The campaign, called Operation March Sadness 2, led to the arrests of 108 people, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.
The campaign, called Operation March Sadness 2, led to the arrests of 108 people, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.
Ghislaine Maxwell has spoken out from her jail cell ahead of her trial – claiming “creepy” guards watch her as she uses the bathroom.
Maxwell, 59, is awaiting trial on charges of grooming underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein.
We Just Witnessed The Start Of A Breakup ???? #Shorts
She is accused of helping arrange for the now-deceased disgraced financier to abuse underage girls as young as 14, which she denies.
Ahead of her trial, the socialite now claims that she is being watched by guards and her only company is the rats near to the open sewer drain in her cell, Mail On Sunday reports.
She’s had her bail rejected for the sixth time, despite moaning that she is being treated like “Hannibal Lecter.”
In her first-ever interview from behind bars, she has claimed that she is being kept in “inhumane” solitary confinement the entire time.
Speaking to the Mail On Sunday she said: “I used to go to the loo with an open sewer drain and a friendly rat would regularly visit.
“I told the guards, but nothing was done until the rat popped out and charged a guard who screamed in terror. Finally, the sewer drain was covered.”
She added: “I used to take a shower every day but I’ve stopped because of the creepy guards who stand close and stare at me the whole time.”
Her lawyers argue her jail conditions are fit only for fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter – the fictional cannibalistic serial killer from the movie Silence of the Lambs.
What’s more, her lawyers say her continued imprisonment is “untenable and unreasonable”.
According to the paper, Maxwell’s lawyer David Oscar Markus told the court earlier on in the year: “Though she is a model prisoner who poses no danger to society and has done literally nothing to prompt ‘special’ treatment, she is kept in isolation.”
Markus continued: “Conditions fitting for Hannibal Lecter but not a 59-year-old woman who poses no threat to anyone. She is subjected to multiple invasive searches every day. Her every movement is captured on multiple video cameras. She is deprived of any real sleep by having a flashlight pointed into her cell every 15 minutes.”
In response to the claims of poor treatment, District Judge Alison Nathan has promised in a recent ruling that the 59-year-old would be taken from her jail cell to her trial “in a way that is humane, proper, and consistent with security protocols”.
It was previously reported by Reuters that the reason she has repeatedly been denied bail is due to concerns that she might flee and refuse to cooperate with authorities.
Epstein committed suicide by hanging in his jail cell in August 2019 as he awaited, also without the chance of bail, his trial on sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell’s trial is set to begin on November 29.
Department of JusticeU.S. Attorney’s OfficeSouthern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMonday, November 1, 2021
HOUSTON – Two Houstonians are on their way to federal prison after admitting to recruiting a teenager on social media and trafficking her for sex, announced acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Demetrius Delaan White, 30, and Deonte Danquise Bailey-Roach, 28, pleaded guilty Jan. 27.
Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt sentenced White to 240 months, while Bailey-Roach received a 144-month-term of imprisonment. The court considered statements from the minor victim and her mother detailing the lasting impact of the teenager’s victimization. Both will be ordered to pay restitution to the victim and serve an additional five years on supervised release following completion of the prison terms, during which time they will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict access to children and the internet. Both will also be ordered to register as sex offenders.
In 2017, White and Bailey-Roach recruited a troubled teenager on social media. They then brought her from her home in Stephenville to Houston to engage in commercial sex acts.
Over the next four days, they exploited the minor victim for their own sexual gratification and profit. They posted the minor victim on internet advertisements for commercial sex, during which time more than 300 people expressed interest. They rented motel rooms for the sex acts, drove her to clients’ homes and took her to a truck stop. They also had her walk on Bissonnet Street, an area commonly known for an open and rampant sex trade.
To induce the minor victim into continuing to engage in the activity, both men gave her drugs before the commercial sex acts. They also kept all the cash proceeds.
Both will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The FBI and the Houston Police Department (HPD), both part of the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA), conducted the investigation.
HTRA law enforcement includes members of the HPD, FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Texas Attorney General’s Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Department of Labor, Department of State, Texas Alcoholic and Beverage Commission, Texas Department of Public Safety, Coast Guard and Sheriff’s Offices in Harris and Montgomery counties in coordination with District Attorney’s offices in Harris, Montgomery and Fort Bend Counties.
Established in 2004, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Houston formed HTRA to combine resources with federal, state and local enforcement agencies and prosecutors, as well as non-governmental service organizations to target human traffickers while providing necessary services to those that the traffickers victimized. Since its inception, HTRA has been recognized as both a national and international model in identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking and prosecuting those engaged in trafficking offenses.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kate Suh and Sebastian Edwards are prosecuting the case.
10 missing children recovered, more than 200 arrested in Ohio anti-human trafficking operation.
Attorney General Dave Yost detailed the results of the operation, referred to as “Ohio Knows,” during a briefing with several law enforcement agencies on Monday.
A statewide anti-human trafficking operation resulted in the arrest of more than 200 people and the recovery of 10 missing children.
According to the Diocese of Columbus, they were notified on Sept. 23 of Frazier’s arrest for solicitation. He was immediately suspended before his employment was terminated on Sept. 27.
Columbus firefighter Andrew Bartnikowski was just one of the arrests made on Sept. 27. He is charged with counts of engaging in prostitution.
According to court records, Bartnikowski responded to an online advertisement to pay for sex and engaged in multiple text messages and calls.
He was arrested at a hotel by undercover officers posing as prostitutes.
The operation, which spanned one week, led to the arrest of 161 people seeking to buy sex, including three people from Franklin County who sought to buy sex from a minor. Additionally, 50 people were arrested for offering to sell sex.
The operation enlisted the help of nearly 100 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies across Ohio. According to a release, 51 potential trafficking victims were interviewed and helped as a result.
Columbus City Council passed an ordinance last month aimed at holding offenders accountable, while also assisting victims.
The anti-human trafficking plan focuses on criminal justice, victim services, technology, education and community collaboration.
We blog and share information about human trafficking and child porn cases and arrest. If you have any information on the situation please feel free to call the nation human trafficking hotline at 1-888-7888
Dean Welte August 27, 2021
DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) – A 12-state human trafficking operation this week has led to over 100 arrests and dozens of victims being identified by law enforcement.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, 102 arrests and 47 victims were identified as part of Operation United Front. Most of the arrests were made the night of Aug. 26 and into the morning of Aug. 27, with efforts being coordinated by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt says the operation used undercover law enforcement officers from federal, state and local agencies to arrange meetings with potential victims or posed as victims to identify buyers or traffickers.
In Iowa, law enforcement agencies say they executed 10 search warrants, identified five businesses involved in sex trafficking, made 11 arrests and seized a “large quantity of U.S. currency.”
Among the states that were part of the operation were Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
“Human trafficking uniquely affects Iowa given our proximity to major metropolitan areas like Kansas City and Chicago and the intersection of two major interstate systems. As a result, we know human trafficking is happening in Iowa and that it occurs in a variety of settings,” said Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens. “Together we can prevent this from happening in our state, because even one victim is one too many.”
The Sioux City Police Department was also involved, assisting operations conducted in Nebraska by providing detectives to help support the sharing of intelligence and surveillance.
“We conduct sting operations to address human trafficking, but as a municipal law enforcement agency, we are limited in our range to our jurisdiction of Sioux City. As this is an issue that affects the tri-state region of Siouxland, this provided us a unique opportunity to work in partnership with Nebraska and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate a crime that affects our entire community,” stated the SCPD in a statement to KTIV.
Nebraska law enforcement conducted sex trafficking operations in three locations, including Scottsbluff, Kearney and South Sioux City. During which, among other arrests, a man was arrested for seeking to purchase sex acts with a 15-year-old girl who was actually an undercover police officer.
While in South Dakota, authorities conducted their operation during this month’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
The other nine states part of the operation were Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WPDE) — During an undercover operation on Friday, Oct. 1 five men were arrested in Robeson County and charged with solicitation of prostitution.
The Sheriff’s Office said the operation was to identify potential victims of human trafficking and persons engaging in illegal prostitution.
The identified females were given the opportunity to speak with Sheriff Burnis Wilkins, Sgt. Hollis McNeill and a Peer Support Specialist from Robeson Health Care Corporation (RHCC) about a variety of programs that will assist them with fighting their addictions and improving their lifestyles.
While this seems small to some, this special operation would bring tears to your eyes if you could have heard these ladies stories,” officials said. “The best part is, we are helping them. To the guys seeking to use females that are battling their own demons, go somewhere else. That lady you may be speaking to might just be an undercover officer as some saw last night.
According to a release, Francisco Hidalgo Tixteco, 44, Mica Mcdonald, 43, Luis Miguel Hidalgo, 24, of Raeford and Henry Stephens, 65, of St. Pauls were arrested and charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution. They were each placed in the custody of the Robeson County Detention Center with a $1,000 secured bond.
Charles Wall, 45, of Raeford was arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution, possession of stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Wall was placed in the custody of the Robeson County Detention Center with a $15,000 secured bond.
“I am excited about the newly developed partnership with the Robeson County District’s Attorney Office, Robeson County Judges and other agencies in the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program,” Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said. “The program allows individuals with low-level offenses to enter alternative programs instead of going through the prosecution process and receiving active sentences. The programs will allow the individuals to seek help for their addictions and reduce recidivism in our criminal justice system. The Sheriff’s Office currently has two (2) deputies assigned to the program and will soon be adding a Peer Specialist. The benefits of the program have already been seen and there will be many more success stories to come.”
Lumberton Police Department, Fayetteville Police Department and Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) assisted with the operation.
Anyone with information about human trafficking and/or illegal prostitution is asked to contact the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at (910) 671-3170 or (910) 671-3100.
Local, state and national leaders joined forces for the annual Human Trafficking Summit on Tuesday.
I-Team Investigator Kylie McGivern met with the author of a groundbreaking study that looked at every federal criminal human trafficking prosecution over the last 20 years. It shows how far we’ve come, and what still needs to be done to protect victims.
MORE COVERAGE: I-TEAM INVESTIGATIONS – SEX TRAFFICKING
The Human Trafficking Instituteprovides expert knowledge of training and research to police and prosecutors to help stop traffickers.
Co-author of the Federal Human Trafficking Report Alyssa Wheeler said she was surprised to see, despite COVID delays in the criminal justice system, the number of federal human trafficking cases filed is up.
“Florida did file 12 new cases and the national average, if you just do a real general average, was three,” Wheeler said.
That number may not reflect the scope of human trafficking, but how often federal prosecutors are pursuing these cases.
“And I would say that in Florida, a positive surprise is that restitution has continued — the percentage of cases in which a judge ordered restitution has continued to rise as well, and is actually above the national average,” Wheeler said.
In Florida, it was 67% of the cases in 2020. The national average is 50%.
“Restitution is one of our top priorities at HTI because it is the money that a convicted trafficker is forced to pay their victims to compensate their victims for the harm that was caused. It is essential for survivors to be able to rebuild their lives after being trafficked and escape the cycle of exploration that can be really hard to get out of,” Wheeler said.
There was an increase in federal cases filed, however, the conviction rate nationwide went down.
The I-Team has reported on the challenges of securing a conviction, including the evidence needed to prove someone was forced or trapped. There is also a heavy reliance on a survivor willing to testify against the trafficking.
Wheeler said she would like to see more efforts directed to going after businesses and corporations.
“Last year, there were only two entities in the U.S. that were being prosecuted for trafficking, both of them were hotels,” she said. “I would really love to see an increase in the number of corporations that are prosecuted for forced labor in particular, but trafficking in general.”
Operation Ohio Knows: Attorney General Dave Yost announces arrests human trafficking operation
State officials have revealed details of a statewide human trafficking operation that resulted in the arrest of 161 people seeking to buy sex (including three who wanted sex from minors) along with the recovery of 10 missing children.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost offered details of the operation alongside multiple law enforcement agencies during a Monday press conference. He said those arrested include a city council member, a firefighter, a teacher, a professor, a home improvement contractor and a pilot.
“He [pilot] not only was purchasing sex, but he haggled and got the price down to $15,” Yost said.
Yost added that human trafficking is happening all across Ohio.
“Poor neighborhoods. Rich neighborhoods. Educated. Uneducated. Black. White. It doesn’t matter. It happens everywhere,” he said. “That’s why this fight is so important. I will not rest until no one in Ohio buys or sells human beings.”
Mandie Knight, a survivor of the sex trade, also spoke at the briefing. She is now a wife and mother who is studying forensic criminology, and lauded the role law enforcement played in her recovery.
“When I was being trafficked, I knew that law enforcement was somewhere I could turn to when I needed a safe way out, and that’s what happened,” Knight, now resource manager for Freedom a la Cart, said. “Had I not been arrested, had I not gone to jail, and had I not suffered some consequences for the decisions I was making, I wouldn’t be here today and I wouldn’t be as successful in life.”
The press conference also revealed that 50 people were arrested for offering to sell sex. We streamed the press conferenc
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A firefighter, college professor and a Cleveland-area city councilman were among 161 people arrested in a sex sting operation last week, described as the state’s largest focused on human trafficking.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, law enforcement officials from multiple counties, social service providers and former human trafficking victims met in the Ohio Statehouse on Monday to talk about the initiative.
“We want to send a message to everybody in the country: Don’t buy sex in Ohio,” he said.
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Law enforcement fanned out across the state, communicating with hundreds of men seeking sex. For every arrest made, officers contacted up to eight “johns” whose actions didn’t meet the elements of any crime, said Chief Deputy Rick Minerd of the Franklin County sheriff’s office.
Three of the perpetrators were willing to pay to have sex with people they thought were minors. Ten minors reported missing were recovered during a simultaneous operation carried out by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Fifty-one women, would-be victims, were provided assistance by social service advocates. It was unclear how many of the women were charged.
Most of those arrested were charged with engaging in prostitution, a first-degree misdemeanor. Other charges related to drugs and firearms.
A change in state law passed in the spring requires those convicted to undergo human trafficking education.
“We cannot arrest our way out of human trafficking,” Yost said, noting that arrests are nevertheless important as a deterrence. “If there are no buyers, there will be no trafficking.”
He wants people to know that it’s not a victimless crime.
“When you are the buyer, you have no idea who you’re dealing with,” he said. “The pimp, the trafficker, doesn’t show up and sit in the corner watching you. The survivor doesn’t tell you, ‘I don’t want to do this, but if I don’t, I’m going to be beat’ or ‘He’s going to withhold my drugs.’
“Because we don’t know, anybody in Ohio who purchases sex is assuming the risk that they’re complicit in trafficking.”
Human trafficking survivor Mandie Knight spoke via Zoom about her former lifestyle and her gratitude at being arrested.
“Had I not been arrested, had I not gone to jail and had I not suffered some consequences for the decisions I was making, I wouldn’t be here today, and I wouldn’t be as successful in life,” said Knight, a wife, mother and student in forensic criminology.
Mark Jessie, a councilman running for reelection Nov. 2 in Elyria, Ohio, a city roughly 30 miles outside Cleveland, was picked up in the sting.
“I’m taking this very seriously and realize it’s an enormous mistake,” he told The Columbus Dispatch, part of the USA TODAY Network, on Monday. Jessie said he sought sex from someone he thought was selling it on a website.
When officers arrested him, he said, “there was an immediate feeling of wanting to throw up and an immediate feeling of facing the consequences with my family and friends.”
Summit County Sheriff Kandy Fatheree cautioned her colleagues not to rest on sting operations alone.
“This is the beginning and not the end, and I think we have so much work to do across the state,” she said.
Follow reporter Dean Narciso on Twitter: @deannarcisoContinue reading “Largest human trafficking sting in Ohio history nets 161, including city councilman”