Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Police Say Prostitution Ring Operated Out Of South Tampa House [Florida]: Charles Fox was the king of his little green house. In the middle of South Tampa, police say, he ruled a home packed with young women he recruited from bars and restaurants, including Hooters and Applebee's. ... And, police say, he took every cent. For two years, police tracked suspected pimp Charles M. Fox, 37. Detectives watched him drive young women to West-shore area hotels, waiting outside to collect the cash. Last month, police arrested him at the Intercontinental Hotel, where they had orchestrated a sting. Fox was charged with five counts of sex trafficking, four counts of forcing another to become a prostitute, four counts of deriving support from proceeds of prostitution, five counts of unlawful use of a two-way communications device, four counts of renting space for the purpose of prostitution and two counts of sexual battery. HSEC-3.8; Date: 26 August 2011; Source: http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/police-say-prostitution-ring-operated- out-of-south-tampa-house/1188048]
Dear Friends – here's an article about a $3.1 civil seizure in a trafficking case. Very terrific lawyering and police work, no doubt. We need to do this more in the US! Trafficking involved, promised or actual work in a salon as well as other enslavement.
$3-Million Home Faces Seizure After Owner Accused Of Human Trafficking [Canada]: The home of a West Vancouver, B.C., woman who has been charged with human trafficking may soon be the property of the B.C. government, if the Supreme Court approves a forfeiture claim filed earlier this week. The province's director of civil forfeiture filed the claim on the grounds that the $3.1-million house belonging to Mumtaz Ladha was "an instrument of unlawful activity." According to the statement of facts attached to the application, Ladha originally hired the victim of the alleged trafficking at her family home and salon in Tanzania. In early 2008, she promised the woman a job at a salon in Canada for a $200 monthly income, said investigators. But the woman told police that upon her arrival in August of that year, she was made to work 18 to 22 hours per day.... [HSEC-3.10; Date: 28 August 2011; Source:
Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Nine states lag in laws to stop human trafficking
A Washington-based group that advocates stronger laws against human trafficking says nine states are lagging in passing laws to combat the growing crime.
The Polaris Project said in a report Thursday that the nine states have either failed to enact basic human-trafficking provisions or the provisions they have adopted are inadequate to address the problem. Polaris called the states the “Nine Lagging Behind.”
The organization, which also helps trafficking victims by running a national hot line and providing social services, annually rates the 50 states on whether or not they have adopted 10 categories of laws it thinks are critical for the states to stop trafficking.
“Every day we are identifying an alarming number of victims from every state through the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hot line,” said Mary Ellison, director of policy at the Polaris Project. “Continuing to improve the legal framework at the state level by enacting critically important statutes will literally save lives.”
The Polaris Project gave its lowest rankings to Massachusetts, West Virginia and Wyoming, saying the states had failed to enact any laws against human trafficking.
The remaining six states that Polaris singled out for criticism were Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Montana, South Carolina and South Dakota. The Polaris report said those states only met two or fewer of the 10 categories of statutes that the group recommends.
Polaris also named four states, including Virginia, it said had improved their ratings from last year. The others were Vermont, Hawaii and Ohio.
“Ten years after the passage of the federal anti-trafficking law, forty-five states, including D.C., now have sex-trafficking criminal statutes, and forty-eight states have labor trafficking criminal statutes” she said.
Mr. Dold said that in addition to passing criminal statutes, the states need to focus on enacting legislation that provides “victim assistance and services.”
Sex trafficking involves forcing another person to engage in a commercial sex act while labor trafficking involves forcing another person to provide labor or services.
Human trafficking is a $32 billion-a-year industry worldwide and an estimated 100,000 U.S. children are exploited in the commercial sex industry annually, according to the Polaris Project.
Friday, August 26, 2011
By Rebecca Murray
BAGHDAD, Aug 25, 2011 (IPS) - Ukrainian and Bulgarian workers are currently camped out on a construction site of half-built luxury villas in Baghdad’s elite "Green Zone" – a vast security enclave housing government offices, embassies and international NGOs - demanding their salaries before being shipped back home.
Although the 2005 Iraqi constitution bans human trafficking, Iraq has no anti-trafficking law that prosecutes offenders on the books. Since 2008 an inter-ministerial task force has been negotiating a draft law for parliamentary approval.
Over 200 foreign labourers began work on the prestigious Arab League Summit housing site at the beginning of the year, but construction was halted in April due to turmoil throughout the Middle East.
However, 35 workers have stayed on, desperate to receive their unpaid wages. Crowded into a rudimentary hall where they live and sleep, they have no legal working papers and little food and water in Iraq’s intense summer heat.
Their handmade signs posted on the construction site fence a couple weeks ago begged attention. "Please help we are in trouble", said one, while another pleaded: "SOS Ukrainian Workers".
The Salar Group, a Turkish company contracted to build the high-profile project, as well as the five-star Baghdad Hotel, tore down the protest signs, and insist they have continued to drop off food supplies based on "humanitarian grounds".
Yuri, a Ukrainian worker on the site, says Salar’s Kurdish subcontractor, Noble House, lured them to Baghdad promising monthly salaries of 2,500 dollars a month. Most of the men, unemployed with families in an economically depressed Ukraine, jumped at the chance.
They crossed the northern Iraqi border by bus in January, where they met Salar representatives, had a 15-day visit visa stamped in their passports, and signed contracts for a lower wage than initially promised. For the next four months the labourers worked 12 to 16 hours a day, Yuri says.
"Every month they told us they would pay us – but after one month they said, wait, we have a situation, no money, then again, no money – tomorrow, tomorrow…"
The International Organisation for Migration discovered the workers’ site on Aug. 4, and has since mounted a campaign to obtain compensation, and for the Iraqi government to implement labour laws.
"I would really like to see the government involved – both law enforcement and the Ministry of Labour," says IOM officer Livia Styp-Rekowska. "I hope the government can pressure the company to pay compensation to the workers."
But Ymer Ocac, Salar’s country manager, claims that Noble House illegally absconded with an advance payment of over a million dollars, and denies Salar is accountable for their subcontractor’s actions. Most of the initial workers have returned home without monies owed.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher Samer Muscati disagrees. "Just because you subcontract some part of your work away you can’t subcontract your responsibility to what happens, especially the workers… There should be provisions that the Iraqi government can use to deal with people engaging in fraud and exploitation."
Dara Hassa Rashid, deputy minister for labour and social affairs, says he is "shocked" to hear about the Ukrainian workers case, and demanded it be formally brought to the labour ministry’s attention. "This is called trafficking…corruption is everywhere," he says.
"According to Iraqi law and the work permit procedure, this is illegal," the deputy minister says. "The Salar Company is responsible for this contract – they are the people who signed the contract and they have breached this country’s law. They should have directed their sub-contractor to the ministry of labour. The contractor should pay national insurance. They do illegal things by not paying."
The labour ministry estimates current domestic unemployment rate for Iraqis is around 15 percent, although under-employment could be three times as high.
Human trafficking to Iraq has flourished amidst years of devastating violence and chaos, with the mass influx of contractors and availability of cheap migrant labour, mostly from South-East Asia, as well Eastern Europe and Africa.
In June this year, 41 Sri Lankan construction workers threatened mass suicide in southern Iraq after working unpaid by their Lebanese employer for over two years. The Iraqi government intervened, paid the workers 3,000 dollars each, and flew them home.
A 2010 human rights report issued by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and the Officer of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) says: "Fraudulent employment agencies in the migrant workers’ countries of origin, unscrupulous employers in Iraq, overwhelmed or unresponsive Iraqi state institutions, and a lack of diplomatic representations of the workers’ home countries in Iraq all contribute to an environment where abuse and exploitation of migrant workers can take place."
Although statistics are difficult to track, on a global level IOM estimates up to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders annually, with many more trafficked within borders.
Sex trafficking of predominantly Iraqi females is also rife within Iraqi borders, as well as to major destination points in Syria and Gulf states.
In reaction to the mounting outcry against trafficking, the Jordanian government, in conjunction with IOM, hosted a regional conference for Arab League countries this past spring. This was a starting point for an Arab counter-trafficking strategy, which includes the development of a database and co- ordination of national efforts to identify and protect victims.
However, for exploited workers like the Ukrainians and Bulgarians, who alerted their embassies to their dire situation months ago, talk is not enough.
"There must be recourse under Iraqi law to mitigate the situation," asserts HRW’s Samer Muscati. "Unfortunately what we are saying is the government is either unwilling or unable to address migrant worker complaints. It goes back to the whole issue of trafficking… The government needs to take this issue more seriously." (END)
Sold and The Wheel share Edinburgh Amnesty award
Published Thursday 25 August 2011 at 12:41 by Thom Dibdin
Amnesty International’s Freedom of Expression award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been split for the first time in its ten-year history.
Sold at the Pleasance, about human trafficking, and The Wheel at the Traverse, about the effects of war and violence, were joint winners for the award which recognises outstanding theatre on the fringe that carries a human rights message.
