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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:18 pm 
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Spanish police: sex ring exploited minor billed as 'virgin'
11 March 2017

MADRID (AP) -- Spanish police says they have freed a 16-year-old girl who was being advertised by an alleged prostitution ring as a virgin and have made seven arrests.

Police said Saturday that the ring was based in the southern resort town of Marbella.

The investigation was triggered by an anonymous tip sent by email to police. The tip led police to find that the underage girl was being advertised on a prostitution website that claimed she was 18. Police say she was advertised as a virgin, with a price of 5,000 euros ($5,300).

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:27 pm 
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‘I was forced to sell my body in a Hong Kong bar’: a Filipino’s experience of trafficking, prostitution
By Sylvia Yu
19 February 2017

Jean, a single mother from the Philippines, had dreamed of the good life when she was offered a job in Hong Kong. Instead, like many others, she was forced into prostitution to service a never-ending ‘debt’

Jean never knew how long it would take to repay her debt. All she knew was that doing so was destroying her. To meet the never-ending demands of her “agent” she would sell her body up to three times a night to men she met at the same Hong Kong bar where, on paper, she was employed as a “domestic helper”.

On the better nights, she might earn HK$4,000 for her “mamasan” – the female pimp managing her and 12 other prostitutes at the same bar.

On the worse ones, that same mamasan would beat her or force her into taking hard drugs with her “johns” (clients) to keep them happy. “Life was hell. I was just surviving,” recalled the Filipino. “Clients ask you to buy drugs like cocaine, ice, marijuana, anything the clients want. They make you take it with them. We could earn a lot of money from using drugs with clients.”

It was a far cry from the good life and pleasant job in a restaurant she had been promised when a recruiter visited her home town in Pampanga in 2014. Jean, a single mother of a 4-year-old girl with no family support network, took the job out of desperation.

She arrived in Hong Kong on a tourist visa, and was told by her recruiters she owed a heavy debt for the cost of her ticket, visa and living expenses. To pay it off, she would have to prostitute herself. “Of course it’s like torture to pay back the debt,” she recalled. “The agent doesn’t care. They don’t know how clients treat you badly.”

Jean’s plight, while horrific, is far from unique. Last year, Hong Kong was downgraded to the Tier 2 Watch List in the US State Department’s global rankings on human trafficking, just one rank above the worst offending nations like North Korea.

The State Department says that traffickers commonly use promises of employment to lure vulnerable women from the Philippines and Thailand to Hong Kong, where they confiscate their passports and force them into prostitution through debt bondage. Its most recent Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report criticised Hong Kong for lacking a comprehensive law in line with the internationally recognised UN Palermo Protocol on Human Trafficking and said the city did “ not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” despite “making significant efforts”. It urged the city to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable groups such as migrants, domestic workers and women and children in prostitution.

At around the same time as the State Department’s report, the trial of British banker Rurik Jutting, jailed for life for killing two Indonesian women he met in Wan Chai’s red light district, was intensifying the spotlight on Hong Kong’s prostitution scene.

It was in a bar not unlike the ones where Jutting met his victims that Jean found herself working shortly after arriving in the city. Her recruiters had arranged a two-year domestic helper visa for her as part of an arrangement with the bar, where she worked with women of other nationalities. “There were too many women to count,” said Jean. “[In the bars] there were Colombian women, Filipinos, Indonesians, Thai women. I was deceived. These girls are deceived… then forced into prostitution [by having their] passports taken.”

Her agent never told Jean exactly how much she owed, though Jean estimates she paid back more than 1 million pesos (HK$155,000). A typical arrangement involves the client paying HK$5,000 for a full night with a prostitute – a charge that may or may not include drugs (prostitutes who work by themselves in single-room brothels charge much less, about HK$300-400 per client). Of this, $4,000 would typically go to either the bar owner or mamasan, while HK$1,000 would go to the prostitute. The twist is that the prostitute will not keep even that HK$1,000 – it will go towards the “debt” their recruiter will insist they owe – a moving target that changes constantly to suit the agent. “It was very traumatic,” Jean said. “I can hardly talk about it.”

The United Nations defines human trafficking as the action or practice of legally or illegally transporting people from one place to another for the purposes of forced labour or commercial sexual exploitation. Profits from human trafficking are estimated to be US$150 billion annually, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Nurul Qoiriah, head of the Hong Kong office of International Organisation for Migration (IOM), a Geneva-based international governmental agency that assists foreign migrants, said victims of sex trafficking were “often found in the streets or working in particular establishments that facilitate commercial sex acts such as strip clubs, brothels, pornography production houses, night clubs, bars, spas, etc”.

“Sex trafficking in Hong Kong SAR is usually an underground crime, where it’s often challenging for law enforcement personnel and service providers to identify potential victims. In most situations, victims cannot escape from the traffickers.” Jean said the bar she had worked in was co-owned by a Hong Kong police officer. It has since closed.

In an unrelated case, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said on January 25 that 12 people, including three police officers, had been arrested on suspicion of corruption in relation to enforcement action against two nightclubs. The ICAC said the officers might have accepted a “substantial amount of bribes in cash and other forms of advantages from the operators of the nightclubs” in exchange for tipping them off about police action.

Traffickers had various ways of preventing victims from seeking help, said Qoiriah. “[They] may threaten to turn victims without valid visas or proper work permits in to the authorities, and may tell victims that police will harm them if they seek help.” Force is often used to keep them in line. “I was beaten up by the mamasans. They slammed me against the wall. Mamasans have [great] control over us,” Jean said.

Qoiriah said identifying trafficking victims was hard because they were often dependent on the abuser, afraid of deportation or imprisonment, unaware of their rights and the concept of human trafficking and had feelings of guilt and shame. “It’s very hard for people to understand unless you’ve gone through trauma. It numbs you,” said Marcela Santos, an advocate who has helped Jean. “It’s a Stockholm Syndrome situation for these ladies,” she said, referring to the psychological condition in which a hostage identifies with their captor as a survival strategy. “They hope [the mamasan will] be nice to them. She is like their mother. But she kind of pits the other women against each other and controls them.”

