Human Trafficking Newsletter October 2017

The following is a compendium of news reports over the last month that may be of interest to our AG offices that are dealing with state-focused human trafficking issues. Neither the National Association of Attorneys General nor the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute expresses a view as to the accuracy of news accounts, nor as to the position expounded by the authors of the hyperlinked articles.

In the Courts

Federal

Kendra Ross, 26, has filed suit in federal district court in Kansas City, Kansas, alleging that she was a victim of labor trafficking from the time she was 11. According to the lawsuit, filed against Royall Jenkins and his organization, the Value Creators, formerly known as the United Nation of Islam, Ross was forced to work in restaurants as a maid, cook, and childcare provider in Kansas City, Atlanta, Dayton, and New York. Since 2015, Ross has lived in a safe house in an undisclosed state to hide herself from her former alleged traffickers.

Legislation

Federal

In the Senate, S. 1311, the Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017, was passed and sent to the House. It provides funding for victims’ services and law enforcement, requires mandatory restitution for victims, enhances statutory maximum penalties for several human trafficking offenses, expands the authority of state and local governments to seek wiretap warrants, and establishes Human Trafficking Coordinators in every U.S. Attorney’s Office and at the Department of Justice. Similarly, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017, S. 1312, was passed. The Senate also passed S. 1532, the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act. It would disqualify anyone who has used a commercial motor vehicle in committing a human trafficking felony from operating a commercial motor vehicle. S. 1536, Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act also passed. It requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to designate an official to coordinate agency activities that would be designed to prevent and address human trafficking and establish an advisory committee within DOT. It would also authorize certain grant funds administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to be used for anti-trafficking activities. S. 1862 was introduced; this bill would amend the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to modify the criteria for determining whether countries are meeting the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.

In the House, HR 3814, a companion bill to S. 1532, has been introduced as has HR 3813, a companion bill to S. 1536. A bill to amend the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 to include sex trafficking victims in the transitional housing assistance grant programs was introduced as HR 3863.

State

The California legislature passed several bills addressing human trafficking. AB260 would add hotels, motels, and B&Bs to the list of establishments that must post a notice that includes information on human trafficking and providing names of nonprofit organization that provides services. AB326 requires that cosmetologists, barbers, and others licensed by the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology be required to take training on physical and sexual abuse awareness. SB597 would include victims of human trafficking in a current program which allows a person to apply to the Secretary of State to ensure confidentiality of identify for that person and specified household members. Under SB 230, witnesses at human trafficking trials could speak to a criminal suspect’s character to show a pattern of abuse toward the victim.

Two recent bills addressing human trafficking were filed in the Florida legislature. HB 159 would require the Department of Legal Affairs to develop human trafficking awareness campaigns and to develop and operate a hotline to receive reports of potential human trafficking activity. HB 167, designated the Civil Action for Victims of Human Trafficking and Prevention of Human Trafficking Act, would provide a civil cause of action for victims of human trafficking and require courts to impose civil penalties in certain circumstances.

State Investigations/Arrests/Prosecution

Alabama

Sept. 27, 2017: Billy Edwards, 63, was arrested in Huntsville for human trafficking, sexual abuse, and sodomy. He is now free on $365,000.00 bail. The sheriff’s office is not releasing further information about the allegations against Edwards.

Sept. 1, 2017: Stefanie Nichole Weaver has been charged with sodomy, facilitating the travel of a child for a sex act, and human trafficking. Investigators allege that Weaver met a juvenile on Facebook and arranged to meet the victim in Ohio. Weaver allegedly had a sexual relationship with the victim and then transported her to Cullman County.

Arizona

Sept. 26, 2017: After a five-month investigation by Mesa police, two men were arrested on suspicion of child sex trafficking. Police say that Oshay Small, 26, and Cornelius Wells, 21, contacted two 15-year old girls over Facebook and got them to leave home. They then exploited them, using the internet to advertise them to sex buyers.

California

Sept. 22, 2017: Cori Murphy, 44, of Antioch has accepted a plea deal after being charged with forcing adults into prostitution and raping two minors. He will be sentenced to 30 years at his formal sentencing in October. The investigation began a year ago when a teen girl reported to police that Murphy had invited her to a room in a motel, slipped something into a drink, and sexually assaulted her. County prosecutors filed charges against Murphy, Rose Pennell, 28, and Sarah Denzer, 24, who had also been prostituted by Murphy. Pennell was sentenced to eight years and Denzer received a three-year sentence. Five victims – three adults and two minors – helped police resolve the case.

