Human Traffickers Exploit US Visa System To Smuggle Victims

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Human traffickers predominantly use work and fiance visas to legally smuggle their victims into the United States, an audit conducted by the Department of Homeland Security inspector general (IG) found.

About half of the 32 known human trafficking cases identified by the IG involved the use of work or fiance visas to smuggle victims into the country. These victims were then subjected to forced servitude.

The IG also found 274 people investigate used family reunification visas to bring 425 relatives or visas into the country, some or all of which may be victims.

The IG found these cases by matching a database of human traffickers compiled by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is responsible for investigating human trafficking in conjunction with local law enforcement, against data collected by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which processes special visa requests from human trafficking victims.

Human traffickers lured victims into the country in many cases by promising them lucrative work opportunities or marriage. Then, traffickers confiscated their passports, or otherwise threatened them into forced servitude. Others were smuggled into the country illegally, and their status was used against them.

The IG also found that from 2005 to 2014, about 3 percent of the more than 10,500 subjects of ICE human trafficking investigations petitioned the government for family reunification visas, and successfully brought hundreds of people into the country. Some of those cases are ongoing, so it’s unclear exactly how many of the 274 petitioners were actually human traffickers. But ICE data showed 18 people had been arrested for trafficking-related crimes, often for the sex trafficking of children.

Victims of human trafficking can apply for a special visa granting them temporary immigration benefits in a process handled by USCIS. The IG found victims often reported names or other identifying aspects of the human trafficking perpetrators, but USCIS did not always store the names or regularly share them with ICE, according to the report.

“Our review of USCIS case files identified instances where children who were sold, brought to the United States, and forced into involuntary servitude named the perpetrator as well as other potential victims in their T visa application,” the report said. “Although this information was extremely important, it was not captured in the USCIS database.”
The IG also found ICE did not adequately share information with USCIS, and is using an antiquated database system that inadequately gathers information.

“When ICE employees identified a human trafficker, they didn’t always advise USCIS regarding the victims they identified,” the report said. “ICE had to extensively manipulate its system to provide us with reasonably reliable data for our data matching and analysis.”

The IG recommended USCIS begin collecting all names and identifying information of human traffickers found in victims’ statements, and implement a procedure for sharing that data with ICE. The IG also recommended ICE in turn provide USCIS with available information on alleged human traffickers.

“Without concerted DHS efforts to collect and share information, the risk exists that some human traffickers may remain unidentified and free to abuse other individuals,” the report concluded.

The Daily Caller By: Reporter Rachel Stoltzfoos

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BSCC PSA’s If you only knew & Now that you know!

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PLEASE JUST COPY AND PASTE THE LINK IF IT DOES NOT SHOW UP IN YOUR WEB BROWSER THANK YOU… BSCC EDITOR

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President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts HUMAN TRAFFICKING

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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Evelyn Chumbow, Appointee for Member, United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

    Evelyn Chumbow is a student at University of Maryland University College.  She is also a Human Resources intern at Baker & McKenzie LLP, a position she has held since January 2015.  Since 2014, Ms. Chumbow has been an advocate with the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking.  Ms. Chumbow worked as a lab specimen collector from 2014 to 2015, a security guard from 2011 to 2013, and a rental car service agent from 2010 to 2011.

    Harold d’Souza, Appointee for Member, United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

    Harold d’Souza is a Senior Supply Chain Associate for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, a position he has held since 2008.  He is also a founding member of the National Survivor Network and is active with End Slavery Cincinnati.  Earlier in his career, Mr. d’Souza served as a Sales Manager in India.  Mr. d’Souza received an L.L.B. and M.Com. from Maharaja Sayajirao University in Vadodara, India.

    Minh Dang, Appointee for Member, United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

    Minh Dang is a Team Manager at Linde Group, Inc., a position she has held since 2014.  Ms. Dang has also served as an independent consultant, providing training and technical assistance to nonprofits serving victims of child abuse and human trafficking since 2010.  She worked at the University of California, Berkeley Public Service Center as a Program Coordinator and Program Manager from 2005 to 2011.  Ms. Dang received a B.A. and M.S.W. from the University of California, Berkeley.

