FBI – News on Underage Prostitution

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105 Juveniles Recovered in Nationwide Operation Targeting Underage Prostitution

Washington, D.C.July 29, 2013
  • FBI National Press Office(202) 324-3691

During the past 72 hours, the FBI; its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners; and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) conducted Operation Cross Country VII, a three-day enforcement action to address commercial child sex trafficking throughout the United States. The operation included enforcement actions in 76 cities across 47 FBI divisions nationwide and led to the recovery of 105 children who were being victimized through prostitution. Additionally, 150 pimps were arrested on state and federal charges.

“Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere, and the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable.”

Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and NCMEC, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.

“Operation Cross Country demonstrates just how many of America’s children are being sold for sex every day, many on the Internet,” said John Ryan, CEO of NCMEC. “We’re honored and proud to partner with the FBI, which has taken the lead in tackling this escalating problem.”

To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 2,700 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 1,350 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 10 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.

Task force operations usually begin as local enforcement actions that target truck stops, casinos, street “tracks,” and websites that advertise dating or escort services, based on intelligence gathered by officers working in their respective jurisdictions. Initial arrests are often violations of local and state laws relating to prostitution or solicitation. Information gleaned from those arrested frequently uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states. FBI agents further develop this evidence in partnership with U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section so that prosecutors can help bring federal charges in those cities where child prostitution occurs.

The Innocence Lost National Initiative brings state and federal law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and social service providers from across the country to NCMEC for training.

The FBI thanks the its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners representing more than 230 separate agencies who participated in Operation Cross Country VII and their ongoing enforcement efforts.

The following list denotes FBI divisions, not necessarily actual cities, where juveniles were recovered and pimps were arrested.

FBI Division Juveniles Recovered Pimps Arrested
Atlanta 2 8
Baltimore 0 3
Birmingham 3 2
Boston 3 0
Charlotte 1 3
Chicago 2 1
Cincinnati 0 2
Cleveland 1 1
Columbia 1 1
Dallas 1 1
Denver 9 6
Detroit 10 18
El Paso 0 2
Houston 3 0
Jackson 1 10
Jacksonville 0 1
Kansas City 1 1
Knoxville 0 7
Las Vegas 2 1
Los Angeles 2 3
Louisville 0 3
Memphis 3 2
Miami 0 4
Milwaukee 10 0
Minneapolis 1 4
Newark 0 5
New Haven 5 1
New Orleans 6 6
New York City 0 0
Oklahoma City 3 13
Omaha 0 1
Philadelphia 2 0
Phoenix 2 0
Pittsburgh 0 2
Portland 3 4
Sacramento 2 2
St. Louis 2 0
Salt Lake City 0 0
San Antonio 1 4
San Diego 5 6
San Francisco 12 17
Seattle 3 3
Springfield 0 2
Tampa 3 0
Washington, D.C. 0 0
Total 105 150


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FBI News – The Hoover Legacy 40 Years After

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Hoover’s casket in U.S. Capitol
J. Edgar Hoover’s body lies in state in the U.S. Capitol in 1972—an honor afforded to no other civil servant before or since. Hoover died 40 years ago this week. AP Photo

The Hoover Legacy, 40 Years After
Part 1: The End of an Era

05/04/12

He had led the FBI for nearly a half century and worked for eight different presidents, becoming practically an institution in his own right.

So when J. Edgar Hoover’s body was found by his housekeeper on the morning of May 2, 1972—40 years ago this week—the reaction was swift and far-reaching.

Later that day, President Richard Nixon called a press conference to announce the Director’s death, saying, “Every American, in my opinion, owes J. Edgar Hoover a great debt for building the FBI into the finest law enforcement organization in the entire world.” Nixon ordered that all flags at government buildings be flown at half-staff and spoke at Hoover’s funeral two days later.

J. Edgar Hoover
J. Edgar Hoover

Congress responded quickly as well, ordering Hoover’s body to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol—an honor afforded to no other civil servant before or since. The next day, as rain fell on Washington, thousands processed by his casket in the rotunda to pay their respects, and Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger eulogized the departed Director. Allies and admirers took to the floor of Congress to offer often effusive praise, and a new FBI building on Pennsylvania Avenue, halfway between the Capitol and the White House, was soon named in his honor.

