Traffickers: Who are they really

Many times when I speak to people about human trafficking, I speak to people on who the traffickers are. Most people believe that they are heartless, uneducated men. Some people picture traffickers to wear fur coats and suits. Many of the stereotypes that we have are generally correct. However there are still all kinds of people who can become a trafficker. We are seeing women traffickers and well as teens who are now pimping their friends out. I recently found this article and share it with you as this definitely breaks the mold.

University Dean Coerces Students Into Servitude for Scholarships
Cecelia Chang, former Dean of the Asian Studies Institute and a Vice President at St. John’s University, was recently fired for embezzling $1.5 million in funds from the school. But now she stands accused of a crime far more heinous — taking advantage of international students on scholarship and turning them into her personal cadre of servants. Is this a case of modern-day slavery in higher education?

As part of her position, Chang was in charge of granting 15 scholarships a year, most of which went to international students looking for a chance at an American education. In exchange for the scholarships, the students were expected to work 20 hours a week for Chang. They were told the work would be traditional academic work-study tasks, like performing academic research, writing reports, or administrative tasks. But Chang soon set the students to work as her personal servants.

One student acted as Chang’s driver, taking her to the salon and restaurants. Another was sent to cook and clean in Chang’s home. One student was even instructed to bring a wad of cash to Chang as she gambled at a nearby casino. While these tasks are certainly outside the norm of a university work-study, they may not seem especially exploitative. After all, I had a job that involved running errands and cleaning while in college. What’s wrong with that? The problem is Chang made it clear to the affected students that failure to do as she asked would mean they lost their scholarships. For some of the students, a loss of their scholarship could force them to drop out and even nullify their student visas. Chang also allegedly told students to falsify documents to cover up their forced labor.

The situation the St. John’s students were in is called peonage or debt bondage, meaning the students were compelled to work because they were in debt, in this case to the university. Peonage is sometimes a form of human trafficking. While anyone can be a victim of human trafficking, foreign students and workers whose U.S. visas are linked to a specific school or employer are at higher risk. Unscrupulous people like Cecilia Chang can easily leverage their desire to work or go to school in America. And this case was no exception.

St. John’s students obviously need better protection from exploitation. And as recommended by Education editor Carol Scott, a third-party arbitrator for student complaints is the best way to ensure that. Ask St. John’s University to prevent future exploitation of students by installing an independent arbitrator.

Walmart Lobbies to Keep Factory Wages Under Two Cents

This is a great article regarding the issues that surround Wal- Mart. The neighborhood store that a majority of Americans shop at fuels slavery in many other countries. Many people ask, what can I do to stop this from happening. Here is something you can do. Stop shopping at Wal- Mart and encourage others to do the same.

by Amanda Kloer 

 Slave Labor Ever wonder how Walmart can afford to sell a pair of jeans for eight bucks? It’s because workers at the factory in Bangladesh where the jeans are made earn a measly one-and-a-half cents for each pair they sew. To make matters worse, Walmart has been lobbying against a government-supported wage increase, which would bump the workers up to 35 cents an hour. It’s time Walmart stopped exploiting the workers who make the clothes they sell.

The 2500 workers at the Anowara Apparels factory in Bangladesh spend all day sewing jeans, primarily for the Faded Glory brand of clothes sold at Walmart. They are 90% young women, some with families to support and others trying to simply scrape a living together. The women make between 11 and 17 cents an hour sewing jeans, and they’re expected to produce at least ten pairs an hour. That means they make less than two pennies for each pair of jeans they sew. Recognizing the gross underpayment of these workers, the Bangladeshi government has suggested raising the minimum wage to 35 cents an hour. Walmart has responded by lobbying against Bangladesh’s efforts to fairly compensate workers and decided to keep their staff living in abject poverty.

