Block human trafficking bill would spare victims trauma and speed prosecution

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SACRAMENTO – Senator Marty Block (SD-39) recently introduced legislation, SB 939, which would streamline prosecution of human trafficking charges and help victims avoid the trauma of testifying in multiple jurisdictions against their traffickers.

 

SB 939 would permit the consolidation of serial human trafficking, pimping, and pandering charges into a single trial if all the involved jurisdictions agree. Frequently, victims are taken to multiple cities and counties for labor and commercial sex exploitation. Prosecution involves trials in each of the multiple locations where the crimes occurred. Current law allows for the consolidation of other serial sexual offenses occurring in multiple jurisdictions.

 

“Human trafficking is among the most despicable and odious of crimes because traffickers treat victims as property to be used and sold,” Block said. “SB 939 will save money for our court system and will eliminate the need for victims, witnesses, and defendants to travel to multiple counties to testify in court proceedings. Currently, victims must travel to each jurisdiction where the crimes occurred and testify multiple times in front of their traffickers. Multiple trials only repeat the trauma.”

 

While in the Assembly, Block successfully authored a measure to help stem human trafficking,  AB 2212, which allows local law enforcement to shut down sites engaged in human trafficking as a per se nuisance. It also allows financial penalties to be levied against the property owners of the sites to help fund programs for victims. Last year, he introduced SB 473 which would add human trafficking to the list of crimes used to define a criminal street gang under the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act to ensure that the prosecution and punishment of gang members exploiting human lives is comparable to the prosecution of gang members engaged in robbery and narcotic sales.

 

SB 939 is co-sponsored by the District Attorneys of Riverside, San Diego, Alameda and Orange Counties.

 

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The Executive Director Marisa Ugarte would like to Thank all our law enforcement across America

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From The Executive Director Marisa Ugarte

214_Marisa_Ugarte

Washington, D.C. July 29, 2013

  • FBI National Press Office(202) 324-3691

During the past 72 hours, the FBI; its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners; and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) conducted Operation Cross Country VII, a three-day enforcement action to address commercial child sex trafficking throughout the United States. The operation included enforcement actions in 76 cities across 47 FBI divisions nationwide and led to the recovery of 105 children who were being victimized through prostitution. Additionally, 150 pimps were arrested on state and federal charges.

“Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere, and the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable.”

Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and NCMEC, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.

“Operation Cross Country demonstrates just how many of America’s children are being sold for sex every day, many on the Internet,” said John Ryan, CEO of NCMEC. “We’re honored and proud to partner with the FBI, which has taken the lead in tackling this escalating problem.”

To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 2,700 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 1,350 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 10 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.

Task force operations usually begin as local enforcement actions that target truck stops, casinos, street “tracks,” and websites that advertise dating or escort services, based on intelligence gathered by officers working in their respective jurisdictions. Initial arrests are often violations of local and state laws relating to prostitution or solicitation. Information gleaned from those arrested frequently uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states. FBI agents further develop this evidence in partnership with U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section so that prosecutors can help bring federal charges in those cities where child prostitution occurs.

The Innocence Lost National Initiative brings state and federal law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and social service providers from across the country to NCMEC for training.

The FBI thanks the its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners representing more than 230 separate agencies who participated in Operation Cross Country VII and their ongoing enforcement efforts.

The following list denotes FBI divisions, not necessarily actual cities, where juveniles were recovered and pimps were arrested.

FBI Division

Juveniles Recovered

Pimps Arrested

Atlanta

2

8

Baltimore

0

3

Birmingham

3

2

Boston

3

0

Charlotte

1

3

Chicago

2

1

Cincinnati

0

2

Cleveland

1

1

Columbia

1

1

Dallas

1

1

Denver

9

6

Detroit

10

18

El Paso

0

2

Houston

3

0

Jackson

1

10

Jacksonville

0

1

Kansas City

1

1

Knoxville

0

7

Las Vegas

2

1

Los Angeles

2

3

Louisville

0

3

Memphis

3

2

Miami

0

4

Milwaukee

10

0

Minneapolis

1

4

Newark

0

5

New Haven

5

1

New Orleans

6

6

New York City

0

0

Oklahoma City

3

13

Omaha

0

1

Philadelphia

2

0

Phoenix

2

0

Pittsburgh

0

2

Portland

3

4

Sacramento

2

2

St. Louis

2

0

Salt Lake City

0

0

San Antonio

1

4

San Diego

5

6

San Francisco

12

17

Seattle

3

3

Springfield

0

2

Tampa

3

0

Washington, D.C.

0

0

Total

105

150

 


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The STAR NEWS A Local News Paper

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Shop specializes in resale for the greater good/ By;Robert Moreno | Sat, Jul 13 2013 12:00 PM

A new thrift shop has opened in National City, but the new 8,000-square-foot second-hand store isn’t like any other.

The mission of The Journey Thrift Store, “Helping Victims Rise,” is to help those who are victims of human trafficking.

