Thursday, March 28, 2013

Protecting Our Children from Modern Slavery

Protecting Our Children from Modern Slavery
Letter to the editor by Commissioner Michael Keller - Brandon, Florida

Protecting Our Children from Modern Slavery

Shauna Newell was a typical 16-year old middle-class American girl, when she was kidnapped, drugged, gang-raped and savagely beaten for days in a suburban Florida neighborhood.

“My legs were being held down … I kept screaming, ‘Stop, please don?t do this. Leave me alone.’ But I was so weak, I couldn?t fight them off ... I blacked out a few times and I kept coming back to, and I was still being raped every time I woke up.”

Shauna is just one of the more than 3 million victims of human trafficking every year. Human trafficking has been legally defined as “modern slavery,” and for her captor this was business as usual; he had taken money from the men who raped her, and “sold” her on the Internet for $300,000. Fortunately, three days after her abduction, during transport to her new slave-master, she was discovered by a search party that her family had assembled.

Most victims of human trafficking are not so lucky. A recent local assessment determined that “in the Clearwater/Tampa Bay area, domestic minor sex trafficking victims are rarely identified and often misidentified.” Human trafficking is the nation’s third largest criminal industry, and Florida is one of the top three destinations for trafficking victims in the United States.

Last year, the Florida Legislature created the Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force, giving it the mission to examine and analyze the problem of human trafficking and to plan for a coordinated humane response for its victims.

This Task Force has determined that when these victims, in some cases after suffering years of torture, being raped as many as 35-40 times a night, are finally “encountered by the law enforcement and judicial systems, many of these exploited children are often erroneously dealt with as criminals.” Even though these are minors, children, held against their will in conditions of extreme brutality, they are often treated as common prostitutes by state and local agencies.

To help correct this injustice, the Task Force is recommending legislation that creates short-term “safe shelters” for the care of sexually exploited children. These shelters would be established as secure facilities where children could receive the intensive therapy and counseling necessary to help them cope with their horrific experiences.

Protecting our children is our most sacred duty. Passing safe shelter legislation is a necessary first step in both achieving this end, and in combating the plight of modern slavery. We hope the Florida Legislature will address this issue in the very near future.

Commissioner Michael Keller, Florida Commission on Human Relations.

The Florida Commission on Human Relations is the state agency charged with enforcing the Florida Civil Rights and Fair Housing Acts, and is a member of the Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thoughts on the Connections Between Passover and Human Trafficking

"Once we were slaves, now we are free..." Jews all over the world will be saying this at our seders tonight. Let's not forget that slavery still exists around the world, even in our own backyard. I recently learned from the head of the LAPD's human trafficking division that gangs here in LA have shifted from selling drugs to selling people because it's more lucrative. We cannot close our eyes to it. (by Nedra Weinreich, interfaith children's movement)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Seeking solutions to human trafficking in Ukraine

Seeking solutions to human trafficking
UAlberta institute connects researchers, community groups and government officials working to end human trafficking in Ukraine.

Posted by Michael Davies-Venn on March 22, 2013

(Edmonton) The University of Alberta’s Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies today brought together scholars, community groups and government officials from Ukraine and Canada to find ways to solve the problem of human trafficking in Ukraine—a problem with global ramifications.

Bohdan Klid, assistant director of the institute, says the forum, entitled Trafficking of Women in Ukraine: Governmental and Non-governmental Responses, is a chance to connect people working on the issue from a range of perspectives.

“By bringing together experts and others interested in solving this problem, we create a network—people who come to the forum will learn more about the problem,” says Klid. “This meeting raises awareness of the problem, that it’s not just a problem for Ukraine but an international problem. These women end up all over the world—and some of them end up here in Canada.”

He says the institute’s focus goes beyond addressing historical issues related to Ukraine. “We also look at contemporary issues that touch on social matters, and this is a big social problem.”

Through the forum, Klid says, the U of A is providing a comprehensive response to a complex problem. Researchers in women’s and gender studies, law and political science are among the participants spending the day defining the scope of the problem and searching for solutions.