Santos helped Jean escape by buying her a plane ticket back to the Philippines. She has met eight Filipinos who were forced into prostitution through different trafficking rings. Most were issued domestic helper visas. “Jean was completely clueless of what the agency was doing because the mamasans were taking care of the visa process. It’s their way to control [the situation], making sure the women don’t know any of the process,” Santos said. “[The women] don’t have the skills to ask questions or they don’t think they can find a way out of their bad situation.” Instead, they must put a brave face on their plight. “They are great actresses because like one of them said, ‘I need to show that I am happy and OK even when I am not’,” said Santos. “This to me kills a soul.”

Another woman, Liz, who worked at a different bar from Jean, had been promised a job as a restaurant waitress. When she flew into Hong Kong, her trafficker and two men from the Philippines accompanied her to make sure she didn’t make trouble when she found out what her true job would be. Liz arrived on a tourist visa, and had to shuttle back and forth every fortnight between Hong Kong and China to avoid overstaying. The agency created false hotel reservations for her and other trafficked women to show the customs officers. Liz had to pay the agency for the hotel reservations even though she didn’t stay there. A police source said organised criminal gangs were usually involved in bringing illegal immigrants to Hong Kong as prostitutes.

Kat, a 23-year-old Filipino who has been working as a prostitute in a Hong Kong bar since December, believes she will need another three to four months to repay her debt. “I’m traumatised. There are three other women at my bar that feel the same. I always feel in danger. I take a risk every time I go out with a male customer,” said the single mother, weeping. “I have no other choice.” Kat said she was forced to participate in “wild parties” where hard drugs are used.

The mamasans allow her to keep the commission made from drinks bought by clients in the bar. Under a system common in Hong Kong, a bar may charge HK$100 a drink, of which HK$50 will go to the bar, HK$50 to the prostitute. The woman must sit with the client while he drinks, during which time he can touch her however he wants. Under this system, Kat managed to send HK$5,000 back to the Philippines in January to support her young daughter and ill mother. “I feel a heaviness in my heart every time I think of the women who work in the bars,” Santos said. “I think of the darkness, loneliness and pain that goes beyond the physical abuse they receive from clients, mamasans and bar owners. I think about one lady who told me about the ugliness and disgust that she feels every night and trying to erase that when she says her prayers. How could I not want to get her out of that?”

Hong Kong’s Security Bureau says the city does not need dedicated legislation against the trafficking of persons as outlined in the UN Palermo Protocol. It says Hong Kong already has laws that deal with criminal activities related to human trafficking and that penalties range from 10 years to life imprisonment. Sandy Wong, chairwoman of the Anti-Human Trafficking Committee of the Hong Kong Federation of Women Lawyers, said: “We do have laws to tackle sex trafficking but not in the sense of how the international community understands the issues. We also do not have specific labour trafficking laws. So on that front, there can be a lot of improvement. But it is not only the government but also the community that has to rise up to tighten our laws.”

Last year, the Hong Kong Police Force and Immigration Department put in place an enhanced mechanism for screening and identifying potential trafficking victims. The list of vulnerable trafficking victims has been expanded to sex workers, illegal workers and illegal immigrants. More than 1,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, Labour Department and Social Welfare Department officers received training on human trafficking last year. A local NGO estimates at least 20,000 prostitutes work in Hong Kong. However, Ann Lee, a spokeswoman for Zi Teng, a support group for sex workers, estimates there are 500,000 women working in the city’s sex trade through roles in massage parlours, spas, compensated dating and as freelance prostitutes. She estimates about 1 in 50 are under 18.

“We also need to go to the source of demand and supply,” said Wong. “Despite the police’s efforts in combating vice establishments, many operate in broad daylight. If we don’t stop the source of demand, there will always be someone who will provide the supply by hook and by crook. Punishing the johns in Sweden [is] an effective measure and should be a model to adopt.” Sweden’s prostitution laws criminalise the buying of sex – putting the criminal focus on the clients rather than the prostitutes. Swedish laws also offer support for women who want to leave prostitution.

However, critics say that punishing the clients will leave the prostitutes more vulnerable. “If you penalise the customer, they won’t pay for sex services. The whole industry will move underground and it’ll be more difficult for social workers to contact sex workers. It’ll be more hidden,” said Lee of Zi Teng.

Organised criminal groups have also tricked and forced African women into prostitution in Hong Kong and mainland China. In 2013, Esther from Tanzania arrived in Shenzhen on a tourist visa before being forced to have sex with several men everyday for three months to pay back a massive debt. She also worked in Hong Kong, often walking the streets all night to find clients. Su, a single mother of two boys also from Africa, arrived expecting to work in a hotel before finding that “there was no job. It was prostitution”. Her passport was taken from her, leaving her trapped, with “no other place to go, no money”. She said she had made at least US$40,000 in four months for the people who trafficked her.

One NGO has helped 200 Nepalese women who were forced into prostitution in Hong Kong since 1996. The women were staying at Chungking Mansions.

Jean, now 25, is in rehab in Manila to heal the psychological scars and recover from drug addiction. Her advocate Santos has visited to help her look for a job. “My daughter keeps me going. I’m studying to finish my high school education,” said Jean. “I don’t know what kind of job I’ll get. I want to go back to a normal life... I want dignity.”

Victims of human trafficking can contact IOM on 2332-2441 or via WhatsApp on 9481-9030. Names in this article have been changed to protect the women

Source: South China Morning Post

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:32 pm 
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Two men who ran gay Hungarian sex-slave ring in Miami get 30 years in prison
By David Ovalle
April 7, 2017

Two Hungarians will spend 30 years in prison each for forcing young gay men into sexual slavery in Miami, a judge ruled on Friday.

Gabor Acs and Viktor Berki received their sentences after earlier being convicted of human trafficking, conspiracy and racketeering. Friday’s sentencing concludes a case that was hailed as a first for Florida prosecutors because the victims were gay men forced into prostitution after being lured from Hungary to the United States. It was the second trial for the victims who testified. The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit earlier won a conviction against a third man involved in the ring, Andras Janos Vass, who was sentenced to just over 11 years in prison.

Prosecutors said that Berki and Acs met two of the victims in Hungary through a website called GayRomeo.com. Another victim was “living with gypsies” as a prostitute, meeting Acs through Facebook. The three men testified that in 2012, they were flown to New York City to work in what they believed was a legal business in the United States.

