Friday, March 23, 2012

Justice Department: Record number of human-trafficking cases in 2011

The Washington Times

Thursday, March 15, 2012 
The Justice Department initiated more than 120 cases against human traffickers during 2011 — a record number — in what Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Thursday was a part of thedepartment’s commitment to preventing human trafficking, bringing traffickers to justice and assisting their victims.
Mr. Holder, speaking at a Washington meeting of President Obama's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, said the commitment has “never been stronger — and our approach has never been more effective.”
“Our work has sent a clear and critical message: that, in this country — and under this administration — human-trafficking crimes will not be tolerated,” he said. “This work has saved lives, ensured freedom and restored dignity to women, men and children in virtually every corner of the country. We’ve liberated scores of victims; secured long prison sentences against individual traffickers; and dismantled large, transnational organized criminal enterprises.”
Mr. Holder said that over the past three years, the department had achieved “significant increases in human-trafficking prosecutions,” including a rise of more than 30 percent in the number of forced-labor and adult sex-trafficking prosecutions.
In February 2011, the Justice Department began a Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative to take its countertrafficking enforcement efforts to a new level. As part of that effort, Mr. Holderannounced the creation of the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team Initiative, an interagency collaboration among the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor aimed at streamlining federal criminal investigations and prosecutions of human-trafficking offenses.
Six Phase I Pilot ACTeams have since been activated in Atlanta; El Paso, Texas; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; and Miami.
“By bringing federal investigative agencies and federal prosecutors together, they’re allowing us to develop and advance high-impact human-trafficking prosecutions,” he said.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

ICE agents draw fire of handling North Texas human trafficking cases

By Jack Douglas Jr., CBS 11 News
February 29, 2012 10:10 PM

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A recently retired Dallas Police officer, with 32 years of law enforcement experience, has spoken out against the way some federal immigration agents handle human-trafficking cases in North Texas, adding to a chorus of criticism revealed only in a CBS 11 News investigation.
“They don’t take the time to look at everything,” retired lawman Joe Thompson told CBS 11’s investigative reporter Ginger Allen.
Thompson, who spent the last seven years with the Dallas Police Department as a vice and human-trafficking investigator, was referring to the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency in North Texas.
In an exclusive report last week, CBS 11 was told by two Fort Worth police officers that ICE declined to treat as a victim a young Honduran woman who was believed by others to have been taken to North Texas by an abusive trafficker.
The suspect, instead of being prosecuted as a trafficker, was deported back to Honduras. The suspect then re-entered the United States late last year, nearly catching up to the woman again in a different state until ICE agents there stepped in and rescued her.
While working as a DPD human-trafficking investigator, Thompson said he was repeatedly frustrated when he tried to get help from ICE agents in North Texas. Instead of treating the women as victims, according to Thompson, agents often treated them only as people who were in the country illegally.
“They get in too big of a hurry … they take somebody into custody, they talk to them for a few minutes, and then make their decision … Their decision is deportation,” Thompson told Allen.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Modern Slavery in Arlington, TX

Nigerian Woman Explains Escaping Enslavement In Arlington Home

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A woman who was held captive inside an Arlington house for nine years shared her story with CBS 11, explaining how she survived and escaped after she was tricked and forced into captivity.
This woman, who requested to be called Cindy, didn’t ask that we disguise her voice, or hide her face.
Cindy only asked that she wear a pair of dark sunglasses.
She thought she was coming to Texas from Nigeria to work as a nanny for Emmanuel and Ngozi Nnaji.
Instead, she was enslaved in their Arlington house for nine years.
The couple forced her to take care of their three children, and do all the chores 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Cindy says she never had a break, never had a day off, and never had any time for herself. She said, “I had no choice” in the Nnaji’s house.
Cindy was never allowed to leave, not even to go to church.