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Thursday, July 29, 2010


Woman pleads guilty to human trafficking prostitutes from Thailand

·    From:AAP 
·         July 29, 2010 2:51PM
A WOMAN trafficked women from Thailand to Australia to work as prostitutes, a Sydney court has been told.
The 48-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded guilty to illegally bringing 11 Thai women to Sydney between August 30, 2005 and April 1, 2008 for the purpose of sexual servitude.

She also pleaded guilty to immigration offences related to the charge.

The defendant, originally from Thailand, charged each woman a fee of $53,000 to come to Australia, Sydney District Court heard today.

She paid a Thai agent $20,000 to supply the women, who then paid off their total debt by working as prostitutes.

The court heard the defendant decided to set up the business after years of working as a prostitute in Sydney.
Speaking through an interpreter, she told a sentencing hearing all the women had been interviewed by phone before their arrival and had been made aware of the nature of the work.
She said she wanted to earn an income to support herself and her daughter, who is now 14, to pay off a unit she bought in Sydney in 2004 and to support her family in Thailand.
The court heard the woman made a profit of between $10,000 and $18,000 on each sex worker after accommodation, food, medical and phone bills had been accounted for.
The profit also depended on how fast each woman could pay off her debt.
The defendant, who holds an accountancy diploma from Thailand, denied she made a profit of  "11 times $53,000", as the prosecution claimed.
Once each worker had paid off her debt, she had become her own agent, the court heard.
The defendant cried throughout the hearing and expressed remorse for her actions.
She said she was worried about the impact a jail sentence would have on her daughter.
The defendant's partner, who is also her daughter's father, told the court the mother and daughter had a very close relationship.
"She needs her mum," he said.
The hearing is continuing

Reading Eagle

By Jason A. Kahl
Reading Eagle

A Reading man who calls himself "God" was arrested by Berks County detectives Wednesday on charges he masterminded an Internet-based call-girl operation from his home and branded his workers with such names as "God's toy" and "God's property," authorities said.

Paul S. Sewell, 44, of the 200 block of North 10th Street was arrested about 3:30 p.m. as he delivered one of his prostitutes to an undercover detective at a hotel in Wyomissing, investigators said.

District Attorney John T. Adams said the arrest of Sewell followed a nine-month investigation by members of the Berks County Drug Task Force.

"It's premature to say where this (ongoing) investigation will take us," Adams said. "But this organization has been put to rest, and we expect this activity is finished."

Sewell, who had unsuccessfully tried to change his name to "God" in Berks County Court, was awaiting arraignment late Wednesday in Reading Central Court on charges of prostitution, running a corrupt organization and related offenses.

Three of the women also were charged. Two were awaiting arraignment late Wednesday, but the third remained at large.

Sewell had a stable of up to 20 women of all ages and nationalities working at one time, Adams said. Sewell advertised on a website he controlled under the name "Cash Money Brothers" and also on Facebook and Craigslist, the DA said.

Adams said the prostitutes were photographed in explicit poses on the websites and categorized as chocolate, caramel or white, based on their skin color.

The site billed itself as an "escort service," but Adams said it was a prostitution business. Prices on the site ranged from $145 per hour to $800 for the night and $2,500 for the weekend.

Sewell told investigators the business brought in $150,000 in 2009, Adams said.

Investigators said they think some minors may have been involved, and are investigating a report that one worker was 12 years old.

After choosing a woman, investigators said, customers would call Sewell to work out the details and arrange to have sex at one of the two row houses he owned in the 200 block of North 10th and the 200 block of Fisher Court, which is directly behind the 10th Street house.

Sewell also offered to deliver the women to customers at hotels or residences as part of an "outcall service," Adams said.

Undercover investigators arranged to have sex for money with Sewell's women on three separate occasions - once at one of the city houses and two other times at hotels in Wyomissing, authorities said. Sewell delivered the women to the Wyomissing hotels, investigators said.

Police said the three women who agreed to have sex for money with the detectives were charged with prostitution and related offenses:

•Sarah L. Robertson, 22, of the 800 block of Franklin Street was arrested Wednesday when Sewell took her to the Wyomissing hotel.

•Melissa Prestash, 28, of the 900 block of Elm Street was arrested Wednesday night in her residence.

Both were awaiting arraignment.

•Christina L. Keppley, 31, of the 400 block of West Second Street, Birdsboro, remained at large.

