Trafficking News Articles

Department of  Homeland Security March Blue Campaign Bulletin

Blue Campaign Bulletin Header

March 2018

In this issue:

Power of Partners

Truck stops and travel plazas are an important and visible part of our
nation’s vast interstate highway system. Travel center employees interact with
millions of travelers every day, putting them in a position to help identify
and report human trafficking along America’s roads. NATSO, representing
America’s truck stops and travel plazas, recognized the role truck stop and
travel plaza employees can play in combatting human trafficking and has
partnered with Blue Campaign to help employees recognize and report this
heinous crime.

Through NATSO’s collaboration with Blue
Campaign, approximately 5,000 truck stops and travel plazas in the United
States have access to Blue Campaign’s awareness materials and trainings. An
online human trafficking awareness course is available for truck stop and
travel plaza owners and designed to help truck stop and travel plaza employees
recognize the signs of human trafficking and report a suspected incident. NATSO
also often promotes resources on its website, newsletter, or social media
channels and encourages its members around the nation to hang posters, fact
sheets, and other materials at their facilities.

Blue Campaign relies on partnerships with organizations like NATSO, and
others in the industry such as TravelCenters of America, to reach people who
can help stop human trafficking on our roads.

Is your organization interested in learning more
about how they can partner with Blue Campaign and spread the word? Contact us

What’s New with Blue?

Join our Twitter Chat Tomorrow!

Please join Blue Campaign tomorrow, March 7th at 2PM EST for a public Twitter chat conversation on human trafficking and the hospitality industry. Blue Campaign, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association will be answering your questions and facilitating a discussion around the impact the hospitality industry can have in combatting this heinous crime. To follow along and participate, follow Blue Campaign on Twitter anduse the hashtag #AskBlue.

New Blue Campaign Resources

student, university building, and teacher icons on the cover of the student advocate toolkit.
Are you or your organization looking for more
ways to raise awareness of human trafficking in your community? Blue Campaign
has added a new toolkit to its online
resources library.

TheStudent Advocate Toolkit was created to help raise awareness of human trafficking at colleges and universities. The toolkit provides an overview of human trafficking, how it impacts a campus community, and how to recognize and report suspected human trafficking incidents. It also includes posters to display in dorms, around campus, and in surrounding areas.

Additionally, the toolkit offers tips and resources for students on how to engage their campus community. Everyone is susceptible to human trafficking – and student leaders can use Blue Campaign’s Student Advocate Toolkit to prevent human trafficking from happening to their friends, peers, and community members. Download it here.

Notice: Materials Request Delays

Due to an
increase in requests for Blue Campaign materials, we are experiencing delays in
fulfilling orders. Thank you for your patience and continued support of Blue

News You Can Use

How to Identify Human Trafficking While Traveling (WTOP)

trafficking has long been an international problem, but experts are reminding the public that it’s happening in America, and there are ways to spot it while traveling.

Lawmakers Work to Raise Awareness on Human Trafficking
(St. Louis

Hundreds of people gathered in the Rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol to bring awareness to sex trafficking.

Kansas Senators
weigh bill strengthening human trafficking protections

(The Topeka Capital-Journal)

As part of its efforts to combat human trafficking, the Kansas Attorney General’s office is pushing for a bill that would extend protections to minors who have fallen victim.

Social Media Shareables

Each month we will share Twitter and Facebook content you can distribute on your own channels to raise awareness of human trafficking in your communities.


  • Keep our
    colleges safe from #humantrafficking. Download and share @DHSBlueCampaign
    Student Advocate Toolkit today:

  • Let’s keep our
    colleges safe from #humantrafficking. Help raise awareness on your campus by
    sharing @DHSBlueCampaign Student Advocate Toolkit:
  • Is your
    organization looking for more ways to spread awareness of #humantrafficking?
    Download and share @DHSBlueCampaign resources to help educate the public:
  • Follow @DHSBlueCampaign on Twitter to stay informed
    about #humantrafficking awareness


  • Student leaders can use the @BlueCampaign Student Advocate Toolkit to prevent human trafficking from happening to their friends, peers, and community members. Download it here:
  • @BlueCampaign has a new Student Advocate Toolkit to help colleges and universities spread awareness of human trafficking. Help us keep our students safe by sharing this resource at your college or a campus nearby:
  • Visit @BlueCampaign’s document library to download and share the latest information on human trafficking awareness:
  • Follow @BlueCampaign’s new Twitter account to stay up to date on ways to raise awareness of human trafficking in your communities:

For more information visit the Blue Campaign
To report suspected human trafficking: 1-866-347-2423
To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733)

Enslaved By Her Dad, A Video Game Helped One Girl Escape

The Daily Beast / September 16, 2017
by Barbie Latza Nadeau

A Serbian father living in Italy enslaved his 13 year old daughter for four years to sell her as a virgin to a buyer in France for $18,000.

ROME—Teenage girls are supposed to be having fun. They should be on the cusp of new discoveries, dreaming of what the future holds. They shouldn’t be locked up in the back room of an apartment enslaved and groomed by their fathers as child brides.


Silicon Valley on edge as lawmakers target online sex trafficking

Los Angeles Times / August 31, 2017
By Evan Halper, Contact Reporter

From left: Chief Executive Carl Ferre, former owner James Larkin, Chief Operating Officer Andrew Padilla and former owner Michael Lacey. (Cliff Owen, Associated Press)

From left: Chief Executive Carl Ferre, former owner James Larkin, Chief Operating Officer Andrew Padilla and former owner Michael Lacey. (Cliff Owen, Associated Press)

After a sustained assault from lawmakers, investigators and victims groups, the website agreed early this year to shut down its lucrative adult page, which had become a well-known sex-trafficking hub.

It wasn’t long before the company was back in the headlines.

The adult section was gone, but the sex traffic was not. In May, authorities in Stockton charged 23 people with involvement in a trafficking ring that was using another corner of Backpage to market sex with girls as young as 14. A Chicago teenager allegedly trafficked on Backpage had her throat slit in June.

The resilience of this platform – host to an estimated 70% of online sex trafficking at its peak – is a long-running public relations mess for the tech industry. Internet freedom laws held sacred in Silicon Valley have helped shield Backpage from prosecution and lawsuits by victims of gruesome sex trafficking.

Now the tech industry’s Backpage problem has evolved into a full-blown political crisis. An unexpectedly large coalition of lawmakers is aiming to hold sites like Backpage liable for trafficking, sparking panic in Silicon Valley over the far-reaching consequences for the broader Internet.


Man accused of recording sex assaults on children: ‘Your mommy can’t save you’

CBS Channel 6 April 6, 2017

Kyle Thompson is accused of video recording sex assaults on at least three children. (Montgomery County Police Dept.)BURTONSVILLE, Md. — A 31-year-old man faces multiple charges after he allegedly sexually abused at least three children and filmed the attacks, WUSA reports.

An anonymous tip led investigators to the home of Kyle S. Thompson, an HVAC maintenance worker living in Burtonsville, Maryland.

Thompson had allegedly showed people videos of him having sex with a 4-year-old and two other underage females, a source told Montgomery County police. In one of the videos, a toddler yelled, “I want my mommy.” In reply, Thompson said, “Your mommy can’t save you,” according to police.

Additional videos show the 31-year-old performing various sex acts on the three children, authorities say. Some of the alleged abuse, which dates back to at least 2013, happened in the woods behind Thompson’s house.

While searching his home, investigators found child porn and videos on several computers, the station reports. One video allegedly shows Thompson assaulting a 3-year-old girl when a relative went to buy food.

“The allegations are, quite frankly, just horrific,” said Montgomery Assistant State’s Attorney Danielle Sartwell in court, according to the Washington Post.

Thompson is charged with two counts of sex abuse of a minor, two counts of first-degree sex offense and one count of third-degree sex offense in connection with the abuse.

Thompson, who denied everything upon his arrest, is in jail without bond. The FBI is also investigating and is expected to charge Thompson with federal child pornography crimes, WUSA reports.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announces new initiatives to combat human trafficking

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Monday that his office will begin to target human traffickers through new regulations under Missouri’s consumer protection laws, an effort supporters hope will lead to more prosecutions.


Dad horrified to find vile messages in popular game on son’s iPad February 16, 2017

The former rugby league star said the disturbing messages in the virtual world “turned his stomach”.

Roblox iPad game: ‘Paedophiles can easily groom kids in chat rooms’

A mortified dad has expressed serious concerns over an online game – aimed at children – which allows strangers to contact and communicate with young kids.

Roblox, which markets itself as a gaming site for kids and teens, invites children into a virtual world to “create adventures, play games, role play and learn with their friends”.

It has more than 30 million unique monthly users – predominantly kids.

Dad Iain Morrison wants the chat facility on the site removed as it allows strangers to message kids directly.

The former rugby league player for Hull, England, claims the game – targeted at children aged 8 to 12 – is being used by adults to groom vulnerable youngsters after finding vile messages from a predator in the iPad game used by his eight-year-old son.

Cuyahoga County prosecutor: Dozens of child sex assault cases were ‘ignored’

The Morning Journal, February 14, 2017
By Mark Gillispie, The Associated Press

In this file photo, Michael O'Malley speaks at a community forum at the Harvard Community Services Center in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County prosecutor O'Malley said Tuesday that more sexual assault cases are expected to be found as his office continues to review more than 1,900 cases categorized as inactive since 2012. O'Malley said Tuesday it's likely that hundreds of criminal charges from the cases prosecutors failed to enter into the Juvenile Court's tracking database and determine whether charges were warranted. Tony Dejak _ The Associated Press file

In this file photo, Michael O’Malley speaks at a community forum at the Harvard Community Services Center in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County prosecutor O’Malley said Tuesday that more sexual assault cases are expected to be found as his office continues to review more than 1,900 cases categorized as inactive since 2012. O’Malley said Tuesday it’s likely that hundreds of criminal charges from the cases prosecutors failed to enter into the Juvenile Court’s tracking database and determine whether charges were warranted.
Tony Dejak _ The Associated Press file

CLEVELAND — Assistant prosecutors in Cleveland “ignored” about 70 rape and sexual assault cases involving juvenile suspects and victims and failed to determine if criminal charges should be filed, the new Cuyahoga County prosecutor said Tuesday.

Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said additional sexual assault complaints involving juveniles are expected to be found in the coming weeks as his office continues reviewing more than 1,900 cases marked inactive in a computer system used by prosecutors.

“There was a conscious decision (by prosecutors) to make some of these cases inactive,” O’Malley said. “It’s outrageous.”

The problem was first reported Monday by

Charges have been filed in about a dozen of the 70 cases thus far, O’Malley said, adding that some may not result in charges while others will be sent back to police for further investigation. The review of the inactive cases could result in hundreds of new charges being filed, he said.


Innocents at Risk salutes ABC News, Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) for shining a light on the Global Criminal Empire of Backpage


Emotional Senate Hearing Finds Complicit in Underage Sex Trafficking as Victim’s Families Testify

By Gloria Riviera, ABC news, Jan 13, 2017

“Those children were sold, and they simply tried to sanitize it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of evil”, said Sen. Claire McCaskill, glaring at the five company executives sitting in front of her.

Jan. 10 was a day of reckoning on Capitol Hill for the controversial classified site, as the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a new report saying that Backpage had knowingly facilitated underage trafficking on its site by actively editing ads posted in the “adult services” section. The website’s top executives were subpoenaed to attend a hearing where the Subcommittee, led by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and McCaskill, D-Missouri, laid out their findings, which were based on over a million pages of internal company documents.

See the full report here»

C.E.O. of, Known for Escort Ads, Is Charged with Pimping a Minor

October 6, 2016, The New York Times

The chief executive of a website known for the sexually oriented escort advertisements it hosts was arrested on Thursday and charged with conspiracy and pimping a minor after the authorities raided the company’s Dallas headquarters, according to court records.


Finally, criminal charges have been brought against the Chief Executives and controlling shareholders of Backpage. This is a tremendous victory! According to NBC News and the New York Times, the CEO, Carl Ferrer, was arrested and charged with conspiracy and pimping a minor on Thursday after a three year investigation led by the States of Texas and California led to Dallas authorities raiding the Company’s headquarters. The charges were filed in California Superior Court against Carl Ferrer, 55, the chief executive, and two men who founded the company in 2004, Michael Lacey, 68, and James Larkin, 67.

For years, Innocents at Risk, Epact, Shared Hope, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have been educating the public that Backpage has been facilitating the sale of children online. We have all personally met rescued children who told us that they were sold on Backpage. Members of Congress have been working to shut down Backpage since 2012, led by Senator Dick Durbin and Robert Turner. Last year, Rep. Ann Wagner sponsored the SAVE Act (Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation). The Bill criminalizes all ads for sexual services.

For more information on the Bill and its current status, go to

This is encouraging news for all of us. Hopefully the pending legislation will soon be passed and made into law.

California Today: A Shift in the Child Sex Trafficking Trade

October 3, 2016, The New York Times
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that strengthened protections for victims of sex trafficking.
Campaigners have for years tried to erase the phrase from the law, arguing that if a juvenile cannot legally consent to sex with an adult, neither can she willingly sell her body.


Green Beret axed for rescuing Afghan child sex slave

September 23, 2015
Sergeant Charles Martland has been refused leave to appeal after he was discharged from the US military for confronting an Afghan police commander over the rape of a young boy


Child Trafficking Increase Feared in Nepal after Earthquake

June 9, 2015
The India-Nepal border is an infamous transit point for trafficking children to work in Indian brothels and factories. Each year an estimated 10,000 children are smuggled across the 2000-mile border.

The April 25 earthquake that struck Nepal, killing and displacing thousands of people, has only made the child trafficking problem worse.


Six Year Old Boy Saves Baby Brother

On March 8, 2015 after a babysitter left a little boy, his little sister, and their baby brother alone in a park in Sprague, Washington a man snatched the baby out of the carriage. The little boy leapt down from the jungle gym where he had been playing, grabbed his sister’s hand and ran down the street pushing the baby carriage yelling, “bring back my baby brother!” Two teenagers, Isaac Yow and Andrew Crane, realized something was wrong when they saw the children screaming and sprinting. Isaac and Andrew pursued the man, who quickly dropped the baby and fled the scene. The kidnapper was later arrested. Police were absolutely astounded by the little boy’s bravery, which was well beyond his years. Due to the incredible courage of a six year old and two teenagers the baby boy is now safe with his family!

Operation Underground Railroad

Innocents at Risk would like to thank Chris Wallace of Fox News for bringing the issue of child trafficking to its vast network of viewers. On Sunday November 9th, Chris Wallace covered the story of Tim Ballard. Tim spent 12 years at The Department of Homeland Security’s Child Crime Unit, where he learned the horrors of child trafficking all over the world. Tim became so disturbed that children as young as 3 years old were being sold in the sex trade. He felt he could make a substantial difference working directly to free these children. Thus Operation Underground Railroad was created. Tim works with law enforcement in various countries such as Columbia and Haiti to conduct sting operations in order to free children. To date Underground Railroad is responsible for conducting 12 sting operations, rescuing 230 young children, and arresting 25 traffickers who were later prosecuted for their crimes. For more information see:

We salute Tim Ballard for being a real hero and actually making a true difference in the lives of children. Again, we thank Chris Wallace for calling attention to the harsh reality of child trafficking.

Teenagers Stand Up to Backpage

New York Times
November 1, 2014

If prostitution of children is illegal, why is it that we allow an estimated 100,000 underage girls and boys to be sold for sex in America each year — many on a single American website,


Trafficked No More!

Trafficked No More! is a special 30-minute documentary that sheds light on sex trafficking in Nevada. It depicts a growing crisis that’s claiming victims. Produced by the Nevada Sex Trafficking Awareness Campaign — For help, call 1-888-373-7888.

Phoenix’s plan to fight sex trafficking ahead of Super Bowl

The special training is done through a partnership with another group, Innocents at Risk. They made a stop in Phoenix earlier this year to train Valley flight attendants ahead of Super Bowl 2015.

“We have truly seen that this is one way that we can protect these innocent lives from walking out the door to a sentence of probably death,” said Innocents at Risk Founder Deborah Sigmund.


A Desperate Mother’s Search Leads to a Fight Against Sex Trafficking

The New York Times
May 23, 2014

Desperate for answers about her daughter’s disappearance in 2002, Susana Trimarco started the Fundación María de los Ángeles, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates sex slaves in Argentina.


Rep. Maloney Pushes Bill That Would Send IRS Against Human Traffickers

CBS New York
March 22, 2014

A human trafficking survivor joined U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) Saturday to advocate for a bill that would send the IRS after pimps and traffickers for tax evasion, and provide aid and protection to survivors.

US police break up ring sharing indecent images of children

March 18, 2014

Officials in the US have dismantled a huge international ring sharing indecent images of children – one of the largest such operations ever uncovered, American authorities say.

They say that 14 men running a secret, members-only website have been arrested.

About 250 children – mostly boys from the US – appeared on the site.

The website had more than 27,000 subscribers, many of whom have been charged in individual cases.


Human Trafficking Took Center Stage At The Golden Globes
January 13, 2014
Human trafficking took center stage last night when Steve McQueen won the Best Director Golden Globe for “Twelve Years a Slave.”

Slavery, or “human trafficking” as governments describe it today, has been around for as long as humanity. Unlike the seventeenth and eighteenth variety, today’s “slave” ranges vastly in origin, age and physical appearance, and different types and methods of slavery exist including organ, labor and sex trafficking.

According to the United Nations there are over 20 million slaves held in captivity worldwide. The more vulnerable the victim, the lower the risk and higher the reward.


Inside eBay Billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s Battle To End Human Trafficking

This story appears in the November 19, 2012 issue of Forbes.

Pierre Omidyar looked out over Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley this past February, scanning the horizon with his camera in hand. All the billionaire eBay founder could see for miles were huge, belching chimneys taller than houses and mountains of red bricks drying in the winter sun. Kids of 12 or 13 lugged bricks on their backs to and from these ovens, 80 pounds at a time. Ninety percent of the workers here in Bhaktapur, the heart of Nepal’s brick sector, are slaves. Day after day they incur more debt to the traffickers who found them these jobs and hovels to live in nearby.


New report details vast sex economy

msnbc by Meredith Clark
March 12, 2014

The illegal sex industry in eight U.S. cities brings in nearly $1 billion a year, according to a new study on sex trafficking and prostitution published Wednesday.

The Urban Institute study, which was funded by a grant from the National Institute for justice to study human trafficking, examined underground markets for sex and child pornography in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Miami, San Diego, Seattle and Washington, D.C. The study is the first to take such an in-depth look at how the illicit industry functions.


Trading on Innocence
Human Trafficking, A Real-Life Horror Story for Country’s Youth
Fall 2013

Human sex trafficking can be illustrated in one sentence: “I can sell a kilo of cocaine once and I’m out of product, but I can sell a woman over and over 25 time a night 365 days a year and make a quarter of a million dollars off one girl.” That observation a pimp made to Mary de Chesnay, RN, DSN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAm, editor of the book “Sex Trafficking: A Clinical Guide for Nurses,” sums up why human sex trafficking has become a growth industry.


“I escaped Life as a Sex Slave”
One woman’s journey through the dark netherworld of human trafficking

By Abigail Pesta
Marie Claire
October 2013

Sophie Hayes was 24 when she went to visit a male friend in Italy – a charming Web designer with a worldly air. She had been friends with him for years, having met him at a club in the British city of Leeds, where she lived and worked in human resources. She saw potential for romance, but instead, he seized her passport, beat her up, and threatened her life and the lives of her twin teen brothers. Then he forced her to help him pay a debt – by selling her body on the streets.


Authorities free 16 juveniles and 54 women, and arrest more than 45 alleged pimps and their helpers.

USA Today
February 4, 2014

High school students, teens as young as 13 and other children reported missing by their families were among 16 juveniles rescued from forced prostitution during Super Bowl festivities in and around New Jersey, the FBI said Tuesday.


