Mom’s Crusade to Rescue Daughter from Sex Traffickers Forces Trial

A decade ago, Susana Trimarco’s 23-year-old daughter left her house in Tucuman, Argentina for a doctor’s appointment and said: “I’ll be back soon.”

She was never to be seen again.

Her daughter, María de los Angeles Verón, is believed to have been kidnapped and forced into prostitution, becoming one of the millions of human trafficking victims in the world.

That began Trimarco’s remarkable and dangerous mission to find her daughter: Chasing down leads in brothels, confronting pimps and standing up to politicians she says were complicit in her daughter’s disappearance.

Following a tip that her daughter was in a brothel in a northwestern province of Argentina called La Rioja, she posed as a prostitute and visited a series of dark and dangerous brothels looking for her daughter. She wanted to see how the networks operate, first hand and up close.

“I have no fear of this mafia, and I hope that Justice will make justice,” she said in court recently.

Her efforts, which have brought her international recognition –and kudos from the U.S. White House to Canada – have uncovered a network of human sex slave traffickers that reached as far away as Spain. A foundation Trimarco created in her daughter’s name has helped to rescue 150 victims of human trafficking around the world.

Her her daughter is not one of them. But Trimarco has never given up hope.

This month, 10 years after her Verón’s disappearance, seven men and six women accused of having been part of the network that kidnapped and forced her daughter into prostitution are finally being brought to trial.

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/04/27/mom-crusade-to-rescue-daughter-from-sex-traffickers-forces-trial/#ixzz1tXDrtGC0

Mexico’s Congress Approves Bill to Combat Human Trafficking

Mexico’s lower house unanimously passed an anti-human-trafficking bill that establishes preventative and punitive measures and provides aid to victims of that crime.

The bill includes prison sentences of up to 40 years for those convicted of sexual exploitation and abuse and creates a fund to offer care to victims, the Chamber of Deputies said Friday in a statement.

The head of the Special Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, Congresswoman Rosi Orozco of the governing National Action Party, or PAN, said the bill goes after the entire chain of exploitation, from the people who entrap victims to those who hold them against their will and exploit them and even clients of sexual services.

“Not one more victim will have to endure injustice; the entire chain of exploitation will be punished and comprehensive care will be provided to victims to ensure their social reinsertion,” Orozco said.

The Senate had earlier modified the original bill, whose wording could have been interpreted as only providing protection to minors and leaving out the vast majority of the real and potential victims of human trafficking in its different forms.
Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/04/28/mexico-congress-approves-bill-to-combat-human-trafficking/#ixzz1tXCeMq3e

New York’s trafficking law evolving

In 2007, New York legislators approved one of the more expansive sex trafficking laws in the country — a law that, outside of New York City, has rarely been used.

Through late March there had been 145 sex trafficking arrests in New York under the bill signed into law in 2007 — and all but 13 were in New York City.

That means 91 percent of the arrests occurred in New York City, and only one person has been convicted for sex trafficking outside of the city.

Experts say there are multiple reasons why the law has so rarely been wielded: It is still a relatively new tool; many cases end up in federal court; and trafficking investigations can be difficult to build, especially because of reluctant victims.

“I think it’s a really slow process, but I do think we’re moving in the right direction,” said Lauren Hersh, a Brooklyn assistant district attorney who has been one of the state’s leaders in sex trafficking prosecutions.

Westchester Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, one of the anti-trafficking leaders in the Legislature, said the law may still be too new to critique for effectiveness.

“It’s relatively new,” she said. “The crimes of murder and robbery have been around a long time.”

But, some say, the biggest impediment to toughened anti-trafficking law enforcement may be the long-held belief that a prostitute is, first and foremost, a criminal.

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EU to watch for fraud, trafficking at Euro 2012

EU authorities said Thursday they will be on watch for a spike in customs fraud and human trafficking during the European football championship, as the bloc’s border lies between hosts Poland andUkraine.

“The challenge for border guards at events like Euro 2012 is the management of large passenger flows across the borders,” said Gil Arias Fernandez, deputy head of European Union border agency Frontex.

“Our risk analyses say that criminal networks may try to hide the smuggling of cigarettes, petrol, et cetera, as well as stolen vehicles, taking advantage of the increased traffic at border crossing points,” he told reporters.

