Protecting Human Trafficking Victims; Who Can We Really Trust?

Protecting Human Trafficking Victims; Who Can We Really Trust?

By: Sydni Dobson

According to the humantraffickinghotline.org, since 2007 there have been close to 35,000 cases of human trafficking reported in the United States.  In 2016, almost 8,000 cases were reported of human trafficking. These are only cases reported; this does not include the victims that are still trying to find a way out. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is one of the entities responsible for investigating human trafficking cases, arresting traffickers and protecting potential victims and survivors.

Most public servants work hard to protect and serve our communities, including working to prevent human trafficking, identify victims, and charge traffickers. Sadly, sometimes law enforcement officers, school teachers and elected officials are committing human trafficking.

In the last few months, several prominent figures in North Carolina and across the country have been charged with a form of human trafficking.

Former District Judge of Northern Kentucky in the Campbell County District Jim Nolan was arrested on charges of human trafficking and unlawful transaction with a minor. Nolan is a 70 year-old-man who has been outspoken in conservative politics, and was the chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign in Campbell County. A judge, one of the trusted elected officials a county can vote on, victimized a minor. http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2017/04/21/former-district-judge-indicted-human-trafficking/100756290/

In Oklahoma City, Republican state senator Ralph Shortey was charged with child prostitution. Shortey was accused of soliciting sex from a 17-year-old boy, after he was discovered in a hotel room with the minor. Aside from being a legislator, Shortey was heavily involved in the YMCA’s youth government program and volunteered as a bus driver for children who attended Oklahoma City’s Southwest Baptist Church. http://wncn.com/2017/03/22/lawmaker-charged-with-child-prostitution-filed-odd-bills/

A former sergeant of the New York City Police Department(NYPD) was found guilty of sexually exploiting children. In July 2016, Alberto Randazzo pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to sexually exploit a child and one count of receipt of child pornography. Randazzo solicited women with children to perform sexual acts on them to satisfy his sexual desires.. https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/former-nypd-sergeant-sentenced-28-years-child-exploitation#wcm-survey-target-id

Let’s bring the issue closer to home. In NC, there have been several recent cases of teachers elected officials and law enforcement personnel being involved in sex trafficking.  Former Topsail High School track coach Ahmad Rashad Garrison was charged with two counts of human trafficking, one count of soliciting a child by computer and nine counts of sexual activity with a student. Garrison’s  human trafficking charges stem from him allegedly offered to take girls to places and have them perform sexual acts for money. http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170322/breaking-third-victim-identified-topsail-track-coach-faces-more-charges

In December 2016, Pamlico County Commissioner and part-time law enforcement officer, (working part time as a bailiff with the Craven County Sheriff’s Office) Kenny Heath was charged with misdemeanor solicitation of a prostitute. http://www.newbernsj.com/news/20170111/craven-county-sheriffs-office-nets-10-in-human-trafficking-bust

John Wendell Moore, 60, a  former UNC-Chapel Hill police lieutenant and Chapel Hill Police investigator once assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s High Tech Crimes Task Force, will serve 13-20 years for paying to have sex with a 15 year old he found advertised on Backpage.com. http://www.thetimesnews.com/news/20170130/ex-cop-gets-13-20-years-in-human-trafficking-case

In all of these cases, respected officials who are supposed to protect citizens and prevent acts of human trafficking from occurring were instead the predators.  Obviously, few elected officials or law enforcement agents will or have participated in the trafficking of humans.  Unfortunately, when the people we trust are the perpetrators, we (and our children) are more vulnerable.

 

 

 

 

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