Sept. 20 2017: A raid by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department resulted in 36 arrests and the shutdown of a prostitution ring that included both minor and adult victims of human trafficking. Three children were released to the care of the Department of Children and Family Services and five women were identified as human trafficking victims. Demario Bell, Damon Thomas, and Damien Henry were also charged with felony pandering after they allegedly attempted to recruit an undercover deputy to work for them as a prostitute.

Sept. 13, 2017: In Martinez, Akeli Duane Blake, 25, was sentenced to 28 years in prison after he pled guilty to human trafficking. He had also been charged with kidnapping for ransom and making criminal threats. He was arrested last year after a woman in her teens reported that he had forced her to perform sex acts for money by threatening to harm her and her family.

Sept. 9, 2017: Fullerton police received an anonymous tip that a woman was potentially being held against her will and that she was a likely victim of a human trafficking ring. Police conducted surveillance and identified a suspect, Zhentao Shen, 37. Two adult Asian women were located inside the apartment. Shen was arrested and is believed to be part of a larger investigation.

Sept. 9 2017: After a ten-month investigation, Fresno police arrested 15 people for luring women into human sex trafficking, along with distributing guns and drugs. No minors were among the victims.

Sept. 8, 2017: John Wayne Calhoun, 31, was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison for sex trafficking a 13-year –old girl in Orange County.

Sept. 4, 2017: Pomona police began surveillance of a young girl who was seen walking along a street and soliciting sex acts. She was observed getting into a car driven by a man who was later identified as John Willie Morgan. Morgan has been arrested and jailed on suspicion of felony human trafficking. The 15-year old victim has been reunited with her family.

Sept. 2, 2017: Johnnie Jingles-Williams pled guilty to pimping and pandering charges related to a human trafficking investigation in Santa Maria. He was sentenced to three years in state prison.

Colorado

Sept. 7, 2017: Eighth Judicial District Judge Caroll Brinegar sentenced Durrell Bumphus, 32, to 20 years in prison for human trafficking. Bumphus was arrested in March in Ft. Collins on allegations that he acted as a pimp for a young woman and a 17-year-old girl.

Sept. 6, 2017: Miguel Diaz-Martinez, 61, from Steamboat Springs pled guilty to sex trafficking and child prostitution charges. Routt County prosecutors said that the case may involve as many as nine victims. He will be sentenced in November and faces up to 50 years in prison.

Delaware

Sept. 14, 2017: A Caroline County Circuit Court Judge sentenced Paul T. Owen, 26, to 20 years in prison for human trafficking along with an additional five years for a third-degree sexual offense conviction to which he pled guilty to in July. The trafficking took place in December 2016. Owen reportedly transported a girl to Greenwood for prostitution.

Kansas

Sept. 14, 2017: Brandon Ewing, 28, was arraigned this week in Shawnee County on his indictment on six counts of criminal sodomy with a child 14-15 years old, eleven counts of electronic solicitation of a child under 16 years old, furnishing alcohol to a minor for illicit purposes, and aggravated endangering a child under the age of 18. Four others were also indicted in this case. The charges related to the indictments stem from conduct with a minor between March and April of 2017.

Kentucky

Sept. 21, 2017: Silky Clark, 39 of Louisville, was arrested by Attorney General Beshear’s Criminal Investigations Unit and charged with sex trafficking of a 17-year-old, a Class C felony, along with a number of related charges. Clark allegedly provided the teen with housing and was profiting from the prostitution transactions.

Sept. 14, 2017: A former Campbell County District Judge has been indicted on eight additional felony counts. Timothy Nolan was originally charged in a criminal complaint on crimes that occurred between 2010 and May 2017. The recent indictment brings the total count of alleged victims for which Nolan is charged to 22, including eight juveniles under the age of 18 and 14 adults.

Sept. 11, 2017: An Indiana man has been arrested in Kentucky in connection with seeking sex with a minor. Daniel Lynn Hackman, 31, was arrested and charged with one count of prohibited use of an electronic communication system to procure a minor for sex in Frankford, and related charges. According to press releases from Attorney General Beshear’s office, two other arrests have been made in connection with men seeking sex with minors.

