Nashville Human Trafficking Court Honors First Graduate

For years she was trafficked, sold to others for sex by her husband. The woman said she used drugs, leading to an addiction, and was stabbed several times during an attack.

“I couldn’t even walk out of my house without being high because I was so afraid,” she said.

On Tuesday the woman began a new chapter, becoming the first graduate of Nashville’s human trafficking intervention court.

The program works to identify people who are arrested for crimes such as prostitution or drug offenses but who prosecutors say are sucked into a lifestyle they learned because they are victims of human trafficking. The court program provides resources and puts a focus on treatment.

“I was given a choice and an opportunity to come into this program and I came in with fear and trepidation, but also honesty, open mindedness and willingness,” the woman said.

Prosecutors and the woman asked that the woman’s name not be published out of concern for her safety, saying the man who trafficked her is not in custody. Her story was corroborated by General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland, who oversees the program.

There are a dozen women participating, Assistant District Attorney General Tammy Meade said. The program began earlier this year amid ongoing efforts in Nashville and statewide to combat the crime.

“The women who come to Nashville, live in Nashville, are just passing through Nashville, who are caught in the cycle of prostitution and human trafficking, we owe this to them,” Meade said.

To read the full story by Stacey Barchenger on The Tennessean: Click Here

Guilford County Schools Implements Human Trafficking Education 

GREENSBORO — Starting this fall anti-human trafficking education will be taught in 38 Guilford County Schools.

AbolitionNC, a Triad-based organization that helps survivors of human trafficking, is partnering with GCS to help raise awareness.

“The legislatures passed Senate Bill 279 in the fall of last year which requires school systems to implement sex trafficking education, awareness and prevention,” said Guilford County Schools Director of Health Services Robin Bergeron-Nolan.

Starting this fall 8th through 12th graders will learn about the dangers and signs of human trafficking.

“The average age of entry into prostitution here is between the ages of 12 and 14, so we wanted to target that age group,” said AbolitionNC board member Jen Uhlenberg.

Read the full story by Elaina O’Connell of TWC News: Click Here

Human-Trafficking Sweep Leads To 153 Prostitution-Related Arrests And Rescue Of 10 Sex-Trafficking Victims

A multi-agency crackdown on human trafficking in Los Angeles led to 153 prostitution-related arrests and the rescue of 10 victims forced into the sex trade, police said Wednesday.

Operation Summer Rescue, which began Aug. 10 and ended Saturday, focused on the rescue and recovery of children who were being sexually exploited throughout Los Angeles County.

“Human trafficking continues to plague our society and victimize our youth,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement.

Eight of the sex-trafficking victims were minors between the ages of 15 and 17, and two were adults, police said. Nine were female and one was male.

The recovered youth were placed in protective custody and are receiving assistance from the Department of Children and Family Services as well as outreach groups such as Saving Innocence and the Dream Center.

To read the full story by Erica Evans at the Los Angeles Times: Click Here

Major Regional Human-Trafficking Ring Shut Down, Maryland Prosecutors Say

It started out with promises to the young women, according to prosecutors, assurances from someone on the other end of an online ad that they would be models or have their debt disappear. But the women soon found themselves beaten and threatened into a life of prostitution.

Prosecutors in Maryland said the enterprise known as “Pink Pleasure Entertainment” operated for years before authorities shut it down recently. Over that time, there were dozens of victims, officials said.

Top law enforcement leaders from the state and Prince George’s County announced Tuesday that the three people allegedly behind the operation — Rashid Mosby, 42, Joshua Isaiah Jones, 26, and Terra Perry, 35 — have been indicted on charges of human trafficking and prostitution.

Mosby, Jones and Perry would beat, intimidate and threaten women and girls as young as 15 to engage in prostitution in dozens of motels and hotels across Maryland and Virginia, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said.

The trio paid for victims’ food, lodging and travel, and said that the women and girls had to pay them back before they could be freed, Frosh said. They also advertised and recruited women on, telling some of them that they would become models, he said. Once the women made contact with the group, they were trapped, he added.

