Wednesday, October 29, 2008

FBI Announces Results of Three-Day Child Sex Trafficking Sweep

Today the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children announced the conclusion of a three-day law enforcement action—Operation Cross Country II—aimed at combating sex trafficking of children. A similar enforcement action took place in June of this year as part of Operation Cross Country. Information obtained from the June enforcement action led FBI special agents and task force officers to identify other underage victims of sex trafficking. Both enforcement actions are aimed at disrupting the cycle of victimization of children involved in prostitution by getting them off the streets and at developing sufficient evidence to bring serious federal charges against the pimps who are profiting from the sale of children in this way.

Last week, the FBI joined with more than 92 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in Operation Cross Country II across 29 cities. This effort led to 642 arrests and most importantly, the removal of 47 children from the cycle of victimization.

“Sex trafficking of children is one of the most violent and unconscionable crimes committed in this country,” said FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole. “For that reason, we are committed to working with our partners to bring those who exploit children to justice. There are few law enforcement missions more important than protecting our nation’s children.”

“The FBI's leadership in attacking the problem of domestic trafficking of children is unprecedented and historic. These kids are victims being used as commodities for sale or trade. The unique partnership between the FBI, the Justice Department, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is saving lives and bringing organized criminals to justice,” said Ernie Allen, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

In June 2003, the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division Crimes Against Children Unit, in close cooperation with the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitations-Obscenity Section (CEOS) and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), formed the Innocence Lost National Initiative to address criminal enterprises involved in the domestic sex trafficking of children. This program brings state and federal law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and social service providers from around the country to NCMEC, where the groups are trained together. In addition, CEOS has reinforced the training by assigning prosecutors to help bring cases in those cities plagued by child prostitution. Our alliance is proving to be a success. To date, the work of our 28 Innocence Lost task forces and working groups around the country have resulted in 265 indictments, 365 convictions on a combination of state and federal charges, 46 criminal enterprises disrupted and 36 successfully dismantled. Most importantly, our efforts have led to the recovery of 575 child victims.

The FBI extends its sincere appreciation to our partners who participated in Operation Cross Country II and ongoing enforcement efforts:

Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Alexandria Police Department, Anchorage Police Department, Ann Arundel County Police Department, Arlington Heights Police Department, Atlanta Police Department, Atlantic City Police Department, Aurora Police Department, Boston Police Department, California Department of Justice, Campbell Police Department, Chelsea Police Department, Chicago Police Department, City of Miami Police Department, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, College Park Police Department, Concord Police Department, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Costa Mesa Police Department, Dallas Police Department, DC Metropolitan Police Department, Delaware State Police, Denver Police Department, Detroit Police Department, Dublin Police Department, Edmond Police Department, Egg Harbor Township Police Department, Elk Grove Police Department, Fulton County Police Department, Glenview Police Department, Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, Grays Lake Police Department, Gurnee Police Department, Gwinnett County Police Department, Hapeville Police Department, Harris Country Sheriff’s Office, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Honolulu Police Department, Houston Police Department, Howard County Police Department, Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement, Indianapolis Police Department, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lakewood Police Department, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Livermore Police Department, Louisiana State Police, Madison Heights Police Department, Maryland State Police, Massachusetts State Police, Miami Beach Police Department, Miami Dade Police Department, Michigan State Police, Midwest City Police Department, Milpitas Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department, Moreno Valley Police Department, Morgan Hill Police Department, Mundelein Police Department, Nevada Attorney General’s Office, New Jersey State Police, Norman Police Department, Oakland Police Department, Office of Inspector General - Social Security Administration, Oklahoma City Police Department, Ontario Police Department, Phoenix Police Department, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Pomona Police Department, Prince William County Police Department, Reno Police Department, Riverside Police Department, Rolling Meadows Police Department, Rowan University Police Department, Sacramento Police Department, San Bernardino Police Department, San Diego Police Department, San Francisco Police Department, San Jose Police Department, San Mateo Police Department, San Rafael Police Department, Santa Rosa Police Department, Shreveport, Police Department, Southfield Police Department, Sparks Police Department, Tacoma Police Department, Tampa Police Department, Toledo Police Department, University of Nevada at Reno Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Wayne County Sheriff's Office, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The charges announced today are merely accusations and all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

For more information about the Innocence Lost National Initiative, visit

Thursday, October 16, 2008

UNIFEM: Say No to Violence! Sign the Petition Now


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

India: Police Arrest Mother for Selling Daughter to Brothel

SHILLONG, INDIA - A team of Meghalaya police would soon leave for Bangalore to arrest a woman for selling her foster daughter to a brothel in Mumbai, police said today.

