WBEZ | sex trafficking http://www.wbez.org/tags/sex-trafficking Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Worldview: Pakistan’s elections, stingray tourism and a play on sex trafficking http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-05-09/worldview-pakistan%E2%80%99s-elections-stingray-tourism-and-play-sex <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP596061404732_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F91467551&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><br /><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-pakistan-s-elections-studying-stingrays.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-pakistan-s-elections-studying-stingrays" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Pakistan’s elections, stingray tourism, a multimedia play on sex trafficking and animal protection" on Storify</a>]<h1>Worldview: Pakistan’s elections, stingray tourism, a multimedia play on sex trafficking and animal protection</h1><h2></h2><p>Storified by <a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ"></a>&middot; Wed, May 08 2013 16:42:50</p><div><b>Tourism changes stingray behavior in the Cayman Islands</b></div><div><p>According to some estimates, tourists spend more than 165 billion dollars a year on activities observing wildlife. Take Stingray City in the Cayman Islands, for example. There, painter and conservationist Guy Harvey approximates that a single ray can bring in up to $10,000,000 over the course of its lifetime. But what impact is tourism having on the stingrays themselves? For one thing, they’ve ditched a nocturnal lifestyle. University of Rhode Island researcher Brad Wetherbee joins <i>Worldview</i> to explain how tourism is <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0059235" class="">affecting Stingray behavior</a> at Stingray City.</p></div><div>Swimming With Stingrays Can Harm Stingrays - TakePartApr 19, 2013 ... Guess what&amp;#39;s not fun for a stingray? Photo-hungry tourists in their home waters!</div><div>Supplemental Feeding for Ecotourism Reverses Diel Activity and ...Southern stingrays, Dasyatis americana, have been provided supplemental ... Citation: Corcoran MJ, Wetherbee BM, Shivji MS, Potenski MD...</div><div><b>Global Activism: Animal welfare advocate takes her mission to the world</b><br><br>Karen Menzcer loves animals. While &nbsp;traveling abroad as part of her work in international development, &nbsp;she was distressed by the situation for animals. She was also heartened by animal welfare advocates in poor countries doing heroic work on shoestring budgets. Upon returning to the U.S., Karen started <a href="http://www.animal-kind.org/" class="">Animal Kind International</a> (AKI). &nbsp;AKI raises awareness and funds. The group also collects supplies for animal welfare advocates in poor countries.&nbsp; Karen will tell us why she feels the organization is needed.<br></div><div>Animal-Kind InternationalWe are a 501(c)(3) US registered tax exempt charitable organization. We send 100% of your...</div><div><b>"Roadkill" is a multimedia play that pulls audience into the vulgarity of sex trafficking </b><br><br><p>Based on real experiences, <a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=2,76,14" class="">ROADKILL</a> is a multimedia story of a young woman from Nigeria who has been trafficked to Scotland into prostitution. The performance, staged in a deplorable basement apartment, &nbsp;includes video and animation at an off-site location that pulls the audience into the traumatic and violent experiences of the victim in real-time. Director Cora Bissett will talk about her work. Roadkill runs at Chicago Shakespeare Theater May 11-26<br></p></div><div>Edinburgh Festival 2010: Roadkill - do you know what you&amp;#39;re in for ...Aug 12, 2010 ... Likewise Roadkill – directed by Cora Bissett, with text by Stef Smith – derives its raw theatrical power from giving u...</div><div>Chicago Shakespeare Theater - Roadkill - VideoCreator and director Cora Bissett discusses Roadkill, the realities of sex trafficking, and her confrontation of the issue. Content War...</div></noscript></p></p> Thu, 09 May 2013 09:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-05-09/worldview-pakistan%E2%80%99s-elections-stingray-tourism-and-play-sex Shakespeare Theater brings conversation on sex trafficking to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/shakespeare-theater-brings-conversation-sex-trafficking-chicago-107038 <p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-align: center;"><b id="docs-internal-guid-4244879a-7b83-bbe0-0620-3ce92db50016" style="font-weight:normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/download.jpeg" style="width: 514px; height: 290px;" title="Pictured, from left to far right: Shakespeare Theatre Executive Director Criss Henderson, Gill, Bissett, Durchslag, Zeitlin and Coorlim. (Courtesy of British Council) " /></span></b></p><p dir="ltr">The<a href="https://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=2,91"> Chicago Shakespeare Theater</a>&#39;s&nbsp;upcoming production of <em>Roadkill</em> promises to be an experience unlike any other. The website warns that the play will take place &ldquo;off-site.