“They used threats and violence to keep these young women under their control,” Frosh said.

To read the full story by Lynh Bui on the Washington Post: Click Here

Sisters In Wisconsin Coordinate Multi-Year Statewide Anti-Trafficking Advertising Effort

by Emily Anderson

Manitowoc bus ad 2016-2
Manitowoc bus sign

The LCWR Region 9 Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force has coordinated a statewide advertising effort to spread awareness about human trafficking in Wisconsin and promote
the National Human Trafficking Hotline across the state.

The advertising campaign includes bus signage and billboards which display the national human trafficking hotline number. Bus signage advertising and billboards ran in the following markets during 2015 and 2016:

  • 1 bus for 6 months in Green Bay (9/2015 – 2/2016)
  • 1 bus for 1 year in Oshkosh (6/2015 – 5/2016)
  • 10 buses for 4 weeks in the Milwaukee area (late July through August/2015). Ad over-run  occurred for a number of months on some of the buses
  • Interior bus ads in Green Bay and Fond du Lac (Public Service Announcements)
  • Billboard ran across from Lambeau Field in Green Bay for one week before Thanksgiving (11/23/15 – 11/29/15) during which the Packers played the Bears
interior bus signage-2
Interior bus signage

Bus signage during 2016 and 2017:

  • 1 bus for 1 year in Wausau, La Crosse, Superior/Duluth, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Rusk County and Stevens Point;
  • 10 buses for 4 weeks in the Milwaukee area (posted on some buses beginning 6/3/2016; rest scheduled for 8/2016)
  • 3 buses for 4 weeks in the Waukesha area (8/2016)
  • 10 buses for 4 weeks in the Madison area (9/2016)

A billboard is running in Wisconsin Dells during peak tourist season in July and August 2016.

In addition, interior bus signage will be posted on 35 buses in Racine as a public service.

The Polaris Project, which together with the Department of Homeland Security funds the National Anti-Human Trafficking Hotline, reported for Wisconsin a 20% increase in calls/texts to the National Hotline and a 16% increase in human trafficking cases reported during 2015, as compared to 2014. We hope that the LCWR 9 ad campaign contributed to increased recognition and use of the National Hotline number.

(Emily Anderson is the Director of Communications for the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and a member of the USCSAHT Communications Work Group.)

Final billboard Dells-2
Billbord in the Wisconsin Dells

Defenders: Human Trafficking on the Rise in Michigan

DETROIT – Experts say over 100,000 thousand children will be trafficked in the sex industry every year in our country.

Local 4 Defenders investigate why Michigan ranks as one one of the top problem states for human trafficking.

To view this story by Karen Drew which originally appeared on Click Detroit: Click Here

How Prosecutors Get Creative to Bring Traffickers to Justice

Prior to the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, the U.S. used old slavery and involuntary servitude laws to target traffickers. There was a major problem with these laws, however—they required proving bodily harm. Today, we know that not all traffickers rely on physical violence to control their victims. Oftentimes, traffickers use coercion and fraud to compel their victims to engage in commercial sex or forced labor. While these methods don’t leave any bruises, they can be just as manipulative and exploitative.

Luckily, many changes have occurred over the last two decades that make it easier to prosecute traffickers and hold them accountable for their crimes.

A document recently released by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), Ten Years of Sex Trafficking Cases in the United States, offers a list of examples of cases from the last 10 years that show how many tools prosecutors have at their disposal to incriminate traffickers. The TVPA outlines all of the federal laws on human trafficking that can be used to prosecute traffickers, but prosecutors may seek additional charges for related crimes.

To read the full story by Rory O’Brien of Polaris: Click Here

US Should Increase Efforts to Combat Trafficking of Syrian Refugees – Senators

US Senate member said that US Secretary of State Kerry should increase efforts to fight human trafficking among the Syrian refugee population.

