BYLINE: States News Service


The following information was released by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida:
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and William J. Maddalena, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, announce today’s sentencing of defendant George Joseph England, 66, of Fort Lauderdale to 30 years in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Jose A. Gonzalez. England was convicted on January 5, 2011, after trial, on three counts of enticement of a minor and two counts of transportation of a minor from Asia to California in 1974 and from California to Florida in 1977 for the purpose of having the minor engage in sexual acts.
According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, England met the victim in Vietnam in the early 1970’s when the victim was approximately four years old. Soon thereafter, England traveled with the victim to Thailand and India, where they lived for approximately two years. While there, England sexually assaulted the victim repeatedly. He also taught her to never trust the police and warned her that without him she would be forced into a life of prostitution.
According to evidence presented at trial, in or around 1974, England transported the victim to Costa Mesa, California, where they lived for the next three years. While in California, England continued to sexually assault the victim. England also encouraged the victim to invite her friends to spend the night in their motor home. England mounted a Plexiglas box with a hidden camera in the bathroom of the motor home so that he could watch the victim and her friends. He also took nude photos of the young girls.
On October 20, 1977, England was convicted by a California jury of molesting three of the victim’s friends, ages nine to ten years old. After the verdict, England fled to northern California with the then 10-year old victim. While in northern California, England obtained the birth certificate of a child named Steven Arthur Seagoe who had died soon after childbirth. England then assumed Seagoe’s identity. England also gave the victim a new name before boarding a bus bound for Ft. Lauderdale. An arrest warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to appear for sentencing in the California case.
According to evidence presented during the trial, soon after arriving in Ft. Lauderdale, England continued to sexually assault the victim almost daily. In 1980, the victim became pregnant at that age of 13. She gave birth to child in September of 1981. DNA tests confirmed that England is the biological father of that child. The defendant impregnated the victim several more times over the course of the next 4 years. The defendant instructed the victim to terminate each pregnancy. According to the victim, the last abortion occurred in 1986 when she was 18 years old. Soon thereafter, the victim warned England that she would kill herself if he did not stop molesting her. The victim moved out of England’s residence when she got married in 1988. She terminated all contact with him in 1994.
According to evidence presented during the trial, in 2004, the victim disclosed the abuse to the FBI and provided information on England’s alias to assist law enforcement in arresting him on the outstanding California arrest warrant from 1977. On May 18, 2005, agents from the Diplomatic Security Service and Department of Homeland Security arrested England at his home in Ft. Lauderdale. He was charged with having obtained a passport in his false name. In July 2005, England pled guilty to passport fraud. He was later sentenced to 14 months’ imprisonment.
After serving the passport fraud sentence, England was extradited to California and sentenced to three consecutive terms of three years to life imprisonment on the 1977 child molestation case from which he had fled to Ft. Lauderdale. After serving almost four years of that sentence, he was scheduled to be released from jail in California on March 12, 2010. Prior to his release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida filed a complaint charging England with offenses related to his enticement and transportation of the victim.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Diplomatic Security Service and Department of Homeland Security. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Dispoto and Corey Steinberg.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on

ICCR Calls on Apparel, Retail Companies to Stop Human Trafficking

Found this great article regarding labor trafficking. This is something that we all can come together and fight against. Many people disregard labor trafficking because they feel that labor trafficking victims do not suffer since all they do is work and not get paid. However, people tend to forget that many labor trafficking victims are victims of sexual violence on top of everything else that they are subjected to. It’s time for us to take a stand against companies who use slave labor to make the products that we as consumers purchase on a daily basis.

Remember, this country was built on slave labor and we continue to benefit from slave labor.


Today a coalition of institutional investors from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) are sending a statement to 25 target companies asking them to make eradicating human trafficking and modern day slavery in their supply chains a top priority.

