WASHINGTON – The Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor announced today the launch of a nationwide Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative designed to streamline federal criminal investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking offenses.
            As part of the Enhanced Enforcement Initiative, specialized Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams, known as ACTeams, will be convened in select pilot districts around the country. The ACTeams, comprised of prosecutors and agents from multiple federal enforcement agencies, will implement a strategic action plan to combat identified human trafficking threats.  The ACTeams will focus on developing federal criminal human trafficking investigations and prosecutions to vindicate the rights of human trafficking victims, bring traffickers to justice and dismantle human trafficking networks.  
            The ACTeam structure not only enhances coordination among federal prosecutors and federal agents on the front lines of federal human trafficking investigations and prosecutions, but also enhances coordination between front-line enforcement efforts and the specialized units at the Department of Justice and federal agency headquarters.  The ACTeam Initiative was developed through interagency collaboration among the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor to streamline rapidly expanding human trafficking enforcement efforts. 
“This modern-day slavery is an affront to human dignity, and each and every case we prosecute should send a powerful signal that human trafficking will not be tolerated in the United States,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “The Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative takes our anti-trafficking enforcement efforts to the next level by building on the most effective tool in our anti-trafficking arsenal: partnerships.”
            “Working together, the entire U.S. government continues to make progress in convicting traffickers, dismantling their criminal networks and protecting their victims,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. “Combating human trafficking is a shared responsibility, and the ACTeam Initiative is a critical step in successfully leveraging all our federal, state and local resources to crack down on these criminals.”
“This pilot is a necessary tool in the federal government’s crackdown on human trafficking,” added Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.  “Victims of these contemptuous acts have been left in an unfamiliar land with no family, no support systems, and no way to make a life for themselves.  We must do whatever we can to ensure that victims of trafficking receive full restitution, including denied wages.”
            On Oct. 29, 2010, at an event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the Department of Justice announced that the Interagency ACTeam Initiative would be implemented in conjunction with directives within the Department of Justice to enhance coordination among the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the department’s subject matter experts in the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.
            The ACTeam initiative follows the July 22, 2010, launch of the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, which includes new web-based training for law enforcement officers, enhanced resources for trafficking victims and expanded public awareness campaigns.  The ACTeam Initiative also follows the Department of Labor’s March 15, 2010, announcement that it would, in coordination with other federal agencies, begin certifying U non-immigrant visas for human trafficking victims and other qualifying crime victims who are identified during the course of labor investigations and enforcement actions.
The locations of the pilot ACTeams will be announced upon completion of a competitive interagency selection process.

Man gets seven years for the sex trafficking of two minor girls

Man gets seven years for the sex trafficking of two minor girls

A Louisiana man will spend the next seven years in federal prison for transporting minors across state lines to sell them for sex, officials said Monday.

Mr. Dmarcus Antwain Ward, 26, of Minden, was sentenced Monday on the sex trafficking charges after investigators said he took juveniles to Alabama and back to Georgia, advertising them on the Internet for commercial sex acts.

“Atlanta is earning the unfortunate distinction as a center of human trafficking of all kinds, and this case demonstrates the tragic harms to our children and our community that results from sex trafficking of minors,” U. S. Attorney Mrs. Sally Quillian Yates said. “The sentence against this defendant is a step toward removing this activity from our community. Our work against child sex trafficking will continue until this problem is eliminated.”

Investigators said Mr. Ward transported a 17-year-old girl for prostitution from Atlanta to Birmingham and back again. Mr. Ward, who had posted photos of the teen on the Internet, took all the money she earned within that 10-day period, according to the U. S. Attorney’s Office.

The Minden man gave the teen a pre-paid cell phone, paid for the hotel rooms and provided her condoms to use, spokesman Mr. Patrick Crosby said.

He ordered the teen to call him “boss” and also had sex with her, the spokesman said.

Mr. Ward also forced a 14-year-old runaway into prostitution after meeting her on a toll-free “chat line” and coercing her to go to Alabama with him, Mr. Crosby said.