    Tina Frundt, Appointee for Member, United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

    Tina Frundt is Executive Director of Courtney’s House, an organization she founded in 2008 to provide services for domestic sex-trafficked youth.  Ms. Frundt held various positions at the Polaris Project, including serving as Director of Outreach from 2006 to 2007, Street Outreach Coordinator from 2005 to 2006, and Street Outreach Specialist from 2004 to 2005.  Ms. Frundt trains law enforcement and other non-profit groups to rescue and provide resources to victims, and is a member of the Washington, D.C., State of Maryland and Prince Georges County Anti-Trafficking Task Forces.  She was also appointed by the Governor of Maryland to the Safe Harbor working group.

    Ima Matul Maisaroh, Appointee for Member, United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

    Ima Matul Maisaroh is Survivor Coordinator at the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST), a position she has held since October 2015.  Prior to that, she was Survivor Organizer at CAST from 2012 to 2015.  Prior to joining CAST in 2012, Ms. Matul Maisaroh worked as a file clerk and office administrator at Vanlochem and Associates from 2008 to 2012.

    Ronny Marty, Appointee for Member, United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

    Ronny Marty is Executive Housekeeper at the Hilton Marco Island Hotel, a position he has held since 2010.  From 1996 to 2007, he worked in the Dominican Republic as a Front Desk Manager at Hotel Hacienda Resorts and Hotel Sun Village Resorts and Spa.  Mr. Marty received a B.A. from the Santiago University of Technology in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

    Florencia Molina, Appointee for Member, United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

    Florencia Molina is a founding member of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) Survivor Leadership Program and a member of the National Survivor Network.  She has advocated for policies to combat human trafficking since 2002 and has worked as a security guard since 2005.

    Bukola Love Oriola, Appointee for Member, United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

    Bukola Love Oriola has served as an independent consultant, speaker, and author on human trafficking issues since 2009.  Ms. Oriola founded The Entian Story in 2013, a non-profit organization which advocates for survivors of human trafficking and domestic abuse.  In 2009, Ms. Oriola published her book Imprisoned: The Travails of a Trafficked Victim and began producing Imprisoned Show.  Ms. Oriola has owned and managed Bukola Braiding and Beauty Supply since 2007.  She was a reporter and researcher for Century Media Limited in Lagos, Nigeria from 2003 to 2005.  Ms. Oriola received an A.S. from The Polytechnic Ibadan, Oyo.

    Suamhirs Piraino-Guzman, Appointee for Member, United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

    Suamhirs Piraino-Guzman is a Pathways Initiative Program Coordinator for Harmonium Inc., a position he has held since 2014.  From 2014 to 2015, Mr. Piraino-Guzman also served as a Center Coordinator for San Diego Youth Services.  Mr. Piraino-Guzman was a Caring Helpers/Youth Leadership Training Coordinator for Mental Health Systems Inc. from 2012 to 2014, a Youth Support Partner for Families Forward from 2013 to 2014, and a Child Care Worker Coordinator for Southwest Key Inc. from 2010 to 2012.

    Sheila White, Appointee for Member, United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

    Sheila White is a Survivor Leadership Coordinator for Girls Education and Mentoring Services (GEMS), an organization supporting young survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.  She has held this position since 2011.  Ms. White has worked at GEMS since 2007, first as a Communication and Development Fellow and then as a Youth Outreach Advocate from 2008 to 2011.

    Shandra Woworuntu, Appointee for Member, United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

    Shandra Woworuntu is a founding Director of Mentari Human Trafficking Survivor Empowerment Program and served as President from December 2014 to December 2015.  She served as Chair of the National Survivor Network’s Speakers Bureau from 2013 to 2015.  Ms. Woworuntu was a Rehabilitation Home Counselor at AHRC New York City, an organization providing support services to disabled children, from 2002 to 2012. Ms. Woworuntu received a B.A. from the Perbanas Institute in Indonesia.

  • The White House
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Conference sheds light on human trafficking

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Between 100,000 and 300,000 young people in the U.S. are at risk for human trafficking each year and the average age of entry is between 12 and 14 years old.

Though statistics regarding human trafficking are relatively new, it is known as a widespread crime affecting children, men and women around the world, said Camila Wright, assistant attorney general in Georgia, at an annual conference held Friday by the Lowcountry Coalition Against Human Trafficking on Hilton Head Island.