According to the UN Palermo Protocol of 2000, human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring and/or receipt of a person for the exploitative purposes of prostitution, forced labor, slavery or servitude.
It is estimated that every year over 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders for the purpose of enforced labor while millions more are enslaved within their own countries. As traffickers target economically vulnerable populations, women and children are especially susceptible to this crime.
Kathleen Coll, administrator of shareholder advocacy for Catholic Health East says, “As people of faith we are focusing on human trafficking in the supply chain as a matter of social justice. But as investors, we evaluate the companies in our portfolio in terms of their ability to adequately assess and manage risk.”
Citing recent legislation mandating increased supply chain disclosure (the California Transparency in Supply Chain Act) and the Conflict Minerals Special Disclosure Provision of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act, the statement requests that companies voluntarily develop human rights programs that will preemptively address what they will inevitably be required to do by law.
Lauren Compere of Boston Common Asset Management says, “We view comprehensive supply chain assessments as essential measures of sound governance to protect the brand and, consequently, our investments. When companies move proactively to put adequate safeguards against human rights risks in place, investors and consumers are reassured that management will be prepared to respond, should the occasion arise.”
The statement will be sent to high profile companies across the apparel, griculture, food and beverage, travel and tourism, technology, and retail sectors. A series of recommended steps are outlined in the statement including specialized training programs for employees, vendors and contractors and explicit clauses in contracts with all suppliers and host governments in the supply chain to ensure conduct consistent with human rights standards.

Beyond individual company action, investors also call on companies to partner with other industry leaders and non-governmental organizations in multi-stakeholder initiatives and public-private partnerships that are actively confronting this issue.

Rev. David Schilling, ICCR’s program director for human rights and resources, says, “It’s next to impossible to completely eradicate the exposure to human rights violations from multi-linked supply chains, but the best companies understand that it’s better to confront this issue head-on. They actively look for and report on these violations everyday and have strong remediation policies in place to address them…and that’s what sets them apart from their competitors.”

Sarasota women accused of selling girl for sex

Sarasota women accused of selling girl for sex

Staff Report

Published: Monday, May 2, 2011 at 2:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 2, 2011 at 2:41 p.m.

SARASOTA – Two Sarasota women face multiple charges for reportedly having sex with a 17-year-old girl and for arranging for men to have sex with her for money.

Victoria E. Williams
Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

Jennifer Williams
Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

Victoria E. Williams, 27, of the 2100 block of Lemon Avenue, is charged with procuring a child for prostitution, deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution, sex trafficking, sexual battery, cruelty toward a child and unlawful sex with a minor.

As of Monday, Williams remained in the Sarasota County jail in lieu of $350,000 bail.

Jennifer Williams, 29, of the 2400 block of Lemon Avenue, is charged with procuring a child for prostitution, deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution, sex trafficking, sexual performance by a child and unlawful sex with a minor.

She remained in jail in lieu of $175,000 bail.

Sarasota Police say the victim told them that she engaged in sexual activity with both suspects at Jennifer Williams’ home twice last month.

The victim also said the suspects arranged for her to have sex with men twice, once in exchange for $40 and then later for $60, detectives reported.

 All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Allegations of child sex-trafficking imperil diplomatic immunity

Most of the information that we have regarding the issue of human trafficking revolves around the commercial sex industry. You will see that the majority of the cases, news stories and attention is focused on sex trafficking. It’s great to see that so many people are speaking about sex trafficking and understanding what the issue is truly all about. However, the majority of the people who have been educated on human trafficking tend to forget that there are other aspects of this human rights violation.

The issue that tends to be forgotten the most is the issue of Domestic Servitude. Domestic Servitude, granted are some of the hardest cases to find, it is an issue that is rarely spoken about. Domestic servitude cases involve women and children that are brought into the US to work as maids and nannies. What most people do not realize is that fact that many of them of phsyically, mentally and sexually abused. The article that I have posted below is wonderful as it delves into the issue of domestiv sevitude. It also focuses on the issue that many of the people who bring in domestic workers have immunity. So if any of these workers are abused, there is nothing that can be done to the abuser.

Please read this article and share your thoughts with us.

Are diplomats getting away with human trafficking?

Sunday, May 01, 2011

By Traver Riggins

Four women claim in a civil lawsuit that a high-ranking Qatari diplomat in the United States, and his family, forced them to work around the clock for little pay while enduring emotional abuse and — according to one woman — sexual assault.

The human trafficking lawsuit was filed March 25 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., against Essa Mohamed Al Mannai, Qatar’s second-highest ranking diplomat in the United States. The case has reopened debate over a problem that has vexed U.S. government agencies charged with making sure foreign officials, who enjoy the cover of diplomatic immunity, still obey U.S. laws and labor standards.

The lawsuit has also renewed criticism of the U.S. State Department, accused by human rights activists of not doing enough to address persistent complaints of abuse by visiting foreign officials.

