Tag Archives: sex trafficking

TCDA involved in six sex trafficking cases in 2016

The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office has been actively investigating and prosecuting cases of human trafficking.

At the Tulare County Human Trafficking Taskforce meeting on June 22, the District Attorneys office shared that they have filed five cases against seven defendants in 2016. Additionally, one case filed in 2015 is in sentencing. The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office is also currently investigating two other sex trafficking cases involving minors.

On June 3, a Tulare man plead guilty to charges involving child sex trafficking. The TCDA’s Office sent out this release:

Today in Department 4 of the Tulare County Superior Court, Visalia Division, Judge Brett Aldredge presiding, Anthony Lott, age 24, of Tulare, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of human trafficking of minors for a sex act, two felony counts of pandering by procuring a minor over the age of 16, one felony count of pimping, one felony count of having a concealed firearm in a vehicle, and a misdemeanor count of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle in a city limit.

On October 6, 2015 the Tulare Police Department was conducting a human trafficking operation at a local hotel. Officers observed a vehicle enter the parking lot of the hotel and saw a female exit the car while the male driver, Lott, remained in the car. The female offered an undercover officer sex in exchange for money. While Lott remained in the car, he was contacted by law enforcement and was found to be in possession of a loaded firearm.

Lott was arrested for pimping and having possession of a loaded firearm. After further investigation which was conducted by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations, Investigator Martha Rodriguez was able to make connections that Lott had trafficked two minors from the Tulare area between the dates of November 1, 2013 and November 1, 2014. With additional investigation by the Office of the District Attorney, on February 22, 2016, Lott was charged with two counts of human trafficking of a minor for a sex act and two counts of pandering by procuring a minor over the age of 16.

On June 29, 2016, Lott will be sentenced to 7 years 4 months state prison and will be ordered to register for life as a sex offender.

“I commend law enforcement for being diligent in this case and bringing justice to the victims,” said District Attorney Tim Ward. “Human trafficking is real, and it can happen in any community. If you suspect a person is being exploited for sex or labor, contact law enforcement immediately.”

The case was prosecuted by Supervising Deputy District Attorney Cindy Underwood of the Special Crimes Division. It was investigated by Officer Rosemarie Pacheco and Detective Vince Medina of the Tulare Police Department, as well as Investigator Martha Rodriguez of the Office of the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations.

 

Tulare DA’s office offers human trafficking presentations

From the Tulare County District Attorney’s office’s Facebook page:

As part of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, District Attorney Ward had the opportunity to present an overview of trafficking to the Visalia Republican Women Federated. If you are a civic group or service club looking to learn more about this important topic, contact their office at (559) 636-5494.

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From the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office Facebook page

Many events coming up!

The next three months, the Central Valley will have many opportunities for training, education, and involvement! We post and update these events on our calendar. Check out what’s coming up!

Caged No More Screening
Fri., Jan 22, 7pm
Regal Manchester Theater, 2055 Shields Ave., Fresno

Fresno aftercare and outreach group Breaking the Chains has invited our community to the  VIP screening of this faith-based film on human trafficking. Supports Central Valley human trafficking ministries.

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Tuesday, Jan. 26th 7 – 9pm – Human Trafficking 101 Class  
Fresno First Baptist Church, 1400 E. Saginaw Way, Fresno CA 93704 
Get educated with an introductory course on modern day slavery. Cost $20 pre-registered by 1-25-16. $25 on 1-26-15.
RSVP to 227-8001 or info@cvjusticecoalition.com 

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Freedom Sunday in the Central Valley
Feb. 7/ March 9, various locations
Join with other churches in focusing on prayer, education, and action to end human trafficking locally. (Feb. 7 is the local date set by the Central Valley Justice Coalition, March 9 is the global date set by Not For Sale)Observe at your own services or meeting.  JARON Ministries with CAPC is helping organize local resources and efforts for churches and any other groups to help Family Services, Tulare County DAs Office, and other local organizations in their efforts to address human trafficking. Resources and info on training meetings on our Freedom Sunday page.

Register as a participating church/group here.

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“Be Free,” 7th Annual Regional Human Trafficking Conference
Wed.,Feb. 24,  1-5pm. Pre-conference workshops 10am-12pm. Reception from 5-7pm
Radisson Hotel Fresno Conference Center, 1055 Van Ness Ave.
Keynote speaker is Kay Buck, Chief Executive Officer of Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST). Schedule also includes a survivors panel, plus information local youth activism,  regional trends in identification and investigation, and multi-disciplinary partnerships. Workshops includes human trafficking 101, cultural perspective on labor exploitation and trafficking, and sex trafficking prevention. Register and get more information here.

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Human Trafficking 101
Mon., March 14, 6:00-9:00 p.m., 3110 West Nielson, Fresno

An introductory class of general knowledge about human trafficking, including tactics of traffickers, signs of trafficking, the clinical dynamics of involvement,potential paths for leaving, etc. Cost: $50. Contact Charlene Glass at 237-4741. Register and get more information here

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My Life, My Choice Training
Tues., March 15, 9:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., 3110 Nielson, Fresno

Be trained to lead the My Life, My Choice curriculum which provides a concrete, well researched method for preventing exploitation among vulnerable adolescent girls. $150, includes lunch. Space is limited. contact Charlene Glass at 237-4741. Register and get more information here.

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Tulare County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Meeting
March 15, 1:30-3:00 p.m.,
Workforce Investment Board office, 4031 Noble, Visalia

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Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Workshop
Fri. April 22- Sat. April 23, COS, Visalia

Learn how to identify signs of a potential victim of CSEC. Runs Friday evening and Saturday morning. More details to come.

January is Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

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Around the world, people are helping bring awareness of human trafficking and ways to take action.
The Tulare County DAs Office and Human Trafficking Taskforce will be launching an awareness campaign that includes large newspaper ads, television PSAs in English and Spanish (To be available on YouTube) and spots on Good Morning America, radio PSAs, banners on public transits, billboards, and social media. They will also be distributing navy blue ribbons for human trafficking awareness.

Here are some ways you can get involved:
1. Save The National Human Trafficking Hotline number and text line on your phone: 888-373-7888 and 233733 (BeFree). Take one minute to be equipped to potentially be a lifeline. The hotline is a one stop human trafficking resource, from general information to immediate assistance and intervention and many victims have gotten help through the hotline.  Our local agencies will be contacted when needed. The text line (text INFO or HELP)  is used most by victims.

2. Watch and show Chosen/Chosen Gang Edition. These sex trafficking prevention by Shared Hope Int’l were created to educate youth about sex trafficking and what to do. See more here
Watch/ Show Dreams Die Hard, a documentary on labor and sex trafficking in America. (These films and more videos are available in our library and on our YouTube Playlist)

3. Post Human Trafficking Outreach Posters. The Tulare County DAs Office produces trilingual posters that help victims self identify and seek help. We need help getting these up around Tulare County. They are required by law at some locations, but needed everywhere. Contact TCDAO at 559-636-5471.

4. Learn the signs of trafficking If you have not been trained, familiarize yourself with the red flags of possible human trafficking. Read more here.

5. Help improve the GraceCity App. We still need businesses, agencies, organizations, churches, and individuals to sign up as a resource to human trafficking victims and other victims of exploitation in Tulare County. See our page here for more info and if you qualify as a resource provider.

6. Implement Freedom Sunday with your church or group on March 9 (or February 7). Join with churches aNavy Blueround the Central Valley in focusing on awareness, prayer, and action with your faith group. See here for more details.

7. Wear a navy blue ribbon, the color for human trafficking awareness. Share what you know about human trafficking to those who ask and are interested and share our ways to get involved.

8. Follow the Tulare County DA’s Office and Tulare County Child Abuse Prevention Council on Facebook to be updated on education, resources, and opportunities throughout the month.

 

Spot Trafficking While Travelling

We are coming upon a season when many of us will be on the road travelling. While at rest stops and airports, you may come upon a potential trafficking situation.

In a story in IJReview,  A  trucker shared how he faced such a situation this year and became a lifeline to someone trapped in sex trafficking. He happened to see the face of a distraught girl in a windoof an RV and activity that tipped him off to what was happening. He called authorities who arrested two traffickers and rescued a 20-year old female. See the article and video here.

Shared Hope Int’l provides a fact sheet on signs of trafficking while travelling. This includes terms pertaining to sex trafficking one might overhear and signs one may observe about the potential victim, the environment, and circumstances. Download and print to review and have handy when you are travelling.

If you see a potential trafficking situation, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline,  888-373-7888, wherever you are at for assistance. They can contact the appropriate local responders and provide guidance to callers.

Are you a trucker or travel frequently? You can be an important aid by being a lookout for potential trafficking. Get resources and assistance from Truckers Against Human Trafficking.

Even if you aren’t a trucker, the Truckers Against Trafficking phone app provides signs of trafficking and numbers to call and is a great resource for anyone.

If you are planning on flying, CNN Freedom Project provide a list of signs, compiled from human trafficking response organizations, to look for in an educational article this summer (visit article for details). These might not mean someone is being trafficked, but could be an indicator. If you suspect a trafficking situation, contact airport authorities, police, or the National Human Trafficking Hotline:

1. A traveler is not dressed appropriately for their route of travel.

2. They have a tattoo with a bar code, the word “Daddy.”

3.  They can’t provide details of their departure location, destination, or flight information.

4.  Their communication seems scripted, or there are inconsistencies with their story

5. They can’t move freely in an airport or on a plane, or they are being controlled, closely watched or followed.

6 .  They are afraid to discuss themselves around others, deferring any attempts at conversation to someone who appears to be controlling them.

7. Child trafficking: A child being trafficked for sexual exploitation may be dressed in a sexualized manner, or seem to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A child may appear to be malnourished and/or shows signs of physical or sexual abuse, such as bruises, scars, or cigarette burns.

Main tip: If anything seems “off,” contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Operators are trained to help you.

Click on the image to go to the Truckers Against Trafficking website.
Click on the image to go to the Truckers Against Trafficking website.

Chosen Online and on DVD

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Chosen Prevention Curriculum  This comprehensive video resource reveals the warning signs and sometimes fatal consequences of sex trafficking to equip teens to protect themselves and others from being trapped in the horrific and violent sex industry.  DVD sets comes with conversation guides and other helps. DVD versions include a gang edition with information pertinent to  sex trafficking within gangs. DVD also has a Spanish Version. You can see the Chosen and Chosen Gang Edition videos on YouTube.

Tour Against Trafficking a Success In Tulare County!

The Tour Against Trafficking brought $450 from Tulare County riders to services in Tulare County through Family Services of Tulare County! The bulk was raised by Steve Sureweic.

On October 8, riders were greeted by children in Tulare, organized by  St. John’s Episcopal Church.

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Riders and welcoming kids at Tulare stop. credit: Tour Against Trafficking
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Tulare stop at St. John’s Episcopal Church
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Visalia organizer Rev. Suzy Ward of the St. Paul Episcopal Church.

The next day, a crowd celebrated the riders and the collaborative effort to fight trafficking at the Police Officer’s Memorial Park, where proclamations were make by local leaders.  We are grateful for everyone who came out and supported this effort to bring awareness to the reality of human trafficking in Tulare County!

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Check out the Fresno Bee’s article on the Tour, which includes a picture in Tulare County,  here!

See more local pictures, and those of the rest of the tour, including a video of the Tulare children on the Tour Against Trafficking Facebook page.

Also follow the Tour blog on the official website.

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“The Trafficked Life” Screening and Panel in Visalia

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TCCAPC is excited to be partnering with the St. John and St. Paul’s Epicopal churches, the San Joaquin Diocese, Family Services of Tulare County, and Magdalene Hope in Bakersfield to present

Human Trafficking Forum
Featuring the Documentary Screening: The Trafficked Life
Monday, August 17, 6:30 p.m.
At Cafe 210, 210 W Center Ave, Visalia

The Trafficked Life is a documentary filmed in Bakersfield about the realities of sex and labor trafficking in the Valley, with stories and commentary by local survivors, law enforcement, and those from Magdalene Hope, an outreach and aftercare organization dedicated to reaching those in trafficking. The film is informative, vulnerable (The director of Magdalene Hope shares his story, which includes being a former buyer), yet sensitive. The film sheds light more comprehensively on local realities with a focus on the major voice being from those who have gone through it. It is also well produced. See the trailer here.

The Trafficked Life is useful for anyone wanting to better understand human trafficking, especially sex trafficking, in the Central Valley. Though not graphic, Magdalene Hope will have staff available to counsel those who may be strongly affected by the film.

The forum will include a panel discussion/ question and answer segment with filmmaker Michael Fagan, Magdalene Hope Director Doug Bennett, Magdalene Hope aftercare worker and survivor Angelica Lostanaua, and human trafficking experts from Family Services of Tulare County, Tulare County District Attorney’s Office, and Tulare County Child Abuse Prevention Council.

 Bishop David Rice will also be sharing about an exciting upcoming event in Visalia, Tulare, and other cities in the San Joaquin Valley: The Tour Against Trafficking.
Bishop Rice will be cycling from Bakersfield to Stockton to raise awareness of human trafficking and money for local efforts. He will be stopping at numerous cities in the San Joaquin Valley for awareness events.  (See the Tour Against Trafficking website for more information and to get involved!)

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TCCAPC will have a resource packet available at the Human Trafficking Forum with free materials and information to take action to address human trafficking.

Please share this event with others! Share this page, use our Facebook event page, and/or download and share Rev. Ward’s invitation letter.

For more information, contact information Rev. Ward at sward1978@sbcglobal.net or 559-627-8265.

Fresno Men Plea Guilt of Minor Sex Trafficking

From the Fresno Bee, Thursday, May 7, 2015:

Two Fresno men pleaded guilty to sex trafficking charges in federal court Thursday after they were arrested in December 2013 for forcing two teenage girls to prostitute themselves, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said.

Michael Anthony Andrade, 34, and Javier Solis, 29, forced the two girls, 15 and 17, to perform sexual acts against their will in Fresno and San Luis Obispo in 2013, Wagner said. The men also forced the 15-year-old to tattoo their nicknames on her shoulders.

Wagner said that the 17-year-old, a runaway, was brought home by her parents in October 2013. She told Fresno police that the 15-year-old was still being held by Andrade and Solis in a hotel room in San Luis Obispo. Officers from the San Luis Obispo Police Department picked the 15-year-old up shortly after.

Andrade will be sentenced on Aug. 10, and Solis is scheduled for Aug. 17. Both face a penalty of 10 years to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Sex Trafficking by Gangs; Professional Training Video Now Available

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Click on image to go to site

Shared Hope International has released Gang TRAP (Trafficking Response and Prevention) Video Series is a unique training video designed to address the growing trend of sex trafficking cases perpetuated by criminal street gangs.  The video targets law enforcement, service providers and prosecutors, offering instruction on gang trafficking dynamics, recruitment and control tactics, professional challenges commonly experienced with these cases, therapeutic response and collaboration.  The four-part (60 minutes) video series incorporates interviews with experts and survivors across the United States.