Human trafficking case included drug injections, sex work and death

For traffickers, it doesn’t matter which product is being sold, both drugs and sex are lucrative industries. The difference between the two markets is that a shipment of drugs can be sold only once before it is consumed, but a human being’s body can be sold and resold for years at a time. As one trafficker explained I sell crack, I sell it, it’s gone, I sell a girl, she’s still there. Gangs in the United States are increasingly turning to selling children for sex. The problem has become so common that in the past year the leaders of three of the most violent and brutal gangs in the United States have been jailed for their involvement with child sex trafficking. Weak human trafficking laws in the United States coupled with harsh drug laws make it less risky for gangs and criminal organizations to traffic humans.

Drug trafficking means that your intent was to sell or distribute controlled substances across state or national lines. Drug trafficking is different from drug possession when it comes to intent because it likely means you are part of a criminal organization that’s smuggling drugs over borders. There are ways you can recognize a potential human trafficking situation in your day-to-day life.

Human Trafficking and Smuggling

Drug abuse and human trafficking throw red flags that someone paying attention can spot through observation or conversation. Ramos cited the example of Amsterdam when her organization joined with other human trafficking advocates last year in a campaign to end prostitution in Rhode Island. MEXICO CITY — Organized crime is mutating in Mexico as gangs who steal oil and sell drugs try a lucrative new eco sober house complaints line of work trafficking people, according to a top official fighting money laundering. Human Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit. Men, women and children of all ages and from all backgrounds can become victims of this crime, which occurs in every region of the world.

human trafficking and drugs

Immigration lawyers also suggest that victims of labor and sex trafficking apply for what is known as a «T visa» or trafficking visa, which would allow them to stay in the country at least temporarily. In a further effort to win the trust of victims, the federal government has set up a national hotline that is run independent of law enforcement by the DC based Polaris Project, a major anti-trafficking organization. The smuggling of human beings for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation outranks drug smuggling, and is tied with illegal arms sales, according to a United Nations study. Task forces consisting of federal immigration officials, prosecutors, local police, the FBI and non-governmental organizations are pooling resources, knowledge and experience to deal with trafficking in southern New England. They are looking both worldwide and close to home for lessons that might help in better understanding the dimensions of the problem. Traffickers and criminals involved with organized crime that sell human beings see no difference between abusing a woman’s body by either forcing her to swallow bags of drugs or forcing a woman to have sex with hundreds of men.

United States Drug Enforcement Administration

He says, «We will work with them through other NGOs to make sure they are rescued, that they have the proper roofs over their heads and food. If we’re going to a prosecuting investigation, we work with them as well to ensure that we have the information at hand if we need them to testify.» One detective concedes that trying to spot possible human trafficking venues now might not be as easy as it was in the past, even with a trained eye. The study also cites 2020 figures from Polaris, a nonprofit organization knowledgeable about human trafficking, that virtual currency was the second-most commonly accepted payment method on 40 platforms in the online commercial sex market—which has been used to facilitate sex trafficking. Trafficking of illegal drugs and human trafficking often happen together.

human trafficking and drugs

Connect with local community service providers and resources that can be readily available to learn more. DEA Washington works around the clock, along with our Federal, State, and Local partners, in and around your neighborhood, to weed out violent criminals like this — criminals who prey on women, children, and vulnerable populations around the area. We work hard, every day, in our local communities to find, investigate, and take down violent traffickers. So it’s important for us as we’re battling the opioid crisis to keep an eye out for the human trafficking side of this.

Combating Transnational Crime

Emerging technologies are being used by criminals to help evade law enforcement, GAO says, such as a decentralized exchange, where users may convert virtual currencies for other types of virtual currency or convert the funds into fiat currency. “Virtual currency’s anonymizing features can attract criminals’ use to avoid detection when paying for illicit activities such as human and drug trafficking,” the investigative arm of Congress stresses. GettyVirtual currencies are being used increasingly in human and drug trafficking, the Government Accountability Office says in a new report. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains there are many ways in which the connection between drugs and humans occurs. They may have the people carry the drugs or use humans to lure in buyers.

Sometimes the victims in question are still under their traffickers’ control during their visit. This means health care providers are in a unique position to be aware of the symptoms and signals of potential sex trafficking victims. By using withdrawal symptoms as leverage, traffickers can easily frighten, manipulate, and control their victims. From the sex trafficking cases reviewed in 2017, about 34% involved vulnerable drug addicts used in sex trafficking with their captors using drugs to maintain power. When this occurs, the person being trafficked is essentially exploited to the max.

  • Last week, Joseph pleaded guilty to three counts of human trafficking as well as single counts each of deriving proceeds from prostitution and trafficking in heroin.
  • Despite this success, not everyone agreed that ending indoor prostitution would stop the practice of forcing or coercing women to prostitute against their wills.
  • The mother of the main defendants was arrested in Mexico and later extradited to the United States where she was sentenced to 10 years in prison for her involvement in the scheme.
  • And if you are a health care provider, it is vital to be conscious of these suspicious situations.

The jury ordered that their residence, valued at $1.5 million, be criminally forfeited in order to assist with victim restitution. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement enforces a wide range of crimes related to border security, including investigations of human smuggling and human trafficking. In fact, ICE is one of the primary federal agencies responsible for combating human trafficking.

