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Child abuse Child Pornography Child sexual abuse material exploited children Facebook human trafficking Intelwars National center for missing and exploited children Sex trafficking Social Media

Over 20 million online child sexual abuse material incidents reported on Facebook, by far the most of all platforms

A new report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said that a vast majority of reported online child sexual abuse material was from Facebook.

The annual report by the NCMEC for 2020 claimed the organization’s CyberTipline received more than 21.7 million reports of online child exploitation, 21.4 million of these reports were from electronic service providers. There were 20,307,216 reported incidents related to child pornography or trafficking on Facebook, including Instagram and Whatsapp, which the social media behemoth owns.

For comparison, Google reported 546,704 incidents of CSAM, Snapchat found 144,095, Microsoft had 96,776, Twitter cited 65,062, TikTok had 22,692, and Reddit reported 2,233 instances of apparent child sexual abuse material.

MindGeek, the Canada-based parent company of several adult content websites, reported far fewer incidents. MindGeek, which owns Pornhub, YouPorn, RedTube, and Brazzers, reported 13,229 instances of child sexual abuse material last year.

The Internet Watch Foundation, which helps “victims of child sexual abuse worldwide by identifying and removing online images and videos of their abuse,” claimed it found 118 incidents of videos containing child sexual abuse or rape on Pornhub between 2017 and 2019.

In December, Pornhub faced scrutiny after the New York Times published multiple allegations of sexual exploitation on the adult content website.

The streaming behemoth, which netted 3.5 billion visits per month in 2019, introduced new guidelines in December to protect against underage porn being uploaded on the site.

“Going forward, we will only allow properly identified users to upload content,” Pornhub said in a statement. “We have banned downloads. We have made some key expansions to our moderation process, and we recently launched a Trusted Flagger Program with dozens of non-profit organizations.”

Pornhub also noted that it voluntarily registered as an electronic service provider for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s data collection.

Regarding Facebook’s overwhelming majority of the alleged CSAM incidents, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children stated:

Higher numbers of reports can be indicative of a variety of things including larger numbers of users on a platform or how robust an ESP’s efforts are to identify and remove abusive content. NCMEC applauds ESPs that make identifying and reporting this content a priority and encourages all companies to increase their reporting to NCMEC. These reports are critical to helping remove children from harmful situations and to stopping further victimization.

As of April 2020, Facebook was the most popular social media platform with nearly 2.5 billion active users.

The NCMEC said reports to the CyberTipline increased by 28% from 2019.

“The 21.7 million reports of child sexual exploitation made to the CyberTipline in 2020 included 65.4 million images, videos and other files,” the NCMEC said. “These materials contained suspected child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and other incident related content.”

Reports to the CyberTipline by the public more than doubled in 2020.

The numbers from NCMEC are reported instances and are not confirmed cases of abuse.

The NCMEC’s CyberTipline is a “centralized reporting system for the online exploitation of children,” where the public and ESP’s “can make reports of suspected online enticement of children for sexual acts, extra-familial child sexual molestation, child pornography, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, unsolicited obscene materials sent to a child, misleading domain names, and misleading words or digital images on the internet.”

Ahead of the NCMEC’s report, Facebook announced on Tuesday that it was introducing new measures to prevent “people from sharing content that victimizes children,” as well as new improvements to detection and reporting inappropriate content.

“To understand how and why people share child exploitative content on Facebook and Instagram, we conducted an in-depth analysis of the illegal child exploitative content we reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in October and November of 2020,” Facebook said in a statement.

“We found that more than 90% of this content was the same as or visually similar to previously reported content. And copies of just six videos were responsible for more than half of the child exploitative content we reported in that time period,” the social media network stated. “While this data indicates that the number of pieces of content does not equal the number of victims, and that the same content, potentially slightly altered, is being shared repeatedly, one victim of this horrible crime is one too many.”

Facebook reported 150 accounts to the NCMEC for “uploading child exploitative content in July and August of 2020 and January 2021,” and found that over 75% of these users “did not exhibit malicious intent.” “Instead, they appeared to share for other reasons, such as outrage or in poor humor.”

Facebook will now have a “pop-up” that appears whenever users searches for terms associated with child exploitation. There will also be a “safety alert that informs people who have shared viral, meme child exploitative content about the harm it can cause and warns that it is against our policies and there are legal consequences for sharing this material.”

Facebook said accounts that share and promote CSAM would be removed.

“Using our apps to harm children is abhorrent and unacceptable,” Facebook’s news release read. “Our industry-leading efforts to combat child exploitation focus on preventing abuse, detecting and reporting content that violates our policies, and working with experts and authorities to keep children safe.”

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Child abuse Child sex sting operation human trafficking Intelwars Operation broken hearts Phoenix Sex trafficking

Police arrest 37 people for child sex crimes, human trafficking during ‘Operation Broken Hearts’

More than three dozen people have been arrested in connection to a large-scale human trafficking operation in Arizona. “Operation Broken Hearts” was a multi-agency mission to catch sexual predators in the Phoenix-area.

The undercover sting operation arrested 37 people, all of which were between the ages of 21 to 66. Law enforcement said the suspects solicited sex acts with undercover officers and were subsequently arrested.

Operation Broken Hearts was conducted by the Phoenix Police Department, Mesa Police Department, Tempe Police Department, Chandler Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

“Operation Broken Hearts was an undercover operation targeting sexual predators engaged in child sex crimes and human trafficking,” the Phoenix Police Department said in a statement. “Throughout the operational period, officers and undercover detectives placed ads on websites and apps which are commonly sought out by suspects seeking illegal sex acts with children.”

“These suspects solicited and/or brokered deals for various sex acts and were subsequently arrested,” the PPD said on Friday. “The combined efforts of the agencies involved, are part of a nationwide effort to eliminate human and sex trafficking.”

In late January, during National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Operation Reclaim & Rebuild nabbed 64 people for alleged sex crimes in Riverside, California.

“Operation Lost Angels,” a multi-agency human trafficking investigation led by the FBI in January, resulted in the rescue of 33 missing children in California.

In November, the U.S. Marshals Service tracked down 27 missing children in Virginia during “Operation Find Our Children.”

In October, Marshals announced the recovery of 45 endangered children and 178 arrests in Ohio and West Virginia during “Operation Autumn Hope.”

On Oct. 1, the Marshals Service recovered 11 children in New Orleans, two of whom were said to be in “extreme danger.”

On Sept. 21, “Operation Safety Net” resulted in 35 missing children being recovered in Ohio by the U.S. Marshals.

On Sept. 4, Marshals proclaimed that they had located eight “highly endangered” missing children during “Operation Homecoming” in Indiana.

On Aug. 27, “Operation Not Forgotten” led to the discovery of 39 missing children in Florida and Georgia. Law enforcement stated that the children were between the ages of 3 and 17. Of the 39 endangered children, 15 were victims of sex trafficking.

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64 arrested, 2 women rescued in sex slavery and human trafficking sting

An investigation by a multi-agency task force into online prostitution resulted in the arrests of 64 people in California. Operation Reclaim & Rebuild was led by the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.

From Jan. 24 to Jan. 28, sting operations were held in the California cities of Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Riverside, Palm Desert, and Temecula. Over the span of four days, there were 62 people arrested for solicitation of prostitution, one person for lewd purposes, and one person for aiding a person to commit prostitution, according to a press release from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

The task force also rescued two women who are believed to be sex trafficking victims. Authorities suspect that the victims were forced to engage in acts of prostitution against their will. The women were referred to victim services for assistance.

The operation was carried out by the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, La Quinta Special Enforcement Team, Palm Desert Special Enforcement Team, Lake Elsinore Special Enforcement Team, Temecula Special Enforcement Team, Riverside Police Department, and Murrieta Police Department.

Operation Reclaim & Rebuild is an annual multi-agency statewide initiative that focuses on rescuing victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking, identifying and arresting their captors, and disrupting demand for these vulnerable victims. Operation Reclaim & Rebuild is timed to coincide with National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and serves as a reminder that human trafficking will not be tolerated in California.

During last year’s Operation Reclaim & Rebuild, which included more than 70 law enforcement agencies, 518 people were arrested, and 87 victims were recovered, including 11 minors.

Also in January, a multi-agency human trafficking operation led by the FBI rescued 33 missing children in California.

In November, the U.S. Marshals Service located 27 missing children in Virginia during “Operation Find Our Children.”

In October, the Marshals announced the recovery of 45 endangered children and 178 arrests in Ohio and West Virginia during “Operation Autumn Hope.”

On Oct. 1, the Marshals Service said they rescued 11 children in New Orleans, two of whom were said to be in “extreme danger.”

On Sept. 21, U.S. Marshals recovered 35 missing children in Ohio during “Operation Safety Net.”

On Sept. 4, Marshals declared that they had rescued eight “highly endangered” missing children during “Operation Homecoming” in Indiana.

On Aug. 27, “Operation Not Forgotten” led to the discovery of 39 missing children in Georgia and Florida. Law enforcement stated that the children were between the ages of 3 and 17. Of the 39 endangered children, 15 were victims of sex trafficking.

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Child abuse Ghislaine Maxwell Ghislaine maxwell case Ghislaine maxwell court human trafficking Intelwars Jeffrey Epstein Sex abuse Sex trafficking

Ghislaine Maxwell forced young girls to do sexual performances for Jeffrey Epstein, court documents allege

Accused madam Ghislaine Maxwell directed a room full of young girls to “kiss, dance and touch one another in a sexual way” for Jeffrey Epstein’s gratification, according to newly unsealed court documents. The alleged orgy-like performance by underage girls was detailed by an unidentified witness and alleged in 112 court documents that were released late Wednesday.

Shocking new court documents also expose explicit details about the madam and convicted pedophile by Anthony Figueroa, the ex-boyfriend of Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the longtime accuser of Epstein and Maxwell.

Giuffre, who has since settled a lawsuit against Maxwell, was allegedly forced into a threesome after “Jeffrey wanted Virginia to have sex with Ms. Maxwell,” the Daily Mail reported. The pair allegedly used sex toys during the romp, court documents say.

“Ms. Maxwell and Jeffrey would obviously be doing stuff, all three of them together,” Figueroa said, according to court documents. “Like I said, that they would all go out to clubs to pick up girls and try and find them to bring back for Jeffrey. And then she told me about how, like I said, her and Ms. Maxwell and Jeffrey were all intimate together on multiple occasions.”

When Figueroa was asked by authorities about the claim that Giuffre was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew three times at the behest the Maxwell and Epstein, he admitted that he could not “recall,” but added it “could be possible.” He said that he only remembers Giuffre mentioning being forced to have sex with “just Ms. Maxwell and all the other girls.”

Prince Andrew denies that he had sex with Giuffre.

Epstein’s housekeeper of his mansion in Florida alleges that over the course of a decade, there were 100 girls who came to the home to give the disgraced financier “sexual massages,” and the girls were purportedly paid $200.

In the newly unsealed court filings, Florida detective Joseph Recarey gave an interview to federal prosecutors in 2016 about Epstein’s alleged behavior.

“Epstein would either attempt to fondle the girls or touch the girls inappropriately, and at which point he would masturbate,” Recarey said, according to Vanity Fair. “And when he was done, he would get up and go wash off while the girls would get dressed and go back downstairs and get paid.”

Court documents read, “One witness (redacted) was in tears, as he recounted (Maxwell) bringing a 15-year-old girl into his employer’s home who, in utmost distress, told him that (Maxwell) stole the young girl’s passport and tried to make her have sex with Epstein and then threatened her.”

A witness testified that Maxwell “recruited her from her school campus to have sex with Epstein with lies about being her personal assistant,” as reported by Fox News.

One court document is a handwritten note from July 2004 where the British socialite informed Epstein that a 14-year-old girl was “available” and that he had “no one for tomorrow.”

Lawyers for Giuffre argue that the unsealed testimony is a smoking gun that Maxwell played a major role in recruiting girls for Epstein.

“It is not just the flight logs showing Defendant flying with Epstein and Ms. Giuffre over twenty times when she was a minor; it is not just the message pads from law enforcement’s trash pulls that show Defendant arranging to have an underage girl come over to Epstein’s house for ‘training,’ it is not just the police report; it is not just the photographs of [Maxwell] and other men with Ms. Giuffre when she was a minor,” Giuffre’s legal team wrote, the Daily Beast reported. “Now, there is actual, live testimonial evidence that [Maxwell] was a procurer of young girls for sex with Jeffrey Epstein, with whom she shared a home and a life, thus validating Ms. Giuffre’s claims.”

Maxwell denies helping Epstein recruit and groom girls for sex. Maxwell was arrested in July 2020. She has been held without bail since pleading not guilty to six charges, including two counts of conspiracy, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transporting minors for illegal sex acts, and two counts of perjury.

Epstein, 66, committed suicide in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correction Center in August 2019 as he was awaiting trial for sex trafficking of minors.

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33 missing children rescued in anti-human trafficking operation in California

A multi-agency anti-human trafficking operation led by the FBI rescued 33 missing children in southern California. The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the news about the investigation on Friday in a press release.

Operation Lost Angels launched on Jan. 11 and found 33 “vulnerable missing children,” eight of which were said to be being sexually exploited or trafficked when law enforcement saved them, according to the feds.

“Two were recovered multiple times during the operation while on the ‘track,’ a common term used to describe a known location for commercial sex trafficking,” the FBI said. “It is not uncommon for victims who are rescued to return to commercial sex trafficking either voluntarily or by force, fraud, or coercion.”

“This harmful cycle highlights the challenges victims face and those faced by law enforcement when attempting to keep victims from returning to an abusive situation,” the news release stated. “Victims may not self-identify as being trafficked or may not even realize they’re being trafficked.”

The operation resulted in the arrest of a suspected human trafficker on state charges. One of the minors had been unlawfully kidnapped by a parent.

“The FBI considers human trafficking modern day slavery and the minors engaged in commercial sex trafficking are considered victims,” FBI assistant director Kristi K. Johnson said. “While this operation surged resources over a limited period of time with great success, the FBI and our partners investigate child sex trafficking every day of the year and around the clock.”

In 2020, the FBI conducted 664 human trafficking investigations across the country, which resulted in the arrests of 473 human traffickers.

Operation Lost Angels, which was executed during Human Trafficking Awareness Month, involved more than two dozen law enforcement departments, including the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, San Diego Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and the United States Marshal’s Service.

The U.S. Marshals have been involved in numerous successful operations to find missing children in the past year.

In November, the U.S. Marshals rescued 27 missing children in Virginia during “Operation Find Our Children.”

In October, the Marshals announced the recovery of 45 missing and endangered children in Ohio and West Virginia during “Operation Autumn Hope.” The operation led to 179 arrests that were made by the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force.

On Oct. 1, the Marshals Service announced they rescued 11 children in New Orleans, two of which were said to be in “extreme danger.

On Sept. 21, U.S. Marshals rescued 35 missing children during “Operation Safety Net” in Ohio.

On Sept. 17, U.S. Marshals Service executed “Operation Triple Beam,” a 60-day mission to decrease violent gang crime in Oklahoma City. U.S. Marshals made 262 arrests, seized illegal firearms and narcotics, as well as located five missing children.

On Sept. 4, Marshals declared that they had rescued eight “highly endangered” missing children in Indiana during “Operation Homecoming.”

On Aug. 27, “Operation Not Forgotten” resulted in the discovery of 39 missing children in Georgia and Florida. Authorities said the children were between the ages of 3 to 17. Of the 39 endangered children, 15 were victims of sex trafficking.

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Pornhub removes most videos in massive victory for orgs fighting sex trafficking

Organizations fighting against pornography received a major victory this week after Pornhub, the internet’s biggest pornography website, announced that it would cut the majority of its video inventory.

Pornhub announced on Monday that it would delete all videos not uploaded by “content partners” or by members of its “model program.”

“As part of our policy to ban unverified uploaders, we have now also suspended all previously uploaded content that was not created by content partners or members of the Model Program,” Pornhub said in a statement. “This means every piece of Pornhub content is from verified uploaders, a requirement that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter have yet to institute.”

Prior to the change, Pornhub hosted more than 13.5 million videos. After unverified videos were purged, fewer than 3 million videos remained, CNN reported. This means that more than 10 million videos — more than 80% of all site content — were deleted.

What is the background?

The development comes after an exposé by the New York Times revealed how Pornhub is complicit in human sex trafficking. The report detailed the stories of child sex trafficking victims whose traumatic videos of abuse had been uploaded to Pornhub.

Pornhub responded by announcing policy changes, but they were not enough to stop Visa and Mastercard from severing processing ties with the porn website.

“Given the allegations of illegal activity, Visa is suspending Pornhub’s acceptance privileges pending the completion of our ongoing investigation. We are instructing the financial institutions who serve MindGeek to suspend processing of payments through the Visa network,” Visa said in a statement.

Similarly, Mastercard said, “Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site. We instructed the financial institutions that connect the site to our network to terminate acceptance.”

Victory for anti-porn orgs

The development is a massive victory for organizations fighting against pornography, which recognize how the porn industry is used as a conduit for human trafficking.

In fact, Pornhub lashed out at two organizations in particular, Exodus Cry and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, both of which have been campaigning for years against the pornography industry.

“It is clear that Pornhub is being targeted not because of our policies and how we compare to our peers, but because we are an adult content platform,” Pornhub said, citing both organizations.

In a tweet, Exodus Cry called the video removals a “huge WIN.”

Why do people fight against porn?

Although progressives attempt to normalize pornography by claiming “sex work is work,” research on the effects of pornography is revealing just how dangerous and addictive it is.

Dr. William Struthers, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at Wheaton College in Chicago, told TheBlaze in 2016 that porn hijacks the same pleasure centers of the human brain that hard drugs target, making the viewing of sex videos highly addictive.

“When we talk about pornography as a drug, we’ve really got the cart before the horse. Really, the only reason why any drugs are addictive is that they act on the brain’s natural pleasure systems,” Struthers said. “Sex is a great example of what the brain is made for when it comes to pleasure. Sex is very pleasurable for human beings the majority of the time.”

“The brain has these natural pleasure circuits — these circuits that are designed to give us the feeling of closeness, of excitement, of love — and so the only reason why these drugs, like crack, morphine, methamphetamine, or any of those have any pleasurable consequences at all is because they act on these natural systems that are already there,” he explained. “So a better way to talk about heroin is that heroin is actually injected orgasm.”

“Drugs that mimic the chemical properties already in the brain and are part of this natural pleasure circuit, those are the ones that we get addicted to,” he added. “So porn isn’t crack for your eyes, crack is smoked sexual arousal.”

The problem with porn addiction, of course, is that people, by visiting porn websites and paying for porn, are perpetuating an industry that exploits women and engages in human trafficking.

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Charter jet CEO charged with sex trafficking of young girls

The CEO of a private jet company was reportedly busted for sex trafficking of children across state lines last week. Paul Alexander, 57, was arrested for reportedly bringing girls across state lines, according to the New York Attorney General.

Paul Alexander, the CEO of Central Jet Charter, has been charged with sex trafficking after allegedly being caught in a sting operation. The investigation, dubbed “Operation Mile High,” claimed to have caught Alexander offering sex with a 12-year-old girl and 14-year-old girl for $300 to an undercover agent across state lines, according to authorities.

The Daily Beast reported, “An undercover cop posing as a customer met with Alexander—who showed him nude photos of the girls, charged him $300 for sex with them, and suggested he ply them with drugs and pot so they would be more cooperative, authorities said.”

The arrest came from a months-long joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, the New York City Police Department’s Vice Major Case Squad, and Human Trafficking Team exposed the alleged crimes by Alexander.

Alexander, who is said to be a Level 3 Sex Offender from the Bronx, has been charged with multiple counts of sex trafficking minors after months-long investigation by the NYPD and the New York Attorney General’s office, reports Daily Mail. As per the report, Alexander is a registered sex offender and was arrested on Thursday, December 3, for allegedly sex trafficking children throughout New York City.

According to criminal records, Alexander had previously been convicted of first-degree sexual abuse and possession of child pornography, as reported by the Daily Mail.

“The girl alleged that Alexander sexually abused her and other underage girls and promoted them for prostitution to other men,” the Daily Mail reported. “He has two previous convictions that placed him on the registry: first-degree sexual abuse in 1996 along with a separate conviction for possessing child pornography in 2003. There were no further details released on Alexander’s potential number of victims or for how long he had run the operation.”

In the statement released on Thursday, New York Attorney General Letitia James said, “There is nothing more reprehensible than sexually exploiting a child.”

“This individual’s alleged actions jeopardized the health and safety of our children and highlighted the critical need for these new protections that strengthen our ability to hold perpetrators accountable for these gross violations of the law,” James added. “I thank the NYPD for their partnership in this investigation, and I will continue to use all the tools at my office’s disposal to hold accountable those who seek to abuse our children.”

“The NYPD and our law enforcement partners share a commitment to protect the survivors of child trafficking, and we will continue to fight on behalf of our society’s most vulnerable individuals,” NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said. “I thank and commend the NYPD detectives involved in this investigation and the New York State Office of the Attorney General for their efforts to ensure child predators are taken off our streets. The NYPD will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to eradicate the trafficking of children in our city and work to bring justice to victims of these heinous crimes.”

Alexander was charged with sex trafficking of a child, attempted sex trafficking of a child, related counts of first and second degrees of promoting prostitution, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted.

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Houston police arrest Honduran national in human trafficking ring bust, rescue 29 victims

Nearly 30 people in Houston were rescued from an alleged human trafficking ring, and a suspect has been arrested in the case.

According to the Houston Police Department, officers “received a report of a male in his briefs running down the street yelling that he had been kidnapped.” The nearly naked man informed authorities that “thirty more people were being held hostage in the house.”

Inside the home in southwest Houston, police found 28 men and one female, who appeared to be a minor, according to
KHOU-TV. The victims were in their underwear, but reportedly in good condition. Officials said the victims are from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Cuba.

Mary Lewis, who lives directly behind the home where the victims were discovered, recalled the moment when a victim approached her.

“When he ran up to me he looked like he was all cut up,” Lewis told
KYTX-TV. “He had like cuts in his face. But he was in his red shorts, drawers. And he was barefoot.”

“Then I was backing up. I said, ‘What’s wrong, man? I can’t understand you. What are you talking about?’ And then he would look back that way,” Lewis said.

The
U.S. attorney’s officenoted that the residence had boarded-up windows and deadbolt locks on the inside doors.

After the victims were rescued, they were taken to the Ridgemont Elementary School where they were provided with food and clothes. The victims were later transported to an immigration facility.

The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are investigating the situation. The victims are cooperating with authorities, according to police.

A suspect has been arrested in the human trafficking bust. Officials named the suspect as Mauro Dominguez-Maldonado, a 36-year-old Honduran national. On Friday, federal prosecutors said the suspect was in the United States illegally, according to
CNN.

The criminal complaint alleges Dominguez-Maldonado was in charge of watching over the individuals and performing multiple tasks in the alleged human smuggling operation.

Dominguez-Maldonado faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted. Dominguez-Maldonado is expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy on Monday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Bennett is prosecuting the case.

Police Commander Jonathon Halliday
told reporters that three people were detained as possible suspects.

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Nearly 200 arrested in ‘large-scale’ sex trafficking investigation in Florida

Police in Florida arrested 178 people following in what the U.S. Department of Justice called a “large-scale human trafficking investigation.” The Tallahassee Police Department made the announcement Tuesday about “Operation Stolen Innocence,” a two-year-long investigation into sex trafficking in Florida’s capital city.

The investigation began in November 2018, after authorities discovered a 13-year-old child’s image on a prostitution website. Elizabeth Bascom, one of the lead investigators in the case, told the Tallahassee Democrat that abuse of the girl may have begun even before her 13th birthday, and called the girl’s exploitation “horrific.”

“This was a child, 13 turning 14 … who worked through her birthday as if it did not exist, who worked through Thanksgiving while we sat at tables and enjoyed our families, who worked through Christmas like it wasn’t even there,” Bascom said.

Several of the defendants told investigators during sworn interviews that the girl’s mother wouldn’t allow anyone to have sex with her daughter unless they brought money or drugs, according to police reports.

Police did not reveal if the victim’s mother was involved in the sex trafficking ring, or if she was charged with any crimes.

The meetings occurred in an apartment, as well as hotels and motels. The encounters were arranged via text messages and social media, providing a trail of electronic evidence.

Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell said the investigation resulted in the 178 arrests; 106 people have been charged with felonies, and 72 face misdemeanor charges. There are 19 suspects who face federal felony charges. Charges include the production of child pornography, human sex trafficking of a minor, and solicitation of prostitution.

“It is difficult to comprehend the depravity of these criminals who prey on the most innocent in our society,” acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Tampa Field Office Kevin Sibley said. “Thanks to the collective efforts of the Tallahassee Police Department and HSI special agents, our local communities are significantly safer today as a result of this investigation.”

“Human sex trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide,” Revell said. “Florida ranks in the top 5 in the nation for reports of human trafficking.”

The Tallahassee Police Department’s Special Victims Unit rescued the girl.

Revell said the teen is “on the road to recovery, and she’s doing well given the situation.”

“She does have things to say,” Bascom said of the victim. “She was able to say that this has seriously impacted her life, and it is very difficult at times. But she is working to get her life back.”

Operation Stolen Innocence was a multi-agency investigation that included the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

The U.S. Marshals Service has participated in numerous human trafficking operations this year and have rescued dozens of missing children. Earlier this month, the U.S. Marshals rescued 27 missing children in Virginia during “Operation Find Our Children.”

On Oct. 27, the United States Marshals Service announced the recovery of 45 missing and endangered children in Ohio and West Virginia during “Operation Autumn Hope.” The Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force made 179 arrests during the investigation.

On Oct. 1, the U.S. Marshals located 11 children in New Orleans, two of which were in “extreme danger.

On Sept. 21, U.S. Marshals announced that they had recovered 35 missing children in Ohio during “Operation Safety Net.”

On Sept. 17, U.S. Marshals Service completed “Operation Triple Beam,” a 60-day mission to decrease violent gang crime in Oklahoma City. U.S. Marshals made 262 arrests and located five missing children,

On Sept. 4, the agency said that it had rescued eight “highly endangered” missing children during “Operation Homecoming” in Indiana.

On Aug. 27, U.S. Marshals retrieved 39 missing children in Georgia and Florida during “Operation Not Forgotten.” Authorities said the children were between the ages of 3 to 17. Of the 39 endangered children, 15 were victims of sex trafficking.


City of Tallahassee Police Department announce 178 arrests in child sex trafficking investigation

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US Marshals rescue 27 missing kids in Virginia during ‘Operation Find Our Children’

The Department of Justice announced on Friday that the U.S. Marshals had rescued 27 missing children in Virginia during “Operation Find Our Children.” The mission lasted only five days, but was able to recover 27 missing kids throughout the state, and located six more children who were reported as missing but were found to be in the custody of their legal guardian.

The multi-agency effort involved more than 60 law enforcement investigators, including members from the U.S. Marshals from the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, U.S. Marshals Service Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, federal and state law enforcement agents, and local police departments.

There were also over 50 employees from the Virginia Department of Social Services, as well as a team of medical professionals and experts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“I can think of no more critical or satisfying mission for a law enforcement officer, than rescuing an endangered child,” Nick E. Proffitt, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia, said. “This operation brought together a formidable team that was, and is, determined to come to the aid of our youth and bring to justice those among us that choose to prey on these vulnerable children.”

“I am proud of the Deputy Marshals in the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia and their partners for the work they accomplished this week – and the results speak for themselves; these 27 children are safe once again,” Proffitt continued. “I am deeply humbled and highly honored that our team in Eastern Virginia is a continuing part of this critical Marshals Service mission. We want the missing children across this great nation to know the U.S. Marshals Service will never stop looking for you, we will find you.”

“The U.S. Marshals Service has a legendary history of finding fugitives and bringing them to justice,” Thomas L. Foster, U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Virginia, said. “Because of this specialized skill set, finding missing children is a natural extension of the Marshal’s mission.”

“Although many of the 27 recoveries occurred in Virginia’s larger population centers, seven occurred in the Western District of Virginia to include Roanoke and Abingdon,” Foster added. “This operation brought missing and exploited children to a place of safety and those who made the decision to prey upon them to justice.”

“The Department of Justice is dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable children in our society and ‘Operation Find Our Children’ does just that,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said. “While this Virginia operation is the most recent recovery of endangered and missing children led by the U.S. Marshals Service this year, we have also recovered more than 440 kids in Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, Louisiana and other states. Because of this initiative, the recovered children are now out of harm’s way.”

Last week, the United States Marshals Service announced the recovery of 45 missing and endangered children in Ohio and West Virginia during “Operation Autumn Hope.” The operation also resulted in 179 arrests that were made by the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force.

On Oct. 1, the agency rescued 11 children in New Orleans, two of which were in “extreme danger.

On Sept. 21, U.S. Marshals announced that they had recovered 35 missing children during “Operation Safety Net” in Ohio.

On Sept. 17, U.S. Marshals Service completed “Operation Triple Beam,” a 60-day mission to decrease violent gang crime in Oklahoma City. U.S. Marshals made 262 arrests, seized illegal firearms and narcotics, as well as located five missing children,

On Sept. 4, the U.S. Marshals Service said that they had rescued eight “highly endangered” missing children in Indiana during “Operation Homecoming.”

On Aug. 27, U.S. Marshals found 39 missing children in Georgia and Florida during “Operation Not Forgotten.” Authorities said the children were between the ages of 3 to 17. Of the 39 endangered children, 15 were victims of sex trafficking.

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US Marshals recover 45 missing children, arrest 179 in human trafficking sting ‘Operation Autumn Hope’

U.S. Marshals, with the help of state and local agencies, rescued 45 missing and endangered children in Ohio and West Virginia during “Operation Autumn Hope.”

The Central Ohio Human Trafficking Trask Force, Columbus PACT Unit, and the Cuyahoga County Human Trafficking Task Force also recovered 109 victims, who were referred to social services.

The campaign to locate and recover victims of human trafficking involved over 50 law enforcement agencies and non-government partners coordinated across the state of Ohio. The mission is believed to be the “largest anti-human trafficking operation” in Ohio’s history.

Operation Autumn Hope resulted in 179 arrests made by the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, many of which were outstanding warrants. There were 22 people who were arrested for allegedly seeking to have sex with a minor.

One of the missing children rescued is a 15-year-old girl from Cleveland who was linked to “other possible victims to an individual in Columbus suspected of human trafficking,” according to a U.S. Marshals news release.

United States Marshals Service officers from Southern Ohio and Southern West Virginia worked on the operation. U.S. Marshal Michael Baylous said of the13 missing kids recovered by the Cops United Felony Fugitive Enforcement Division; three of the children were missing from San Bernardino, California, following a parental dispute and found in West Virginia.

The operation was supported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“These predators shamelessly target the most innocent and defenseless members of our community,” Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin said. “Operation Autumn Hope is sending a loud and clear message: We are watching, we will catch you, and we will protect our children.”

“These vulnerable members of our population usually slip through the cracks,” said Sgt. Dana Hess, director of the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force. “This operation highlighted the vast number of potential victims and allowed law enforcement the opportunity to make contact and link them to services.”

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) released a news release about the human trafficking sting.

“The success of Operation Autumn Hope is measured not only in the number of arrests but in the lives that were rescued from this evil,” Yost said. “Every agency on this team looks for the day when no person is bought and sold in Ohio. Don’t buy sex in Ohio!”

Earlier this month, U.S. Marshals rescued 11 children in New Orleans, two of which were in “extreme danger.

On Sept. 21, U.S. Marshals announced that they had rescued 35 missing children during “Operation Safety Net” in Ohio.

On Sept. 17, U.S. Marshals Service completed “Operation Triple Beam,” a 60-day mission to decrease violent gang crime in Oklahoma City. U.S. Marshals made 262 arrests, seized illegal firearms and narcotics, plus rescued five missing children,

On Sept. 4, the U.S. Marshals Service said that they rescued eight “highly endangered” missing children in Indiana during “Operation Homecoming.”

On Aug. 27, U.S. Marshals located 39 missing children in Georgia and Florida during “Operation Not Forgotten.” Authorities said the children were between the ages of 3 to 17. Of the 39 endangered children, 15 were victims of sex trafficking.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement engaged in a multi-agency operation last month that resulted in the arrest of five suspected child sexual predators. “Operation Home Alone 2” was able to successfully “target sexual predators who attempted to lure underage children with the intent of engaging in sexual activity.”

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US Marshals rescue 11 missing runaway children in New Orleans; 2 boys were in ‘extreme danger’

In “Operation Summer Rescue 2020,” the U.S. Marshals Service focused on tracking down missing runaway children originally from New Orleans. During the two-month operation funded by the agency’s Missing Child Unit, U.S. Marshals rescued 11 endangered children, including two boys who were reportedly in extreme danger.

Of the 11 children located, one of them was a 16-year-old boy was found in New Orleans. Authorities believe that the teen was involved in illegal gang activity, including the possession of firearms.

U.S. Marshals tracked down a missing 13-year-old girl, who was found in Nashville, Tennessee. The recovery of the girl included the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service of Middle District Tennessee Task Force, Metro Nashville Police Department, and the FBI New Orleans Field Office, according to the U.S. Marshals press release.

Operation Summer Rescue 2020, which took place between Aug. 1 through Sept. 30, also made several arrests during the rescues. An adult male was arrested for aggravated statutory rape.

A mother wanted on a first-degree murder warrant out of Mississippi was apprehended. She allegedly murdered her 11-year-old son at a hotel in Laurel, Mississippi. U.S. Marshals recovered her two other sons, ages 6 and 9, who were considered to be in “extreme danger” and an Amber Alert had been issued to locate them.

“This is a very important mission that the USMS has been tasked by Congress to oversee, as the safety of children across the country is paramount to this nation’s future,” said U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Louisiana Scott Illing. “While 11 recoveries may not seem high, this work, which is time consuming, was accomplished while also running our normal day-to-day violent felony offender investigations and sex offender fugitive operations in the district, along with our other judicial missions.”

In the past month and a half, the U.S. Marshals Service has rescued nearly 100 missing and endangered children.

Last week, U.S. Marshals reported that they had rescued 35 missing children during “Operation Safety Net” in Ohio.

On Sept. 17, U.S. Marshals Service wrapped up “Operation Triple Beam,” a 60-day mission to reduce violent gang crime in Oklahoma City. U.S. Marshals rescued five missing children, made 262 arrests, plus seized illegal firearms and narcotics.

On Sept. 4, the U.S. Marshals Service announced that they rescued eight “highly endangered” missing children in Indiana during “Operation Homecoming.”

On Aug. 27, U.S. Marshals located 39 missing children in Georgia and Florida during “Operation Not Forgotten.” Authorities said the children were between the ages of 3 to 17. Of the 39 endangered children, 15 were victims of sex trafficking.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement participated in a multi-agency operation last month that resulted in the arrest of five suspected child sexual predators. “Operation Home Alone 2” was able to successfully “target sexual predators who attempted to lure underage children with the intent of engaging in sexual activity.”

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US Marshals rescue 35 missing and endangered children during ‘Operation Safety Net’ in Ohio

The U.S. Marshals Service continues its mission to locate missing children. The U.S. Marshals announced this week that they had rescued 35 missing and endangered children during “Operation Safety Net” in Ohio.

Operation Safety Net, a joint investigation by the U.S. Marshals Service and local police in Ohio, tracked down 35 missing kids from the Cuyahoga County area. The lost children, who were between the ages of 13 and 18, were found in Ohio cities, including Cleveland, Akron, and Columbus, as well as Miami, Florida.

More than 20% of the endangered children were tied to human trafficking cases, according to the news release from the U.S. Marshals Service.

“This was new unchartered territory and the first time we conducted an operation like this,” U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said in a statement on Monday. “I am very proud of our law enforcement, community and media partners who worked tirelessly to bring our missing and most vulnerable children to safety. The establishment of a permanent unit in Northern Ohio will ensure that our most vulnerable missing children will continue to be found and brought to safety.”

Newburgh Heights Police Chief John Majoy said his department was “proud to assist in Operation Safety Net,” and commended the United States Marshals Service for “their hard work and dedication toward locating these children.”

“Many times, they do not know they are a victim and this operation offers hope, freedom and safety they would not otherwise have,” Majoy said. “This is a fine example of local, state and federal partners all working together for a notable cause. Together we can all make a difference.”

Operation Safety Net is still working on five cases that remain open, which will be handled by the Marshals Task Force and local law enforcement in the next several weeks. The missing children they are looking for are Leantwana Bates, 17, Yalonda Bates, 15, Ja-Niya Scott-Lee, 16, Alicia Jackson, 16, and Issac Ortiz, 16.

Following the success of Operation Safety Net, a permanent Missing Child Unit was created in northern Ohio “to focus on those missing, abused, neglected and trafficked juveniles.”

In the last four weeks, U.S. Marshals have located nearly 90 missing and endangered children.

In late August, the U.S. Marshals Service located 39 missing children in Georgia and Florida during “Operation Not Forgotten.” The Marshals said the children were between the ages of 3 to 17. Of the 39 endangered children, 15 were victims of sex trafficking.

Earlier this month, U.S. Marshals reported that they rescued eight “highly endangered” missing children in Indiana during “Operation Homecoming.”

Last week, U.S. Marshals Service wrapped up “Operation Triple Beam,” a 60-day mission to reduce violent gang crime in Oklahoma City. U.S. Marshals rescued five missing children, made 262 arrests, and seized illegal firearms and narcotics.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement participated in a multi-agency operation that resulted in the arrest of five suspected child sexual predators. “Operation Home Alone 2” was able to successfully “target sexual predators who attempted to lure underage children with the intent of engaging in sexual activity.”

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Tim Tebow joins AG Barr to announce $100 million grant to fight human trafficking

Attorney General William Barr — joined by former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, first daughter Ivanka Trump, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) — announced at a roundtable event on Monday that the Department of Justice would be awarding more than $100 million to help combat human trafficking.

The grant money will be given to task forces aimed at stopping human trafficking and to organizations that provide housing and services to victims, the Associated Press reported.

The announcement comes just one month after the Trump administration awarded $35 million in separate grant money to organizations that provide safe housing for victims.

The Tim Tebow Foundation, a charitable organization run by the former NFL quarterback and his wife, Demi, is heavily invested in anti-human trafficking efforts around the world.

During the roundtable, Tebow called human trafficking the “greatest form of evil in the world today.”

He also charged those in the room, which included members of law enforcement and other philanthropic organizations, to “push back this evil” and finally say “not on our watch.”


Tim Tebow Foundation joins human trafficking effort at Atlanta roundtable

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“The reason why we got into this,” Tebow continued, “was because eight years ago, my dad was preaching in a remote country, and there were four girls that he was next to that were being sold, and he took out all the money out of his wallet — which was $1,250 — and he bought those four girls.”

“Then, he called me and said, ‘I just bought four girls and I’m not really sure what to do now.’ And I said, ‘That’s okay, Dad, we’ve got your back,'” Tebow said.

Tebow’s foundation now works with the federal government to strengthen families in areas where trafficking is prevalent, support rescue missions of trafficked individuals, and support survivors’ long-term recovery.

According to the International Labor Organization, there are as many as 40 million people around the world who are victims of some form of modern-day slavery or human trafficking. Among the victims, women and children are disproportionately affected.

Last month, the Tim Tebow Foundation launched a fundraiser to aid the war on human trafficking.

“I can’t help but feel that we are at a point in history where we cannot stand silently and passively watch as evil rages on,” Tebow wrote on the GoFundMe page. “It’s time for Christians around the world to take a stand, to raise our voices and say no more. No more will we allow girls and boys, many of whom are just children, to be bought and sold as if they were just products for someone else’s personal gain. Every person on this earth is created in the image of God – uniquely, beautifully, and perfectly. Their value is priceless, and they are not for sale.”

At the time of this article’s publication, more than $700,000 had been raised.

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US Marshals rescue 8 ‘highly endangered’ missing children in Indiana during ‘Operation Homecoming’

The U.S. Marshals announced this week that they had located and rescued eight missing children in Indiana. The missing children recovered in “Operation Homecoming” were said to be “highly endangered.”

The children were “considered to be some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases in the area based on indications of high-risk factors such as victimization of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sex abuse, physical abuse and medical or mental health conditions,” according to the statement released by the U.S. Marshals Service, Southern District of Indiana.

The missing children, who were between the ages of 6 and 17, were rescued and handed over to the Indiana Department of Child Services.

During the five-day Operation Homecoming in the Indianapolis area, one adult was arrested and faces charges related to parental kidnapping, intimidation, weapons possession, and custodial interference, the United States Marshals Service stated.

Operation Homecoming took place from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, but involved several months of planning and coordination between multiple agencies. The agencies involved in the operation include the U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit, U.S. Marshals Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“The Marshals are committed to assisting state and local agencies with locating and recovering endangered missing children to help prevent their falling victim to crimes of violence and exploitation,” said Dan McClain, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Indiana. “The message that we wish to convey to the missing children and their families is that we will use every resource at our disposal to find you.”

Over the last two weeks, the U.S. Marshals have announced the rescue of 72 missing children.

Last month, U.S. Marshals located 39 missing children in Georgia and Florida during “Operation Not Forgotten.” Authorities said the children ranged in age from 3 to 17 years old. The U.S. Marshals Service said that 15 of the children were victims of sex trafficking, according to WAGA-TV.

There were 26 warrants cleared during the two-week operation, including “19 arrest warrants for a total of nine individuals arrested, some of whom had multiple warrants,” according to the U.S. Marshals.

In late August, U.S. Marshals announced that they had tracked down 25 missing and endangered children from Ohio during Operation Safety Net. The missing children were between the ages of 13 and 18, and were located in Cleveland, Euclid, Willoughby, and as far away as Miami, Florida.

U.S. Marshals said that a quarter of the endangered children were victims of human trafficking and prostitution.

“These are kids that have been abused, neglected. Some involved in human trafficking,” U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott told WOIO-TV. “Sometimes the situations they — they go to, believe it or not, may be better than the situations they left from. We’ve had some cases where the mother and or father, or both, may have been prostituting their own child.”

“We’re trying to do our part. A number of these children have gone to the hospital after we’ve recovered them to get checked out, so again this is something we take very seriously,” Elliott added. “I’ll tell you this, it will be something we’ll be doing every year. This is our first time we have done this, it’s been uncharted territory for us, but we’ve had great success.”

There were 421,394 entries for missing children in 2019, according to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center. The U.S. Marshals helped recover 295 missing children in 2019, and more than 1,800 since teaming up with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2005.

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US Marshals rescue 25 missing children from Ohio, many are victims of human trafficking or prostitution

U.S. Marshals located 25 missing and endangered children from Ohio in the past 20 days of an ongoing operation. U.S. Marshals worked with state and local agencies in Ohio to track down missing children in Operation Safety Net.

The missing children, who were between the ages of 13 and 18, were found in Cleveland, East Cleveland, Euclid, Willoughby, and as far away as Miami, Florida. U.S. Marshals noted that a quarter of the endangered children were victims of human trafficking and prostitution.

“These are kids that have been abused, neglected. Some involved in human trafficking,” U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott told WOIO. “Sometimes the situations they—they go to, believe it or not, may be better than the situations they left from. We’ve had some cases where the mother and or father, or both, may have been prostituting their own child.”

“We’re trying to do our part. A number of these children have gone to the hospital after we’ve recovered them to get checked out, so again this is something we take very seriously,” Elliott added. “I’ll tell you this, it will be something we’ll be doing every year. This is our first time we have done this, it’s been uncharted territory for us, but we’ve had great success.”

The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, Cleveland Division of Police, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, the East Cleveland Police Department, and the Newburgh Heights Police Department are assisting U.S. Marshals in Operation Safety Net, according to the Mansfield News Journal.

Operation Safety Net will continue for a few more weeks, and it has a goal to find the approximately 200 missing children from Northeast Ohio.

Information about the whereabouts of missing children can be provided at the U.S. Marshals tip line at 1-866-492-6833.

Earlier this week, U.S. Marshals rescued 26 missing children and safely located 13 during “Operation Not Forgotten.” The endangered children, who ranged in age from 3 to 17, were found in Georgia and Florida. Of the 39 children, 15 were victims of sex trafficking.

In a separate operation called “Operation Moving Target,” 27 men were arrested in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The men reportedly engaged in sexually explicit online conversations with undercover officers while posing as children, according to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley.

During the four-day undercover operation that took place this week, men contacted, who they believed to be minors via social media apps. “The defendants apparently expressed an interest in engaging in sexual activity with the purported children and/or disseminated images of their genitals during these online conversations,” according to WKYC.

The men, between the ages of 21 and 61, allegedly traveled to a vacant house in Cuyahoga County, according to the prosecutor’s office. When the men arrived at the house, authorities were there to arrest and take them to the county jail.

Several of the suspects had condoms, personal lubricant, sex toys, and drugs in their possession when they were arrested, officials say.

Many of the suspects were charged with attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, importuning, and possession of criminal tools.

Operation Moving Target was coordinated by the Ohio ICAC Task Force, and worked in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, the Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Ohio BCI, Newburgh Heights Police, Solon Police, Kent Police, Streetsboro Police, Cortland Police, and Cleveland Police.

The suspects include:

  • Rajwant Singh, 44, Mayfield Heights
  • Adam Davis, 41, Painesville
  • Germaine Truett, 38, Cleveland
  • Jason Johnson, 37, Cleveland
  • Ronel Washington, 24, Garfield Heights
  • Hector Pietri, 29, Cleveland
  • Kyle Vansteenburg, 28, Cleveland
  • Raphael Robinson, 26, Cleveland
  • Cory Huber, 32, Elyria
  • Michael Labandano, 39, Lyndhurst
  • Nicholas Cook, 38, Bedford Heights
  • Chazz Johnson-Hawks, 22, Solon
  • Ian Rensel, 43, Bedford
  • Jerry Harris, 35, Westlake
  • Carson Stmisa, 21, Seven Hills
  • Justin Cowger, 22, Cleveland
  • Kim Koran, 61, Cleveland
  • Nathan Troup, 39, New Castle, Pennsylvania
  • Abed Aldur, 45, Parma
  • Arturo Martinez, 47, University Heights
  • Phillip Jones, 30, Streetsboro
  • Keith Kozak, 41, Brooklyn
  • Pedro Correa Jr., 42, Cleveland
  • Ryan Demplsey, 37, Ashtabula
  • Johnathan Smith, 34, Cleveland
  • Robert Spisak, 45, Broadview Heights
  • Jason Schmucker, 37, Canton
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US Marshals rescue 39 missing children, arrest suspects on human- and sex-trafficking charges

U.S. Marshals tracked down 39 missing children during a two-week operation in Georgia and Florida.

The U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit, in conjunction with the agency’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, worked with state and local agencies in Georgia to locate endangered children. U.S. Marshals rescued 26 missing children and safely located 13 others during “Operation Not Forgotten.”

Investigators said the children ranged in age from 3 to 17. The U.S. Marshals Service identified 15 of the children as being victims of sex trafficking, according to WAGA-TV.

“Additionally, investigators cleared 26 arrest warrants and filed additional charges for alleged crimes related to sex trafficking, parental kidnapping, registered sex offender violations, drugs and weapons possession, and custodial interference,” the official U.S. Marshals news release read. “The 26 warrants cleared included 19 arrest warrants for a total of nine individuals arrested, some of whom had multiple warrants.”

According to WTSP-TV, the nine suspects and charges include:

  • Moradeyo Amos Bandele – Arrested in Port St Lucy, Fla. – Warrant for rape from Conyers, GA
  • Trayon Moore – Arrested in Dekalb County, Ga. – Sex trafficking and probation violation warrants
  • James Garcia – Arrested at a motel in Clearwater, Fla. – Warrants for aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy and incest with a minor out of Whitfield County, Ga.
  • Faye Smith – Arrested at a motel in Clearwater, Fla. – Warrant for probation violation
  • Sally Garcia – Arrested at a motel in Clearwater, Fla. – Interference with child custody
  • Zachary Bailey – Arrested in Columbus, Ga. – Human trafficking, enticing of a minor for indecent purposes, and enticement of a minor for solicitation
  • Stanson Causey – Arrested in Jasper, Ga. – Registered sex offender arrested for probation violation
  • Kirk Waters – Arrested in Newton County, Ga. – Felon in possession of a firearm
  • Trevonte Shareef – Arrested in Newton County, Ga. – Interference with custody and obstruction

“The U.S. Marshals Service is fully committed to assisting federal, state, and local agencies with locating and recovering endangered missing children, in addition to their primary fugitive apprehension mission,” Director of the Marshals Service Donald Washington said in a statement. “The message to missing children and their families is that we will never stop looking for you.

“I have children. I’m sure many of you do as well. These are not my kids and these are not your kids, but actually they are our kids when it’s all said and done,” Washington said. “Here in Atlanta, approximately 300 young girls are lured into sex trafficking every month.”

“We’re really good and what we do. You know, they’ve called us manhunters. Well, we’re not just man hunters anymore,” Darby Kirby, chief inspector of the U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit, said. “We also help save and rescue children as well.

“When we track down fugitives, it’s a good feeling to know that we’re putting the bad guy behind bars,” Kirby added. “But that sense of accomplishment is nothing compared to finding a missing child.”

“To address [sex trafficking], it requires agents, foot soldiers and prosecutors that are willing to take the fight to the enemy,” Georgia Bureau of Investigation Assistant Director John Melvin said.

“I always go back to the fact that if we can save one child from a life of abuse or sex trafficking, we’ve done our job,” Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr said.

“The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 enhanced the U.S. Marshals’ authority to assist federal, state, and local law enforcement with the recovery of missing, endangered or abducted children, regardless of whether a fugitive or sex offender was involved,” the U.S. Marshals news release stated. “The Marshals established a Missing Child Unit to oversee and manage the implementation of its enhanced authority under the act.”

According to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, there were 421,394 entries for missing children in 2019. The United States Marshals Service helped recover 295 missing children in 2019, and more than 1,800 since parenting with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2005.


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