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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

18 women rescued in Canada-wide human-trafficking investigation: police

the star.com
News / Canada

A months-long investigation into human trafficking has led to the rescue of 18 women who were forced to work in the sex trade against their will.

Hundreds of women were interviewed by police from 26 departments as part of a Canada-wide human trafficking sting operation. This is a still from a Russia-Canada documentary on human trafficking.
Associated Producers Ltd. / CP
Hundreds of women were interviewed by police from 26 departments as part of a Canada-wide human trafficking sting operation. This is a still from a Russia-Canada documentary on human trafficking.
A months-long investigation into human trafficking has led to the rescue of 18 women who were forced to work in the sex trade against their will, police said Tuesday.
Nine people are facing 33 charges, including forcible confinement, making and distributing child pornography, assault, trafficking in persons, withholding or destroying documents, living off the avails, uttering threats, obstructing police and failing to comply with court orders and conditions of bail and probation.
Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Peter Leone said vulnerable groups, like newcomers to Canada, are often the targets of exploitation.
“These (18 victims) are individuals who were preyed upon, that were very vulnerable and certainly exploited,” he said. “A lot of promises can be made to people if they come along, and they don’t realize until they go with them, what they’ve gotten themselves unfortunately into.”
Twenty-six police forces were involved in the operation on Oct. 1 and 2, including those in Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Halifax, Quebec City, Toronto and other parts of Ontario.
They interviewed hundreds of women some as young as 15 since January, focusing on hotels, motels and massage parlours along major thoroughfares in 30 cities and towns across the country, police said. Many of the women had been threatened with violence, extortion and drug dependency, among other forms of coercion by men.
Ontario Provincial Police and the Winnipeg police said in a news release that a 12-year-old Winnipeg girl was among the people rescued during Operation Northern Spotlight II, but Winnipeg police later said that the girl was not part of the group.
The girl was interviewed by police in a separate investigation unrelated to the human-trafficking probe, said Sgt. Cam Mackid of the Winnipeg Police’s Counter Exploitation Unit.
According to Ontario’s Durham Regional Police Service, some of the women were being forced to perform sexual acts multiple times a day for paying male customers.
It said it interviewed 31 sex trade workers, with an average age of 26, and investigators believe nine were under some level of control.
“Although the Criminal Code section refers to this activity as ‘Human Trafficking,’ the public may better understand this issue as ‘sex slavery,’” the police force said in a release.
“Although many of the women appear to be making their own decisions to participate for financial gain, investigators found several teenagers and young women were being forced to perform through threats of violence, physical intimidation, drug dependency and other forms of coercion.”
Part or all of the money from those sexual acts were kept by their adult male controller or pimp, it said.
Leon said police provided the women they interviewed with information about support agencies in their area that could assist them, Leon said.
“Hopefully we’ve made a difference in their lives and given them a fresh start as well,” he said.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version had police saying a 12-year-old Winnipeg girl was among the 18 people rescued in a human-trafficking investigation. Winnipeg police later said that she was part of a separate investigation unrelated to the human trafficking probe.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hungarian Gay Sex Trafficking Ring Busted in South Florida: SAO


Three men are facing sex trafficking charges after authorities say they lured young gay Hungarian men to South Florida and forced them into prostitution. NBC 6's Dan Krauth reports.
Three men are facing sex trafficking charges after authorities say they lured young gay Hungarian men to South Florida and forced them into prostitution.
Gabor Acs, 31, Viktor Berki, 28, and Andras Janos Vass, 24, are facing charges including human trafficking, racketeering and deriving support from prostitution, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office said Friday.

The investigation dates back to October 2013, when Homeland Security received a tip that three men in Miami Beach were possible victims of human trafficking.
Prosecutors said the men, ages 20-22, were lured to the United States with the promise of quick, easy and legal cash, and they were brought to New York before arriving in Miami.

Hungarian Gay Sex Trafficking Ring Busted: SAO

[MI] Hungarian Gay Sex Trafficking Ring Busted: SAO
Three men are facing sex trafficking charges after authorities say they lured young gay Hungarian men to South Florida and forced them into prostitution. NBC 6's Dan Krauth reports.
Once in Miami, the men engaged in prostitution or performed sex acts in front of a webcam for 18-20 hours a day, prosecutors said. All the payments went to Acs, Berki and Vass.
The victims told investigators that the suspects "used various techniques to keep them enslaved, including isolating them from others, withholding their travel and identification documents, and using financial manipulation to keep them in constant debt," the State Attorney's Office said in a statement.
The suspects rarely let their victims leave their shared apartment and they were told it was because they could not speak English and they were not familiar with the area, authorities said.
Acs, Berki and Vass threatened and psychologically intimidated the men and took their identification documents and locked them in a safe, authorities said. The victims also experienced levels of violence from the suspects.
Neighbors said they saw several luxury cars stop at the suburban home. At one point, they allegedly had a sign on the front door advertising $5 car washes, which is illegal in a residential neighborhood. Police said the car wash was a front for having so many cars pull into the house.
"The overall attractiveness of our South Florida area is equally attractive to sex traffickers," State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. "These individuals may have come from a different country to exploit the vulnerable but they used the same basic trafficker tools of fear and intimidation to make their profits."
Two of the suspects, Berki and Vass, were arrested in New York. Acs was arrested in Miami and was being held at Krome Detention Center Friday, officials said

