An Update on the Shaniya Davis Case

Fayetteville, N.C. — Members of a Fayetteville church came together Sunday to help stop child trafficking.

The congregation of Manna Church, at 5117 Cliffdale Road, organized a 5K walk to raise awareness and money for the organization “Stop Child Trafficking Now.”

Organizers said not enough resources are being used to stop child trafficking.

“An average trafficker, with a child, can make $200,000 a year on one child, and there’s just no law enforcement set up to protect them. We have got a huge army after drugs but tiny, tiny little efforts after child trafficking,” said Michael Fletcher, pastor of Manna Church.

Organizers of the Fayetteville walk said the Shaniya Davis case has focused attention on the issue of child trafficking.

The 5-year-old girl was reported missing from her Fayetteville home on Nov. 10. Her body was found in a patch of kudzu off a rural road near the Lee-Harnett County line six days later.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape of a child and first-degree kidnapping in Shaniya’s death. Police have characterized him as a family acquaintance.

An autopsy determined that Shaniya died of asphyxiation and that injuries she suffered were consistent with a sexual assault.

Shaniya’s mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, 25, has been charged with human trafficking, felony child abuse–prostitution, filing a false police report and obstructing a police investigation. Arrest warrants state that Davis “did knowingly provide Shaniya with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude” and “did permit an act of prostitution with Shaniya.”

FBI agent leads task force targeting pimps in child prostitution

TAMPA — In 2008, FBI agent Gregory Christopher helped launch a task force aimed at rescuing children from prostitution. In just one year, the group freed 22 children in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

For that, Christopher was named the State/Federal Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

As leader of the Tampa Area Crimes Against Children task force, Christopher, 32, works with four detectives to remove minors from the grasp of preying pimps.

The St. Petersburg Times spoke with him recently about his job, the problems child prostitutes face and what the community can do to help.

What exactly does the task force do?

It’s an FBI-led task force, comprised of Tampa police and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It started informally about two years ago, and we rescued 22 kids. In 2010, we’re pretty much on par. (They’ve found 21 children so far.) The whole purpose is, one, recovering the kids, and, two, prosecuting the individual who exploited them through sex.

So what happens to the pimps?

We prosecute them in federal or state court — whoever can give the most time. The pimps, they’re shocked when they find out they’re going to go to jail for this long. They think they were just being a pimp. But these are children. The youngest we’ve seen is 13.

What kind of time can they get?

It depends on many factors. In federal (court), it’s no less than 10 to 15, to life.

What is the typical victim you come across?

A lot of these kids are foster kids, runaway kids. There’s not a lot of people looking out for them. I’d say about 70 percent or so are foster kids. We work closely with DCF (the Department of Children and Families).

Twenty-two children rescued in Tampa Bay in just one year — does that seem high to you?

I have no doubt there’s a lot more out there. I get at least two or three leads a week. We can’t act on everything. There’s no way.

So what happens to the girls once you find them?

When girls were arrested in the past, they were booked (into a juvenile justice center), bonded out and went back on the street. You have to treat the girls like a victim — because she is. I’ve had girls spit in my face. I’ve had girls cuss me out. I’ll tell you why: They haven’t had experiences where police are on their side. They’re probably going to be beat by their pimp for messing up. It takes a concerted effort to make it clear you want to help them. Pimps completely brainwash a child. It’s the most frustrating part about it.

What happens then?

If you receive five girls and one completely changes her life, then you’re doing well. The biggest problem is taking her to a place where she can get help — psychological, mental, substance abuse. Now, we’re sending them out of state to Children of the Night in California and Gems in New York. If you send the girl to a foster home or a group home, it’s not going to help. Part of that task force (the Florida Statewide Task Force on Human Trafficking) is figuring out how to get a place like that here.

How does something like this even occur in the first place?