In New York and later Miami, the men, then in their early 20s, were forced to live in cramped conditions while performing sex acts around the clock, sometimes with johns, other times on live web cameras, prosecutors said. The three were given little food and threatened with violence if they left, the state told jurors.

At trial, defense lawyers portrayed the victims as willing prostitutes who cooperated against Berki and Acs simply to get visas to remain in the United States.

Source: Miami Herald

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:57 am 
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Man accused of trafficking minors for sex to help make bail
April 24, 2017

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- A man conspired with his wife and mother to traffic three minors for sex in South Carolina to help him make bail, federal prosecutors said Monday.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release that Zerrell Fuentes, 22, his wife, Brianna Wright, 24, and his mother, Tanya Fuentes, 53, each face a number of sex trafficking charges. A federal grand jury issued an eight-count indictment on Friday.

Prosecutors said Zerrell Fuentes used a telephone while he was in the Mecklenburg County jail in Charlotte to recruit three minors and arrange for their travel from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to engage in the sex acts. According to prosecutors, the three entered into the conspiracy between late April and early May of 2016.

In addition, the indictment said Wright, accompanied by Tanya Fuentes, drove the three minors from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach. While there, prosecutors said Tanya Fuentes paid for lodging for the two women and the minors. Wright placed ads on the internet promoting the minors for sex.

The indictment also said Wright provided her own telephone number on the ads as a way to arrange connections between the minor victims and customers. Wright also transported the minors to and from the arranged meetings, the indictment said. Zerrell Fuentes was already in custody on a federal firearms violation. Wright and Tanya Fuentes had a court appearance scheduled for Monday.

The penalty for each of the eight sex trafficking related offenses is a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Zerrell Fuentes is also facing a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the unrelated firearms offense. The Department of Justice didn't release any other details about the case.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:15 am 
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Spanish police arrest 25 Chinese prostitution gang suspects
19 April 2017

MADRID (AP) -- Police in Spain's northeastern region of Catalonia say they have arrested 25 suspected members of a Chinese criminal gang and freed 22 Chinese women who had been forced to work as prostitutes for it.

A regional police statement said Wednesday the Fujian gang, named after the Chinese province from which most of its members come, operated prostitution and drug rackets out of apartments in and around the Catalan capital, Barcelona, where the arrests were made April 10.

It said the women were brought into Spain with false identity documents and had run up debts to the gang of up to 15,000 euros ($16,000). A judge provisionally jailed 11 of the 25 and released the rest with provisional charges after confiscating their passports.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 11:15 pm 
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Big child webcam sex bust reveals rising abuse
By MARTHA MENDOZA & JIM GOMEZ
9 May 2017

MABALACAT, Philippines (AP) — The suspected pedophile could see people banging on his front door through his security cameras. Were they neighbors? Cops?

One had letters on her jacket. As David Timothy Deakin googled “What is NBI?” from the laptop on his bed, the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation smashed their way into his cybersex den.

Children’s underwear, toddler shoes, cameras, bondage cuffs, fetish ropes, meth pipes and stacks of hard drives and photo albums cluttered the stuffy, two-bedroom townhouse. Penciled on the wall, someone had scrawled “My Mom and Dad love me” and a broken heart. In his computer were videos and images of young boys and girls engaged in sex acts.

“Why is everyone asking about children coming into my house?” said Deakin, 53, his wrists bound with a zip tie.

Deakin’s arrest on April 20 reveals one of the darkest corners of the internet, where pedophiles in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia pay facilitators on the other side of the world to sexually abuse children, even babies, directing their moves through online livestreaming services.

The relatively new crime of webcam sex tourism is spreading rapidly, with new digital technologies sparking what the United Nations calls an “alarming growth of new forms of child sexual exploitation online.” The FBI says it’s epidemic, and that at any given moment, 750,000 child predators are online.

Almost every case stems from the Philippines, where good English speakers, increased internet connections and widespread international cash transfer systems combine with widespread poverty and easy access to vulnerable kids. There have been as many as three busts a week there this spring. The youngest victim ever, rescued a few weeks ago, was an infant, two months old. Most are under 12.

This spring the Associated Press watched a raid, rescue and launch of a major investigation that continues to play out on both sides of the world. “This should serve as a warning,” said NBI Anti-human trafficking chief Janet Francisco, who leads the case. “We will really catch them, with the help of our foreign counterparts. We will really put them in jail and they will die in jail.”

____

Bare-chested and slick with sweat, his breath sour and glasses foggy, Deakin watched agents — including FBI computer analysts — crouch on his bed over open computers, rushing to find and preserve hidden files.

The tip that led authorities to Deakin came, as they often do, when an online international money transfer service notified an American internet provider about a suspicious account. Western Union, PayPal, and others have reported concerns in the past — business names in this case are being withheld because of the ongoing investigation. Records in Deakin’s town house included debit cards for money transfer services, including Smart Money and Payoneer.

The raid began just before dawn, as seven vanloads of police, investigators, lawyers and social workers rolled out of Manila, past rice paddies and water buffalos, and into a town that was once a large U.S. military base, now a major red light district. The vans passed Fields Avenue, a notorious street lined with bars, strip clubs and massage parlors; shops advertise Viagra and lingerie-clad women beckon customers.

When they reached Deakin’s apartment, a small cadre went to his door. Even as they burst in, he was streaming illicit content through the Tor network, which disguised his identity. Agents said he had a webpage open to wipe his phone clean. They tied him up with the first thing they could grab, an iPhone charging cord, before he could hit the button.

“I’m a file pack rat,” said Deakin. “I’ve got files of frigging everything.”

AP and investigators asked him repeatedly why he had images of children engaged in sexual acts on his computer and bondage and fetish tools in his apartment. “I’m just a costumer,” he said at first, as if the leather wrist restraints and ropes in the second bedroom were just for dress-up. “I’m schizophrenic, you know,” he later told AP, looping his finger at his temple.

He described a series of houseguests, people he let crash in his small place from down the street, other countries. Perhaps “some Danish guy” used his computer. And this: “There was no children in front of the cam in my house, not even dressed, as far as I know, not even with their frigging mothers as far as I know.”

