"Human bondage hits U.S. heartland Illicit trade for labor, sex generates billions in profits"

Hi Gang:
The news report I am providing to you appeared in the Sunday, March 27, 2011 edition of the Washington Times and addresses some of the most heinous crimes imaginable- human trafficking and the exploitation of vulnerable human beings- including children who are being forced into horrific situations that include those who are forced into prostitution.  The headline of the article, “Human bondage its U.S. heartland” echoes something that I have repeatedly stated- where immigration is concerned, every state is a border state!  The issue of immigration impacts every state from border to border and coast to coast and the myriad failures of what should be a coherent immigration system impacts nearly every challenge that confronts our nation today.
I am going to begin my commentary by providing you with an excerpt from this news report:

 With an estimated annual revenue of $32 billion, law enforcement authorities, government agencies and others have said human trafficking is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world – behind only drug smuggling.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the lead agency for investigating and dismantling human-trafficking organizations, has estimated that 800,000 people are trafficked into commercial-sex trade and forced-labor situations throughout the world every year.

ICE Deputy Assistant Director James C. Spero described human trafficking as “a global problem … driven by profit.” He said the agency opened 650 trafficking investigations during fiscal 2010, up  from 560 in 2009 and 430 in 2008, and he is still trying to determine the scope of the trafficking problem.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” he said.

Mr. Spero came up with an amazingly concise quote that bears repeating:
You don’t know what you don’t know.
To provide you with some startling and extremely disturbing statistics I will provide you with another passage from the news report:

Nathan Wilson, creator of the Project Meridian Foundation, which seeks to assist law enforcement in identifying the traffickers and their victims, said the illegal trade in human beings for sexual exploitation or forced labor has reached epidemic proportions.

“Sex trafficking has become so widespread that no country, no race, no religion, no class and no child is immune,” he said, adding that 1.6 million children younger than 18 – native and foreign born – have been caught in the sex trade in the United States. But, he said, the actual number of victims is hard to quantify because of the lengths to which traffickers go to keep their crimes hidden.

Mr. Wilson is quoted a bit further along in the article saying:


That rapid rise is worrisome to Mr. Wilson, who said he is concerned that profits from human trafficking could be used to fund terrorists. He said trafficking profits were used to fund terrorists in Iraq and that some of the proceeds from businesses such as prostitution “may be diverted toward supporting terrorist groups.”

And now we come to the very next sentence following the above noted sentence where Mr. Wilson talks about how proceeds from human trafficking and/or prostitution might be funneled to terrorists.  The sentence that follows actually quotes Mr. Spero:

Mr. Spero said ICE had not found any evidence that terrorists were benefiting from human trafficking, but acknowledged that any financial crime has the potential to be exploited by terrorists.
When a comedian bombs, the usual sarcastic advice is to tell him (her) to not quit his “day job!”
Perhaps the time has come for Mr. Spero to do us all a favor and quit his day job!
This guy is described as being the Deputy Assistant Director for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)!  It must be presumed that he works in Washington where anything that happens in any field office should be known to the leadership of the agency.
As he said, “You don’t know what you don’t know!”
However, he is paid to make certain that he does know!
Apparently James Spero appears to be utterly unfamiliar with the case of Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane an alien smuggler who is about to be sentenced for lying on his application for political asylum about his having sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to terrorist groups in Somalia and having smuggled citizens of Somalia and other countries into the United States.  He also provided them with altered fraud passports and he has conceded that he believes that these illegal aliens would carry out terrorist attacks in the United States if they were so instructed!
Last week a website posted an article along with the Pre-sentence Memorandum concerning Mr. Dhakane’s case. 
The article was entitled:
“(PJM Exclusive) DOJ Memo Confirms Terrorists Have Crossed the Border”
Here is the link to the posting of Pajamas Media that detailed this case that Mr. Spero apparently knows nothing about:
 

