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Monday, October 14, 2013

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

FBI: Houston raids targeted human and sex trafficking operations HOUSTON-- Referring to the raids in Houston on October 10. Federal, state and local agents and deputies served search and arrest warrants in a coordinated sweep of almost a dozen locations. The FBI disclosure that some raids were on suspected human and sex trafficking operations. The victims were held against their will. Three of those victims, they say, are 15-year-old girls. An indictment obtained by Eyewitness News names 14 people who allegedly forced girls and woman from Mexico into prostitution at Houston area bars that also served as brothels. It goes on to say that the victims were locked in rooms and beaten if they didn't perform.

Human trafficking's impact hits home
"The women's stories all look very similar," said "Kindsey," Selah Freedom's coordinator, who asked that her real name not be used to protect the work she does on the streets of Sarasota and Manatee counties. "Their stories all started when they were 3 to 4 years old and they were sexually abused. "This is about reunderstanding the problem, that they're not just prostitutes who chose this. They are actually victims of sexual exploitation, and standing behind them is always a pimp or trafficker making a lot of money." Selah Freedom has been working with Sarasota and Bradenton police for about two years and is now focusing on expanding its efforts into the unincorporated areas of the two counties, where sex brothels can more easily hide because of looser regulations. The group is also planning to open the area's first-ever safe house for survivors of the sex trade. "These are just red flags," "Kindsey" said. "It doesn't mean human trafficking is definitely happening. But they are red flags, and we encourage you to open your eyes a little more."

Scotland's human trafficking bill could make it a 'beacon to the world'
MSP Jenny Marra points out there are more trafficking victims in Scottish jails than perpetrators, as she launches consultation. Most disturbing of all is the fact that many victims, when they are found by our authorities – usually in brothels or on cannabis farms, or indeed stealing from high street shops – are not being referred for support. Instead, they are charged and convicted for the crimes their exploitation forces them to commit. The Anti-trafficking Monitoring Group, set up to assess the government's response to the phenomenon, estimates there are 10 young people serving time in Scottish prisons for crimes traffickers forced them to commit. That is double the number of traffickers we have jailed.

MILAN: State Rep. helps introduce human trafficking legislation
State Rep. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, joined colleagues from the House and Senate for a press conference at the Capitol on Sept. 26 after introducing a bicameral bill package dealing with human trafficking. Zorn authored House bill 4209, which increases the penalties for subjects who directly or indirectly solicit, accost, or invite people ages 16 to 17 to commit prostitution or to do any other lewd or immoral act from a misdemeanor to a five-year felony and/or $10,000 in fines.

Human trafficking on radar of Greater Cleveland 
RTA Human trafficking and how to spot its signs is the focus of a new awareness push by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. RTA said it has trained more than 100 transit police in recognizing flags that can indicate someone may be trapped in prostitution or another situation where they're bought, sold and smuggled like modern-day slaves. The agency posted information about its awareness campaign Thursday on its website, and announced an iWatch program, a free app that lets customers communicate anonymously with transit police on iPhones or Droit smart phones.

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