At one point, he told AP the images might have inadvertently slipped in when he downloaded massive files using BitTorrent. BitTorrent is data tool used legitimately by academics and artists, but also by child pornographers and other criminals because large amounts of digital content can be moved and sorted. FBI agents looking for abusers search BitTorrent to spot people sharing exploitive images.

Hours after his arrest, wrists tied behind his back, Deakin grew nervous. “I don’t even know what you’re frigging doing here!” he yelled.

___

Deakin grew up in Peoria, Illinois, he said, “around the corn fields.” His family was splintered, his sister hated him and he didn’t finish high school, he said. He was licensed as a roofing contractor in his 30s, seasonal work which left winters free. He used the time to study computers.

Illinois court records show Deakin was arrested on marijuana and drunken driving charges several times before visiting the Philippines in 1998. Two years later, he moved there for a job setting up internet service providers and installing Blackmagic livestreaming production programs.

“The office computers were full of pornography,” Deakin would write to Filipino authorities three years later, when an inter-office argument led to immigration charges. The charges were dismissed. He was supposed to leave the country, but he stayed, remotely running computer systems for clients around the world, and hosting, he said, tens of thousands of websites as well.

In recent years, Deakin said, he earned $30 an hour as a systems administrator. But his home was filled with junk, his refrigerator near empty. Stacks of used egg cartons fell from the shelves, and a half-eaten pot of cold rice sat on the stove.

“You know what you’ve done in this room,” an investigator told Deakin. She showed him a photo he had of several children. Shrugging, he said one of them was probably a few doors away with her cousin. Minutes later, two girls, 9 and 11 years old, were rescued by police.

AP did not interview the girls Deakin told police about; victims of such raids need immediate and long-term counseling and care. But in the tranquil garden of a shelter for sexual exploitation survivors about 60 miles south of Deakin’s town house, 19-year-old Cassie described her ordeal. AP did not use her whole name to protect her privacy.

The youngest daughter in an impoverished family of 14, Cassie believed the man who came to her village and promised her a better life and family support if she would go to the city with him. When he told her he would be selling her, she had no idea what that meant. “I was laughing,” she said. Cassie was 12.

Within months the man bleached her dark skin, straightened her hair, and began waking her at 4 a.m. to meet customers. She started working as a cybersex model. “He needed some girl to show her whole body in front of the camera,” she said. He told her it was her job, in exchange for an education.

Over time, six more girls came to live in the house, and one had a baby. At school Cassie tried to act normal, hiding her secret from classmates. At home she was terrified and thinking about suicide. The abuse ended when her older sister found out. Furious, she went to the police.

Dolores Rubia, who runs aftercare programs for rescued girls through Washington D.C.-based NGO International Justice Mission , said parents and relatives turn to online exploitation to for easy money. Some consider it benign, she said, because they think children don’t mind taking off their clothes. But that exposure is abuse, and it often escalates.

“It’s a myth for some of them, that nothing is wrong,” she said. “That anyway, these children are not physically touched and the perpetrators are actually overseas.”

Buyers abroad also sometimes try to use the lack of contact as an excuse for their crimes. “The people I was talking to were hurting people, hurting children in a way that I would never have allowed in my presence,” said Scott Peeler, a former Southbridge, Massachusetts, middle school math teacher who admitted he tried to buy live video feeds of children having sex in the Philippines. “I drifted into a world that repulses me,” he said. Peeler was sentenced in March to 11 ½ years in federal prison.

“It’s not just a virtual crime. It is an actual crime,” said human rights attorney Sam Inocencio, who heads International Justice Mission’s Philippines office, which supports local law enforcement with investigators and attorneys. “Online sexual exploitation is possibly the most evil thing that I’ve seen.”

___

The first high-profile international case of livestreaming sexual exploitation of children was reported in 2011 out of the Philippines. The proliferation of smart phones and wi-fi have led to rapid growth.

Perpetrators now use bitcoin or untraceable credit cards. By livestreaming, they bypass digital markers law enforcement embeds in illegal content to catch people downloading, sharing or saving child pornography on computers or in the Cloud. Once isolated, pedophiles now operate with virtual anonymity, sharing images and children, say experts.

In 2013, online sex exploitation of children gained global attention after researchers at the Netherlands-based nonprofit Terre des Hommes launched a realistic-looking animation of a 10-year-old Filipino girl named Sweetie. They took the fake girl on chat groups and online forums. Pedophiles swarmed. In 10 weeks, analysts identified 1,000 men in 71 countries who had tried to get illegal images.

Last year, UK-based Internet Watch Foundation worked to remove 57,335 URLs with child sexual abuse imagery. The websites were hosted on 2,416 domains, up from 1,991 in 2015.

The proliferation of crimes, along with new mandatory reporting, led to 8.2 million reports last year to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline related to online child sexual exploitation. That compares with 8.3 million reports in the 17 years prior.

One of those reports led analysts to a four-time convicted sex offender, Louis Francis Bradley, 66, of Baltimore, Maryland, last year. He had paid at least 17 people in the Philippines to take sexually explicit photos of prepubescent girls and share them with him on Facebook. He also admitted in March to paying women to expose their genitals using video streaming programs. “can u get any really young girls” he asked in one online chat. Bradley was sentenced May 2 to 35 years in prison.

Because it’s a newer crime, legal systems grapple with how to prosecute. In the U.S., the buyers are typically charged with possessing, distributing or producing child pornography. In the Philippines, it’s a human trafficking crime. In 2015, five people were convicted of online child sex trafficking in the Philippines. Deakin has been charged with cybercrime, child pornography, child abuse and child trafficking.

Officials at both ends of the abuse agree they need to collaborate to stop it, and last month the U.S. committed $3 million.

Philippines National Police Ge. Liborioi Carabbacan said they’re trying to raise public awareness, letting parents and children know it’s illegal. One woman forced into prostitution as a child turned the cameras on her own kids when she grew up, he said. “She thought that’s already the norm,” he said.

___

Deakin’s bust turned out to be one of the largest seizures of its kind in the Philippines, and also a first for investigators on the case who caught the suspect in the act. His Cheery Mobile Touch HD tablet — which can be wiped clean and reset with a four digit code — had more than 4,000 contacts. One computer had another 13 networked into it, from servers he said around the world. There were 30 hard drives. “The suspect is really a highly technical person, he is computer savvy, so he was able to hide several computers within the computer,” said Chief Francisco.

