Human Traffic Watch

Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Human Trafficking Course for Officers

In Awareness, Human Trafficking on June 13, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Florida officials are fighting for freedom.

”The Florida Police Chief’s are committed to do what it takes to end human trafficking in our state,” said Walter McNeil.

In a new training course, officers will be taught how to spot human trafficking victims.

”Thank you for taking this online training to learn more about human trafficking so you can stop this horrific crime from occurring in our state,” said Pam Bondi.

In 2011, Florida had more than 3,900 reports of human trafficking. The volume makes Florida the third most trafficked state.

“We’re going to continue everything we can as we told you we’re partnering up with the business community, attacking with new legislation and on an educational front,” said Bondi.

New recruits have been trained to spot trafficking since 2006. Now every officer will be trained.

Source: WJHG

In bid to combat prostitution, human trafficking, lawmakers vote to limit massage hours

In Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on May 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Legitimate massage therapists are tired of them and law enforcement officials see them as potential venues for human trafficking.

Now, the Florida Legislature is also flexing its muscle in the fight against the growth of adult-oriented massage establishments, places whose marketing and signage skews closer to adult entertainment than therapeutic well-being.

In South Florida, they’re known for their blacked-out windows, neon signs, late-night hours, and sexually suggestive postings in online classified ads. Many are listed on web sites that cater to the men who seek out erotic massages.

Observers worry that in some of these businesses, victims are being forced to perform sexual acts against their will.

That rationale, based on numerous cases of sexual exploitation in brothels posing as massage establishments across the U.S., is now official in Tallahassee. In the recent session, lawmakers unanimously passed massage-specific legislation viewed by stakeholders as an important step — even if some say the legislation doesn’t go far enough.

Source: Sun-Sentinel

Woman Tells Her Story of Sex Trafficking and Incest

In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on May 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm

“I am a survivor of almost 14 years of incest, about three, almost four years, of sex trafficking and I’m also the daughter of a sex offender and my pimp was my dad,” Rose said.

Rose says her father Zenon Anastassiou began sexually molesting her when she was a toddler. She says he told her it was a cultural thing and it gradually escalated into rape by the time she was 13. Anastassiou pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity with another child and assault against that child in 1987. Though Rose never brought charges against her father, she says her childhood was plagued by abuse and emotional extortion.

She says his message was clear:  “You want to live in this house? You like the clothes that you get to wear? … Well, if you tell or you stop having sex with me that’s all just going to go away.”

Just short of 16, Rose says she mustered up the courage to hold a knife to her father and tell him to stop.

“He laughed. He literally laughed in my face and he said I’ve been waiting for this day.”

That’s when he allegedly began selling her to other men, using provocative and naked pictures he took of her. The torture allegedly lasted until she was 19 when she got married. Decades later, stories like hers continue to repeat themselves in Florida, a state that’s become a hub for child sex trafficking.

Source: NBC Miami

Palm Beach County Residents Arrested for Sex Trafficking of Minors

In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on March 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced that defendants Dontavious M. Blake, 32, and Tara Jo Moore, 26, both of Palm Beach County, were charged in a federal criminal complaint with sex trafficking of minors. Pretrial detention hearings for Blake and Moore are scheduled for Tuesday, February 26, 2013.

More specifically, the complaint charges Blake and Moore with sex trafficking of children and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children, and inducing a minor to engage in commercial sex act, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1591, 1594 and 2422, respectively. If convicted, Blake and Moore face a maximum possible statutory sentence of up to life in prison.

This case stemmed from an investigation into the production of child pornography. According to the allegations in the complaint affidavit, a victim revealed that she had engaged in prostitution in the summer of 2011, at the age of 15. The victim stated that she had worked in hotels in the Palm Beach County area and identified Blake and Moore as her pimp and his girlfriend. Blake would post online escort advertisements with photographs of the victim on listing a phone number belonging to him. Moore would allegedly answer the calls from clients and negotiate a price for prostitution services and schedule a “date.” Once the price had been agreed upon, Blake would contact the minor and drive her to location for the “date.” At the conclusion of the date, the victim would pay a portion of the proceeds to Blake, including payment for a portion of the cost of the hotel room.

