,” Houghton said. “Our enforcement around that will not be any different. We have a dedicated vice unit that works very closely with the girls and the guys . . . to ensure that they are safe.”


Haiti Earthquake update: the human trafficking problem

In this Haiti Earthquake update: the human trafficking problem. As Haiti works to recover from the 7.0 Earthquake an the estimated 50 aftershocks (many over 5 on the Richter Scale), another problem has surfaced: fears of human trafficking.

“Human Trafficking” is the inhumane process of kidnapping primarily women and children for the sex trade, “forced” marriages, or bonded labor markets like domestic servitude, sweat shops, and agricultural plantations. Since the Haiti Earthquake, UNICEF has reported incidents of child trafficking in the wake of the thousands of newly orphaned kids after the Haiti Earthquake.

Human trafficking was a problem even before the Haiti Earthquake. With an 80 percent poverty rate in Haiti, a poor family sending or “trafficking” its children to wealthier families was common. With the new family the child would live often in substandard, unsupervised or policed abusive conditions.

Now, with escaped Haitian prisoners (because of the quake), little security infrastructure relative to the population, and again a large number of unaccounted for, but living minors, the fear and reports of allegations of child trafficking are on the rise.

UNICEF is not the only organization or person complaining about the poor state of security for kids in Haiti. On CNN’s Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper reported from Haiti, explaining that many kids are in what he calls “ad hoc” groups, with little or no established organizational oversight. That has led to the kind of reported activity that was the basis of UNICEF’s to this writing unsubstantiated charges.

I called and emailed UNICEF Communications Representative Alissa Pinck in the hope that more light could be shed on this problem. The question is, does UNICEF know who was doing the alleged trafficking and were they brought to justice? It’s reported that 15 children were unaccounted for as of this writing in Haiti hospitals. But if those children belonged to wayward parents who survived the Haiti Earthquake, is it possible their parents may have simply arrived to get them?

With all of the uncertainty and chaos, it’s hard to tell which end is up with this terrible issue in Haiti. But given Haiti’s past, human and child trafficking is likely to remain a problem unless international forces step in.

Stay tuned.

Youth in lawless Haiti at risk for sex trade, slavery, murder

Brace yourself for a new level of horror in Haiti: Vulnerable children and teens sold into slavery and the sex trade, or simply shot in the streets for no reason.

You can take it from an expert on these miseries. Nicolette Gramms, who worked with an human rights agency, the International Justice Mission that specialized in rescuing the victims, writes for The Atlantic that “natural disasters unfailingly bring us new business.” She says:

In today’s world, the twin causes of human slavery — poverty and vulnerability — increase exponentially after natural disasters… Even without the pandemonium unleashed by a 7.0 earthquake, an estimated quarter-million Haitian children are trafficked (into slave labor or the sex trade) within the country each year.

Now, Rev. Mark Driscoll, the pastor of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church who is known nationwide for his blunt talking sermons and in-your-face evangelism, has seen the sex trade revving up amid the rubble.

Driscoll and James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago raced down to Haiti to assess the damages to the church infra-structure and launch a drive to rebuild places of worship,

Faith groups offer the fundamental social network for education, welfare and health in a nation with virtually no government — and that was true before the quake. .

Driscoll’s reports on quake deaths of church choirs, pastors who have lost families flocks and buildings included two particularly chilling experiences, posted to his PastorMark Twitter page and Facebook accounts.

Driscoll described those experiences to me in his first interview back in the states last night.

They were standing at the near the entrance to the Evangelical Theological Seminary, a 75-year-old school on a hill that is now sheltering 5,000 homeless Haitians, when they heard, “Pop! Pop!”

They looked just a few feet outside of the refuge and there they found a teenage boy has been murdered “for no apparent reason. He was just shot in the head and left in the street.”

Driscoll and Macdonald also saw a glimpse of what lies ahead for many young girls. His posting on line:

If u want a phone, cigarettes or a teenage girl you can get them here in Port au Prince. Like the American who said he’s on a relief mission and bought a hungry girl despite our confrontation.

I asked Driscoll more about that scene in a brief phone interview with him last night, minutes after his return last night to the USA.

We were downtown loading up our film crew. There were no police, no medics, to be seen by a huge park with hundreds of people camping out with no where else to go. There was a little cart with a red umbrella and a man selling cell phones and cigarettes — and a few young girls.

“You want to buy loving?” the guy asked me. I said, “What in the world are you talking about?”

But there was another guy there, who claimed to be a translator for a relief agency, who was negotiating a price for a girl. I asked him what he was trying to do. He said, “Oh, she’s a friend of mine. We’re just trying to connect.”

That’s ridiculous. A young girl. A man 20 or 30 years older. I told him this was unacceptable. MacDonald confronted him, too. But there were no police and you could argue all you wanted but the girl took his money and they walked away.”

A prostitute who identified herself as
By Alexandre Meneghini, AP

The pastors plan to send the man’s photo to the relief agency where he claimed to work but the incident has left Driscoll, a father of four, including a teenage daughter, shaking with anger.

So, if you’re within sound or reach of Driscoll or MacDonald this Sunday — and more than 80,000 people are part of their church networks, millions more download Driscoll’s sermons or tune in the MacDonald’s radio show — expect harrowing stories and a challenge from the pulpit that won’t mince words. Driscoll says,

We’re not going to compete with existing aid groups. We just want to use our influence to help churches effectively mobilize to raise funds for relief…

People are desperate. Young girls are ripe for the worst you can imagine.