The girls are told the pimp is their boyfriend. They think, “He’s going to love me. He’s keeping me fed. He’s giving me a place to stay.” The girls don’t get the money. The guys have nice cars, live in decent places, have nice clothes. When you find the girls, they’re completely numb.

How do you deal with seeing tragedies like these, day after day?

What makes it worthwhile is just seeing the kids when we have a successful rescue. There’s nothing better than seeing the girls get out of the game. Some keep in touch with me. They tell me “I hated you at first,” but later they’re thankful. That’s what makes it tolerable: the success stories, and, I’ve got to be honest, seeing these guys go to jail for a long time.

What can we, as a community, do to help?

You’ll be surprised what you can observe or come across. We have our office staffed around-the-clock. Call (813) 253-1000, and someone will be available. Really, it’s just about being observant. You could be driving around on, for example, Nebraska Avenue, and you could see a young girl out there. You know that’s not right — she looks too young. Call in and describe the girl, where she is and that she looks young. We will address it.

Your favourite chocolate could be made through exploitative Child labour

Please buy Fair Trade Chocolate this year for Halloween! Help support those companies that do not exploit young children in the Cocoa fields. Please boycott all Hershey’s products, as they have not made any changes and continue to exploit children in the Ivory Coast!
remember that all forms of child exploitation needs to be stopped!!

By George Okore:
A new report accuses cocoa industry of failing to address abusive Child Labour and Human Trafficking and wants strict action to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in West Africa.
Titled Bitter Chocolate, the report released by Payson Center for International Development at Tulane Universities, it decries lack of progress by cocoa industry to address the problems of child and forced labor in Ivory Cost and Ghana.
The report identifies the ongoing exploitation of labor rights in the cocoa sector including the worst forms of child labor, forced labor and trafficking. New research related to the trafficking of young workers from Burkina Faso and Mali found that Cote d’Ivoire is the predominant destination for trafficked and migrant cocoa workers;
The overwhelming majority of respondents moved to cocoa farms without their natural parents or guardians and experienced verbal, physical and sexual harassment and restrictions of their freedom of movement. They also performed hazardous work including land clearing and burning, carrying heavy loads, spraying pesticides, and using machetes, among other dangerous activities.
In response to the report, Global Exchange, Green America, International Labor Rights Forum, and Oasis USA called on Hershey, the largest US chocolate company, to take action to end child and forced labor in its supply chain and to adopt Fair Trade certified cocoa. “It is clear from this report that the cocoa industry is not doing enough to address these problems. The world’s largest chocolate manufacturers must do more to monitor their supply chains to combat child labor, forced labor and human trafficking”.
The report recommends that companies institute traceability systems for their cocoa supply chains starting at or near the farm level and work with product certification schemes, which no longer represent a niche market. All of the certification programs operating in the West African cocoa sector should be reviewed to ensure that they appropriately identify and address child labor issues. The report identifies major industry actors that have made commitments in this area, including Mars, Kraft, Nestle and Cargill while Hershey stands out as the only major chocolate company missing from the list.
The report also found that Hershey lacked transparency and traceability when it came to its cocoa sourcing, as well as meaningful programs to address labor violations in the cocoa-growing communities of West Africa, from where it sources. As the dominant chocolate company in the US, the report calls on Hershey to “Raise the Bar” and adopt Fair Trade Certification for its best selling bar by 2012, and all of its top selling chocolate products by 2022.”

Rep. Loretta Sanchez Introduces Bill to Fight Child Sex Trafficking and Tourism

I will keep you all posted on H.R. 6266, which is the Sex Offender Notification of International Travel Act. This bill will require that sexual offenders notify law enforcement if they travel outside of the U.S. This is excellent as unfortunately most of the demand for prostitution that happens in other countries are men from the U.S. Although we have two laws that is supposed to make it harder for men who partake in the sex tourism industry. However, under these two laws combined, there have been less than 5 prosecutions.

