Prosecute Craigslist—the ‘Wal-Mart of Child Sex Trafficking’

Doesn’t this title make you stop and think. Here Craiglist is being compared to Wal-Mart. What’s funny is that every single anti trafficking organization and modern-day abolitionist in the country was in an uproar over the Adult Section of Craiglist. I wonder how many of these people still shop at Wal-Mart. Probably all of them since in the U.S it seems as though the only trafficking that people acknowledge is sex trafficking.
Please take the time to learn more about what it is that Wal-Mart is doing. Learn more about how their operations work and how many innocent children are exploited all for our benefit. I know that Wal-Mart is cheap and with today’s ecomony we all want to save money. However, we need to be aware and so what we can to help advocate for the countless number of children being exploited. We need to change our buying habits and stop spending money in companies who are known to help fuel the demand on labor trafficking. The same way we attack “johns” for fueling the demand for child sex trafficking is the same way we need to attack these corporations that fuel the demand for cheap labor.

During the last three years, officers with the Calgary Police Service’s vice unit have been working undercover to rescue children being sold for sex. The backdrop is not a street corner late at night, however. The new “kiddie stroll” is online and always open for business.

It began in 2007 when the parents of a missing teenage girl in British Columbia contacted police after somehow finding out that their daughter was being sold for sex hundreds of kilometres away on Craigslist’s Calgary website. Fortunately, the girl was rescued by police and returned safely home.

Not an Isolated Incident
“Operation Carmel” was launched by Calgary police to determine if the case was merely an isolated incident. It wasn’t. Over a two-year period, police made more than 30 arrests for criminal activity advertised through Craigslist and rescued three more underage girls being sold for sex acts. Traffickers, some of them known gang associates, used the website to sell victims brought in from Vancouver and as far away as Winnipeg.

“Operation Street Fighter” was a second undercover investigation launched by Calgary police. It found “strong indications” of human trafficking involving Asian organized crime controlling women in the sex trade. Confidential informants told police again and again that Craigslist was “the medium of choice” for these criminals.

At the same time, the Peel Regional Police vice unit in Ontario was laying charges against Imani Nakpangi, a violent criminal whose victims include a 14-year-old girl with fetal alcohol syndrome who was a ward of the province. Nakpangi earned more than $400,000 by selling her and a homeless teenager, both advertised on Craigslist.

The new ‘kiddie stroll’ is online and always open for business.

In addition to multiple cases in Calgary and the Greater Toronto Area, sex traffickers in B.C. have relied on Craigslist as a fast, efficient and free way to market their victims. In March 2009, police in the B.C. Lower Mainland discovered an entire network of “micro-brothels”—condos and apartments—being used to sell trafficked women from China for sex, again advertised through Craigslist. The North Vancouver RCMP detachment even sent out a public warning in July 2009 about a ring of drug and sex traffickers who were advertising sex with under-age local girls on Craigslist and “using violence or the threat of violence to control the girls.”

Not surprisingly, the recent RCMP “threat assessment” on human trafficking highlighted this Internet-facilitated sexual exploitation as a primary cause for concern. Craigslist has become an integral part of the technology of trafficking and needs to be stopped.

Craigslist’s lawyers recently testified before a U.S. Congressional hearing that there has been “dramatic growth” in the number of erotic services advertisements in major Canadian cities—Toronto saw a 100 percent increase between March 2008 to March 2009. At the same time, major U.S. cities saw a decrease of 90 per cent due to measures implemented by Craigslist in the U.S., but not in Canada.

Last month, Craigslist shut down its erotic/adult services sections completely across the U.S., but to date has refused to do so in our country. The company and its executives continue to knowingly allow the website to be used by traffickers here.

Called the “Walmart of child sex trafficking” in a recent CNN report, Craigslist is in a class of its own. No other website rivals its notoriety and reach. It is simply not true that shutting its erotic/adult services sections will result in complete displacement of the crime to other websites. Even if it does result in some displacement, police should pursue those sites as well. Since the johns still need to be reached for traffickers to profit, the problem never really goes completely underground.

Instead of shutting down their erotic/adult services section in Canada, Craigslist says they are involved in “an ongoing dialogue” with the RCMP. While this dialogue continues, child and adult trafficking victims are being sold through Craigslist’s Canadian websites. Would the RCMP be in a “dialogue” for over 18 months if Craigslist had a “drugs” section that offered cocaine and heroin for sale, complete with photos? The site would be shut down immediately and Craigslist would be charged with aiding and abetting drug trafficking. Why are children entitled to less immediate action?

