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March 28, 2006

Los Angeles police investigate Korean prostitution network

Prostitution Ring Uncovered in LA's Koreatown

The police have discovered an organized crime ring that brokered deals between Korean women in their twenties and red-light establishments in the U.S. where they worked as prostitutes. Two suspects being identified as Lee (35) and Park (44), have been detained after an investigation that implicated them for helping some 30 Korean women fraudulently obtain U.S. visas since 2004, and acting as go-betweens setting up deals with shady establishments in Los Angeles.

Police are also searching for a man identified as by his last name of Ma (35), under suspicion that he, as an owner of one such establishment, put such women to work as prostitutes after receiving introductions from Park and Lee. Some 30 women were are being investigated without detention.

According to the police, Lee posted ads that read "We offer high-paying jobs in the U.S." on the Internet with the intention to send women to the U.S. as prostitutes, and handed over 30 women to Park getting a commission of 5 million won (US$5,000) per head from Park. Park is under suspicion for helping the women obtain passports and visas with all sorts of fabricated documents and later sending them to Ma's establishment, receiving commission of 20 million won per head from Ma.

According to the police, the majority of the women uncovered in the investigation went to the U.S. voluntarily and Park offered them fake documents to help them obtain visas or smuggled them into the U.S. via Canada. Some of the women used to work in domestic bars and nightclubs and a few are credit delinquents, the police said.

[HT], [SS]

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March 23, 2006

"The worst scene imaginable..." - Update on March 15 net child porn bust story

A week old, but another follow-up to the story where international authorities broke up an online child porn ring involving 27 members. Some of the details are revisted from the initial report, but this article focuses a bit on the Canadian side of the sting effort.

The Toronto police apparently did an outstanding job.
Police stumbled into the worst scene imaginable - live web broadcasts of people raping children and even babies
Toronto Sun
Thu, March 16, 2006

No longer content with disgusting still images of the worst imaginable child pornography. No longer titillated with the recycling of the same horrific child porn videos.

And so it has now come to this -- live child sexual assault, online and on demand.

In an investigation that began in Edmonton, and with suspects identified by Toronto Police's renowned child exploitation branch, 27 people have been arrested in four countries in a global online child pornography sting.

Not only were these users of the Kiddypics & Kiddyvids chat room exchanging child porn, some were making their own by raping children and sharing it with their fellow perverts, sometimes live via webcam.

One baby victim was so young that it still had its umbilical cord attached.
Read the rest, but be forewarned, it's extremely unsettling, to say the least.


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DE-USA: Police raids nab 13 suspects in prostitution ring

Prostitution raids net 13 suspects
The News Journal

A Prices Corner-area father and son accused of running brothels in Delaware and bringing women from New York to work in them have been arrested following weekend raids in which police and federal agents charged five women with selling sex and four men with paying for it.

The raids, at homes in Seaford and near Frankford and Prices Corner, all occurred at 4 p.m. Sunday, as did a search of a home in Hammonton, N.J., said state police spokesman Cpl. Jeff Oldham.

At one of the homes, in the 1600 block of Newport Gap Pike near Prices Corner, police arrested Moises Dominguez Cruz, 53, and his son, Juan C. Dominguez Piedra, 26. Oldham said the men are accused of bringing the women to a rendezvous point in Wilmington and of running brothels. Dominguez Cruz is also accused of making fake identification documents and giving a false name to police and court when he was stopped for a traffic violation.

Oldham said the two were found counting money near a safe when they were taken into custody. Police seized $9,374, along with envelopes with the alleged prostitutes' names and what the women were owed.

People who live near the Newport Gap Pike home, which is in a semi-residential area, said they were unaware that an alleged prostitution ring was based in their neighborhood.
Most people do not have a clue such an operation may exist in their very own neighborhood.

Others choose to ignore it.

[HT], [SS]

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March 15, 2006

International effort busts 27 in online child porn sting

U.S. Charges 27 in Online Child Porn Sting
Associated Press Writer

INDIANAPOLIS - U.S. and international authorities have charged 27 people in an online child pornography sting, a federal law enforcement official said Wednesday.

In recent days, federal agents have made arrests in Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Carolina and Tennessee, the official said.

