Human trafficking: African Girls forced to work in Salons

When you mention women involved in human trafficking, the first thing that comes to a person’s mind is sex trafficking. A majority of Americans believe that women can only be exploited in the sex industry. I have advised members of numerous feminists groups that I have worked with women that were used in forced labor and thought these women were going to faint. Is women used in forced labor that far-fetched? I myself find it hard to believe that most anti trafficking organizations do not believe that women can be involved in forced labor. Human trafficking has many facets, there are many ways for a person to be exploited. Human Trafficking is not just about sex. There are other forms that are ignored such as organ trafficking, domestic servitude, servile marriage and labor trafficking. The article below is a perfect example of how women can be exploited in other ways than just the sex industry. This case involved women that were brought in with visas to work at Hair salons. Yes I said it  HAIR SALONS!**gasp**. I hope people can begin to wake up and understand that human trafficking is everywhere, not just in the sex industry. I am glad to see that the trafficker was sentenced to 27 years. I think it is funny that her defense was that she saved these girls from their  lives back in Africa. I am sorry but this is just ridiculous. Yes many of these victims lived in deplorable conditions but this does not allow for anyone to violate their human rights.

A federal judge has given punishment to Akouavi Afolabi for 27 years for the offense of human trafficking. Afolabi is a West African woman who brought African girls to America using fake visas. These girls were forced to work in Salons without getting any payment. She gave the African girls false assurance, that she would give them proper education which will change their life. By making fake promises she trapped them and brought to U.S. After arriving in US they were not permitted to learn English and were compelled to forced-labor in salons.
Afolabi was under arrest in 2007 with three others on human trafficking offense. She pleaded to the court to forgive her as she lifted the African girls out of poverty and trained them a skill to earn money.
But she failed to impress the judge and received a punishment of twenty seven years. The other people got punishments in the same case include her son and ex- husband. Lassissi Afolabi. His ex- husband has received a verdict of twenty four years imprisonment while her son Derek Hounakey will serve for 55 months in prison.

NSU to host human trafficking symposium

NSU to host human trafficking symposium
Public invited to learn about the illicit and dangerous trades
Nova Southeastern University
Miami (Miami-Dade, Florida)
Broward County
Human Rights
U.S. Department of Justice
Clubs and Associations By Linda Trischitta, Sun Sentinel

3:58 a.m. EDT, September 23, 2010
DAVIE — The Civil War ended 145 years ago, but slavery in the form of human trafficking still exists in America and it’s growing and lucrative in Florida.

Human trafficking is a $36 billion industry that trails only drug dealing in profitability among illicit trades, experts say.

On Friday and Saturday, a dozen scientists, advocates and survivors from Haiti, Liberia and the U.S. will approach the topic from many angles at a Human Trafficking Symposium. The event is presented by the Inter-American Center for Human Rights and hosted by Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad Law Center.

The symposium is free and open to the public. It will feature a traveling museum of exhibits about victims’ experiences in Florida.

One reason why trafficking is a growth industry here: There’s less risk for gang leaders.

From the trafficker’s viewpoint, the victim sex worker or undocumented farm worker will end up in jail and is expendable, said Adriane Reesey, president of the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition.

“These gang leaders don’t play,” Reesey said of conspirators’ enterprises that are “less risky than selling crack.”

Trafficking most frequently happens among farm laborers, sex workers and domestic, hotel and resort staffs, but “It can happen in any industry,” said Regina Bernadin, statewide human trafficking coordinator for the Florida Department of Children & Families who will speak at the symposium.

She said DCF conducted 156 investigations into alleged child trafficking situations from May 2009 to May 2010, though not all complaints were confirmed as trafficking exploitation.

Since October 2008, FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement teams have averaged one arrest a month of suspected traffickers operating from Key West to Fort Pierce, FBI Miami spokeswoman Judith Orihuela said.

