Human Trafficking in Hotels: New York Lawmaker Teams Up With Advocate

The first time Anneke Lucas heard about legislation designed to rescue human trafficking victims in hotels, she couldn't help but think about how something like that could have helped her as a child. 

How bar of soap can save human trafficking victim

A few weeks ago, at the beginning of national Human Trafficking Awareness Month, at seamy metro Detroit motels where rooms rent by the hour, Aleksandra Andjelkovic and other members of the Grosse Pointe Soroptimists came calling.

The Soroptimists brought flyers bearing information about Michigan runaways, and they offered the proprietors specially-wrapped bars of soap. Save some money by placing these bars of soap in each room, the Soroptimists pitched the motels. ... And maybe save a life, the volunteers said.

The bars of soap were wrapped in labels that feature the National Human Trafficking Hotline Number (888-373-7888). The wrapper asks: "Are you being forced to do anything you do not want to do?''"We go to the kind of hotels most of us wouldn't walk into," says Andjelkovic, 47, of Grosse Pointe Park, a licensed mental health therapist. Some motel operators signal total disdain, but she starts the conversation by talking about missing children because "it's hard for them to turn away when you say you are looking for a missing child."Every January for the last several years, the local Soroptimists have passed out the soaps at motels, strip clubs and other spots. A similar effort is under way this week at motels in Phoenix, in advance of the Feb. 1 Super Bowl.

Special events, with large diverse audiences, such as the North American International Auto Show and the Super Bowl provide an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the issue of human trafficking, says Homeland Security Supervisory Special Agent Michael Ball, who leads a metro Detroit human trafficking task force with other law enforcement personnel.

"It's a global problem, but it's taking place here locally, too," said Ball. "This is an ongoing process where we have these outreach campaigns throughout the year. It's just that awareness seems to be heightened at these times when we have international visitors to this area.

"One of the biggest problems is that you have victims or people who know the victims, who are aware," said Ball. "But they are afraid because of the countries they come from, or are intimidated by the people involved, and they are afraid to report their situation to law enforcement."

Fighting Sex Trafficking is Harder Than it Seems

More than half the states have passed laws to protect victims, but the laws aren’t always enforced and often produce new challenges.

BY  | JANUARY 2017
(Photos by David Kidd)

When a young teen named Anjelique ran away from her home near San Francisco last summer, her trauma didn’t end when police eventually found her. Instead, while her distraught mother and grandmother posted “missing child” fliers all over the East Bay area, police took Anjelique to an Alameda County social services assessment center in Hayward. Before police take troubled youths home, they often bring them there to receive counseling and services.

But 12-year-old Anjelique only stayed one night. That’s because sex traffickers were using the assessment center as a recruitment base... 

Member of International Child Exploitation Conspiracy Pleads Guilty

A Weed, California man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to produce child pornography for his participation in a website that was operated for the purpose of coercing and enticing minors as young as eight years old to engage in sexually explicit conduct on web camera.  

Delta Air Lines SkyWish Partners with Polaris

Every day, traffickers use the world’s vast transportation networks to exploit their victims. We see human traffickers operate wherever a transportation system can be utilized for profit—in truck stops, train stations, cabs, and airports. That's why partnerships are important, so Polaris can bring awareness to human trafficking in transportation hubs across the nation.

And the airline industry is fighting back...

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