Texas has hired its first ever director of human trafficking prevention

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Earlier this year, the Tribune’s Sold Out series examined how state policies — including a severely underfunded child welfare system — failed to help child sex-trafficking victims. Since then, lawmakers set aside a budget increase of more than $500 million for the foster care system and the governor’s office approved new funds for trafficking prevention initiatives — including the state's first-ever director of human trafficking and child exploitation.

Kim Grabert, who in July came to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services from a similar agency in Florida, said in an interview with The Texas Tribune that she hoped to help multiple state agencies cooperate to help Texas trafficking victims.

To read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/11/08/texas-has-hired-its-first-ever-director-human-trafficking-prevention/

Thanks to our friends at BYU!

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Have to give a shoutout to this awesome research team from BYU who have been working with TAT this semester on an in-depth report on the Mexican trucking industry for our partners at Consejo Ciudadano Mx! They are dedicated to the cause and have been a joy to work with in this endeavor!

Juan Camargo, Gabby Weber, Hannah Jarman, Gabe Davis and (in front center) Andrew Wirkus

Woman sold for sex as a child tells her story from the place it all began

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KALAMAZOO, MICH. - It’s estimated two million children are exploited every year in the global commercial sex trade. It’s a common misconception to believe these trades are limited to outside the United States.

In fact, the sex trafficking industry is prevalent in all 50 states, Michigan included.

Just ask Kalamazoo native, Karissa Wright.

At first, she lead a seemingly "normal" life.

“I grew up in a Christian school, my parents were divorced which was unheard of in a Christian school," Wright said. "Aside from that, I got good grades, I was a very affectionate kid, I wasn’t a trouble maker, I was loud I talked a lot -- so I got in trouble for that,” Wright said.

To read more: http://www.wzzm13.com/news/investigations/selling-girls/woman-sold-for-sex-as-a-child-tells-her-story-from-the-place-it-all-began/486058501

Fresno teen found, victim of human trafficking

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FAIRFIELD, Calif. (FOX26) — A 16-year-old runaway from Fresno has been rescued from human trafficking in Fairfield.
On Friday, October 27th, a patrol officer noticed what appeared to be a prostitute and stopped to investigate.
The officer took the time to talk with the young lady and discovered she was a runaway.
During conversations with the young victim, the officer learned she was being victimized by a man more than twice her age.
Suspecting she was probably a victim of human trafficking, the officer turned the case over to a detective from the Family Violence Unit.
The victim admitted to the detective she had been trafficked in Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Oakland, and San Jose over the past four years.

To read more: http://kmph.com/news/local/fresno-teen-found-victim-of-human-trafficking

Galveston man sentenced to life for sex trafficking minors

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On Monday, a judge ordered a Galveston man who led a sex-trafficking ring to serve life in prison, calling him very dangerous and saying he has shown no remorse for the crimes he was convicted of in early July. 
A Galveston jury returned guilty verdicts against Charles Devan Fulton Sr., 40, in July for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and four counts of sex trafficking of minors. 
Three others - Charmell Latonya Potts, Dominique Warner, and Lawrence James Julian - had previously pleaded guilty for their respective roles, according to court records.

To read more: http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/bayarea/crime-courts/article/Galveston-man-sentenced-to-life-for-sex-12336632.php

South Carolina man sentenced for trafficking 16-year-old girl

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina man who was found guilty of prostituting a 16-year-old girl has been sentenced.
The State of Columbia reports 36-year-old Alshura Tabil Annessa Frazier was sentenced to 35 years behind bars Thursday. Frazier was found guilty of sex trafficking of children and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

A U.S. States Attorney's Office news release says the victim left her family and met Frazier in Myrtle Beach around Memorial Day in 2015. Frazier and others had sex with the teenager in exchange for drugs and shelter for the night.

Frazier brought the victim to Columbia, where he recruited her to perform sexual acts with clients for money. Prosecutors say he kept 100 percent of the profits from the prostitution.

To read more: http://www.postandcourier.com/news/south-carolina-man-sentenced-for-trafficking--year-old-girl/article_2ab89550-bb10-11e7-937a-776f9c4d9cba.html

New 'Daughter Trade' suspect indicted by feds

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CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 17-year-old West Virginia girl who thought she was headed to a modeling position in Chicago last summer ended up as the latest victim of the "Daughter Trade," a secretive sex enslavement industry.

Federal authorities in Chicago on Wednesday announced federal sex trafficking charges against Blake Steckel, 33, who allegedly flew the teenager and put her to work as a prostitute.

Steckel, a longtime northwest suburban resident currently residing in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, also faces charges of production of child pornography, and transporting an individual in interstate commerce for purposes of prostitution.