“They’re promised a great life and job, but once they’re here, it’s forced labor in different trades,” she said. “We’ve devoted more federal resources to it to help local law enforcement, because they’re the first responders and we rely on them to tip us off.”

In 2010, Justice Department prosecutors in South Florida won guilty pleas or convictions in seven trafficking cases: six for child prostitution, and one for forced labor.

One of the sex trafficking conspiracies led to guilty pleas in August by Johnny Saintil, Michael Defrand and Stanley Wilson, all of Broward County. The men could face life terms at their November sentencing for trafficking adult women and minors out of name-brand hotels in South Florida, according to prosecutors.

This month, the federal government won guilty pleas from Sophia Manuel and Alfonso Baldonado Jr., of Boca Raton, for forced labor of 39 Filipino nationals in country clubs and hotels. The workers’ passports were confiscated and they toiled for little or no pay, without adequate food or drinking water, officials said.

Katariina Juliao, who calls herself a child trafficking survivor, will be one of the speakers on Friday.

“I’m very passionate about this and am sick of seeing vulnerable children prostituted,” Juliao said. “There needs to be more awareness.”

If you go: Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Shepard Broad Law Center, 3305 College Ave., Davie; and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Alvin Sherman Library, 3100 Ray Ferrero Jr. Blvd., Davie. For information, call 305-647-9607. For a list of speakers, go to

Staff researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.

Linda Trischitta can be reached at or 954-356-4233.

Glen Burnie Man Indicted for Sex Trafficking of a Minor

Department of Justice Press Release

For Immediate Release
September 21, 2010 United States Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland
Contact: (410) 209-4800
Glen Burnie Man Indicted for Sex Trafficking of a Minor

BALTIMORE, MD—A federal grand jury indicted Derwin Smith, age 42, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, today for sex trafficking of a minor.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Anne Arundel County Police Chief James Teare, Sr.; and Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee.

According to indictment, on June 4, 2010, Smith recruited a minor female to engage in sex acts for pay at his direction. The indictment alleges that Smith enticed the girl to engage in these acts by offering her a luxury home and status as his “bottom girl.” A “bottom girl” is considered to be an individual who works closely with the pimp and is typically in charge of the girls that work for the pimp. From June 4 through June 7, 2010, Smith allegedly provided the girl with shelter, clothing, food and other items to facilitate sex acts and instructed the girl on pricing for different sexual activities. The indictment alleges that Smith coerced the girl to engage in sexual activity and Smith received money and other things of value in exchange. According to the indictment, Smith asserted authority over the girl by having her engage in sexual activities with him and by threatening her with a gun.

Smith faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for sex trafficking of a minor. Smith’s initial appearance in U.S. District Court has not yet been scheduled. Smith remains detained on related state charges.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

The case was investigated by the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force formed in 2007 to discover and rescue victims of human trafficking while identifying and prosecuting offenders. Members include federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as victim service providers and local community members. For more information about the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, please

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit Details about Maryland’s program are available at

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Anne Arundel County Police Department and Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel M. Yasser and Sandra Wilkinson, who are prosecuting the case.

Exclusive: Bieyanka Moore is 15-year-old Runaway Charrida Smalley – Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Victim

***This information is being reported by***

Reports had surfaced on that new porn starlet Bieyanka Moore was actually 15-year-old runaway Charrida Smalley. The story is that someone had recognized Bieyanka as Charrida after seeing Charrida’s poster on a missing children’s website. called the Nevada Child Seekers missing children center to report that one of their missing teens had called into their internet radio show last week.

Robb Revere of had contacted Bieyanka and had asked her to come on his show to clear up the rumors and to finally set the record straight about how old she really is. She agreed and called into his show claiming she was 19 and how Nevada Child Seekers had made a mistake. She said the website mixed up her information with Charrida Smalley’s. Bieyanka tells Robb she also goes by the alias Tyler Chanel Evans.