Australian, British and Canadian authorities also are part of the investigation, which began in Canada.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, joined by other U.S. and Canadian officials, was announcing details of the charges at a news conference Wednesday in Chicago.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency led the U.S. investigation.

Gonzales has said the Justice Department would focus on crimes against children and online pornography.
UPDATE: (via Reuters) US says worldwide child pornography ring used Web.
[...] Twenty-seven people from nine U.S. states and Canada, Australia and Britain have been charged with possession, receipt, distribution and manufacture of child pornography, and all but one have been arrested, according to U.S. federal authorities and Canadian police.

[...] "This international undercover investigation revealed an insidious network that engaged in worldwide trafficking in child pornography, including live molestations of children transmitted over the Internet," U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in a statement released ahead of a visit to Chicago.

Authorities have identified seven child victims, including an infant whose molestation in April by a suburban Chicago man was transmitted live via an Internet chat room to a co-conspirator who used the screen name "Big_Daddy619."

Four of those charged allegedly molested the children, making the resulting images available in the chat room called "Kiddypics & Kiddyvids," that facilitated trading of thousands of images and videos, the statement said. [...]

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March 13, 2006

Two U.S. Border Agents allegedly involved in migrant smuggling

LATimes: 2 Border Agents Tied to Migrant Movers.
The men released illegal immigrants and traffickers who'd been captured, earning cash in exchange, a federal indictment says.
By Richard Marosi, Times Staff Writer
March 10, 2006

SAN DIEGO - Two supervisory U.S. Border Patrol agents who helped establish a successful cross-border anti-smuggling program have been charged with smuggling migrants for a Mexican trafficking organization.

The agents, both stationed in the Imperial Valley, released apprehended illegal immigrants in exchange for cash, pulling in about $300,000, according to a federal indictment unsealed Thursday.

The men, Mario Alvarez, 44, and Samuel McClaren, 43, also released captured members of a Mexican smuggling ring, dropping one off at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Calexico for $6,000, prosecutors allege.

Alvarez and McClaren, who were arrested Thursday, face potential 15-year prison terms. The eight-count indictment includes conspiracy, immigrant smuggling and bribery charges.

"The agents arrested today, who are supposed to represent the very best, epitomize the very worst," said Daniel R. Dzwilewski, special agent in charge at the FBI's San Diego office.

Authorities said the investigation is continuing. The two agents are scheduled to be arraigned today in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

Alvarez and McClaren helped establish the much-heralded Guide Identification Prosecution Program, now known as Operation Against Smugglers and Traffickers Initiative on Safety and Security. (more...)
Just goes to show -- money talks, I guess.

What can we do when the very people that we charge to protect our borders involve themselves in such operations?


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March 8, 2006

D.C. man convicted of sexual trafficking

** UPDATED --- See end of post --- UPDATED **

(THE ASSOCIATED PRESS) WASHINGTON -- A man who recruited girls as young as 14 as prostitutes has been convicted of illegal sex trafficking, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

Jaron Brice, 27, of Washington, faces up to 40 years in prison after a jury in U.S. District Court in Washington found him guilty Tuesday of nine counts related to the prostitution operation. Brice also will have to register as a sex offender for life when he leaves prison.

Sentencing was set for May 12.

The case grew out of a Justice Department crackdown on child prostitution that has resulted in more than five dozen convictions in the past three years.

Prosecutors said that over 14 months beginning in March 2004, Brice used threats and violence to force young women into prostitution, sending them to Florida, Maryland and New York. He also had intercourse with a 14-year-old he had recruited as a prostitute.
UPDATE: The Washington Post has much more on the story: Area Juvenile Sex Rings Targeted Using Anti-Trafficking Laws.

[HT], [SS]

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Three Mass. residents convicted of prostituting teen girl around N.E.

Three Convicted Of Forcing Child Into Prostitution
BOSTON -- The last of three Massachusetts residents charged with driving a teenage girl around New England to engage in prostitution has been convicted, federal prosecutors said.

