Human Trafficking: A Crime Hard to Track Proves Harder to Fight

Human Trafficking: A Crime Hard to Track Proves Harder to Fight


Oksana was promised a good job with good pay when she came to the United States from Ukraine. But when she arrived in Philadelphia to meet her new boss, things were not as she expected.

“About time you arrive, bitch,” was the first thing he said to her, she says.

“The deal was, I come here, I work for three years, and I pay him off with my work. I pay off my debt, and then I would be on my own,” Oksana said. “That was my understanding.”

What she eventually learned was that she had been swept up in a human trafficking organization that according to the FBI, “smuggled young Ukrainian migrants into the United States and forced them to work for … little or no pay.”

But that was hardly the worst of it. As is often the case with human trafficking, her boss had also been beating and sexually assaulting the women she’d be working with — including her own sister-in-law.

“I was terrified,” Oksana recalls in the below scene from the recent FRONTLINE investigation, Rape on the Night Shift.

With human trafficking now generating an estimated $150 billion each year in illegal profits, according to United Nations data, the trafficking in persons has become one of the fastest growing criminal industries worldwide.

“Trafficking in persons is an insult to human dignity and an assault on freedom,” said Secretary of State John Kerry in the State Department’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report, which was released Monday. In the annual report, Kerry called trafficking “modern slavery,” and linked the problem to everything from extreme poverty and discrimination against women, to government corruption and the reach of transnational organized crime. …

Sandra Bland Was Murdered By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Originally posted on

Sandra Bland Was Murdered

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

25 July 15

Suicide or not, police are responsible for Sandra Bland’s death

A Texas state trooper said Sandra Bland assaulted him with her elbows and feet during her arrest, after which she was found dead in a jail cell. (photo: Tom Pennington/Getty)
A Texas state trooper said Sandra Bland assaulted him with her elbows and feet during her arrest, after which she was found dead in a jail cell. (photo: Tom Pennington/Getty)

ALSO SEE: Jail Where Sandra Bland Died Has History of State Rules Violations

o news broke yesterday that authorities in Waller County, Texas, have “full faith” that Sandra Bland committed suicide. They said there was “no evidence of a struggle” on the body of the 28-year-old African-American woman who was ludicrously jailed last week after an alleged lane change violation.

In related news, the Texas Department of Safety ruled that Brian Encina, the officer who arrested Bland, pulled her from her car, and threatened her with a Taser, had merely violated the state’s “courtesy…

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Sandra Bland: Jail intake forms present inconsistencies, state previous suicide attempt – TomoNews

Originally posted on

Veröffentlicht am 24.07.2015

WALLER COUNTY, TEXAS — Documents released by the Waller County Sheriff’s department have revealed that Sandra Bland had previously tried to commit suicide, but troubling inconsistencies mean the forms raise more questions as they answer.

A suicide assessment form from the Waller County jail, printed at 8.15pm on July 10th, the day Bland was arrested, reveal that Bland had previously attempted suicide in 2015 with pills after losing a baby. However, they state she had no history of depression nor did she feel depressed at the time.

However a suicide, medical, and mental impairment screening form filled out by hand at 5:32pm earlier that day records Bland as not only being depressed, but having suffered from depression in the past.

It also disputes 2015 as the year of Bland’s suicide attempt. The handwritten date of Bland’s suicide attempt is unclear, with a four and five having been…

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TO BLAME A VICTIM TO BE GUILTY! Watch CNN Panelist Get Destroyed After He Blames Sandra Bland’s Arrogance For Her Death (VIDEO)

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Watch CNN Panelist Get Destroyed After He Blames Sandra Bland’s Arrogance For Her Death (VIDEO)


During a panel segment on CNN Tonight, the panel got into a fierce debate while analyzing the dash cam footage that shows the arrest of Sandra Bland. The video shows the police officer and Bland arguing, with the officer threatening to “light” Bland up with a taser.  This led to panelist and former NYPD detective Harry Houck claiming that is was Bland’s arrogant attitude is what led to her arrest and eventual death.

Houck, who could not even remember important facts about the arrest, serves an excellent reminder of the way that white people and law enforcement officers often hold people of color to a double standard when there is an incident of police violence or harassment.

Houck told CNN’s Don Lemon:

“An officer does have the choice to bring anyone out…

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Incarcerated Women Fight for Human Rights in California’s Prisons & more

Incarcerated Women Fight for Human Rights in California’s Prisons
Diana Zuniga, statewide coordinator for Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), speaks with TRNN Correspondent Eddie Conway –   April 30, 2015

