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Tim Tebow and His Wife Demi-Leigh Join Bill Barr and Ivanka Trump to Battle Scourge of Human Trafficking


Former football star Tim Tebow and his wife Demi-Leigh joined Attorney General Bill Barr and Ivanka Trump on Monday at a forum to denounce human trafficking in Atlanta.

Tebow and his wife announced he will work with the Trump administration in battling the scourge of human trafficking.

TRENDING: Unhinged Quebec Woman Pascale Ferrier Identified as Suspect in Case of Ricin Letter Sent to Trump White House

Earlier today US Marshals recovered 35 missing children in northeast Ohio.

Via Western Journal:

Former football star Tim Tebow wants the world to remember those it too often forgets — children who are trafficked in the dark corners of society far from the limelight in which he has walked.

On Monday, Tebow stood shoulder to shoulder with Attorney General William Barr and White House adviser Ivanka Trump at a Georgia forum to denounce human trafficking and announce a new federal effort to combat it.

“There are 40 million people around that world who need us. They need us to say, ‘No longer is it about the credit; it’s about the mission,’” he said, according to WSLS-TV.

“No longer is it about, ‘Well, we’re not going to work from Florida to Georgia or from right to left,” the former Florida Gator said. “We’re going to all rally together to be able to push back this darkness and push back this evil.”

Tebow was joined by his wife, Demi-Leigh, in Atlanta. He said the issue of human trafficking became more than a concept when his father took the risk of rescuing four girls while overseas on a mission trip.





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Women’s non-profit buys home to fight human trafficking


(WXYZ) — A group of women are taking on the fight against human trafficking. The mission of their non-profit is to save young women on the streets, before they can become victims.

“It happened to me and I was fortunate enough to escape, but others have died or are still in danger,” says survivor Lauren Sowell.

Sowell is part of a group led by Miracle Nored, who recently purchased a home for women ages 18-21 to live in. The undisclosed location is currently being renovated and will be providing safe shelter by Christmas.

“This is a calling and we are determined to save lives,” says Nored.

Nored runs the group Love Walk Social Cafe and believes it’s crucial to help rescue girls before someone can lure them into the life of human trafficking.

The home could also be used to help women who are already victimized get away.

Through community contacts the women are planning to locate those at risk and offer free shelter, counseling, and other services.

For more info for those who need help, or those who want to donate, please call (313) 458-7859 or visit the website

LWSC3.org

.





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Woman sues major hotel chains alleging they failed to stop sex trafficking at their properties



“Rather than taking timely and effective measures to thwart this epidemic,” the suit said, “defendant hotels have instead chosen to ignore the open and obvious presence of sex trafficking on their properties, enjoying the profit from rooms rented for this explicit and apparent purpose.”

The suit, filed Monday in US District Court in Portland, names Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc., Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Choice Hotels Corp., Extended Stay America and Red Lion Hotels Corp., as defendants.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings said the hotel property where the suit alleges the trafficking took place is independently owned and operated, but issued a statement saying, “Hilton condemns all forms of human trafficking, including for sexual exploitation. As signatories of the ECPAT [formerly End Child Prostitution and Trafficking] Code since 2011, we are fully committed, in each and every one of our markets, to protecting individuals from all forms of abuse and exploitation.”

“We condemn human trafficking in any form,” Wyndham Hotels & Resorts said in a statement. “Through our partnerships with the International Tourism Partnership, ECPAT-USA, Polaris Project and other organizations that share the same values, we have worked to enhance our policies condemning human trafficking while also providing training to help our team members, as well as the hotels we manage, identify and report trafficking activities.”

Extended Stay America also condemned human trafficking in a statement to CNN.

“We require all our associates to be trained on identifying the signs of human trafficking and on how to report them,” the statement said.

Marriott International issued a statement saying, “While we are not commenting on the specifics of the litigation, Marriott International is working to help combat the horrific crime of human trafficking in hotels. Marriott International developed training in partnership with leading human rights organizations to teach its hotel workers to recognize the signs of human trafficking and how to respond. The company made the training mandatory for all its hotel workers in 2017; to date, more than 700,000 employees have completed the training.”