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Child sex trafficking becoming more prevalent through use of social media

Child sex trafficking becoming more prevalent through use of social media
The ongoing prosecution of a Lansing teen girl and two other people in a child sex trafficking ring case has proved that the problem of is widespread and still growing.
Seventeen-year-old Mariah Haughton along with 24-year-old Christopher Turryle Bryant and 27-year-old Jonathan Purnell are being prosecuted in both local and federal courts for involving in a sex trafficking ring that stretched to as far as Arizona.
Haughton is charged with multiple counts, including human trafficking, recruiting minors to work as prostitutes and creating child porn.
Purnell were Bryant are also charged with multiple counts of sex trafficking. Three of the many counts involve minor girls (under the age of 18 years).
According to U. S. Attorney Patrick Miles Jr., child sex trafficking is becoming more and more prevalent through the use of social media sites like Facebook to and certain online advertisement sites.
In a recent interview, Miles said, "Criminals are finding new avenues to advertise their criminal behavior."
Documents filed in U. S. District Court in Grand Rapids states that one of the girls was lured into prostitution with a promise of earning easy money. She told investigators that she drugged and taken to several Lansing motels, were she was forced to have sex with multiple men. She also told investigators that others were taken to Arizona and Alabama to work as prostitutes.

Monday, July 21, 2014


By |
MANILA, Philippines — Authorities raided a recruitment agency in Las Piñas City suspected to be a front for human trafficking and rescued 36 women on Friday night.
The women were believed to be victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment after five of their companions managed to report their plight to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit.
Also arrested in the operation were a Singaporean national, a certain Yvonne Phua, and 13 Filipinos.
Chief Inspector Elizabeth Jasmin, CIDG spokesperson, named some of the arrested alleged illegal recruiters as a Michael Abellar and his wife Joy, a certain Eric, Emma and Mandy.
The CIDG, the local social welfare office and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration conducted the joint operation at the De Castro Building in Villa Eusebia, Barangay (village) E. Aldana, in Las Piñas City at around 8:30 p.m. Friday.
Jasmin said the arrested suspects were affiliated with the PEM Maid Employment Agency, which turned out to be lacking the POEA authorization to hire and send workers to other countries.
“We learned that they are not registered with the POEA to operate a recruitment or training facility,” the official said.
Authorities came to know of the victims’ predicament when five women, who paid their way out, reported the firm’s alleged illegal activities.
The women came from different parts of the country, Jasmin said.
“The applicants also allegedly suffered some abuse since they were made to train beyond the prescribed number of hours. The firm offers training on baby sitting, care giving, and domestic help but without the POEA license,” the official added.
The CIDG also recovered in the raid several log books, a certificate of a tie-up with other recruitment agencies and applicants’ recruitment papers.
Jasmin said they have been preparing charges of human trafficking and illegal recruitment against the arrested suspects, while coordinating with the Bureau of Immigration about the status of the Singaporean national.
‘Human trafficking not rampant in Central Visayas’

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Middle East Crisis: Heartbreaking Story Of Girl Who Lost Entire Family

