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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 […]

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States Change Sex Trafficking Laws; Do They Take The Right Tack?

In the past decade, states have dramatically changed laws targeting the sex trade to distinguish between voluntary prostitution and the trafficking of women and girls who are forced or coerced into selling sex, reports Stateline. Before the new laws, states primarily dealt with the sex trade by charging sex workers with prostitution. Many of those laws remain on the books, but states are supplementing them with “safe harbor” laws that protect minors and sometimes adults who can prove they were […]

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150 Arrested, 149 Children Saved In FBI Underage Prostitution Sting

A nationwide FBI sting focusing on underage victims of prostitution resulted in the rescue of 149 sexually exploited children and the arrests of more than 150 pimps and others, reports CBS News. The ninth annual initiative known as “Operation Cross Country,” the largest to date, was carried out last week in 135 cities including Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Knoxville, Tn., Alexandria. Va., Jackson, Ms., Los Angeles, Portland, Sacramento and Seattle, along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Local […]

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Ferguson A Year Later: Some Fixes But Policing May Be Little Changed

As Ferguson, Mo., prepares to mark a year since Michael Brown's death on Sunday, the mostly black community of 21,000 north of St. Louis remains a work in progress, reports the New York Times. It has rebuilt its battered commercial areas and diversified its once white-dominated government. Yet Ferguson remains divided between those who think its progress is real and those who believe that little beyond the superficial has changed. Law enforcement officials are bracing for a new wave of […]

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Claim Of $9.8 Billion Sex Trafficking Trade Based On “Fuzzy” Numbers

The sex trade is an underground industry, so on what basis would the revenues from the trafficking of children–or children and adults–in the U.S. be calculated so precisely, either as $9.8 billion or $9.5 billion, as two members of Congress said when the House recently considered the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act? The figures came from two different sources, but it turns out both were practically invented out of whole cloth, says the Washington Post. For the $9.8 billion […]

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Does The New Federal Law On Sex Trafficking Go Too Far?

Last Friday, President Obama signed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, a package of federal grant authorizations, criminal penalty enhancements and other items aimed at fighting human trafficking in the U.S. and abroad. As well-meaning as the legislation may be, the “War on Sex Trafficking” that the federal government is waging will fail, just as the “War on Drugs” has failed, writes Elizabeth Nolan Brown of Reason magazine in Politico. With almost unanimous, bipartisan support in Congress and fans […]

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Media, U.S. Government Give Wildly Different Human Trafficking Data

A State Department report in 2013 estimated that as many as 27 million people are human trafficking victims at any time; the same report a year later used the figure 20 million. The Washington Post’s fact checker says the numbers involved in trafficking are “dubious.” (A so-called Global Slavery Index gives the estimate at 35.8 million.) The Post says “the numbers can vary dramatically depending on the definition — and increasingly, the definition has been stretched.” In what American University […]

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CO County Teams Up Against Child Sex Trafficking

About 60 Jefferson County, Colo., children — most of them girls — are either being sold for sex or at high risk of becoming sex-trafficking victims, the county district attorney’s office says. Those kids are being exploited not far from the public’s view through Internet advertising sites and in motel rooms lining busy thoroughfares. Young girls living on the streets, many of whom are runaways from abusive homes and whose numbers are growing, have become “walking targets.” “That’s unconscionable,” said […]