A statement from Choice Hotels said, “Choice Hotels condemns human trafficking and, as a signatory of ECPAT’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, we are committed to working with our independently owned and operated franchised hotels to combat this violation of human rights. We provide resources and training to management and employees of our franchised hotels, including from the Department of Homeland Security and ECPAT, to help educate and arm them with the tools they need to help identify and stop human trafficking.”

Red Lion Hotels Corp. could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Hotel employees are making a difference each and every day by identifying and reporting instances of human trafficking,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association trade group. “We know there’s always more that can be done and we are committed to doing whatever is needed to end human trafficking.”

The woman bringing the suit is identified as A.B. in the suit and was trafficked for commercial sex at the age of 22 in Oregon and Washington, the suit says.

“A.B. was subject to repeated instances of rape, physical abuse, verbal abuse, exploitation, psychological torment, and false imprisonment at the Defendants’ hotels from September 2012 to March 2013,” the suit alleges.



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Five people, including former Sheriff’s Captain, charged with illegal gun trafficking



Marco Garmo, 52, served as a sheriff’s deputy 27 years and was the captain in charge of the Rancho San Diego Station, according to a news release from the US Attorney’s Office.

He was charged with engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, making false statements in acquisition of a firearm, obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting the possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and other offenses.

Besides making a profit, Garmo sold guns to cultivate future donors for his anticipated campaign for sheriff of San Diego County, the news release said.

“This office will not tolerate public servants who abuse their positions of trust for personal gain,” Assistant US Attorney Peter Mazza said in the news release. “Law enforcement members who step outside of the law are subject to the same standards as everyone else in our community. No one deserves the fair application of the law more than all of the law-abiding men and women who wear the badge honorably to protect our communities.”

The 23-count indictment unsealed Friday alleges sheriff’s department Lt. Fred Magana, 42; San Diego jeweler Leo Hamel, 62; firearms dealer Giovanni Tilotta, 38; and El Cajon resident Waiel Anton, 35, aided Garmo in operating an illegal gun trafficking business.

Hamel and Magana entered guilty pleas Friday to aiding and abetting Garmo’s business and will be sentenced in February 2020. Garmo and Anton were arrested Friday morning scheduled to be arraigned in federal court Friday afternoon. Tilotta has not been arrested yet, Mazza said.

Hamel’s lawyer, Michael Pancer, issued this statement: “Mr. Hamel is pleased to have this matter behind him and he is satisfied with the agreement he has made with the government. This will allow him to get back to his family and continue to the businesses he enjoys along with his numerous community service activities.”

Jeremy Warren, the attorney representing Tilotta, told CNN: “Mr. Tilotta is a small business owner with a spotless record. He was out of town visiting his family when he learned of the charges. He will return to San Diego immediately to address the matter in court.”

CNN sought comment from the other three men but has not heard back. Garmo was put on paid administrative leave after federal agents searched his home earlier this year and he has since resigned from the department, CNN affiliate KUSI reported.

Between March 2013 and February 2019, Garmo acquired about 146 guns and sold or transferred 104 of them, the US Attorney’s Office said. Many of those transactions involved “off-roster” handguns, which under California law could only be sold to law enforcement officers, not members of the general public, Mazza said.

Garmo would engineer “straw” purchases of firearms by certifying he was purchasing them for himself, but in reality, he bought the guns for someone else not in law enforcement, the indictment says.

The other four defendants helped Garmo by participating in the straw purchases, backdating paperwork to avoid the 10-day waiting requirement and helping Garmo’s customers obtain expedited weapons permits through illicit cash payments.

Tilotta, the owner of Honey Badger Firearms, repeatedly facilitated Garmo’s straw purchase of firearms by accepting and submitting falsified firearms records, according to the indictment. According to the indictment, Tilotta sold and transferred firearms inside Garmo’s office at the Rancho San Diego Station, in violation of state and federal law.

Garmo is facing drug trafficking charges for allegedly tipping off a cousin, a partner in an illegal marijuana dispensary, to impending searches by the sheriff’s department, the indictment says.

San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore issued a statement, saying he was “disappointed by the actions of these two individuals, as they do not reflect the values of this department and its thousands of trustworthy, hard-working employees.”



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$20 million in drugs, 40 firearms, seized in Upstate drug trafficking operation, deputies say


A large-scale drug trafficking operation in Pickens County has ended in the seizure of $20 million worth of drugs and 40 firearms, according to Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark. In June 2018, agents with Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, along with numerous Upstate law enforcement agencies, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the state grand jury division of the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, began investigating a large-scale drug trafficking operation in the Upstate.The investigation, given code name “Prison Empire,” quickly grew to include the Midlands and other states. Clark said it was given that name because a large part of the drug trafficking organization was operated by convicted inmates who are currently serving active prison sentences inside the South Carolina Department of Corrections.This investigation revealed that the criminal organization, which included both SCDC inmates and their co-defendants on the streets, were responsible for having trafficked more than 500 kilograms of methamphetamine and multiple kilograms of heroin and cocaine, most of which were destined for locations in the Upstate. The assessed street values of these illegal drugs are estimated to be in excess of $20,000,000.In addition to illegal drugs, the investigation resulted in the seizure of over 40 firearms from street contacts, as well as numerous contraband cellular telephones possessed by inmates within the South Carolina Department of Corrections. “Unfortunately, this investigation highlights an ongoing issue that both law enforcement and corrections officers deal with on a daily basis; the fact that SCDC inmates routinely gain access to cellular telephones,” Clark said. “On an increasingly frequent basis, we are finding that the conviction of an offender does not lead to an end of their nefarious activities and their victimization of our communities. Instead, technological advances in cellular telephones have allowed incarcerated subjects to not only remain connected with their pre-existing criminal networks, but to expand upon them once inside of prison. Cellular telephones are the conduit by which communication, countersurveillance, and financial transactions are facilitated; without them inside of the prison system, the need for this investigation would likely not exist.”The investigation resulted in the arrest of 54 people who were indicted on 192 counts. Several of the defendants are inmates incarcerated in prisons throughout the state.Clark said authorities are still looking for Jennifer Nicole Burns and Jacob Austin Collins in connection with this case. The defendants in this investigation were indicted through the state grand jury and all who are in custody have been transported to the Greenville County Detention Center for booking and bond hearings. “It is unacceptable that in the year 2019, we cannot legally jam inmates’ contraband cellphones,” said Bryan Stirling, director of the S.C. Department of Corrections. “The technology exists to stop them. It’s time for Congress to let us do so.”

A large-scale drug trafficking operation in Pickens County has ended in the seizure of $20 million worth of drugs and 40 firearms, according to Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark.

In June 2018, agents with Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, along with numerous Upstate law enforcement agencies, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the state grand jury division of the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, began investigating a large-scale drug trafficking operation in the Upstate.

The investigation, given code name “Prison Empire,” quickly grew to include the Midlands and other states.

Clark said it was given that name because a large part of the drug trafficking organization was operated by convicted inmates who are currently serving active prison sentences inside the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

This investigation revealed that the criminal organization, which included both SCDC inmates and their co-defendants on the streets, were responsible for having trafficked more than 500 kilograms of methamphetamine and multiple kilograms of heroin and cocaine, most of which were destined for locations in the Upstate.

The assessed street values of these illegal drugs are estimated to be in excess of $20,000,000.

In addition to illegal drugs, the investigation resulted in the seizure of over 40 firearms from street contacts, as well as numerous contraband cellular telephones possessed by inmates within the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

“Unfortunately, this investigation highlights an ongoing issue that both law enforcement and corrections officers deal with on a daily basis; the fact that SCDC inmates routinely gain access to cellular telephones,” Clark said. “On an increasingly frequent basis, we are finding that the conviction of an offender does not lead to an end of their nefarious activities and their victimization of our communities. Instead, technological advances in cellular telephones have allowed incarcerated subjects to not only remain connected with their pre-existing criminal networks, but to expand upon them once inside of prison. Cellular telephones are the conduit by which communication, countersurveillance, and financial transactions are facilitated; without them inside of the prison system, the need for this investigation would likely not exist.”

The investigation resulted in the arrest of 54 people who were indicted on 192 counts.

Several of the defendants are inmates incarcerated in prisons throughout the state.

Clark said authorities are still looking for Jennifer Nicole Burns and Jacob Austin Collins in connection with this case.

The defendants in this investigation were indicted through the state grand jury and all who are in custody have been transported to the Greenville County Detention Center for booking and bond hearings.

“It is unacceptable that in the year 2019, we cannot legally jam inmates’ contraband cellphones,” said Bryan Stirling, director of the S.C. Department of Corrections. “The technology exists to stop them. It’s time for Congress to let us do so.”



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Woman arrested in Lafayette County for trafficking drugs, using 15-year-old Oregon girl as mule | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV


LAFAYETTE COUNTY, Mo. — A California woman is behind bars in Missouri, accused of making a teenager a drug mule.

Missouri Highway Patrol credits increased training on human trafficking for helping a trooper rescue the 15-year-old, who was 1,800 miles from home.

Thousands of cars pass through Missouri on Interstate 70 daily. This week, a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper pulled over a Jeep passing through Lafayette County.

“There was some odor of marijuana, so there was some criminal activity occurring,” MSHP Sgt. Andrew Bell said. “But the trooper knew that there was a much, much bigger case involved.”

Court records say the driver, 22-year-old Brenda Alcaraz of California, had a 15-year-old girl with her. The teen had no identification on her, and the pair had conflicting stories about how they knew each other. They’re red flags we can all watch for.

“Come to find out she had been exploited, if you will, to transport illegal methamphetamine from the west coast to the east coast,” Bell said.

For days, the teen was forced to wear bandages strapping 5.5 pound of crystal meth to her rib cage. It might not sound like a lot, but that amount of drugs is valued at roughly $130,000.

“She thinks she is going to gain something of value, money, for doing these services, which she has no idea what it could lead to — something extremely dangerous. She could potentially lose her life,” Bell said.

Missouri State Highway Patrol’s in the middle of a ramped-up campaign to fight human trafficking, which started in 2017.

This year alone, 200 troopers have gotten specialized training. Through September, the patrol has investigated 117 incidents, leading to 25 arrests and 17 victims recovered.

“There really is no socioeconomic, geographic break down to this. We see it all over,” Sarah Zollner said.

Zollner works with dozens of trafficking victims through an organization called Rended Heart in the metro. She said many victims get lured in because they’re have family issues leaving them without the ability to understand healthy boundaries. Rended Heart works to meet victims where they are.

“Where people are in that journey is always a little bit different, but our goal is just to build relationships with them and let them know there is another way to live life and that that’s possible,” Zollner said.

The  suspect in this case, Brenda Alcaraz, is facing felony drug and child endangerment charges. Troopers continue looking at leads for anyone she might be working with.

The 15-year-old is now back home with family in Oregon.

If you ever have suspicion someone might be a victim, you can call police or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 3737-888 or by text at 233733.

39.003129
-93.987843



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Florida authorities bust trafficking ring smuggling thousands of native turtles


The “charges represent the state’s largest seizure of turtles in recent history,” the FWC said in a statement on Friday.

More than 4,000 turtles comprising a range of native species were illegally captured and sold over six months, the commission said. The turtles were worth $200,000 on the black market.

“The illegal trade of turtles is having a global impact on many turtle species and our ecosystems,” said Eric Sutton, the FWC’s executive director.

After receiving a tip in February 2018, the FWC launched an undercover investigation where they discovered a ring of traffickers who were selling wild turtles to reptile dealers and distributors.

The suspects had taken so many turtles from targeted habitats that populations were depleted, the commission said.

“Wild turtle populations cannot sustain the level of harvest that took place here,” said Brooke Talley, the FWC’s reptile and amphibian conservation coordinator. “This will likely have consequences for the entire ecosystem and is a detriment for our citizens and future generations.”

Investigators served a search warrant on August 12, during which they found hundreds of turtles and the skull and shell of a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the most endangered species of sea turtles.

The suspects sold the turtles for cash and marijuana products, the commission said. Both suspects face a variety of poaching-related charges.

While the turtles were sold in Florida, they were sold to buyers who shipped them overseas, specifically in Asia where they were bought as pets. Depending upon the species, the commission said the poached turtles sold wholesale for up to $300 each and retailed for as much as $10,000 each in Asia.

“Over 600 turtles were returned to the wild, two dozen were quarantined and released at a later date, and a handful were retained by a captive wildlife licensee since they were not native to the area,” the commission said.

“We commend our law enforcement’s work to address the crisis of illegal wildlife trafficking,” said Sutton.

CNN’s Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.



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