The Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research at the University of Pennsylvania recently completed a multi-city research study on the prevalence of sex trafficking among homeless youth, with a special emphasis on child welfare risk and protective factors. Little rigorous research has focused on the correlation between child welfare experience and sex trafficking, yet estimates have been cited that the majority of victims of child sex trafficking have experienced the child welfare system.
Largest Study to Date on Trafficking and Homeless Youth
Covenant House International engaged Penn’s Field Center and the Loyola University (New Orleans) Modern Slavery Research Project as research partners to conduct the largest national study to date on human trafficking within this population.
Interviews with close to 1,000 youth in 13 cities across the United States and Canada revealed that nearly one in five (19.4 percent) were victims of human trafficking, with 15 percent reporting sex trafficking, 7.4 percent labor trafficking, and 3 percent experiencing both.
Like many women, Jasmin Abuslin was still a child when she entered the sex trade. From age 17, she was sexually exploited by over two dozen men in Northern California, most ― if not all ― of whom were police officers. She was recently awarded almost $1 million from Oakland City Council for its failure to protect her.
The U.S. has a poor record on dealing effectively with prostitution. Although anyone under 18 who is bought or sold for sex is considered a victim of sex trafficking under federal law, incredibly, when they turn 18, they become “criminals” overnight. In many states, even well before the age of 18, those who are sold for sex are prosecuted as “criminals” under state law, while at the same time they are victims of sex trafficking under federal law. Being sold for sex is illegal in all states apart from certain counties in Nevada. Buying sex is also illegal but is rarely prosecuted, while those they buy – mostly women and girls ― bear the brunt of the law. This wrongly criminalizes those who are victimized while effectively giving their perpetrators a free pass. Sexually exploited girls are frequently detained or manipulated by the police ― those who are theoretically supposed to safeguard them from harm.
As it has in the past few years, TAT once again provided a "Combating Trafficking in Persons" training on Aug. 18 about working with the trucking industry to fight human trafficking to seven foreign leaders through the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program. The guests for this training were from Bahrain, Chile, Finland, Ghana, Libya, Lithuania and Vietnam. TAT has participated in this program for several years in the hopes that it will help combat human trafficking and that other countries may consider adopting its model in full or part to work with the trucking industry in those lands.
TAT's message is simple!
You see any minor being sold for commercial sex, call the hotline immediately. They are a victim of sex trafficking.
You see any evidence of pimp control no matter what the age of the person being prostituted, call the hotline immediately. They are a victim of sex trafficking.
Make the call, save lives!
WASHINGTON — 21st Century Fox threw its support behind legislation to revise telecommunication law to ensure that it does not shield websites that promote or advertise sex trafficking.
Major internet companies oppose the legislation, called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, arguing that even though they support its intent, it is too broadly written. The bill creates new legal liability for Internet companies whose sites “knowingly facilitate” sex trafficking through content on their platforms.
But 21st Century Fox expressed its support in a letter to co-sponsors Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
A trucker to the very end!
A New Jersey woman who went by the nickname "China White" pleaded guilty Wednesday to forcing a 16-year-old girl from New York into prostitution, officials said. Jessica Copeland, 29, pleaded guilty to second-degree facilitating human trafficking, N.J. Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said in a news release.
Under the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend that Copeland be sentenced to six years in state prison, including no parole for three years.
“This defendant threatened a 16-year-old girl with violence to keep her trapped in a hellish life of sexual slavery,” Porrino said in a news release. “This is a classic case of human trafficking, in which the perpetrators isolated and intimidated a vulnerable victim so they could exploit her for their profit."
Polaris applauds the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017 (TVPRA) and the Abolish Human Trafficking Act.
Since 2000, the laws enacted under the TVPRA have served as the main tool to combat modern slavery and human trafficking. Last night, these bills passed the U.S. Senate under unanimous consent, reauthorizing the critical funding for domestic programs of the TVPRA, which are set to expire at the end of September.
We congratulate U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), as well as their colleagues and staff, for their hard work during this reauthorization process. Polaris appreciates the bipartisan collaboration of these leaders to advance the TVPRA and the shared recognition that urgent steps must be taken to stop human trafficking.
While last night’s action was welcoming news, more must be done for this act to be fully reauthorized. Polaris looks forward to working with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and Ranking Member, Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), to finalize the foreign relations component of this reauthorization. Efforts to eradicate human trafficking is a domestic and international effort, and both components of TVPRA are crucial to combat human trafficking and help survivors of this crime.