The employees of Anowara Apparels can’t afford even basic living expenses on their salary of pennies an hour. They live in make-shift shacks, suffer from malnutrition, and have no source of heat other than burning wood. Dozens of workers and their families use a communal water pump for all their sanitation needs, from washing clothes and their bodies to drinking. The extra 17 cents per month would double these workers’ salaries, and according to them, make a huge difference in their lives. Yet Walmart is trying to make sure that doesn’t happen, so they can keep selling you $8.00 jeans at a high profit margin.

The story of Anowara Apparels is an example of the high price workers often pay for your discounts. Walmart isn’t able to sell jeans for $8.00 because they’re magical. They are able to sell jeans for $8.oo because they pay the women who make them less than two pennies a pair. So when you see a dirt cheap t-shirt, bargain basement shoes, or any other deal that’s too good to be true, remember that it probably is. And what might be a great deal for you often ends up being a pretty raw one for someone else.

Tell Walmart that it’s time to stop exploiting factory workers in Bangladesh and start paying them the minimum wage. Because some bargains come at far too high a human price

Six-Month Report: Domestically Sex-Trafficked Minors on the Rise in Key States

Six-Month Report: Domestically Sex-Trafficked Minors on the Rise in Key States

Internet classifieds are hub of adolescent sex trade in New York, Michigan and Minnesota…
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ — As Deborah Richardson, chief program officer for Women’s Funding Network, is testifying today in Washington, D.C., before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security about the issue of “Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking,” the results of a new study – also released today – indicate Internet classifieds were the predominate hub for trafficking young girls in three states over six months. The ongoing study, commissioned by Women’s Funding Network (WFN), also finds more girls were exploited in August than February of this year.

Conducted by The Schapiro Group, an independent, third-party research firm, the study seeks to quantify the number of adolescent girls victimized by domestic sex trafficking in New York, Michigan and Minnesota, where statewide efforts are ramping up to stop this crime under the leadership of WFN’s local member funds – The New York Women’s Foundation, Michigan Women’s Foundation and Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.

“Our research is imperative to understanding the pervasiveness of this atrocious, abusive crime,” says Chris Grumm, CEO and president of Women’s Funding Network. “It objectively validates that Internet classifieds, without question, are the leading source for criminals to find girls for sex in these states. Understanding the hubs where criminals congregate – and the scope of their victims – drives the development of geographic-specific strategies that give girls access to rehabilitative services while taking sex traffickers off our streets.”

The total number of girls trafficked through Internet classifieds and escort services increased in double-digit percentages in the three states studied over six months:

•New York: 20% increase
•Michigan: 36% increase; and
•Minnesota: 55% increase.

The study included the most popular outlets for domestic minor sex trafficking – the Internet and escort services – and revealed state-specific insights. For example:

•In New York:
•3,454 girls were domestically sex trafficked in August – up from 2,880 in February (20% increase)
•3,415 girls were trafficked through ads posted on Internet classifieds in August – up from 2,830 in February (21% increase)
•Monthly domestic sex trafficking in New York is more pervasive than the state’s annually reported incidents of teen suicide (54 instances); self-inflicted injuries (1,222 instances); or women of all ages killed by breast cancer (2,715 instances)

•In Michigan:
•159 girls were domestically sex trafficked in August – up from 117 in February (36% increase)
•142 girls were trafficked through ads posted on Internet classifieds in August – up from 102 in February (40% increase)
•Only 20% of girls advertised on Internet classifieds in Michigan still appeared in ads two weeks later, which was the lowest “tenure” rate of domestically sex trafficked minors among the three states studied
•Monthly domestic sex trafficking in Michigan is more pervasive than the state’s annually reported incidents of suicide among females under age 25 (31 instances); infants who died from SIDS (46 instances); or females under age 25 killed in car accidents (106 instances)

•In Minnesota:
◦124 girls were domestically sex trafficked in August – up from 80 in February (55% increase)
◦112 girls were trafficked through ads posted on Internet classifieds in August – up from 68 in February (65% increase)
◦The percentage of girls advertised on Internet classifieds increased most dramatically in Minnesota among the states studied during this six-month period
◦Monthly domestic sex trafficking in Minnesota is more pervasive than the state’s annually reported incidents of teen girls who died by suicide, homicide and car accidents (29 instances combined); infants who died from SIDS (6 instances); or women of all ages murdered in one year (37 instances)

“While each state has its own unique situation, this crime is nationwide and deserves national attention,” Grumm says. “Action at the federal and state levels, combined with unwavering support from advocates and everyday citizens, ensures our children are protected from criminals seeking to profit from their innocence.”

