U.S Attorney Robert Brewer released his San Diego annual regional report. The report included some major developments in human trafficking.
In 2020, the San Diego office led in the national effort to end human trafficking and child exploitation. The release states, “According to a May 26, 2020 report from the Human Trafficking Institute, the Office was #1 in the nation in 2019 for charging the most new trafficking defendants. We were #4 in the nation for active cases, and we charged the largest human trafficking case in 2019 – a forced labor case involving 12 defendants.”
The report goes on to say, “this included a case in August 2020 resulting in the arrest of Luigi Popescu of Romania for his role in leading a seven-year alien smuggling operation. In September 2020, defendant Joseph Price was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to sex trafficking a 15-year-old minor.”
Marisa Ugarte, Executive Director of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, congratulates the U.S. Attorney General’s office for its outstanding efforts in combating this horrendous crime. “It’s a victory but more work needs to be done. This challenge we face is a relentless evil,” she says.
– JW August, Communications DirectorPosted in Uncategorized Jan 21 Posted in Uncategorized Jan 16
Like many of the organizations the BSCC provides training to, the country’s largest low cost carrier is doing its part in recognition of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Elizabeth Bryant of Southwest says in a press release “we are proud to introduce additional training” as part of the airlines continuing effort to work with community partners that help guide them in their awareness programs for employees.
The new training will be targeted at employees who deal directly with customers and its goal is to improve the airlines procedures in identifying and addressing suspected traffickers. The airline first launched these efforts in 2019.
Bilateral Safety Coalition Corridor can provide your employees the training they need to join this fight against trafficking. Executive Director Marisa Ugarte and staff have conducted training in the San Diego region for more than fifteen years. This training has included elements of the criminal justice system, educational institutions at all levels, military personnel and others.
For information on the training BSCC provides, please call 1-619-336 0770.
For reporting trafficking activities please call the BSCC hotline at 1-619-666-2757
Southwest employees training courtesy Southwest AirlinesPosted in Uncategorized Jan 08
Executive Director of the BSCC Marisa Ugarte appears in STOLEN in a role she is very familiar with. Ms Ugarte works closley with the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force when there are victims involved in an active case. In this NBC7 production you can see her up close helping in the ongoing fight against human trafficking.
January, as you may know, is Human Trafficking Awareness month. I am pleased to report the good news that the NBC7 Stolen Documentary Series will be debuting as an hour and a half documentary. You can watch the documentary on NBC’s National LX network this Saturday, January 9th at 7 PM (PST). NBCLX is broadcasting over the air and on cable in 30 US markets, all top 25. It reaches 32 million households. NBCLX is also streaming on LX.com, Peacock and available in the NBC Owned Station digital products and apps.
This new level of exposure for STOLEN required us to consolidate the seven-episode series into a feature-length 90-minute documentary. It was a painstaking process to make these edits while preserving the heart of the investigation and, most importantly, the survivors’ voices. Those with lived experience deserve a tremendous amount of recognition for their strength and courage in sharing their message for others’ benefit. Our mission is to share the truth surrounding this issue with as broad an audience as possible. We are grateful for the opportunity this national launch provides.
The documentary is expected to air on NBCLX more than once. If you’d like to watch its debut live this Saturday evening (7PM Pacific/10PM Eastern) the best way to watch may be through NBC’s Peacock app. The attached graphic lists the local San Diego cable channels where you can watch.
Thank you for your continued support.
Monica Dean, News Anchor
Here’s some information on how you can tune in:
Posted in Uncategorized
by JW August, communications director, BSCC
Trafficking in humans cannot survive if this criminal activity loses the ability to enslave humans and make the money that fuels the effort. Criminal organizations and individual operators both need a supply of victims and the ability to make money. These organizations and individuals have to be able to use and move the funds without law enforcement’s awareness of their activities. Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) provided this warning, “Transnational and criminal organizations are increasingly using virtual currencies to facility drug and sex trafficking.”
As one of the virtual currencies of concern, Bitcoin can be used for legal purchases, similar to an online version of cash. Although Bitcoin transactions are recorded, nobody knows the users’ account numbers which ensures their anonymity. Congressman Vargas’ bill (H.R. 502) instructs the Comptroller General of the United States to make recommendations to Congress for a legislative game plan to combat this “underground” money pipeline.
This effort would also include a deep dive by the Comptroller General to study how the currencies are being used in the dark Web. Rep. Vargas continued, “The data collected will help Congress have a greater understanding of legislative solutions that prevent criminals from using virtual currency for illicit means.” Both chambers of Congress agree this important work must be accomplished—and have included the bill in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.
Marisa Ugarte, the Executive Director of the BSCC, states this legislation is vital to center the fight on the traffickers, “If we can cut off their blood (money) supply, we can cripple their operations for both buyer and trafficker.”