Wyden Continues To Lead Fight Against Child Trafficking

Albany Tribune
November 20, 2013

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, and U.S. Representatives Ted Poe, R-Texas, and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., today introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation aimed at combatting child trafficking.

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act would support and protect victims of child trafficking with increased resources for law enforcement and victim services that would be funded through fines on offenders. The bill would establish a “Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund” to support programs for victims of human trafficking and child pornography with up to $30 million a year funded through fines on offenders. It would also make funding available to support state and local efforts to fight trafficking, and provides new protections for victims.



Announcement Marks Latest Expansion of the Blue Campaign Awareness Efforts

blue-campaign-horizantal-logo-tm_originalThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced a new alliance between the DHS Blue Campaign— the unified voice for DHS’ efforts to combat human trafficking— and Western Union.

Through this alliance, Western Union will provide the Blue Campaign’s multilingual training and awareness materials to select agent locations across the country. Participating agents will also receive additional training from Western Union on how to identify and recognize indicators of human trafficking, as well as how to report suspected cases of human trafficking.

“Today, we are pledging to do more to combat human trafficking by broadening our network of partners which will enable us to better identify and rescue victims of this inexcusable crime, and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers. “We’re grateful to have the participation of Western Union in this important effort, which will help save lives, protect innocent victims, and prevent this form of modern day slavery.”

The Blue Campaign works in collaboration with law enforcement, government, non-governmental and private organizations, to protect the basic right of freedom and to bring those who exploit human lives to justice.

Working with DHS, Western Union will use training and awareness materials developed by the DHS Blue Campaign to educate its agents who regularly interact with the public on potential indicators of human trafficking and how to identify potential victims.

In June 2013, the DHS Blue Campaign unveiled new public awareness materials including a Public Service Announcement, posters and handouts to educate on victim identification and crime reporting, the case investigation process, and available resources for victim support. Western Union will display these multilingual materials at Western Union Agent locations throughout the country.

“Ending human trafficking is possible only if everyone steps in and plays a role,” said Barry Koch, chief compliance officer for Western Union. “We are committed to using the trust, reach and power of our brand along with our Agent network to engage the public and arm them with awareness and the resources to spot the signs and report suspect activity.”

In Oct. 2012, DHS announced a partnership with the Department of Transportation and Amtrak to train over 8,000 Amtrak frontline employees and Amtrak police officers to identify and recognize indicators of human trafficking, as well as how to report suspected cases of human trafficking.

To learn more or to join the fight against human trafficking visit You may also visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

**Note: Share the Blue Campaign PSA to support us in the fight to combat this heinous crime. “Out of the Shadows” is available for download through DVIDS


An NGO response to the periodic report of the United States of America to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Concerning the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

Written for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child by Sara Ann Friedman of ECPAT USA

Download the Report Here »


According to The New York Times, October 1, 2013, marks the first day the State of New York will have specialized criminal courts to manage human trafficking cases exclusively. It is the first statewide court system to do so in the United States.

New York City Chief Judge, Jonathan Lippman, said the courts “would require minimal to no additional spending because the system is managing the same cases in a more creative manner. There would be, however, more costs to the service providers, which are financed largely by government grants and private sources.” The Judge did not provide a dollar amount.

Human trafficking has become a global enterprise. According to various media reports the industry surpasses $32 million in annual profits and the latest statistics published by the United Nations confirm that more than 2 million children are trafficked worldwide.

In a speech to the Citizens Crime Commission in New York City, Chief Judge, Lippman affirmed that, “eleven new courts across the state, modeled on three narrower pilot projects in New York City and Nassau County, will bring together specially trained prosecutors, judges and defense lawyers, along with social workers and an array of other services. There will be one court in each of the five boroughs in addition to six other courts created between Long Island and Buffalo. All eleven courts will be operational by the end of October and the courts will handle 95 percent of the cases in which defendants are charged with prostitution and human trafficking offenses.”

While the endemic trouble prosecuting human traffickers rests on the local police’s ability to identify and distinguish between traffickers and pimps, the overall objective remains the same. That marked difference, i.e. improper identification, can turn a potential human trafficking case into a lesser charge of “prostitution with a minor;” a legal conundrum, that continues to fester across state and federal courts arbitrating human trafficking cases.

The singular most important step in winning a prosecution rests with the success of that first step when being processed into the system: the identification of a trafficked victim versus classification of a prostitution case. The age of the victim, disposition, and carriage, all play a secondary, though vital role. A fundamental problem remains once identification, indictment and prosecution are achieved and that is, the enviable question concerning the safety of victims.

Should and how can the state provide a safe haven for domestic and foreign-born victims of human trafficking becomes key to a successful prosecution as well as to the safeguarding and protecting of underage victims. This single issue continues to thwart state and federal courts and plays an important role once prosecution is determined.

Despite the continued abuse and inhuman conditions under which most victims of trafficking survive, lack of shelter and food become their prime motivators in returning to the streets and refusing to testify during prosecution.

Up until today, every state has a statutory rape law that convicts pedophiles, traffickers and johns however, not until the New York State decision, was there an exclusive court organized to arbitrate human trafficking cases exclusively, despite the existing laws imposing that underage children cannot legally consent to having sex.

It is my opinion, that states continue to allow minors (under the age of 18) to be arrested and charged with prostitution, rather than be identified as victims of human trafficking, because of this overshadowing issue of housing and safe shelters.

Conchita Sarnoff
Executive Director
Alliance To Rescue Trafficked Victims
Tel: 202 355 3858


“Pols push to end child sex trafficking,”
by Katie Glueck in Baltimore:

“Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius … was one of a slew of high-profile speakers from across the political spectrum at the Symposium on Meeting the Needs of Child Trafficking Survivors, held at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. That institution was a co-sponsor of the conference, along with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative and the Advisory Council on Child Trafficking. Other speakers included Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Both put aside partisan differences to appear within minutes of each other at the conference. Both highlighted the work their states have done to combat trafficking. ‘I think symposiums like today … that are obviously events of a remarkable amount of bipartisan cooperation, the president leading at the federal level, governors at the state level and many of you at the level of clinician and community activist,’ McDonnell said. … O’Malley … highlighted the importance of increased collaboration between a variety of participants in the realm of public health – something often facilitated by technology.”

Blue Campaign

One Voice. Once Mission. End Human Trafficking

Dear Stakeholders,

We appreciate your continued engagement on the issue of human trafficking, and wanted to share with you a story of a successful investigation of an international sex trafficking ring. Please see the ICE press release below for more information on this case. Thank you for your continued efforts to combat human trafficking. To learn more about human trafficking, how to identify victims, and report suspected cases of human trafficking, please visit

HSI special agents arrest 13 in connection with international sex trafficking and prostitution network

NEW YORK — More than a dozen members of an alleged international sex trafficking ring were taken into custody Tuesday to face charges for sex trafficking. The arrests are a result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).


Google Gives $3 Million to Fight Human Trafficking

The Atlantic


April 9, 2013

The modern slave trade requires a modern system to combat it, and the tech giant wants to help.

Around the world there are more than 65 different hotlines that people can call to report human trafficking. Generally speaking, these hotlines work independently, with little or no coordination. They are operating, Jacqueline Fuller, the director of Google Giving, told me, very “last century.”

“The thing is,” she continued, “the opposition — the traffickers — are using technology in very savvy ways.” How could these hotlines compete?


Brothel madam guilty of keeping students in sexual servitude

By Paul Bibby and Stephanie Gardiner


April 2, 2013

A Sydney brothel madam has been found guilty of keeping young Malaysian students in sexual servitude at a brothel on Sydney’s north shore.

Chee Mei Wong, 39, forced the six young women to work up to 20 hours a day in the Diamonds brothel in Willoughby and ordered them to perform unusual sex acts against their will, so they could pay “debts” to the madam.


Police: Trafficking victims will not be prosecuted



Published on Tuesday 2 April 2013 02:59

PEOPLE trafficked to Scotland to work as sex slaves or “gardeners” in cannabis factories will no longer be treated as criminals, police have pledged.

The new force, Police Scotland, which launched yesterday, has adopted a “victim-focused?approach” to tackling human trafficking.

The change follows criticism by Graham O’Neill, who managed the Baroness Helena Kennedy inquiry for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (ECHR).


Teenage Pregnancy A Greater Risk For Sexually Abused Or Neglected Adolescent Girls


March 26, 2013

Abused or neglected teenage girls become teen mothers at nearly five
times the national rate of teen motherhood.

A new Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center study, published
in the eFirst pages of the journal Pediatrics, shows that teen
childbirth rates are more than 20 percent for abused and neglected
teens. This compares to the national teen childbirth rate of
approximately 4 percent.

The finding holds true even after taking into account such factors as
race, family income and whether the family was a one- or two-parent


Prostitution age raised in Amsterdam

UPI / World News
February 27, 2013

The Amsterdam, Netherlands, City Council voted Wednesday to increase the minimum age for prostitution and to introduce closing hours for brothels.


ECPAT-USA January Newsletter
End Child Prostitution and Trafficking

Review of the UN CRC
On January 16, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child reviewed the US government’s implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.




Latest Human Trafficking Ring Bust in AUSTIN, TEXAS:

One of the victims had two kids in Houston and that was part of one of the threats that was used against her. That if she didn’t do what she was told, they would kill her kids and kill her.


Another Backpage Case.

Prosecuted by Office of Ramsey County, Minnesota Attorney John Choi

See criminal complaint here:

See Minnesota cases here:

Schools work to raise awareness of human sex trafficking

The Miami Herald by Laura Isensee
July 5, 2012

Principals were briefed on the issue before summer break, and the district is working on a campaign to educate students, too.

The Miami-Dade school district, together with federal agencies, law enforcement and social service groups, is working to raise awareness of human sex trafficking in an effort to prevent school-age kids from being lured into prostitution.

A new awareness campaign aims to train teachers and administrators on the warning signs. Principals were briefed on the issue before summer break, and the district is working on a campaign to educate students, too .