“There is also a risk of concealing the traffic of human beings in the midst of these flows, mainly women for prostitution purposes,” he added.

On Monday, Poland announced that during the championship, which runs from June 8 to July 1, it would reintroduce controls on its borders with EU neighbours Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Lithuania.

Such checks were dropped in December 2007 when Poland joined Europe’s travel-smoothingSchengen zone, which now comprises 26 countries, including several non-EU members.

Schengen rules allow members to resume border controls in certain cases, notably when large numbers are expected to flock into a country — and Euro 2012 is expected to draw more than a million people.

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Freedom Climb to bring families together against human trafficking

If you have heard anything about the worldwide human trafficking crisis, you’ve likely heard this statistic: over 30 million people are victims of trafficking in the world today.

That number is overwhelming. It’s the equivalent of putting the entire nation of Peru–plus a few–in slavery. It can be difficult to know where to even begin to tackle a country-sized problem that’s spread out to every nation in the world.

But Operation Mobilization has found one small, yet significant way for families to do something about it: the Freedom Climb.

Sharon Scott went on OM’s last Freedom Climb up Tanzania’s famous Mt. Kilimanjaro. She and 47 other women climbed the 19,000-foot mountain to raise awareness and funds for OM projects fighting trafficking. The trek raised over $400,000 for OM to prevent trafficking and spread the Gospel across the globe.

“We have [projects in] India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Zambia, Asia, Nearest, Middle East, Costa Rica, Mozambique, Cambodia, and Argentina,” says Scott. Funds went to assist all of these.

OM is recreating this climb in several new places now. The Kilimanjaro climb took a great deal of commitment and strength. It would be quite a feat for a family to do it together. Freedom Climb Atlanta, however, is on a much smaller scale, suitable for families.

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Two-fifths of UK trafficking victims are male, survey reveals

Men account for 41% of adult human trafficking victims in England and Wales, according to the Salvation Army.

Men account for more than two-fifths (41%) of adult victims of human trafficking in England and Wales helped by the Salvation Army, contrary to the public perception that the crime almost exclusively affects women.

The finding comes in a survey by the charity, which provides specialist support for the adult victims of trafficking on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

The Salvation Army, which began the support service six months ago, also dealt with the first recorded case of an individual being trafficked to Britain to have their organs harvested. The case, involving an unnamed woman brought to the UK by an organised gang, is understood to be the subject of a police investigation, the Telegraph reports.

The charity’s survey found that 45% of those it supported had been forced into sexual exploitation, 43% were involved in labour exploitation and 8% were trafficked into domestic servitude.

This contradicted a survey of English and Welsh adults carried out by YouGov, which found that respondents thought 29% of all trafficked victims in England and Wales were male, and 68% of all trafficked victims were sexually exploited.

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11 Secret Service agents put on leave in prostitution inquiry

Details about what happened last week at the Hotel Caribe remained murky Saturday. At least 11 Secret Service agents and five military members faced discipline, however.

The U.S. Secret Service on Saturday placed 11 agents on administrative leave as the agency investigates accusations the men brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms in Cartagena, Colombia, last week and a dispute ensued with one woman over payment.

In addition, five U.S. military service members who were working with the Secret Service agents were confined to quarters and are facing an investigation.

Secret Service Assistant Director Paul Morrissey said the officers had violated the agency’s “zero-tolerance policy on personal misconduct” during their trip to prepare for President Obama’s arrival at an international summit this weekend.

“We regret any distraction from the Summit of the Americas this situation has caused,” Morrissey said Saturday.

The rapidly unfolding scandal upstaged Obama’s trip to the summit, where he is discussing trade and the economy with 32 other regional heads of state. Though the agency has said Obama’s security was not compromised, the accusations of misconduct have brought intense scrutiny to an agency that had not had any major lapse since 2009, when two party crashers entered the White House uninvited.

The scandal grew Saturday as Defense Department officials said the five military personnel, also staying at the Hotel Caribe — where the Secret Service agents stayed — violated curfew Wednesday night and were confined to their rooms. The department will conduct its own investigation upon their return to the United States, said Gen. Douglas Fraser, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, where the military personnel were from.