&rdquo; Theatregoers will board a bus with the actors to a run-down apartment, where the rest of the story takes place.</p><p dir="ltr">Director Cora Bissett wanted&nbsp;<em>Roadkill</em> to be immersive, as a way into the world of sex trafficking. <em>Roadkill</em> follows Mary, a girl from a poor family in Nigeria; as she searches for education in Chicago and the dream that America offers.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;She has no idea what she&rsquo;s about to encounter,&quot; Bassett said. &quot;In her case, desperation overruns knowledge. If people have no options and the chance that it might work out, they take an enormous gamble.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Promised wealth by her caretaker, Mary becomes a victim of human trafficking, where women are used as captive prostitutes. She is told by her trafficker that if she runs away, no money will be sent back to her family. He tells Mary that she can&rsquo;t go to the police. They will only abuse her and rape her.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;She can&rsquo;t open a door to run because of the psychological bondage she&rsquo;s under,&quot; Bassett said.</p><p dir="ltr">In bringing <em>Roadkill</em> to the Shakespeare Theater, Bassett highlights an international issue affecting women, but there&rsquo;s another reason she set the play in Chicago. According to Rachel Durchslag, co-founder of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, our city continues to be a &ldquo;top destination for traffickers to bring their victims.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Although the numbers vary, statistics from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/college/research_public_service/files/TraffickingInPersonsInIllinois_FactSheet09202010.pdf">UIC&rsquo;s Jane Addams Center</a> estimate that &ldquo;hundreds&rdquo; of women and girls &ldquo;are trafficked and held captive as sex slaves in Chicago.&rdquo; The FBI rates Chicago as one of 15 domestic cities that are at risk for &ldquo;High Intensity Child Prostitution.&rdquo; Local Defense Attorney Sara Dill said that these numbers remind us &ldquo;the problem is right in our backyard.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Last Thursday, Dill hosted a panel with Durchslag at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on ending sex trafficking. Also sitting in were CNN&rsquo;s Leif Coorlim, Veronica Zeitlin of USAID and Ruth Lewa of Solidarity with Women in Distress in Kenya.</p><p dir="ltr">Teleconferencing in, Lewa told the audience that as a child growing up in Nairobi, she wasn&rsquo;t allowed to go to the beach even though she could see the sand from her window. Only as an adult would she understand the high risk for child kidnapping in Kenya, where children can be sold for sex for as little as $1.50.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;That&rsquo;s less than the price of a latte,&rdquo;&nbsp;Dill stressed.</p><p dir="ltr">Often parents sell their children into sex trafficking. For as little as $100, Gill said you can buy a girl in Cambodia. According to Gill, the life expectancy after being sold into slavery is less than eight years. After they are no longer of use, the organs of sex captives are harvested and sold on the black market.</p><p dir="ltr">For Lewa, this highlights the underlying economic issue of human trafficking, where sex workers are particularly at risk.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;A lot of social push factors make people vulnerable, like poverty and unemployment,&rdquo;&nbsp;Lewa said.</p><p dir="ltr">According to Coorlim, human rights workers aren&rsquo;t out to &ldquo;find bad guys.&rdquo; Coorlim brought up chocolate factories where children are sold as forced labor to the cocoa farmers who produce chocolate for multinational corporations.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Many of these farmers are barely above subsistence level themselves,&rdquo; Coorlim said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re on the bottom of the supply chain. They get so little money that they have to find ways to cut corners.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">To make change on the issue of human trafficking, we have to change the supply chain.</p><p dir="ltr">Coorlim discussed social media campaigns working to raise awareness on the issue and hold companies responsible for their production practices. A new phone app allows consumers to map their Slavery Footprint and see how many slaves work for them, based on what they buy.