Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The North Carolina connection to human trafficking - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC-

The link below will take you to the segment on WBTV regarding human trafficking.

This was one of the toughest research projects I have done. The cases I read turned my stomach.

These are the creepiest of cybercreeps - using the internet to enslave fellow human beings.

As always, I am open to all suggestions and feedback. Thank you for your comments, they really help!

The North Carolina connection to human trafficking - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC-

Thursday, January 14, 2010

President Barack Obama has declared January - National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

How CyberTraffickers Target Their Victims:

It is hard to believe that, in America, we have people trapped and forced to work as laborers or prostitutes as slaves of human traffickers.  North Carolina has been ranked in the top 8 most common sites for human trafficking.  One of the reasons we are so popular is I85 and I95.

The problem in the U.S. is so serious, that President Barack Obama has declared January - National
Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Human trafficking is the modern day version of slavery.  These criminals force their victims into labor and it can be in any industry.  The most common forms of enslavement include labor, such as farming or working in a sweatshop, and sex trade.

Human traffickers love the I85 and I95 highways in North Carolina and they also use another highspeed highway to recruit, enslave, and find new customers-the internet.

Human traffickers target those who are society’s most vulnerable, have the quietest voices and find it hard to fight back.  Often, victims include immigrants and children.  Children who are loners or runaways are also a popular target of cybertraffickers.

North Carolina passed a bill in 2007 which makes human trafficking a felony and offers state assistance to victims.

In the last several months there were several cases in human trafficking uncovered in North Carolina.

One recent case was a spa in Union County who was using Craiglist to advertise services and the clients had no idea the staff there had been coerced into a human trafficking scheme.

We also had the tragic case of Shaniya Davis who was allegedly sold into sex trafficking via the internet by her mother.

Human trafficking via the internet to enable their crime rings has long been on the radar of the law enforcement community.

2,300 Arrests:  The FBI has been diligently fighting this evil crime resulting in 2,300 arrests.  They have also recovered 170 kids during sting operations.

15,000-18,000:  The number of people drafted into slavery each year in the U.S.  (Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

2 Million:  Estimated number of people worldwide drafted into slavery via Human Trafficking

A Few Recent NC Cases:

Sex Ring:
April 2009, a man was sentenced to 24 years in prison for operating a human trafficking sex trade between Charlotte and Washington.  Girls were as young as 16 and smuggled in from Mexico.

Child Sex Case – Internet Sting:
June 2009, a Duke University official, was arrested after an Internet sting.  He was charged with trafficking a 5 year old boy for sex.  His name was provided by a defendant in a different trafficking case.

Spa case in Monroe – Ads on Craigslist:
In 2008, a spa in Union County was using Craiglist to advertise services that were offered by people who had been coerced into a human trafficking scheme.

Shaniya Davis – Mother allegedly sold her into sex trade via internet:
In NC we have the pending case and trial regarding the alleged human trafficking of Shaniya Davis.  Her own mother alledgedly sold her daughter into the sex trade using the internet to find a buyer and to send messages.  This case should be a wake up call to parents,  teachers, and all caregivers.    

Online Ads:  Ads offering great jobs at high pay in big cities.  Often they hide behind ads for modeling, singing, or acting.  Sometimes they will offer to fly the person to the other city for the “interview”.

Online Auctions: Craigslist is considered a magnet for international sex trade of children via the adult services section.  

Photo Sharing Sites: Bypasses printing photos and allows operations to disseminate photos online for viewing by prospective buyers.

Social Media:  Cybercreeps will use Chatrooms, social sites such as Facebook and MySpace, to recruit or trick kids into joining their trafficking scheme.  They use these sites and blogs to connect to other cybercreeps to barter, trade, and sell their victims.

Many of the warning signs that a child is a victim of trafficking, or is being recruited, are similar to signs that the child is being cyberbullied or being groomed by a pedophile.  They may include one or more of the following:
Unexplained absences
Runs away or discusses running away from home
Exhibits bruises, suddenly withdraws from social gatherings, displays depression
Demonstrates a sudden change in attire
Behavior becomes erratic, severe mood swings
Suddenly has material possessions given to them by a “friend”
Hides emails, text messages, or other online posts
Extreme change in online behavior – suddenly online all the time or suddenly not interested in
        being online

E:  Engage your kids in a conversation about trafficking.  Targets start as young at 12 years old.  

N:  Notify and advocate for change.  Notify your elected officials and ask what they are doing to improve awareness, catching cybertraffickers, and convicting them.

D:  Don’t fuel the criminal economy.  Where possible, research and choose free trade or slave-free certified products.

1. Contact local law enforcement
2. If you are unsure and want to talk through the situation first, you can start with the National 24/7 Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.
3. If you want to report an incident, you can do so at the National Center’s CyberTipline at 1-800-the-lost or online at www.CyberTipLine.org
4. The FBI Human Trafficking Hotline is open 24 hours:  866.252.6850.