Oct 01,2010 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47), Vice Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced a bill to protect children worldwide from sexual exploitation. H.R. 6266, the Sex Offender Notification of International Travel Act, would help prevent, deter, and combat child sex tourism and trafficking by requiring sex offenders to notify appropriate law enforcement officials before traveling internationally.

“Child sex tourism is a horrific crime that exploits the most innocent and vulnerable members of our society,” said Rep. Sanchez. “These predators often have a long history of abusing children, both in the U.S. and abroad. By requiring sex offenders to flag their travel plans, my bill will give law enforcement a powerful tool in the fight against child exploitation.”

“Child sexual exploitation isn’t just a problem overseas, it’s flourishing here at home,” said Grier Weeks, the Executive Director of the National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT). “Rep. Sanchez’s bill will give law enforcement the tools they need to help stop sex trafficking wherever it exists. We’ve been waiting a long time for tough, serious legislation like this.”

“During these politically charged times, it takes real courage and vision to introduce policy that will create jobs for returning veterans, protect children from those who seek to exploit them, and to make resources for law enforcement a real priority, and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez has done just that, all in one bill,” said Erin Runnion from the Joyful Child Foundation – In Memory of Samantha Runnion.

H.R. 6266 would strengthen existing provisions in the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). Although SORNA has been effective in targeting sex offenders, Rep. Sanchez’s bill would significantly enhance the ability of Department of Homeland Security officials to identify high-risk travelers earlier and more frequently. The goal is to stop the traveler prior to the exploitation of children.

In addition to requiring sex offenders to notify domestic officials prior to travelling, the Sex Offender Notification of International Travel Act would also permit U.S. law enforcement to share such information with foreign officials when appropriate. When a registered sex offender travels abroad, the Department of Homeland Security would be able to notify the country of destination. The country of destination would then determine whether or not to allow the offender to enter, and under what conditions.

Rep. Sanchez, who represents the largest Vietnamese community outside of Vietnam, introduced H.R. 6266 in part to address an issue that is extremely important to her Vietnamese constituents. Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked throughout Southeast Asia for commercial sexual exploitation. The World Human Rights Organization and UNICEF estimate that one-third of the prostitutes in Cambodia are under the age of 18, the majority of whom are Vietnamese.

Denver Man Accused Of Sex Trafficking Children

DENVER (AP) ― A federal grand jury has indicted a Denver man on charges of trafficking minors across Colorado lines for prostitution.

An indictment unsealed in Denver on Friday lists charges against 44-year-old Timothy Wayne Lee of sex trafficking children, transportation of a minor for prostitution, transportation of illegal sexual activity, sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography.

The charges allege Lee also used some adults as prostitutes, taking some to Utah or California.

The Denver Post reports that Lee was being held in New Mexico on a separate state charge.

Teenager abused in underage prostitution ring found safe

This article made some valid points. Whenever you mention child sex trafficking, the first thing most Americans will say is that this only happens in Thailand or Cambodia. Most of this country’s effort to end child sex trafficking is geared towards those particular countries. I have attended activities here in Florida, where all of the money raised was to assist an organization somewhere clear across the world. However, when you tell people that child sex trafficking is right here in the U.S, people look at you like you just grew a second head. What is sad about this is that most of these countries who we continue to assist have more services available to child sex trafficking survivors than we have here in the U.S. It is sad to say that throughout the entire U.S there are less than 10. In an article featured last week in, law enforcement from the Tampa Bay area stated that they have to send any victims rescued here to G.E.M.S, which is in New York. This is sad.
Most people in our country will be brought to tears when they hear Somaly Mam tell her story or people see pictures/videos of children being sold for sex in 3rd world countries. However, once they say a young child/woman working the streets turning tricks, they call them whores and do nothing to assist this person. This too is sad.