Maryland

Sept. 28, 2017: Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks announced the convictions of three members of a multi-jurisdictional, Maryland-based human trafficking enterprise. Rashid Marwan Mosby, 43, and Terra Marie Perry, 37, pleaded guilty to human trafficking offenses before a Prince George's County judge. They are set to be sentenced November 8. A third co-defendant, Joshua Isaiah Jones, 27, was convicted of human trafficking of a minor and obtaining earnings from prostitution. From 2013 to 2015, the three recruited women throughout Maryland and the surrounding area under the guise of a modeling and escort agency. Once lured, the victims were manipulated and threatened into compliance. One victim was a minor.

Sept. 15, 2017: Twelve people have been arrested on charges they were connected to a human trafficking operation in Ocean City. Police arrested John E. Buffington, Obed E. Cabrera, Richard H. Campbell, Mark A. Defrank, James G. Ehrisman, Douglas M. Entenman, Matthew E. Killam, Joseph H. Martini, George E. O’Neal, Michael S. Price, James H. Rasnake, and Cristen R. Thomas. Most of the charges were for alleged prostitution, but a few of the men were charged with drug-related crimes, including possession of narcotics with intent to distribute.

Massachusetts

Sept. 29, 2017: Attorney General Maura Healy announced that ten individuals have been indicted in connection with a sex trafficking and money laundering operation in which women were prostituted throughout the state through a purported online “escort” service which was, in fact, a front for human trafficking.

Sept. 28, 2017: Officers from Fairhaven, Sandwich, and Falmouth executed search warrants at three massage parlors and charged Mark Clinton, 49, of Fairhaven, with human trafficking. Ads on Craigslist stated that there were new women at the massage parlor and to “try the Chinese way of healing.” His arrest followed a lengthy investigation by federal, state, and local authorities who received information on his alleged ties to the Chinese mafia from his mother.

Sept. 3, 2017: Scott W. Brink, 30 of Gorham, was arrested on a charge of sex trafficking.

Michigan

Sept. 29, 2017: Tremaine Woodall, 20, pled guilty to two counts of human trafficking and two counts of felony prostitution in Macomb County Circuit Court. He pled on the understanding that he would seek state Holmes Youthful Trainee Act which allows young adult defendants to admit guilt and have the convictions erased if they comply with a judge’s conditions. Woodall’s co-defendant, Latitia Hudson, who was 17 at the time of her arrest, pled guilty earlier to prostitution/pandering, but she faces a bench warrant for failing to appear for an alleged probation violation.

Sept. 28, 2017: Jasmin Christine McGinnis, Melvin Dwight Niblett, Corey Michael Cooper, and Maurice Rushton have been charged in a human trafficking and operating an opioid drug ring that encompassing two southeast Michigan counties. They are now facing trial in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Sept. 28, 2017: Ray Jerrill-Bruce Culbertson, 45, was charged with single counts of human trafficking of a minor for commercial sexual activity and human trafficking enterprise and five counts of accepting the earnings of a prostitute back on July 7. His co-defendant, Kayla Young-Cooke, 29, is scheduled to be arraigned in Lenawee County Circuit Court on two counts of human trafficking.

Sept. 1, 2017: Travun Baskerville, accused of murdering a Detroit area chef, has now been arraigned on human trafficking charges as well, including human trafficking enterprise involving death and human trafficking of a minor. According to Detroit police, Chef Doug Calhoun went missing in June after he answered an ad on Backpage.com. A 16-year old girl arranged a “date” with Calhoun at a home that she and Baskerville shared. An argument between Calhoun and Baskerville led to Calhoun being shot several times. His body was then dumped in an abandoned home.

Minnesota

Sept. 6, 2017: Shaun Michael Maubach, 32, of Mahtomedi, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of an individual in Washington County and was sentenced to 19 years in prison. Maubach was arrested in June on a Kansas burglary warrant. He volunteered that he could provide information on where to find $10,000 worth of drugs. When inspecting the phone, a detective found evidence of sex trafficking that revealed that more than 100 ads were placed on the internet in Minnesota, Colorado, and Washington.

Missouri

Sept. 15, 2017: A Springfield man, Robert McCaw, has been charged with rape and sex trafficking in connection with two runaway girls. McCaw is accused of keeping the girls in a home and planning to transport them to St. Louis and eventually Arizona for prostitution.

Sept. 7, 2017: Michael A. West, 45, of St. Louis, was arrested and charged with promoting child pornography and sex trafficking of a minor. West, an employee of a Vashon High School, reportedly asked a 15-year-old male student for sexually explicit images with the intent to distribute the images.