At the same time, as the inevitable obituaries were written and TV specials aired, there was an undercurrent of reservation and some outright criticism. Hoover’s historic 48-year tenure in such a position of profound influence—and during a stretch of time when America was undergoing great social change—was bound to be marked by some mistakes and controversy. Fairly or unfairly, Hoover was criticized for his aggressive use of surveillance, his perceived reluctance to tackle civil rights crimes, his reputation for collecting and using information about U.S. leaders, and his seeming obsession with the threat of communism.

Both feared and beloved within his own organization, Hoover was clearly a complex and often confounding character. He joined the Department of Justice in 1917 at the tender age of 22 and quickly became a rising star. Hoover was tapped by the attorney general to head the Bureau in 1924, when it was a relatively unknown organization mired in political scandal. Hard-working, smart, and a superb bureaucrat, Hoover took a fledgling organization and molded it into an international leader in law enforcement and national security, one solidly grounded in professionalism and the techniques of modern science. As the Bureau put the trigger-happy gangsters of the 1930s out of business and outsmarted the spies and saboteurs of World War II, the FBI—and its newly christened “G-Men”—became a household name. Hoover rode that wave of fame, earning widespread acclaim as the nation’s top lawman.

The country’s honeymoon with Hoover would ultimately come to end, to some degree in the years before his passing and even more so after his death in the wake of greater scrutiny of the FBI and the growing distrust of government leaders that followed Watergate. Over the next several months, FBI.gov will explore various aspects of the directorship of J. Edgar Hoover through a series of stories and other materials, with the goal of shedding light on less well known or even caricatured areas of his actions and broadening the discussion on his complex and enduring legacy.

Resources:
– Hoover’s biography
– FBI History

Factory producing babies for sale for prostitution and black magic rituals!

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NEWS REPORT

Lagos: Nigerian police have raided an alleged illegal orphanage where they rescued young women thought to have been forced to bear children with the aim of selling them, a spokesman said on Friday.

“We discovered the baby factory in Uruah local government area of the state during a raid following a tip-off,” assistant police superintendent Oyekachi Orji told Agence France Presse of the operation in southern Akwa Ibom state.

He said seven women between the ages of 18 and 20, including three who were pregnant, were freed from the home during the April 4 operation. No babies were discovered.

Three suspects including the owner, his wife and another accomplice were arrested, he said.

“The suspects usually lure young girls to get pregnant with a promise of 70,000 naira (340 euros, $445) after having their babies, which they sell to ritualists,” he said.

A number of such “factories” have been discovered Nigeria, often intending to sell children to childless couples.

Human trafficking is widespread in west Africa, where children are bought from their families to work in plantations, mines and factories or as domestic help.

Others are sold into prostitution, and less commonly they are tortured or sacrificed in black magic rituals.

END OF REPORT


Urgent Press Release from US Department of Justice on Disaster Fraud Hotline

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The United States Department of Justice

Justice News Banner

Justice Department Officials Raise Awareness of Disaster Fraud Hotline

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice, the FBI and the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) remind the public there is a potential for disaster fraud in the aftermath of a natural disaster.  Suspected fraudulent activity pertaining to relief efforts associated with the recent series of tornadoes in the Midwest and South should be reported to the NCDF hotline at 866-720-5721.  The hotline is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the purpose of reporting suspected scams being perpetrated by criminals in the aftermath of disasters.

NCDF was originally established in 2005 by the Department of Justice to investigate, prosecute and deter fraud associated with federal disaster relief programs following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.  Its mission has expanded to include suspected fraud related to any natural or man-made disaster.  More than 20 federal agencies, including the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the FBI, participate in the NCDF, allowing the center to act as a centralized clearinghouse of information related to disaster relief fraud.

In the wake of natural disasters, many individuals feel compelled to contribute to victim assistance programs and organizations across the country.  The Department of Justice and the FBI remind the public to apply a critical eye and do its due diligence before giving to anyone soliciting donations on behalf of tornado victims.  Solicitations can originate from e-mails, websites, door-to-door collections, mailings and telephone calls, and similar methods.

