Posts Tagged ‘human trafficking’

New Campaign Launched In Nevada To Combat Human Trafficking

By Sean Whaley | 4:23 pm February 22nd, 2012

CARSON CITY – A new campaign aimed at helping truck drivers and truck stop employees become more aware of how to identify and alert authorities to instances of underage children being forced into acts of prostitution was announced today by two Nevada organizations.

The Nevada Trucking Association and the Nevada Petroleum Marketers Association said the campaign will use materials developed by a national organization, Truckers Against Trafficking, to help truck drivers and truck stop employees combat incidents of human trafficking.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Turner via Wikimedia Commons.

“The Nevada Trucking Association and its members are sickened by the evils of human trafficking,” said Chief Executive Officer Paul Enos. “Truckers are the eyes and ears of our highways and truck stops, so we are asking truckers to notify the authorities when they see signs of these activities.”

Peter Krueger association executive with the Petroleum Marketers, said: “The Nevada Petroleum Marketers Association is committed to make this effort our top priority for 2012. Our members can make a difference by spotting and reporting underage trafficking at truck stops across Nevada.”

Kendis Paris, national director of Truckers Against Trafficking, said: “Having the support of Nevada truckers and truck stops will prove vital to the work of Truckers Against Trafficking. This means that thousands more will become educated and equipped about the realities of domestic sex trafficking and how they can help end it. When the trucking and truck stop associations take the lead in their state it causes their membership to understand the importance of this issue and get behind it themselves.”

The Nevada Trucking Association will distribute informational DVDs to its member companies to use during training, orientation and safety seminars. Wallet-size cards will also be provided to members with information about how to recognize trafficking and what to do when it is suspected.

The Nevada Petroleum Marketers Association will use its weekly email bulletins, quarterly magazine and website to promote awareness.  It will also make the materials available from Truckers Against Trafficking to its members.

Nevada state Assemblyman John Hambrick. / Nevada News Bureau file photo

Assemblyman John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, who has pursued legislation aimed at strengthening Nevada’s laws against human trafficking, said: “I am very pleased that the Nevada trucking industry and the truck stop owners have entered the war against human trafficking. This scourge must be stopped. All of us have seen the media reports on children as young as eleven being prostituted by men who are making thousands upon thousands of dollars selling the bodies of our children. We now have two allies that can have a direct effective on fighting this war.”

In a telephone interview, Hambrick said there was anecdotal evidence presented at a press conference in Southern Nevada announcing the new campaign that it has been successful in combating the problem.

“I think there will be a new dynamic on fighting this problem,” he said. “Primarily now we’ll have people on the interstates. Many times society always thinks this is downtown, in an urban area, whether it is on the Strip or in Reno. But we always forget that these truckers are going all over the country.

“It’s a team effort,” Hambrick said. “We all have to pull together. Society has to pull together to solve this problem.”

The Department of Justice estimates that currently 100,000 to 300,000 of America’s children are at risk for entering the sex for sale industry each year. Human trafficking is estimated to be the second most lucrative crime in world with annual revenue of $32 billion.

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Audio clips:

Assemblyman John Hambrick says the campaign brings a new dynamic to fighting the problem:

022212Hambrick1 :20 over the country.”

Hambrick says everyone has to help fight human trafficking:

022212Hambrick2 :05 solve this problem.”

 

State Lawmaker Plans To Continue Mission In 2011 To Combat Child Prostitution In Nevada

By Sean Whaley | 6:24 pm September 29th, 2010

CARSON CITY – State Assemblyman John Hambrick has requested four bills for the 2011 session to continue with his mission of eliminating child prostitution in Nevada.

Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, won unanimous support for a bill in 2009 providing for civil penalties of up to $500,000 against those convicted of human trafficking of minor children. Funds collected under the provisions of Assembly Bill 380 can be used to provide care to those minors exploited for sexual purposes.

Hambrick now wants to extend that effort next session by increasing sentences for those involved in such crimes, including those who purchase the sexual services of an underage child, and allowing victims to clear their criminal records under certain conditions so they can go on to productive lives.

“Human trafficking is one of those things our parents would not have discussed in ‘polite’ society,” Hambrick said. “But the time has come to open the windows. We – all of us – must wake up and realize that Las Vegas is the national capital for human trafficking. Men come to our community and ‘buy’ the bodies of girls, some as young as 11 years old. This battle has to be fought and won.”

Las Vegas was identified in 2009 by the FBI as one of 14 cities around the country with high rates of child prostitution. Additionally, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department handled 150 cases of child prostitution in 2008 alone.

Hambrick said he was made aware of the situation after retiring to Las Vegas and getting involved in politics. Hambrick said he was skeptical at first, but soon learned the truth of how severe the problem is in Southern Nevada.

“Las Vegas is leading the country in this horrendous crime,” he said.

Hambrick said he has yet to see results from AB380, which took effect Oct. 1, 2009, because the last major prosecution for this crime was handled by federal officials.

Hambrick said Judge William Voy, a juvenile court judge in Clark County, wants to establish safe houses for the victims of these crimes. The new law could have generated some funding for the project if the federal prosecution had been handled at the state level instead, he said.

The civil penalties may seem large, but those engaged in his human trafficking make vast amounts of money, he said.

In testimony in support of AB380 in 2009, Las Vegas Police Sgt. Victor Vigna said that in a recent case his unit handled, a panderer had $400,000 in cash in his house.

Going after the money is the only way to bring a halt to child prostitution, Hambrick said.

Hambrick saw strong support for his 2009 measure.

Lois Lee, founder and president of Children of the Night, a Los Angeles organization dedicated to helping child prostitution victims, testified in support: “A.B. 380 is an obvious step in the right direction to begin to address the plight of young people – women and girls – who are victimized by prostitution and have nowhere to turn for help.”

Lee said Hambrick’s new proposals have merit as well. The concern is whether they will be applied equally to all offenders by law enforcement. Such laws have frequently been used nationally to target specific groups including women, minorities and homosexuals, she said.

“I think the intent of his legislation is excellent,” Lee said. “My concern is will it be enforced in the spirit that the Assemblyman wrote it.”

Hambrick’s new measures would:

-          Clarify that the crime of involuntary servitude can also include subjecting another person to commercial sex acts (similar to human trafficking under federal law).

-          Increase criminal and civil penalties for pimps and buyers. It would allow for jail time for someone convicted of either crime to increase to seven years minimum and 20 years maximum. It would also increase fines to as high as $50,000.

-          Allow for staggered penalties for buyers. The younger the victim, the more time a buyer would be required to serve. It would allow for the possibility of a life sentence with parole eligibility after 10 years in prison.

-          Allow a victim to start with a clean slate by petitioning a court to vacate convictions if certain conditions are met.

Audio clips:

Assemblyman John Hambrick said he did not realize the magnitude of the problem:

092910Hambrick1 :30 this horrendous crime.”

Hambrick said one of his new proposals would give victims a fresh start:

092910Hambrick2 :11 would be gone.”

Lois Lee, founder and president of Children of the Night, says the intent is excellent but such laws must be enforced fairly:

092910Lee :09 Assemblyman wrote it.”