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If customers boycotted Coke or Nestle, they would switch like that,&rdquo; Coorlim said. &ldquo;Nothing talks like money. It&rsquo;s a matter of people standing up.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Durchslag agreed that the same is true for sex trafficking.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a demand-driven issue,&rdquo; Durchslag said, &ldquo;and it&rsquo;s essential that we do demand reduction work.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Durchslag told the audience that when she was a grad student,&nbsp;she could find studies on prostitution but almost nothing on people who buy sex.</p><p dir="ltr">Durchslag said discourse on prostitution emblematic of a culture that is &ldquo;not focused on prevention. We teach women not to get raped, not boys not to rape. We don&rsquo;t teach about consent.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">She stressed that it&rsquo;s important we look at both sides of the issue.</p><p dir="ltr">Zeitlin argued that we need a &ldquo;global, coordinated movement to end sex trafficking,&rdquo; one that recognizes that many women &ldquo;get into sex work by choice.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Dill asked, &ldquo;Why are we only arresting the prostitutes?&rdquo; and highlighted that in Sweden, sex trafficking plummeted after the country decriminalized prostitution.</p><p dir="ltr">Lewa said that she and other organizers are working with countries across the globe to enact policies and making sex trafficking an issue with tourism officials who often turn a blind eye. Coorlim said that a public &ldquo;fishbowl brothel&rdquo; operates in the Paris Hotel from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. When you go, colored buttons identify the women by country: Red for Vietnam and Blue for Cambodia.</p><p dir="ltr">Despite the high risk for trafficking, the Hotel operates without much investigation or regulation. You can even find the hotel&rsquo;s brothel on Trip Advisor. Why is this allowed? Sex trafficking is a<a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/college/research_public_service/files/TraffickingInPersonsInIllinois_FactSheet09202010.pdf"> $9.5 billion industry worldwide</a>. There&rsquo;s money to be made.</p><p dir="ltr">Coorlim said that many of the Philippines&rsquo; high end restaurants act as hotspots for sex trafficking, although guards keep it on the down low.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;They don&rsquo;t care about prostitution,&quot; Coorlim said.&nbsp;&quot;They just don&rsquo;t want people to see it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Coorlim says this issue doesn&rsquo;t get the attention it needs because of the economic incentive for allowance and the common lack of empathy toward sex workers, even youth.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;People look at these kids as throwaway children,&rdquo; Coorlim argued. &ldquo;The pimps are the only ones who show them any attention.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">As the Editorial Director for CNN&rsquo;s Freedom Project, Coorlim believes its the role of media to challenge this thinking and make sex trafficking an issue. &ldquo;If you haven&rsquo;t heard about this, it&rsquo;s a failure on the part of the media,&rdquo;&nbsp;Coorlim said.</p><p dir="ltr">Bissett hopes that the play can be a tool of empathy, move past intellectualizing the problem&nbsp;and help start a real discussion.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;What theatre can do is personalize the story,&quot; Bissett said. &quot;We connect with a story because we see ourselves in that situation. We can engage on an emotional level.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">By falling in love with Mary, Bissett hopes that Roadkill audience members will see their own story. She wants them to ask, &ldquo;What if that was someone I knew? What if that was me?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">In working on this play, Bissett said she was called to action by the women she spent time with, who shared their haunting experiences with her. &ldquo;When a young girl is in your flat, it becomes a different thing,&rdquo; Bissett said. She wants to give the audience the same opportunity: &ldquo;When something gets under your skin, you care. You can&#39;t ignore it.