“All proceeds of this store go to help victims of human trafficking,” Marisa Ugarte, executive director of the thrift store, said.

Ugarte, director of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC), said she just doesn’t want customers to come in and shop; she wants them to be educated about the exploitation of human trafficking.

“Half of fighting human trafficking is being aware that it exists,” she said.

The Journey Thrift Store is the first thrift shop of its kind, with a human trafficking library equipped with books, videos and pamphlets. Because of the abundant amounts of material, the library located at the back of the store is still a work in progress.

“The more the community finds out what we’re doing, the more they are informed, which is important,” Ugarte said.
Ugarte said National City is a hotbed for human trafficking and prostitution.

The human trafficking activist mainly blames this on the military’s presence on the Main Street side of National City, saying that the military “are not strong enough in enforcing their (criminal) codes.”

She also said military personnel are the ones who are mostly known to solicit a prostitute on the Main Street side of town.

Main Street in National City, along with El Cajon Boulevard, ranks among the worst prostitution spots in San Diego County, Ugarte said.

An all-volunteer staff operates the store.

Some volunteers are victims of human trafficking, others are students from the Sweetwater Unified School District who need community service hours fulfilled for graduation, and local organizations such as the Easter Seals — an organization that assists people with disabilities and special needs — are frequent volunteers.

The shop also gets court ordered volunteers for people who need community service hours.

Having victims working in the store is all part of the healing and recovery process.

“We don’t believe in in-house services because we believe that our victims should begin to integrate themselves into the community,” Ugarte said.

As volunteers, victims learn the skills of running a business, giving them a foundation to move forward with in their recovery.

Ugarte’s organization, the BSCC, also sends these victims to school and, for many, English classes.

Ugarte said many of the volunteers and victims come from different parts of the globe and don’t know English.

Working at the thrift shop is not a requirement, but an option.

The thrift shop also provides a place for victims to get clothes and other items they may need.

Ugarte has been fighting human trafficking in the United States since 1997 when she founded the BSCC, an organization aimed at ending human trafficking in the Americas.

Her fight against human trafficking though started long before she got to the states.

“Since I was very young, in Mexico City, I started seeing the exploitation of children for sex with big honchos and big politicians, so I decided to do something about it,” she said.

Eastlake Church has been one of the biggest supporters of the thrift shop. She said without their support the thrift shop probably wouldn’t be around today.

Eastlake Church was amazed with the job Ugarte had done with the BCSS that they wanted to help in any way they could.

“A few years ago we felt compelled to get involved addressing the issue of human trafficking,” Kevin McPeak, associate pastor of Eastlake Church, said. “It is tough finding organizations that are specializing and doing effective work. We were so impressed by the BCSS and how effective the BCSS was.”

The store is named The Journey Thrift Store because it is a journey to recovery.

“(The name) comes from the long journey of victims,” Ugarte said. “It is a whole journey to survive and rise up.”

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THE HISTORY OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING SHELTERS IN SAN DIEGO, CA.

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Who is who?

In 1997 when I became aware of Human trafficking is San Diego until 2004 No shelters were in existence. The Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, thorough ad Office of Victims Grant was able to open the first shelter in California through a partnership with Crisis House, This shelter gave us the ability to help men and women victims. This shelter provided services to our first 5 male victims.
In 2005 The Marist Missionary sisters opened The a safe house in San Diego County Mary’s Place The Sisters in collaboration with BSCC have hosted 50 victims to date . Though run by a religious order the house caters to all victims needs form food to spiritual individual needs in it there have been
women who are Buddhist, Muslim Greek Orthodox, and Catholic etc. We believe in serving women individually and the respect for each individual needs and preferences.
In March 2010 The Salvatoran religious Order opened a safe House in North County with the same goals as Mary’s place in South Bay to service.
At the end of 2010 The faith based organization Generate Hope opened its doors to service victims of sexual exploitation, all of the shelters mentioned have programs lasting months up to 3 to seven years .
In 2012 BSCC saw a need to open an emergency response Our partner Eastlake Church made that dream possible for us. Now we have a 24 seven facility with 4 beds that can help men, women and children when it’s most needed

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A WORD FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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wanted our friends  to know where your help can go  when you donate to BSCC, to us it important that you get to know every thing that we provide for our guests ,

  1. Victim services  Phones , bus passes  underwear pajamas  (new) School enrollment, books, medical emergencies,  medicines , court accompaniment, transportation,interpreters, legal services , housing,
  2. Protection Emergency Shelter : Food cards ,cleaning materials , bedding, hotel vouchers  when needed ,(men) and when no beds are available
  3. Education:  Prevention fliers , emergency  cards, printed referrals for clients,  informative DVDS, brochures,
  4.  Supporting Services: Much needed funding for supporting services : emergency phone, volunteer stipends to pay for their millage, electricity  it is important for you to understand that in order to provide the services we need the staff to do it,because of economic times our funding I has been reduced  any contribution is welcome. BSCC will provide you with an update of you donated funds, remember every little bit helps our cause.
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