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Monday, July 15, 2013

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

Feds Arrest 255 in Massive Global Child Porn Sting 
As part of its attempt to combat a growing trend of online sexual exploitation, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announced on Monday that 255 suspected child predators had been arrested during a nearly five-week sting operation. Operation iGuardian sought to identify and arrest those who allegedly "own, trade and produce" child pornography in the United States and its territories. Authorities also identified and rescued 61 alleged victims in the United States, Canada, Indonesia and the Netherlands, according to a statement from ICE. The suspects, 251 of whom were men and four were women, face charges ranging from online sexual enticement of a minor to child pornography production and traveling with the intent to have sex with a minor. Some were also charged with rape and molestation and distribution of child pornography. Read more here.

Saudi Princess Charged With U.S. Human Trafficking 
Suitcase in hand, the 30-year-old domestic worker from Kenya managed to flag down a Southern California bus and tell a passenger she had been held against her will and believed she was a victim of human trafficking. It wasn't long before a Saudi princess was under arrest. Meshael Alayban, who prosecutors said is one of the wives of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud, was charged Wednesday with human trafficking. She was arrested at an Irvine condominium that policed searched after talking to the Kenyan woman. The woman told authorities she had been hired in Kenya in 2012 and taken to Saudi Arabia, where her passport was immediately taken. She said she was forced to work excessive hours, was paid less than promised and was not allowed to leave. Read more here.

 Utah Massage Parlor Owner Sent to Prison for Human Trafficking 
A Salt Lake City massage parlor owner has been sentenced to prison for coercing a 17-year-old girl into being a prostitute. Luis Daniel Arano-Hernandez, 30, in May accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to one charge of human trafficking, a first-degree felony. Third District Judge Judith Atherton sentenced Arano-Hernandez to five years to life in prison on Friday. Arano-Hernandez, along with three other men and one women, were arrested and charged last November by the SECURE Strike Force after an eight-month investigation into sex trafficking. The women engaged in providing prostitution services are believed to have been undocumented immigrants and/or under the age of 18. In a probable cause statement filed with the court, a female identified as "M.R." said she was forced to sign a contract and that Arano-Hernandez threatened to harm the teen’s family and have her deported if she failed to participate in prostitution. Read more here.

 Federal Judge Blocks N.J. Human Trafficking Law Targeting Underage Sex Ads 
A new state law intended to root out online advertisements for underage sex has been blocked by a federal judge. The law -- signed by Gov. Chris Christie in May and slated to go into effect at the beginning of this month -- makes it a first-degree crime to knowingly publish, disseminate or display an advertisement and any photographs promoting sex with a minor. Backers of the measure said it was needed to hold websites responsible for perpetuating child sex abuse and underage prostitution. Two web companies sued last month claiming the state law, while well-intentioned, violates a long-standing federal law that grants websites sweeping immunity from being held liable for the material people post online. U.S. District Judge Dennis Cavanaugh temporarily blocked New Jersey’s law June 28, and the state faces a steep legal climb when oral arguments begin in Newark on Aug. 9. Read more here.

S. Korean Court Orders Nippon Steel to Pay for Forced Labor 
A South Korean court, in an unprecedented ruling, ordered Japan's Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. on July 10 to compensate four South Koreans for forced labor during Japan's 35-year colonial rule of Korea. The Seoul High Court ordered the company to pay 100 million Korean won ($88,000) to each of the four plaintiffs. It rejected Nippon Steel's argument that it was a different entity from the steelmaker that employed the South Koreans. Japanese courts have thrown out claims by South Korean who suffered at Japanese hands during World War II, arguing the matter of compensation was closed under the 1965 treaty between the two countries normalizing diplomatic ties. Nippon Steel, which merged with Sumitomo Metal Industries last year, has argued in previous court cases that it was not responsible for the actions of the wartime steelmaker. The attorney for the plaintiffs, Kim Mi-kyung, said they had no immediate plans to take action to seize company assets in South Korea, but wanted to discuss compensation with the company. Nippon Steel said it would appeal the decision. Read more here.

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