Another Backpage child trafficking case was found. This one in Texas. is keeping track of the cases across the country here:

The pain and terror of these young girls means nothing to Village Voice. What is important to Village Voice’s Jim Larkin, Michael Lacey and Tony Ortega is one thing alone – Money.
Therefore, there are 2 simple things you can do today.

  1. Contact Andria Winters 202-228-3998 in U.S. Senator Kirk’s office – She is the contact receiving the responses from 40 Village Voice advertisers who were urged by 4 U.S. Senators: Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D- Conn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.); to use their economic might to influence Village Voice. Ask Andria to email you all the responses from the advertisers.
  2. Do a Flash Picket on Village Voice newspapers or their advertisers like Lynn Robertson of Westland, Michigan has been doing. And then put your photos on the world wide web to communicate your outrage! Send the photos and your message to the advertisers!


NEWSPAPERS to picket

Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC (Phoenix parent company) which owns the below “Alternative” Prostitution Ad Newspapers:
City Pages / Minneapolis
Houston Press / Houston
LA Weekly / Los Angeles
New Times / Broward
New Times / Miami
New Times / Phoenix (in same building as Village Voice Media Holdings)
Observer / Dallas (also headquarters to a Backpage call center!)
OC Weekly / Orange County
Riverfront Times / St. Louis
Seattle Weekly / Seattle
SF Weekly / San Francisco
Village Voice / New York
Westword / Denver

Village Voice Advertisers to picket

2929 Entertainment
American Apparel, Inc.
American Automobile Association
Angelika Film Center
Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
Arizona Diamondbacks
Atlantic Broadband
Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau
Bacardi USA, Inc.
Blick Art Materials
Blue Man Productions, Inc.
Brooklyn Museum
Buffalo Wild Wings
Cancer Fund of America, Inc.
Champs Sports
Charter Communications
Cirque du Soleil:
Clear Channel Communications, Inc.
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY – New York State Psychiatric Institute
CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries, Inc.
Dave and Busters
Denver Botanic Gardens, Inc.
Diageo PLC
ESPN, Inc.
Focus Features (Moonrise Kingdom)
Foot Locker, Inc.
Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
Guitar Center
H.D. Buttercup
Hard Rock Café
Harrah’s Resorts
Houston Symphony
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
JR Electronics
LA Philharmonic
Landmark Sunshine Cinema
Landmark Theatres
Lincoln Center Theater
Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation
Marriott International, Inc
Mayo Clinic
Mesa Arts Center
MGM Resorts International
Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co.
Miller Light
Minnesota Orchestra
Minnesota Wild
MOUNT SINAI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE – Mood and Personality Disorders Research Program Department of Psychiatry
New Belgium Brewing Company, Inc.
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc.
Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.
St. Louis Rams
The Bowery Presents
The Salvation Army
Total Bank
Toyota Motor Corporation
United Way Worldwide
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Denver
Veo optics
Walt Disney Pictures
Warner Brothers Entertainment
Whole Foods
YWCA of Minneapolis
YWCA Twin Cities

NY Times Kristof – We need to go after Village Voice’s

Nick Kristof

Go here:

Sex trafficking and prostitution, however, are not issues confined to countries such as Cambodia, Kristof said. Traffickers are also a presence in the United States, from New York City to more rural areas.

“We need to go after pimps and johns much more and less after girls,” Kristof said. “We need to go after forums where girls are trafficked, like What we’ve lacked is political will.”

Backpage, a free advertising website similar to Craigslist, is run by the New York newspaper Village Voice. Backpage has been widely criticized for its “adult” section, which has generated $2.6 million in revenue from ads selling sex, according to the consulting firm AIM Group.

Kristof encouraged students to devote part of their lives to “an activity larger than yourselves.” Engagement in social justice issues can help people, especially Americans, gain a sense of perspective on world issues, he said.

“The fact that we’re all here today means we’ve truly won the lottery of life,” Kristof said. “When you do win, you have some obligation to respond to some degree. I’d like to encourage you to engage in that effort and gain a measure of satisfaction and fulfillment and, a little bit, help change the world.”

Flash Picket Protesting Backpage

6 more girls and 1 boy have now been verified to have been trafficked on Backpage. 6 in Michigan, 1 in Missouri. If you are tethered to your office and can’t do a Flash Picket yet on Village Voice newspapers or their advertisers, please just make one phone call from the comfort of your chair.


Another Backpage Victim Found – Total Now: 149 minors. Arrests in 31 states.

An underaged teenager was among a stable of prostitutes who worked out of hotel rooms in Elmwood Park and Elizabeth, according to a federal indictment handed up today against a 29-year-old Pennsylvania accused


Real Hospitality Group Signs the Code!

Real Hospitality Group (RHG) has become the first hotel management company in the United States to enter the fight against the commercial sexual exploitation of children by signing the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct.



CNN, the NY Times and the Attorneys General have been relying on these numbers:
50 cases of backpage child trafficking have been found
22 states have had backpage child trafficking arrests.

In contrast, we have found well over 100 minor girls sold for sex on Backpage in 28 states.

With your help we can document more cases which may be important information as we progress.

Please take a look at the attached spreadsheet and let us know which child trafficking cases are missing: Girls Trafficked on Backpage

STOP Google Adwords from Internet Sex-trafficking of Women and Girls

WNN – Women News Network, as an award winning not-for-profit news network focusing exclusively on global women that is reaching the public and over 500 UN agencies and NGO affiliates (along with 41+ organizations working to stop human trafficking), is well aware of the global problems in the sex-trafficking of women and girls.

Because of our work through UNESCO to improve and bring greater ethics and transparency to the media in Eastern Europe we call today on Google, Inc to join the movement and to answer an urgent message sent to Google by the ‘Concerned Citizens of the World’ to,: “STOP all internet profits and facilitating of sexual exploitation of women and girls on the internet through the sales of online advertisements made by those who profit from this heinous crime.”

Current public searches in Google can produce AdWords ads that have connections to sex tourism, adult web cams and other sex industry offerings.


A Woman With a Mission

The Red Book
May 2012

Deborah Carstens loves politics. And believes in education. And is passionate in her efforts to bring awareness to – and eliminate – child-sex trafficking.


Teens on Trafficking Website

“Human trafficking is the practice of people being tricked, lured, coerced or otherwise removed from their home or country, and then compelled to work with no or low payment or on terms which are highly exploitative.” Or so Wikipedia describes it. But human trafficking is basically modern day slavery. The three main issues of human trafficking are: slave labor, sexual exploitation, and prostitution.


How internet porn turned my beautiful boy into a hollow, self-hating shell

MAIL Online by Liz Martin
April 19, 2012

Major internet firms were yesterday accused of being ‘complicit’ in exposing children to hardcore pornography and violence online by continuing to refuse to give parents the choice of blocking material that no child should see, but that is too easily available on every device now in the home.


Not Quite a Teen, Yet Sold for Sex

The New York Times (Opinion Pages) by NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
April 18, 2012

If you think sex trafficking only happens in faraway places like Nepal or Thailand, then you should listen to an expert on American sex trafficking I interviewed the other day.


Gang associates plead guilty in Fairfax prostitution ring, officials say

The Washington Post by Justin Jouvenal
April 12, 2012

Two associates of a Fairfax County-based Crips gang pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of running a prostitution ring that recruited and trafficked local high school girls, authorities said.


In Spain, Women Enslaved by a Boom in Brothel Tourism

The New York Times By Suzanne Daley
April 6, 2012

LA JONQUERA, Spain — She had expected a job in a hotel. But when Valentina arrived here two months ago from Romania, the man who helped her get here — a man she had considered her boyfriend — made it clear that the job was on the side of the road.

He threatened to beat her and to kill her children if she did not comply. And so she stood near a roundabout recently, her hair in a greasy ponytail, charging $40 for intercourse, $27 for oral sex.


Backpage Not Complying With Requests to Help Stop Sex Trafficking

Huffington Post by Conchita Sarnoff
April 2, 2012

Nicholas Kristof reported in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine that Goldman Sachs owns a 16% stake of Village Voice Media. Village Voice Media in turn owns Backpage; and “Backpage replaced Craigslist as the leader in the prostitution online ad space” according to an October 19, 2010 report published by AIMGROUP.COM, publishers of classified intelligence reports.


5 arrested, accused of forcing high school girls to be prostitutes

CNN Justice By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
March 29, 2012

Authorities in Northern Virginia on Thursday busted an alleged violent gang and arrested the accused ringleader and four others on charges of forcing high school girls to be prostitutes.

The defendants, most of whom were arrested overnight, were scheduled to appear in federal court Friday afternoon in Alexandria, Virginia, on charges that include underage sex trafficking.


Senators, state AGs: ‘Backpage’ sex-trafficking ads enrich Village Voice Media

Village Voice Pimps By Tyler Whetstone – The Daily Caller
March 26, 2012

According to The Polaris Project, a Washington, D.C.-based organization focused on ending slavery, an estimated 100,000 underage children are involved with sex trafficking each year in America.

Last fall Auburn Seminary executive vice president Rev. John Vaughn and his associates decided to target, alleging that it facilitates that same human trafficking.

“You can sell posters. You can sell cars. You can sell whatever, but [Backpage should] stop providing a platform that sells underage kids,” Vaughn told TheDC.


How a Danish detective, Va. ICE agent, ABC7, Va. child advocate catch a child sex suspect

ABC 7 By Pamela Brown
March 15, 2012

We told you earlier this week that ABC7 Facebook fans helped catch a child sex suspect on the other side of the country.

The Danish police detective who found the disturbing video of the suspect happens to be visiting the D.C. area.

The arrest of this suspected child molester traces all the way back to Danish National Police Detective Mads Nielsen.


Where Pimps Peddle Their Goods

The New York Times Sunday Review by Nicholas D. Kristof
March 17, 2012

I went on a walk in Manhattan the other day with a young woman who once had to work these streets, hired out by eight pimps while she was just 16 and 17. She pointed out a McDonald’s where pimps sit while monitoring the girls outside, and a building where she had repeatedly been ordered online as if she were a pizza.

