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Cassandra Clifford
Executive Director and Founder of BTFF

Monday, July 29, 2013

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

Three plead not guilty to holding mother, child captive in Ohio 
Three people accused of enslaving a mentally disabled Ohio woman and her daughter, and beating the woman and stealing her pain medication, have pleaded not guilty. The defendants are charged with targeting and recruiting the woman in 2010 and holding her until October in a house in Ashland, 80 miles northeast of Columbus. Read More.

France Recognizes Modern Slavery as a crime.
In a landmark ruling on Thursday France recognized modern-day slavery as a new crime punishable by up to 30 years in jail, as it attempts to crack down on forced Slavery may be officially banned in France, but according to an anti-slavery committee there are still hundreds of cases, many of them unreported each year. On Thursday the French government finally officially recognized modern-day slavery as a crime, meaning that those who hold people against their will and make them work for free, sometimes sexually abusing them, will now face much heavier sentences than before.The Paris-based Committee Against Modern-Day Slavery says it receives more than 200 reports of enslavement in France every year, but the phenomenon is thought to be much more widespread as it often happens in private, within families.Read More.

Local Resident Draws Attention to Modern Slavery.
St. Hilaire resident Nicole Penner recently made a physical sacrifice to help others.“I couldn't do this without the Lord, that’s for sure,” she said. Penner and five other participants ran 200 miles from Dawson to Stillwater from June 22 through July 5. They ran as part of the Run Free Minnesota Team. They were running for Venture Projects in Southeast Asia. It’s focused on education, food security and faith development for refugees and oppressed people. Run Free addresses issues surrounding modern-Penner enjoyed making a physical sacrifice to help others. She said it makes more of a statement to make such a sacrifice for a charity and helps one get into close touch with her cause. She plans to do another Venture Projects event in the future once she has healed. Read More 

More than 100 teens rescued in weekend sex-trafficking raids, FBI says 
More than 100 teenagers — many of them children from broken homes — were rescued over the weekend in a sex-trafficking crackdown that swept more than 70 cities, the FBI said Monday. The youngest victim was 13 years old, the agency said. The sting resulted in the arrest of 159 “pimps” from San Francisco to Miami who were involved in the commercial exploitation of both adults and children, said Ronald Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s criminal investigative division. It was the FBI’s largest action to date focusing on the recovery of sexually exploited children, and took law enforcement agencies to streets, motels, casinos and social media platforms, Hosko said. He said he hoped it would focus attention on sex trafficking, “this threat that robs us of our children.”  Read More Also see video here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Report Highlights the Lack of Beds for Domestic Minor Victims of Sex Trafficking

On July 8, a briefing was held in Washington DC, to discuss the results of the National Colloquium on Shelter and Services for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Victims. The event was organized by Shared Hope International, and presented by Congresswoman Linda Smith, President and Founder. The live streamed event was held in coordination with Senators Portman and Blumenthal, Co-Chairs of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking; Reps. Ted Poe and Jim Costa, Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Victims' Rights and Represenitives Jaime Herrera Beutler and Donna F. Edwards, Co-Chairs, and Reps. Kristi Noem and Doris O. Matsui, Vice-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues. Participants discussed trends and obstacles in establishing treatment facilities for underage victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking.

The National Colloquium Report provides policy makers, government agencies, service providers, and law enforcement with an overview of current services and shelter delivery models. Due to the nature of the crime of commercial sexual exploitation of children, we all know that multiple systems interact with child victims and collaboration is critical among law enforcement, child welfare agencies, and other first responders.

Among the issues discussed was the current status of providers of shelter and victim services for youth victims of domestic minor sex trafficking within the United States, and the glaring lack of beds -there are currently only 226 beds available to youth victims of sex trafficking in the U.S. Also acknowledged were the community-based service providers, which, according to the report, can offer space for up to 1,684 minor victims of sexual exploitation. These numbers are an important indicator that the US has grown in the capacity to provide service to victims, but also have improvements to make. The Executive Director went on the address issues with services and shelters that were identified in the report, one being the geographical disparity between high-traffic areas and the locations of service providers.