Robert Williams, 48, of Winthrop, Mass., pleaded guilty on Monday to various charges, including conspiracy to transport an individual in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution, conspiring to transport a minor in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution, and sex trafficking of children. The two others charged, Dawn Young, who also goes by the name Dawn Rossi, 40, of Revere, Mass., and Brooke Denman, 29, of Lynn, Mass., pleaded guilty to similar charges earlier this month.

The defendants transported the girl from Massachusetts to Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire to engage in prostitution between October 2000 and September 2002 when she from 13 to 15 years old, prosecutors said. They also took some or all of the girl's earnings from prostitution and helped her get false identification documents. They knew the girl was underage because Williams showed Young a poster of the girl distributed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that included her birth date, according to prosecutors.

Upon sentencing, the defendants face a maximum of five years in prison on the conspiracy charges; a maximum of 20 years on the child sex trafficking charges; a maximum of 10 years on the charges of inducing a minor to travel to engage in prostitution; a maximum of 15 years on the charges of transporting a minor to engage in prostitution; and a maximum of 10 years on the charges of transporting an individual to engage in prostitution.

For the latest news, stay tuned to NBC 30 Connecticut News and

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Welcome to the age of...iPorn?

Child Pornography Allegedly Found on Man's iPod.
It’s a case investigators say is unike any other. A San Marcos man is behind bars accused of having child pornography on his video iPod.

Acting on a tip from the people at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, investigators with the Texas Attorney General’s Office looked into what Ron Guzman had on his iPod.

Investigators say Guzman, who lives in an apartment complex near Texas State University, was trading child pornography off the internet, and then downloading it so he could take it with him wherever he goes. During their investigation nine files with pictures of children performing sex acts were found on his portable device.

Investigators don’t believe Guzman actually took the pictures of the children, on his iPod.

News 4 WOAI also learned Guzman has been previously indicted, in a separate case, on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

No word on what charges he’ll face for the pictures on his iPod.

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March 3, 2006

Report: Canada an "international embarassment" in fight against sex trafficking

Canada an "International Embarrassment" on Sex Trafficking.
By Terry Vanderheyden

MONTREAL, March 2, 2006 ( - Canada and the United Kingdom have been singled out in an international study for failing to meet their obligations for the protection of victims of human trafficking, while other developed countries received praise for their efforts. The study comes at a time when the UK government is considering an overhaul of its policy in this area, and a new Conservative Government has taken power in Canada.

The 40-page study, titled "Falling Short of the Mark: An International Study on the Treatment of Human Trafficking Victims", was released Wednesday by The Future Group, a leading Canadian non-partisan, non-governmental organization founded in 2000 that specializes in combating human trafficking and has worked with victims in Southeast Asia and West Africa.

Of the countries evaluated: Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, only Canada and the UK failed to meet their obligations to protect victims under the United Nations Trafficking Protocol and international best practices.

"Canada's record of dealing with trafficking victims is an international embarrassment and contrary to best practices," wrote principal author Benjamin Perrin. "Canada has ignored calls for reform and continues to re-traumatize trafficking victims, with few exceptions, by subjecting them to routine deportation and fails to provide even basic support services."

The situation in Canada is so bad that individual law enforcement officers are reportedly approaching local hospitals and NGOs to cobble together funding to provide the most basic medical assistance for victims in major cities.

"People have been threatened and told that if they co-operate with law enforcement their families back home will be killed," said Perrin. "What Canada has typically done is detain these victims without medical care, then deport them. It's a practice that we've seen in some authoritarian and despotic countries and it has no place in a civilized, just society like our own."

The report criticizes former Liberal cabinet ministers Irwin Cotler, Joe Volpe and Pierre Pettigrew for "passing the buck" on the issue. Conservative Citizenship and Immigration Minister Monte Solberg told Sun Media, "It's very damning, and if there are obvious legislative or regulatory fixes that need to be done, those have to become priorities, given especially that we're talking about very vulnerable people."

"I am delighted to endorse the report by The Future Group," said Gregory Carlin, Director of the Irish Anti-Trafficking Coalition, "Governments should act by implementing their international obligations. Police officers should not have to collect money to fund basic prerequisites for the victims of trafficking."