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ issues in Chicago. You can find Nico on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang">Facebook</a>, <a href="http://achatwithnicolang.tumblr.com">Tumblr</a> or <a href="http://www.twitter.com/nico_lang">Twitter</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 07 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/shakespeare-theater-brings-conversation-sex-trafficking-chicago-107038 Decriminalizing the world’s oldest profession http://www.wbez.org/decriminalizing-world%E2%80%99s-oldest-profession-105585 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/group_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79812661" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>In the living room of Renea Walker, a resident of Chicago&rsquo;s Englewood neighborhood, I meet six former prostitutes who meet here on a regular basis. They tell me they&rsquo;ve been arrested for prostitution too many times to count, and they&rsquo;re even willing to laugh about it with me. That&rsquo;s despite the fact that that they&rsquo;ve faced serious problems related to their sex work, including drug addiction.</p><p>I sought them out because they&rsquo;re part of the speakers bureau of the &ldquo;End Demand Illinois&rdquo; campaign, which has tried changing how enforcement and even community members deal with prostitution. Started in 2009, End Demand asks that johns &mdash; and not so much the prostitutes &mdash; become the law&rsquo;s targets. Supporters argue people who buy sex need to be held accountable.</p><p>The women will take the message anywhere, and they&rsquo;ve had a audiences with a Jewish temple congregation, groups of at-risk girls, and others who&rsquo;ve been willing to listen to suggestions on how to help sex workers.</p><p>&ldquo;If we can influence, any older, younger, LGBTQrst,&rdquo; Walker laughed. &ldquo;If we can say something that will deter their thinking or stop them from letting someone else influence to lead them down this path, that&rsquo;s why today we&rsquo;re not ashamed.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>Women released from Illinois state prison with sex offenses are likely to be rearrested. In fact, it happens with them more than any other group of offenders. End Demand is working to make johns, pimps and traffickers more accountable, but it&rsquo;s also sought to protect the interests of sex workers. One tactic to do that is to stop treating prostitution as a felony. Right now, if a sex worker is hit with two misdemeanor charges related to prostitution in Illinois, the second charge is upgraded to a felony. Illinois is just one of a handful of states that does this.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re talking about just shutting that down. If you would see the court building, these women are just revolving doors. Just revolving doors. They get out one month. Next month they&rsquo;re back in,&rdquo; said Barbara Echols, a former prostitute.</p><p>End Demand has main advocate and driver in The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. CAASE policy director Lynne Johnson said the felony upgrade should be nixed.</p><p>&ldquo;Women who have been able to leave prostitution and have a felony record are prevented from getting good jobs. From access to benefits and housing,&rdquo; Johnson said. &ldquo;It really forecloses a lot of possibilities that they may have to improve their lives. So it&rsquo;s taking a huge toll on individual people.&rdquo;</p><p>Solicitation itself does not qualify for a felony upgrade, but buying sex could be a felony under &quot;patronizing a prostitute.&quot; But Johnson has research suggesting that buyers of sex are almost never charged.</p><p>End Demand has had some success in its campaign. Chicago prostitution arrests are down and it&rsquo;s gotten three laws passed: first, minors are no longer charged with prostitution; second, lawmakers expanded the definition of sex trafficking; and lastly, prostitutes who can prove they were trafficked can get their own convictions vacated.</p><p>&ldquo;End Demand Illinois wants to take a very holistic approach to this problem,&rdquo; Johnson said. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t think there&rsquo;s any one right answer or any one approach that&rsquo;s going to solve it. I think it has to come from multiple directions. But I do strongly object to the notion that buying sex is a normal, acceptable activity. Because what you&rsquo;re doing is you&rsquo;re buying a human body.&rdquo;</p><p>But not everything&rsquo;s gone the way End Demand and CAASE wanted.</p><p>Last fall The Chicago Reporter investigative magazine analyzed data from the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office. The magazine <a href="http://www.chicagoreporter.com/news/2012/11/escorted-jail">found </a>that prostitution-related felonies are being levied almost exclusively against sex workers &mdash; not sex traffickers.</p><p>And there have been problems implementing the law meant to protect juveniles. It&rsquo;s designed to penalize the commercial sexual exploitation of children with Illinois&rsquo; human trafficking law and federal law. The Chicago Reporter, though, found only three prostitution patrons under that new law have ever been charged with a felony.