Paso Robles Couple Sentenced to Federal Prison in Case Involving Smuggled Aliens who Worked Under Abusive Conditions

LOS ANGELES—A husband and wife from Paso Robles who admitted harboring illegal aliens after they were smuggled into the United States and forced to work in substandard conditions at the couple’s elder care facilities were each sentenced today to 18 months in federal prison.

Maximino Morales, 46, and his wife, Melinda Morales, 48, each received 18-month sentences from United States District Judge Audrey B. Collins.

“The Filipino victims in this case were lured to the United States with false promises and were essentially performing slave labor,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “We are committed to protecting the basic civil rights of all people, no matter their status in the United States.”

The Morales, both natives of the Philippines, pleaded guilty last May to conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens. The Morales, who operated four elder care facilities under the umbrella of “Four M’s, Inc.,” admitted that they recruited Filipino nationals to come to the United States with promises of work as live-in caregivers. A co-conspirator in the Philippines helped the aliens obtain fraudulent visas that allowed them to travel to the United States. After they arrived, “some of the aliens worked alone in 24-hour shifts…as caregivers at one of the Four M’s elder care residential facilities for less than minimum wage,” according to plea agreements filed in this case. “All of the aliens lived in the care facilities, and some of the aliens slept in a closet, on a sofa, and in a walled-off portion of an unheated, attached garage.” The aliens’ pay was credited against the “debt” they purportedly owed, and the aliens were told that police or immigration authorities would be summoned if they attempted to leave.

“The victims in this case were rescued after a concerned member of the community reported the tragic working and living conditions to officials,” said Steven Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The FBI will continue to spread awareness by educating the community on how to identify the signs of labor exploitation, and urges the public to report suspected cases of illegal harboring or human trafficking.”

In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Collins ordered the Morales to pay $600,000 in restitution to nine Filipino victims who were not properly paid for the work they performed.

The FBI arrested Maximino and Melinda Morales on March 30, 2010 when special agents executed search warrants in Paso Robles.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which received assistance from the California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division and the United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

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KENYA: Tackling underage sex work in Nyanza’s gold mines

NYATIKE, 7 February 2012 (PlusNews) – Inside a smoky makeshift kiosk, Julie*, 16, can hardly cope with the demand from her clients for a cup of tea and a snack – the men are parched from their work as gold miners in the western Kenyan district of Nyatike.
The money Julie makes from the kiosk is not sufficient, so she supplements it by having sex with the miners in exchange for money; it also buys their loyalty.

“These are my clients and I have to please them, so I allow them to do whatever they want so that they can come back tomorrow. If I don’t do that, they will go to my competitor,” she told IRIN/PlusNews. “The miners have money and they pay well for sex.”

Nyatike District is in Nyanza province, which has an HIV prevalence of 14.8 percent, double the national average. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics ranks Nyatike as one of the 10 poorest districts in the country, despite the gold boom.

At any given time, there are more than 1,000 miners in Nyatike’s gold mines; as many as 100 girls also spend their days there.


To read the full article CLICK HERE.

Romanian Ioan Clamparu sentenced to 30 years in jail by Spanish court for human trafficking

Romanian Ioan Clamparu, one of the targets of Interpol’s Operation Infra-Red, was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison by a court in Madrid, Spain, for crimes including human trafficking and procuring for prostitution. The 30-year stretch was the maximum sentence requested by the prosecutors. The human trafficking network he created  is believed to have resulted in more than 100 Romanian women being forced into prostitution in Spain between 2000 and 2004.

Ioan Clamparu, 42, was also sentenced to 13 years in jail in Romania. He was under investigation by the Romanian judicial authorities for eight years but was arrested in Spain in October 2011, following close collaboration between Interpol’s National Central Bureaus in Romania and Spain, reads an Interpol statement.

He was accused of heading one of the biggest Romanian mafia groups, with dealings in human trafficking. He has been on the run from Romania for the last eight years. Ioan Clamparu was one of 450 international fugitives targeted during Interpol’s Operation Infra-Red in July 2010.

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Strauss-Kahn faces heat in sex-ring investigation

In the years before Dominique Strauss-Kahn was forced to quit as head of the International Monetary Fund in a sex scandal, his life was a whirl of meetings with some of the world’s most powerful people.

It now appears, if allegations in the French media are to be believed, that he was also spending much of those days having meetings with some very different people, with names like “Dodo Brine” and “Text-Message Man.”

Mr. Strauss-Kahn was taken into custody in Lille on Tuesday. He had expected to be questioned as a witness in the sex-ring investigation, but was told upon arrival that he’d be a suspect.

If Lille prosecutors are correct – their allegations have not been heard in court – then a circle of northern French businessmen were paying to organize what the French media discreetly call “une soirée libertine” – a sex party with prostitutes – in order to win influence with a man who many believed would soon be President of the Republic. Those orgies were allegedly paid out of funds from the corporations the men worked for.

To read the full article CLICK HERE.

600 Ugandan girls victims of human trafficking in Malaysia

At least 600 Ugandan girls have been forced into Malaysia’s sex trade in what has become a human trafficking epidemic, a foreign diplomat has said.

Hajah Noraihan, the Malaysian consul to Uganda, said despite an early warning to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2008 when the number of trafficked girls stood at 30, the constant flow of victims has not slowed.

She says Malaysian intelligence indicates 10 girls continue to fall through the cracks of Uganda’s immigration and labour systems daily.

“Nothing was done and this is what happened,” Ms Noraihan said.