Political science professor Siobhan Byrne says a comprehensive approach to the issues of human trafficking also involves examining the local, national and international dimensions to get at the root causes.

“If we’re going to think about how international conventions, coupled with state legislation and front-line support, are going to work together to eradicate trafficking, then it requires this kind of interdisciplinary response,” Byrne says. “We have to look at the demand side of trafficking, and that requires all of us to consider how we’re complicit in the multiple vulnerabilities and insecurities that women in particular but men as well encounter, which leads to trafficking.”

Kateryna Levchenko, president of La Strada Ukraine, a pressure group against human trafficking in Ukraine, says she welcomes the initiative by the institute.

“It’s very important when an institute such as this is interested in an issue for Ukraine. Trafficking of human beings is one of the burning social issues in Ukraine. This year, Ukraine is the current chair of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and among the main topics of its leadership, Ukraine chose trafficking of human beings, a very real problem not only for Ukraine but for all OECD member countries including Canada.”

Levchenko says the problem has been taking a different form over the past few years.

“When we look at the people assisted by the International Organization for Migration and governmental organizations in Ukraine, we see that a majority are men. In 2004, we had 86 men and 540 women and in 2012, 414 women and 531 men. It means that there are a lot of changes in the trafficking phenomenon,” she says.

The proceedings from the forum will be made available for everyone at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies website.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Potential Abuse in Legal Channels of Migration

Last week, McDonald’s was caught hijacking a program that’s supposed to allow young people to come to the U.S. for cultural exchange programs and professional training. Instead, the fast food giant twisted it into a source of cheap, exploitable labor.
Student workers from Asia and Latin America were required to work for as much as 25 hours at a time with no overtime. They were housed eight to a room in substandard housing and expected to be ready to turn up for work at any time with only 30 minutes' notice. And to add insult to injury, the students paid $3,000 each for the privilege.
Tell McDonald’s: Pay these students back and stop exploiting guest workers.
These students came from Latin America and Asia, and were put to work at McDonald’s for take-home pay that was far lower than minimum wage after exorbitant fees were deducted for their employer-sponsored housing. If they quit or were dismissed, they would lose their visas and get deported -- a threat their boss dangled over them constantly.
But they aren’t just lying down and taking the abuse from McDonald’s. On Wednesday, with the support of the National Guestworker Alliance, many of them walked off the job at a McDonald’s in Pennsylvania in protest. McDonald’s took notice and quickly released a statement promising to investigate the situation.
This fight is far from over. The company needs to listen to its workers and investigate whether other stores are also exploiting guest workers. And above all, it needs to commit to end these abuses and compensate the students. So we need to act now, while this issue is still hot, to let McDonald’s know that its customers care that it is using cheap labor to pad its profits, instead of treating all its workers fairly.
Can you take a moment to show your support for guest workers’ rights?
Now, the students are taking their campaign on the road. On Thursday they went to New York to deliver their petition at the Times Square McDonald's with the fast food workers who went on strike last year. Afterwards, McDonald's announced it would cut ties with the franchisee the students worked for, Andy Cheung. This is an important admission by McDonald's, but new management in three stores in Pennsylvania isn't nearly enough -- McDonald's needs to ensure that each and every one of its stores is free of this kind of abuse.
So now the students are heading to McDonald’s corporate headquarters outside Chicago to demand a meeting with CEO Don Thompson. All along the way, they’ll be delivering petitions to McDonald’s managers -- and the more of us that sign, the bigger the impact will be.
The students were visiting the U.S. as part of a State Department program called the J-1 visa, and this isn’t the first time a big corporation has taken advantage of it. In 2011, hundreds of student guest workers walked out of a Hershey’s packing plant where they had suffered the same sorts of abuses, prompting an investigation by the State Department and a settlement from the Department of Labor. The business lobby is pushing for a huge expansion of guestworker programs as part of the coming reform of America's immigration system, but these incidents raise big questions about corporations’ willingness to respect workers' rights. Now is the time to show companies like McDonald’s that they can’t get away with abusing guestworkers.
Click here to speak out against the exploitation of student guestworkers.
Thanks for all you do
Rob, Claiborne, and the team at

Thursday, March 21, 2013

True Story Inspires Tale of Sex Trade; in a Twist, a U.S. Marshal Is the Bad Guy ‘Eden’ Depicts Sex Trafficking in the United States

True Story Inspires Tale of Sex Trade; in a Twist, a U.S. Marshal Is the Bad Guy
‘Eden’ Depicts Sex Trafficking in the United States

Phase 4 Films
Jamie Chung stars in “Eden,” loosely based on the true story of a sex slave.

Enough films about human trafficking have been made in recent years that the outlines of “Eden” should be painfully familiar. But that familiarity doesn’t cushion this movie’s excruciating vision of under-age women conscripted into sexual slavery by a criminal enterprise from which there is seemingly no escape.

You may call me na├»ve, but it is deeply upsetting that “Eden” is set in the United States and that the organization’s boss, Bob Gault (Beau Bridges), is a law-and-order-preaching United States marshal. We imagine this kind of crime flourishing in the shadows of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. But in the United States, with a backslapping good old boy running the operation? Could it be?

The movie, directed by Megan Griffiths, is loosely based on the true story of Chong Kim, who was born in South Korea and moved to the United States as a toddler. As a teenager in the mid-1990s, she became a captive of the domestic sex trade. She eventually survived her ordeal and has become a crusader against human trafficking.

In the film she is a Korean-American teenager named Hyun Jae (Jamie Chung), who works in her parents’ New Mexico gift shop. She is picked up in a bar by a handsome, friendly young firefighter who offers her a ride home. Along the way, he makes a stop and exits the vehicle. Moments later she is kidnapped and drugged and has her identification and possessions confiscated.

Renamed Eden, she soon finds herself in a regiment of sex slaves, most of them immigrants, imprisoned under close guard in a converted storage facility. In a bizarre touch, each girl is given a tiny kitten to take care of.

The movie is frustratingly arbitrary in what it shows and what it leaves out. Although events are seen from Eden’s perspective, we are never given a clear picture of her daily routine. There is no nudity or explicit sex, although Eden’s clients — we see only two or three — graphically voice their demands.

Other sickening forms of brutalization are shown. The women are suspended from the ceiling and whipped. After an incident in which Eden viciously fights back a john and desperately tries to flee, she is handcuffed and thrown into a bathtub filled with ice cubes.

What human dimension there is concerns Eden’s ambiguous connection with Vaughan (Matt O’Leary), Gault’s bullied, drug-addicted assistant. He is a lost boy, and Eden solicits his trust by offering to help him in his various jobs. Before long they are de facto partners. He teaches her to drive his van, in which caged girls are ferried back and forth from the storage facility to a makeshift hospital and to bars where they are paraded before mostly white, middle-aged clients.

“Eden” leaves many details cloudy. We learn late in the film that the babies of the girls who become pregnant are sold. And it is suggested that by the age of 20, when a girl is considered to have outlived her commercial shelf life, she faces execution and burial in the desert. Shadowy international connections are referred to. At a certain point, the entire operation considers abruptly relocating to Dubai.

The movie is set in the kind of Southwestern outlaw territory found in the AMC series “Breaking Bad” and in “No Country for Old Men:” an arid, lawless no man’s land that looks as forbidding today as it did in the 19th century.

After watching “Eden,” you may worry that the cargo in any innocent-looking white van streaking down a highway may not be furniture and home appliances but a group of chained sex slaves being taken from one hell to another in a sadistic warlord’s fiendish underground network. That fantasy describes the residual chill the movie leaves behind. For the perpetrators in the film, human trafficking is no different from animal slaughter. It’s just business as usual.

“Eden” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It has strong language, violence and sexual situations.


Opens on Wednesday in Manhattan.

Directed by Megan Griffiths; written by Richard B. Phillips and Ms. Griffiths, based on a story by Mr. Phillips and Chong Kim; director of photography, Sean Porter; edited by Eric Frith; music by Joshua Morrison, Jeramy Koepping and Matthew Emerson Brown; production design by Ben Blankenship; costumes by Rebecca Luke; produced by Colin Harper Plank and Jacob Mosler; released by Phase 4 Films. At Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, west of Avenue of the Americas, South Village. Running time: 1 hour 38 minutes.

WITH: Jamie Chung (Eden), Matt O’Leary (Vaughan), Beau Bridges (Bob Gault), Scott Mechlowicz (Jesse) and Jeanine Monterroza (Priscilla).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Oklahoma, You're More Than OK!

Okla. Senate panel approves trafficking bills

Posted: Mar 19, 2013 5:05 AM EDTUpdated: Mar 19, 2013 11:25 AM EDT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a pair of bills related to human trafficking, sending them to the full Senate.
In a quick meeting Tuesday, the committee passed a bill from Rep. Sally Kern to allow sex trafficking victims to remove prostitution from their criminal records. Sen. Nathan Dahm is carrying the bill in the Senate.
Also approved is a bill from Rep. Pam Peterson and Sen. Kim David allowing the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs to use subpoenas in its trafficking investigations. The bureau already uses subpoena powers for drug investigations.
Both bills overwhelmingly passed the House. Their sponsors have framed them in terms of protecting Oklahoma's children.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Bill to Crack Down on Human Trafficking Passes the Utah House

Bill to crack down on human trafficking passes House
| The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published Mar 11 2013 05:16 pm • Last Updated Mar 11 2013 09:56 pm
The House approved a series of tough new penalties for those who engage in human trafficking or patronize children or others who have been trafficked for commercial purposes.

Rep. Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake City, said nationally as many as 100,000 children are trafficked or sexually exploited each year and said that on a trip with vice officers she saw advertisements offering sex with minors.

"This is a horrific issue and a very important one," Seelig said.

The bill makes it a first-degree felony to traffic a child for forced labor or sexual exploitation. It makes it a second-degree felony to patronize a prostitute who has been a victim of human trafficking and a first-degree felony if it involves a child.

The bill passed the House unanimously and moves to the Senate for consideration. The bill has the backing of the Attorney General’s Office.

— Robert Gehrke

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

This cool organization just won a grant from Ashoka: Truckers Against Human Trafficking

Welcome to Truckers Against Human Trafficking
Human trafficking, a term for modern-day slavery, is a $32-billion worldwide industry with more than 27 million people enslaved. It has been reported in all 50 states, and the number of victims in the United States is estimated in the hundreds of thousands. This website has been created to enable members of the trucking/travel plaza industry and other travelers learn what you can do to help stop this atrocity.

Around the world, there are an estimated 27 million slaves today. This is more than at any other time in world history. Modern-day slavery, when it results in people being bought and sold and moved around, is called human trafficking. Beyond the international statistics, slavery exists here in the United States. Foreign nationals from multiple countries are trafficked into this country on an annual basis; and the U. S. Department of Justice estimates that anywhere between 100,000-300,000 American kids are at risk of entering the sex trade each year.

While illegal, human trafficking is a booming business, second only to drug trafficking. Most of the people trafficked are women and children. Many of them are used in the sex industry. They are the prostituted people on the street, at truck stops and in motels. They need help. They need to be identified and rescued.

You Can Help Us Stop This Nightmare
This is where you come in! Truckers Against Trafficking recognizes that members of the trucking industry and individual truckers are invaluable in the fight against this heinous crime. This site has been created to inform truckers and other travelers of the basic issues involved in human trafficking and a summary of ways you can help. We invite you to travel through this website and learn how you can join this worthy cause and save lives.

Our Mission
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a 501(c)3 that exists to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking and travel plaza industry to combat domestic sex trafficking.
Our Goals
Make the TAT training DVD, wallet cards (and other materials) a regular part of training/orientation for members of the trucking industry so that when they suspect human trafficking is taking place they can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at             1-888-3737-888       and report what they know.
Partner with law enforcement to facilitate the investigation of human trafficking.
Marshal the resources of the trucking industry to combat this crime.
Wallet Cards In English, Spanish and French Canadian

If you're a member of the trucking industry and would like wallet cards to use and pass along to other truckers, email . You may also download the card in the language of your choice here.

Truckers Against Trafficking Posters for Your Use (English and Spanish)

You may download posters here .
Truckers Against Trafficking has a national director and two national coordinators who are available for interviews, speaking engagements and strategy discussions regarding the accomplishment of our goal. If you'd like to speak to one of them, contact Kendis Paris, director, at             720-202-1037       or e-mail .

The TAT Mobile App

TAT now has an app for Android phones and for Windows phones.

If you have an Android phone you can get the app by running the 'Marketplace app' from your phone and then searching for 'Truckers Against Trafficking'. Press the 'Download' button to download it to your phone. If you want to learn more about it before downloading go here.

To download the TAT Windows phone app go here. Thanks to Steve Andrews for creating his app.

Monday, March 11, 2013

UK authorities turn ‘blind eye’ to ‘shocking underworld’ of human trafficking

UK authorities turn ‘blind eye’ to ‘shocking underworld’ of human trafficking
Published time: March 10, 2013 12:30
AFP Photo / Bertrand Langlois

The UK’s Centre for Social Justice has called on the government for a “radical overhaul” of measures to combat slavery, claiming the “ministers are clueless” about the current scale of slavery and human trafficking in the country.

Over 1,000 trafficking victims were detected in 2012, a staggering number of them British children, according to the CSJ’s latest report. An investigation, entitled ‘It Happens Here’, features a range of cases where both adults and children are trafficked into and within the UK to be subjected to various forms of forced labor, from sexual exploitation to forced criminality.

"Our research has uncovered a shocking underworld in which children and adults, many of them UK citizens, have been forced into lives of utter degradation,” the managing director of the CSJ, an independent think-tank established to tackle social issues in the UK, revealed.

Christian Guy noted that the latest figures are said to represent only the tip of the iceberg, due to a “shambolic identification system”.

"Yet the authorities are either failing to understand the nature of this abuse or turning a blind eye to its existence. Our once great nation of abolitionists is a shameful shadow of its former self,” he said.

Meanwhile, British girls trafficked for sexual exploitation in 2011 made up nearly one half of all UK slavery victims, according to the study. One incident reportedly involved a girl who was raped by 90 men in the course of one weekend.

“We have allowed human beings in the UK to be bought and sold as mere commodities for profit, gain or gratification. How on earth have we arrived at a place where there is no ambition or leadership to stamp out this appalling crime?” CEO of anti-human-trafficking charity Unseen, Andrew Wallis, who also worked on the report, said.

The researchers have urged politicians in the UK to develop effective measures aimed at protecting victims of human trafficking. They suggest that the responsibility for fighting slavery should be switched to the Ministry of Policing and Criminal Justice and away from the Ministry of Immigration. It’s hoped the move could help make it clear that human trafficking is first and foremost a criminal matter, not one of higher immigration control. Appointment of an anti-slavery commissioner, modeled on the existing children's commissioner, is among the proposed measures.

In the report the CSJ cited a case where a woman was arrested as an illegal immigrant after she managed to escape from a brothel where she was enslaved, and fled to a police station.

To encourage victims to report abuse and seek help from welfare agencies without facing the threat of criminal prosecution, the UK Border Agency should be stripped of its lead role in ruling on suspected cases of human trafficking and a new Modern Slavery Act introduced by parliament to bring all human trafficking and slavery offences together, the CSJ study proposed.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Because I don't bring you nearly enough news from North Dakota...

2nd suspect seeks trial in human trafficking case

March 05, 2013 9:39 pm  •  Associated Press
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — A second man charged in an alleged human trafficking case in Grand Forks is heading to trial.

Twenty-seven-year-old Joshua Harry earlier took a deal offered by prosecutors and pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution in the case that authorities say involved the pimping of a 17-year-old girl. Harry now wants to stand trial on a more serious charge of human trafficking, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Two others are charged in the case. Earlier this year, 30-year-old Travis Johnson rejected a plea deal and will stand trial on charges of human trafficking and felony corruption of a minor. He also allegedly had sex with the girl.

Twenty-two-year-old Amanda Stewart pleaded guilty in January to a charge of criminal facilitation

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Anti-Human Trafficking Groups On Missing Women: 'The Common Denominator Is Model Mayhem'

Anti-Human Trafficking Groups On Missing Women: 'The Common Denominator Is Model Mayhem'
The Huffington Post  |  By Andrea Rael
Posted: 03/04/2013 8:04 pm EST  |  Updated: 03/05/2013 12:06 pm EST

Two anti-human trafficking organizations have partnered together to help raise awareness on behalf of a few young women who have gone missing and who had created modeling profiles on the networking site

The National Women's Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation (NWCAVE) and All We Want Is Love organization announced their partnership last week and are now calling for a federal investigation, calling the website "a common denominator" and "a red flag" in the disappearances.

Raven Cassidy Furlong of Denver, 17, is the latest Colorado teen to go missing who had a modeling profile with the site. Last Tuesday, Raven's stepmother received an unnervingly short phone call the missing teen.

"Raven said she was safe, but that she was calling from someone else's phone and couldn't stay on the line and had to go," Lin Furlong told People Magazine. "I was relieved to hear her voice, but I'm terrified for her. She sounded scared and not like herself at all."

Missing 19-year-old Kara Nichols of Colorado Springs also had joined Model Mayhem and was last seen Oct. 9 before travelling to Denver for a modeling job.

"What causes us concern is that it is really uncharacteristic of her not to be in contact with her friends and family," Sgt. Joe Roybal told The Huffington Post in November.

“When you have a website that the Better Business Bureau rates with an ‘F’ in addition to numerous complaints, victims that lived to tell their stories and many missing women all with a profile on this same site, we believe a Federal Investigation is warranted,” said Michelle A. Bart, President and Co-founder of NWCAVE said in a news release. “We took these cases because the families felt hopeless and needed help being heard, we are praying someone report tips that can lead police to their daughters."

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Bart said that her organization finds the website particularly troubling because many of the photos appear to be very suggestive.

"These are all girls that had the dream of becoming a model and for some reason they thought Model Mayhem was the place to go. Our position is that it's a glorified porn site."

A third missing young woman from Colorado, Kelsie Schelling, 22, has sometimes been referenced as an aspiring model who may have had a profile on a modeling website called, but investigators are saying that they don't believe her disappearance is linked to the website and believe she may be in Pueblo.

For Jillian Mourning the founder of All We Want Is Love-- Liberation of Victims Everywhere, partnering with NWCAVE on this is more personal.

When she was 19, Mourning connected with someone on Model Mayhem's website who wanted to be her manager and ended up becoming a victim of sex trafficking.

"He came into my room with three guys, and they [all] proceeded to rape me," said Mourning. "They took pictures of it, and would even show me pictures of things that I was doing, and videotaped the whole thing."

Now 25, Mourning's website,All We Want Is Love, works to educate youth about human trafficking and provides funding for survivors of trafficking.

“As many as 2.8 million children run away each year in the United States. Within 48 hours of hitting the streets one-third of these children are lured or recruited into the underground world of prostitution and pornography," Mourning said.

What these families don't want is for these young women's disappearances to become cold cases, Bart says.