It is time to understand that our children, our future are also exploited sexually in our country. And not only here, but there is reverse trafficking as well. We need to do more to help our children instead of focusing all of our attention to organizations that do nothing for our children. We need to make sure that our children receive any and all services they need to be able to become rehabilitated. In Cambodia, the girls rescued learn a trade such a sewing or cooking, something that will allow them to work without using their bodies. What do we have here in the U.S. Nothing.
We expect our children to be rescued and then go back to school and pretend that nothing happened. The type of abuse and manipulation that these children have been exposed to incomprehensible. MOre needs to be done to help rehabilitate these children so that in the future they do not feel the need to return to the sex industry.
Let’s continue to advocate for our children as they desperately need our help!

Teenager abused in underage prostitution ring found safe
October 2nd, 2010 1:44 pm PT.Do you like this story?

Most Americans believe that underage prostitution rings are problems associated with countries such as Thailand, where the sex trades industry brings in millions of tourist dollars. However, the number of documented cases of underage prostitutes is rising in the United States each year. In Southern California, a 14-year-old girl was found safe on Friday, having been the victim of a prostitution ring.
The story started two months ago when the girl ran away from home. She claimed that she was abducted by Leroy Bragg, a man know to be involved in the business of child prostitution. According to the girl, whose name is being withheld, Bragg found her and forced her to work as a prostitute in the Hawthorne area of Southern California. The girl was found by police after she tried to board a bus to go home. The bus driver recognized her from a missing persons photograph and alerted the authorities. During a police interview, the girl described her inhuman ordeal at the hands of Bragg. Bragg was eventually arrested on child trafficking changes and bail was set at $1.3 Million. However, in between the time of the girl’s discovery and Bragg’s arrest, the story takes another turn.
This should have been the end of the story. However, the girl received threats issued from Bragg, saying that the girl’s mother and sister would be harmed if she didn’t return to him. The terrified girl ran back to Bragg, afraid for her family’s safety. Within a few days of returning to Bragg the girl ran away, being apprehended on a bus out of town.
The girl’s father, Peter Doesburg, stated that his daughter had been branded or tattooed with Bragg’s personal stamp, an indication that she belonged to the sadistic pimp. The girl was subjected to nonstop sexual activities with men who came to Bragg because he employed children. The girl was able to describe Bragg’s operation, stating the girls in his stable were moved from apartment to apartment to service the men Bragg had as customers. Bragg had developed a large scale operation in the Los Angeles area.
The underage sex trade, while often thought of as a problem related to third world countries where a poor economy leads to desperate measures, is alive and well in the United States. In Oakland CA, Police Lt. Kevin Wiley, Commander of the Oakland Police Department’s Child Exploitation Unit, said it’s a business that is only getting bigger. Wiley claims that the child sex market is replacing the drug market in popularity. Oakland now has a reputation for being one of the major hubs for underage sex trafficking. In 2009 the unit made 640 arrests, up from 318 arrests made in 2008. As the problem grows larger authorities are having a harder time dealing with the problem as state and federal cutbacks reduce their active force of officers. Many of the children involved in this nefarious business are runaways, which makes the job that much more difficult.
Tens of thousands of children run from their homes only to fend themselves frightened and alone in large cities. Predatory sex traffickers have made a science of finding and literally enslaving runaways, either promising them a better life or forcing them into service. For many runaways, prostitution is still better than what they left behind. Many runaways leave physically and sexually abusive parents, desperately seeking a way out of their own private version of hell. However, Doesburg’s daughter doesn’t appear to fit the profile of an abused child.
As the numbers go up, it’s up to the legal system to find a cure for this plague of sexual depravity. The toughest part of investigations into the child sex trades is finding victims willing to come forward and testify against their captors. Many, from poorer countries, know that harm will befall their families if they speak out. Others are simply deported back to their home countries never to be heard from again. A few are murdered to send a message out to anyone else thinking about talking to the authorities. The child sex trafficking business is a multimillion dollar business similar to the drug trade and, in a world where people are murdered for pennies on the dollar, most involved in the business don’t want to talk. The question of the day: Is the judicial system in this country doing enough?