Sex-Abuse Victims to Pope: Stop Begging for Forgiveness and Just Stop the Abuse


Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

World News


Francis met with rape victims Monday and begged for their forgiveness. The head of the world’s largest survivor network has 15 better ways for him to act.
ROME, Italy — On Monday, Pope Francis followed the footsteps of his predecessors Benedict XVI and John Paul II and met with a select group of men and women who had been raped, molested and lied to by their parish priests.
Francis spent around half an hour individually with each of the victims— a man and a woman each from Ireland, Germany, and England—whose names and ages were not disclosed.  Prior to the one-on-one meetings, Francis presided over a Mass with the victims and members of the Papal Commission for the Protection of Children, led by Boston cardinal Sean O’Malley in which he apologized to the survivors for the “grave sins of clerical sexual abuse” committed against them.
“I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves,” Francis said at the special mass according to the homily transcript released by the Holy See. “This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused and it endangered other minors who were at risk.”
After the Mass and meetings, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi briefed the press, explaining that while the content of each individual meeting should be kept private in accordance with the norms of pastor to parishioner confidentiality, one can be assured “they were profoundly emotional.”  At times laughing nervously as he explained that he knew not what was said but that it was of utmost importance, Lombardi then went on to counter criticism from the clerical sex abuse victims’ groups that warned that the meet and greet was nothing more than a public relations stunt.  “This body of opinion has always demonstrated its unwillingness to understand the pope’s actions,” he told reporters.  “I’m not surprised by the reaction, but it is totally clear that it was not a public relations event. It was a profound spiritual encounter.”
Barbara Blaine, outreach director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests or SNAP disagrees.  Even though SNAP, now 25 years old, is the most widely recognized global support group for clerical victims with more than 18,000 members, no one from their leadership was invited to meet with Francis.
Ahead of the meeting Blaine, who was raped by her parish priest as a teenager, posed a number of topics she would like to discuss with Francis, if only she were given a chance.  First, she says she would like to tell the pope, “Stop talking about the crisis as though it’s past tense, and stop delaying while your abuse panels discusses details. You know the right thing to do. You don’t need a report.”
“Wounded adults can heal themselves but vulnerable kids can't protect themselves.”
She said she would also tell the pope to focus first on prevention, instead of forgiveness.  “Wounded adults can heal themselves but vulnerable kids can’t protect themselves,” she says, noting that abuse and sex abuse and the consistent cover up by the Vatican is still ongoing.  She also suggests that the Holy See take “tangible steps to safeguard those at risk” by doing a number of what would seem like fairly simple steps, that are acceptable responses in the secular community when it comes to battling pedophilia, sex abuse, and child rape.
SNAP’s demands include:
1. Order bishops to set up and finance a “whistleblower fund” to reward church staff whose actions lead to criminal charges or conviction of current or former abusive clerics.
2. Insist that bishops permanently post the names, photos and whereabouts of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics (including religious order priests) on diocesan and parish websites.
3. Demand that bishops hire independent corrections staff rather than clergy to house and monitor child molesting clerics who cannot be criminally charged because of statutes of limitation in remote, secure facilities so they will be kept away from children.
4. Instruct bishops to use only licensed therapists (not priests or nuns) to deal with abuse victims.
5. Tell bishops to use only former police (not clerics) to investigate abuse cases that cannot be pursued by law enforcement.
6. Convene and fund a world-wide conference of secular lawmakers who work to reform archaic, arbitrary, and predator-friendly secular laws (like the statute of limitations) that prevent victims from exposing those who commit and conceal sex offenses through civil and criminal courts.
7. Make an urgent, strong public plea to all church employees and members, begging them to give information and suspicions about fugitive predator priests to civil authorities so the clerics may be prosecuted and kept away from children.
8. Order bishops to avoid using language that minimizes clergy abuse like “it’s just a small percentage of priests” or deflects blame like “abuse happens in other settings too” or faults accusers like “these allegations are from 25 years ago” or mollifies church-goers like “he’s not accused of molesting at this parish” or praises accused wrongdoers like “he’s a very popular priest” or guilt-trips victims  like “he has tirelessly worked to help the poor”.
9. Turn over Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or CDF records about predatory priests to local law enforcement in the nations where the alleged crimes took place and insist that the head of each diocese and religious order do likewise with their abuse records.
10. Mandate church-based sessions to teach parishioners how to respond appropriately in abuse cases so victims, witnesses and whistleblowers won’t feel intimidated or hopeless.
11. Insist that priests immediately give their passports to their bishops when abuse accusations arise so they can’t flee overseas.
12. Demote and denounce at least a dozen complicit bishops, including Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City Missouri, the only sitting bishop who has been criminally convicted of refusing to report suspected child sex crimes.
13. Discourage current and future cover ups by clearly, publicly punishing prelates (like Cardinal Roger Mahony and others) who are concealing or have concealed child sex crimes.
14. Stop rebuffing secular officials and start letting Polish and Dominican Republic law enforcement officials arrest and prosecute Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski (a credibly accused child molesting cleric), instead of having Catholic officials investigate other Catholic officials.
Finally, Blaine says she would tell Francis that there is only one criteria that matters as he moves forward with his commission to protect minors: “Will this move actually protect kids by exposing and punishing clerics who commit and conceal child sex crimes?” If not, she says, “Then it doesn’t matter if it’s more or less than other officials or institutions have done or are doing. It doesn’t matter much if it gets great headlines. It doesn’t really matter if it makes adults feel better for a little bit. If it’s not preventing abuse, it’s probably meaningless or almost meaningless.”