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Posts Tagged ‘human trafficking’

Growing Up in America 4/21/14 (Radio show)

May 12, 2014 | by CommunityEd

HRRC’s Deputy Director, Misa Nguyen is interviewed during “Growing Up in America”, on Children at Risk’s radio show.

Check it out!

“Growing Up in America” (link to audio)


Advocate Citizen- Exposing Human Trafficking (TV Show)

May 12, 2014 | by CommunityEd

Check out Maria Trujillo, HRRC’s Executive Director on Advocate Citizen- Exposing Human Trafficking, aired May 8th, 2014 @ 6PM CST.

Advocate Citizen- Exposing Human Trafficking Part 1 of 2

Advocate Citizen- Exposing Human Trafficking Part 2 of 2


Houston topless clubs help fight human trafficking

December 2, 2013 | by Matt

Juan A. Lozano

November 27th, 2013

The Houston Chronicle

In a press conference on Wednesday, November 27th, Mayor Annise Parker announced the terms of settlement of a long-running lawsuit over an ordinance that regulates sexually oriented businesses in Houston. The city had been involved in a legal fight with 16 businesses for over ten years. In the settlement, the 16 businesses will contribute over one million dollars a year to a fund that will help fight human trafficking. The fund will help to create a new unit under the Houston Police Department of 9 officers that will exclusively investigate cases of human trafficking. The settlement is not a “free pass” but rather includes strict regulations to be placed on the businesses, such as the elimination of private rooms and strict hiring processes.

To read more, click here.

Community comes together to raise awareness on human trafficking

November 12, 2013 | by Social Media

The Daily Cougar
Rebecca Heliot 

Students in the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston organized a documentary screening and discussion about human trafficking last Thursday. “Slavery Out of the Shadows: Spotlight on Human Trafficking” was followed by a panel discussion lead by local experts on human trafficking, including HRRC’s own Maria Trujillo.

For the full article, click here.


HRRC Trains In Cyprus – Learn About Our Experience

November 1, 2013 | by Maria

In July 2013 HRRC was asked to organize a week long visit of a Cyprus delegation coming to the US, specifically to Houston to learn about the city’s collaborative approach in tackling the issue of human trafficking in our community.  The delegation meet with HRRC as well as several key partners such as members of the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (the law enforcement task force), coalition members, government agencies and much more.  As a result of this visit, the Cypriot delegation was excited to learn more and as part of the Department of State’s U.S. Speaker and Specialist Program,  HRRC was invited to provide additional training to Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot community from October 2-9, 2013.  HRRC was able to send staff members Kendra Penry, Director of Programs and Misa Nguyen, Project Manager to represent the organization and to provide the requested training.

HRRC was asked to conduct three separate trainings for three very distinct audiences. The first was a discussion with Cypriot governmental officials about Houston’s response to trafficking and the process of building comprehensive task forces. The second presentation was for the Turkish Cypriot community where we focused more on the healthcare community and how they can identify potential victims. Our final presentation was for UNFICYP who was interested in hearing our observations of the country and where they can fit into the effort to combat human trafficking. Each of these presentations seemed to be well received and met with very encouraging questions and requests for additional information.

The outcome of the first two-day training was that the majority of participants truly wanted to work together, wanted to build a task force, and admitted that they needed more training. On Day 1, participants were resistant to training as they felt they already were doing what they needed to do, but by Day 2, they were willing to admit that they needed more guidance. While we could not follow through personally with that guidance, we were able to make sure that the post knew what they needed through some structured group discussions and set the stage for future cooperation. Being used to a US audience, we had been prepared to engage the audience through asking questions and encouraging discussion, but were not aware of some of the cultural differences in regards to audience participation. We were informed partway through our first day of presenting and were able to adapt sufficiently. It was interesting to see that despite what was seen as a cultural hesitation to participate, almost all of the participants were fully engaged and communicating during group activities on the second day.

The outcome of the second presentation for healthcare professionals in the Turkish Cypriot community was the realization that these professionals already had extensive knowledge of the issue. Identifying the victims was not the challenge, but they were adamant that they needed more services for victims. Their passion was evident in that they wanted to respond, but could not. This was a question we could not answer. We could and did open a dialogue to allow them to voice their concerns and leave them with connections to those who should be able to explore possibilities. The third presentation for UNFICYP was a very positive experience. It was a surprise to all of us as we had been prepared for a small roundtable discussion and when we arrived, it was a room of about 80 personnel representing all departments in UNFICYP. We were asked to give a full presentation on human trafficking as well as our perceptions of our work in Cyprus. What was most encouraging was the number of questions asked by multiple people in the audience. They were clearly engaged, concerned, and the passion and desire to respond were evident. They, like the other groups before them, were experiencing some confusion about concrete steps to take. While we are unable to follow up due to our distance, we were able to leave each group with a personal connection in-country.

This program was a wonderful opportunity to encourage what is going well and facilitate the self discovery of the participants about what could be done better to serve victims of human trafficking. On such a small island, there is much hope that the response could be improved drastically with minimal additional investment. We saw our role to have been the neutral third party that opened lines of communication between individuals and groups who will continue the work long after our departure.


By Kendra Penry, Director of Programs

Oregon’s federal prosecutor promises more attention to labor trafficking in Oregon

October 18, 2013 | by Matt

Maxine Bernstein

October 15th, 2013

The Oregonian

It has been 6 years since Oregon adopted a law against labor trafficking, and yet not one case has been prosecuted. US Attorney Amanda Marshall, who brought attention to the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking in Oregon, has now pledged to focus her efforts on bringing labor trafficking to light by assigning an assistant federal prosecutor to the state Foreign-born Labor Trafficking Task Force. There are many challenges particular to pursuing foreign-born labor trafficking cases, most of them centered around the inherent mistrust victims bear towards local authorities. Unless a strategy is developed to dissolve this mistrust, it is likely that labor trafficking cases will continue to be misidentified and prosecuted as lesser labor offences.  To read the whole article, click here.

Feds: Houston sex trafficking ring prostituted undocumented girls

October 17, 2013 | by Matt

Mike Glenn, Susan Carroll

October 11th, 2013

The Houston Chronicle

On Thursday, October 11th, federal, state, and local law enforcement raided several clubs in southeast Houston. Their actions brought to light a large sex trafficking ring in which young women were forced to perform commercial sex acts, denied pay, and beaten if their customers were dissatisfied. It is estimated that the ring has been in operation since 1999. Evidence also suggests that a premium was charged for access to minors. 13 suspects have been arrested in connection with the operation. For the full article, click here.

Massachusetts moves to crack down on human trafficking

August 22, 2013 | by Matt

Alyssa A. Botelho

August 19th, 2013

The Boston Globe

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley presented new recommendations to the Legislature on ways in which to address the complex issue of human trafficking. The recommendations come as the result of the work of a 19-member special task force, and point toward a more holistic view of human trafficking. Most notably, the recommendations focus on protecting and empowering survivors of trafficking, rehabilitating “johns”, and cracking down on the powerful traffickers who orchestrate it all. A more comprehensive definition of human trafficking is still necessary, suggests Coakley, in order to address the issue with the same ferocity at local, state, and national levels. To read the whole story, click here.

Officials crack N.J. human sex trafficking ring

August 1, 2013 | by Matt

Bob Jordan
July 19, 2013
USA Today

Authorities in New Jersey discovered women being trafficked in high-volume prostitution through Operation No Boundaries. With fraudulent promises of jobs as house cleaners or nannies, Jose Cruz “Chato” Romero Flores was able to lure many into his sex-trafficking ring.  Jon Hoffman, the acting state Attorney General commented on the life of the women: “They endured a miserable life. “This case bears the classic hallmarks of international sex-related human trafficking in that we have young women brought illegally into the United States. They are fearful and they are vulnerable because of their illegal status, their inability to earn a living legitimately and their lack of a network of supportive family and friends.” To read the full story, click here. 

FBI crackdown nabs pimps, rescues children

July 29, 2013 | by Matt

Joe Johns & Tom Cohen
July 29, 2013

The FBI’s nationwide efforts as a part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative has the goal of cracking down on child prostitution. Their initiatives experiences a huge successes this weekend in July, 2013. The end result was the arrest of 150 individuals who will face a variety of both federal and state charges, and the rescue of 105 children. This thorough under-cover investigation, categorized as the 7th Operation Cross Country, spanned over three days in 76 different cities with the help of 230 law enforcement units across the country, which made it that largest operation to date.  Watch the video below!  And to read the full story, including important findings from the bust, click here.