Each year, about 3,500 visas are issued to domestic workers employed by diplomats and officials at international organizations like the World Bank. Between 2000 and 2008, 42 cases of alleged abuse of these laborers were discovered by the federal Government Accountability Office,which surveyed several agencies and non-governmental organizations. The 2008  report, titled “U.S. Government’s Efforts to Address Alleged Abuse of Household Workers by Foreign Diplomats with Immunity Could Be Strengthened,” outlined factors that complicate investigations of abuse allegations — with diplomatic immunity at the forefront. Recommendations in the report to were directed to the Departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security.

The State Department “is ultimately stuck in a situation where they have to support diplomatic immunity because they want reciprocity” for U.S. diplomats in other countries, said Janie Chuang, a professor at the Washington College of Law at American University.

In response to the GAO findings, Congress beefed up the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, giving the State Department improved tools against trafficking while avoiding the dilemma of diplomatic immunity. That act allows the State Department to block visas to domestic workers seeking employment by diplomats from countries or international organizations with histories of abuse. A State Department spokesperson said the agency has taken some steps to address the problem, but refused to elaborate.

“The State Department could be doing more,” Chuang said in an interview with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

In 2010 Chuang published a law review  article, “Achieving Accountability for Migrant Domestic Worker Abuse,” which questioned the State Department’s handling of accusations of human trafficking against diplomats.

“In addition to its failure to provide remedies, the State Department inexplicably has refused to utilize even the powers it already possesses to hold diplomats accountable for trafficking abuses,” Chuang wrote.

Embarrassing Rogue Diplomats

The apparent lack of tougher action against alleged human trafficking by diplomats also calls into question recent claims by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the U.S. doesn’t tolerate rights abuses by visiting officials.

“Whether they’re diplomats or national emissaries of whatever kind, we all must be accountable for the treatment of the people that we employ,” Clinton said on February 1, in an address to the Interagency Taskforce to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Diplomatic Immunity, granted by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to protect foreign officials and ease their work abroad, makes it nearly impossible to hold accountable allegedly abusive diplomats. The lawsuit against Qatar’s Essa Al Mannai may be thrown out because of that immunity.

The lawsuit by Al Mannai’s domestic employees marks the second round of legal trouble in less than a year for the Qatari diplomatic team in Washington: In April 2010, Qatari diplomat Mohamed Yaaqob Al Madadi attempted to smoke a cigarette in an airplane lavatory during flight. When he was approached by air marshals, he allegedly joked that he was lighting his shoes on fire. In the end, two fighter jets were dispatched to accompany the United Airlines flight until it landed in Denver.

Al Madadi returned to Qatar the next day, amid State Department threats to place a  “persona non grata” label on Al Madadi. That tag is one way U.S. officials have handled rogue diplomats. It requires a troublesome diplomat to leave the country, or else lose diplomatic immunity.

 “At the end the day, all we have is the potential of embarrassing the diplomat or the diplomat’s country,” Chuang said.

The State Department this week declined to say how many — and why — foreign diplomats have been pushed out of the country.

In another case, the Lebanese ambassador in Washington on Tuesday successfully invoked  diplomatic immunity  against charges of labor abuse brought last year by his former housekeeper.

The State Department each year submits a report to Congress on court cases that involve diplomatic immunity. It refused to provide those reports to ICIJ. However, the 2008 GAO report cites one case in which the State Department asked a country to waive the immunity of a diplomat’s wife so she could be prosecuted. The diplomat’s home country refused the request, and the couple left the U.S.

For some time the State Department has issued a yearly Trafficking in Persons report, which it touts as “the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts.” The report ranks countries in tiers. Tier 1 holds countries working hardest to combat human trafficking; Tier 3 the negligent governments. Qatar has been in Tier 2 for the last two years. In 2008 it was in Tier 3.

Just One Example

Now a new controversy over human trafficking by foreign diplomats centers on an alleged pattern of actions by Mohamed Al Mannai’s family in Qatar and in the Washington, D.C., area. (The family lived in a $1 million, six-bedroom home in Vienna, Va., a 30-minute drive from the Qatar embassy on M Street in downtown Washington.)

In Qatar, Al Mannai’s mother and brother “recruited the women from their home countries [the Philippines and Indonesia] using Qatar-based labor-brokering agencies,” according to the complaint. When the women arrived in in Qatar, the Al Mannai family allegedly “arranged for fraudulent visas at the U.S. Embassy, made travel arrangements, and sent the women to the United

In their contracts, the women were promised $7.25 an hour for 40-hour work weeks in the United States. They ended up making as little as 55-cents an hour for being on duty “around the clock,” according to the complaint.