Time to Lay Charges
Where are Canada’s political leaders and police chiefs on this issue? In the United States, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was a key champion for change to crack down on Craigslist. Canada needs someone to stand up to Craigslist and demand they end the open flesh market that includes selling our country’s daughters, enabling traffickers to profit lucratively.

If Craigslist is unwilling to immediately end the criminal assistance that its website is providing to traffickers, then charges should be laid under the Criminal Code against the company, its founder Craig Newmark, and CEO Jim Buckmaster for aiding and abetting human trafficking and the prostitution of minors.

A Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia, Benjamin Perrin is the author of Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking, and a member of the C2C Journal editorial board. This article is courtesy of Troy Media.

Kudos to The University of Michigan School of Law!

Grant lets law school fight human trafficking in Mexico
Karen Sloan

October 11, 2010

The University of Michigan Law School is working with a law school in Mexico to take on human trafficking.

The law school has received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State to establish a human trafficking clinic at the Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Unidad Académica de Derecho, a law school located in north central Mexico. The Mexican clinic is an offshoot of the human trafficking clinic that Michigan launched in 2009, which was the first of its kind in the United States.

“The part that I’m excited about is that here in the U.S., we can do a lot as far as assisting prosecutors and victims of trafficking,” said Bridgette Carr, who directs the Michigan clinic. “What we can’t work on as much is prevention, because we’re sitting here in Ann Arbor. The goal is to not have clients.”

Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation and harboring of people for forced labor, servitude or slavery. Agriculture, spas and massage parlors, hotels and prostitution are just a few industries that have been connected to human trafficking.

One of the goals of the Mexican clinic, which will represent a partnership between the two law schools and a local nongovernmental organization called Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (Center for Migrant Rights), is to educate people about human trafficking. Although it will officially be part of the Mexican law school, the Michigan law school will help set up the clinic.

“This is really an opportunity to see how we can most effectively advocate for these clients on a transnational basis,” Carr said.

The partnership between the two clinics is a real innovation, said center founder and executive director Rachel Micah-Jones. “Students will provide quality legal representation to vulnerable migrant communities whose legal needs often cross borders,” she said. “In doing so, students will develop the skills to be transnational advocates in this new economy.”

In the year that the Ann Arbor-based clinic has been running, students have assisted clients who were forced to work in hair braiding salons, restaurants and in the commercial sex industry. The clinic’s 15 students are part lawyer, part caseworker. They assist victims of human trafficking in criminal and immigration proceedings, but also help them obtain services such as federal money to attend college, Carr said.

“One reason we started this clinic is that we didn’t want to be restricted in the type of assistance we offer,” Carr said. “We are able to come at it from any direction we want.”

Michigan law students will travel to the Mexican clinic during school breaks, Carr said.

The Justice Department grant will fund the project for two years.

Karen Sloan can be contacted at

Somalia and US should ratify UN child rights treaty – official

13 October 2010 – The head of a United Nations monitoring committee today called on Somalia and the United States, the only two countries not to have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to do so immediately.
“With the best interests of all children at heart, I would respectfully like to reiterate our appeal that these States ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Committee on the Rights of the Child Chairperson Yanghee Lee told the General Assembly today.

That pact is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights – civil, cultural, economic, political and social – for youngsters under 18.

She called for universal ratification by 2012, the 10th anniversary of their entry into force, of two additional protocols to the CRC dealing with children in armed conflict, and the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography, the first ratified by 139 countries, the second by 141.

Ms. Lee noted that 30 countries still allow military recruitment of children under 18, while many states still have laws that criminalize children in prostitution rather than treating them as victims. The Committee monitors compliance with the CRC.

Asked at an earlier news conference why the United States had not ratified the treaty, she cited a raft of reasons from lack of political will to myths and misunderstandings about the convention.

“The lack of political will is the biggest reason,” she said, noting that President Barack Obama in his 2008 election campaign had said that the US would ratify the treaty, “but we have yet to see that come to fruition.”

Ms. Lee noted that “then there is the misunderstanding that once you ratify this convention parents will have to give up their parental rights, and then children would be running around with all kinds of rights, taking the rights away from parents.

“But that’s really a myth and a strong misunderstanding because the convention calls for guidance and support of parents, and families with responsibilities is one of the major provisions in the convention.”

Ms. Lee also cited a pushback from religious groups and also concerns from people who advocate home schooling and are concerned that CRC would abolish it.

“But that’s not the case,” she stressed. “We have consistently said for States parties to provide for formal and non-formal education that also includes home schooling.”