Mr. Ward posted advertisements of the teen on the Internet and rented hotel and motel rooms in Tucker and Marietta for prostitution, he said.

Mr. Ward watched the teen closely, and only left the room when the customers arrived. The 14-year-old gave all her money to Mr. Ward, who also had sex with her.

Mr. Ward pleaded guilty to the charges in September. A judge sentenced him to seven years and nine months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release, Mr. Crosby said. The judge also ordered Mr. Ward to pay restitution to the victims in the amount of $2,600. He was also ordered to perform 150 hours of community service.   

“In combating the child prostitution industry, the FBI‘s main objectives are to go after those that exploit these children as well as the recovery of those children being exploited,” Special Agent in Charge Mr. Brian D. Lamkin said. “We have accomplished both of those objectives in this case and feel that whenever we can take an individual like Dmarcus Ward off of the streets, we have made progress in our efforts to protect our children from those who would subject them to such a terrible form of human trafficking.”

Continue reading on Man gets seven years for the sex trafficking of two minor girls – Atlanta Crime |

Indian Guestworkers Ask Federal Court To Certify Largest Human Trafficking Civil Suit In U.S. History As Class Action

Workers Lured To U.S. After Hurricane Katrina And Subjected To Abusive Conditions Seek Class Certification

WASHINGTON – February 1 – Lawyers for Indian guestworkers who are suing Signal International, LLC along with its co-conspirators and other entities for human trafficking and racketeering, filed for class certification today to include hundreds of additional Indian guestworkers in the lawsuit. If class status is granted, the lawsuit could be the largest human trafficking case in U.S. history.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Louisiana Justice Institute (LJI) and the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP filed the original proposed class action lawsuit on behalf of the seven individuals, who seek to represent a class of approximately 500 former guestworkers lured to work in the U.S. after Hurricane Katrina and subjected to racial and national origin discrimination, forced labor and other abuse by Signal and its agents and co-Defendants, including labor recruiters Sachin Dewan and Michael Pol and immigration attorney Malvern Burnett. Today’s filing urges the court to certify the class.

Signal, a marine and fabrication company with shipyards in Mississippi, Texas and Alabama, is a subcontractor for several major multi-national companies. After Hurricane Katrina scattered its workforce, Signal retained its co-defendants who used the U.S. government’s guestworker program to import employees to work as welders and pipefitters. Between 2004 and 2006, hundreds of Indian men paid the defendants as much as $20,000 each for travel, visa, recruitment and other fees after they were told it would lead to good jobs and permanent U.S. residency for themselves and their families.

However, when the men arrived at Signal in late 2006 and early 2007, they discovered that they wouldn’t receive the green cards as promised, but rather 10-month guestworker visas. Signal also forced them to pay $1,050 a month to live in overcrowded, unsanitary and racially segregated labor camps where as many as 24 men shared a trailer with only two toilets. When the guestworkers tried to find their own housing, Signal officials told them they would still have the rent deducted from their paychecks. Visitors were not allowed into the camps, which were enclosed by fences. Company employees who stood guard at the camps regularly searched the workers’ belongings. Workers who complained about the conditions they faced were threatened with deportation.

Quotes can be attributed as follows:

Kurian David, a class representative in the lawsuit: “We hope the court will give us all a chance to make our voices heard and to right the wrongs that were done against us. Signal and the other defendants should be held accountable for what they did to so many Indian guestworkers who worked for them, so that others won’t have to go through the same terrible things.”

Murugan Kandhasamy, a class representative in the lawsuit: “I speak on behalf of hundreds of Indian guestworkers subjected to abuse by Signal and its co-conspirators. We came to America for good jobs and opportunity, which we were denied, and now we are asking for justice.”

Daniel Werner, SPLC Deputy Legal Director: “This case illustrates in shocking detail the abuse occurring within the nation’s guestworker program. These workers only wanted the American dream but instead were bound to an abusive employer and forced to endure horrific conditions.”