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Oxford child sex trafficking probe widens as number of ‘victims’ doubles to 50 girls, some as young as 11

A suspected sex trafficking ring in which girls as young as 11 were allegedly targeted was far larger than previously feared, according to police.

As many as 50 young girls have come forward claiming to have been sold for sex in Oxford, detective confirmed today.

It was originally thought that 24 girls, aged between 11 and 16 years, were the only victims but more youngsters have since contacted the police alleging they were also victims.

A total of 13 men were arrested when more than 100 police swooped in the raids across Oxford, codenamed Operation Bullfinch.

A group of six Asian men – including two sets of brothers – have been charged by police in connection with allegedly running the sex trafficking ring in the university city known for its dreaming spires.

Since the initial dawn raids last month, officers had made a further two arrests as part of the probe, a police spokesman said.

A 39-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman were detained on suspicion of ‘grooming’ this week.
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40000 Bihar children missing, says Amod Kanth

The magnitude of human trafficking in Bihar is alarming as about 35,000 to 40,000 children from the state were missing and nobody knew about their whereabouts, said former Delhi police commissioner Amod Kanth. There was no human development indicator in Bihar, resulting in the frequent use of child labour and violation of law dealing with it, he said.

Speaking on the first day of the three-day seminar on ‘Training of Master trainers: To combat human trafficking’, organized jointly by the crime investigation department (CID) of Bihar police and Save The Children, a civil society organization, here on Monday, Kanth stressed the need to redefine human trafficking as the present definition did not deal with the issue in its entirety. The Central government was working on a new manual to make it clear, he said, adding that the Immoral Trafficking Act discussed only about commercialization of sex and the Juvenile Justice Act talked only about children between 6 and 8 years of age.

Throwing light on the complexity of the issue, Kanth said human trafficking was related not only to prostitution but also with forced marriage, child sex and organ transplant. He said the present definition was itself so complex that it was creating problem in tackling the real issue.

Addressing the inaugural function, DGP Abhayanand said human trafficking was the worst form of rights violation and reiterated the Bihar police commitment to eliminate this evil from the state.

The DGP asked police officials to behave properly with victims of human trafficking, be alert about any information in this regard and take cognisance on priority basis.

Speaking on ‘Coordination: Police, community and civil society organization’, member of Bihar Public Service Commission and retired IPS officer, Rajyabardhan Sharma, said the local police should take the media help in busting the gangs involved in human trafficking. He, however, felt the media was not giving proper space to such serious issues.

State programme coordinator of Save the Children, Nitu Prasad, said the victims needed support as kids took to crime because of lack of awareness about law.

ADG (CID) A S Nimbran, IG Arbind Pandey and DIG Kamal Kishore were also present on the occasion.

Human Trafficking Victims: 2.4 Million People Across The Globe Are Trafficked For Labor, Sex

Romanian students dressed as caged brides attend an event to raise awareness to the risks of human trafficking and sexual exploitation faced by young girls lured by the prospect of a better paying job abroad, in Bucharest, Romania, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011.

The U.N. crime-fighting office said Tuesday that 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking at any one time, and 80 percent of them are being exploited as sexual slaves.

Yuri Fedotov, the head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, told a daylong General Assembly meeting on trafficking that 17 percent are trafficked to perform forced labor, including in homes and sweat shops.

He said $32 billion is being earned every year by unscrupulous criminals running human trafficking networks, and two out of every three victims are women.

Fighting these criminals “is a challenge of extraordinary proportions,” Fedotov said.

“At any one time, 2.4 million people suffer the misery of this humiliating and degrading crime,” he said.

According to Fedotov’s Vienna-based office, only one out of 100 victims of trafficking is ever rescued.

Fedotov called for coordinated local, regional and international responses that balance “progressive and proactive law enforcement” with actions that combat “the market forces driving human trafficking in many destination countries.”

Michelle Bachelet, who heads the new U.N. agency promoting women’s rights and gender equality called UN Women, said “it’s difficult to think of a crime more hideous and shocking than human trafficking. Yet, it is one of the fastest growing and lucrative crimes.”

Actress Mira Sorvino, the U.N. goodwill ambassador against human trafficking, told the meeting that “modern day slavery is bested only by the illegal drug trade for profitability,” but very little money and political will is being spent to combat trafficking.

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