Announcing the decision, judge Neil Cooper commented: “Saying all the right things on stage is not enough. You can believe in the cause you are championing all you like, but if it doesn’t have total artistic integrity then you will do that cause more harm than good.
“This year’s very strong shortlist were very different in their approaches. In the end, those differences are what meant they could not be separated. Both tell very complex but very real stories about things which are going on right now, both on our own doorsteps and on the other side of the worlds.”
A record total of 92 productions declared themselves eligible for the awards this year. The shortlist of four also included a comedy for the first time – Extreme Rambling (Walking the Wall by Mark Thomas at The Bongo Club – as well as Release, by Icon Theatre at the Pleasance.
Sold company member Scott Durnell told The Stage: “It was a difficult production to put on the for actors. They were working with these deep stories of real people’s lives. The difficulty of telling these stories delicately and looking at real people’s stories, real people’s lives has been the real challenge with this piece.”
Zinnie Harris, playwright for The Wheel, told The Stage that getting this award is particularly important to her. She said: “Over my last few plays I have been looking at the effects of war and violence on women and children in particular, but in ordinary communities and with ordinary people.
“I am concerned about how we can protect the next generation from becoming brutalised. The play is set against the backdrop of war, but war is a metaphor for the violence which one might encounter in a domestic setting. It is nice also that the award goes to a proper play, there are so many ways of making theatre these days and it is often easier to get a political award by doing verbatim theatre or whatever.”
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Hi everyone –today I wanted to highlight the hhuman trafficking activity of gang members and their investigation, sentencing and convictions of gang members contained in this report. In the past, we have had questions about how and whether gangs are involved with trafficking. Here's more proof positive.
DHS Open Source Enterprise
Daily Human Trafficking and Smuggling Report
25 August 2011
• Martinez Remains At Large. Man Sentenced For Importing Girls For Prostitution [Texas]: A South Texas man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for smuggling teenage illegal immigrant girls to work as prostitutes. U.S. Attorney Jose Angel Moreno said in a statement that 32-year-old Juan Antonio Garcia-Garay of Rio Grande City was sentenced Wednesday for importing illegal immigrants for prostitution, conspiracy to harbor and harboring illegal immigrants. Also sentenced were two co-defendants. Twenty-six-year-old Juan Ignacio Chavarria-Ontiveros of Mexico got seven years in prison. And 38-year-old Antonio Martinez Jr. of Rio Grande City got seven years and three months. Chavaria-Ontiveros and Martinez had been convicted of conspiracy to harbor illegal immigrants and harboring illegal immigrants. Moreno says the investigation found three girls — 13, 15 and 18 — who had been harbored at two apartments and a house in Rio Grande City. [HSEC-3.10; Date: 24 August 2011; Source: http://www.chron.com/news/article/Man-sentenced-for-importing-girls-for-prostitution-2139911.php]
• [Update] MS-13 Member's Child Prostitute Ring Serviced Clients In Fairfax [Virginia]: A Fairfax County man pled guilty Monday to sex trafficking teenage runaways as part of his juvenile prostitution business. His victims serviced clients all over Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland, notably in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church and Woodbridge. Alonso Bruno Cornejo, aka "Casper," 22, a Peruvian-born U.S. citizen and self-proclaimed member of MS-13, admitted that he ran a prostitution ring of juvenile girls. He said he started the ring in August 2009. Cornejo pled guilty to one count of sex trafficking of children. He faces 10 years to life in prison. … Much of the evidence against Cornejo came from three other MS-13 members who alleged that they saw Cornejo prostitute juveniles and promote his prostitution ring to clients, according to an affidavit filed by the FBI in April. "[A witness] stated that Cornejo set up approximately six-to-seven prostitution appointments a day and generally profited $400-500 on weekdays and $800-900 during a weekend day." [HSEC-3.10; Date: 23 August 2011; Source: http://fallschurch.patch.com/articles/fbi-ms-13-members-child-prostitute-ring-serviced-clients-in-fairfax-3]
• [Update] Police Use Wiretaps To Crack Human Trafficking By Street Gangs [Illinois]: Prosecutors and police on Wednesday announced charges against Chicago gang members in a unique human trafficking investigation. As CBS 2′s Mike Puccinelli reports, for the first time in the state, law enforcement officials used wiretaps approved by a judge to gather evidence of human trafficking. The Cook County State's Attorney's office said that "Operation Little Girl Lost" utilized the new Illinois Safe Children's Act to arrest and charge gang members for forcing young women and girls into prostitution.… The eight men and one woman charged in the case have been accused of forcing children – some as young as 12 – to have sex for money. Police said that, in some cases, the crimes were actually heard by investigators listening into wiretapped phone conversations. [HSEC-3.10; Date: 24 August 2011; Source: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/08/24/police-use-wiretaps-to-crack-human-trafficking-by-street-gansg/]
