Most online recruitment in sex trafficking cases occurs on Facebook: analysis

The majority of online recruitment in sex trafficking cases last year took place on Facebook, according to a new report.

The Human Trafficking Institute on Tuesday said in its annual report that 59 percent of online recruitment of victims occurred on Facebook, along with 65 percent of child victims.

“The internet has become the dominant tool that traffickers use to recruit victims, and they often recruit them on a number of very common social networking websites,” Victor Boutros, CEO of the Human Trafficking Institute, told CBS News on Wednesday.

“Facebook overwhelmingly is used by traffickers to recruit victims in active sex trafficking cases,” he added.

In a statement to CBS News, Facebook said: “Sex trafficking and child exploitation are abhorrent and we don’t allow them on Facebook. We have policies and technology to prevent these types of abuses and take down any content that violates our rules.”

Keep reading

Matt Gaetz’s Wingman Claims the Congressman Paid for Sex With a 17-Year-Old

Matt Gaetz is back in the news, a now-frequent occurrence which, despite the all-press-is-good-press ethos around which he built his political career, hasn’t exactly been a boon to the Florida congressman’s brand over the past month or so.

The Daily Beast reported Thursday night that it obtained a letter in which Joel Greenberg, Gaetz’s now notorious running buddy, admitted that he and the embattled congressman paid a 17-year-old girl for sex. The letter was sent to former Trump adviser Roger Stone as part of an attempt to get him to lobby the then-president for a pardon. Stone confirmed to The Daily Beast that Greenberg had indeed sought his help in securing a pardon, and that he asked Greenberg to provide him with “a document explaining his prosecution.”

Greenberg has been charged with a mind-boggling array of crimes, leading to his resignation last summer as Seminole County, Florida’s tax collector. The 33 charges against Greenberg include stalking, identity theft, embezzling taxpayer money, and sex-trafficking a 17-year-old girl. The New York Times reported last month that federal authorities are currently investigating whether Gaetz sex-trafficked the very same minor.

Keep reading

Matt Gaetz case gets more bizarre as extortion claim involves search for missing ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson

Details surrounding the claim by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., that he is the victim of an extortion plot involving allegations of a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old now portend to connect it to a search for an FBI agent who went missing in Iran 14 years ago.

According to documents obtained and reported by the Washington Examiner, Gaetz’s family was approached by former Air Force intelligence officer Bob Kent, who claimed that he had located former agent Robert Levinson, whose family presumed him to be dead. Kent reportedly sought a $25 million loan to fund an operation to rescue Levinson, and promised to help the congressman with legal woes in return.

“In exchange for the funds being arranged, and upon the release of Mr. Levinson, the team that delivers Mr. Levinson to the President of The United States shall strongly advocate that President Biden issue a Presidential Pardon, or instruct the Department of Justice to terminate any and all investigations involving Congressman Gaetz,” said the document Kent reportedly gave Gaetz’s father, which bore the heading “Project Homecoming.”

The document stated that Rep. Gaetz was “currently under investigation by the FBI for various public corruption and public integrity issues.” It goes on to allege that the FBI has learned of images of Gaetz in a “sexual orgy with underage prostitutes.”

The document reportedly calls for Gaetz’s father to place $25 million in a trust account of law firm Beggs & Land, bearing the name of Levinson family attorney anf former federal prosecutor David McGee.

Gaetz has denied any allegations of wrongdoing and claimed that he was the target of an extortion attempt folllowing a Tuesday New York Times report that said Gaetz is currently the subject of a federal sex trafficking investigation involving a then-17-year-old girl.

Keep reading

Former U.S. Olympics Gymnastics Coach Found Dead by Suicide After Being Charged With Human Trafficking

Geddert was accused of committing at least one sexual assault and multiple incidents of physical abuse against dozens of his young female athletes.

Just hours before the news of Geddert’s death, Nessel announced the charges in the case. 

“These allegations focus around multiple acts of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse perpetrated by the defendant against multiple young women. I am grateful for these survivors coming forward to cooperate with our investigation and for bravely sharing their stories,” Nessel tweeted. 

“The charges against Mr. Geddert are the result of a great deal of hard work by my investigators and prosecutors, and I would like to express my gratitude for their devoted service, as well as the cooperation and efforts of the Michigan State Police, Eaton County Sheriff’s Office and Eaton County Prosecutor Doug Lloyd and his staff. This case has truly been a joint effort by law enforcement and another example of how authorities at multiple levels of government can work together in pursuit of justice.”