Robb has up this interview on his Youtube page where an associate first starts off by calling Nevada Child Seekers. One of the people he interviewed is Bob Abrams. Bob says Charrida is there in the Las Vegas area and is fact underage and a runaway. He says they’re looking for the people who exploited her and someone will be going to jail.

Bieyanka comes into the interview towards the end but the interview is cut short after a couple of minutes. Robb says the interview was being recorded to an external hard drive that was at capacity, it became full, and had crashed. So he lost the rest of her interview.

Robb now has up this new interview and he says he can now confirm that 15-year-old Charrida Smalley is indeed Bieyanka Moore. Robb first interviews Cynthia who had first left Rob a voice mail. She says she just got word that Charrida had come home yesterday. The family now just wants the porn video Charrida had done to be taken down and to stop distributing the video. She wants to verify that Charrida is indeed 15-years-old.

Robb then interviews the real Tyler Chanel Evans. She says she’s the real 19-year-old that Bieyanka Moore is claiming to be. Tyler is a resident of Las Vegas where she works as a stripper & club promoter. She says Bieyanka had stolen an invalid ID of hers. Tyler says the ID was an INVALID ID. She says it’s an invalid ID that Bieyanka had stolen after she had changed her address. She says she wouldn’t be able to use her old ID and doesn’t understand how Bieyanka was allowed to.

All the information Bieyanka had given as her own is the personal information belonging to Tyler. Tyler even says Bieyanka looks nothing like her and how Bieyanka is taller than her and has larger breasts.

Tyler had first met Bieyanka after finding her homeless on the streets in Las Vegas. Tyler didn’t know she was 15 and a runaway at the time.

You can listen to that second video of Robb’s also on his Youtube page.

I first emailed Nevada Child Seekers on Monday, September 13. I first talked to Michelle Sahagun who then put me in contact with case manager Bob Abrams. I explained to them how new porn starlet Bieyanka Moore was being accused of being 15-year-old runaway Charrida Moore. She was also accusing the agency of putting her picture & information on a missing child poster. Of course a missing child center didn’t accidentally put a porn star’s information on a missing child poster belonging to a 15-year-old runaway. But that was Bieyanka’s claim. Bob tells me they didn’t make a mistake and the information & picture was given to them by Charrida Smalley’s family.

So to wrap up this entire mess, Charrida Smalley is a 15-year-old Florida runaway. She made her way to Nevada where she ended up homeless and on the streets. She then meets 19-year-old Tyler Chanel Evans eventually stealing her invalid ID. Charrida then transforms into Bieyanka Moore where she found her way onto a Reality Kings set.

Who brought Charrida Smalley into the porn industry? What went wrong at Reality Kings that resulted in a 15-year-old shooting a porn video? How many others have fallen through the cracks at Reality Kings, or any other porn company?

How many others were also brought in by the people who brought in Charrida? You can’t claim that this 15-year-old masterminded all of this without outside help. From Traci Lords to Brent Corrigan, they were all brought in by someone who knew how old they were.

I’m expecting more information in the coming days from hopefully four more sources. Two of those I was expecting the information already but it hasn’t happened yet. So I don’t know how many more updates on this case I’ll be doing or if this is the last of it. Maybe now I can finally get some sleep this week. But at least she’s home now away from this industry because you all know it wasn’t going to end well for her. Hopefully she never tries to come back here again either.

Thank you to Michelle Sahagun, Bob Abrams, and Stephanie Parker at Nevada Child Seekers for all your help. Thank you to Robb Revere at for all your help. And thank you to everyone else who helped that I can’t mention. Thank you!


THE Commonwealth Games were “on a knife edge” yesterday as it emerged the crumbling stadiums have been built by children.

Tots as young as three were drafted in to work on dangerous building sites to prepare for the event in Delhi.

And a two-year-old girl was among up to 1,000 people killed during construction after her dad brought her to work.


Yesterday the roof of the weightlifting arena caved in, sending rubble cascading down to the judges’ seats.

As the catalogue of disasters mounted yesterday, it appeared increasingly likely the event, which is due to start in 10 days, would have to be called off.