New Hampshire

Sept. 12, 2017: Charles Morrison, 54, of Manchester, is accused of human trafficking and intimidation including the cutting a woman's face with a razor for failing to pay a drug debt. Morrison is allegedly a member of a criminal operation called “the Squad.” He is being held on $50,000 bail.

New Jersey

Sept. 29, 2017: Atlantic City authorities arrested Tahir Gregory, 38, and charged him with two counts of human trafficking and two counts of promoting prostitution. Search warrants executed found more than 100 bags of pure fentanyl, a handgun, and several electronic devices. He allegedly forced two women to engage in prostitution.

Sept. 27, 2017: Adria Regn, 28, of Mount Holly, and Christopher White, 19, were accused of holding a teenage girl for days, having lured her to a motel for a presumed babysitting job, and forcing her to work as a prostitute without pay. Regn pled guilty in the Burlington County Superior Court to a second degree charge of conspiracy to facilitate human trafficking. The state is recommending that she serve five years.

Sept. 24, 2017: Ali J. Brown, 25, Brandon R. Samuel, 26, and Joseph A. Samuel, 25, were indicted on charges of human trafficking, promoting child prostitution, endangering and conspiracy by a Gloucester County grand jury. These three men allegedly forced a minor to have sex with 15 men for cash in a motel room.

Sept. 13, 2017: Jessica Copeland, 29, pled guilty to facilitating human trafficking involving a prostitution ring that victimized minors at motels in South Hackensack and Clifton. Others involved with this ring have taken plea deals as well. Ernestine Bowman pled guilty last December, and both Glen Bowman Jr. and Tokina Williams pled guilty to promoting prostitution. Glen Bowman Sr. awaits trial.

New York

Sept. 20, 2017: Sook Yeong Park, 50, and her husband Jeong Taek Lee, 54, pleaded guilty to two counts of labor trafficking in July in Queens County. Park has been sentenced to two to six years in prison and Lee was sentenced to five years of probation. Park and Lee were entrusted with the care for two young Korean children in 2010. Shortly thereafter, the couple seized the children’s passports and forced them to work 10 hours a day outside and inside the home.

Sept. 20, 2017: A third individual has been charged in a human trafficking case centered on a Brooklyn brothel. Police have also determined that the four children in the Crown Heights apartment found when the first arrests were made in July were living there with their victimized mothers. Sources indicate that police officials are focused on a local gang and are trying to determine how many victims may have been forced into prostitution.

North Carolina

Sept. 21, 2017: In Fayetteville, Carl Lynn Williams Jr., 28, has been charged with six counts of promoting prostitution and one count each of human trafficking an adult victim and assault by strangulation. He was convicted in 2010 of sexual indecency with a child and charged in 2016 with multiple counts of violating the N.C. Sex Offender Registry.

Sept. 14, 2017: Andrew Reginald Willis, 56, of Fayetteville, was arrested and charged with two counts of felony human trafficking of an adult victim, two counts of felony conspiracy to commit human trafficking of an adult victim, communication of threats, second degree forcible rape, and assault on a female, police said. Five others (Shirley Weatherholt-Becker, Stanley Dwayne Olaf Koberger, Kelly Brooke Morrison, Jeremy Shane Gentry Jr., and Jonathan Michael Becker) were arrested and charged in connection with the case back in July.

Ohio

Sept. 27, 2017: Charles Hart, 63, of Cochranton, was one of 9 men arrested in an undercover operation targeting demand. Hart was arrested on the charges of soliciting and possessing criminal tools. Sohail Awan, Michael Canady, Joseph Geraci, Ryan Grossman, Gary Harmon, Christopher Jones, and Paul McHugh were also arrested. Jamie Webb, 31, was arrested and charged with attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Each of the men were arrested on a charge of soliciting when they voluntarily arrived at the assumed meeting location in Beaver Township.

Sept. 26, 2017: Franklin County prosecutors have announced that Dante Griffin, 32, a third suspect in a human trafficking case, pled guilty to engaging in corrupt activity. He was arrested along with Anthony Wilson and Tori Wilson whom prosecutors assert were involved in trafficking three victims between 2013 and 2015.

Sept. 25, 2017: The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office announced that Iesha Heard, 21, was sentenced to 36 months in prison after being found guilty on two counts of committing unlawful sex conduct with a minor, two counts of compelling prostitution, and one count of pandering obscenity involving a minor. She was a co-defendant in the case with Jermar White, 32, who was found guilty earlier this month on human trafficking and other felony counts involving two minor females. The investigation began in May 2015, when a 15-year old told her school counselor that White, along with co-defendant Iesha Heard, 21, had forced her and a friend into performing sex acts and posing for explicit photos.