She also noted that some people have said CRC is pro-abortion and pro-adolescent health but “there is nothing in the convention that would suggest anything that the CRC is pro-abortion.”

Child-prostitution probe charges Milton man

MILTON A 25-year-old Milton man arrested for human trafficking and living off the avails of juvenile prostitution on has also been charged with weapons offences, gang sexual assault and human trafficking.

Aldain Alando Beckford, 25, was to appear in Milton court Thursday for a bail hearing. He was arrested Wednesday.

The court ordered a publication ban on details of his appearance and evidence involved.

Details about the case are few because of the age of the alleged victims. Police say the incidents activities in Southern Ontario municipalities including Halton, Peel, Niagara and the area around London, Ont.

Detective Sergeant Brad Cook said Beckford was arrested following a month-long, co-ordinated investigation which included the Halton police child abuse and sexual assault unit as well as the guns and gangs unit and detectives in Milton.

Cook said the investigation is ongoing and police are looking for other potential victims or parties to the criminal offences with which Beckford is charged.

Beckford faces 12 charges including:


Aggravated sexual assault

Possession of weapons dangerous

Pointing a firearm

Two charges of gang sexual assault with a weapon.

Assault with a weapon

Living on the avails of juvenile prostitution.

Human trafficking.

Using violence while living on the avails of child prostitution.

Forcible confinement.

Human trafficking for material benefit.

Cook asks anyone with relevant information about the investigation or possible victims to contact the Halton police child abuse and sexual assault unit at 905-465-8970 or 905-634-1831, extension 8970. If they wish to remain completely anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Kudos to Arizona State University Students!

Good to see more college students raising awareness on the issue of child sex trafficking! Please read what a group of ASU students are doing to help raise awareness on this issue. Now hopefully we will start seeing students shed light on the issue of child labor trafficking.

Club raises awareness of local prostitution
By Danielle Legler October 13, 2010 at 10:27 pm

An ASU club raised awareness about local human trafficking and child prostitution Wednesday by showing a screening of the documentary “Branded.”

ASU’s Fighting Against Slavery and Trafficking club, FAST, was created in spring 2009 in order to raise awareness to prevent enslavement and trafficking of human beings around the world.

Members work around a three-tiered plan focusing on awareness, volunteering and fundraising.

Co-president of FAST Leah Stonefeld a sustainability junior, said the club chose to have a screening of “Branded” at the Tempe campus because it specifically documents child prostitution in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

“Many people don’t realize how close prostitution occurs to them,” she said. “They aren’t aware of how prevalent it is in their own city.”

In addition to screening the movie, the president and co-founder of Streetlight Patrick McCalla spoke about the statistics and prevalence of child sex slavery in Phoenix.

Streetlight is a local nonprofit organization in Phoenix that attempts to eradicate child prostitution.

McCalla, who is also the co-producer of “Branded,” said that the average age of a prostitute in Arizona is 13 years old.

He mentioned that pimps often approach girls at malls after school and target girls who seem like they have low self-esteem.

They manipulate girls by telling them that they’re a photographer and want to take modeling photos of them. Then, they gradually lure them into a life of prostitution.

He also spoke about how the Phoenix Police Department’s vice squad is leading the nation in investigating and cracking down on child prostitution.

“Our squad treats these girls as victims, instead of as girls who are willingly out there to make an extra buck,” McCalla said.

He said he was inspired to get involved in the prevention of child prostitution when hearing about a case that is now featured in the documentary.

The case involved the kidnapping and forced prostitution of a 15-year-old Phoenix girl. He said that though the stories are scarring, they motivate him to try to make a change.

Anthony Stuertzel, a political science junior who attended the screening, said he was emotionally moved after seeing the documentary.

“I didn’t realize that so much child prostitution was happening in the United States,” he said. “Now I feel like I have to do something to change it.”

Members of FAST meet every first and third Friday at 2 p.m. in Room 62 in the College of Design North to plan awareness and fundraising events for their cause.

Reach the reporter at

Woman guilty of child prostitution charges

I am noticing that more and more of these types of cases are popping up through out the entire country. This is excellent as it seems as thought more law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judges are understanding that children who are being prostituted out by adults should be seen as victims and not criminals! Let’s keep it up folks as it seems as though people are starting to listen up! Great job!!

DANVERS — A woman living in a taxpayer-subsidized motel room in Danvers has been sentenced to two years in prison for trying to turn a 13-year-old girl into a prostitute.

The Salem News reports that Maria Trinidad was sentenced after pleading guilty in Salem Superior Court on Wednesday to attempting to induce a child into prostitution and attempting to derive support from child prostitution.