Alissa, her street name, escaped that life and is now a 24-year-old college senior planning to become a lawyer — but she will always have a scar on her cheek where a pimp gouged her with a potato peeler as a warning not to escape. “Like cattle owners brand their cattle,” she said, fingering her cheek, “he wanted to brand me in a way that I would never forget.”


Florida House Bill to Implement Harsher Penalties on Human Trafficking

Huffington Post by Conchita Sarnoff
March 2, 2012

On Friday, February 24, 2012, CBS online reported how Florida “is taking stricter action against” human trafficking. According to Alex Conant, Press Secretary to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida House passed a bill that implements harsher penalties on human trafficking and smuggling in the sex-for-pay trade. “Just this past week, the Florida State house passed a bill that increased the maximum penalty for trafficking from 15 years to 30 years in prison”, said Conant, “human trafficking is an issue which we need to be constantly vigilant in tackling in Florida and across the U.S. Senator Rubio will be working at the federal level to ensure the passage of Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S.1301)”.


Fighting sex trafficking in hotels, one room at a time

CNN By Katia Hetter, Special to CNN
March 1, 2012

Kimberly Ritter could not believe what she was seeing.

Girls wearing almost nothing at all, suggesting all sorts of sexual acts, listed on page after page of’s escorts section. When she looked closer at the photos, she noticed something eerie.


Want to buy sex in Massachusetts? Think again

Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking
February 22, 2012

Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in this country. A century and a half later, people are still bought and sold — here in Boston.

Attorney General Martha Coakley warns that human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in Massachusetts. The term “trafficking” evokes images of people smuggled across borders; but FBI, UN, and Congressional definitions describe any children, women, or men coerced into physical violence, mental abuse, and even death.


Regulating Modeling Agencies to Help Prevent Child Sex Trafficking

Huffington Post by Conchita Sarnoff
February 10, 2012

In 2010, Jezebel, an online site, published “The Sex Trafficking Model Scout” warning about the dangers of deregulated modeling agencies in the U.S.

Given the growing number of modeling agencies that transport underage teenagers from foreign countries into the United States and the growing sex trade of underage girls in the U.S. why does this industry remain deregulated?


The Human Face Of Modern Slavery

Huffington Post by Corban Addison
January 26, 2012

Reality check: There are more slaves in the world today than were taken from Africa in the four centuries of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade–over 27 million. Of those, two million are children exploited in the commercial sex trade.

Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, with annual profits exceeding that of ExxonMobil ($32 billion from sex trafficking alone). The average girl forced into prostitution is 13. Many are younger than that.


Obama declares human trafficking prevention month

USA Today, by David Jackson
December 30, 2011

President Obama is declaring January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

“We stand with all those who are held in compelled service,” Obama wrote in a proclamation issued today. “We recognize the people, organizations and government entities that are working to combat human trafficking; and we recommit to bringing an end to this inexcusable human rights abuse.”


Hundreds arrested in child-trafficking ring bust

CNN Freedom Project
December 8, 2011

Chinese police have busted two child-trafficking rings after a six-month nationwide investigation, rescuing 178 children and arresting 608 suspects, the country’s Ministry of Public Security announced this week.


When The Trafficking Victims Protection Act Fails

Huff Post
by Conchita Sarnoff
September 7, 2011

According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ fact sheet on the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA):

The TVPA … created new law enforcement tools to strengthen the prosecution and punishment of traffickers, making human trafficking a Federal crime with severe penalties.

For example, if a trafficking crime results in death or if the crime includes kidnapping, an attempted kidnapping, aggravated sexual abuse, attempted aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, the trafficker could be sentenced to life in prison.


Modesto concert highlights reality of human trafficking

The Modesto Bee
by Nan Austin
September 4, 2011

Seventeen-year-old Emily Blair hasn’t met anyone who was taken and sold for sex, but she knows it happens, and she knows it happens most often to girls no older than she is.

The Enochs senior and her teen team are behind an eclectic concert Friday to raise awareness about human trafficking and money to do something about it.

Traffickers are at least recruiting here, because Stanislaus County teens are turning up in raids in Alameda County, said Carol Shipley, Stanislaus County’s assistant district attorney. Shipley said she suspects far more of it goes on, but few here know what to look for.


Firoz Nadiadwala join hands with Hillary Clinton

The Times India
by Meena Iyer
August 8, 2011

Producer Firoz Nadiadwala is in the news for urging Bollywood to join hands with none other than US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a corporate social responsibility initiative.

“We are working on two key aspects of improving human life,” says Firoz. One is human trafficking (HT) and the second is environmental degradation. According to UN estimates, USD 32 billion is the money earned every year when innocent women and children are trafficked. 1.8 million people are being sold every year. “My colleagues in the film and television industry and I will work closely with the US Department of State to eradicate this menace,” says Firoz.


Sex trafficking in Minnesota

From Minnesota Women’s Press
by Beatrz R. Menanteau
August 8, 2011

“Does sex trafficking really happen in Minnesota?” is a question that I get asked a lot. The answer is yes. Sex trafficking is not new to Minnesota and it is not limited to the Twin Cities metropolitan areas. Sex trafficking is a human rights violation that affects predominantly women and girls in communities throughout Minnesota.


Child sex rings spike during Super Bowl week

by Rick Jervis, USA TODAY – February 1, 2011
Texas law enforcement agents will be hunting for a little-known crime during this week’s Super Bowl festivities in metropolitan Dallas: child sex rings. Incidents of underage prostitution have spiked during previous Super Bowls, leading to some arrests, says Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. His office, working closely with the FBI, is bringing in at least a dozen extra agents from Austin and other cities to monitor and combat cases of trafficking in underage prostitutes during Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas, he says.


Will Massachusetts Finally Make Human Trafficking a Crime?

by Amanda Kloer January 31, 2011

Massachusetts is one of only five states in the country that doesn’t have a law criminalizing human trafficking. As a result, pimps who recruit children for prostitution, families who abuse domestic workers, and employers who confiscate workers’ passports often get off with a slap on the wrist. But all that might change as Massachusetts is finally considering making human trafficking a crime.


Sex sites on Web exploit nearly 160 Mich. girls monthly, experts say

Detroit Free Press, January 26, 2011

About 160 adolescent girls are being marketed for sex via the Internet every month in Michigan, say experts who deal with the effects of sex trafficking.

More than 100 people gathered at Wayne State University on Tuesday for a town hall meeting to hear law enforcement officials and activists describe how girls are illegally peddled through Internet advertising.


Underage sex trade still flourishing online

by Amber Lyon and Steve Turnham – CNN Justice – January 20, 2011

Her ankles and wrists are shackled. She’s wearing used sweats in the bright colors of the jailhouse, orange, blue and yellow. She shuffles to the courtroom to face the judge, her mother, and an uncertain future.

Selena is a 13-year-old who was sold for sex.

She wants to go home to her house in the suburbs and the baby sister she hardly knows. And now, facing a sympathetic judge and a loving mother who wants to make sure she’s safe, Selena is being told she can’t go home.


Another Sex Trafficking Ring Comes Tumbling Down

by Maia Blume April 08, 2010

Success! A small but rapidly growing mom-and-pop shop prostitution ring operating out of the Boston area and New York has been busted. Five people (three in Massachusetts and two in New York) were just arrested on multiple charges relating to forced prostitution and trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.


DC Human Trafficking Law

Great news to bring 2010 to a close – finally we have confirmation that the DC Human Trafficking bill is now law!! It was officially confirmed on 10/23/10 (effective!) and was put on the web just a couple of days ago! A huge congratulations to everyone who worked to move this bill forward!!

It is now: DC Law 18-239, and here are the pertinent links:

22-1831. Definitions [Interim codification; see Editor's note].
22-1832. Forced labor [Interim codification; see Editor's note].
22-1833. Trafficking in labor or commercial sex acts [Interim codification; see Editor's note].
22-1834. Sex trafficking of children [Interim codification; see Editor's note].
22-1835. Unlawful conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of human trafficking [Interim codification; see Editor's note].
22-1836. Benefitting financially from human trafficking [Interim codification; see Editor's note].
22-1837. Penalties [Interim codification; see Editor's note].
22-1838. Forfeiture [Interim codification; see Editor's note].
22-1839. Reputation or opinion evidence [Interim codification; see Editor's note].
22-1840. Civil action [Interim codification; see Editor's note].
22-1841. Data collection and dissemination [Interim codification; see Editor's note].

New York Times Article: A Woman. A Prostitute. A Slave.

Dear Friends and Supporters,
The following article by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, sheds light on the gut-wrenching epidemic of modern slavery right here in our own country. The article follows survivor, Yumi Li through her dark journey from victim to freedom and recovery. Li’s story shows that we don’t have to look very far to see evidence of this global malady.

A Woman. A Prostitute. A Slave.

As Appeared in The New York Times
November 27, 2010

Americans tend to associate “modern slavery” with illiterate girls in India or Cambodia. Yet there I was the other day, interviewing a college graduate who says she spent three years terrorized by pimps in a brothel in Midtown Manhattan.

Those who think that commercial sex in this country is invariably voluntary — and especially men who pay for sex — should listen to her story. The men buying her services all mistakenly assumed that she was working of her own volition, she says.

Yumi Li (a nickname) grew up in a Korean area of northeastern China. After university, she became an accountant, but, restless and ambitious, she yearned to go abroad.

So she accepted an offer from a female jobs agent to be smuggled to New York and take up a job using her accounting skills and paying $5,000 a month. Yumi’s relatives had to sign documents pledging their homes as collateral if she did not pay back the $50,000 smugglers’ fee from her earnings.

Yumi set off for America with a fake South Korean passport. On arrival in New York, however, Yumi was ordered to work in a brothel.

“When they first mentioned prostitution, I thought I would go crazy,” Yumi told me. “I was thinking, ‘how can this happen to someone like me who is college-educated?’ ” Her voice trailed off, and she added: “I wanted to die.”

She says that the four men who ran the smuggling operation — all Chinese or South Koreans — took her into their office on 36th Street in Midtown Manhattan. They beat her with their fists (but did not hit her in the face, for that might damage her commercial value), gang-raped her and videotaped her naked in humiliating poses. For extra intimidation, they held a gun to her head.