Before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, including the following:

Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming emails, including clicking links contained within those messages, because they may contain computer viruses.

Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via email or social networking sites.

Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.

Rather than following a purported link to a website, verify the existence and legitimacy of non-profit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources.

Be cautious of emails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.

To ensure that contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make donations directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.

Do not be pressured into making contributions; reputable charities do not use coercive tactics.

Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions. Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.

Avoid cash donations if possible.  Pay by debit or credit card, or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals.

Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services.

Most legitimate charities maintain websites ending in .org rather than .com.

In addition to raising public awareness, the NCDF is the intake center for all disaster relief fraud.  Therefore, if you observe that someone has submitted a fraudulent claim for disaster relief, or any other suspected fraudulent activities pertaining to the receipt of government funds as part of disaster relief or clean up, please contact the NCDF.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud by a person or organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of tornado victims, or if you discover fraudulent disaster relief claims submitted by a person or organization, contact the NCDF by phone at (866) 720-5721, fax at (225) 334-4707 or email at disaster@leo.gov.

You can also report suspicious e-mail solicitations or fraudulent websites to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center awww.ic3.gov.

END OF REPORT

FBI – National Cyber Security Awareness Month – protecting children

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Man at computer silhouette

Protecting our Children
Technology, Partnerships Work Hand in Hand

10/03/11

Investigators dedicated to rescuing child victims of sexual abuse and arresting those who traffic in child pornography are often faced with the difficult and time-consuming task of analyzing hundreds of thousands of illicit images traded online.

Cyber month banner 

For the eighth year in a row, October has been designated National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The goal: to reinforce the importance of protecting the cyber networks that are so much a part of our daily lives. The theme of the observance, which is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, is “Our Shared Responsibility.” Over the course of the month we will be posting additional stories and information about cyber crimes and security. Read more

That painstaking work is critical to identifying victims and their abusers, however, and members of our Digital Analysis and Research Center (DARC)—part of the FBI’s Innocent Images National Initiative—use a mix of sophisticated computer tools and domestic and international partnerships to get the job done.

DARC personnel, who analyze digital evidence in the most significant online child exploitation cases, are currently testing a software tool called the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS). The CETS program—already in use in several locations around the world—is designed to streamline investigations and integrate with other CETS operations so that law enforcement agencies can enhance their cooperation and efficiently move their cases forward.

“CETS has tremendous potential for the FBI,” said Special Agent Barbara Cordero, a veteran cyber investigator who manages research, development, and training for the Innocent Images National Initiative. “Eventually, when everyone is plugged into CETS, it will allow law enforcement everywhere to share key information.”

“If I’m in a small police department in Iowa, I might not know that another department in Maryland is investigating the same subject I am investigating,” Cordero explained. “CETS will tell me that, along with other important information.”

Innocent Images
 

The FBI established the Innocent Images National Initiative in 1995 to address the proliferation of child pornography and child exploitation facilitated by the Internet. A component of the Bureau’s cyber crimes program, the Innocent Images initiative takes a proactive, multi-agency, investigative approach that relies on strong domestic and international law enforcement partnerships.

The initiative prioritizes several investigative areas, including:

– Online organizations and enterprises that exploit children for profit or personal gain;

– Major distributors and producers of child pornography;

– Individuals who travel—or are willing to travel—for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with a minor; and

– Possessors of child pornography.

Learn more

Essentially, CETS is a repository that can be filled with records pertaining to child pornography and child exploitation cases. The system can contain images, case information, identities of known offenders along with information about their Internet addresses, and other related material. The program can analyze millions of pornographic images, helping law enforcement personnel avoid duplication of effort. The program can also perform in-depth analyses, establishing links in cases that investigators might not have seen by themselves.

“CETS has the ability to put the same information in one place and make it available in a unified standard for everyone,” said Special Agent Charles Wilder, who heads DARC. “That’s important because the Internet has removed all geographic boundaries in these types of crimes.”

