Sunday, February 17, 2019

Project Safe Childhood - Justice News

Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by the U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Trinity Mount Ministries - NCMEC - Active Missing Children Posters

NameMissing FromIssued ForAlert Date
Jonathan Nunez-CoronadoPhoenix, AZAZSep 1, 2018
Victor Nunez-CoronadoPhoenix, AZAZSep 1, 2018

Notice: The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® certifies the posters on this site only if they contain the NCMEC logo and the 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678) number. All other posters are the responsibility of the agency whose logo appears on the poster.
Select an image to view the poster for one of these missing children.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Nurse Practitioner Student Creates Screening To Identify Human Trafficking Victims

By Chaunie Brusie
At the moment, Michigan might be best known for the extreme cold temperatures, snow, and ice it is facing, but to Danielle Jordan Bastein, an ER nurse at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan is also known for something far more dangerous:
Human trafficking. 
But now, thanks to a new screening protocol that she implemented while a student at Wayne State University, Bastein is fighting back — and working to help trafficked individuals before it’s too late. 

What Does Human Trafficking Have to Do with Hospitals? 

In an article with Fox 2 News Detroit, Bastein explained that a large majority of trafficked individuals come into contact with health care workers at some point during their trafficking, but shockingly, very few of them are actually identified by healthcare staff. One study found that approximately half of all trafficked individuals (mostly women and female children) do see a healthcare worker at some point during their exploitation. In fact, healthcare workers are the most likely of any profession to come into initial contact with a trafficked girl or woman, so even the National Conference of State Legislatures has identified healthcare workers as a key first-line defense against trafficking. 
So, what are we missing here? 
Well, in Bastein’s eyes, we are missing out on crucial screening protocol and training that would ensure that emergency room triage nurses are able to routinely ask the right questions and do the right assessment that would flag a potential trafficking victim for further follow-up. Her screening tool looks for patterns of inconsistencies in the patient’s story, abuse, torture, or neglect signs, and other behaviors consistent with trafficking victims, such as if they aren’t holding their own ID or money, or if the person they are with is answering questions for them and refuses to leave or let them be alone. 
If the patient is identified as a victim and agrees to help, the hospital then works to provide the individual with housing, transportation and any necessities they may need. And if you’re thinking that all this is well and good in theory, but may not fly in “real life”, get ready for this stat: since implementing the screening, the hospital has successfully rescued 17 victims of trafficking in the past year alone, a number that shocked even Bastein herself. 
"It took me aback it actually worked and we kept it going," she told Fox 2 News.

Making a Difference in the Mitten State

What Bastein is doing is important for the nation, for the future of nursing, and for the state of Michigan. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline organization, Michigan has the 6th highest reported incidences of human trafficking in the entire country, with 176 reported cases in 2018 alone. The organization reports that sex trafficking among female adults and children make up the vast majority of Michigan’s trafficking, with cases high in the traveling and hotel/motel industries.
It’s thought that Michigan’s highway connectivity, as well as its proximity to bordering states and Canada, make it a prime location as a pass-through or origin source for trafficking. Additionally, major events, such as the Detroit Auto Show tend to attract large spikes in human trafficking incidents. For example, WXYZ Detroit reported on Jan 17th that the FBI rescued as many as 40 children who were trafficked during the show and that sex trafficking goes up between 280% and 300% during the auto show. 

How Nurses Can Get Involved Against Human Trafficking 

In a post about Bastein’s story shared by Johnson & Johnson on Facebook, several nurses in the comment section praised her efforts and noted that they wished more training on trafficking screening would be offered to current and upcoming nurses in the future. “This is so needed,” commented Laurie Crosgrove. “Hopefully other hospitals will use the protocol and even more woman can be saved from the horrendous life they are leading. As a nurse myself, I applaud your efforts. Great job Danielle!”
Supporting and sharing Bastein’s efforts are important and could be a conversation starter with your own facility about implementing a similar program, but there are other steps you can take if you’re a nurse who wants to do more to help human trafficking victims: 
  • Take a CE course on human trafficking. There are several CE classes dedicated to helping you learn more about how to identify and help victims of trafficking online, such as this one

  • Know the stats for your state. Many people think human trafficking isn’t a problem in their area—until they actually look at the statistics

  • Memorize and display the information for the National Human Trafficking Hotline for potential victims: (888) 373-7888 or text “help” to 233733. 
The more nurses who are aware of the problem of human trafficking and the vital role they can play in helping to stop and rescue victims, the more of an impact can be made. Bastein hopes that her efforts will spread to other areas across the country to save even more victims of the modern-day form of slavery. 
"It feels pretty amazing that at least I had a small part in getting this person help,” she noted. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Community Outreach Spotlight Jamming Hoopsfest

Submitted by Major Paco Balderrama of the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Police Department.

In 2010, the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Police Department (OCPD) created Jamming Hoopsfest, a youth outreach event. Held every Thursday for 6 weeks during each summer, this effort involves a collaboration with numerous community partners and individual volunteers.
Outdoor tournament basketball serves as the center of community interaction. Youths of all ages from at-risk neighborhoods come together to participate, eat dinner, and hear a short positive message from a community leader. Police mentors who serve as coaches, referees, disk jockeys, and cooks reinforce the life lesson learned.
Each week, several youth participants receive recognition for their positive behavior and outstanding display of character. Winners get a pair of the latest sneakers.
Over the years, Jamming Hoopsfest has grown significantly and become an event that the community and OCPD look forward to every summer. About 250 youths participate each week. Officers who regularly volunteer enjoy getting to know the kids on a personal level and forming meaningful and long-lasting relationships. The program helps form a stronger partnership between OCPD and the community it serves.
For additional information, contact Major Balderrama

FBI: 169 arrested in metro Atlanta Super Bowl sex trafficking sting, several children recovered

Nine children were recovered as part of the sting targeting metro Atlanta during Super Bowl LIII, the FBI announced.
Author: Lauren Padgett
Published: 11:09 AM EST February 5, 2019
Updated: 3:19 PM EST February 5, 2019

ATLANTA — Several child sex-trafficking victims were recovered and 169 people were arrested during an 11-day operation targeting sex trafficking during Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.

The arrests included 26 sex traffickers and 34 individuals attempting to engage in sexual acts with minors, according to the FBI Atlanta field office. Nine children were recovered from sex trafficking; the youngest was 14 years old. Nine human trafficking victims were also identified.

The operation was conducted by the Violent Crimes against Children/Human Trafficking Program and Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation (MATCH) Task Force, which included the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Georgia, the GBI and Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice.

Local police agencies involved included Atlanta, Alpharetta, Clayton County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Gwinnett County, Marietta and Smyrna police departments.

The goal of the months-long investigation called “Operation Interception” was “to arrest persons who communicate with children on-line, have sexually explicit conversations, and then travel to meet them for the purpose of having sex,” according to a release. 

New York passes Child Victims Act, allowing child sex abuse survivors to sue their abusers

By Augusta Anthony, CNN

New York Sen. Brad Hoylman, center, flanked by former Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, left, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, right, join survivors and advocates speaking in favor of the legislation.

New York (CNN) The New York State Legislature passed a bill on Monday that will increase the statute of limitations for cases of child sexual abuse.

The Child Victims Act will allow child victims to seek prosecution against their abuser until the age of 55 in civil cases, a significant increase from the previous limit of age 23. For criminal cases, victims can seek prosecution until they turn 28. The bill also includes a one-year window during which victims of any age or time limit can come forward to prosecute.

"New York has just gone from being one of the worst states in the country to being one of the best," in terms of the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases, said Marci Hamilton, CEO of Child USA and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hamilton said the bill "represents over 15 years of work by survivors and advocates trying to get around the stiff opposition from the Catholic bishops and the insurance industry" and is a step forward in the national conversation. There are eight other states considering similar legislation.
Survivors and supporters gather at the New York State Capitol Monday to celebrate the passage of the New York Child Victims Act.

What's the law nationally?

Many other states allow victims to sue their abusers for decades after their abuse. Oklahoma, for example, allows victims to come forward until age 45 in both civil and criminal cases.

"The fact that New York has stepped up and vastly improved its statute of limitations, it helps to pave the way for other states who haven't yet taken steps to improve their statute of limitations," said Stephen Forrester, director of government relations and administration at the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Forrester stressed the significance of the one-year window in the bill that will allow victims of all ages and time scales to come forward. "That's an aspect that really goes a long way at restoring justice," he said, and it is less common nationally. According to advocacy group Child USA, nine states have no statute of limitations for civil cases, which would allow child sex abuse victims to come forward at any point in their life -- as they will be able to during the one-year window.

New York's law will also give victims significantly more time to disclose their histories of abuse. Experts, including Forrester, say there is a need for a long statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse because it can take victims years to come forward. "For many different reasons, victims need time to come forward to report their abuse," Forrester said. Victims can often suffer from prolonged or delayed trauma.

According to statistics from Child USA, the majority of child sexual abuse victims do not choose to disclose, if they do at all, until the average age of 52.

Child USA's Hamilton said that extending the statute of limitation for civil litigation will help expand the public knowledge of how widespread child sexual abuse is. She said it is often during civil cases that experts learn about how patterns of abuse operate.

"We have this silent pandemic in this country," she said. "We didn't really understand that this was everywhere."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the last year.

Catholic Church opposition

Monday's bill passage comes after more than a decade of opposition from the Catholic Church in New York. In a news conference on Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is a Roman Catholic, blamed the church directly for preventing the bill's passage.

Speaking about why the bill took years to pass, Cuomo said, "I believe it was the conservatives in the Senate who were threatened by the Catholic Church." The bill passed the Senate unanimously on Monday. In November 2018, Democrats took over the Republican-held Senate.

Cuomo also referenced Pope Francis, who has spoken about the Catholic Church's need to confront its history of child sexual abuse. "I don't think I'm against the Catholic Church," Cuomo said, "I think the bishops may have a different position than the Pope, and I'm with the Pope," he said.

New York's Catholic Conference previously opposed the bill but dropped its opposition after the bill was amended to allow prosecution of both private and public institutions.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian has prosecuted thousands of clergy abuse cases over the past 25 years, including those stemming from the Boston Globe's investigation of the Archdiocese of Boston.
In an interview Monday, Garabedian told CNN this legislation will be hugely significant. "I think there will be a flood of litigation," he said, adding that he has more than 100 cases waiting to be filed.

"It's a model for many, many states in the United States for them to follow," Garabedian said. In a statement, he added, "There is now hope for justice, respect and validation for thousands of sexual abuse victims sexually abused in New York."
Cuomo's office said he is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Trinity Mount Ministries / NCMEC - Active Missing Children Posters

Active AMBER Alerts
NameMissing FromIssued ForAlert Date
Jonathan Nunez-CoronadoPhoenix, AZAZSep 1, 2018
Victor Nunez-CoronadoPhoenix, AZAZSep 1, 2018

Notice: The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® certifies the posters on this site only if they contain the NCMEC logo and the 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678) number. All other posters are the responsibility of the agency whose logo appears on the poster.
Select an image to view the poster for one of these missing children.