US Secretary of State Kerry should increase efforts to fight human trafficking among the Syrian refugee population, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Chris Murphy and nine other senators said in a letter on Thursday, Sputnik reports.

“We encourage you and the State Department to continue to do everything possible to combat human trafficking,” the letter stated. “This reprehensible criminal industry has exploited millions of men, women, and children across the world, and it is our duty as a beacon of freedom to protect the dignity of the most vulnerable populations.”

The senators’ letter emphasized the importance of continuing collaboration with the governments of Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon affected by the migration of refugees from Syria and Iraq.

To read the full article from News.Az: Click Here

Convention Planners, Hotel Chains Enlisted To Help Spot Sex Traffickers

Betsy Soltysiak leads a trafficking awareness training at Maritz Global Events. – Joseph Leahy

Events like the Olympics are great for local businesses, but some of those businesses may not be too savory. Reports of human trafficking go up during events of all kinds from big games to trade shows to political conventions. Trafficking is highly profitable for the traffickers, and their job’s been made a lot easier thanks to the internet. But many of the victims are underage and they’re being used against their will.

Now, the business world has begun to take note and it’s starting to help.

Betsy Soltysiak works as a trainer for an event management company just outside St. Louis. Today she’s addressing a roomful of people about sex trafficking, pointing out that the Olympic Games can be a magnet for traffickers.

“Of course the World Series” is somewhere else traffickers can ply their trade, she said. “Who would think? It’s baseball, hotdogs, Crackerjack!”

Soltysiak’s boss, Maritz Global Events president David Peckinpaugh, had never thought about it either. He said until a few years ago he’d always assumed that kind of seamy stuff, like kids being sold for sex,  went on overseas. Then he began to do some digging.

“As I started researching, the very first article and picture I stumbled upon was a young girl being trafficked out of a hotel in St. Louis,” he said. “And you could see the St. Louis arch in the background.”

He wanted to help stop a practice he’d had no idea was taking place in his back yard.

He knew he and his employees could help because so much of their meeting and event work takes place in hotels – and that’s where a lot of trafficking happens, right under the noses of guests and staff.

 Savannah Sanders is 31 now. She knows what it’s like to stand in a lobby shadowed by a pimp.

“There were definitely times where somebody could have noticed that there was something not right and made a call when I was being trafficked,” she said.

To read the full story by Ashley Milne-Tyte on MARKETPLACE: Click Here

Casa Cornelia Law Center Opens Human Trafficking Program

by Colleen M. Carroll

Carmen Chavez, Executive Director of Casa Cornelia Law Center in San Diego, CA.
Carmen Chavez, Executive Director of Casa Cornelia Law Center in San Diego, CA.

While Cornelia Connelly, American-born foundress of the Sisters of the Hold Child Jesus, lived in the 1800s, many of her life experiences resonate with the life experiences of today’s women, men and children. Victims of human trafficking, in particular, identify with Cornelia’s pain of being separated from her children, searching for hope in unfamiliar lands, and finding the courage to act.

Founded by the Holy Child Sisters in 1993, Casa Cornelia Law Center (CCLC) carries on Cornelia’s spirit and desire to meet the wants of the age. In 2014, CCLC expanded its services to include a Human Trafficking Program.

With the support of the American Province of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, CCLC’s Human Trafficking Program provides victims with legal services when few other providers had stepped forward.

In partnership with the Center for Social Advocacy (CSA) San Diego and San Diego State University, CCLC identifies victims and provides them with life-saving legal services. Victims are also referred to CCLC for legal representation by anti-trafficking organizations.

In its first year, CCLC’s Human Trafficking Program has provided legal screening to 85 potential victims. Another 16 have had a T-Visa filed on their behalf.

Empowered by Cornelia’s spirit and the Holy Child mission CCLC’s Human Trafficking Program focuses on the human person – God’s creation – regardless of a person’s ethnic origin, religion or gender. CCLC takes action to ensure that all women, men and children are treated with dignity, reverence and justice.

Reprinted with permission from the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus Communications Office.