Trinidad’s 18-year-old son pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to induce a child into prostitution and was sentenced to six months.

Prosecutors agreed to the plea deal with defense lawyers to spare the girl going through a trial.

Authorities say in June 2009 Trinidad offered the runaway girl to a group of men in the motel. The men got their girlfriends, who took the girl to her brother’s home.


Child sex trafficking cases from around the world

I have found some articles relating to child sex trafficking in other parts of the world. Most Americans believe that this type of exploitation of children only happens in countries like Thailand, Cambodia and Mexico. This is an issue however that affects every city, province, village and country all over the world. This is an issue that affects 3rd world countries as well as 1st world countries. No country is above this tragic issue. Please feel free to check out these links on the various articles I have found.
Let’s keep doing what we can to help child trafficking!

Trial date set in human trafficking case

I am glad to see that this trial is underway. This is a sad case as one pedophile sold a child to another pedophile.

COVINGTON – A convicted child molester who allegedly sold a boy he sodomized to another pedophile will be tried in January on a human trafficking charge.

Bobby Jo Perry II, 39, of Elsmere faces five years to 10 years in prison if found guilty of the charge. He will be tried along with Lance Antonio Presswood, 42, of Cincinnati. Presswood is charged with first-degree sodomy.

The trial is set for Jan. 19 in before Kenton Circuit Judge Gregory Bartlett.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Kastner claims Perry accepted money from Presswood in exchange for allowing that man to also sodomize the boy.

Kastner claims Perry and Presswood became acquaintances while locked up at the Kenton County jail on charges unrelated to molesting the boy. Kastner said Perry accepted the money after the pair got out of jail, but Kastner didn’t know the amount that was exchanged.

Perry has been booked into the Kenton County jail at least eight times since 1997. Most of the arrests were on domestic violence charges. Presswood has been sent to the jail seven times since 2003 on charges ranging from cocaine possession to a probation violation.

Perry wasn’t present for the hearing setting his court date. He is currently awaiting sentencing after a jury found him guilty last week of first-degree sodomy. The crime is punishable by 20-50 years or life in prison, and the jury recommended a 45-year sentence. Bartlett will sentence Perry on Nov. 8.

Presswood, freed July 2 on a $1,000 bond after his initial trial date was postponed, was in the courtroom Monday but declined to comment.

The law making it a felony in Kentucky to force someone into labor, domestic work or the sex trade went into effect in July 2007. Ohio passed a similar law in December 2008.

Perry’s wife, 57-year-old Ernestine Perry, is also charged with multiple counts of rape for allegedly molesting the same boy. Her trial date hasn’t been set.

Freedom Center Opens World’s First Permanent Museum Exhibition on Modern-Day Slavery and Human Trafficking

CINCINNATI, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati has opened the world’s first permanent, museum-quality exhibition on modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

The exhibition, entitled Invisible: Slavery Today opened on October 9, and will be a permanent installation on the Freedom Center’s third floor east pavilion.

“This is a groundbreaking exhibition, but one entirely in keeping with our Mission of making the historic struggle for freedom relevant and meaningful for today’s audiences,” said Freedom Center CEO Don Murphy. “It would be comforting to say that slavery had been completely abolished at the end of the Civil War in 1865,” Murphy added. “But slavery exists today on a global scale, in many forms, and more people than ever are being exploited. Invisible tells this story in a way that will shock visitors but ultimately inspire them to become modern abolitionists.”

Invisible: Slavery Today was produced with several antislavery organizations, which provided content and guidance. The partners are Free the Slaves, Goodweave, International Justice Mission and Polaris Project. Underwriting of the exhibition came from The Skirball Foundation and Lois and Richard Rosenthal.

The exhibition consists of three main exhibition areas: one (the first) exploring the many forms of modern-day slavery; the second, which details the scope and causes of modern-day slavery; and a final section that provides information on global efforts to combat trafficking and slavery abuses. The five most common forms of slavery – bonded labor, sex trafficking, child labor, domestic servitude, and forced labor – are explained through the life experiences of real individuals from across the globe.

The new exhibition was designed by Seattle-based Touch Worldwide.

With the opening of Invisible, the Freedom Center also announced that it had appointed Paul Bernish, the museum’s Chief Communications Officer for the past six years, as its Director of Antislavery and Human Trafficking Initiatives – a new position and most likely the first in the museum field. Bernish will oversee the Freedom Center’s engagement in anti-trafficking efforts and lead the development of a curriculum on modern forms of slavery targeted to junior high and high school students.

SOURCE National Underground Railroad Freedom Center