If she continued to resist working as a prostitute, she says they told her, the video would be sent to her relatives and acquaintances back home. Relatives would be told that Yumi was a prostitute, and several of them would lose their homes as well.

Yumi caved. For the next three years, she says, she was one of about 20 Asian prostitutes working out of the office on 36th Street. Some of them worked voluntarily, she says, but others were forced and received no share in the money.

Yumi played her role robotically. On one occasion, Yumi was arrested for prostitution, and she says the police asked her if she had been trafficked.

“I said no,” she recalled. “I was really afraid that if I hinted that I was a victim, the gang would send the video to my family.”

Then one day Yumi’s closest friend in the brothel was handcuffed by a customer, abused and strangled almost to death. Yumi rescued her and took her to the hospital. She said that in her rage, she then confronted the pimps and threatened to go public.

At that point, the gang hurriedly moved offices and changed phone numbers. The pimps never mailed the video or claimed the homes in China; those may have been bluffs all along. As for Yumi and her friend, they found help with Restore NYC, a nonprofit that helps human trafficking victims in the city.

I can’t be sure of elements of Yumi’s story, but it mostly rings true to me and to the social workers who have worked with her. There’s no doubt that while some women come to the United States voluntarily to seek their fortunes in the sex trade, many others are coerced — and still others start out forced but eventually continue voluntarily. And it’s not just foreign women. The worst cases of forced prostitution, especially of children, often involve home-grown teenage runaways.

No one has a clear idea of the scale of the problem, and estimates vary hugely. Some think the problem is getting worse; others believe that Internet services reduce the role of pimps and lead to commercial sex that is more consensual. What is clear is that forced prostitution should be a national scandal. Just this month, authorities indicted 29 people, mostly people of Somali origin from the Minneapolis area, on charges of running a human trafficking ring that allegedly sold many girls into prostitution — one at the age of 12.

There are no silver bullets, but the critical step is for the police and prosecutors to focus more on customers (to reduce demand) and, above all, on pimps. Prostitutes tend to be arrested because they are easy to catch, while pimping is a far harder crime to prosecute. That’s one reason thugs become pimps: It’s hugely profitable and carries less risk than selling drugs or stealing cars. But that can change as state and federal authorities target traffickers rather than their victims.

Nearly 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, it’s time to wipe out the remnants of slavery in this country.

Law & Order: SVU’s Slavery Episode Inspired by Free the Slaves?

FTS Blog
by Anne Keehn
October 7, 2010

Last night, the Law & Order: SVU episode about modern day slavery aired. The story focused on the uncovering of a human trafficking ring that forced American children into hard labor and sex slavery. The episode showed how these heinous crimes can be hidden in plain sight–and how victims of sex trafficking are often prosecuted as criminals.



SOUTH AFRICA: World Cup poses risks for out-of-school kids


JOHANNESBURG, 8 June 2010 (PlusNews) – As South African children look forward to a mid-year school holiday that will last longer than the usual winter break because of the FIFA World Cup, parents and caregivers are faced with the dilemma of how to keep them safe during the five weeks of festivities.

“The length of the holiday is about the length of the December school holiday, but more parents are likely to be working at this time,” said Janet Prest Talbot of the Children’s Rights Centre, an NGO based in the port city of Durban. Children left to their own devices were at greater risk of abuse and sexual experimentation, she said.

President Jacob Zuma has warned parents about an expected rise in child trafficking during the World Cup. “Children wandering alone in shopping malls and football stadiums will be vulnerable to people with evil intentions,” he said at the launch of a new Children’s Act, which came into effect in April and makes the trafficking of minors a crime.

Government is gearing up to counter the potential threat with anti-human trafficking task teams in the host cities, but Prest Talbot described the risk of trafficking as “the tip of the iceberg”. “The biggest risk [of child abuse] is often on your doorstep from neighbours or family members,” she told IRIN/PlusNews.

Many South African children whose parents are unemployed or who have been orphaned rely on school feeding programmes for their main meal of the day, but the schemes will be suspended during the holiday.

Joan van Niekerk, national coordinator of Childline South Africa, said that the money spent on printing glossy pamphlets about the dangers of human trafficking could have been better spent on ensuring children did not go hungry while schools were closed. “We are very worried, but not about trafficking or the safety of children at stadiums,” she said.

“We re worried about what s happening to children in their homes. If children are hungry, they re going to go out there looking for food.

For more information and the full article, click here.


Dear Craig,

Although we have not met, we are certain you would not want what happened to us or to thousands of girls like us to ever happen again.

Craig, I am AK. In 2009, I met a man twice my age who pretended to be my boyfriend, and my life as an average girl — looking forward to college, doing my chores, and hanging out with my friends — ended. This “boyfriend” soon revealed he was a pimp. He put my picture on Craigslist, and I was sold for sex by the hour at truck stops and cheap motels, 10 hours with 10 different men every night. This became my life.

Men answered the Craigslist advertisements and paid to rape me. The $30,000 he pocketed each month was facilitated by Craigslist 300 times. I personally know of over 20 girls who were trafficked through Craigslist. Like me, they were taken from city to city, each time sold on a different Craigslist site — Philadelphia, Dallas, Milwaukee, Washington, D.C. My phone would ring, and soon men would line up in the parking lot. One Craigslist caller viciously brutalized me, threatening to dump my body in a river. Miraculously, I survived.

Craig, I am MC. I was first forced into prostitution when I was 11 years old by a 28-year-old man. I am not an exception. The man who trafficked me sold so many girls my age, his house was called “Daddy Day Care.” All day, other girls and I sat with our laptops, posting pictures and answering ads on Craigslist. He made $1,500 a night selling my body, dragging me to Los Angeles, Houston, Little Rock — and one trip to Las Vegas in the trunk of a car.

I am 17 now, and my childhood memories aren’t of my family, going to middle school, or dancing at the prom. They are of making my own arrangements on Craigslist to be sold for sex, and answering as many ads as possible for fear of beatings and ice water baths.

Craig, we write this letter so you will know from our personal experiences how Craigslist makes horrific acts like this so easy to carry out, and the men who arrange them very rich.

Craig, we know you oppose trafficking and exploitation. But right now, Craigslist is the choice of traffickers because it’s so well known and there are rarely consequences to using it for these illegal acts. We’ve heard that the Adult Services section of Craigslist brings in $36 million a year by charging for these ads. These profits are made at the expense of girls like us, who are lured, kidnapped, and forced to feed the increasing demand for child rape. New traffickers are putting up ads every day, because they know it’s less risky and more profitable to sell girls on Craigslist than to deal drugs.

Please, Craig, close down the Adult Services section. Saving even one child is worth it. It could have been us.


Survivors of Craigslist Sex Trafficking

For access to the original article, click here


By: Dan Rather

May 18, 2010

Child prostitution has become a national problem in this country. Yes, I know that you have trouble believing that. You don’t want to believe it, so you tend not to.

“Widespread sex trafficking in children?”, you may be saying to yourself. “Sure, it happens overseas in places like Thailand and Moldova, and while there may be some of it here there’s not that much of it in our country.”

Based on a months long investigation and some reportorial digging, I’m here to tell you that you are wrong. We all are. We’re in denial.

In covering news for more than 60 years, I’d like to think that few stories shock me anymore. But this is one of them. We ran across it late last year and the more we dug, the more disturbing it became.

Eighty-year-old men paying a premium to violate teenage girls, sometimes supplied by former drug gangs now into child sex trafficking big time? You’ve got to be kidding. Nope. That’s happening and a lot more along the same lines.

The business is booming. One of the worst areas for it runs along lines running roughly from Seattle to Portland, to San Francisco and Los Angeles, to Las Vegas. But no place in the country is immune.

To pick just one example among many, Portland, Oregon is without doubt one of the nation’s treasures. It has been voted one of the best places to live and work. But according to police, the city and its outlying communities has become a hub for the sexual exploitation of children. In a recent nationwide sting by Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, Portland ranked second in the country for the number of rescued child prostitutes. And according to Doug Justus, the workhorse sergeant in charge of Portland’s tiny Vice Detail, many of the children caught up in this are middle class kids from the area.

The girls, sometimes as young as 12, often 13-16, are lured by a “front man” in his mid-to-late teens. He becomes her “boyfriend,” taking her to dinner, buying her nice things, sometimes meeting her parents. The girl eventually moves in with him. Then he says they need money to continue being together. First, she’s enticed to sleep with his friends to pay the rent. Soon she’s turning tricks for what police say is an endless supply of older men willing to pay top money for sex with very young girls. Other times convincing the young adolescent girls to sell themselves happens very quickly.

“It is an out-of-control problem. It’s unbelievable,” say Justus. “I’ve only done this vice-squad job for three years. I’ve been a cop for 29. If you had told me three years ago that a 14-year-old girl would go to a food court, meet a guy, and three hours later be selling herself, I’d a said, no frigging way. It happens every single day, every day.”

It is a very lucrative business, according to Justus. “An average pimp with one kid will make between $800 and $l,000 a day. That’s seven days a week, 30 days a month,” he said. And the pimps usually have a stable of young girls. No wonder so many criminals in the drug trade have turned to it which they have in droves. There’s less chance of being caught, less chance of being prosecuted if caught, lighter sentences — if any — if convicted.

There is, and has been for a long time, a national “War on Drugs.” There isn’t one on child prostitution and what amounts to a slave trade. Only feeble efforts at best.

Justus is frustrated that the Portland police have only two full-time vice investigators, compared to dozens of drug investigators.

“I’m not a politician. I’m just a cop. But if I’m a criminal and I got busted for drugs and I had a regional (drug) task force over here. And there’s another task force over there, and there, and then I know there’s only two vice investigators in the city of Portland, let me think. I think I’ll sell women because what are the chances of me being caught?”

The story we’ve prepared is not about prostitution per se. This is about child abuse. This is also about statutory rape and compelling prostitution among the young. All are difficult to prove. A major reason, according to police, is that it’s extremely difficult to convince a young girl to testify against their pimps and “johns”. They are afraid.