The study found that contrary to the practice in other developed countries, trafficking victims in the UK and Canada are dealt with on a case-by-case basis and are routinely deported. Only minimal support has been provided to victims in recent years, and only general laws exist for their protection during investigations. It also found there is no evidence that providing legal status to victims would result in abuses of the system.
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March 2, 2006

USA: Advocacy group to conduct training session in Dover, DE

Human trafficking a growing global problem
Dover session will teach ways of recognizing victims
The News Journal

Human trafficking -- the modern version of slavery -- is a multibillion-dollar-a-year criminal enterprise, ranking behind drug trafficking in global crime statistics.

Some victims of human trafficking are probably working in Delaware, experts say.

"There's no doubt that there is human trafficking in every state in the union," said Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Molloy of Fort Myers, Fla. Molloy has prosecuted several human-trafficking cases.

"If you have an agricultural industry, for example, or large numbers of undocumented workers, you have slavery."

Delaware has a large agricultural sector and other businesses -- such as food service and construction -- that lend themselves to human trafficking, but there have been no specific charges brought to date in the state, U.S. Attorney Colm Connolly said.

"Some local law enforcement agencies have brought matters to us that they thought could be human trafficking, especially in areas such as prostitution rings, but further investigation did not bear that out," Connolly said.

Despite the lack of evidence human trafficking is a problem in the state, one advocacy group is organizing a training session Wednesday in Dover to promote ways to recognize potential victims and signs.

Attendees at the event will include police, social workers, hospital personnel and others who come into contact with the state's immigrant population. It is not open to the public.

A number of experts have said that police and prosecutors are not trained well enough to recognize obvious signs and to deal with victims.

"You need to know how to interview these victims, because they are frightened," said Anna Rodriguez, the founder of the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking. "They have been coached in what to say and threatened repeatedly.

"You have to understand that it can take weeks, even months, to get the full story from victims," she said, because traffickers typically use force, fraud or coercion to rope people into slavery.

In some cases, they kidnap children and women from remote villages in Central America and then tell the victims that their families will be killed if they refuse to comply with the traffickers' demands.

They often rape, beat and confine their victims to control them.

"It's amazing that we have to even talk about human trafficking in the 21st century, but we do because it's a huge issue and it's growing," said Cecilia Cardesa-Lusardi, executive director of the Wilmington-based Voices Without Borders.

Cardesa-Lusardi's group is sponsoring Wednesday's training session.

"The fact that no cases have surfaced in Delaware could be a matter of education," according to Christina Miller, coordinator of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's anti-trafficking project. "People need to know how to recognize these cases."

In other areas of the country, a wide range of people are being taught how to recognize signs of human trafficking.

In Florida, Rodriguez said, health inspectors are asked to report when they see mattresses in the back rooms of restaurants or other signs that someone is being forced to live there.

Meter readers for water and power companies are also trained to look for signs people are being held against their will, Rodriguez said.

If a meter reader sees a mobile home with locks on the outside to keep people inside, she said, "they know to call us and we will investigate."

Cardesa-Lusardi and other organizers of Wednesday's conference want to establish a similar process here that will enable police and community members to work together.

"We talk about human trafficking as a concept that is so abstract that we sometimes fail to make a connection as to how it affects us here," she said.

At the conference, she said, "we want to dissect human trafficking in terms of the ways in which people are brought in as victims and the way they are exploited through commercial sex, pornography and as labor."

In many cases, fraud is used to trap victims into slavery, and phony job offers are a major recruiting tool, experts said. Usually this involves women and children who answer advertisements promising jobs as waitresses, maids and other occupations overseas. Once they arrive in their new country, they are trafficked for prostitution or domestic slavery.

"That is a classic example of human trafficking and we're seeing the same pattern all over the United States, especially with European women," said Terry Coonan, executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights at Florida State University. "They answer an ad, sign a contract, and when they get here they find that the job doesn't exist and they are forced to do something else."

Many European women who are tricked into slavery are victims of Russian gangsters, he said.

"Human trafficking is a multibillion-dollar growth industry because, unlike drugs, which are gone as soon as they are used, humans can be recycled," Coonan said. "Because they can continue to be exploited, they're a better investment for the traffickers."

Contact Mike Billington at 324-2761 or

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