• Three Arrested In Suspected Father-Operated Prostitution [Canada]: Three Penticton men have been arrested and charged for allegedly receiving sexual services from a young woman whose 46-year-old father
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operated as her pimp. Because of a court gag order the names of all three arrested men, aged 34. 63 and 67, and the girl's father have been withheld from publicity. Penticton cops began their investigation into the forced prostitution allegations in May. The father was arrested on July 22 and charged with numerous sexual offenses including assault, interference, exploitation, breach of parental trust by forcing his daughter into prostitution and living off the earnings of prostitution. He remains in custody and will appear in court for a bail hearing in September. The three men were arrested between July 22 and August 12. They have since been released pending their summons to court on September 7 and October 12 and they have been restricted from all contact with persons under the age of 16. [HSEC-3.10; Date: 24 August 2011; Source:
• Six Suspected Victims Of Human Trafficking Have Been Rescued [Ireland]: Three men and a woman were arrested in Belfast today as part of the planned Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) operation against organized crime and the vice trade. All the women rescued by detectives are from Eastern Europe and were allegedly being forced into prostitution.… Two of them, both aged in their 20s, were rescued today from an apartment block in the King Street area and a property in College Park North. Police said the other four women had been rescued over the past number of weeks as part of a three-month PSNI investigation. Details of those rescues have only now been made public. Of the four suspects detained, two men – aged 29 and 22 – were arrested in the King Street apartments while a 24-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman were taken into custody on Cavendish Street, off the Falls Road in west Belfast. [HSEC-3.10; Date: 24 August 2011; Source: http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/six-trafficking-victims-rescued-in-belfast-517729.html]
• Search For Human Trafficking Victims Continues With Arrest Of Suspect [Bolivia]: International government officials and the Minneapolis-based Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons (ITEMP) continue their search for information about a suspected human trafficker arrested and currently awaiting formal charges in Bolivia. José Ignacio Llopis Miró, 45, was arrested by INTERPOL agents June 17 at a café in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, after a nearly three-year manhunt. He is suspected in the disappearance of two women in Bolivia. He is also wanted in Uruguay, Spain, Guatemala, Argentina, and Australia on fraud, theft, and human trafficking-related charges. Furthermore, he is under investigation in Guatemala in connection with a homicide. Spanish-born Miró allegedly operated under nearly a dozen aliases in 17 countries. [HSEC-3.10; Date: 25 August 2011; Source: http://www.pr-inside.com/search-for-human-trafficking-victims-continues-r2779583.htm]
• Human Smuggling Try Foiled [Malaysia]: Seven waitresses who fell prey to a human trafficking ring sending their victims to Malaysia were rescued by agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group during an operation in Palawan that also resulted in the arrest of two suspects. CIDG chief Director Samuel D. Pagdilao Jr. identified the victim as Joanne Angelique, 21, and Arlen Encillo, 23, both residents of Dasmarinas, Cavite, and Anndrine Lacap, 26; Jenalyn Espinosa, 19; Jessica Espinosa, 21; Daneth Dayrit, 19; and Aloha Salutin, 24; all from Angeles City, Pampanga., They were rescued hours before they were scheduled to board a boat that would bring them to Malaysia. … An investigation showed that the victims of human trafficking were to sail from Brgy. Buliluyan to Labuan, Malaysia where they were to work as waitresses at the Peftok Bar owned by a friend of Tompong identified as Lorena Manahan. [HSEC-3.10; Date: 23 August 2011; http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/national/11872-human-smuggling-try-foiled]
• Kidnapped Child Rescued From Begging [Thailand]: Twenty one days after being kidnapped and forced to beg, a three year old girl was reunited with her parents yesterday thanks to a pair of good Samaritans. Inthong Phanpraset and husband Wara, said they spotted Pompam accompanied by a 30-year-old woman begging at a food shop near Muang district office in Chon Buri and asked the woman for the child's birth certificate. Inthong said the woman excused herself to confer with a man who claimed to be the child's father, before they fled. The child told police that her kidnappers pinched and beat her up. The child's real parents, Wiset Samang and Apphinya Sumaphan, who live in Samut Prakarn, will present the rescuers a cheque for Bt50,000 at a ceremony organised by the Democrat Party. The date for the event will be announced later. [HSEC-3.10; Date: 24 August 2011; Source: http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20110825-296164.html]