</p><p>The Chicago Police Department and Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office were unavailable for this story. But Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, who&rsquo;s gotten <a href="http://blog.cookcountygov.com/2011/08/16/oprah-winfrey-network-to-air-documentary-on-sheriffs-anti-prostitution-progra/">attention </a>for trying to reduce the demand for prostitution, is willing to say that there have been challenges. In particular, it&rsquo;s been hard to convict sex traffickers.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had to a lot more work than we should, frankly,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;Because we feel that there should be more of these cases made but it&rsquo;s a pretty high bar they set for that, so it&rsquo;s been tricky. Because the victims of them are so terrified that it&rsquo;s tricky sometimes to get them to come forward. Sometimes they don&rsquo;t make the greatest witnesses because of their fear.&rdquo;</p><p>Dart&rsquo;s work doesn&rsquo;t always involve the End Demand campaign, but his office did create a response team of prostitution survivors. That team connects sex workers with support services, should they choose to use them.</p><p>End Demand does have its <a href="http://reason.com/archives/2013/01/21/the-war-on-sex-workers">skeptics</a>, though, including Rachel Lovell, a researcher at Case Western University. She once worked at DePaul University in Chicago, and she co-authored a <a href="http://condor.depaul.edu/ssrc/documents/EndDemand_lLHB6462_Final.pdf">paper that criticized</a> End Demand Illinois. It argued that stiffer penalties against johns actually end up hurting female sex workers.</p><p>&ldquo;The philosophy and the overarching theme of the End Demand movement is that all women in prostitution are victims,&rdquo; Lovell said. &ldquo;Many of the sex worker activist organizations denounce that by saying some women are trafficked. Some women are choosing this out of a few limited circumstances that they have. And some women very purposely choose to do this out of other options we think would be better.&rdquo;</p><p>Lovell argues it&rsquo;s important to distinguish between the different ways one can be a sex worker. The former prostitutes who meet at Renee Walker&rsquo;s Englewood home were involved in what&rsquo;s called &ldquo;the open circuit.&rdquo; Lovell said workers in that part of the trade are more likely to face victimization. On the other hand, Lovell said, there are escorts, who take referrals.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a very complex market,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And just to say if we increase penalties for men they will just stop buying, I think it&rsquo;s just too simplistic of an argument to make.&rdquo;</p><p>But Lovell does agree with the End Demand campaign on one thing: Prostitution as a felony should be abolished.</p><p>Meanwhile, no one is benefitting from one of the new laws, namely the one that would vacate sentences for sex workers who prove they were trafficked. Attorneys say they&rsquo;re now reviewing one particular case they hope will meet the threshold.</p><p>Follow Natalie on <a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a>.</p></p> Mon, 18 Feb 2013 13:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/decriminalizing-world%E2%80%99s-oldest-profession-105585 Indiana Governor signs human trafficking bill http://www.wbez.org/story/human-trafficking-bill-heads-indiana-governor-95922 <p><p>A bill to toughen Indiana’s penalties for sex trafficking is now the law in Indiana.&nbsp;</p><p>Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the bill today, just in time for this Sunday’s Super Bowl, which officials fear could become a magnet for prostitution.&nbsp;The law gives greater latitude to prosecute those who force girls, some as young as 12, into the paid sex trade.</p><p>“Let’s hope that the law has the deterrent affect that we hope for, and that these criminals will decide to take their awful business somewhere else,” Daniels said from his office Monday morning. “But if they should try it here at least we know our prosecutor will be armed with a tough law much more certain of producing successful prosecutions and long jail sentences.”</p><p>As many as 150,000 people are expected to descend upon Indianapolis for this Sunday’s Super Bowl game between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.&nbsp;Officials anticipate a substantial increase in prostitution, with out-of-town girls brought in to meet the demand.</p><p>Abby Kuzma, head of the Consumer Protection Division for the Indiana Attorney General’s office, said it's appropriate for the state to step in. “We need to be protecting our children,” she said.