We told yesterday how 28 workers were hurt at the main stadium site on Tuesday when a concrete bridge collapsed.

And competing nations have lined up to slam the athletes’ village as “unfit for human habitation”.

But as Games bosses tried to patch up their stadiums, the child labour scandal caused new fury around the world.

Parents working on the sites were paid in extra bread and milk if they brought their children along to help out.

One 15-year-old lad employed at the main stadium, Sri Prakash, complained the work was tough.

“It’s hard work and it’s heavy on the body,” said Sri, who was paid around £2.20 for a 12-hour shift.

Pre-school children were forced to shovel pebbles into bags, which were then carried away by older children, witnesses said.

And in August, a two-year-old girl called Varsha died after being run over at the Jawaharlal Nehru complex.

Officially 42 workers have died during construction, but sources said the true figure was “much, much higher”.

One insider said: “It’s been hushed up.”

Asked how many people could have died, the source replied: “It could be pushing 1,000.”

Local laws say 10% of construction fees must go towards worker safety, but reports said that of £5.2million set aside, just £3,200 had been spent.

And last month the UN’s human rights special investigator to the Games, Miloon Kothari, said the event should be called off, claiming it had “brought displacement and suffering for thousands of poor people in the city”.

He also highlighted “unreported violations of human rights being perpetuated by different government agencies”.

Welsh team bosses gave Games organisers a deadline of last night to prove the venues were “fit for purpose”.

They will decide today whether they will pull out of the event. There are fears that once one nation boycotts the games, an avalanche of others will follow.

England will fly out as planned tomorrow, but team chief Sir Andrew Foster said the event was “on a knife edge”.

He said “the next 24 to 48 hours is the critical time” to see if it can go ahead.

“The safety of the athletes has to be our primary concern, but we also have to evaluate the whole thing,” he added.

And Scotland’s team yesterday said they would delay their departure while their living quarters are made safe.

English triple jumper Phillips Idowu, 31, 400m runner Christine Ohuruogu, 26, and 1500m star Lisa Dobriskey, 26, have all pulled out, but swimmer Rebecca Adlington, 21, and sprinter Mark Lewis-Francis, 28, are set to go.

William Hill has cut the odds of the games being called off from 4-1 to 3-1.

There were also allegations of a cover-up as photographers who took pictures of the ceiling collapse claimed security guards destroyed their cameras.

Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit dismissed talk of abandoning the games, calling recent events “minor glitches”.

Child Protection Compact Act- Call to Action

Child Protection Compact Act (CPCA) — urgently needed legislation that would help eradicate child trafficking in target countries around the world. Now, we’ve reached a critical moment. The CPCA if passed will provide United States assistance for the purpose of eradicating trafficking in children in eligible countries through the implementation of Child Protection Compacts, and for other purposes.

Just this afternoon, the CPCA was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — after calls from supporters around the country! The CPCA now moves to the Senate floor, and Senators from every state will have the opportunity to vote on the bill. We need your help now more than ever!
Please take just two minutes today to call your Senators and ask them to vote “YES” on the Child Protection Compact Act (S.3184)!
Making the call is easy — just:

1)Find out who your senators are.

2)Use our sample script to make the call:

 “Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [City, State]. I’m calling to ask Senator [NAME] to vote YES to pass the Child Protection Compact Act (S. 3184). This bill would help to eradicate child trafficking, an issue I really care about. Would you please pass my message on to the Senator? Thank you!”

3)Let us know how it went!

Thank you for your partnership in this work. Together, we can give children around the world a voice!

Ex-Child Prostitute Sues Village Voice Over Sex

I am glad to see that finally someone is taking action against It’s about time.

Ex-Child Prostitute Sues Village Voice Over Sex Ads
By Jacqui Cheng

A teenage child trafficking victim has filed a lawsuit against Village Voice Media, for knowingly allowing her pimp to post ads for her “services” on the popular The pimp, Latasha Jewell McFarland, has already pleaded guilty to prostitution charges, but the victim (going by M.A. in the complaint, as she is still a minor) says that Village Voice knew that the photos being posted of her were illegal but “failed to investigate for fear of what it would learn.”