There are several websites that provide helpful information about Human trafficking.  We have highlighted a few of them below:

Global Awareness, Outreach, and Victim Services:  Polaris Project at www.PolarisProject.org

Check Your Chain Store’s Policies and write them letters about Human Trafficking at www.ChainStoreReaction.com

Sites that include tips plus blogs that cover human trafficking:

Information on Global and U.S. Issues:  FightSlaveryNow.org

North Carolina Focus:
NC Stop Human Trafficking:   http://ncstophumantrafficking.wordpress.com/
Triad Ladder of Hope: http://www.triadladderofhope.org/
Government Sites:
U.S. Department of Justice Web site: 
U.S. Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html

Presidential Proclamation:

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
January 04, 2010

Presidential Proclamation - National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

The United States was founded on the principle that all people are born with an unalienable right to freedom -- an ideal that has driven the engine of American progress throughout our history. As a Nation, we have known moments of great darkness and greater light; and dim years of chattel slavery illuminated and brought to an end by President Lincoln's actions and a painful Civil War. Yet even today, the darkness and inhumanity of enslavement exists. Millions of people worldwide are held in compelled service, as well as thousands within the United States. During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we acknowledge that forms of slavery still exist in the modern era, and we recommit ourselves to stopping the human traffickers who ply this horrific trade.
As we continue our fight to deliver on the promise of freedom, we commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation, which became effective on January 1, 1863, and the 13th Amendment, which was sent to the States for ratification on February 1, 1865. Throughout the month of January, we highlight the many fronts in the ongoing battle for civil rights -- including the efforts of our Federal agencies; State, local, and tribal law enforcement partners; international partners; nonprofit social service providers; private industry and nongovernmental organizations around the world who are working to end human trafficking.
The victims of modern slavery have many faces. They are men and women, adults and children. Yet, all are denied basic human dignity and freedom. Victims can be abused in their own countries, or find themselves far from home and vulnerable. Whether they are trapped in forced sexual or labor exploitation, human trafficking victims cannot walk away, but are held in service through force, threats, and fear. All too often suffering from horrible physical and sexual abuse, it is hard for them to imagine that there might be a place of refuge.
We must join together as a Nation and global community to provide that safe haven by protecting victims and prosecuting traffickers. With improved victim identification, medical and social services, training for first responders, and increased public awareness, the men, women, and children who have suffered this scourge can overcome the bonds of modern slavery, receive protection and justice, and successfully reclaim their rightful independence.
Fighting modern slavery and human trafficking is a shared responsibility. This month, I urge all Americans to educate themselves about all forms of modern slavery and the signs and consequences of human trafficking. Together, we can and must end this most serious, ongoing criminal civil rights violation.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2010 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, culminating in the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1. I call upon the people of the United States to recognize the vital role we can play in ending modern slavery, and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Watchlist - Top 10 for 2010

I spent some time looking at various research notes about 2010 and what to expect regarding technology adoption...which, unfortunately, also leads to criminal uses of technology.

Based on my reading, I've created my watchlist of "The Top 10 for 2010".

Would love to hear your comments and feedback on the list.

1. Net Now:
Using the internet and key services on phones, laptops, and computers, you can do anything now.
a. If you need to know the name of a song, hum into your phone and Midomi will tell you.
b. Catching up from vacation, access the discussion with the gang back at the office, using Google

2. Noplace to Hide:
GPS, Smartphones, and applications like Google Latitude and Foursquare allow you to track your friends and your friends can track you.  If you are planning a trip, use TripIt and you’ll learn which of your friends will be in the same place for work or play.

3. Search Seasons:
In the words of U2, you may often say, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” even when you try multiple search engines.  We are still living in the Information age but we are soon moving to the Knowledge age where we can cull all the information resident in our heads, on our PC, and in our colleagues heads across the globe and be able to access it real time via a search engine.  Expect Bing and Google search to continue to improve and become more personalized in search terms and results.

4. Money Movement:
Mobile payments and online banking via smartphones will make a quantum leap this year.  Banks will make it easier and so will payment platforms such as PayPal and Square.  Square allows merchants to take payments via your iPhone.

5. Connected Cars:
Not only will they be more fuel efficient, but more cars will come online that let you integrate your smart phone into your car system for tasks such as caller id, hands free calling, and looking up contact information.

6. Short and Sweet:  140 Characters...or less!
More people will adopt quick communication options such as phone texting, twitter, and other social media options that support short text messages.

7. It Takes an Online Village:
More people will use social media to stay connected to friends and family.  They will also congregate to social site places of interest such as work, health, investing, politics, and hobbies.

8. Social Engineering:
Attackers will target people on a personal level to try and trick them into clicking on a link so they can steal information.

9. Cyber Creeps & Rogue Security Software:
Cyber Creeps will create rogue security software that makes you think you are unprotected, convincing you to click on a link and installing bad software programs.

10. That Darn Spam!
Spam mail will continue to increase by at least 15% this year according to Symantec’s research.

To learn more about these Top 10 Trends for 2010 look at the following sites:

1. Net Now:
a. Mashable.com
b. Midomi.com
c. Wave.Google.com

2. Noplace to Hide:
a. Google.com/Latitude
b. Foursquare.com
c. TripIt.com
d. MoLoGoGo.com

3. Search Seasons:
a. Bing.com
b. Wikipedia.com
c. Yahoo.com
d. Google.com

4. Money Movement:
a. PayPal.com
b. Square.com
c. Check your banking to see if they have a mobile platform

5. Connected Cars:  
a. Ask your favorite dealer for 2010 specifics

6. Short and Sweet:
a. Twitter.com
b. Google.com/talk

7. It Takes an Online Village:
a. Type in your area of interest + “Social Media Sites” to find sites suited to your needs
b. Profession:  LinkedIn.com
c. Financial Advice:  Fool.com
d. FaceBook.com
e. MySpace.com

8.–10.  Cyber Security & Protecting Yourself Online:
a. Symantec.com
b. McAfee.com
c. PandaLabs.com
d. FBI.gov or IC3.gov
e. DHS.gov/cyber

Great People to Follow On Twitter re:  Online Safety.

I am sure to miss a few but here's the best list off the top of my head: