#374 – Human Trafficking Arrests on the Rise

Listen to podcast episode #374

We have been reporting on the rise in human trafficking, especially when it involves children, for quite some time now. As we highlighted last week, January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Awareness is growing

Below is a statement from one of the Governors involved in a multi-state cooperative effort to end this disgusting crime against humanity.

LINCOLN – This morning (January 18, 2022), Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts proclaimed January as “Human Trafficking Awareness Month” during a press conference at the State Capitol.  The Governor highlighted the State’s work to raise awareness of human trafficking, to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes, and to support survivors.

Nebraska Attorney General (AG) Doug Peterson and Nebraska State Patrol Superintendent, Colonel John Bolduc, joined the Governor to discuss the State’s efforts to prevent human trafficking.  AG Peterson noted the successful prosecution of human trafficking crimes in Furnas County in 2021 as an example of the teamwork needed to stop human trafficking.  Colonel Bolduc cited the Furnas County case as a reminder that trafficking can occur in any part of the state—rural or urban.  The Furnas County investigation began with a tip from a citizen who reported suspicious activity.  Local law enforcement then partnered with the AG’s Office and the Nebraska State Patrol to conduct the investigation that ultimately led to a series of convictions.

Governor Pete Ricketts

The Governor encouraged Nebraskans to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) to report any suspicions of human trafficking. 

He also thanked State agencies, federal partners, local law enforcement, and Nebraska’s nonprofit community for joining forces to prevent human trafficking in Nebraska.

The Attorney General’s Office issued this report, and despite it’s brevity, it contains some eye opening revelations.

https://ago.nebraska.gov/sites/ago.nebraska.gov/files/doc/2021%20Task%20Force%20Update%201.18.22.pdf

Scottsdale Police Department working to combat human trafficking in the state

The Scottsdale Police Department in response to the issue created a human exploitation and trafficking unit in 2020-21 focusing on internet crimes against children and sex trafficking and exploitation.

DOD Is Making Significant Strides in Countering Human Trafficking, Official Says

In 2021, DOD had a total of 108 human trafficking in persons cases: 77 were sex trafficking or related incidents, while the remaining 31 were labor trafficking or related incidents, Dixon said. There were 160 trafficking or related cases in 2020; 65 in 2019; 141 in 2018; 63 in 2017; and 41 in 2016. The spike in 2018 was due to sting operations and 2020 saw a spike in violations in Afghanistan, she added.

Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) is in the fight!

MISSION STATEMENT : Bikers Against Child Abuse, Inc. (B.A.C.A.) exists with the intent to create a safer environment for abused children. We exist as a body of Bikers to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live. We stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them with an established, united organization. We work in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children. We desire to send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence. We stand at the ready to shield these children from further abuse. We do not condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner, however, if circumstances arise such that we are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle.

Stings, Arrests & Charges are still happening across the country

Trafficking suspects identified after Topeka spa sting

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Authorities have identified three suspects arrested in a sting operation at six massage parlors and spas in Topeka.

Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay confirmed with KSNT News Thursday morning that three people in custody in the Shawnee County Jail were arrested in connection with Wednesday’s sting, which saw multiple law enforcement agencies serve search warrants at six Topeka spas in a human trafficking investigation.

The sting was the result of a group of Kansas and federal law enforcement agencies teaming up for several criminal investigations, The Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office said members of the group, known as the Kaw Valley Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, executed search warrants at the following businesses:

  • Oriental Health Spa – 2611 SW 21st St.
  • Healing Massage – 4209 SW 21st St.
  • Moon Spa – 3124 SW 29th St.
  • Rising Sun Asian Massage Spa – 5123 SW 29th St.
  • Healing Star Massage – 5501 SW 29th St.
  • Rainbow Massage – 5219 SW 7th St.

Neither the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office nor the district attorney specified what spa each of the three arrested were working at.

9 men arrested after authorities conduct human trafficking operation, officials say

The Memphis Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation joined together to create an operation to arrest men involved in human trafficking.

Gulfport man to serve 30 years for child sex crimes

Judge Mueller addressed the defendant prior to sentencing saying, “The facts of your case are some of the most disturbing since I have been on the bench. The details, length of time, and things you did are inexcusable. I can’t imagine how they will impact her life now and in the future. Hopefully, she will recover. You were in a position of trust you were there to protect her, instead, you inflicted the most unspeakable harm on this child, and you made her feel it was her fault. It was not her fault.”

Man arrested on 26 child sex crimes in Southwest Virginia

Tirado is facing 26 felony charges, including:

  • Six counts of sodomy with a child age 13 or younger
  • Six counts of aggravated sexual battery with a child age 13 or younger
  • Seven counts of object sexual penetration with a child age 13 or younger by suspect age 18 or older
  • Seven counts of indecent liberties with a child age 15 or younger

Woman arrested 2nd time on charges of sex trafficking children

Tori Magnum, 21, was first arrested by Las Vegas police in late March when two teens told police Magnum oversaw their work as prostitutes on the Strip and downtown. Las Vegas Justice Court records show criminal charges against Magnum were ultimately dismissed in that case, with prosecutors noting at the time that they were considering pursuing a grand jury indictment in the matter though no charges were filed.

Sex-Trafficking Convictions Upheld for Dad Who Moved for New Job

The sex-trafficking convictions of a father who moved from state-to-state for a job while having incestuous relationships with his daughters were upheld by the Ninth Circuit under the Mann Act.

Salesforce wins lawsuit appeal after dozens of women accused company of helping pimps and sex traffickers

A California appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit claiming Bay Area software giant Salesforce helped pimps and human traffickers by providing a database and services to a website that featured adult ads.

The suit claimed that a group of 50 plaintiffs, identified as “Jane Does,” were victims of sex trafficking facilitated by website Backpage, including women who were allegedly sold for sex as minors via the site.

Backpage has been shut down by federal authorities, and ex-CEO Carl Ferrer in 2018 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to facilitate prostitution; several Backpage-related corporate entities pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in money laundering. Backpage co-founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin and four former Backpage employees are charged with facilitating prostitution and money laundering in a federal case in Arizona that resulted in a mistrial in September over the prosecution’s conduct.

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