Sgt. Justus told us the story of a 16-year-old girl whom he convinced to “roll” on her pimp. But before she could testify against him she disappeared — and her pimp walked free. Justus has spent the last year looking for her and fears she’s dead.

How many children are being peddled on the streets of Portland and in other cities and towns, to say nothing of the Internet (Justus and other law enforcement people say Craigslist, along with other Internet sites, are major factors in the spread of child prostitution)? Hard to know about the real numbers. The most conservative estimates are that at least 100,000 American children are being victimized. Many experts say they believe it’s closer to 300,000 or more.

Whatever the number, it is a national outrage and disgrace. And the problem is growing, not diminishing.

Based on our investigation, we’ve prepared an hour long program on this problem. We’ve spoken with parents who never dreamed their young daughter would be caught up in underage prostitution but was. We’ve also interviewed several girls who lived to tell about their experiences of being sold. Tuesday night at 8pm Eastern time on HDNet, via satellite and cable.

For access to the original article, follow this link


By: Jeff Pillets

A Jersey City pimp known as Prince received an 18-year prison sentence Wednesday for leading a prostitution ring built on human trafficking, sex slavery and illegal drug use, state officials said.

For more than two decades, Allen Prince Brown lured women into the sex trades with a mix of narcotics and coercion, authorities said. The houses of prostitution he established in Jersey City were stables of strung-out women, who were often locked into rooms and stripped of keys, cellphones and all forms of identity.

Brown, who in April pleaded guilty to racketeering and extortion, ran his operation with scores of women he had brought from Camden, Philadelphia, Atlantic City and other communities.

Allen Brown exploited vulnerable young women, imprisoning them in a life of prostitution and narcotics addiction, said Paula Dow, New Jersey s attorney general. Now it is his turn to face prison, where he will not be able to harm any more women.

For access to the original article, follow this link


The Palladium
261 Main St.
Worcester, MA 01608
Attn: Gina Migliozzi

May 14, 2010
General Manager

Dear Ms. Migliozzi,

It has been brought to our attention that Rapper Necro will be performing at The Palladium on May 21-
22. We ask that you prohibit Necro from performing his song titled “Human Trafficking King is White
Slavery II.”

On Wikipedia, Necro is quoted saying: “‘White Slavery’ was about the white slave trade. I was telling a
true story.” However, we strongly feel that the story Necro is telling does nothing to raise awareness
about sex trafficking and its horrors, but rather glorifies and promotes it.

‘White Slavery’ includes disturbing lyrics such as:
“Woman need to be loved, injected with needles and drugs subjected to torture and kidnapped they
need to succumb, it’s proven, I feed em dog food, they prefer human, make ‘em savagely beat each
other bloody for my amusement”

There is an estimated 200,000 American girls at risk of sex trafficking in the United States every year.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that the average age of entry into
prostitution in the US is ages 11-14. The trafficking of youth and young women in our country is a
brutal reality that should not be glorified or made light of. The recent trafficking charge against the
pimp who sold a 16 year-old to Lawrence Taylor is a prime example of this.

While Necro is protected under Free Speech for writing this song, we ask that you prohibit Necro from
performing “White Slavery” or any other song that glorifies violence against women, in their
performance this May. We also urge you to become a corporate leader by prohibiting glorification of
violence against women in all performances at your venue.

Thank you for your time and consideration into this matter.


Frank N. Barnaba, President, The Barnaba Institute

Alexis Taylor Litos, Executive Director, The Barnaba InstituteCarol Smolenski, Executive Director, ECPAT-USA
Donna M. Hughes, Professor & Carlson Endowed Chair in Women’s Studies, University of RhodeIsland
Melanie Shapiro, Co-Founder, Citizens Against Trafficking
Claudia Barlow, Board Chair, MiraMed
Kristyn Komarnicki, Editor, PRISM Magazine, The Sider Center on Ministry and Public Policy
Michelle Wallace, Finding Cadence
Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of James Madison Program
in Americal Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University
Sonya Poydras, Service Coordinator – Transitional School Services, Perspectives Corporation
Jennifer Thompson, Producer, Vinegar Hill Picture Works
Jeffrey J. Barrows, D.O., M.A (Bioethics) Health Consultant, Human Trafficking, Founder & Executive
Director, Gracehaven
Eleanor McNally
Chong Kim, Survivor of human trafficking/child sex exploitation
Virginia Holmstrom, Executive Director, American Baptist Women’s Ministries
Katherine Green, Media Spokesperson, Trafficking Hope
Margaret Brooks, Chair and Professor of Economics, Bridgewater State College
Susan G. Maiocchi, American Baptist Women’s Ministries of Rhode Island
Linda Caswell, Founder, All Things New, Inc.
Peggy Sakow, Temple Committee Against Human Trafficking, Montreal, Quebec
Janelle Potts, Director of the New Community Program, The Salvation Army of Easton Corps
Deena Graves, Executive Director, Traffick911 petition letter with over 520 signatures as of 12pm, 5/14/10


I m a survivor of human trafficking and exploitation. I have experienced
the harm that these forms of violence inflict on those of us who have been sexually exploited. I was
trafficked in the mid 90 s from Dallas, TX to NV and eventually escaped in the late 90 s. To this day, I
am still haunted by flashbacks regarding certain smells, as well as cold floors which numbed my bare
feet. Many times, panic ensues when I find myself in a line of women; it resurrects the nightmares of
all the humiliating inspection line ups I had to endure. We were constantly paraded before a potential
client; their lustful eyes examining and perusing us before we became final choices for each predatory
customer. Since my ethnicity was Korean, a prejudice John demanded that I dress as a Japanese
prostitute. My vulnerability was made complete when I was taught to speak broken English, fulfilling
the racist image of my exoticism. Although, I was one of the few that spoke and understood English,
my required masquerade as a foreigner brought more money to the Trafficker through harboring of

Most of us were incarcerated in basements, underneath casinos and in abandoned warehouses.
Our desperate cries for help were silenced by the walls, which separated us from the rest of the world.
The Trafficker, knowing full well that I was an American, forced me to work both the Escort and the
Trafficking. If I refused or didn t comply, I was taken underground and sentenced to various methods
of punishment. After hours of interrogation, I was giving permission to return to do what I did best;
being a slave and deluding myself into thinking that this was my life.

I was involved in trafficking for more than six month to two years. I compare that time to being
held hostage in a timeless existence where my mind engaged itself in disassociation with my soul. This
mental state was the only way in which I could keep any sanity. Repeatedly, I witnessed beating, rape
and torture of innocent women and girls. At times, my tears of hopelessness would drown me into a
pathos of my own execution. Most of the time we were transported by warehouse trucks or vans with
drivers who were not nave to our purpose, and well informed of our identity. After months of these
transports for trafficking our self-images had been reduced to cattle being loaded on a cattle car.
Money were exchanged on these cross-country trips which kept us silent and our existence a secret.
There were times that the warehouse truck would stop, the tail gate door forced opened, and then a
few of us were summoned out.

As you can see these are a few examples of the tortures we had to go through; we don t need
humiliating lyrics to remind us of the pain. Please, I ask as a survivor of Modern Day slavery do not
allow Necro to play such music at the Palladium. I understand the freedom of speech , but what
about my speech? What about the children who are used for slavery, where children are starved to
death and their parts to be sold across country? What about the silent victims that weren t able to
make it out alive? I m speaking on behalf of all the victims and survivors past and present, will you
hear our voices too?

Update: A petition has also been drafted to remove this album from Best Buy and other retail chains.


By: KTLA News

May 11, 2010

(KTLA News)

(KTLA News)

LOS ANGELES — According to Congressional estimates, every day in our country 100,000 children are being sold for sex. Enterprising pimps prey on young girls, and turn them into sex slaves.

But it was at a neighborhood Safeway store in northern California where the sex slave problem became a terrible reality for one family. In 2008 Vicki Zito’s daughter was abducted there, then forced into unthinkable acts.

Vicki’s daughter was a 17-year old high school senior at the time, but developmentally disabled. She had asked her mom if she could go down to the store with a friend.

“And so we said yeah, okay, go grab a soda,” Vicki recalls. “How innocent is that? And it’s the one decision that I’ll regret for the rest of my life,” Vicki says, tears welling up in her eyes.

Vicki’s daughter was abducted by a man who sold her for sex by posting ads for ‘erotic services’ on the web site Craigslist. She was enslaved for seven days in motels around the Bay Area.

At home, Vicki prayed. “Once the sun went down it was unbearable,” Vicki says, sobbing quietly. “I’m sorry, but it was. It was horrible. I would just stand at the window, watching, waiting, wanting so badly for her to come home.”

After a week, Vicki got a late-night call from authorities. “They told me they’d found my daughter. And that she was alive. And in that brief moment of , ‘Oh my god my daughter’s alive, she’s okay,’ it was followed with ‘But I’m sorry to tell you… Are you sitting down?’”

Authorities told Vicki that her daughter had been sold for sex, over and over again.

“It was more than I could bear,” Vicki says. “That’s when I learned about sex trafficking, what it was, and what it meant that my daughter had been enduring for the past seven days.”

Ultimately her abductor, 25 year-old Rishi Sanwal, was arrested and convicted. He’s serving a 12 year sentence for sex trafficking.

About Sanwal, Zito says, “I don’t waste a lot of time on him. Do I believe in hell? Yes I believe in hell. Do I hope some day he burns in it? That’s harshbut yes. Because he can do his time in prison, but he’ll never be able to undo what he did to my daughter.”

Vicki also has a few choice words for Craigslist, the web site that posted Sanwal’s ads for ‘erotic services.’

“Pull the plug. Now. Pull the plug,” Zito says. “Do you have to have the erotic section of your web site to be profitable? Or in order to stay in business? Because if that’s what it takes for you to stay in business? You shouldn’t be in business.”

Zito thinks some major changes need to be made regarding online postings. “It’s absolutely unacceptable that you have a spot on your web site where somebody can go, and at the click of a button, buy another human being for sex.”

The Zito family’s story has come to the attention of California Against Slavery, a non-profit group actively lobbying to strengthen anti-sex slave laws in California. Its executive director Daphne Phung says the Zitos’ family tragedy serves as a cautionary tale.

