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Sex Trafficking: A Surprising Rescue Story

A researcher uses Backpage.com to identify a potential victim and get police help. The lesson, she writes, is that commercial sex trafficking sites are increasingly useful tools for law enforcement—and outlawing them is counterproductive.

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Stop Treating Sex Workers as Criminals: Study

Police and the courts need to dramatically change the way they deal with prostitution, beginning with treating sex workers and trafficking victims as individuals who need counseling and help to remake their lives— rather than as criminals—said an Urban Institute report released today.

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Congress Passes Bill To Track Registered Child Sex Offender Travel

The U.S. House has passed a bill to expand efforts in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to track registered child sex offenders' travel plans as a means of combatting human trafficking, The Hill reports. The measure, passed by voice vote on Monday, would codify DHS’s “Operation Angel Watch” program that determines whether countries should be notified of sex offenders' travel. Under the legislation, sex offenders would be required to report to law enforcement when they plan to travel internationally. […]

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Minnesota U.S. Attorney Leads New Fight Against Sex Trafficking

A 24-year prison sentence for a Minnesota man and a string of guilty pleas last week in other cases underscore a heightened emphasis on human trafficking by the U.S. Department of Justice and its chief local prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Minneapolis is one of six cities launching teams to streamline federal trafficking cases, while a Minnesota law has influenced federal legislation that aims to treat young women as victims of the sex trade instead […]

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Lynch Claim On Sex Trafficker Arrests “Wildly Inflated”–Washington Post

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker gives Attorney General Loretta Lynch four Pinocchios for giving “wildly inflated statistics” on sex trafficking cases at a conference this month in Rwanda. Lynch’s speech to the Interpol General Assembly included references to the FBI’s Operation Cross Country, a sting operation that the bureau said resulted in “the recovery of 149 sexually exploited children and the arrests of more than 150 pimps and other individuals.” A news release said the “enforcement action” took place in […]

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In Florida, Sex Trafficking Center, Little Serious Action Against Offenders

Florida has the third highest number of sex trafficking cases in the U.S., says the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, but few offenders go to prison, reports the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting for the Miami Herald. For more than 15 years, a coalition of victim advocates, sociologists and prosecutors has waged a nationwide campaign to change the way the criminal justice system handles prostitution. Reformers have argued that prostitutes are victims, not criminals, and more effort should be made […]