This case has been ongoing for quite some time, however,  James Spero, a high-level manager at ICE stated in clear and unambiguous language that:
“…ICE had not found any evidence that terrorists were benefiting from human trafficking,” 
I want you to understand that one of the ways that women who ultimately came to be victimized by smugglers is that the current perception, around the world, is that if aliens enter our country illegally, virtually nothing will be done to seek to arrest them and then deport (remove) them from the United States.
In fact, every time that Mr. Obama or the members of his administration and members of the Congress talk about the need to place illegal aliens on a pathway to United States citizenship, they are providing the smugglers with a virtually limitless supply of clients including the people they eventually smuggle to the United States and enslave!
Clearly many of these people are desperate.  They live in squalor in their home countries under horrific conditions.  That they live under horrific conditions is not to be disputed.  However, our country is a country of finite resources.  This has always been the case but under the current economic crisis that still hobbles and threatens our nation, these limitation have never been more evident.  The solution to the extreme poverty to be found across the planet cannot be solved by throwing open the doors to our nation and declaring that our nation will accept anyone and everyone who wants to come here!  It is estimated by the United Nations that more than one billion people on this planet do not have access to safe drinking water.  Is the solution to bring those one billion plus humans to the United States when today it is estimated that one in five American families live below the poverty level?
Desperate people will do desperate things to ameliorate their situations.  Tragically some people will seek the assistance of smugglers who may well rape them and force them to carry narcotics on their bodies as a partial payment for the “services” the smuggler offer.
Strategies need to be devised to combat aliens smuggling.  This is not a new challenge.  On May 18, 2004 I was called upon to provide testimony before a Congressional hearing that was conducted by the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on the topic:

PUSHING THE BORDER OUT ON ALIEN SMUGGLING: NEW TOOLS AND INTELLIGENCE INITIATIVES


Here is the link to the transcript of that hearing:
It is absolutely vital that ICE not only seeks to identify, investigate and seek the punishment of unscrupulous employers who seek to hire illegal aliens that can easily intimidate and exploit, but that ICE also makes a point of seeking to arrest and deport (remove) illegal aliens who are found to be working in the United States illegally.  This was the issue raised during a recent Congressional Hearing at which I testified before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement on the topic:
ICE Worksite Enforcement – Up to the Job?
Here is a link to the record of the hearing- both a written record as a well as a video of the proceedings:
Back in the late 1970’s I was a part of the first Anti-Smuggling Unit in the New York District Office of the INS.  Back then the smugglers were not nearly as vicious as they are today, but I could tell you stories that would keep you awake for weeks to come!  It has only gotten worse!
I can also tell you that my experience as an INS Special Agent was to find that many of the houses of prostitution we raided were most often frequented by illegal aliens who had left their wives and girlfriends back home.  In some instances they were young men who simply wished to establish themselves in our country before they made arrangements for their wives or girlfriends to join them in the United States.  Many times these young men decided that once they got here they wanted nothing further to do with their wives and girlfriends and simply went about establishing new lives for themselves in our country.  In any event, because they had no relationships they found the services of brothels to be to great to resist.  This created ever greater incentives for those who ran the brothels to get more prostitutes to take care of increasing numbers of clients.
This is yet another one of those deplorable situations that arise because our nation has no meaningful control over its borders.  Suffering begets more suffering, and so it goes.
But as Mr. Spero said, “You don’t know what you don’t know!”
Something else I presume Mr. Spero does not know is the extreme risks that our nation’s open borders expose our nation and our citizens to, both from terrorist as well as transnational criminals.  This would be disturbing if any manager at ICE was unaware of the gravity of the situation but it is completely unacceptable when that manager is the Deputy Assistant Director of the agency that bears lead responsibility for securing our nation’s borders and addressing a host of other issues relating to the movement of people across our nation’s borders whether along our land borders, through our extensive coastline or at ports of entry to be found along the borders and at international airports and seaports.  If ICE is the lead agency to combat the issue of human trafficking- then the leadership at that agency must understand all facets of this serious threat to our nation’s security and the safety of our citizens and serves as an affront to human dignity!
But then perhaps I am being a bit harsh, after all, we have repeatedly heard Janet Napoltiano, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Surrender claim that the Border is Secure!
Just two days ago, Saturday, March 26th the Washington Times ran the following headline:
National Border Patrol Council: Napolitano giving false sense of security
Here is a link to that news report in its entirety:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/25/border-patrol-council-napolitano-giving-false-sens/