To read more: http://abc7chicago.com/2567793/

The Smoke Screen That’s Obscuring the Voices of Survivors – Why We Must Amend the CDA

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I am of the technology generation. I was born the same year the cell phone was invented and Macintosh Apple made its debut. I never knew a time when a computer was not an accessible tool. We live in a time where computers the size of a credit cards can stream a giraffe giving birth across the country and can teach us how to do anything from play the violin to fix a leaky drain. The possibilities are limitless. But what happens when those possibilities are twisted into something darker? What happens when we use our innovations to trade in the flesh of young girls?
The online sex trade is not new. When I was prostituted over a decade ago, I was sold online. Online prostitution is not glamorous and it is not safer than street prostitution. The violence endemic to prostitution is not somehow mitigated by the internet. One study stated that violence is perpetrated predominantly by buyers regardless of venue of solicitation. The internet has normalized the buying of sex down to a negligible transaction. Women and girls are being reduced to mail order masturbation aids.

To read more: https://sharedhope.org/2017/10/smoke-screen/?utm_source=Demand+Abolition+Newsletter&utm_campaign=24cd7e001f-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_26&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0c42d6f140-24cd7e001f-81592969

TAT Attends Dreamforce

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Operations Director, Laura Cyrus and Freedom Drivers Project Director, Helen Van Dam, spent last week at the largest tech conference in the world, Dreamforce. They learned how to better use the platform to act as a force multiplier in our work partnering with the trucking industry to combat sex trafficking. It's all the nonprofit nerdy stuff we love that improves the efficiency with which we do our jobs. 😊 Plus we got to see fellow trucking industry member UPS present and ran into other logistics groups as well. We were in good company.

COMBATTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING

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Human trafficking is a $150 billion dollar industry, and is the fastest growing criminal enterprise globally. While a global concern, the epidemic is close to home as O’Hare is the world's fourth-busiest airport, and Chicago currently ranks third in the country for the highest levels of human trafficking. While the majority of identified victims tend to be domestic-born girls and women, vulnerable populations such as migrants and refugees, are also at a greater risk of being trafficked, particularly women and children. From spa and massage parlors to internet chat rooms, how are organizations and governments working to identify and tackle human trafficking channels? What role can technology play in combating trafficking and how can frontline responders intervene?

To read more: https://www.thechicagocouncil.org/event/combatting-human-trafficking?utm_source=Demand+Abolition+Newsletter&utm_campaign=24cd7e001f-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_26&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0c42d6f140-24cd7e001f-81592969

FYI

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Full decriminalization will allow buyers and traffickers to have no consequences. It sanitizes and legalizes their actions. Decriminalize the prostituted person...offer services to help them get out of the life (Nordic Model). But do not support the lie of FULL decriminalization which makes brothels just another business on main street and pimps the managers and bodyguards.

To learn more about this topic: https://www.demandabolition.org/…/evidence-against-legaliz…/

Opinion: Teaching kids to protect themselves from human trafficking

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There are signs of human trafficking all around us. But, like most of us, if you don’t know what to look for you probably miss them.
The same is true for our children. Not only do they not know what to look for, but they are also especially vulnerable because of their age and their access to technology. However, when someone, especially a young person, knows how to recognize the signs of human trafficking, they can—and do—avoid becoming victims.
Because of forward thinking legislators and a governor committed to protecting our children, every student in California will learn about both sex and labor trafficking and how to avoid victimization.

To read more: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/19/opinion-teaching-kids-to-protect-themselves-from-human-trafficking/

Photography Exhibit Highlights Human Trafficking

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WASHINGTON — 
"Sorry, I'll try not to cry," said Janine Tkach as she gazes at one of about two dozen photographic images displayed in Washington's busy Dupont Circle.

The pictures depict men, women and children who were victims of trafficking, either as sexual or labor slaves. Along with quotes from each of the subjects, the pictures challenge passers-by like Tkach to imagine the daily horrors and desperation of the victims.

"I was aware of the problem before, but it kind of hits home when you see it so visually like this exhibition," said David, a tourist from London who did not give his last name. "Obviously some of these traffic victims are exploited to make products cheap."

To read more: https://www.voanews.com/a/artworks-for-freedom-highlights-human-trafficking/4086914.html

New campaigns launching in Minnesota to curb sex trafficking ahead of the Super Bowl

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Campaigns to battle sex trafficking are launching this week and next, partly in hopes of leveraging the extra attention that will accompany an estimated 1 million visitors to the state for the Super Bowl this winter.

A PSA campaign, the “Don’t Buy It” project, is the first public awareness campaign of its kind in Minnesota. The campaign, by Duluth-based Men As Peacemakers, includes TV ads, billboards and bus station ads in Duluth and the Twin Cities telling men not to buy sex or believe misconceptions about women in prostitution.

“Women are not products, people are not products, men are more than consumers,” the 60-second PSA says.

In the Twin Cities, another campaign will start next week aimed at preventing young girls and boys from becoming sexually exploited. The campaign, called “I Am Priceless,” is from Minneapolis-based The Link, which provides services and housing for sexually exploited youths. Billboards, bus shelters, radio ads and a downtown Minneapolis mural will target 10- to 14-year-old girls and boys with the message: “My body is not for sale.”

To read more: http://www.startribune.com/new-campaigns-launching-in-minnesota-to-curb-sex-trafficking-ahead-of-the-super-bowl/453485303/