How to Spot Human Trafficking

Participants were asked to create personal action plans following the workshops in order to promote the practical application of the lessons learned. Results of post-training questionnaires and follow-up conversations with participants showed significant growth in their subject knowledge and comprehension. Furthermore, the involvement and presentations made by senior FIA officials at all workshops and sessions showed the government of Pakistan’s strong ownership and interest and confirmed the need to increase the scale and scope of such capacity building efforts. In-bond smuggling occurs when someone knowingly avoids paying lawful customs charges or duties on imported or exported merchandise. Despite international efforts to stop counterfeiting, a lack of consumer knowledge and the increase of online shopping gives crooks more ways than ever to dupe unsuspecting individuals out of jobs, profits and the health and safety of their families.

For example, they may order a human victim to cozy up to someone with a substance abuse problem and get that person to start buying or moving the drugs. The DEA explains trafficking of drugs and humans is a way for criminal organizations to diversify. Data is based on the European Commission working document on monitoring and evaluating the EU Plan on combating and preventing trafficking in human beings.

The sad truth is that for traffickers, the more money that can be made for the least amount of risk is the better option, which is the reason drug traffickers have moved into sex trafficking. ICE works with its law enforcement partners to dismantle the global criminal infrastructure engaged in human smuggling and human trafficking. Following the economic laws of supply and demand, Latin American drug traffickers and criminal organizations have decided to increase profits by diversifying their market to include the trafficking of drugs, labor and sex. Drug cartels have been accused of using their illicit markets to traffic Central American children for the purpose of sexual exploitation in the United States. Entire towns whose economy was once funded by profits from the illicit drug trade now make their living off the procurement, trafficking and exploitation of women and children in the sex trade.

Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site. Victims can be exploited for labor, sex, or both, particularly in private homes. Is that smuggling is an act of smuggling while contraband is any goods which are illicit or illegal to possess. Rhodes in June 2021 pleaded no contest to soliciting prostitution and sale, manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver methamphetamine, records show. One woman died in Port St. Lucie in April 2020 after Rhodes injected her with a drug mixture containing fentanyl, despite a person telling him not to do so. Our writers are experienced in everything related to addiction, mental health, rehab and recovery.

The UIF has collaborated mostly with the latter two states, Nieto said, and presented four cases to the attorney general’s office, responsible for federal prosecutions. Mexico is an origin, transit and destination country for human trafficking, a global business estimated to be worth $150 billion a year. In general, all three workshops were interactive and mixed group and individual activities with presentations.

All of the defendants pleaded guilty and their sentences ranged from probation to 14 years imprisonment. ICE recognizes that in order to successfully investigate and prosecute traffickers, victims must be stable and free from fear and intimidation to be effective witnesses. Equal value is placed on the identification and rescue of victims and the prosecution of traffickers. ICE has more than 350 collateral duty victim/witness coordinators who work with NGOs to assist in the provision of victim services. Short-term immigration relief is provided to certified victims of trafficking in the form of continued presence status. Participating in the development of best practices for law enforcement efforts within the U.S. and internationally.

According to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office, the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force received several tips about a possible human trafficking and drug trafficking ring on the city’s west side. They lure and ensnare people into forced labor and sex trafficking by manipulating and exploiting their vulnerabilities. Moreover, the biggest of these red flags is the patient accompanied by a person who doesn’t let them speak or be alone. If the individual becomes hostile after you insist the patient needs privacy, you may be encountering a human trafficking situation.

Additionally, the GAO study notes the Department of Justice is concerned virtual currency is increasingly used to buy and sell illegal drugs on Dark Web marketplaces and by drug cartels to launder their profits. Learn about collaboration with toxicology experts in human trafficking investigations. Human traffickers can use drugs as “bait” to recruit people who have a substance use disorder.

While the best-known form of human trafficking is for the purpose of sexual exploitation, hundreds of thousands of victims are trafficked for the purposes of forced labour, domestic servitude, child begging or the removal of their organs. Any commercial sexual activity with children qualifies as trafficking, while for adults, the term entails the use of force or leverage, sometimes coercion or fraud. Whatever the method, it involves compelling individuals to engage in commercial sexual activity, thus amounts to a form of slavery.

Each year, an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders (some international and non-governmental organizations place the number far higher), and the trade is growing. People smuggling is a related practice which is characterized by the consent of the person being smuggled. Smuggling situations can descend into human trafficking through coercion and exploitation. Dr. Stoklosa believes that more than 50% of trafficking victims are just like this woman addicted to heroin or other opioids.

There are very few legal exceptions made when it comes to this horrible system. Taking advantage of another human being in this way is punishable by a potential life sentence in prison. Friedman is one of the few authors to write on this case that first linked drugs and human trafficking in a federal indictment. In the late 1990s when this investigation occurred, the Trafficking in Persons Act was not yet law. Therefore, there was no one who asked the Russian speaking undercover agent to find the human trafficking. But the extensive bruises on the strippers’ bodies as well as his conversations with the women who worked in the club revealed that the women were not voluntarily working in the club but were victims of human trafficking.

Injections for one person reportedly grew to about 12 a day “due to her growing dependence and increased workload,” records state. Work in an industry where they may feel pressure to perform sex acts for money, such as a strip club, illicit cantina, go-go bar, or illegal business massage. “The judges and public prosecutors have to realize how bad this issue is, trafficking at the end of the day is about…human life,” he said. Mexico’s attorney general’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

It is made very easy because the routes they use to traffic both products are the same. They can send the drugs or humans along the same paths to get to the final destinations. There is very little extra work to move an additional product, but there is a lot more money to make, which is what entices these organizations to traffic both. Drug and human trafficking are examples of how one criminal activity can easily lead to another. “Human trafficking” is the subject of a new Governmentinitiativethat aims to increase awareness of the problem and how disasters can increase the risks for it. We’re mentioning human trafficking on the Drugs & Health Blog because it’s an important issue that’s connected to drug trafficking.

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