Sept. 22, 2017: Darren Townsend, 37, and Pearl Coffey, 34, were indicted on several human trafficking charges. The Summit County Prosecutor’s Office stated that the couple was charged with multiple counts of compelling prostitution, trafficking in persons, promoting prostitution, and corrupting another with drugs. The couple preyed on women and girls and forced them into prostitution. They are the first people charged in Summit County with trafficking in persons.

Sept. 18, 2017: After some victims were able to escape and go to police, Warren authorities arrested Daniel Blasko, 63. A confidential informant told a Warren detective that she had been able to escape from a second story window in January and that Blasko had held her against her will, forced her into prostitution, physically assaulted her and burned her face with a cigarette. A second woman who was also allegedly held against her will escaped from a locked camper parked in the yard. According to reports, Blasco got women high on heroin and then prostituted them by advertising them on the internet.

Oklahoma

Sept. 25, 2017: Bart Mitchell Martin, 47, was arrested on two complaints of lewd proposals to a child under 16, two counts of solicitation of a minor by technology, and two counts of violating Oklahoma computer crimes act. During an undercover sting by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Human Trafficking Unit, Martin thought he was communicating with two underage females when he texted an undercover agent. Martin is currently in Tulsa County Jail.

Sept. 6, 2017: In July, Atmore authorities arrested Charles Clarence Stacey, 87, Mary Lue Daw, 66, and Melissa Dean Stoker, 37, on trafficking charges involving the victimization of Daw’s 13-year old granddaughter (Stoker’s daughter). According to newspaper accounts, a special grand jury has now returned bill of indictments against the three. Stacy is charged with rape, human trafficking, and enticing a child for immoral purposes; Daw is charged with rape and human trafficking, and Stoker is charged with human trafficking, engendering the welfare of a child, and contributing to the delinquency or need of supervision of a child. Stoker’s involvement came when authorities allegedly discovered that she had left her daughter in Daw’s care even though she was aware the Stacey was providing money to Daw for allowing access to the child.

Oregon

Sept. 8, 2017: An undercover sting by Portland police led to the arrest of Jeray Lamar Johnson. He is accused of trying to recruit a woman, whom he thought was a sex trafficking victim, into working as a prostitute for him. When Johnson showed up at a Portland hotel, he discovered he had actually been talking to an undercover police officer.

Pennsylvania

Sept. 27, 2017: Bruce Steele, 46, of Philadelphia, pled guilty in Montgomery County to human trafficking charges. He will be facing 5 ½ to 11 years in prison as well as 7 years of probation. Steele admitted to intimidating women into prostitution. He was investigated over a two year period.

Tennessee

Sept. 5, 2017: In August, Charles Denton, 33, was indicted by a DeKalb County grand jury on one charge of trafficking for commercial sex. He allegedly recruited a minor through social media and took her from her home to a motel in Nashville to participate in commercial sex acts.

Texas

Sept. 30, 2017: Bernell Quillens, 26, was convicted by a Hays County jury on three counts of sex trafficking and three counts of compelling prostitution and was sentenced to 40 years in state prison. Evidence shows that he spent nearly a thousand dollars a month to post online ads and forced women into prostitution throughout Texas.

Sept. 22, 2017: A Frederick County Circuit Court jury found Thomas Duane Jones, 36, guilty on three counts of human trafficking and second-degree rape. The charges stemmed from allegations that he brought a 17-year old girl to Frederick to prostitute her. He will be sentenced in November.

Sept. 14, 2017: Christopher Perez, 31, was arrested in Austin after he lured a woman online from Houston and forced her into prostitution. The arrest stemmed from an investigation launched after Perez totaled the car in which he and the victim were riding. Perez was transported to the nearest hospital, and the victim was given a courtesy ride by Austin Police. During the ride, the officer became concerned about the victim and referred her to victim services. Later, after the two left the hospital and went to a hotel, the victim called Victim Services after Perez fell asleep. Police responded and arrested Perez for human trafficking.

Vermont

Sept. 21, 2017: Harry Williams, 41, and Kenneth Johnson, 58, of Staten Island, were arrested for human trafficking and sexual assault of a minor while they were in the Lyndonville and St. Johnsbury area from April to May 2017. Williams attempted to flee on foot but, after a short struggle, he was taken into custody. The following day Johnson was located and taken into custody without incident. They have been arraigned in Caledonia Superior Court.

