HEADLINES: Trafficking

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button_icon_trafficking_headlinesLast week, ICE announced that “they have rescued 44 children from sexual abuse as part of a child pornography investigation that netted 245 arrests over five weeks last year.”  The investigation was called “Operation Sunflower,” and unearthed many horrific cases of human trafficking and child pornography.  ICE director John Morton said, “Many times, our investigations into people who possess and trade child pornography reveal new material and points to the ongoing sexual abuse of children.  In these cases, our primary objective is to rescue the victim from their horrific situation.”  [ABC News]

Despite the abysmal lack of reliable data on human trafficking, experts say that victims’ services are in dire need in Southern Louisiana.  Local non-profits, such as Trafficking Hope in Baton Rouge, and law enforcement must overcome the invisibility of the crime in order to bring services to victims and effectively implement prevention programs.  Sex trafficking cases are very difficult to prosecute, as fear and emotional abuse often prevent victims from speaking out.  [Fl Parishes Bureau]

Texas Dem. State Senators Leticia Van de Putte and Senfronia Thomson have introduced “a package of three bills that aim to tighten the screws on traffickers and provide further comfort and assistance for victims.”  The bill will divert young sex trafficking victims from the criminal justice system, will strengthen prevention efforts, and will provide civil legal recourse to victims.”  Van de Putte has been a strong advocate for anti-trafficking efforts, championing several other anti-trafficking laws through the  Texas Congress over the past ten years. [Austin Chronicle]

A group of Kentucky lawmakers will push stronger anti-trafficking legislation in the state’s congress this session.  The law would increase training for law enforcement as well as “use money from those convicted of such crimes to pay for victim services.”  16 cases have been prosecuted in the past 5 years, but advocates warn that the laws are weak and the new provisions are much needed. [Associated Press]

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