About the Study: Adolescent Girls in the United States Sex Trade – Tracking Results for August 2010

The August tracking study is designed to count adolescent girls using scientific probability methods when they are encountered through two sources: ads on Internet classifieds websites and escort services. These are two of the main sources through which johns find girls. The August results are part of a multi-year quarterly tracking study that began in February 2010.

For the counts, researchers called, tracked and calculated all escort service listings, in addition to methodically evaluating placed ads featuring young girls on popular Internet sites being used by johns looking for commercial sex with adolescent girls.

About Women’s Funding Network

As a global network and a movement for social justice, Women’s Funding Network accelerates women’s leadership and invests in solving critical social problems — from poverty to global security — by bringing together the financial power, influence and voices of more than 160 women’s funds. Learn more at

About The Schapiro Group

The Schapiro Group is a strategic research and consulting firm based in Atlanta that serves a variety of clients, including corporate, government and nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit

SOURCE Women’s Funding Network

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FBI busts child porn operation in Saugus

By David Liscio / The Daily Item

SAUGUS – An FBI sting operation involving Saugus and State Police netted three suspects who allegedly took nude photographs of a 14-year-old girl, posted them on a pornographic Web site and later offered her sexual services to a customer at the Holiday Inn Express on Route 1.

The trio was arrested by Saugus police over the weekend as they drove away from the hotel, still unaware that the customer was an undercover FBI agent, Essex Assistant District Attorney Maria Markos said during arraignment proceedings Monday in District Court.

The defendants were identified as Bennie Robinson, 33, 14 Wilbert Road, Dorchester, Zachary Sargent, 27, 21 Mattapan St., Boston and Nicole Hayward, 19, 13 Nelson Drive, Apt. No. 4, Randolph. All were charged with sex crimes, including inducing a minor to engage in prostitution, lasciviously posing and exhibiting a child in the nude and distributing material of a child in the nude. Hayward was also charged with sexual conduct for a fee, as was the juvenile.

Judge Michael Laurenzano ordered the three adult defendants held without bail pending a Nov. 2 dangerousness hearing.

According to courtroom statements and court documents, Hayward, who is also known as Channelle or Maya, has a criminal record that includes a prostitution case pending in Chelsea District Court. Hayward purportedly befriended the girl through conversation and cell phone text messaging. On Oct. 22, Hayward was allegedly waiting for the girl to return home from school.

“When the school bus dropped her off, Maya was waiting at the end of her street and told her she was coming with her. She then got into the car with Maya and the two other men,” Saugus police reported. According to prosecutors, the three suspects took the girl to the President City Inn at 845 Hancock St. in Quincy. Once inside Room 26, cell phones were used to photograph the girl wearing a red thong in a variety of provocative poses atop the flowered bedspread.

Hayward allegedly downloaded the photos to a laptop computer and using her gmail account posted them on a Web site advertising sex for sale.

Under questioning by state troopers and Boston and Saugus police detectives, the girl said Hayward was on the laptop, apparently chatting with a potential customer who requested two girls be sent to his Saugus hotel room. The customer was told two women would arrive from Quincy in about 45 minutes and that the price was $200, the girl told police, adding that Robinson then asked both Sargent and Hayward if they were armed with knives and that both acknowledged they were.

Police reports indicated the two men remained in the 2000 Acura Integra, which was under surveillance, while Hayward and the girl went to the customer’s room.
The two women left with the cash. The surveillance team in the parking lot followed their car until the signal was given for a marked Saugus police cruiser to make the traffic stop. Hayward was carrying the $200 in marked bills, police said.