Investigators hope digital forensics will lead them to rescue dozens, possibly hundreds, of victims. And they expect to catch more conspirators in the wider syndicate, both in the Philippines and abroad.

Neighbors who gathered to watch the raid knew something was wrong in that house. “No, no, not drugs,” said a man who rolled up on a bike. “Computers. Sex. Children.”

Josue Santos, who patrols the neighborhood on foot, said he saw seven children, 3 boys and 4 girls, heading into Deakin’s home one evening a few months ago. Others nodded. Bessie Geronimo, across the street, was teary-eyed. She’d seen children going in and out. Now, she wondered, could she have intervened? “How could they do such a thing?” she asked. “Oh, I pity those children.”

Authorities from a village police substation said a housekeeper filed a complaint against Deakin last year: he wasn’t paying her, she said, and she was worried about what he was doing with children in the bedroom with the door closed. They visited his house but had no authority for a raid. “There are many such places,” said security officer Mike Wood.

Before Deakin was taken to jail, he asked for a cigarette. He asked to use the bathroom. He asked for his Bible. And he said he’d been planning to leave town. Just one day earlier, he had texted a friend: “I’ve got to get out of here.”

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 11:18 pm 
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Philippine police make more child cybersex arrests, rescues
By MARTHA MENDOZA and JIM GOMEZ
11 May 2017

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Authorities in the Philippines have rescued four girls and arrested a mother and two other women for allegedly livestreaming sexually exploitative videos of children to men paying by the minute to watch from the United States.

Three sisters ages 8, 9 and 12, and an 11-year-old found in a separate rescue, are now in a shelter for abused children while the women face prosecution.

The arrests came just two weeks after Filipino authorities raided the home of an American man suspected of similar cybersex crimes, arresting David Timothy Deakin, 53, in his townhouse. During that bust, agents from the National Bureau of Investigation rescued two girls, 10 and 12, who had spent time in Deakin's home, and made one of the largest seizures of illicit digital content in the Philippines. Dozens of hard drives and a handful of computers must now be analyzed to search for other possible victims, as well as buyers. Deakin denied wrongdoing. "They got it twisted around like somehow I was using those girls," he told the Associated Press after his April 20 arrest.

The series of arrests and rescues underscore a rapidly growing crime in which children, even toddlers, are made to remove their clothes and touch themselves in obscene ways while adults, often their parents, train video cameras on them in exchange for payment from pedophiles abroad. Police in the Philippines are collaborating with their counterparts in Europe, Australia and the U.S. to investigate and prosecute.

The Australian Federal Police and U.S. FBI separately provided Filipino authorities information that led to the arrests of the mother and two other women on May 5, rescuing four girls. They were allegedly making the girls engage in sexually explicit acts while men in Australia and the U.S. watched. The women have been charged with human trafficking, child abuse, child pornography and cybercrime.

Police officer Arlyn Torrendon said she was part of a team that rescued three of the children and arrested the three women, including the mother of the siblings, Friday in a house in Bacolod city on an island about 445 miles (717 kilometers) south of Manila. "The children were innocent. They were not even aware that they were being used in a crime," Torrendon told the AP by telephone from Bacolod. She said the children came from an impoverished family; their mother was a widow.

Gen. Liborio Carabbacan at the National Police Women and Children Protection Center said the incidents are increasing in the Philippines because many people are gaining access to the internet and English fluency is common, making it possible to communicate with would-be customers. Also, he said, parents and relatives, motivated by greed, are often not even aware that it is against the law to exploit their children.

The livestream abuse happens in many of Philippines' densely populated, impoverished neighborhoods, said attorney Gideon Cauton, who works with the nonprofit International Justice Mission. The organization provides social workers, shelters, lawyers and even former U.S. police detectives to local law enforcement, who don't have enough resources to tackle all cases of online sexual exploitation of children.

In metropolitan Manila, where gleaming condominium high-rises and stores selling designer clothes and cars stand in stark contrast to the squalor of the slums, Cauton pointed to Wi-Fi antennas rising from rooftops above a long stretch of shanties and rundown houses. In the past, the antennas amid crushing poverty were red flags, sparking suspicion of cybersex crimes. Today pocket Wi-Fi, cellphone internet and other technology have rendered those irrelevant, driving the crime even further behind the scenes. "This type of crime is really hidden," he said. "Usually the family and community, they are complicit, and these are tight-knit communities, very dense areas."

In the U.S., the proliferation of crimes, along with new mandatory reporting, led to 8.2 million reports last year to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's CyberTipline related to online child sexual exploitation. That compares with 8.3 million reports in the 17 years prior.

One of those reports led authorities in the U.S. to Karl Touset, 72, of Marietta, Georgia, who was sentenced to prison for 10 years in March after Homeland Security Investigations agents found evidence on his computers that he had paid facilitators in the Philippines more than $55,000 over three years for images of girls being sexually exploited.

"Unfortunately, extreme poverty in many parts of the world affords individuals like Touset the opportunity to exploit children across national borders," said U.S. Attorney John Horn in a statement after the sentencing.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:02 pm 
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Cambodian PM to expel NGO over TV program on sex workers
1 August 2017

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) -- Cambodia's prime minister has ordered the ouster of an American-led Christian organization that seeks to rescue and rehabilitate women working in the sex trade, saying its comments in a TV report last week demeaned the country.

The report by CNN showed the head of the Agape International Mission, Don Brewster of Lincoln, California, describing child prostitution in the Svay Pak suburb of Phnom Penh. The report was a follow-up to a 2013 story on the same subject.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, speaking Tuesday at a graduation ceremony, singled out the program's reporting that Cambodian mothers sold their daughters into prostitution as particularly insulting, although the 2013 story by CNN had previously reported that. The new report also showed Brewster declaring that Svay Pak's child prostitution problem had improved.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:12 pm 
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Modern slavery more prevalent than thought
10 August 2017

LONDON (AP) -- Britain's National Crime Agency says human trafficking and modern slavery are much more prevalent than previously thought, and there are 300 active police investigations across the U.K.