Malaysia, a country known for its poor human trafficking record although it has traditionally been within the Asian region, is currently on a US state department watch list for not having shown adequate evidence of its efforts to combat the scourge.

To Read the Full Article CLICK HERE.

Sex Trafficking of Americans: The Girls Next Door

Even as celebrity activists such as Emma Thompson, Demi Moore, and Mira Sorvino raise awareness about commercial sex trafficking, survivor Rachel Lloyd publishes her memoir Girls Like Us, and the Senate introduces a new bipartisan bill for victim support, the problem proliferates across continents, in casinos, on streets, and directly into your mobile device. And, as Amy Fine Collins shows, human trafficking is much closer to home than you think; victims, younger than ever, are just as likely to be the homegrown American girl next door as illegally imported foreigners. Having gained access to victims, law-enforcement officials, and a convicted trafficker, Collins follows a major case that put to the test the federal government’s Trafficking Victims Protection Act.


To read full testimonies from the trafficked victims CLICK HERE.

Deaf Girl Tells Court Of Decade Of ‘Rape And Beatings’

The victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told the jury of almost a decade of alleged abuse after being trafficked into the UK from Pakistan in 2000, supposedly to work as a domestic help- though aged only 10 at the time.  The orphaned youngster was slapped, beaten, sexually abused and hit with a rolling pin while forced to work for no money during the day, the court heard.  At night the victim was made to sleep on the concrete floor, the door bolted.

Her alleged abusers were Ilyas Ashar, 83, and his wife, Tallat Ashar, 66, who deny charges of false imprisonment, human trafficking, sexual offences, violence and benefit fraud. The girl told of her treatment while at their home on Cromwell Road in Eccles, Salford, Greater Manchester. … The victim’s true age is not known but it is thought she was aged between 10 and 12 when she came to the UK.

To get full detail on this horrific story CLICK HERE.

Prostitution sting nets 21 in North County

A prostitution sting in Escondido, Vista and Oceanside led to 21 arrests Saturday, sheriff’s officials said.

The operation was conducted by the North County Regional Prostitution/Human Trafficking Task Force in conjunction with Oceanside and Escondido police, sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Mata said. The exact time and locations of the sting were not disclosed.

Officers placed ads on Craigslist or other websites offering sex for sale and arrested those who responded, Mata said.

Nineteen men were taken into custody for solicitation of prostitution and one for loitering for prostitution, he said. A woman who propositioned an undercover officer was arrested on suspicion of offering sex for money, Mata said.

In Vista, six men between the ages of 31 and 58 were arrested. One, a 48-year-old man, was also charged with possession of a controlled substance after he offered to pay for sex with methamphetamine, Mata said. A 58-year-old man also was charged with possession of a controlled substance and sexual battery when he grabbed an undercover officer, and a 50-year-old man who put his hands on another officer was booked on additional battery charges, Mata said.

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Portsmouth Police Probe Prositution Ring

PORTSMOUTH — Spurred by a victim who contacted police, authorities in Portsmouth are investigating what they believe is an organized prostitution ring with ties across the Eastern Seaboard, from New Hampshire as far south as New Jersey.

The investigation began when a Manchester woman contacted police in that community and reported she was forced to work as a prostitute at a hotel near the Portsmouth traffic circle, according to Deputy Portsmouth Police Chief Stephen DuBois. DuBois said the incident occurred sometime in October 2011.

Portsmouth detectives launched an investigation into the woman’s claim on Tuesday, and are now coordinating with police departments in several states to uncover evidence, according to DuBois.

Asked to describe how the ring operates, DuBois said women are “essentially forced into the sex trade because of certain controls that another person would have over them … like possession of all their worldly belongings, and/or a debt that’s owed.”

With the investigation only days old, DuBois said it’s unclear what length of time the prostitution ring was allegedly operating in the Portsmouth hotel. He said police believe other female victims were also forced into sex work at the hotel. It’s also unknown whether any other New Hampshire communities were touched by the operation, he said.

“I think, when you’re talking about multiple jurisdictions over state lines, eventually there’ll be a federal [law enforcement] component to it,” DuBois said.

In recent months, Portsmouth police have turned their attention to an apparent increase in prostitution activity in the area. A sting operation conducted at a Portsmouth hotel in the spring resulted in the arrest of three men who allegedly tried to pay for sex, including a former Massachusetts police officer.

At the time, a Portsmouth police official attributed the illicit activity to rings based in Boston and New York, which use area hotels while moving women to other locations.

While individual cases of prostitution are not uncommon in the Seacoast area, DuBois said human trafficking of this nature presents a new challenge for the department.

“Prostitution enforcement is not a foreign thing to us, as far as, we’ve had cases of prostitution in Portsmouth in the past,” DuBois said. “It does happen. This is a little different in that it’s part of a larger, you know, a larger ring.”

11 Years On, A Mother Still Hopes

Chea Mon crited at the arrival terminal yesterday when she saw that her son, who disappeared 11 years ago, was not among the rescued Cambodian trafficking victims stepping through the exit gate at Phnom Penh International Airport.  Those who did arrive yesterday are among a group of 14 recused last week during coordinated efforts by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the International Organization for Migration and Indonesian authorities, after desperate phone calls from the victims.  Ben Channa, an official at the Ministry of Interior’s anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department, said police are now searching for the brokers who send them to Thailand.  More than 100 Cambodian men have been repatriated from abroad since December after escaping or being recused from slave labor conditions on Thai fishing boats.

To read the full article CLICK HERE.