M.A. says she was 14 when she was found as a runaway by McFarland, who began pimping out M.A. for $100 per sex act (McFarland took half the earnings). In order to advertise M.A.’s services, McFarland took pornographic photos of M.A. and posted them on in the personals section for those seeking sex. McFarland pleaded guilty earlier this month to photographing M.A. in pornographic poses, posting child porn on backpage, paying the site for the postings, transporting M.A. for the purpose of pimping her out for sex, and collecting money for M.A.’s sexual services.

In the complaint (.pdf), however, M.A. accuses Village Voice of having knowledge that the explicit photos were 1) of a minor, and 2) for prostitution services. No evidence is outlined in the complaint that explicitly points to Village Voice having this knowledge, but M.A. says the company aided and abetted her pimp in facilitating prostitution and child pornography. She also argues that Village Voice should not be granted immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—a law that has historically protected websites from being held liable for the content posted by users.

“Defendant had a strong suspicion that the aforementioned crimes were being committed,” reads the complaint. “Defendant had a desire that these posters accomplished their nefarious illegal prostitution activities so that the posters would return to the website and pay for more posting.”

The lawsuit comes just days after Craigslist testified to members of Congress about the company’s decision to close its own adult services section. Craigslist reiterated that it did more than almost any other site to help authorities catch child traffickers and other illegal activity, but that didn’t stop politicians and critics from continuing to hammer on the site for the mere existence of the adult services section. With the section (and its strict manual review process) gone, the company warned that advertising for prostitution would ooze over to other parts of the site and go elsewhere on the Internet.

“With the removal of adult services and its manual review, Craigslist fears that its utility to help combat child exploitation has been grossly diminished,” Craigslist attorney Elizabeth McDougall said.

Indeed, backpage is one of those sites that has an “anything goes” reputation; it’s not at all surprising to discover that minors were being advertised through the site. Whether or not Village Voice actually knew that the photos were of a minor and that the advertised services were illegal is another story, however, and M.A. will likely have to produce some real evidence of such if she wants the site’s Section 230 immunity waved.

Couple pleads guilty in human trafficking case

This news article brings me much pleasure. This is a case that FCAHT has been involved with since Feb. 2008. I am happy to see that our clients were able to witness their traffickers be brought to Justice. Yesterday was a joyous day for our clients and we were honored to be a part of it all. This case would not have been possible without the great partnerships established by The Honorary Consulates of the Philippines, The FLorida Attorney Generals Office, FCAHT, ICE, DOJ, DOL,and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The Associated Press
MIAMI — A South Florida couple has pleaded guilty after a federal human trafficking investigation.

Federal officials said Friday that Sophia Manuel and Alfonso Baldonado Jr. schemed to force Filipino nationals to work in South Florida country clubs and hotels and threatened them with deportation. In exchange, they were offered little or no pay, and inadequate food or water.

Manuel, 41, and Baldonado, 46, were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges including visa fraud and making false statements to the government.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wilfredo Ferrer said the alleged victims “found their dream of freedom and a better life transformed into a real-life nightmare of servitude and fear.”

Read more:

Census: 1 in 7 Americans Lives in Poverty – Has America Become a Country of Slave Labor??