</p><p>Kumza spearheaded the office’s push in the Indiana legislature for passage of the bill. She said victims are often abused. Volunteers, including cab drivers, have been trained what to look for in those visiting the city.</p><p>“We will be working on the ground and through the Internet. We will have volunteers working very hard to try to identify victims and rescue them,” Kuzman told WBEZ in an interview earlier this month.</p><p>The law strengthens current state regulations in several ways:</p><ul><li style="margin-left: 40px;">&nbsp; &nbsp; For Individuals who are arrested for human trafficking those under 16 years of age, prosecutors will no longer have to prove force or threat of force against the victim</li><li style="margin-left: 40px;">&nbsp; &nbsp; The law amends who can be prosecuted. Indiana’s current statute limits prosecution to parents or guardians who sell their children. The law is expanded to include any individual who sells children.</li><li style="margin-left: 40px;">&nbsp; &nbsp; Sexual conduct such as fondling, arousing or other activity that is otherwise not technically prostitution, will be subject to prosecution.</li><li style="margin-left: 40px;">&nbsp; &nbsp; The bill makes recruiting, transporting or harboring anyone younger than 16 for prostitution a Class A felony punishable by a prison lasting between 20 and 50 years.</li></ul><p><br> The Indiana House voted 93-0 in favor of the bill late last week. It cleared the state senate in a 48-0 vote, just days after the new legislative session began in early January.</p><p>Final action in the House was held up by several weeks while Democrats boycotted the House. They were protesting contentious right-to-work legislation proposed by House Republicans.</p><p>Daniels may also sign the right-to-work legislation this week once the Indiana Senate votes a final time on the measure on Wednesday. Daniels is hoping to ward off any potential picketing by pro-union members at Sunday’ Super Bowl.</p><p>The National Football League’s Players Association is contemplating some sort of demonstration leading up to the game. The NFLPA is on record opposing the right-to-work law in Indiana.</p></p> Mon, 30 Jan 2012 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/human-trafficking-bill-heads-indiana-governor-95922 County starts freeing inmates wanted by ICE http://www.wbez.org/story/county-starts-freeing-inmates-wanted-ice-91808 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-09/Cook county jail Ted S. Warren-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A new Cook County ordinance that touches the hot-button issue of immigration is allowing inmates out of the county’s jail and making waves in other parts of the country.</p><p>The ordinance, approved Wednesday by the County Board, halts compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests that certain inmates stay in jail up to two business days beyond what their criminal cases require. The requests, known as detainers, give ICE time to pick up the inmates for possible deportation.</p><p>Sheriff Tom Dart’s office says by Friday afternoon the jail had freed 11 jail inmates named in ICE detainers.</p><p>ICE took custody of 721 Cook County inmates on detainers this year and 1,665 last year, according to Dart’s office. “I guess that’s it,” spokesman Steve Patterson says.</p><p>The ordinance requires the jail to free such inmates unless the federal government agrees in advance to pay for the extended confinement. ICE says the feds don’t reimburse any local jurisdiction in the country for those costs.</p><p>“It’s like a godsend,” says Carlos Torres, 29, of North Lawndale.</p><div class="inset"><p><span style="color: rgb(165, 42, 42);"><span style="font-size: 24px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">‘You have many localities and state legislatures trying to do immigration policy. We’re not best equipped to do this.</span></em></span></span><span style="color: rgb(165, 42, 42);"><span style="font-size: 24px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">’</span></em></span></span></p></div><p>Torres says Chicago police last month arrested his father after finding narcotics in a car in which he was a passenger. Torres says his father, a Mexico native, has an expired green card and that his U.S. record includes a burglary conviction. “So that would make him more likely to get deported,” Torres says.</p><p>ICE found out Torres’s father was in the jail and put a detainer on him. But the ordinance gives the inmate a better chance of walking free after a court appearance Tuesday. “I’m relieved,” Torres says.</p><p>Jesús García, D-Chicago, and other commissioners who backed the measure say detainers violate inmates’ due-process rights and erode community trust in local cops.</p><p>“You have many localities and state legislatures trying to do immigration policy,” García says. “We’re not best equipped to do this.”