As New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium prepares to host the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, officials in the state are ramping up their efforts to fight sex trafficking. U.S. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey is the co-chairman of the House anti-human trafficking caucus. He told the AP, "New Jersey has a huge trafficking problem. One Super Bowl after another after another has shown itself to be one of the largest events in the world where the cruelty of human trafficking goes on for several weeks." The state has set up new training programs for law enforcement officers, hospitality industry workers and transportation employees, teaching them the signs of what to look for to identify women and even children who may be the victims of sex trafficking.
The state’s Attorney General, John J. Hoffman, said, "We've enlisted basically every service provider that people coming to the Super Bowl are going to run into. There are a lot of eyes that are going to be on their activities and going to be on spotting potential victims of this crime." Officials say that because New York is such a large city and the stadium is in close proximity to a complex highway system, sex trafficking victims are at greater risk. Even the NFL is getting involved. The league held a special meeting recently to have members of its security team receive training from law enforcement officers who specialize in human trafficking and child prostitution ... Discuss
Sarah Hagan was advised by her doctors to abort her child, after a 24-week ultrasound revealed that her unborn child was brain dead, only had one eye and had no chance of survival. Hagan said physicians gave her an abortion drug designed for women much earlier in their pregnancies, and when that didn't work, informed her that she'd need to go into delivery immediately. Hagan did, and she had Aaron—a healthy boy with both eyes, whose only complications stem from his premature birth, something Hagan says is the hospital's fault. Aaron is fifteen months old and doing well, and his mother is considering legal action ... Discuss
Karla Begley is an Ontario woman whose 13-year-old son, Max, suffers from severe autism. She came home one day to find a really and truly appalling letter taped to her door. You can read an excerpt of it below, and it all get so much worse, if you can even believe it. The letter's author, who identifies herself as "one p****d off mother," goes on to suggest that whatever "non retarded" body parts Max has should be given to science and he should be "euthanized." Click here if you want to read the whole thing, but be warned: it is a deeply unpleasant reading.
In case you needed a reminder that all is not lost, Karla said that the neighborhood has rallied around her and Max, and are all pitching in to find the letter's author and possibly bring charges against her ... Discuss
Recently, Google announced it was working on a new program that could eliminate all images of child pornography and child abuse from the Internet.
As part of the $5 million initiative, the Internet giant is creating a technology that will be able to identify the images and filter out the sites that contain them from showing in search results. The program works by tagging offending images with unique IDs and “fingerprints” so computers can later recognize them without humans having to view the images. Read More
Over the weekend, the FBI arrested 150 people and rescued 105 children in history's largest law enforcement effort focused on child prostitution. The children—who range from 13 to 17 years old (one of the youngest of whom was being pimped and videotaped by her own father)—came from all over the country, but the largest number of them were recovered in San Francisco. However, at least 230 separate law enforcement agencies were involved in the arrests and rescues.
"Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America," said FBI Director Ron Hosko. "This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere and that the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable" ... Discuss
Nada is an 11-year-old girl from Yemen whose parents have tried to force into marriage multiple times. But all of their attempts have been foiled by Nada who, with some help from her devoted uncle Abdel Salam al-Ahdal, has managed to stay one step ahead of wedding bells her entire life. When all her other options depleted, Nada finally ran away from home and called the police on her parents (forced marriages are technically illegal in Yemen, although the practice remains common). She then recorded this powerful testimony about her own journey, and sheds some light into the plight many, many young girls face in the Middle East ... Discuss