Investigators said they are trying to identify the other women who worked for Sewell and want to learn how he recruited and controlled them.

The investigation started last year after detectives got tips from residents.

"It was unbelievable," Chief County Detective Michael J. Gombar said. "We stopped it and it needed to be stopped.

"I'm certain that Mr. Sewell has taken advantage of some ladies that have some problems."

Police said Sewell did most of his business in Berks, but expanded into some other counties. There was no indication he crossed state lines, investigators said.

Authorities said they were disturbed to see that all of the women were branded or tattooed on their backs with such names as "God's rebel." They said they will investigate to see if the operation involved human trafficking.

No customers were arrested, but investigators were carting out boxes of records and evidence from both of Sewell's properties late into the night.

When asked about the customers who frequented the business, Gombar said, "They're going to have some sleepless nights, and I hope they're sweating."

In addition to county detectives, state police, city police, Wyomissing and Birdsboro police assisted in the investigation.

Contact Jason A. Kahl: 610-371-5024 or

Portland Tribune

Prostitutes’ customers to be sent off to school

Diversion class aims to change behavior of johns

But now, Multnomah County leaders, Portland police and neighborhood activists are trying to put a dent in the problem by holding the johns accountable for their part in the cycle.
County leaders hope by the end of the year to open a “john school” of sorts: a daylong voluntary diversion class designed to be a wake-up call for the first-time (typically male) offender who picks up adult prostitutes.
Modeled after the nation’s oldest john school in San Francisco, the  county will refer offenders to treatment when necessary and teach
 them about the crime’s impact on both the women involved and 
the community.
“The kids who get out of school around 82nd (Avenue) are propositioned” by the johns, says JR Ujifusa, the deputy district attorney who has prosecuted neighborhood prostitution crimes for the past two and a half years. The johns’ activities damage community livability, he says.
“They have sex in parking lots; we find condoms and needles; pimps fight against each other. When you think of how 82nd Avenue’s been associated with these crimes, we want to get away from that.”
Upon completion of the john school, the convicted offender will get the charge erased from his record after six months, if he does not re-offend.
The catch is that to participate, the offender will have to pony up $1,000 to take the class. The fee will go directly toward paying the courts, police and victim services so that the program can fund itself.
Brian Wong, chairman of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association, thinks that price is steep, but not high enough.
“The cost to society is extreme,” he says. “The pimp’s job is to inflict violence to the woman so she’ll do a $40 transaction with anybody. She has no choice when she’s out there.”
Wong says he and other neighbors are hopeful the john school will put a dent in a crime that saw a dramatic spike two summers ago, just after the city allowed its long-running “prostitution-free zones” to sunset due to constitutional concerns.
After the zones ended, neighbors held town hall meetings and police hit hot spots, mostly on 82nd Avenue near Stark and Sandy, but also on West Burnside, around the entertainment district.
The magnitude of the problem has decreased, but prostitution still persists, Ujifusa says. He sees 80 to 100 arrests per year for solicitation, the majority of them involving first-time offenders.
LifeWorks Northwest, the nonprofit mental health, addiction and treatment provider that serves survivors of the sex trade, would host the john school at its Gresham site and be the lead social service partner.
Jeri Williams, a former street worker who is now a program coordinator for the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement, is glad to hear work is under way to start the john school.
“It’s like we have this triangle – the pimps, the women and the johns,” she says. “The johns go out and break the laws, but they’re untouchable.”
Currently, a man who’s arrested for soliciting sex for the first time would typically receive a sentence of community service or probation, significantly less than the penalties Washington and other states impose. State legislators will introduce a bill next year to make those laws stricter.
Williams says prostitution is often thought of as a victimless crime. From her experience working along 82nd Avenue in 1989, she knows otherwise. “I got stabbed and left for dead,” she says. “They beat you up a lot; they do a lot of lying. Unless you’re forced to be out there, you’re not going to be out there.”

Conflicting results in the past

The john school concept isn’t new to Portland – or the rest of the country.
Portland has seen two start and fall by the wayside before – one in the early 1990s called the Sexual Exploitation Education Project, which folded after two years; and one in 1999 run by Patricia Barrera, a longtime anti-prostitution activist whose effort lasted three years and had to end because her co-organizer fell ill.
“We had them for six hours on a Saturday afternoon,” Barrera says of the johns. “My conclusion was there is no one-size-fits-all.”
In fact, Barrera says she’s skeptical about the county’s latest attempt because she thinks it’s not strong enough. She’d rather see offenders take part in the type of 52-week “batterers’ intervention treatment” mandated for assault crimes in the county. The length of the treatment in her model would be tailored to each offender’s needs.
“Some are sex offenders and need treatment,” she says. “I’m highly concerned about when you look at the extensive intervention the women are required (to undergo) – that there’s an inequity.”
Ujifusa notes that prostitutes who see their first arrest, once the john school starts, will be sentenced to probation. That sentence will include a mandatory one-day introduction to the services at LifeWorks Northwest, with an option to continue if they choose.
Michael Shively had also been an early skeptic of the how effective a one-day diversion program could be, but now says the data has proven it works.
The researcher, based in Cambridge, Mass., is considered the nation’s foremost expert on john schools, having produced an extensive report on San Francisco’s “First Offender Prostitution Program” in 2008, 12 years after it started.
Portland will be one of the cities modeling its program after San Francisco’s. Shively’s study concluded that the program reduced recidivism for half of its participants.
He says the data also concluded that the program was cost-effective, operating at no cost to taxpayers and generating about $1 million for recovery programs for prostitutes escaping the lifestyle. And he found that the San Francisco program was transferable, having been successfully replicated in 12 other U.S. sites and adapted in 25 others over the past decade.
“When I started the evaluation of the San Francisco school, I would’ve bet you literally everything I had it wasn’t going to have a measured impact on re-offending,” he says. “There’s a 50-year social science literature on trying to treat people who commit crime or educating them. There’s a principle of effectiveness – intervention needs to be intense, sustained over months over repeatedly working on people, individual responsive – people have to be assessed for their needs, and one size doesn’t fit all, and then aftercare … there needs to be some sort of transition.”
The john school model – which is basically one-way communication for six to eight hours, with no individual tailoring and no follow-up – met none of those principles, he says.
Yet, after the data so strongly proved that the model worked, Shively says, he reconsidered that 50-year-old social science theory.
The men who get arrested for soliciting sex are not hardened criminals, he says: “They’re far more similar to the general population than to the prison or jail population. … Most of them aren’t trying to hurt anyone, although they do. They’re trying to get their needs met and they’re doing it in a bad way.”
Shively says the offenders’ notions about why prostitutes sell their bodies is “messed up” and reinforced by the sex workers themselves, who are likely forced to make money out of violence, homelessness, addictions, past abuse and a host of societal ills that make them vulnerable to the lifestyle.
“When you really start digging around,” he adds, “then it starts making some sense why if you basically give them a wake-up call and give them some new info, quite a few of the guys are going to get the message.” 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Human trafficking becomes world's 3rd lucrative illegal business

Former chief executive officer of the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center Neil Jensen made this remark at the International Conference on Financial Crime and Terrorism Financing 2010.KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Human trafficking has become the third lucrative illegal business after drug and weapons trafficking, an Australian expert said here on Tuesday.
When quoting the International Labor Organization, Jensen said that human traffickers' profits, usually stable and regular, were estimated at 10 billion to 31.6 billion U.S. dollars a year, or 13, 000 U.S. dollars a victim.
Besides the "attractive" pay, the traffickers operating on coercion, deception, abduction and abuse of power also encountered little risk, added Jensen.
In terms of operation networks, Jensen said they could range from small local groups to transnational organized crime syndicates.
Meanwhile, Jensen said that nearly every country was involved as a country of origin, transit or destination, but due to differing laws among jurisdictions, few studies were done to determine the number of victims, as well as the amount and whereabout of the money.
Some victims also avoided identification and lacked knowledge of human trafficking, added Jensen.
Editor: Deng Shasha

