Trinity Mount Ministries

Showing posts with label Human Traffickers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Human Traffickers. Show all posts

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Study details link between social media and sex trafficking

Dr. Celia Williamson speaking at the 15th Annual International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference at The University of Toledo on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. Credit: Dan Miller, University of Toledo.

Social media is increasingly being exploited to contact, recruit and sell children for sex, according to a study by The University of Toledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.

The study, which was requested by the Ohio Attorney General's Human Trafficking Commission, reveals how traffickers quickly target and connect with vulnerable children on the Internet through social media.
"It is vitally important to educate parents, professionals and youth—especially our middle school or teenage daughters who may be insecure—about the dangers of online predatory practices used by master manipulators," said Dr. Celia Williamson, UT professor of social work and director of the UT Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute. "Through this outreach and education, we can help save children from becoming victims of modern-day slavery."
"We know predators are using the internet to find their victims, and this eye-opening study highlights what a predator looks for in a victim and helps parents recognize the signs that their child may be a target," Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. "Using real-life examples, this study provides valuable information that parents can use to start open and honest conversations with their children about staying safe online."
Through a series of 16 in-depth interviews by the institute's staff and student interns with knowledgeable members of Ohio law enforcement, judges, direct service providers, advocates and researchers who engaged with victims who were trafficked online, the study outlines how traffickers connect to vulnerable youth online, groom the children to form quicker relationships, avoid detection, and move the connections from online to in-person.
"The transition from messaging to meeting a trafficker in person is becoming less prevalent," Williamson said. "As technology is playing a larger role in trafficking, this allows some traffickers to be able to exploit youth without meeting face-to-face. Social media helps to mask traditional cues that alert individuals to a potentially dangerous person."
Williamson cites a 2018 report that says while 58 percent of victims eventually meet their traffickers face to face, 42 percent who initially met their trafficker online never met their trafficker in person and were still trafficked.
The experts, whose identities are not being released, said the traffickers educate themselves by studying what the victim posts on commonly used view-and-comment sites such as Facebook, Instagram or SnapChat, as well as dating apps such as Tinder, Blendr and Yellow, or webcam sites like Chatroulette and Monkey, in order to build trust.
"These guys, they learn about the girls and pretend to understand them, and so these girls, who are feeling not understood and not loved and not beautiful ... these guys are very good at sort of pretending that they are all of these things and they really understand them and, 'I know how you feel, you are beautiful,' and just filling the hole that these girls are feeling," said a professional contributing to the study.
One expert in Columbus shares a telling story: "The guy was reaching out to a lot of girls all day long. One girl, who is actually in a youth home, she had access to the Internet, and he connects with her on a social media platform. He drives all the way up from Columbus to Toledo, picks her up at her foster home and drives her back down to Columbus, and then traffics her here in Columbus. You know, 20, 30 years ago he would have never been able to connect with her, but because of social media, that connection was immediately made in over a few hours. He found out where she was and she told him, 'Yeah, please come get me. I want out of here.'"
Examples of  posts that draw the attention of a trafficker include expressions of fear, emptiness and disappointment, such as:
  • "Nobody gets me."
  • "I am so sick of being single."
  • "I am so ugly."
  • "How do I look?"
  • "My life sucks."
  • "She's not my true friend."
  • "My parents don't trust me."
  • "I'm being treated like a kid."
  • "I need to get out of here."
Predators look for indicators of substance abuse, runaway activity and destabilization within the home.
A trafficker's strategic response includes:
  • "I understand you."
  • "I love you."
  • "I think you're beautiful. I'll encourage you to show your body. Use your body."
  • "I'll make your life better."
  • "I'll encourage you to take risks. You're an adult."
  • "I'll protect you."
  • "I'll make you successful."
Grooming children for sex trafficking consists of convincing someone to send a risky picture and then using it to extort them.
"They will use fear of repercussions as a way to compel the youth, coerce the youth [to move them from a monitored page to a less monitored page]... by saying, 'You don't want your parents to find out what we're talking about,'" said one expert.
Technology offers traffickers ease in advertising multiple victims at one time.
The study lists several advertising and sales sites browsed by "johns/sugar daddies," such as Cityxguide, Skipthegames, Bedpage, and Williamson said Bedpage is a spin-off of Backpage, which was the focus of a 2017 documentary called "I Am Jane Doe" about the fight against child sex trafficking online.
"Even though Backpage has been shut down, other sites are being created and gaining traction," Williamson said. "The landscape is rapidly changing."
Parents form the front line in the fight to protect their child against traffickers by monitoring or blocking questionable activity.
"Parents who are educated can wage a worthy defense against potential recruitment and recruitment of their youth online," Williamson said. "Parents who work to build healthy, open and communicative relationships are more likely to have youth that share information about where they go and who they talk to online."