To read more: http://polarisproject.org/blog/2017/09/12/senate-passes-trafficking-victims-protection-reauthorization-act
Are YOU or do you know the next Harriet Tubman Award winner? Have you made the call that led to a recovery of a victim? Let us know!
SANTA ANA – A 36-year-old pimp pleaded guilty to raping a 15-year-old prostitute, as well as human trafficking of more than a half-dozen victims, and was immediately sentenced to more than 31 years in prison, an Orange County prosecutor said Wednesday, July 19.
Ariel Guizar accepted a plea deal Tuesday, admitting 17 felony counts covering seven victims, and was ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, according to Deputy District Attorney Bryan Clavecilla.
Three of the counts were strike offenses – forcible rape, sodomy by force and supplying methamphetamine to a minor – and four of the felonies were for human sex trafficking, the prosecutor said.
To read more: http://www.ocregister.com/2017/07/19/man-sentenced-to-more-than-31-years-in-prison-for-rape-human-trafficking/
While every human trafficking victim is different, a common thread they share is the presence of a vulnerability that traffickers exploit. Those types of vulnerabilities are rampant in the aftermath of natural disasters. Homelessness is one of the top risk factors reported by survivors to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and we often learn that survivors were recruited by traffickers near shelters or centers helping people in need.
In fact, one of the largest labor trafficking cases in United States history resulted from human trafficking that occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. You can read more about that case from the Southern Poverty Law Center here.
As people throughout Texas and Louisiana continue to deal with the horrific hardships stemming from Hurricane Harvey, it is critical that a response to potential human trafficking is part of long-term recovery efforts. Local service providers and the organizations in the fight against human trafficking throughout Texas and Louisiana need help more than ever as they provide aid to people after Harvey.
Thursday night marked a new step toward developing community partnerships in Washington County to address human trafficking and drug addiction.
The two problems are intricately connected, a representative from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office told a meeting of about 50 people at Marietta College.
Veronica Scherbauer explained that human traffickers often keep their victims in thrall by controlling them through their addictions. The bondage is insidious because it becomes a symbiotic relationship for the victim, she said.
JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s something that has a powerful hold over thousands of people across the country, human trafficking.
While some resources have been dedicated to stopping it, this dangerous activity can sometimes be hard to spot.
A special forum in Jackson County is looking to change that by educating health care professionals.
It’s a growing problem that organizers of the forum say they had to do something about.
“We thought the best thing we can do is bring health care professionals together to have this discussion,” said Debbie Muhich, a local registered nurse and forum organizer.
Washington, D.C. – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Washington College, and The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking held a historic press conference at the National Press Club Thursday to kick off the first ever symposium on the sexual exploitation harming boys and men.
The government, NGOs, and society at large have overlooked male victims of sexual exploitation, the organizations argued, leaving the victims without adequate resources.
In late 2016, the Tulare County Sheriff’s office received a report about a missing teenager. The rescue of this 15-year-old girl from an apartment in West Hollywood led to the launch of a fully-fledged investigation, ultimately leading to police busting the largest sex trafficking ring on the West Coast.
Faith It reported that, while 13 young girls and women were recently rescued from the sex trafficking ring, investigators warn that their ongoing investigation in California proves that sex trafficking is much closer to home than anyone likes to think about.
Investigators found apartment units in more than a dozen communities that were being rented and used as brothels.
TAT was at the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, OR on September 6. Despite the horrible wild fires, 65 of our law enforcement and trucking partners gathered to learn about and discuss the issue of human trafficking in Oregon.
Thank you, to the Oregon Department of Justice and the Oregon Trucking Associations for co-hosting an excellent meeting and gathering representatives from across the state; local, state and federal law enforcement, district attorneys, trucking companies, truck stops and travel plazas and convenience stores.
TAT was also pleased to have Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT), based in Bend, OR at the meeting, in order to bring awareness to local stakeholders about their program.
The Freedom Drivers Project was there, thanks to UPS and Werner who hauled it to and from the event. TAT looks forward to seeing the impact of this meeting throughout Oregon, as champions in both law enforcement and the trucking industry take the information they learned and strategically work together to recover victims and arrest traffickers. Werner Enterprises and UPS
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — A former state senator accused of engaging in child prostitution was hit with federal charges Wednesday.
The US Attorney's Office reports Ralph Shortey appeared in federal court for the unsealing of an indictment of two counts of transporting child pornography, one count of producing child pornography and one count of sex trafficking. The new federal charges stem from an FBI search of his house. The US Attorney's Office reports that state charges, filed in Cleveland County, will be dropped in lieu of the federal charges.