Source: FBI

Human Trafficking Documentary

In Awareness, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on January 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Teen’s alleged kidnapping recounted at Tampa man’s sex trafficking trial

In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on November 2, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Among the victims, authorities say, is a 15-year-old Tampa girl kidnapped by Rodriguez in Ybor City in December 2010. Others ranged in age from 15 to 18 and met Rodriguez in stores and while walking along the street, mainly in the Orlando area, according to prosecutors.

The young women and girls were made to work as prostitutes in Orlando, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, said federal prosecutor Maureen C. Cain, who works for the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

Delivering the prosecution’s opening statement at Rodriguez’s trial, Cain described how the defendant used a method he called “cupcaking” to persuade girls to prostitute for him. Cupcaking involved talking nice to the girls, having sex with them and buying them clothing and shoes.

Source: Tampa Bay Online

Tampa targets massage parlors that front for prostitution

In Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on October 18, 2012 at 9:16 am

The city is targeting massage parlors that serve as fronts for prostitution, hoping to dent business by limiting their hours and banning people from living on site.

The measures are the city’s first attempt to control the massage businesses that frequently operate 24 hours a day and that some civil rights groups say keep their all-female staff members in a state of indentured servitude.

“In many cases, the mortgage to their parents’ house is the collateral for their debt” to what often are Asian traffickers, said Terry Coonan, director of Florida State University’s Center for Advancement of Human Rights. “So their debt becomes their family’s debt.”

Source: Tampa Bay Online

Prostitute admits forcing teen girls into sex trade

In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Prostitution, Sex Trafficking on October 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Two years ago, a 15-year-old girl was kidnapped from Ybor City by a man who tried to force her to become a prostitute in Orlando, federal officials say.

The man, Weylin Ollie Rodriguez, also known as Rico, is scheduled to go on trial in U.S. District Court later this month on child sex trafficking and weapons charges.

On Tuesday, one of the women accused of helping Rodriguez coerce child and adult prostitutes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a minor by coercion.

Tatujuana Joye, 22, of Kissimmee, could face up to life in prison, but likely will receive a lesser sentence under a plea deal. Joye also has agreed to cooperate with the prosecution.

Source: Tampa Bay Online

Massage therapist suspensions tied to human trafficking

In Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on September 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm

The state today suspended the licenses of 81 massage therapists with fraudulent Florida licenses in what officials from Gov. Rick Scott on down are billing as a fight against human trafficking.

No arrests have been made and no incidents of prostitution or human trafficking have been linked to the 81 therapists, who listed addresses nationwide.

But the officials said the state Department of Health, along with the Clearwater and South Florida Human Trafficking Task Forces, launched an investigation earlier this year and found more than 200 therapists who appeared to have obtained their licenses by submitting fraudulent transcripts from a legitimate Florida massage school.

State Surgeon General John H. Armstrong declined to name the Florida school, citing an ongoing investigation, but he said it was not in the Tampa area. He said an individual registrar at the school, who he declined to identify, sold transcripts for as much as $10,000 to $15,000 each.

Source: Tampa Bay Online

Your Voice Matters: A Day in Immokalee

In Human Trafficking on September 13, 2012 at 9:40 am

Two weeks later, through the help of IJM, I had been given permission to meet and interview several of the Immokalee farm workers.  I decided to make the 170-mile journey south with a small crew to help me document the trip.  The office of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers isn’t difficult to find. It is a bright, sienna-colored building located at 110 South 2nd Street. It looks like a ray of sunshine shining on a grey, dusty street. Inside, there is a co-op food pantry to the right and a sitting room with comfortable chairs and couches on the left.  A toddler had succumbed to one of the couches and was taking his afternoon nap. Desks lined the back wall and Coalition workers were quietly tapping away on their computers. This was a pleasant place to be. As we made our introductions, I began to learn more about the farm workers who worked there.


Silvia Perez, a female farm worker who works at the Coalition spoke to me about her dream of seeing her two children succeed in life. She is willing to work hard so that her children do not have to suffer the abuses that so many others have. Intrigued, I asked if I could speak with her son, Elias. Several minutes later, in walks a bright-eyed, happy 7-year-old boy. He was absolutely adorable. He talked to me about his favorite superheroes (The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man, just in case you were wondering) and about how he liked living in Immokalee.

Source: International Justice Mission

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