Trafficking of children is the most common human trafficking crime in the region, primarily because it is the focus of most law enforcement agencies. But it is a crime that’s not easy to find on the surface, Wright said.

“When you look for trafficking, you find it. When you expend the resources, you find it,” Wright said.

Earlier this month, 23-year-old Kristopher Block of Richland County pleaded guilty to human trafficking of a minor after he was found taking photos of the victim and advertising her for sale on the Internet. It was the third conviction under South Carolina’s 2012 revised human trafficking law, according to the attorney general’s office.

While steps have been taken to make it easier to fight human trafficking, organizations like the Hilton Head-based Lowcountry Coalition Against Human Trafficking are dedicated to the ongoing effort of raising awareness.

Formed in 2010, the coalition includes a network of organizations, including medical groups, law enforcement, nonprofits, media and concerned citizens. Each year, it hosts the conference as one of two large awareness events, in addition to multiple presentations at schools, churches, nonprofits and civic organizations.

About 1.7 million children run away from home each year, about one-third of whom are approached for commercial exploitation, Wright said.

Human trafficking also includes the exploitation of labor and migrant workers.

Wright said the best way for the public and nonprofits to assist the fight is to support law enforcement and provide advocacy, after care and education.

Informed citizens can help incite change. Wright cited a citizen who recently approached the mayor in Savannah to request specialized human trafficking training for officers. Wright’s office was solicited to provide that training.

“Within three weeks they had identified seven cases that were open for investigation,” Wright said.

Participants in Friday’s conference spent the morning learning about trafficking on global, regional and state levels. In the afternoon, they split up into workshops focusing on law enforcement, labor and migrant workers, clergy and the Internet and social media, and participated in a survivor’s panel discussion.

Other speakers included Robert Bilheimer, president of Worldwide Documentaries and director of “Not My Life;” Marie Sazehn, assistant attorney general for South Carolina; and Michael Barker, owner of C4 Group, Inc., a private detective agency.

843-815-0800, Ext. 14 deeanna.wilkerson@blufftontoday.com
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HUMAN TRAFFICKING…MODERN DAY SLAVERY

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It is one of those things people just do not often talk about. I was invited to a luncheon for a women’s group. The speaker, LaNora Purvis introduced the entire assembly in an unforgettable manner to the terror of human trafficking. Her presentation quite frankly horrified me!  Purvis is active in the pursuit of human traffickers with law enforcement assistance; she has found and rescued many trafficked victims. She led us to the girl in this story. Purvis is also founder of Heaven’s Army, a safe home for victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence. It is a place that allows them to heal and try to readjust to mainstream society. She is located in the suburbs of Houston, TX, which is currently one of the two largest hubs for human trafficking in the United States.

“Violence and abuse is a community issue. Parents need to educate themselves and be more involved in their children’s day-to-day activities, social networking, especially. Our society is helping groom our children to become prey! Violence and abuse have become an epidemic that is effecting everyone and in order to prevent this injustice from continuing we must shine a light on it! I’m committed to driving the reality of abuse into the conscience of society. However, effective laws and their uncompromising enforcement play a significant role in preserving freedom for society and its citizens. We all need to be committed to advocating for the formation and implementation of such laws,” said Purvis.

I must admit that she is good to her word, her presentation hit me hard that day.

Now, I am going to do my best to do the same for you. I am going to tell you a true story.

A fourteen-year-old girl, smart, underdeveloped, but pretty in a fourteen-year-old kind of way. We’ll call her Ella for the purpose of our story. Her parents are professionals, both successful and incredibly busy. Ella lives in an upscale neighborhood in the heart of Texas. She has all the latest gadgets and a few good friends but no siblings, no responsibilities, and very little supervision. She begins to assuage her loneliness online in chat rooms. Ella knows it’s dangerous, she has been warned! She knows all the stories (like this one), and is aware that her actions can lead to trouble and eventually that trouble finds her.