Here is how the news report by Jerry Seper, the investigative editor of the Washington Times began:


The law enforcement-based union that represents all 17,500 non-supervisory U.S. Border Patrol agents says Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s comments this week reassuring Americans that the U.S. border is safe and open for business are “wrong and give citizens a false sense of security.”

“It is time for the political games to stop for fear of insulting the government of Mexico,” the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) said in a statement. “U.S. citizens are being kidnapped and killed while our Border Patrol agents fight a war at home that no one will allow them to win.

“Not one more Border Patrol agent should fall or citizen be victimized because our government fails to act,” the NBPC said. “Mexico is hemorrhaging violence and we are being hit with the splatter.”

Ms. Napolitano told border-area mayors and business leaders in El Paso, Texas, on Thursday that the U.S.-Mexico border is safer than ever, adding that perceptions that the border area is at its most dangerous right now are false.

You cannot solve problems you are unwilling to recognize exist- or as Mr. Spero so aptly said, “You don’t know what you don’t know!” 
Most assuredly ignorance is not bliss, especially when the lives of our citizens and the survival of our nation are on the line!
The effective enforcement and administration of our nation’s immigration laws are, arguably, among the most important of all missions that are supposed to be carried out by our federal government.  
Nothing less than the security of our nation and safety of our citizens hang in the balance!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!

I

our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!

We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.  
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same.  We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.

The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!


The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians.  I implore you to resolve this year to get involved!
I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world.  However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!

If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation! 

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!

We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.

This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!

You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!

-michael cutler- 


Please check out my website:

 

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/27/human-bondage-hits-us-heartland/

Human bondage hits U.S. heartland

Illicit trade for labor, sex generates billions in profits

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton talks with U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. during a meeting last month of the President's Interagency Task Force on human trafficking.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton talks with U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. 
during a meeting last month of the President’s Interagency Task Force on human trafficking. 
“Human trafficking has become big business,” says Mr. Holder. (Associated Press)

People
were shocked when federal prosecutors charged the owners of a motel in
Oacoma, S.D., a town of fewer than 500, with keeping Philippine women in
virtual slavery, forcing them to work 20-hour days under the threat of
violence and taking back their paychecks after they had been endorsed to
deposit in their own accounts.

Prosecutors said the enslaved
women performed cleaning and front-desk duties at the motel and were
expected to work second jobs at fast-food restaurants. Every aspect of
their lives, according to records in the 2007 case, was controlled,
including what they ate, where they lived, what they wore and to whom
they spoke.

Human traffickers had crept unnoticed into the small
Lyman County community, located on the west bank of the Missouri River
80 miles southeast of Pierre, the state’s capital. But the townsfolk
soon learned that Interstate 90, which roars right by Oacoma, is part of
the “Midwest Pipeline,” the superhighway used to deliver trafficking
victims to cities across the country.

In November, federal
prosecutors struck again in South Dakota, this time bringing
sex-trafficking charges against a couple in Tea, a city of 4,600 also
just off Interstate 90. They were convicted of using coercion and
threats to force underage girls, some as young as 15, into prostitution.

“It
was a shock to me to learn that people had been trafficked through
South Dakota,” said state Sen. Joni Cutler, a Sioux Falls Republican who
sponsored legislation in January making human trafficking a state
crime. She said South Dakotans like to think of the state as a place
“where everybody knows everybody or is related.”

“We don’t want a quiet, rural area like South Dakota to become a place where people are trafficked,” she said.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed the Cutler bill into law on March 16.