Keep reading

NXIVM Sex Cult Slaves Speak Out: ‘It Was New, It Was Edgy, and It Was Good’

The saga of the DOS sex cult founded by Keith Raniere, called NXIVM within the larger organization, continues as former members of the secret sorority have come to the defense of their master, as reported by Frank Parlato, who broke the story of the sex cult. Eight women who were part of the DOS secret club, which required blackmail material from their pledges and branded women near their genitals, have come out with a written statement of support for the ideology that sent Raniere and billionaire heiress Clare Bronfman to prison for trafficking women and girls. Allison Mack is awaiting sentencing and facing forty years. The women posted their defense online.

We were driven by curiosity, vision, and a desire to challenge social conventions in exchange for increased self-awareness and self-esteem. DOS, which stands for Dominus Obsequium Sororum (Master, Allegiance, Sisterhood), was an experiment in its infancy. It was new, it was edgy, and it was good.

The eight women in the “first line” of DOS (seven of whom were co-founders) were mentored, yes, by a man, but not by just any man, a man with whom these women had built a combined 100 years of trust, friendship and collaboration.

It is incorrect to believe that we, a group of educated, intelligent, and financially independent women were driven by fear and faulty assumptions, and it is even further absurd to believe we were manipulated by an abusive, power-hungry patriarch. Yet, this is the role society has cast for us: that of hapless, unwitting victims who need to be saved from our own choices. Alternatively, we are seen by the general public as “brainwashed” followers who can’t think for ourselves and who are complicit in heinous crimes. Neither of these views is accurate, but understanding the truth is neither simple nor easy.

The binary narrative of “victim/perpetrator” is uninformed and reductive, and offensive to all the adult women who chose to participate in DOS, even the ones who have retroactively withdrawn their consent. It is also disrespectful to victims of actual crimes like human trafficking, none of whom receive the type of fame and opportunities that the so-called “victims” of DOS have enjoyed. While everyone is entitled to feel how they want about an experience, past or present, we believe that objective reality is still significant, if not essential, when discussing events with such damaging repercussions.

Of course, these eight women appear to have been some of the founding members of this cult, which victimized many women, according to Sarah Edmondson, who says she was told she was getting a tattoo that turned out to be a brand instead. She also claims she had no idea the brand was Mack’s and Raniere’s initials and that no one knew that Raniere was the head of the group. Edmondson told her story to the New York Times and wrote a book on the subject.

Keep reading

Study Finds Nearly Half of Child and Adult Sex Trafficking Victims Were Abused by Police

A shocking new report from the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women paints a disturbing picture of law enforcement and their role in sex trafficking. The report found that instead of preventing child and adult sex trafficking, many police officers are participating in it.

The report is titled “Sex Trafficking in Hawaii: The Stories of Survivors,” which detailed the testimonials from multiple victims. One particularly disturbing part of the report was the fact that almost half of all the victims interviewed reported that police officers participated in their abuse and victimization.

“The corruption of members of the criminal justice system reported by the participants in the study was pervasive in their stories of being prostituted,” the report noted.

The report found that the average age of those being trafficked is just 14-years-old, showing how early the abuse began.

One of the victims interviewed, who wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons explained that “the same people that are charging you for prostitution are the people turning around and buying it from you.”

Keep reading

Two Toledo pastors sentenced for child sex trafficking, third awaiting sentence

Toledo pastor, Cordell Jenkins, 48, was sentenced to life in prison Friday, May 18 for sex trafficking of a minor.

Another Toledo pastor, Kenneth Butler, 39, was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for similar crimes.

Both men pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to sex traffic children, sex trafficking of children and related charges.

Jenkins sexually exploited a female minor at his home, his office at Abundant Life Ministries and at a motel in Toledo.

According to court documents, Jenkins paid the minor and often recorded these interactions with his cell phone.

“These sentences for two men who abused their positions of authority to prey on children are richly deserved,” U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said. “I remain in awe of the courage of the victims and the dedication of our law enforcement personnel in bringing these men to justice.”

A third pastor, Anthony Haynes, 40, was convicted earlier this year of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a minor, sex trafficking, child exploitation and obstruction of a sex trafficking investigation following a trial. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June.

Keep reading