</p><p>García says local governments are stuck with the job until Congress overhauls the nation’s immigration laws.</p><p>Those localities have some cover from a federal court ruling in Indiana this summer. The ruling says compliance with ICE detainers is voluntary.</p><p>Still, a few Cook County commissioners have qualms about ignoring them. “Under this ordinance, gang bangers and people involved in drug dealing, sex trafficking and criminal sexual assault will be released back into our communities,” Timothy Schneider, R-Bartlett, said during Wednesday’s County Board meeting. “This is clearly our Willie Horton moment.”</p><p>A Massachusetts prison released Horton, a convicted felon, as part of a weekend furlough program in 1986. He did not return and committed violent crimes that came back to haunt Gov. Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential campaign.</p><p>ICE sounds a similar alarm. “ICE has not sought to compel compliance through legal proceedings [but] jurisdictions that ignore detainers bear the risk of possible public safety risks,” the agency said in a statement about the Cook County vote.</p><p>Asked whether ICE will take the county to court to compel compliance, the agency did not answer.</p><p>The ordinance, meanwhile, is reverberating beyond the county. “For a long time we felt like we were in this alone,” says Juniper Downs, lead deputy counsel for Santa Clara County, California. “Cook County’s bold policy may affect the direction of the policy we develop.”</p><p>At least three other counties — Taos and San Miguel, both in New Mexico, and San Francisco in California — have limited the sorts of inmates they’re holding on ICE detainers. None has gone as far as Cook County, which is ignoring the detainers altogether.</p></p> Fri, 09 Sep 2011 23:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/county-starts-freeing-inmates-wanted-ice-91808 Nine arrested on sex trafficking charges in Cook County http://www.wbez.org/story/nine-arrested-sex-trafficking-charges-cook-county-90985 <p><p>Chicago authorities say nine people arrested on sex trafficking charges enslaved girls as young as 12.</p><p>Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez on Wednesday announced the results of a long-term undercover investigation. The investigation was conducted under the provisions of the Illinois Safe Children's Act, which was signed into law last year. It allows for the use of wire taps, which experts say is a new practice for states.</p><p>Lynn Johnson is with the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. The organization helped draft the legislation. Johnson said the law also makes a shift treating minors as victims instead of criminals.</p><p>"The way things have been for a long time is that law enforcement would enforce prostitution offenses by arresting and re-arresting the women and girls who are being prostituted. If we don't hold the pimps and traffickers and people who buy sex accountable, it means the industry thrives," she said.</p><p>Four of the defendants appeared in court Wednesday and were ordered held on bonds up to $1 million. The other five are scheduled to appear in court Thursday. Alvarez says dozens of girls and young women were intimidated and beaten into prostitution.</p><p>Experts estimate at least 16,000 girls and women are involved in Chicago's commercial sex trade.</p></p> Wed, 24 Aug 2011 20:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/nine-arrested-sex-trafficking-charges-cook-county-90985 Feds announce bust of Latin American-Midwestern sex trafficking ring http://www.wbez.org/story/feds-announce-bust-latin-american-midwestern-sex-trafficking-ring-86074 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-04/Prostitution File_Getty_Ian Waldie.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Federal authorities say they've broken up a prostitution ring that smuggled women in from Mexico and other Latin American countries to work in brothels in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, metropolitan Chicago and Grand Rapids, Mich.</p><p>Deputy U.S. Attorney Brad Shepard in Indianapolis says federal, state and local authorities arrested 19 people in Indiana, Michigan and Illinois on racketeering and conspiracy charges. He says investigators have found no evidence that any are legal U.S. residents.</p><p>Shepard said Wednesday that women were rotated weekly among the brothels generally set up in apartments. He says the ring was controlled by Mexican brothers Noberto, Gregorio, and Jose Louis Hernandez-Castilla.</p><p>He says they used business cards advertising car repairs and western wear to attract clients.</p><p>A message seeking comment was left with a federal public defender.</p></p> Wed, 04 May 2011 20:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/feds-announce-bust-latin-american-midwestern-sex-trafficking-ring-86074