Police use DNA against human trafficking

BEIJING, July 28 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese police are speeding up the establishment of a national DNA database to help missing children find their parents as quickly as possible, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said on Tuesday.
"The DNA database has helped reunite 730 children with their families," Meng Qingtian, an official with the ministry's anti-trafficking office, told China Daily at an international forum on human trafficking hosted by the All China Women's Federation in Beijing on Tuesday.
The database has already collected 107,000 samples from lost children and 35,000 from the parents of missing children, she said.
The database is composed of blood samples taken by the police from missing children's parents, children suspected of having been abducted or with an unclear history, children in social welfare institutes, homeless children and child beggars, according to the ministry.
Information on the database is shared among the 236 DNA laboratories in the country.
"All homeless children must take blood tests before they can be adopted and this information will be included on the DNA database," Meng said. "Chinese children adopted by foreign families are also required to take the test."
It costs 100 yuan ($14.8) to take a blood sample, while the cost of DNA tests vary. In Beijing, each DNA test costs at least 2,400 yuan, she said.
Police authorities cover the expense, so the service is free for parents and children.
During a nine-month anti-trafficking campaign, which began in April 2009, police rescued a total of 14,717 women and children, according to the ministry's latest data.
They arrested 17,528 suspects, including 19 who had a level A (most wanted) warrant against them.
About 30,000 to 60,000 children are reported missing every year in China, but it is hard to estimate how many are cases of human trafficking, the ministry said.
"The increasing number of trafficking cases in China is due to a large buyer's market and poor awareness of victims," Zhang Jing, a senior official of the All China Women's Federation, said at the forum on Tuesday.
Boys are especially in demand, because many Chinese families in rural areas want to have a son to carry on the family name, partially because the country's land allotment system is biased towards males.
In cities, the "incomplete social security system" places children in the migrant population at higher risk of being kidnapped, Meng said.
Since it is hard for them to enter kindergartens or schools in cities, they are easy prey for traffickers while their parents are busy working to earn money, she added.
Police across the country will treat all cases of missing women and children as crimes, setting up a special investigative team for each incident, in the latest bid to curb human trafficking, the MPS announced earlier this month.
The move, which follows the nine-month campaign against human trafficking, aims to allocate more manpower and resources to cases involving missing women and children.
(Source: China Daily)

Editor: Bi Mingxin

FOCUS News Agency

Police rescue 20 more trafficked children in northern Ghana
28 July 2010 | 05:25 | FOCUS News Agency
Home / World
Accra. The police have rescued over 20 more children believed to have been trafficked and to be transport to other areas of country in Bolgatanga, capital of Ghana's Upper East Regional, Xinhua informed.
The children, rescued on Tuesday, were in the custody of the regional police command in Bolgatanga, police sources said here.
The rescue operation by the anti-human trafficking unit of the police has brought the total number of trafficked children from northern Ghana to over 50 just in two days since Monday, when the police intercepted a bus with 30 children on board from the same area.
Two men were arrested for allegedly attempting to illegally transport the children to the south to work under harsh condition.
With full-scale investigation under way, the police said parents of the trafficked children would be made to face the law should it establish that they connived with the traffickers to transport their children out of the region for meager amounts of money.
As schools prepare to break for the long vacation in August, several cases of child trafficking have been reported across the west African country especially in the northern where parents and guardians arranged with traffickers to sell their children for as low as 10 and 60 cedis (7 to 42 US dollars).
Stringent security measures had been put in place with the number of security operatives at various bus terminals in the area in an attempt to stop the trafficking of children to the south.


Trafficking victims in UAE to be repatriated
Justice Abdul Bashir confirmed with the prosecution that it had no further need for the victims' eyewitness reports and statements, and then ruled that the women should be sent home.
·         By Samihah Zaman, Staff Reporter
·         Published: 00:00 July 28, 2010
·  Abu Dhabi: A total of 18 victims who were allegedly tricked into prostitution by a human trafficking ring in the capital are to be sent back to their home country, a court has ruled.
Chief Justice Saeed Abdul Bashir, head of the criminal court at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, told Gulf News that the victims — all from Thailand — had been housed in a government shelter while waiting for the case to be resolved,
A senior social worker from the shelter, Ewa'a Shelters for Women and Children, approached the court to ask that the women be allowed to return to their homeland as soon as possible. Justice Abdul Bashir confirmed with the prosecution that it had no further need for the victims' eyewitness reports and statements, and then ruled that the women should be sent home.
Maitha Al Mazroui, co-ordination and follow-up officer at the Ewa'a Shelters, said the women would be given financial support to travel, plus contact details for shelters in their home country if they needed further rehabilitation.
Maitha said: "We have provided them with everything they need to feel secure, including psychological, social and medical assistance. We will continue to assist them so that they know whom to approach once they have left the UAE."
Regarding the alleged human trafficking ring, Justice Abdul Bashir confirmed that there were 10 suspects, both male and female, on trial.
He said the prosecution had alleged that: "The traffickers lured the Thai victims into the country with offers to work as masseuses. They provided the victims with tickets, visas and other paperwork to enter the country, then collected them from the airport and forced them into prostitution".
He said the victims had been beaten and stripped to force them into submission. They had also allegedly been guarded by the traffickers to prevent them from escaping.
Justice Abdul Bashir said some of those charged had already allegedly confessed to the charges, but they would receive no leniency for any confession.
"Tricking women in such a manner is absolutely unacceptable. The prosecution will thoroughly investigate the case, but the accused should expect no leniency when the verdict is passed. Although life imprisonment may not be given in such a case, some of the suspects may be imprisoned for life due to their role in the ring," he said.
At the hearing, one of the defendants, H.L., submitted a statement claiming she was not guilty of the charges. A relative who was present said the defendant in question had only been visiting an acquaintance living in the same apartment when members of the alleged ring were arrested

The National

‘Human trafficking’ Filipinos await return of their passports

Ramona Ruiz
    ABU DHABI // Two Filipinas in Dubai who claimed to be victims of human trafficking are now seeking help from their government to return home.

Mr Morona said that when Kim, 25, arrived in the country in August 2008 a man took her passport and she was sent to an accommodation in Deira. She claimed she was forced into prostitution, but managed to escape after three months.

Last year, Kim met Bunny, 28, who had arrived on a tourist visa in Dubai in September.
“Bunny managed to escape at the airport when she learned of the plan to force her into prostitution,” he said.

The pair already have air tickets to Manila but their passports remain with the individuals who sponsored their original tourist visas: Bunny’s is with a travel agency, while Kim’s is held by a Filipino who is on a visa run to Kish Island in Iran. A consulate officer in Dubai said they were now assisting the women to retrieve their passports so they could return home.

“They’ve been overstaying in the UAE and should have approached us earlier,” the officer said.

She said that if the women had come to them earlier, the consulate could have contacted the traffickers – the women had their mobile phone numbers – “and obliged her or him to provide an air ticket to the Philippines”.

This case comes after police earlier this month arrested a “criminal gang” of 17 Filipinos in Abu Dhabi on suspicion of trafficking. They were caught in a police raid after a woman who had been trafficked and was being held captive called the police.
Of the 17 arrested, three women and one man were suspected of operating the syndicate. Another four women were detained after they were suspected of voluntarily engaging in prostitution.

“Our government should be serious in its efforts to combat human trafficking,” Mr Morona said. “Those involved should be prosecuted and sent to jail.”

Grace Princesa, the Philippine ambassador to the UAE, said the gang’s nine victims, who were also arrested, are staying in the shelter at the Abu Dhabi Human Trafficking Centre. The Criminal Investigation Division is investigating the sponsors who issued the tourist visas for the victims and a court hearing has yet to be scheduled. Ms Princesa said Friday that they were co-ordinating with Abu Dhabi authorities on the case to prevent more illegal recruitment, human trafficking and the victimising of Filipinas heading to the Emirates.

On July 21, Manila’s foreign affairs department said it was recommending the blacklisting of the Filipino traffickers and was referring the case to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking. The council serves as the co-ordinating and monitoring mechanism on all anti-human trafficking efforts of the Philippine government.

Nasser Munder, the labour attache in Abu Dhabi, said the traffickers should not be allowed to work overseas and victimise more women. He said the case also provided a cautionary tale for other women considering coming to the UAE, as the victims travelled on tourist visas and were lured into jobs that were non-existent.

“They had no assurance of getting a job here,” he said. “The women should have applied for jobs through licensed recruitment agencies in the Philippines.”


Loopholes in hiring workers to be plugged 

Wednesday, 28 July 2010 04:21

DOHA: Qatar’s anti-human trafficking body is coordinating with the authorities concerned to make sure that loopholes in the recruitment process are removed so that foreign workers are not exploited.
Steps might thus be taken to ensure that companies which succeed in acquiring work visas without actually needing workers may be scanned thoroughly before their visa requests are processed.
The Director of Qatar Foundation for Combating Human Trafficking, Mariam Al Malki, told a local Arabic daily in an interview that her department is keen to ensure that exploitation of foreign workers, whether in companies or homes, is pre-empted by having fool-proof recruitment procedures in place.
She told the daily that five housemaids who had been physically assaulted had been paid compensation.
Another three such cases were in the court. She said that no cases of organised crimes related to human trafficking were reported in the country.
According to Al Malki, an extensive study on domestic workers had already been completed and was being finalised. Its findings would be made public soon, she said.
For this study, various maids were interviewed and sample households were visited.
The study has been carried out in close coordination with various government and non-government bodies.