Human
trafficking generates billions of dollars each year in illicit profits,
in the United States and globally, through the entrapment and
exploitation of millions of people, mostly women and children. The
growing illegal trade in human beings for sex or forced labor isn’t
limited to either rural outposts or the world’s largest cities.

Young
women have been forced into prostitution over the past year through
deception, fraud, coercion, threats and physical violence in Denton
County, Texas; rural Tennessee; St. Paul, Minn.; Norcross, Ga.; Memphis,
Tenn.; Fremont, Calif.; Harrisburg, Pa.; New York City; Los Angeles;
Honolulu; Woodbridge, Va.; Gaithersburg; Annapolis; and many other
cities.

Just last week, a 36-year-old Mexican national was
sentenced to 40 years in prison by a federal judge in Georgia on charges
that he tricked girls into leaving their families in Mexico, beat them
and forced them into more than 20 acts of prostitution a night in
Atlanta. The man had promised to get them jobs in restaurants. Five
co-defendants previously pleaded guilty in the case.

In Columbus,
Ohio, dozens of illegal immigrants from Russia, Estonia, Belarus and
Ukraine were forced to work as housekeepers and laundry workers after
their passports were seized. In Buford, Ga., Nigerian women were forced
to work as nannies and housekeepers after being threatened and
physically abused. In Falls Church, 20 Indonesian women were sold as
housekeepers after their passports were seized; some were sexually
assaulted and their families were threatened.

Tougher laws

Texas
state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, San Antonio Democrat, introduced
legislation this month to strengthen laws against human trafficking. She
said 25 percent of the people trafficked into the United States pass
through the state.

“We are trying to get at those who profit from
selling our children,” she said, adding that she became interested in
the issue in 2004 when two runaways from Oregon – a 16 year-old-boy and
his 14 year-old-sister – were forced into prostitution.

“Nobody wants to think there is human slavery in their neighborhood,” she said.

Attorney
General Eric H. Holder Jr. said nearly every country is affected by
human trafficking, either as a source for or destination of the many
victims. He told a human trafficking conference in Arlington last year
that the problem was “an affront to human dignity” and warned that in
the United States, “it is, unfortunately, growing.”

“Human
trafficking has become big business – generating billions of dollars
each year through the entrapment and exploitation of millions,” Mr.
Holder said. “The poorest and most vulnerable among us are being robbed
of basic rights to dignity, security and opportunity.”

Assistant
Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, who heads the Justice Department’s
Civil Rights Division, compared human trafficking to drug and gun
smuggling in that it frequently involves complex organized-crime
cartels. In October, during the 10th anniversary celebration of the
passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, he said, the number
of prosecuted cases has risen from four in 2001 to more than 50 last
year.

“We’re not just bringing more cases, we’re bringing cases of
unprecedented scope and impact, taking on international organized
criminal networks,” he said. “But this work isn’t about how many cases
we’ve charged or how well we work together; it’s about the human lives
restored to freedom and dignity.”

Nathan Wilson, creator of the
Project Meridian Foundation, which seeks to assist law enforcement in
identifying the traffickers and their victims, said the illegal trade in
human beings for sexual exploitation or forced labor has reached
epidemic proportions.

“Sex trafficking has become so widespread
that no country, no race, no religion, no class and no child is immune,”
he said, adding that 1.6 million children younger than 18 – native and
foreign born – have been caught in the sex trade in the United States.
But, he said, the actual number of victims is hard to quantify because
of the lengths to which traffickers go to keep their crimes hidden.

Billions in profits

The
Washington, D.C.-based Polaris Project, which advocates stronger
federal and state laws on human trafficking and provides help to
victims, has said traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by
victimizing millions of people around the world and in the United
States. It has said human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing
criminal industries in the world.

With an estimated annual revenue
of $32 billion, law enforcement authorities, government agencies and
others have said human trafficking is tied with arms dealing as the
second-largest criminal industry in the world – behind only drug
smuggling.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the
lead agency for investigating and dismantling human-trafficking
organizations, has estimated that 800,000 people are trafficked into
commercial-sex trade and forced-labor situations throughout the world
every year.