Monday, November 12, 2018

Undercover human trafficking sting in Portland, Hillsboro leads to 23 people facing charges

Walter Renderos Jr., Toran Tolleson, jail booking photos

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - An undercover human trafficking sting conducted by multiple law enforcement agencies led to 23 people facing charges involving commercial sexual solicitation.
The mission was conducted at two hotels in Portland and Hillsboro.
Undercover investigators communicated online with people seeking sexual acts in exchange for money. The investigators scheduled the encounters at the hotels and then took the suspects into custody when they arrived.“The operation focused on coordinated efforts to break a link in the chain of human trafficking by enforcing state and federal laws, and identifying trafficking victims throughout the Portland metro area,” according to a joint statement from the Gresham Police Department, Hillsboro Police Department, Portland Police Bureau, and Washington County Sheriff's Office.
Two people were arrested at the Hillsboro hotel when police said they arrived seeking a sexual encounter with a minor.
Investigators said Walter Renderos Jr., 29, of Portland, had communicated with someone he believed to be 16 years old through a social networking app.
Toran Tolleson, 21, of Salem, was also arrested after communicating with someone he believed to be 16 years old via another app, according to investigators.
Tolleson and Renderos are facing charges of luring a minor.
In June, a similar enforcement operation resulted in 37 people being charged with commercial sexual solicitation crimes.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

4 Suspects Arrested In Delaware Human Trafficking Case, Police Say

Laurel– The Delaware State Police in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations have arrested four suspects in connection with a human trafficking case.
The investigation began on Wednesday, October 30, 2018 when Troopers were dispatched to the Relax Inn located at 30702 Sussex Highway at approximately 8:28 a.m., for a report of a female who was being held against her will and forced to perform sex acts on people.  Upon arrival, Troopers located a 22-year-old female victim from Maryland.  It was learned that the victim had been taken back and forth between Delaware and Maryland against her will and forced to perform commercial sex acts on multiple people in exchange for compensation.
Three suspects were initially taken into custody at the Relax Inn without incident, 25-year-old David B. Goodwin of Federalsburg, MD, 27-year-old Kevonne L. Murphy of Federalsburg, MD, and 38-year-old Lakeya N. Aldridge of Federalsburg, MD.
Through investigative measures a fourth suspect was identified as 30-year-old Joshua Lankford of Federalsburg, MD.
All four suspects were charged with the following:
  • Kidnapping First Degree
  • Human Trafficking – Sexual Servitude
  • Trafficking an Individual
  • Conspiracy Second Degree
Goodwin, Murphy, and Aldridge were transported back to Troop 4 and arraigned before the Justice of the Peace Court 3.  Goodwin and Murphy were committed to the Sussex Correctional Institution on $100,000.00 cash only bond.  Aldridge was committed to the Delores J. Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution on $102,000.00 cash only bond.
On November 2, 2018 Lankford was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Task Force at a residence in the 3000 block of Holland Drive, Federalsburg, MD without incident.  He was extradited back to Delaware where he was arraigned before the Justice of the Peace Court 2 and committed to the Sussex Correctional Institution on $102,000.00 cash only bond.
If you or someone you know is a victim or witness of crime or have lost a loved one to a sudden death and are in need of assistance, the Delaware State Police Victim Services Unit/Delaware Victim Center is available to offer you support and resources 24 hours a day through a toll free hotline 1800 VICTIM-1. (1-800 842-8461).  You may also email the unit Director at

Monday, October 29, 2018

Pomona Police Rescue 16-year-old From Human Traffickers

A 16-year-old, said to have been a victim of human trafficking, was rescued by Pomona police during a vice patrol in the area known as the Holt Corridor, authorities said.
Officers were in the area Saturday in response to complaints from residents and business owners about prostitution and related crimes on Holt Avenue, said Cpl. Dan Gomez of the Pomona Police Department's Major Crimes Task Force.
During the patrol, officers encountered and rescued the 16-year-old victim, who was not further identified because of their age.
"The victim was interviewed and appropriate resources were activated to provide assistance to the victim,'' Gomez said. "The Pomona Police Department takes a zero tolerance approach to human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
"The Pomona Police Department is taking a proactive approach to improving the quality of life by addressing and deterring human trafficking and prostitution activities along the Holt Avenue corridor. The goal of the operation was to target prostitution-related crimes and focus attention on the entire Holt Corridor with a priority placed on recovering juveniles, arresting prostitutes and arresting johns. The Pomona Police Department continues to pursue the identification and prosecution of human traffickers (pimps) who facilitate the prostitution activity along the Holt Corridor.''
Anyone with information regarding Human Trafficking or the case involving the 16-year-old is asked to contact the Pomona Police Department at (909) 620-2085 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-(800)-222-8477.