I am glad to see that someone wrote about this issue. I can tell you that working in an Anti Trafficking organization has allowed me to see how the trends in trafficking have changed. Since the economy tanked, we have seen a large increase in labor trafficking cases. As heinous as sex trafficking is, we need to stop ignoring labor trafficking. Most people feel as though labor trafficking victims do not suffer, labor trafficking victims aren’t really “victims”, labor trafficking isn’t sexy, and the list of excuses that Americans give as to not give a hoot about labor trafficking goes on and on. We as Americans need to start giving a hoot about labor trafficking because in reality it affects each and every one of us. First thing is first, we need to recognize that we, as consumers, are part of the demand for forced labor. We can be considered the “johns” of labor trafficking. As I have mentioned before, many of the products we purchase, such as our coffee, chocolate, our clothing,and our jewelery, was made or grown by slaves in the U.S and all over the world. We as consumers do not take the time to find out how and where this product came to be. If we as consumers researched this type of information, we would be shocked and more than likely would not even bother purchasing this product.
Now one major problem we are seeing here in Florida and the U.S is that most of the victims that are brought into the U.S and exploited in forced labor, were not smuggled into the Country through our borders. We have seen a dramatic increase in workers being brought into the U.S on a work visa. I am sure many of you are aware of the guest workers program that was implemented by the Bush Administration. What we have seen is that a very large portion of the guest workers end up becoming enslaved and exploited. The guest workers are working in restaurants, hotels, country clubs, assisted living facilities, hospitals, in construction and in our schools. The workers pay large amounts of money to come here and receive little to no pay. In the long run, the companies who brought the workers in are making large amounts of money by exploiting the workers. So how does this affect us, the Americans? What is happening is that many of these jobs are being filled by guest workers. The companies make a bigger profit because it is cheaper for them to hire help from outside the US than it is to hire an American. So if there are so many Americans unemployed and our poverty levels are at an all time high, than how can our government continue to allow guest workers to come into the US? Why is there so much outsourcing going on? If you took all of the thousands upon thousands of workers that are exploited every single year you would see that if those jobs had actually been given to an American, our unemployment rate would be low or quite possibly not exist. It is sad to see that so many Americans are jobless due to the fact that it is cheaper to bring in someone from a different country and exploit them. And believe me, the guest workers loses just as much or more as anyone here in the U.S.
 America, it is time to Wake up and realize that labor trafficking affects us more than sex trafficking does. We need to fight labor trafficking with the same passion as we do sex trafficking. We need to stand up to the corporations who would rather use the Guest worker program than hire an American who truly needs this job and say Enough is Enough. We cannot afford to continue focusing on one side of the issue of human trafficking. We can no longer allow labor trafficking to worsen because we have put all of our eggs in one basket and have only concentrated on sex trafficking. We need to attack the demand on both issues equally. Even though sex trafficking may pull at your heart-strings more, we cannot ignore this issue any longer. It is affecting too many of us on the home front.

Census: 1 in 7 Americans Lives in Poverty – Has America Become a Country of Slave Labor??
By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer Hope Yen, Associated Press Writer – 30 mins ago
WASHINGTON – The ranks of the working-age poor climbed to the highest level since the 1960s as the recession threw millions of people out of work last year, leaving one in seven Americans in poverty.

The overall poverty rate climbed to 14.3 percent, or 43.6 million people, the Census Bureau said Thursday in its annual report on the economic well-being of U.S. households. The report covers 2009, President Barack Obama’s first year in office.

The poverty rate increased from 13.2 percent, or 39.8 million people, in 2008.

The share of Americans without health coverage rose from 15.4 percent to 16.7 percent — or 50.7 million people — mostly because of the loss of employer-provided health insurance during the recession. Congress passed a health overhaul this year to address the rising numbers of uninsured people, but its main provisions will not take effect until 2014.

In a statement, President Barack Obama called 2009 a tough year for working families but said it could have been worse.

“Because of the Recovery Act and many other programs providing tax relief and income support to a majority of working families — and especially those most in need — millions of Americans were kept out of poverty last year,” Obama said.

The new figures come at a politically sensitive time, just weeks before the Nov. 2 congressional elections, when voters restive about high unemployment and the slow pace of economic improvement will decide whether to keep Democrats in power in the House and Senate or turn to Republicans.

The 14.3 percent poverty rate, which covers all ages, was the highest since 1994. It was lower than predicted by many demographers who were bracing for a record gain based on last year’s skyrocketing unemployment. Many had expected a range of 14.7 percent to 15 percent.