Agency official Will Kerr says investigators have found widespread evidence of people as young as 12 being sold for sexual exploitation or forced labor. He said victims can be found working in car washes, on construction sites, in brothels and at cannabis factories. Kerr told reporters Thursday that "the growing body of evidence we are collecting points to the scale being far larger than anyone previously thought."

The agency is launching a campaign to raise public awareness of modern slavery. Kerr says signs of slavery include visible injuries, a distressed appearance and any indication an individual is being controlled by another person.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:03 pm 
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Cambodian PM to expel NGO over TV program on sex workers
1 August 2017

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) -- Cambodia's prime minister has ordered the ouster of an American-led Christian organization that seeks to rescue and rehabilitate women working in the sex trade, saying its comments in a TV report last week demeaned the country.

The report by CNN showed the head of the Agape International Mission, Don Brewster of Lincoln, California, describing child prostitution in the Svay Pak suburb of Phnom Penh. The report was a follow-up to a 2013 story on the same subject.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, speaking Tuesday at a graduation ceremony, singled out the program's reporting that Cambodian mothers sold their daughters into prostitution as particularly insulting, although the 2013 story by CNN had previously reported that. The new report also showed Brewster declaring that Svay Pak's child prostitution problem had improved.

Source: AP

Cambodia rescinds expulsion of US charity workers
By SOPHENG CHEANG
22 August 2017

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) -- Cambodia's prime minister said Tuesday he has rescinded his decision to expel an American-led Christian organization that seeks to rescue and rehabilitate women working in the sex trade, accepting its apology and explanation that it did not intend to demean Cambodians.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said the Roseville, California-based group, Agape International Missions, would be allowed to continue its normal operations and that he hoped the group had learned a lesson from the controversy.

Hun Sen ordered the group expelled three weeks ago after its personnel appeared in a CNN report about child prostitution in Cambodia. Hun Sen took offense that the report said Cambodian mothers sold their daughters into prostitution. He and other officials said the report should have noted that the women profiled were ethnic Vietnamese, rather than Cambodia's mainstream ethnic Khmer. Many Cambodians share a long-established prejudice against Vietnam, a much larger neighboring country that has traditionally been suspected of coveting Cambodian territory and resources. "This nation is not for insulting," Hun Sen said Tuesday at a forum for conservationists.

Agape International Missions, founded by Don Brewster and his wife Bridget, opened its first center for former child sex workers in 2006, according to the group's website. Brewster of Lincoln, California, described child prostitution in the Svay Pak suburb of Phnom Penh in the CNN story, which was a follow-up to a 2013 report on the same subject. The website says the group, also known as AIM, "has been granted unique permission by the Cambodian government to conduct investigations, perform raids, make arrests and rescue victims of sex trafficking alongside local government officials within the country of Cambodia."

On Monday, Brewster on behalf of AIM held a news conference at which he expressed his "heartfelt apology" for any offense the CNN report had caused and specifically for its identifying the women profiled as Cambodian. "Recently, myself and the NGO I led, Agape International Mission, were mistakenly accused of working with CNN to defame the integrity of Cambodian mothers and of not having programs to help the people of Cambodia. Both of these accusations are false," he said. "CNN identified the three girls as Cambodian when in fact they are ethnically Vietnamese. This misidentification was made even though I told CNN the girls were Vietnamese," he said in a statement.

CNN declined to comment on Tuesday's development. In a statement published by The Cambodia Daily after Hun Sen's original criticism of the program, CNN said it stood by its story, noting that its point was that progress had been made in combating child sex trafficking since its previous story.

Hun Sen originally lashed out at both AIM and CNN when he first denounced the broadcast, but on Tuesday pinned the blame on CNN. His original criticism of AIM had been harsh. Hun Sen said he "could not accept" the assertion that Cambodian mothers sold their daughters into prostitution. "My country is poor but you can't insult my people," he said. "This insult cannot be tolerated. No matter what it costs us, this organization has to leave Cambodia."

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:04 am 
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The juju curse that binds trafficked Nigerian women into sex slavery
By Lorenzo Tondo in Palermo and Annie Kelly
3 September 2017

Every night as dusk falls in Piazza Gastone in the Noce district of Palermo, a tall, imposing Ghanaian woman dressed in traditional west African robes stands before a small congregation sweating in rows of plastic chairs before her.

The Pentecostal Church of Odasani has been converted from an old garage in a backstreet into a place of worship, albeit one unrecognised by any formal faith group. But what many of the congregation – largely young Nigerian women – have come for tonight is more than prayer; it is freedom. “Nigerian women come to me for help, they have bad spirits that have been put inside their bodies by people who want to make money from them,” says the self-proclaimed prophetess, as she prepares to start her service.

She gestures to her devotees, who sit nervously fiddling with their phones as they wait for her to begin. “The spirit is forcing them to remain in a life of prostitution. When they come to Europe and realise they can’t live this life, they come to me and I help free them of this juju forever.” She says she has spent the past 10 years battling the juju curses that are potentially keeping tens of thousands of Nigerian women under the control of human traffickers across Europe.

The abuse of religious and cultural belief systems in Nigeria has proved a deadly and effective control mechanism for traffickers involved in the recruitment of women destined for the sex trade in Europe. A hugely profitable and well-organised criminal industry has been operating between Italy and Nigeria for more than two decades but the UN’s International Organisation for Migration says it has seen an almost 600% rise in the number of potential sex trafficking victims arriving in Italy by sea over the past three years.

In 2016 its staff registered more than 11,000 Nigerian women at landing points in Sicily, with more than 80% of them victims of trafficking and destined for a life of forced prostitution on street corners and in brothels across Italy and Europe. Before they left Nigeria, many of them will have been made to undergo traditional oath-taking ceremonies involving complicated and frightening rituals often using the women’s blood, hair and clothing. These rituals – which have become known as the “juju” – bond the woman to her trafficker and to any debts she will incur. The rituals make it clear that failure to pay off those debts will result in terrible things happening to the woman and her family.

“This juju might seem like something small or meaningless to people here in Europe, but to the women these curses are real and they are terrifying,” says Princess Inyang Okokon, who runs Piam Onlus, an anti-trafficking NGO and who was herself taken from Nigeria to Italy in 1998. “Using these very old belief systems passed down through generations is a psychological form of control that is much stronger than any violence that can be done to them.”