Chandra Bhatnagar, ACLU Human Rights Program staff attorney: “These courageous men who have been victimized by systemic deficiencies in the U.S. guestworker program and subjected to trafficking and racketeering at the hands of the defendants are seeking to assert their fundamental human rights. We hope the court will certify the class and enable several hundred of their fellow Indian guestworkers to have their day in court.”

Alan Howard of Dewey & LeBoeuf, which has been jointly litigating the case on a pro bono basis: “Class certification is warranted because that is precisely how Defendants treated Plaintiffs, as a class – albeit second-class – group of workers who could be exploited for higher profits.”

Ivy Suriyopas, AALDEF staff attorney: “After being treated as disposable workers, these Indian guestworkers are entitled to seek justice for their wholesale mistreatment. They toiled under a climate of fear and coercion and deserve their day in court.”

The guestworkers‘ attorneys filed the class action human trafficking and racketeering lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in March 2008.

The class action complaint is available online at:… (PDF)

Today’s filing is available at:…


The ACLU conserves America’s original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

JEFF LYTLE: Feb. 6, 2011 … Rodriguez joins blitz on sex-slave trade at Super Bowl

  • Naples Daily News
  • Posted February 5, 2011 at 6:02 p.m.

Before the chest bumps, high fives and hot wings start flying later today, time out.

For a whale of a story.

Someone from Naples is working hard around Dallas, though by game time she might be napping on a couch — provided by a church group.

She will have been up most or all of the night on street corners.

Anna RodriguezAnna Rodriguez

As Anna Rodriguez and the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking that she leads did last year before the Super Bowl in Miami, they were planning to be out there before the big game scouting for children-turned-prostitutes.

Sex slaves.

Rodriguez and the coalition call it “identify and rescue.”

Their aim is to use their insights — actually, profiling skills — to spot underage boys and girls from the United States or elsewhere. Her team gets leads from missing children reports and websites for pictures of kids who will be in town and available. The ads are not particular about spelling and punctuation:

“SUpERBoWL BaBeS ArE N TowN’’; “Come To My Winter Wonderland’’; “Playful BLONDE sure to score a touchdown!’’; “R U ready 2 score a touch down with this dallas super all star!”

Then these grass-roots sleuths turn over their intelligence to the police.

“We have 224 volunteers doing street outreach since Monday,” Rodriguez said by e-mail on Thursday. “We are staying at a ministry home and sleeping on the sofas. The hosting agencies have provided us with meals thanks to the wonderful community members around the area.

“As of last night we have referred nine potential leads to our local law enforcement point of contact.”

Taking action on their own, risking confrontations with pimps, could be dangerous.

She did report one problem that was driving customary street traffic indoors. “The weather is not helping us,” she advised. “We have roads and sidewalks with ice. The temperatures are between 10 and 18 degrees — and windy. It is very cold!”

But, things can and will change. “We just started to see some activity picking up since the airport is now opened,” reported Rodriguez, who founded the coalition only a few years ago — when no one knew what she meant by human trafficking.

“We are expecting activity to pick up tonight when all the Super Bowl parties start.”

It’s ugly.

And you won’t hear or see about it on TV today.

But it’s out there, as confirmed by syndicated columnist/talk-show host Michael Reagan: “There has been a lot of media buzz about the thousands of prostitutes, strippers and pole dancers streaming into the Dallas area for the Super Bowl weekend. But what rarely gets reported is the alarming fact that hiding behind the push-up bras, false eyelashes and stilettos are children, some as young as 12 years of age, who are victims of human sex trafficking.

“Human trafficking is as much a part of Texas as cowboys and oil. The business flourishes because of the state’s geographic location, long stretches of interstate highways, international airports, numerous bus stations, the large shipping industry and its shared border with Mexico. This border is North America’s No. 1 supply site for young children used in sex and labor trafficking. In the last quarter of 2007, 30 percent of the calls received by the National Human Trafficking Hotline were out of Texas and 25 percent of all international victims certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were in Texas.”

Anna Rodriguez is in the right place.

Then again, wherever she is these days tends to be the right place.

The stuff she caught onto first and taught us about is everywhere.

Even the Super Bowl.