Meanwhile, Quincy police secured the hotel room where the illicit photo shoot allegedly occurred. FBI agents and other law enforcement officers later seized the laptop computer and the cell phones in that room.

Court-appointed defense lawyer Jeffrey Sweeney, representing Sargent, said the girl was not physically forced to accompany the others to the Quincy hotel or to Saugus. As a result, the crimes alleged were not committed, he said.

Echoing that argument, public defense counsel Kenneth Schutzer asserted in Robinson’s behalf that the girl was not induced to be photographed or take part in any other activities. No evidence exists that Robinson ever spoke to the girl, said Schutzer, contending that his client’s only offense was being present. “There is no probable cause,” he said.

Markos, the prosecutor, adamantly disagreed. “The crime itself is what she is being induced to do,” she said.

Acknowledging that the accusations contained in the girl’s statement are “incredibly serious,” Judge Laurenzano asked whether the district attorney was looking at what might have happened versus what happened.

“What may result is my argument,” said Markos, emphasizing the young girl could easily be led into a life of prostitution where the dangers, including sexually transmitted diseases and violence, can be life threatening.

Hayward was represented by public defense counsel Joseph DiGiovanni, who said his client may be a victim in the case, given her history of mental illness and hospitalization from ages 11 to 16.

Children Trafficked Into the UK for Child Labour

Although this case was discovered in the UK, this is something that definitely happens in the U.S. However most of the focus on child trafficking is on the issue of sex trafficking. Most people will say, when I was young I use to go and pick berries on my parents farm, etc. There is a big difference in children who are helping their family or friends with chores and then there is labor exploitation. The children who are being used in forced labor do not have the freedom of movement, of choice and a whole slew of human rights are violated on a daily basis. If you take a look at our child labor laws, it covers every industry except our agricultural industry. Many traffickers are aware of this and use this loophole to exploit children.

Please take the time to learn more about the issue. We as Americans need to face the music and understand that there is more than just sex trafficking happening. We need to protect children from all types of exploitation!

The campaigners describe the plight of Romanian girls and boys working as child labour in the spring onions field in Worcestershire.

On Wednesday, as many as seven children, between 9 and 16, were taken away after they were found to work with a group of adults in very cold conditions.

According to the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), this is for the first time such case of child exploitation and trafficking in farming and food industry sectors have come into light.

A recent report by Ecpat revealed that between April 2009 and June 2010, as many as 215 children from 33 different nations were trafficked into the UK.

The majority of children, almost 97, were brought for the work purposes, that is, for ‘labour exploitation’.

GLA Chairman Paul Whitehouse told the BBC, “We discovered the children working, some of them with their parents but others without and in conditions which, for the adults alone, were appalling”.

The officer, Linda Boyle, said that the children were forced to work from 7.30 am till evening.

The Government presently is thinking about signing up the EU directive on human trafficking, which would provide protection to the victims and make easier to file a case against the traffickers.

Pair accused of pimping girls on Craigslist

Pair accused of pimping girls on Craigslist

DENVER – Two Denver men are accused of running an Internet sex ring and forcing two teenage women into a life of prostitution.

The Colorado Attorney General’s office handed down an indictment against 19-year-old Dallas Cardenas and 23-year-old Ryan Jenkins.

The indictment accuses Cardenas of photographing the two victims, posting the pictures on Craigslist, and arranging meetings with men at hotels and apartments across the metro area earlier this year.

Cardenas is accused of human and child trafficking, in part because the teens were allegedly forced into the sex acts against their will.

“They were connected to Johns and they were pimped out,” said Mike Saccone, spokesman for the Colorado AG’s office. “The Johns would contact the suspects through the Craigslist ads.”

Ryan Jenkins is accused of being the driver for the prostitution ring, as well as possession of Ecstasy at his apartment on 14th street.

Cardenas is behind bars in Jefferson County where he will faces charges of child trafficking, pimping and pandering of a child. Jenkins is still at large.

The Attorney General’s office says the case will be prosecuted by Senior Assistant Attorney General Janet Drake, a member of the Colorado Human Trafficking Task Force