Psychologists in hospitals across Sicily say they are witnessing a growing mental health crisis in these women among Nigerians who have been persuaded to leave their traffickers by the authorities or NGOs. At the Vittorio Emanuele hospital in Catania, 20 Nigerian women are being treated by the psychiatric department – double the number last year. “These women, who are brought to us by our emergency staff, have been abused, they have been raped, imprisoned and blackmailed. Some of them are as young as 12,” says Dr Aldo Virgilio.

He says that 80% of those coming to the outpatient clinic are asylum seekers. “Already this year we have seen 80 cases of women being brought to us, but many refuse food and treatment, they are afraid something is coming to hurt them. We cannot convince them that this is not the case. We can treat their symptoms with drugs but this doesn’t resolve the deep-set psychological fractures that have occurred. So aside from the drugs there is little we can do for them.”

At the Paolo Giaccone hospital in Palermo, Dr Filippo Casadei and Dr Maria Chiara Monti are trying to help five Nigerian women referred by migrant reception centres and shelters. They say that while they understand the women’s psychotic episodes, hallucinations, panic attacks, insomnia and fits to be the physical signs of post-traumatic stress disorders, the women themselves see them as proof that the juju is coming to punish them for leaving their traffickers and breaking their oaths. “On top of the terrible abuse they have faced while being trafficked, the juju is a constant source of strain on these women, they feel under constant threat and this creates a kind of psychological dependency and addiction,” says Monti. “So when they leave their traffickers, the pressure of the years of carrying this curse on their shoulders can break them.”

Casadei says that they recently had a young patient who had been trafficked from her home town in Edo state and had been referred to the hospital after escaping her traffickers. “She had been doing so well. We were so proud of her. She’d escaped her captors, had been living independently,” Casadei says. “But then one day she received a package in the post from her home town. She couldn’t tell us what was inside but we knew it was related to the juju curse that she’d been made to undergo before her journey to Europe. She had a severe psychotic episode, a very violent reaction to whatever was in that package and we never saw her again.”

Casadei and Monti admit they are at a loss to know how to help the women. “It is pointless trying to say that these curses are not real, these women need to believe in a treatment or solution and there is an impenetrable wall between our two belief systems,” says Casadei. “Our approach of western psychology is virtually useless in these cases.”

Prosecutors say that the juju’s hold over the women is hindering their fight against the traffickers. “Because of the juju, Nigerian women become the perfect victims of sexual slavery,” says Salvatore Vella, a prosecutor in Agrigento. “Gangs know they can trust them, they know women are not going to report them to the police because they are afraid of the consequences for breaking the juju. And this makes our investigation harder. It is almost impossible to find witnesses among Nigerian prostitutes because of the ritual. Maybe one in 20 is ready to speak out. The rest of them are stuck in a wall of silence and fear.’’

There is also evidence of Nigerian criminal gangs in Sicily being in touch with the traditional priests who conduct the rituals. “They are providing the traffickers in Italy with all the information they need to terrify and control their victims. When the women arrive the traffickers know their names, real ages, names of their relatives, and above all the name of the “priest” who conducted the juju ceremonies. You don’t need to use violence if you have this sort of control.”

Some local African leaders on the island are trying to form a bridge between the authorities and victims to try to break the psychological chains. Sister Mary Anne Nwiboko, a Catholic nun working in a convent in Carlentini in Syracuse, says she has helped more than 300 Nigerian women escape their traffickers since 1998. A trained counsellor and psychotherapist, she works with the police to help identify and approach potential victims. “I have always battled the juju,” she says. “I do not believe in these ceremonies but I understand the power that they hold over these women.”

In recent months, she says the number of women independently seeking her out to help them escape the juju curses has risen sharply. She says she invites them into her convent and uses prayer and song to try to get them to trust her. “These women are very far away from their home. I know their language, their world, it helps me explain that they don’t need to be afraid. Behind every one of these ceremonies is money and I try to show this to the women. That this is not magic, it is just a way to keep them under their control.”

The influence of a handful of west African self-styled Pentecostal priests and traditional healers who are claiming to exorcise juju spells is also on the rise. Small informal churches, like the one in Noce, have sprung up in disused buildings and private homes. This is concerning charities such as Médecins sans Frontières who believe they are often working in tandem with traffickers to keep the women under their control. “Sometimes these preachers are the very same people who are reminding the women that they must not fail to pay their debt,” says Lilian Pizzi, a psychotherapist with MSF.

The Odasani “priestess” vigorously denies that she is doing anything but using “her power” to save the lives of the women who come to her door. This evening, after she has started her service, she invites a young woman asking to be freed of her traffickers to stand in the middle of a circle. The congregation starts to chant and pray, their voices getting louder and faster as the ceremony progresses. The priestess blesses water and oil before conducting a traditional ritual of purification, dousing the woman and commanding the bad spirits to leave her forever.

“I ask the spirit, what is your name? And the spirit answers. And I say, in the name of the Lord depart from my daughter,” she says, raising her arms to the sky. “For many when they leave here the juju has departed their bodies. If they believe this then they are healed and they are free. But if they don’t believe then it is no good. If they don’t believe then there is nothing I can do to help them.”

Source: The Observer UK

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:58 pm 
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Interpol: 40 human traffickers arrested, 236 African children saved
By ANGELA CHARLTON
24 November 2017

PARIS (AP) -- Police in five African countries arrested 40 suspected human traffickers and rescued hundreds of victims - including 236 minors - in an exceptionally large-scale Interpol-led operation.

Unusually, most of the suspects are women. The traffickers lured vulnerable girls and young women into prostitution networks. Other victims were impoverished children whose parents handed them over to people promising them a better life. Instead, they were forced to beg in the streets and deprived of food or clean water or otherwise abused if they didn't bring in enough money, Interpol said.

When they were rescued, "some hadn't taken a shower for two months," Interpol criminal intelligence officer Innocentia Apovo, who coordinated the operation, told the Associated Press. The suspected traffickers had "little to no regard for working conditions or human life," France-based Interpol said in a statement.