The report shows that of practitioners providing direct services reported they receive referrals from juvenile probation from child protective services, and law enforcement. In addition, three national surveys for providers, survivors, and advocates and funders were developed and distributed and over 100 expert individuals and organizations completed the surveys. Responses were collected from 51 organizations, 33 survivors and 18 national advocacy and funding experts. The report includes 26 specific recommendations in 5 categories: Placement and services for identified youth, Licensing and maintaining shelter and programs, Identifying sustainable resources, Programmatic/therapeutic responses, and Safety and security recommendations

Click here to read the full report!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

Andrea was 14 years old the first time a voice over the Internet told her to take off her clothes.
"I was so embarrassed because I don't want others to see my private parts," she said. "The customer told me to remove my blouse and to show him my breasts."  Andrea, which is not her real name, said she had been lured away from her rural, mountain village in the Philippines by a cousin who said he would give her a well-paid job as a babysitter in the city. She thought she was leaving her impoverished life for an opportunity to earn money to finish high school. Instead, she became another victim caught up in the newest but no less sinister world of sexual exploitation; cyber-sex trafficking. Read More

Fighting Forced Labor Helps Women Beat Poverty.
Across the planet, about one in every seven of us lives in extreme poverty, having to survive on less than $1.25 a day. Every day, they and the millions more living just above the poverty line struggle to have enough to eat, and dream of a better life and of earning enough to provide for their families.  Geeta Devi was one of these people. The 32 year-old mother of two from Nepal had been struggling to support her children and, like millions before her, made the difficult decision to leave her family behind in search of better work. Geeta, whose real name is being withheld to protect her safety, left her home believing she had secured a job through a local recruitment agency to work in a hospital in Lebanon. Read More

 Forced Labor Accounts for Thousands Missing in Mexico’s Drug War 
A recent report indicates that civilians caught in the crossfire between drug cartels and the Mexican government may be also serving as human chattel, forced to perform labor in gang-run camps. The Spanish-language magazine Proceso features interviews with victims’ relatives and members of civil society, all of whom tell of a vast system of forced labor throughout Mexico. These laborers are counted among the 26,000 “disappeared” in Mexico. Civil society groups tell of some of these captives being alive but forced to perform “jobs” on behalf of the cartels. These can include “forced killings, preparing marijuana, constructing tunnels, cleaning safe houses, preparing food, installing communications equipment, and acting as lookouts or sex slaves.” The idea of cartels kidnapping individuals to perform specialized tasks is also well-documented, lending credibility to Procesco’s report. InSight Crime notes, however, that some of the claims Proceso make could still be inflated. Read more here.

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.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

The New Prositiutes
In 2005, Ms. Brainard-Barnes was a 22-year-old single mother who had difficulty holding down a steady job. She never could afford her own place, staying with her sister for long stretches and occasionally with a boyfriend. Modeling, she thought, could lead to a music career. As soon as she enrolled on a site called, she received dozens of e-mails from places that purported to be modeling agencies but that, after a few clicks, turned out to mean nude modeling and sometimes working as an escort. She wasn't thrown by seeing this. What did surprise her was the money; he could earn enough money to fulfill those same responsibilities. Online, she could be her own boss and not share what she made with anyone; not a pimp, not an escort service, not a boyfriend.In 2010, Maureen Brainard-Barnes’s body was one of four uncovered close by one another in the sand dunes of Gilgo Beach, Long Island, wrapped in burlap. Three years later, the Long Island serial killer case remains unsolved, even as six more sets of remains have been discovered nearby along Ocean Parkway and farther east. Read More 

House Keeper in New Jersey Accuses Diplomat of Human Trafficking 

A Peruvian woman has accused a top official at Peru’s mission to the United Nations of entrapping her in a life of involuntary servitude in the New Jersey suburbs, forcing her to work as many as 16 hours a day, 7 days a week for little or no compensation  Every year, thousands of foreigners are issued special visas to come to the United States and work for foreign diplomats. But immigrants’ advocates contend that some diplomats, behind the cover of diplomatic immunity, take advantage of those employees, violating local and federal labor laws and sometimes confining them to a form of modern-day slavery.by the Government Accountability Office in 2008 found that since 2000 at least 42 foreigners brought to the United States to work as domestic workers said they were abused by their employers. Read More

Philippians Investigate Prostitution Ring Charges. 
The Philippine government is investigating allegations that its diplomatic personnel have trafficked Filipino women in the Middle East who were seeking refuge, the foreign secretary said Monday.Philippine diplomatic and labor officials are alleged to have forced distressed Filipino women, in countries like Kuwait and Jordan, into prostitution in return for safe passage back to the Philippines. The report goes on to state that the Philippine government in 2013 provided assistance to 1,029 Filipino victims of trafficking and illegal recruitment, and established 15 new worker resource centers in countries with large numbers of Filipino workers. It also deployed diplomatic personnel and social workers overseas to provide assistance to distressed workers. Read More

Friday, July 5, 2013

FACT: Male to Female Transgenders Get Trafficked Too.