Broken down by state, Mississippi had the highest share of poor people, at 23.1 percent, according to rough calculations by the Census Bureau. It was followed by Arizona, New Mexico, Arkansas and Georgia. On the other end of the scale, New Hampshire had the lowest share, at 7.8 percent.

Analysts said the full blow of lost incomes was cushioned somewhat by increases in Social Security payments in 2009 as well as federal expansions of unemployment insurance, which rose substantially under the economic stimulus program. With the additional unemployment benefits, workers were eligible for extensions that gave them up to 99 weeks of payments after a layoff.

David Johnson, the chief of the Census Bureau’s household economics division, estimated that expanded unemployment benefits helped keep 3.3 million people out of poverty last year.

He said demographic changes, too, were a factor as many families “doubled up” in single homes and young adults ages 25 to 34 moved back in with their parents to save money in the economic downturn.

The 2009 poverty level was set at $21,954 for a family of four, based on an official government calculation that includes only cash income, before tax deductions. It excludes capital gains or accumulated wealth, such as home ownership, as well as noncash aid such as food stamps.

An additional 7.8 million people would have been counted above the poverty line if food stamps and tax credits were included as income, Johnson said.

Last year saw the biggest single-year increase in Americans without health insurance, lifting the total number to the highest since the government began tracking the figures in 1987. The number of people covered by employment-based health plans declined from 176.3 million to 169.7 million, although those losses were partially offset by gains in government health insurance such as Medicaid and Medicare.

Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said additional increases in the uninsured are probable in the short run.

In 2014, under the new health law, Medicaid will be expanded to pick up millions more low-income people, and the government will offer tax credits for many middle-income households to use to buy coverage through new online insurance markets in each state.

By 2019, the government has estimated that nearly 93 percent of the U.S. population will have health insurance, roughly a 10 percentage point increase from today’s level.

Other census findings:

_Among the working-age population, ages 18 to 64, poverty rose from 11.7 percent to 12.9 percent. That puts it at the highest since the 1960s, when the government launched a war on poverty that expanded the federal role in social welfare programs from education to health care.

_Poverty rose among all race and ethnic groups, but stood at higher levels for blacks and Hispanics. The number of Hispanics in poverty increased from 23.2 percent to 25.3 percent; for blacks it increased from 24.7 percent to 25.8 percent. The number of whites in poverty rose from 8.6 percent to 9.4 percent.

_Child poverty rose from 19 percent to 20.7 percent.

Online sex ads complicate crackdowns on teen trafficking

(CNN) — Behind every adult service ad on the internet is a story.

Sometimes it’s a story of a grown woman who has chosen prostitution as a path to a better life. More often, it’s a story of a woman being forced to sell her body by a pimp.

And then there are the children, and the mothers that miss them.

“They told me to look on Craigslist and it almost blew my mind,” the mother of one missing 12-year-old told CNN. “She was there with a wig on. She was there in a purple negligee.

“She’s a normal 12-year-old — Hannah Montana, the Jonas Brothers, they’re her favorite,” the mother said. “She’s always screaming and hollering and singing. She’s a great young lady.”

The same day the woman spoke to CNN, her daughter was rescued by police at a seedy hotel near Washington where she was being sold for sex. And she’s not alone.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website contains thousands of posters of missing children. Many are girls, classified as “endangered runaways,” and the center says more than fifty of them have been pushed into the sex trade. But that’s just a snapshot, a tiny indicator of the true scale of the problem.

“Nobody knows what the real numbers are,” said Ernie Allen, the NCMEC’s chief executive. “I’m also confident that the internet has changed the dynamic of this whole problem. We’re finding an astounding number of kids being sold for sex on the internet.”