16-year-old Naomi (name changed), who escaped from a brothel in Mumbai last week, had alleged that her step-mother Basil Nongrum sold her to a brothel at Dongli, Mumbai, after her father died.

The teenager, who returned here on Friday last, told police that she managed to run from the brothel through one of its ventilators.

Quoting the girl's statement, police said a Nepali lady rescued the girl by taking her to a police station at Nagpara area before she was handed over to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Mumbai.

''We are still investigating the matter. After collecting all the necessary evidence, we will leave for Bangalore to arrest the step-mother of the girl,'' a police official said.

Meanwhile, the state police said trafficking in women has reportedly increased in the north eastern states as the tribal Khasi women were aiding and abetting human trafficking.

''Most of the local girls were whisked away to metro cities by the tribal Khasi women, who are already involved in flesh trade in different metros of the country. Mostly young village girls of the state are easily trapped into the flesh trade with false promises of better career and job prospects,'' the police official said...


Connecticut: Media and the Sex Slave Industry

This Gucci ad, provided by the Gender Ads Project, depicts the image of men in control. The group's goal is to provide gender studies educators and students with a resource for analyzing the advertising images that relate to gender.

EAST HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT - Federal prosecutors have said one-time East Hartford “pimp” Brian Forbes sold two young women to another “pimp” for a promised payment of more than $1,000 in late 2003.

The sale — for which Forbes never actually received payment, according to prosecutors — came after Forbes had already held the two women in an East Hartford apartment, raped them, and “shared them” sexually with friends, federal authorities charged.

Forbes denied the human-sale allegation, but pleaded guilty to a variety of sex-trafficking crimes, including the use of child prostitutes and threatening serious bodily harm to keep two 18-year-olds in his service after they started working for him voluntarily. He was sentenced this year to 13 years in prison.

“Pimp” is here marked by quotations because, technically, a pimp is a person who solicits clients for a prostitute, and in its most positive interpretation prostitution is a voluntary act entered into by individuals who choose to exchange their bodies for money.

Forbes, in this particular case, was not a pimp, but a slave owner.

The case in East Hartford is by no means unique. According to a 2004 report by John Miller, then director of the federal Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons in Washington, D.C., modern slavery plagues every country, including the United States.

Not an easy question to answer is why our country, considered by many to be a progressive nation at the forefront of securing individual human rights, is one of the principal destinations for 14,500 to 17,000 women and children trafficked annually for the purposes of slavery.

In a 2004 Trafficking in Persons Annual Report, Miller noted that information on slavery is inexact, “but we believe that the majority of slave victims, in the neighborhood of 80 percent, are of the female gender.” He added, “We believe the largest category of slavery is sex slavery.”

Ms. magazine reported in the summer of 2007 that sex trafficking is one of the most profitable crime industries in the world — second only to the drug trade — and that U.S. trafficking victims are most prevalent in New York, Texas, Florida, and California. The question now becomes, how is it females have come to be considered a viable, and apparently an even somewhat palatable, commodity, particularly in the United States?

While it’s not possible to blame the use of female slaves on any one factor, it’s difficult not to question the effect media and advertising could have on a society’s perception of women.
Mabelle M. Segrest, Fuller-Matthai professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and chairwoman of the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at Connecticut College, says that to be objectified is to be turned into an object, and to be commodified is to be turned into an object for sale.

“The sex slave is the ultimate of a commodified body, which I think we are numbed to with all this advertising,” she says. “We’re so used to the female body being commodified.”

Women can be used to sell anything from insurance to perfumes to vacations, Segrest says. Even a phone book advertisement uses a young woman in a tight yellow shirt to draw attention to the publication, and an Internet domain registration Web site uses a large-breasted woman in a tight shirt to lure online customers.