What started out as an enticing deal for the women — who, the complaint said, “bore significant responsibility to provide financial support to their children, husbands, parents and/or extended families” back home — became a workplace nightmare. They claim they were made responsible for every detail of the household operation, while facing verbal, emotional and even sexual abuse. One woman, “the house keeper,” cooked, cared for three of the family’s children and cleaned the almost 5,000 square foot home. The other woman, “the nanny,” was allegedly required to always be with a fourth and seriously ill child, performing medical procedures, sleeping with the child – or on the child’s bedroom floor at night – and then staying with the child in a Georgetown University hospital room for “months at a time.”

“The nanny was not permitted to leave the hospital ward for any reason,” according to the complaint. “Defendant Essa Al Mannai called the telephone next to the hospital bed periodically to make sure that the nanny was at her post.”

Essa Al Mannai’s wife allegedly berated the women with profanities and allowed her children to repeat the taunts. The couple told the women that the United States was a “dangerous country” and that they would be harmed if they left the family, according to the complaint.

In the complaint, lawyers for the women also claim the employees feared the abuse would escalate – including the fears of one woman who alleged that Essa Al Mannai had sexually assaulted her.

Finally, with the help of two unidentified “Good Samaritans,” according to the complaint, the four women fled the residence in the dark of night, two of them through a window in June 2010 and the other two through a basement door in December 2010.

The plaintiffs are represented pro bono by the Jenner & Block law firm. Lawyers there declined comment for this story.

The Embassy of Qatar did not return requests for an interview. As of publication, the defendants have no attorney registered with the court, and no response has yet been filed. No hearings or appearances have been scheduled.

The State Department’s calling out some countries over alleged abuses shows “that bringing servants into the U.S. and abusing them is not going to be tolerated,” said Christopher Burgess, a human rights activist and blogger.

 To centralize cases and work with victims, Clinton established an anti-trafficking unit in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. That office did not respond to a request for interview.

In her February address on the problem, Clinton said: “We will also begin an annual briefing for visiting diplomats and their domestic workers as part of an ongoing effort … to protect domestic workers brought here by diplomats and raise awareness within the diplomatic community.”

Traver Riggins writes for from where this article is adapted.

Sex Trafficking Sad Reality in Cobb, Metro Atlanta

Commercial sexual exploitation of children in our back yard is akin to modern-day slavery.

By Erin Levin | Email the author | May 2, 2011

The facts about sex trafficking are beyond startling. They are eye-opening, gut-wrenching and heart-breaking.

Let’s start with the big picture and context of modern-day slavery.

A slave in Atlanta in 1850 cost around the equivalent of $40,000 today; now, the average price for a slave is $90. 

Understanding the Problem

Millions of people all over the world are bought and sold as slaves every day.

There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today. The worldwide sex trade is currently exploiting one million children. The total yearly profit of this black-market trade in human beings is $32 billion. Sex trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the 21stcentury. Our country has a war on drugs. What about these innocent little girls?

The U.S. State Department estimates that 244,000 American children and youth are at risk of sexual exploitation. The average age of children exploited is 14; however, children as young as 10 and 11 have been reported as victims.

This Is Personal

I am an abolitionist of the modern slave trade of little children in our region. In Atlanta, approximately 400 young children are bought and sold for sex each month. An estimated 7,200 men pay for sex with adolescent girls each month in our state.

A study by the Atlanta Mayor’s Office found that “there is a strong spatial correlation between areas of adult prostitution activities and juvenile prostitution-related activities.”

The report said sex trafficking is a major issue in several areas in metro Atlanta including Metropolitan Parkway, Moreland Avenue, Vine Street, Peachtree and North Avenue and Pharr Road. And the crime isn’t limited to the inner parts of Atlanta but stretches into Marietta and Cobb County as well.

“I have an interest in working these cases because these children have been unfairly labeled and cases are not being investigated,” says Cobb County Crimes Against Children Detective Carol Largent.

In short, child sex slavery is actively happening in our back yard!

Surprising Stats

Where is the problem and who actually purchases sex from minors?