Allen said the best source of information on the number of underage girls being trafficked online are websites themselves. While online classified giant Craigslist shut down its “adult services” pages in early September, other sites like are filling the vacuum left behind, he said. And while there are clues in the way the ads are written, only a small fraction of them get referred to law enforcement or organizations like the NCMEC. told CNN that it promptly responds to law enforcement inquiries, and says the site includes links to help users notify the NCMEC if they identify potential abuses.

Craigslist argues it has had a vigorous approach to vetting adult services ads. It says that in the 15 months before closing the adult services section altogether, it rejected 700,000 ads because they violated the website’s rules, including advertising prostitution and ads “indicative of an underage person.” Craigslist says ads are reported to NCMEC “when our manual reviewers see anything falling within NCMEC Cybertipline reporting guidelines.”

Video: Craigslist censors adult services But Allen said his organization, which is the nation’s primary reporting agency for missing kids, received just 132 referrals from Craigslist over that same 15-month period.

“The small number of reports makes it difficult to get a sense of the true scope of the problem,” Allen said. “We’ve seen lots of ads where there is obviously a young person in the ad. Now is she 18 or 17? Is she 22 or 12?”

Craigslist has done more than any other website with an adult services section to try to combat the problem of underage sex trafficking. It has cooperated with the FBI by providing evidence against pimps and required phone and credit card verification, so ads left a paper trail for the police to follow.

“Our frustration is that we’ve said to them if the person in the photo looks young, report it. If there’s language in the ad that suggests that there may be the use of young people for prostitution, report it,” Allen said. “It’s eliminated the graphic pornography in the ads, it’s eliminated blatant nudity. What it has not done is put a significant dent in the problem with child prostitution and child trafficking and that was the goal.”

The other problem facing NCMEC and police departments across America is that the internet has changed the business of prostitution. Craigslist’s decision to shut down adult services — which followed pressure from the attorneys general in nearly 20 states — will do little to alter that fundamental fact.

In Atlanta, Georgia, one of the country’s busiest prostitution markets due to its position as a highway and air travel hub, police and prosecutors witnessed the effect of the internet on the business of prostitution firsthand.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told CNN that eight years ago, law enforcement began a serious crackdown on the pimps that control most underage victims, until the pimps vanished.

“At that time, we saw a number of underage girls standing on street corners, and they were usually standing there because a pimp had placed them there,” Howard said. “After we started our crackdown, we began to notice that the numbers became fewer and fewer, and we were wondering, ‘What’s going on?’

“What we found is that there was a wholesale transformation from young girls standing on the streets to those same young girls being sold through Craigslist and other internet vendors,” Howard said. “That has put us in a terrible position, because much of the illegal sex activity now goes on almost undetected by the police. The numbers we believe remain the same, but what has happened is that they are now out of sight.”

A Georgia advocacy group called “A Future Not A Past” commissioned a research firm to survey men who admit to buying sex over the internet, and the results were staggering. Based on interviews with more than 200 men, the research study projected that 7,200 men a month were buying sex from adolescent girls in Georgia alone.

“It just took my breath away,” said Kaffie McCullough, the group’s director. “The buyers are able to go on computers in the privacy of their own house or home or apartment or hotel room, and just dial up and have the girl come to them. So you don’t have to have the more unsafe part of driving in neighborhoods that aren’t maybe your best neighborhoods.”

Allen, McCullough and others believe the best way to combat the problem of online underage sex trafficking isn’t through better screening tools, but through fear. As long as pimps and the men who buy girls for sex feel protected by the anonymity of the web, the trade will continue.

“Our goal in this from the beginning has been to dramatically increase the risk and eliminate the profitability because this is the treatment of children as commodities for sex sale, this is 21st-century slavery,” Allen said. “It would be progress if pressure on this end had the effect of moving this problem back onto the streets.”

That is a measure of how dangerous and widespread online trafficking of underage sex has become — that the group leading the campaign to protect children would prefer to see the problem back on the streets.

“It’s an outrageous thing to say, but one of our goals is to move these operators into some other illicit enterprise — to get them out of the trafficking of human beings and into some other illegal business,” Allen said.