The CETS program was created by Microsoft at the request of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Child Exploitation Coordination Center—investigators there wanted a system designed specifically for child exploitation cases. The program is now being used in Canada and Australia—and Interpol, the international police organization, is working with several of its member countries to integrate CETS into its existing systems.

The ultimate goal is to expand the number of CETS users and to one day integrate all the operations so investigators can share information in a truly global way. “Right now,” Cordero said, “the immediate benefit for the FBI is that CETS saves us a tremendous amount of time in the image review process. Bad guys who trade pornographic images have massive collections,” she said. “We regularly seize hundreds of thousands of images. CETS makes the review process extremely efficient.”

She added, “The FBI has terrific partnerships with cyber investigators in the U.S. and around the world. As we move forward, CETS will allow us to strengthen those partnerships by sharing more and more critical information. This type of technology is a model for the future.”

Resources:
– Innocent Images National Initiative
– National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Latest news from FBI – Civil Rights Program Update

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We Take Our Role Very Seriously

08/09/11

Hand cuffs

Last month, a Tennessee man received a life sentence for the racially motivated killing 10 years earlier of a county code enforcement officer who had simply been doing his job.

The investigation of this murder was one of hundreds of civil rights cases the FBI opens each year. It’s a responsibility that—according to Eric Thomas, chief of our Civil Rights Unit at FBI Headquarters—“we take very seriously.”

During fiscal year 2010, said Thomas, we initiated more than 750 civil rights cases that fell into one of four categories—hate crimes, color of law violations, human trafficking, and Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act violations.

Thomas discussed each category in more detail:

“…Hate crimes, almost a quarter of our 2010 civil rights caseload, are motivated by a particular bias against the victim—like skin color, religion, ethnicity, or country of origin—and includes such things as threats, cross burnings, assaults, and murder. In 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act added sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disabilities to the list of biases. That law also allows us to prosecute violent hate crimes federally. Before that law, many violent hate crimes were prosecuted at the state level as traditional assaults, murders, etc.…”

Recent Case Highlights

Hate Crime
Two Arkansas men plead guilty to a federal hate crime for a cross burning.

Color of Law
Four California police officers are charged with assaulting a man in their custody.

Human Trafficking
Ten people are indicted in Houston for trafficking female Mexican nationals to the U.S. for prostitution.

FACE Act
Two New York men are found guilty of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

“…Color of law violations, more than half of our civil rights investigations last year, involve actions taken by someone acting under the authority of the law—local, state, or federal. Most of these cases are initiated based on allegations of excessive force by law enforcement or correctional officers. However, there are others that involve allegations of sexual assault, theft, or deprivation of property…”

“…Human trafficking, just over 20 percent of our 2010 civil rights caseload, is a form of human slavery that cannot be tolerated. It’s a growing problem that includes forced physical labor, forced household service, and sex trafficking involving international victims or adult U.S. citizens. [Note: Sex trafficking of U.S. children is handled by the FBI’s Crimes Against Children program.] In early 2013, the FBI’s uniform crime reporting program will begin collecting data from our law enforcement partners on human trafficking offenses… ”

“…FACE Act violations account for a smaller percentage of our workload—just over 2 percent last year. These crimes—committed against those who seek to obtain or provide reproductive health care services—include threatening phone calls and mail, property damage, blockades, assaults, and murders. In recent years, we’ve also seen a rise in bio-terrorism threats, especially hoax anthrax letters…”

Intelligence plays an important role in our civil rights program. “For example,” explained Thomas, “we’ve established risk indicators for each of our subprogram areas to help field office agents and analysts better identify, assess, and ultimately address the civil rights threats within their regions.”

Collaboration plays a vital role as well, said Thomas. “Many of our civil rights investigations—in particular, hate crimes and human trafficking—are enhanced by joint efforts with law enforcement partners. Many field offices participate in task forces and/or working groups focused on major civil rights threats.” He also said the Bureau works closely with community and civic organizations at the local and national levels.

If you believe you’ve been the victim of or a witness to a civil rights crime, contact your local police department or FBI office.

Resources:
More on our civil rights program
Cold case initiative
U.S. Attorney’s Briefing Room