“The Zitos’ story shows that no child is safe from human trafficking, that it can happen to any of us,” Phung says. “Vicki is a caring mom, her daughter comes from a caring family, and it happened to them,” Phung points out. “No child is safe from human trafficking.”

And according to Phung, the problem is getting worse across the country. “Now, they’re going down in age from 18, 16, 14, now we have girls started being recruited as prostitutes at the age of 11, 12 13.”

As a result, today Vicki Zito is on a mission to speak out so that no other family will have to endure the horror that her family, and her daughter, have faced.

“The reason I speak out is that 95 percent of the girls that are victims of this crime, exactly like my daughter was, have no home, no mom, no family, nobody that’s looking for them,” Zito says.

“If just one other life is spared, if just one other life is able to heal and recover and move on from this, then all of my efforts will be worth it.”

For more about the efforts of California Against Slavery to strengthen California’s anti-human trafficking laws, and its signature-gathering petition efforts for a statewide ballot initiative, go to

Copyright 2010, KTLA-TV, Los Angeles

For access to the original article, follow the link


By: Brad Stone

April 25, 2010

Craigslist, one of the most popular Web sites in the United States, is on track to increase its revenue 22 percent this year, largely from its controversial sex advertisements. That financial success is reviving scrutiny from law-enforcement officials who say the ads are still being used for illegal ends.

The ads, many of which blatantly advertise prostitution, are expected to bring $36 million this year, according to a new projection of Craigslist s income. That is three times the revenue in last year s projection.

Law-enforcement officials have been fighting a mostly losing battle to get Craigslist to rein in the sex ads. At the same time, officials of organizations that oppose human trafficking say the site remains the biggest online hub for selling women against their will.

Last week, in the latest example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested 14 members of the Gambino crime family on charges of, among other things, selling the sexual services of girls ages 15 to 19 on Craigslist.

The company that provided the revenue projection, the Advanced Interactive Media Group, has been preparing such analyses since 2003. Followers of Craigslist consider AIM s work to be the most comprehensive estimates of the fiercely private company s finances. The estimate was calculated based on the number of sex ads counted on Craigslist over the month of February and the fees for posting such ads $10 initially and $5 for repeat postings.

James Buckmaster, Craigslist s chief executive, said in an e-mail message that the site would not confirm the figures because it is private and does not discuss its finances. Of the sex ads, he wrote, Of the thousands of U.S. venues that carry adult service ads, including venues operated by some of the largest and best known companies in the U.S., Craigslist has done the best and most responsible job of combating child exploitation and human trafficking.

Mr. Buckmaster was referring to alternative newspapers, phone directories and sex Web sites that carry ads for prostitution, although authorities say that Craigslist is the largest place for such ads.

Craigslist, based in San Francisco, had seemed to put the conflict over its sex ads to rest. Attorneys general in 40 states, including New Jersey, Illinois and Connecticut, investigated the company for facilitating criminal activity, after a wave of publicity about prostitution and violent crimes linked to the site.

Although Craigslist has continually argued that it is legally protected by the Communications Decency Act against liability for what its users post an analysis that judges and legal experts generally agree with it promised last May to begin manually monitoring these posts for illegal activity.

But it also decided to stop committing to donate the profits from sex ads to charity, saying it would make no further comment on how that money would be used.

In a private letter sent to Craigslist s lawyer on Thursday, Richard Blumenthal, attorney general of Connecticut, complained about the continued presence of prostitution ads on the site and asked what additional steps Craigslist was taking to keep such solicitations off the site.

He also asked the company to reveal precisely how much money those ads generate, and criticized the company s announcement last May that it would no longer commit to donate those profits to charity.

I believe Craigslist acted irresponsibly when it unilaterally decided to keep the profits from these posts, Mr. Blumenthal wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.

In the e-mail message, Mr. Buckmaster said, Misuse of Craigslist for criminal purposes is utterly unacceptable, and Craigslist will continue to work with its partners in law enforcement and at nongovernmental organizations until it is eliminated.

He declined to say whether the company was continuing to donate revenue from sex ads to charity, but he said the company was continuing to develop its charitable initiatives.

The company has two charitable organizations; one, the nine-year-old Craigslist Foundation, which received $648,000 in contributions in 2008, according to public documents, does not make any donations. It connects people and organizations to the resources they need to strengthen communities, according to its Web site.

There is also a newer organization, the Craigslist Charitable Fund, which was capitalized in 2008 with $2.7 million by Craigslist, according to public documents. But little else is known about it, and Mr. Buckmaster declined to comment further on the organization or say whether say whether that was the money from the sex ads.

Meanwhile, staff members for Illinois s attorney general, Lisa Madigan, have counted more than 200,000 sex ads since late 2008 posted to Craigslist in Chicago alone which they estimate have generated $1.7 million for the company. Officials in Illinois and Connecticut, as well as South Carolina, are leading the effort to get the site to improve its monitoring of sex ads.

Cara Smith, Ms. Madigan s deputy chief of staff, said Craigslist s manual review of the ads had had a minimal impact. Certainly the manual monitoring has tempered the photos posted along with the ads, but I think there s no question that the site continues to facilitate prostitution, she said.

The AIM Group, which sells research on the advertising market to newspapers and Web sites, conducts its annual Craigslist study by tabulating all the posts to Craigslist in 39 major United States cities over a 30-day period, and then extrapolating to reach a final revenue figure.

This year, the study showed Craigslist on track to bring in $122 million in 2010, a 22 percent increase over its projected revenue last year. Though the site is largely free, it does charge people to post job listings in 19 major United States cities, and real estate listings in New York City, in addition to sex listings in all 438 markets in the United States. Revenue in those other categories remained largely unchanged since last year, according to AIM.

The increase in revenue from sex ads to $36.3 million for the year, according to AIM, was largely caused by Craigslist s decision last May to double the rate for these ads in all of its American markets to $10.

The windfall from sex ads has touched a raw nerve with groups that oppose human trafficking, who are typically heated in their discussion of the company.

Craigslist has not given any indication that they are outraged and disturbed that their site is the primary way children are bought in the country, said Rachel Lloyd, executive director of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, which provides assistance to sexually exploited and trafficked women. All they have done is made cosmetic changes.

Craigslist s reliance on the Communications Decency Act has also angered law-enforcement officials, who complain that the law could not have been drafted with this particular example in mind. But the company has repeatedly won rulings in cases brought against it, including one in 2008 over discriminatory housing ads. A federal appeals court said Craigslist was an online service provider, not a publisher, and so was protected by federal law.

Questions about where that revenue is going are sure to arise from this latest financial analysis of Craigslist. In an accompanying report, the AIM Group estimated Craigslist s expenses at under $50 million, though it acknowledged that this particular calculation involved educated guesses. The analysis took into account estimates of salaries, server and bandwidth costs, and the lawyer fees associated with Craigslist s continuing legal battle with a minority shareholder, eBay.

Even if the numbers are slightly off, that leaves a lot of room for big profits. Mr. Buckmaster and Mr. Newmark own a majority of the company s shares and by all accounts do not live flashy lifestyles.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 3, 2010


An article last Monday about a controversy surrounding sex ads on Craigslist, the online classified ad company, misstated the financing source of a new charitable initiative at the company and also rendered incorrectly part of its name. The new charity is the Craigslist Charitable Fund (not Trust), and it was started in 2008 with a $2.7 million contribution from Craigslist, not from the company s founder, Craig Newmark, and chief executive, James Buckmaster. (Mr. Newmark and Mr. Buckmaster, the two largest shareholders in Craigslist, are the two directors of the charity.)

For access to the original article follow this link


By: Conchita Sarnoff

February 4, 2010

At long last a step in the right direction! With the heart wrenching crisis in Haiti reaching its apex and human atrocities being plastered across every television screen and front page daily, abducting those vulnerable and defenseless Haitian children was a very dumb idea. Yet again, maybe not… And not for the reasons you think.

After four years of grueling investigative research at great personal cost I am now just beginning to see the light. Across movie screens, television sets, new and traditional media the issue of sex slavery or child trafficking as it is most commonly referred to, is finally out in the open and beginning to pick up speed. Most recently, the U.S. Congress agreed to address the issue.

Last week during an off the record meeting at The Hill, I was assured that child trafficking in America is a subject worthy of an audience. The downside of course is that politically it is very much a hot potato with obvious long-term repercussions for anyone who takes it on.

Until our government is well and ready to honestly tackle the issues of: immigration, child pornography on the Internet, Internet security, national security, child prostitution, homeland and border patrol, Mexican drug cartels, money laundering, law enforcement, the administration of T and U Visas, training and recruiting, education and everything in between, Congress cannot have a transparent dialogue that will lead to the creation of valuable laws that protect, prevent, and stringently prosecute. Today there exist only two. “The Mann Act of 1910″ and the “Trafficking Victims Protection Act” (TVPA) of 2000. Both Acts in need of serious revision.

The Miami Herald finally exposed only a week ago, the story of a 2008 raid where agents arrested a ring of child traffickers operating out of a tony West Palm Beach neighborhood. Why did it take so long? Maybe it was economics driven by fear. The thought of real estate prices plummeting even further south in the area probably hit the panic button at the local government level.

For over a year I have been calling Maria Villafana’s office the Assistant U.S. Attorney, to give her inside information about a number of active “stash houses” in the area (brothels where they prostitute trafficked children). No response. I had acquired this information while interviewing one of the convicted traffickers arrested during that raid. He wants to negotiate his sentence and was ready to sing.

A few weeks after Ms. Villafana did not return my calls I turned the list over to an undercover agent working on a similar case. Luckily, at the insistence of my friend and colleague Renee Morrison, The Palm Beach Post finally broke the story.

At school I was taught that “every cloud has a silver lining”. Today, I’m praying that on the backs of those most unfortunate Haitian children the light might have begun to shine. It is time for our Government to move forward and help right this terrible wrong. Because in the long run the children who are trafficked, the government who stays silent and the predators who abuse the children will all pay the same price.

For access to the original article or other articles by Ms. Sarnoff follow this link