The police operation Nov. 6-10 was carried out simultaneously in Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. The victims came from several countries around Africa. The traffickers were from the five countries targeted in the police operation plus Nigeria. The 40 suspects will face prosecution in the countries where they were arrested, on charges including human trafficking, forced labor and child exploitation.

Aid groups and the International Organization for Migration are working to care for the victims. One was a 16-year old Nigerian girl seeking work to earn money to care for her family. She was taken on by a "sponsor" in Mali who then forced her into prostitution to reimburse her travel costs, Interpol said.

Seven Nigerian girls saved from traffickers in Mali begged to be sent home after their rescue. "They didn't want to spend a single day further in Mali, given the ordeal they suffered," Apovo said.

The operation was part of the German government-funded Sahel Project, which targets human trafficking in the region. Interpol said officials from across the region met after the operation to discuss next steps for the victims and cross-border efforts against trafficking. The operation allowed police to identify other possible suspects involved in trafficking networks. "I think they are not far, and we will get to them" too, Apovo said.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:07 am 
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Connecticut case reveals shame, trauma of male sex trafficking victims
By DAVE COLLINS
November 15, 2018

TOLLAND, Conn. (AP) — Like many victims of a Connecticut sex trafficking ring that preyed on troubled young men and teenage boys for more than 20 years, Samuel Marino never told his family or police about being coerced into sexual relations with much older men.

Marino ended up carjacking vehicles from two different women in 2009 and leading police on a chase that left him dead at just 26 years old. In a handwritten note found years later in a raid on one of the suspected sex trafficking ring leader's homes, Marino wrote he was angry, ashamed and disgusted at how he was taken advantage of.

"He couldn't deal with the torture and the shame of being prostituted and also of being an addict," said his mother, Linda Marino, who found out about the sex trafficking only after the arrests were announced two years ago. "I'm sure he felt hopelessness and despair. The pain of not being able to help my son Sam when he was going through this is insurmountable."

Police said they identified at least 15 victims of the Connecticut trafficking ring but believe there could be dozens more. The operation appeared to date to the 1990s and was discovered only after a state probation officer reported it to authorities in January 2016, police said. One of the victims had told the probation officer about being trafficked, officials said. Two men have pleaded guilty to trafficking-related charges and a third is expected to go on trial early next year.

The case has illuminated what victims and advocates call the underreported scourge of male sex trafficking. While both male and female trafficking victims suffer trauma and other psychological scars, data suggest men and boys are less likely to come forward and when they do they are more likely to have difficulties finding counseling and other services, victims and advocates say.

The suspects targeted teenage boys and young men who were developmentally disabled, mentally ill and addicted to drugs, police said. One of the defendants, Robert King, found some of his victims at drug rehab centers. He would allegedly give them drugs, including heroin and cocaine, and take them to other men for sex acts so they could earn money to pay him back for the drugs, according to arrest warrants.

King, 53, of Danbury, pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to commit human trafficking and is expected to be sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison after cooperating in the trial of another defendant, wealthy Glastonbury businessman Bruce Bemer, whose lawyers said he is not guilty of the charges. A third defendant, William Trefzger, 74, of Westport, pleaded guilty in February to patronizing a trafficked person and was sentenced to a year in prison.

The trafficking ring left behind a trail of devastation. The victims suffer a variety of psychological ailments including post-traumatic stress disorder and repeated flashbacks, according to lawsuits filed by several victims. And their families continue coping with the trauma in the aftermath.

One man, known only as "Victim #1" in arrest warrants, suffers from severe mental health disorders and isn't capable of living independently. He was searching dumpsters for returnable bottles when he met King, he told police.

Another young man, described only as "Victim #2" in arrest warrants, has severe psychological disorders. He told police he was paid $50 to $80 for sexual encounters with older men. He said King threatened to kill him if he told anyone about the trafficking ring, which left him traumatized. He told a health care provider he was embarrassed and worried that people may think he was homosexual when he was not, an arrest warrant said.

It is not uncommon for male victims to worry about their masculinity and sexual orientation being questioned, said Robert Lung, a Colorado state judge and member of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. And while all victims of trafficking and sexual assault are often hesitant to come forward due to fear and other issues, Lung said there are fewer services, including counseling, available to men because most providers focus on treating women.

"The perception by society is boys and men are not victims," said Lung, who, like other members of the advisory council, is a sex trafficking survivor. "I can count on one hand the number of organizations that are specific to boys and men in the country. And that's a pretty big problem."

He cited a 2010 study by John Marshall Law School professor Samuel Jones that found only two of the 222 institutions and programs that received federal government funding for anti-trafficking efforts were committed to fighting the trafficking of men and boys.

The Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, appointed by President Trump in March, is expected to make numerous recommendations in a report due early next year. Lung hopes one of them includes providing incentives to providers to treat more male trafficking victims.

Accurate data on the sex trafficking of men and boys is lacking and estimates on the number and gender of victims varies widely, advocates said. The National Human Trafficking Hotline, run by government-funded Polaris, says 8,524 human trafficking cases were reported in the U.S. last year, including both sex and labor trafficking. Of those, 1,124 cases, or 13 percent, involved male victims. Other studies and research have said the percentage of male victims is much higher, more than half in some reports including a 2008 study of the sexual exploitation of children in New York City by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

One report last year estimated that 4.8 million adults and children worldwide were sex trafficking victims in 2016. But the report, by the International Labour Organization, the Walk Free Foundation and the International Organization for Migration, said women and girls accounted for 99 percent of all victims.

A 2016 study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice that interviewed nearly 1,000 youths involved in the sex trade found 36 percent were male. About 53 percent of those victims were heterosexual, 36 percent were bisexual and 9 percent were gay, according to the study by the Center for Court Innovation and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Some reports indicate gay and transgender men and boys are more at risk for becoming sex trafficking victims. Advocates, however, say victims' sexual orientation is irrelevant.

Samuel Marino, the Connecticut victim who died in a car crash, revealed his feelings in a typo-filled note police say they found in 2016 in King's Danbury trailer home while executing a search warrant. The note references King. "I felt so angry at Bob at myself," he wrote. "Guilty ashamed and discusted. What hapend was an act of survival. I was ... taken advantage of. It wasn't my falt It wasn't my falt It wasn't my falt."

Source: AP

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