February 27, 2022
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State Police is hoping to educate motorists about the signs of human trafficking and enforce laws that crack down on traffickers.
The goal is to educate people working as a commercial motor vehicle drivers, public transportation companies, rest area attendants and truck stop employees.
MSP is teaming up with motor carrier officers from neighboring states and Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) January 24-28 to raise awareness of human trafficking.
According to the Polaris Project, which operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking hotline, Michigan ranked in the top 10 states in human trafficking in 2019 with 364 cases. The Polaris Project also reported the cities with the most human trafficking in Michigan include, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Detroit, Ann Arbor and Mackinac Island.
Read the full story by Emily Reed on News Channel 3
September 16, 2021
MONROE, Michigan — The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office launched a new crime task force to combat human trafficking.
The announcement of the new task force was made during a news conference Thursday morning at the Monroe County Emergency Management building.
The new team is called V.I.P.E.R., which stands for Violent Internet Predator Exploitation Response. It’s made up of members from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Monroe Police Department and Michigan State Police.
They started in July and two of their operations have led to the arrest of five alleged predators – some from Toledo. All five were charged with one count of child sexually abusive activity – a 20 year felony – one count of accosting a child for immoral purposes and one count of using a computer and internet to commit a crime.
“The national statistics are very clear. For every individual we take off the street, we save 24 victims,” said Sheriff Troy Goodnough.
The task force was trained by the Genessee County G.H.O.S.T. team in Mid-Michigan.
March 23, 2021
Sampson was issued a $300,000 cash bond and ordered to have no contact with victims, witnesses or codefendants, and to wear an electronic tether. Forgays was issued a $250,000 cash bond with the same conditions.
Human trafficking is a form of forced labor involving coercion, fraud or threats, usually to obtain commercial sex acts. Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald, who unseated the county’s incumbent prosecutor Jessica Cooper in last year’s Democratic primary, and was elected in November, said the arrests coincide with her department’s fresh targeting of human trafficking. McDonald spoke Tuesday at a news conference at her offices in Pontiac, joined by Madison Heights Police Chief Corey Haines.
“I am proud to have inaugurated the first-ever human trafficking unit within the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office as one of my very first acts in office,” McDonald said.
The new trafficking unit “will enable us to more nimbly confront the scourge of human trafficking within Oakland County, as this case demonstrates,” she said. Some may be shocked to learn that human trafficking occurs amid the affluence of Oakland County, McDonald added.
“Many people think human trafficking is something that only happens somewhere else. But let me be clear that this crime is happening right here in Oakland County. These are cases in which we have young women — girls as young as 9, we’ve found — being trafficked into prostitution. Children are being exploited in the worst way imaginable, by adults who trade their bodies for cash,” she said.
Read the full story by Bill Laitner on The Detroit Free Press
March 16, 2020
CRAWFORD COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) — Michigan State Police officers converged on a Crawford County home Friday and arrested James Jarrell and Jeffrey Kobel, two men police said are accused of holding a woman prisoner.
“She’d been there for a few days and she believed her life was in imminent danger she believed she was going to be murdered,” Michigan State Public Information Officer Lt. Derrick Carroll said. “She took an opportunity when she saw the door and she thought she could make her move, that’s when she ran outside of the home and stole the vehicle.”
Michigan State Police said the two 50-year old men met the woman through an acquaintance and brought the woman to northern Michigan from Ypsilanti.
“We have a woman who’s brought up here for the sole purpose of prostitution human trafficking,” Carroll said. “She was a victim so if you don’t think this is going to happen in northern Michigan or around the country, you’re wrong and everyone should look for the signs. “She convinced them to stop at a rest area as her intention at that time was to flee, however, one of the men followed her to the restroom and waited outside the door and walked her back to the vehicle.”
Kristi Cogswell works at the Woman’s Resource Center in Traverse City and she said awareness on human trafficking is important.
To read the full article by Kathryn Halvorsen on Up North Live: Click Here
February 27, 2020
Say “prostitute” and the word often conjures up certain images, along with many assumptions about the individual.
“We’re quick to judge what we see, but we have no idea of their back story,” said Nikeidra Battle-DeBarge, coordinator of the Manasseh Project, an outreach program of Wedgwood Christian Services working to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Language is important, and that is why Battle-DeBarge prefers the term “human trafficking” when talking about the multi-billion-dollar sex industry that, she said, is second only to drugs. It’s a low-risk business with high rewards, a pimp once told her.
“Calling anyone a prostitute perpetuates violence against them,” said Battle-DeBarge. “They were locked into this life early. Something happened to them at some point that (led them to believe) this is their only option or the only thing they can do to survive.”
Battle-DeBarge spoke Jan. 10 at a professional development seminar at Greenville High School, sponsored by the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) and attended by nearly 150 school employees from districts throughout Montcalm County and participants from a variety of community service agencies.
“Human trafficking is happening across this country, not only in our largest cities but also in our small rural communities. The more we learn, and the more we understand, the greater our opportunities to protect people from its dangers,” said Penny Dora, director of communications/administrative services for the MAISD. “From a school perspective, the highest risk age groups are school-aged children, so this presentation was especially important for us to host.”
Human trafficking includes both labor trafficking, a form of “modern-day slavery,” and sex trafficking, Battle-DeBarge said. Her presentation focused on the latter, especially the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), which involves sexual abuse or exploitation of a child for money, food, shelter, drugs or protection.
To read the full article by Karen Bota on The Daily News: Click Here
February 14, 2019
At the moment, Michigan might be best known for the extreme cold temperatures, snow, and ice it is facing, but to Danielle Jordan Bastein, an ER nurse at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan is also known for something far more dangerous:
But now, thanks to a new screening protocol that she implemented while a student at Wayne State University, Bastein is fighting back — and working to help trafficked individuals before it’s too late.
What Does Human Trafficking Have to Do with Hospitals?
In an article with Fox 2 News Detroit, Bastein explained that a large majority of trafficked individuals come into contact with health care workers at some point during their trafficking, but shockingly, very few of them are actually identified by healthcare staff. One study found that approximately half of all trafficked individuals (mostly women and female children) do see a healthcare worker at some point during their exploitation. In fact, healthcare workers are the most likely of any profession to come into initial contact with a trafficked girl or woman, so even the National Conference of State Legislatures has identified healthcare workers as a key first-line defense against trafficking.
So, what are we missing here?
Well, in Bastein’s eyes, we are missing out on crucial screening protocol and training that would ensure that emergency room triage nurses are able to routinely ask the right questions and do the right assessment that would flag a potential trafficking victim for further follow-up. Her screening tool looks for patterns of inconsistencies in the patient’s story, abuse, torture, or neglect signs, and other behaviors consistent with trafficking victims, such as if they aren’t holding their own ID or money, or if the person they are with is answering questions for them and refuses to leave or let them be alone.
To read the full story by Chaunie Brusie on Nurse.org: Click Here