Virginia

Sept. 6, 2017: Keith Anthony Jarrett, 45, was indicted by a grand jury on charges connected to a sex trafficking ring that he allegedly ran in Norfolk. Jarrett allegedly lured homeless and unemployed women into his sex trafficking ring through other prostitutes. Out of the eight women he controlled, one of them was a minor and one turned 18 during her victimization by Jarrett. His trial is scheduled for February 6, 2018. He has been charged with two counts of rape, three counts of forcible sodomy, three counts of assault and battery of a family member, abduction, rape, receiving money from prostitution, and sex trafficking.

Washington

Sept. 18, 2017: A teen was charged with second degree human trafficking, promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor, and unlawful gun possession as he attempted to keep selling the victim even while he was in juvenile detention. He was initially arrested in Pierce County for allegedly being a teenage girl’s pimp.

Sept. 1, 2017: An undercover investigation focused on demand led to the arrest of 110 men over the course of a week. Bellevue police teamed up with the King County Sheriff’s office to set up a fake brothel. Police also impounded 105 cars, two motorcycles, and one bicycle.

Wisconsin

Sept. 19, 2017: In La Crosse, a case involving a 17-year old runaway girl was filed last month. A second individual, Danny Heintz, 50, has now been charged in the case. William Gerrish, 54, is already being held for kidnapping, child trafficking, and having sex with a minor.

Sept. 14, 2017: Attorney General Brad Schimel stated that in July and August, 25 people were arrested in stings involving sex trafficking throughout northern and eastern Wisconsin. This investigation was created through a collaboration with the Wisconsin Depart of Justice’s Human Trafficking Bureau and local and federal law enforcement. The arrested individuals were variously involved with the sex trafficking as either traffickers, “johns,” or child abusers.

Sept. 1, 2017: Two sex traffickers were convicted in separate trials in Milwaukee. Jaboree Williams, 31, was found guilty on three counts of sex trafficking, three counts of interstate transportation for purposes of prostitution, conspiracy to distribute heroin and other narcotics, obstruction of a sex trafficking investigation, four counts of witness intimidation and tampering, four counts of contempt of court, obstruction of justice, and sending an extortionate threat. Terrell Shankle, 40, was found guilty on one count of conspiracy to transport a minor across state lines to engage in prostitution, five counts of sex trafficking a minor, and sex trafficking a person using force, fraud, or coercion. Sentencing is scheduled for December 20 and December 6, respectively.

Other Items of Interest

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that the 2017 Human Trafficking Summit will be held the second of October in Orlando.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has announced the launch of a coalition of Missouri businesses to lead the fight against human trafficking. The new business council will focus on increasing the availability of training, especially for workers in industries most likely to encounter trafficking situations.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced the creation of a new division within the Department of Criminal Investigation dedicated to human trafficking cases. It will be staff by one special agent in charge and six special DCI agents and will be involved in proactive enforcement, specialized training, and community outreach.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner ensured that a short-term response to the potential of human trafficking occurring after the hurricane be carried out in shelters throughout the city. Information about both sex trafficking and labor trafficking (highlighting the potential of the offer of false jobs) was distributed to shelter residents.

In Brown County, Wisconsin, a new safe house is being opened for victims of human trafficking. The home has enough space for eight women who will be able to participate in a nine to 14 month program.

The White House announced that Iran, Venezuela, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, South Sudan, and Sudan has been added to the list of countries which will be subject to increased restrictions because of their failure to crack down on human trafficking.

A new study by the International Justice Mission and Bangkok-based Issara Institute claims human trafficking and slavery remain “rampant” in Thailand’s fishing industry. The study found that three-quarters of migrant laborers on Thai fishing vessels have been working in debt bondage.

It has been revealed that Denmark’s new warship, the Lauge Koch, was evidently built in Poland using North Korean forced labor. Concerns have now been raised that Danish taxpayer funds may have been used in Pyongynag’s nuclear and missile programs.


Judy McKee is the Editor of Human Trafficking Newsletter and may be reached at 202-326-6044. The Human Trafficking Newsletter is a publication of the National Association of Attorneys General. Any use and/or copies of this newsletter in whole or part must include the customary bibliographic citation. NAAG retains copyright and all other intellectual property rights in the material presented in this publication. For content submissions or to contact the editor directly, please e-mail jmckee@naag.org.

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