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Monday, August 1, 2011

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

20 Girls Rescued, More Than 1,000 People Detained in Juárez Human Trafficking Sweep
Mexican officials are investigating allegations of sexual exploitation and human trafficking in Juárez after a weekend sweep targeting businesses in the downtown zone netted the detention of 1,030 men and women. The federal Public Safety Ministry announced that the July 22-23 operation is part of Mexico's National Amber Alert Program, modeled after the U.S. program, in an effort to find young women who have been reported missing. "As a result of these actions, 20 female minors were rescued," federal officials said in a news release. "In addition, officers detained 500 men and 530 women on suspicion of possible links to human trafficking and sexual exploitation."

New Federal Initiative Targets Human Trafficking in Western Missouri and Kansas
Western Missouri and Kansas will be the focus of one of six new federal law enforcement teams targeting human trafficking, the U.S. Justice Department announced Monday. Housed in Kansas City, the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team is designed to “streamline” criminal investigations and prosecution of violators of federal slavery laws, authorities said. Missouri federal prosecutor Beth Phillips said the initiative means that more prosecutors and additional agents from the FBI and the Homeland Security Department will develop human trafficking cases.

Nine Girls Rescued From Job Agency
Indian police have broken up a large human trafficking ring, which bought young girls and women from east and northeast India and sold them as bonded laborers to clients in upscale localities in and around New Delhi. A team headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police P. S. Khuswah rescued nine minor girls and apprehended one of the accused, Munna Chaudhary, who owns a placement agency in Delhi. "On July 13, a team of the anti-human trafficking unit, along with NGO Shakti Vahini, raided the premises of Rajdhani Placement Agency. A case under the Juvenile Justice Act, Child Labor Act and sections of IPC was registered,” DCP Ashok Chand said.

Memphis Campaign Puts a Dent in Sex Trade, Serves as National Model

Memphis is now considered a model nationally for its initiative to maximize prison stints for sex traffickers, said U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton, who in February created a Civil Rights Unit, which encompasses human trafficking. He has assigned three prosecutors to the unit, and has vowed to aggressively target traffickers. Veteran prosecutor Steve Parker, who heads the new unit has been selected to train fledgling agents in how to spot and investigate human trafficking at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va.

New Human Trafficking Unit Files State’s First Charges Under New Law

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Monday announced his new Human Trafficking Unit had filed its first criminal charges under the state’s new human trafficking law. Sedrick Leman-Isaac Mitchell, 32, of Detroit, is accused of enslaving two young girls and forcing them to engage in prostitution in Detroit. The charges result from an investigation by Michigan State Police and the FBI through the Southeast Michigan Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Flagstaff Family Lured Women From Vietnam for Forced Labor, Indictment Alleges
The wedding boutique near downtown Flagstaff bore all the markings of an industrious family living the American dream. Federal prosecutors allege that the family running a wedding boutique close to downtown Flagstaff were conjuring a nightmare for Vietnamese immigrants lured to the United States with promises of love and education. Huong Thi McReynolds, her ex-husband, James McReynolds and their two grown sons are accused of bringing Vietnamese citizens into the U.S. under false pretenses and then forcing the victims to work at the boutique and family home for up to 11 hours a day, seven days a week.

Human-trafficking Ads to Air in 4 Areas
A public awareness campaign designed to educate citizens and encourage vigilance to combat human trafficking within local communities began on Monday, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection asking the public to join the fight against “this form of modern-day slavery.” Known as “Don’t Be Fooled,” the campaign consists of two public service announcements titled “Masquerade” and “Bird Cage” that will begin airing in four key areas: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Washington D.C. Polaris Project Executive Director Bradley Myles said raising awareness and educating people about human traffickers and the recruitment methods they use “is a vital area of work in the overall anti-trafficking fight.

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