The Schapiro Group is a data‐driven strategic consulting firm based in Atlanta. They produced a study that shows the largest group of men who purchase sex with young females is found in the north metro Atlanta area, outside I-285 (42 percent). It also shows that 23 percent of buyers are from the south metro area, 26 percent are in the city’s core and only 9 percent come from the airport area.

Child sex trafficking is just as huge a problem for affluent families in Marietta as it is in the inner city of Atlanta.

Common Causes

Any young girl is at risk for being enslaved for sex. Factors such as childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence at home, poverty and running away lead to a much greater threat.

An estimated 1.6 million children run away from home each year in the United States. The average time it takes before a trafficker or a solicitor approaches a runaway is only 48 hours.

And 90 percent of runaway girls in Atlanta become part of the city’s sex trade, and 70 to 90 percent of commercially sexually exploited children have a history of childhood sexual abuse.

Girls are lured in by recruiters and pimps; other children are also used as recruiters. At times, a girl’s own family may be the sellers.

One Girl’s Story

At the age of 6, Sarah’s brother’s best friend sexually molested her.  She never told anyone. When she was in her teens, her brother was killed in a car accident. This tore her family apart, and her parents divorced. Sarah (her name has been changed to protect her identity) went to live with her mother, and her father quickly remarried. He then had another child. She felt rejected by him.

Sarah’s mother was accustomed to the wealthier lifestyle she previously had, but was now living jobless in a trailer in the suburbs of Atlanta. Due to Sarah acting out as a young teen, she ended up with a probation officer. He would stop by the house and eventually started fixing things Sarah’s mother needed done and ended up eating dinner with them. One night, her mother told Sarah that her probation officer had been kind to them and that Sarah needed to repay him. Then her mother left them alone, and he took advantage of her. This happened several times. He had a family. Sarah was only 15 years old.

This opened the door to Sarah’s mother commercially sexually exploiting her as a teenager. She set up clients who would visit them at their home. These clients were typically CEOs, presidents, directors and managers of many successful Atlanta companies. Many were violent, some would beat her, and others burned her with cigarettes.

At 19, Sarah had a son by a high school boyfriend. After the birth of her son, her mother kept the baby while Sarah started dancing at clubs. She could make $800 a night. Sarah tried holding down “normal” jobs, but her mother pressured her into dancing and often threatened to take her son away if she ever quit. Sarah danced for more than nine years. She also did drugs and drank to cope. Eventually, Sarah realized that the environment for her son was horrible and sent him to live with his father while she moved out of her mother’s home.

Just four months ago, a lady in whow Sarah had confided gave her the book A League of Dangerous Women. Sarah read it and was so moved by the fact that there were other women who had backgrounds just like hers. She called Wellspring Living, the subject organization in the book, and a few days later was in its assessment center. 

Sarah is now in the Wellspring Living program and doing well. She has told her story to her son, now 19, and to her father. Both were completely unaware of the things that went on. They are all in family therapy and working on reunification. Sarah has little contact with her mother.

A Glimpse of Hope

Based on seven years of experience with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, Wellspring Living was approached by several leaders in 2007 to address the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Georgia. In 2008 they formed a partnership to provide a place for education, therapy and a safe refuge to the young victims.

Through their phased approach in therapy and education, the girls progress at their own rate, and they become prepared to reintegrate into society as successful citizens. The curriculum is very individualized. To date, 45 girls have been through the program. Nine now have their high school diplomas, one is in college, three are in tech school, and the others are on grade level back in school. Only two of the girls are back in a dangerous lifestyle. People across the nation are looking toward Wellspring as a model to create similar programs in their communities. Wellspring founder and director Mary Frances Bowley says: “We look at the whole person and what’s best for her. That approach has proven a huge successful impact.”

With only 14 beds for victims of CSEC, Wellspring is one of the largest treatment facilities and the only comprehensive care center in the country. The greatest struggle is the desire to do more and to help more of the at least 200 girls currently in need in Georgia; however, Wellspring is privately funded and doesn’t have the financial capacity to grow right now.

“I think we’re all responsible for our community, and if there’s someone hurting and oppressed, that’s a part of what we’re created to do–to be a part of restoration. These girls are just little girls who have not had the chance to be a little girl. We just want to be able to provide the opportunity for young girls and women who want their life to be different. We’re excited about it. We see something that’s really working. We believe this model is from God,” Bowley says.

What are your thoughts about sex trafficking in Cobb County? Tell us in the comments.