She meets her fifteen year old “online lover” (who is in actuality a 40-something year old pedophile who routinely sells to traffickers) at a strip center not too far from her home and her parents do not see her again for seven months. When they find her she is lying in the fetal position, all but naked on a dirty mattress in a filthy warehouse in Houston, TX. She has human bite marks, deep and infected from her waist up, her genitalia are a bloody pulp, as is her face, and she is carrying 49 sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). She has a raging fever, left alone to die. She cannot recall the number of men who have used her. She will never have children, she is in shock and cannot speak, she is addicted to heroin, and very lucky they just walked away, instead of killing her when she was no longer useful to them.

Her young body healed, but her heroin addiction and her broken spirit were more difficult to assess and approach. She trusted no one and lived in a spirit of fear. Her parents were determined to save her, they had never stopped looking for her and were instrumental in finding her. They would not stop seeking resources to help her. Of course, we as Americans are all looking for that “silver bullet,” that instant gratification, instant fix that we have grown to expect as a part of our birthright. There would be no silver bullet for Ella.

As a last resort, her parents enrolled her in a treatment center for survivors of human trafficking and less than a year later, she was gone again. This time Purvis’ company was hired to find her. Ella was gone only 17 days before they found her and required two weeks in the hospital recuperating. There is evidence that points to the treatment center possibly recycling the victims, it is currently under investigation.

The personal and psychological toll on any victim of sexual trafficking is immeasurable. Trafficked victims that have been “broken” are used to recruit “new blood” and over 71% of trafficked children have suicidal tendencies.
How could this happen? The human trafficking industry is more profitable today than the drug trafficking trade. It is far more lucrative. Eighty percent of those sold into sexual slavery are under 24, and some are young, very, very young! Ludwig “Tarzan” Fainberg, a convicted trafficker, said, “You can buy a woman for $10,000 and make your money back in a week if she is pretty and young. Then everything else is profit.”

One reason for the spread of sex trafficking is because in many parts of the world men do not think it is wrong to pay for sex. Prostitution is viewed as a victimless crime. That is just not the case. In Western society in particular, it is believed that women choose to enter into the commercial sex trade. However, the majority are coerced or forced into servitude.

Equality Now says, “A holistic and comprehensive strategy is needed to combat sex trafficking effectively. Demand fuels sex trafficking and the commercial sex industry. Holding “buyers” of commercial sex accountable reduces sex trafficking. Sweden, Norway, and Iceland have effectively addressed the demand for commercial sex and sex trafficking by decriminalizing prostituted persons, and criminalizing those who purchase sex. As a result, street prostitution and sex trafficking have decreased.”

Countries that neglect to focus on the demand that fuels sex trafficking, or have legalized the commercial sex industry, have witnessed increased prostitution and greater numbers of trafficked women and girls to fulfill an influx of international sex tourists as well as increased demand locally.

It is widely known that sex traffickers often train the helpless girls themselves, breaking them for profit. They rape them, beat them, and teach them sex acts. A human trafficker can earn 20 times what he or she paid for a girl. Provided the girl was not physically brutalized to the point of ruining her beauty, the pimp once he has made his money back can re-sell her again for a greater price because she is trained and broken, which saves future buyers the hassle.

The US Department of State issues a Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report each year. They say, “Modern slavery doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s connected to a host of 21st century challenges.” The most disturbing fact are the stats at the back of the report. Victims Identified in 2014 Human Trafficking were 11,438, of those 418 were prosecuted and only 216 were convicted.

“Today, more than twelve million people worldwide are enslaved. An estimated two million children are bought and sold in the global commercial sex trade. The sex slavery industry has become an increasingly important revenue source for organized crime because each young girl can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for her pimp. Americans don’t realize that it happens here at home! Thousands of children are forced into domestic sex slavery each year and that the average age of entry is 13 years old. These girls are our neighbors, our friends, our sisters and our daughters,” according to the Department of Families and Children website.

This is not something that is just happening somewhere vaguely “over there.” It is happening here …right here where you are standing! Where your daughters and sons go to college, where your grandchildren play. The world is a smaller place today and while we have brought the wonders of the world into our living room, we have also brought its poisons; and we have brought it to our children.

So how can we protect our children? Do you think tougher laws need to enacted or more involvement from the private sector? We love to hear your thoughts!

 By: Elaine Carnegieon: In: Crime, Slavery, U.S. News, World News

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