Human trafficking and sex work are issues in the transgender community that have often gone un-addressed by policy makers, service providers, and the LGBTQ rights movement. Those involved in the sex industry for any reason are often discriminated against, criminalized, victimized, and denied their human rights. Researchers suggests that because of economic necessity, many male-to-female (MTF) transgender individuals trade sex for money, drugs, housing, and other things they may need. To date, no studies have quantitatively assessed psycho social correlates of condom use with this population.findings highlight an urgent need for multilevel risk reduction interventions for MTF transgender individuals involved in sex trade. Such interventions will be most effective if they address the psycho social context of sexual risk taking by focusing on issues such as low self-esteem, sexual violence, and illicit drug use. Read More

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Commercial and Billboards in Texas Seek to Impact the Demand for Sex Trafficking

Earlier this year Huston, Texas based, Free the Captives, launched the “Reducing the Demand” campaign, targeting the Johns.  The campaign then went to work producing billboards and a Radio and TV commercial targeting Johns, who purchase sex, to highlight the realities of sex trafficking and debunk the myths that have continually plagued victims and advocates.  The PSA's are now up and beginning to air and; the video features, Sheriff Garcia, whose stern and strong presence makes it clear that men who purchase women and girls for sexual -or any other- purpose, will no longer be tolerated in Harris County, Texas.  Please watch the video PSA "Buyer BEWARE: You will be Arrested! (The Realities of Sex Trafficking)" Commercial and Billboards in Texas Seek to Impact the Demand for Sex Trafficking below:

These PSA's and billboards make it clear that when you buy sex you are fueling human trafficking, and we how to see more incentives like this sweeping the country.  

Texas has once again taken a great step in the state level fight to end national and global human trafficking.  More calls come from Texas to the National Human Trafficking Hotline than any other state, due to the great incentives put into place including the use of billboards and campaign efforts by Huston Rescue and Restore.  

The first step to ending human trafficking and modern slavery is to end demand!  Please share these resources to help open the eyes of others and see we put an end to the enslavement of innocent men, women and children once and for all.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

20 Million People Are Trafficked in Modern Day Slavery – America is Leading the Fight to Stop It
One in three. That’s the number of women who will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, according to the United Nations. Depending on where they live, nearly three in five women will at some point endure physical violence. Of course, statistics don’t do justice to how brutally commonplace the occurrence of violence against women and girls is, whether in public or private spaces. The sad reality is these stories are reported in the news every day, all over the world in great detail from horrors in Delhi, India to Steubenville, Ohio. Unfortunately, these same news stories include messages of victim blaming, arguments of consent, and junk science meant to invalidate the seriousness of these crimes.

Arrest Made in Modern Slavery Case Involving a Mentally Disabled Women.
 A mentally disabled woman and her daughter were held in an Ohio apartment crowded with people and animals for more than a year, forced to perform manual labor and threatened with dogs and snakes to keep them compliant, authorities said Tuesday.Federal prosecutors said the people accused of holding the pair in Ashland, about 60 miles south of Cleveland, collected the woman's government benefits and beat her in order to get painkillers for themselves. They kept her in a room with a free-ranging iguana and ordered her to feed the reptile fruits and vegetables her daughter was denied, according to court papers. Sometimes their captors' pit bulls got table food while they had to eat from cans, according to an arrest affidavit quoting witnesses. Local news shows captivating images of the traffickers, To view  Click Here

Child Minors Face Death for Tech 
Roger-Claude Liwanga is a human rights lawyer from the Congo and visiting scholar at Boston University. He worked for The Carter Center as a legal consultant, where he developed a training module to train Congolese judges and prosecutors on the protection of children against trafficking for economic exploitation in the mines. He is also the co-founder and executive director of Promote Congo, and is currently directing and producing a short documentary, “Children of the Mines,” which will be launched shortly in Boston. He writes in his personal capacity.

Compiled By: Markesha Fantroy