“All of these girls are someone’s daughter, niece, sister, granddaughter and deserve to be looked for and their cases investigated no matter if they are a runaway or not. Most runaways in the 21st century are not running from anyone, they are running to someone. Being lured away, especially if underage, is a crime and we must intervene immediately once they go missing, waiting and constant delays result in cold cases and years of uncertainty, none of us want that.”

But five months later, Kara Nichols' family still hasn't heard from Kara.

A post on the "Help Us Find Kara Nichols" Facebook page reads:

Dear Kara,

If you're out there somewhere, we want you to know that we love you and miss you very much. It’s so awful having you missing and not knowing if you’re suffering or even alive. No matter where you are or what has happened to you, we will never stop looking for you and praying that you come back to us safely. Our deepest wish is to find out if you're okay.

Whatever has happened, there is a way out and a way forward. You can rebuild your life and start anew. You are a beautiful person with so much talent and potential. The person you are, whom your family knows and loves, is so valuable and deserves the best for her life's journey.

The grief we all feel is immeasurable, and the hope and prayers for your safety are all we think about. Please, even if you can’t contact us, if someone you know can tell us you’re all right, we would be so grateful.

Love, Mom and Dad

As of Monday evening, The Huffington Post's calls to Model Mayhem have not been returned.

Anyone with any information about the disappearance of Raven Cassidy Furlong or Kara Nichols is being asked to email For Kelsie Schelling, call Detective Neal Robertson of the Pueblo County Sheriffs at             (719)-553-2470    

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cool Human Trafficking Awareness Event for our Boston-area friends

March Upcoming Events: Program on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

March, 2013

Upcoming Events:

Dinner and a Movie:
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, March 1

Regulating the Other: Stories from Iran, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, March 11

What if you could change the lives of women and girls worldwide?

HALF THE SKY: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Part I: Friday, March 1 | 4-6 p.m.
With opening remarks from Christina Bain, Director of the Program on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

Part II: Friday, March 8 | 4-6 p.m.

WAPPP Cason Seminar Room, Taubman Building, 1st Floor, Room 102, Harvard Kennedy School
Click here for an HKS campus map

Pizza will be served.

Hidden in the overlapping problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality is the single most vital opportunity of our time - and women are seizing it. From Somaliland to Cambodia to Afghanistan, women's oppression is being confronted head on and real, meaningful solutions are being fashioned. Change is happening, and it's happening now.
Part I focuses on gender-based violence, sex trafficking, and education.
Part II focuses on maternal mortality, forced prostitution, and economic empowerment.

This event is open to non-HKS attendees. Please contact Amelia Mann at with any questions. We look forward to seeing you there!

This event is co-sponsored by the HKS Women and Gender Caucus (WAG-C), the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) , and the Program on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

Monday, March 4, 2013

Miami-Dade human trafficking unit gets first conviction, sentence

Miami-Dade human trafficking unit gets first conviction, sentence

A Miami Beach man who forced a slew of women into prostitution in South Florida and Nevada will spend 15 years in prison for beating and strangling one of them.

A judge on Tuesday sentenced Robert Burton, 34, who had been found guilty of domestic battery by strangulation, deriving support from prostitution, kidnapping and interfering with parental custody.

His conviction at trial was the first for Miami-Dade prosecutors’ Human Trafficking Unit, said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. She said many of the victims are homegrown runaways.

“It’s very much like domestic violence. It’s control. It’s terror. It’s beating,” she said. “It’s affection — with torture.”

At trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Burton forced at least six women into prostitution all while fathering several children with three of them. He faced similar charges in Nevada, but was not convicted in that state.

In South Florida, authorities said, the women plied their trade at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and South Beach’s Delano hotel.

In June 2011, Burton beat and choked one of them, a 31-year-old woman with whom he has two children. He abducted their 7-year-old son. When police later pulled over Burton, officers asked the boy about two other women in the car.

“Those are my daddy’s hoes,” the boy replied, according to prosecutors.

Burton’s mother, Darlene Burton, 55, was also arrested and is awaiting trial for kidnapping.

Read more here: