Sometimes fighting a just cause can seem useless when we hear so much bad news in the world. I wanted to start providing a monthly round-up of wins in the fight against human trafficking as a motivation to encourage you to keep fighting. There are people out there who make it their absolute mission in life to identify, prosecute, and remedy cases of modern-day human slavery. Although these "wins" follow tragic circumstances, it is important to validate these instances of justice on behalf of the victims. Here are a few things that happened this past May:

May 2, 2022

WHERE: Shasta Lake, California

THE WIN: A couple who owned restaurant and janitorial services is sentenced for using coercion to force a Guatemalan relative and her two minor daughters to perform physical labor for long hours with little pay.

HIGHLIGHT: Traffickers target immigrants by giving them false promises of a better life. Instead, they trick these victims into a debt-bondage relationship by bringing them to the United States and helping them to overstay their temporary visas. When the victim tries to leave the situation, they threaten to report their status to authorities.

May 5, 2022

WHERE: Rowland Heights, California

THE WIN: Two individuals are sentenced for enticing females to engage in commercial prostitution in Nebraska. They used the website, a classified ad site known to promote illicit services, to exploit young Asian women.

HIGHLIGHT: Traffickers court young females on social apps such as WeChat and prey on their victims’ vulnerability in order to get them to do what they want. They pose as legitimate businesses to patrons ---who very well know what kind of service they’re going to receive--- and force their victims to pay their business a portion of their profit as to disguise their illegal earnings.

May 11, 2022

WHERE: Dallas, Texas

THE WIN: A man is sentenced for running a violent human trafficking ring for the past twenty years. He was extremely abusive with his victims, making them work long hours and beating them with an extension cord to establish his dominance.

HIGHLIGHT: Signs of human trafficking can sometimes be very covert. Victims may be terrified to come forward because they fear retaliation from their trafficker or they fear prosecution by authorities for commercial sex work. Consequently, an operation like this can go on for decades.

May 13, 2022

WHERE: Richmond, Virginia

THE WIN: A few members of a household are convicted of exploiting a family member, forcing her into domestic servitude for twelve years. The victim, from Pakistan, had temporary immigration status in the United States and married the son of the household. She was regularly beaten and verbally abused if she did not obey.

HIGHLIGHT: Oftentimes, a victim’s trafficker is not a stranger. In some cultures, it is customary for the daughter-in-law to take over the duties of the household. In this case, the victim was abused, coerced into labor, and threatened with deportation if she did not comply. Although she is not an American citizen, the victim has civil rights that protect her against such abuses.

May 19, 2022

WHERE: Jacksonville, Florida

THE WIN: A couple is sentenced for possession of child abuse materials and sex trafficking a minor. The minor was once in the care of the couple under a custodial rights agreement. Without proper care and love, she began to participate in illegal activities and frequently left the home. With few options, she returned to the home and was pimped out by the couple to help her pseudo-family with food, hotel, and drug use expenses.

HIGHLIGHT: An abused child from a fractured family can be coerced into trafficking because they are made to feel like a financial burden on “the only people who care about them.” It is a misguided attempt to feel acceptance from their “family.”

May 25, 2022

WHERE: Canton, Ohio

THE WIN: A man is sentenced for facilitating sex trafficking at a residence owned by his father. The man lured vulnerable victims and forced them to perform sex acts for pay, using drug dependency as a means of control.

HIGHLIGHT: A trafficker may get their victim hooked on drugs and use that withdrawal desperation to take control of their lives.

Want to read the full details of any of these cases? Visit the Department of Justice's website for press releases on human trafficking news.


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