ICE Deputy Assistant Director James C. Spero described
human trafficking as “a global problem … driven by profit.” He said
the agency opened 650 trafficking investigations during fiscal 2010, up
from 560 in 2009 and 430 in 2008, and he is still trying to determine
the scope of the trafficking problem.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” he said.

In
a 2010 report, the State Department also said human trafficking claimed
800,000 victims every year. Earlier reports estimated that 80 percent
of the victims were female and half of them were minors. The department
also said in the 2010 report that 17,500 people were thought to be
trafficked into the United States each year.

Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton has said some Americans are trapped by abusive
employers and others are held in sexual slavery and that the department
has sent “a clear message to all of our countrymen and women: Human
trafficking is not someone else’s problem.”

The report, for the
first time, ranked the United States as a “Tier 1” country, meaning it
fully complies with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, but also
identified it as a “source, transit and destination country” for human
traffickers.

Lucrative way

The complex
criminal nature of human trafficking as noted by Mr. Perez also has been
reported by the Congressional Research Service, which said last year
that in many parts of the world, “trafficking in money, weapons and
people is largely conducted by criminal gangs or mafia groups.” The
research service called human trafficking a “lucrative way” for
organized criminal groups to fund other illicit activities.

“In
Latin America, Mexican drug cartels are increasingly involved in the
trafficking of people as well as drugs,” the report said. The
Congressional Research Service also said the links between organized
crime and terrorism may be significant, noting that the language school
that provided some visas for the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers also is
reported to have provided visas for prostitutes of a human trafficking
ring.

A Department of Health and Human Services fact sheet said
that after drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms
industry as the world’s second-largest criminal industry and is the
fastest growing.

That rapid rise is worrisome to Mr. Wilson, who
said he is concerned that profits from human trafficking could be used
to fund terrorists. He said trafficking profits were used to fund
terrorists in Iraq and that some of the proceeds from businesses such as
prostitution “may be diverted toward supporting terrorist groups.”

Mr.
Spero said ICE had not found any evidence that terrorists were
benefiting from human trafficking, but acknowledged that any financial
crime has the potential to be exploited by terrorists.

The Justice
Department also has identified human trafficking as one of the threats
posed by international organized-crime networks. It said in a 2010
report that global crime cartels were involved in Asian massage qingdao parlors
in Massachusetts, Ukrainian criminal networks exploited janitorial
service workers in Pennsylvania, and an Uzbek organized-crime ring
exploited Philippine, Dominican Republic and Jamaican guest workers in
14 states.

The department said human traffickers know no
boundaries or borders. It said the crimes exploit men, women and
children, whether they be citizens, guest workers or illegal immigrants –
extracting profit from the toil of others in farm fields, factories,
strip clubs, suburban mansions, brothels and bars.

Major piece

William
Carroll, a former district director for the now-defunct U.S.
Immigration and Naturalization Service, said human trafficking is a
“major piece of operating income for the cartels and other organized
criminal organizations.” He said the cartels are attracted to its
lucrative nature and because it does not require a distribution system
like drugs.

Justice brought 52 human trafficking cases in fiscal
2010, its largest single-year total. It noted in its latest report that
human traffickers often prey on those who are poor, frequently
unemployed or underemployed, and who may lack access to social safety
nets.

“Victims are often lured by traffickers with false promises
of good jobs and better lives, and then forced to work under brutal and
inhumane conditions,” the department said, noting that Somali gangs
forced girls younger than 14 into prostitution in Minnesota, Tennessee
and Ohio – passing them around like chattel for sex with other gang
members or to paying customers.

Calling the trafficking of
children for sex as “intolerable,” U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin, whose
office brought the case against the Somali gangs, said the problem is
widespread and difficult to prosecute. The victims, he said, “are not
likely to complain to the police.”

© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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