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Incarcerated Women Fight for Human Rights in California's PrisonsEDDIE CONWAY, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News. This is the Light Behind Bars segment. Thank you for joining me for Part 2. Our guest today is Diana Zuniga. Diana is the statewide coordinator for Californians United for a Responsible Budget.What is the significance of gender and its relationship to incarceration? And what is the situation for women in the California prisons and jail system?ZUNIGA: You know, just to talk about gender a little bit, I think that a lot of times gender is really lost in our conversation about prisons. And just looking at historically what has happened to, in the guise of really helping people in women’s prisons, has been really scary.In about 2007 there was this huge push to promote gender-responsive prisons. And there were about a handful of gender-responsive prisons that were built. What we ended up finding out last year, what really came to the public eye last year, was that there–in these prisons there were about 214 women that were sterilized without their permission. So a lot of times we don’t hear about the medical neglect and medical issues and human rights issues that are happening in prisons as far as when it has to do with gender. And a lot of times this is because there are less women inside women’s prisons than the male population.What we’ve really been working to do is to expand programs for women specifically. Many of our member organizations have been doing this for years, and that resulted in a program that was passed in 2011 called the Alternative Custody Program. In 2011 this program was passed and it was basically meant to help women that were primary caregivers come back to their communities. A lot of times it was women with lower-level offenses, and instead of serving their time in state prison they would be able to serve their time in a community-based organization or at home under electronic monitoring. The main focus was to reconnect them with their children and reconnect them with their families and their communities.When this policy passed, there were about 7,200 applications that were submitted. To date only 410 people in women’s prisons have been able to actually get the program. So CURB along with its member organizations Justice Now and California Coalition for Women Prisoners, and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children have been really shopping around an idea to really solidify and support this program from being expanded and really utilized in the way that we thought it was going to be utilized.Recently CURB and Justice Now were able to secure a bill, SB 219, that would actually help alleviate some of the issues that are happening with the Alternative Custody Program. Our bill would basically create a timeline for the application process. There’s no timeline right now, so a lot of times the applications will be just sitting there. Our bill creates a timeline and actually a way to appeal the decision if you are denied. Our bill also does not allow for women to be denied the program if they have any type of medical or mental health condition. In the past we have seen that women with diabetes or with any type of mental health condition, with dental issues, have actually been denied the program.And lastly, our bill would connect folks to be able to access medical coverage in order to answer some of the issues that they are actually facing when they come into the community and are given the Alternative Custody Program. We really think that this is a good step in the right direction and a way to bring people in women’s prisons back to their communities.CONWAY: And it sounds like a good program, the Alternative Custody Program. But I want you to step back a minute. Earlier you said two hundred and some women were sterilized without their consent. How did that happen?ZUNIGA: How did that happen. That is the huge question. There were a lot of issues–similar to why the Plata/Coleman case came about, there were a lot of issues with medical neglect that were happening inside of the state prisons. One of those things that came about, which was a separate issue from the Plata/Coleman case was this sterilization. Recently last year our member organization Justice Now was able to pass an anti-sterilization bill to make sure, or to create safeguards so that this won’t happen to women in the future.What we heard was that–you know, what we heard from many of the women that were sterilized was that they would go in to the healthcare facility with maybe some issues of cramps or any, any type of issue that they were experiencing. Many times they, some of them didn’t know that they had actually been sterilized until they were released from prison and were actually trying to have children and realized, when they went to the doctor again, or their medical practitioner, that they had been sterilized.There is documentation that Justice Now was able to get a hold of that was really able to be the fuel to focus this bill and really pass it unanimously. Right now Justice Now and I believe it’s the Board of State and Community Corrections are responsible for making sure that this doesn’t happen in the future. It’s a really unfortunate thing that happened to many women. I mean, 214, and those are the only ones that are documented. So who knows if it happened to additional women that the documentation got lost. We’re not too sure if it happened to more women than that.CONWAY: Okay. Diana, thank you for joining me, and thank you for participating in this segment of the Light Behind Bars. And hopefully you will join me again in the future to give us an update on what’s going on in the prison system.ZUNIGA: Definitely.CONWAY: Okay. And thank you for joining The Real News.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Death Row News to fight the Death Penalty – GA: ‘Cloudy’ Drugs for Kelly Gissendaner’s Execution Were Kept T

Originally posted on

Kelly Gissendaner Gives Statement Ahead of Execution

Death Row News to fight the Death Penalty – GA: ‘Cloudy’ Drugs for Kelly Gissendaner’s Execution Were Kept T.

GA: ‘Cloudy’ Drugs for Kelly Gissendaner’s Execution Were Kept T
Fri Apr 17, 2015 13:44

‘Cloudy’ Drugs for Kelly Gissendaner’s Execution Were Kept Too Cold
By Tracy ConnorAn investigation into cloudy drugs that were nearly used for the execution of Kelly Gissendaner in Georgia last month has determined they were stored at the wrong temperature. The condition of the drugs caused the execution to be postponed.In court papers, state officials said the pentobarbital, which was purchased from a compounding pharmacy that made a special batch, was kept at 37 degrees when it should have been kept at 59 degrees. That may have caused the “precipitation” that made the solution look cloudy, they said.

Gissendaner, 46, has argued that the last-minute glitch…

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Arizona woman cleared after 22 years on death row: ‘This is not happiness’

Arizona woman cleared after 22 years on death row: ‘This is not happiness’

Debra Milke describes her release as ‘bittersweet’ after 25 years served for the murder of her son, in a case that rested on the work of disgraced detective

Debra Milke Phoenix
Debra Milke speaks in Phoenix. Milke spoke out for the first time after spending two decades on death row in the killing of her son. Her case was dismissed earlier this week. Photograph: Matt York/AP

An Arizona woman who spent 22 years on death row after being convicted of conspiring to murder her son in a case that rested on the work of a detective with a history of misconduct says regaining her freedom was vindicating but bittersweet.

On Monday, a judge formally dismissed murder charges against Debra Milke, ending what her lawyers called a “living nightmare” that spanned nearly half her life. After her son was found dead, the now-discredited Phoenix police detective Armando Saldate claimed Milke confessed to arranging her son’s murder, even though there was no witness or recording. …

In less than 40 years, 124 countries have abolished the death penalty – and here’s why the rest should end it too

Originally posted on

In less than 40 years, 124 countries have abolished the death penalty – and here’s why the rest should end it too

In less than 40 years, 124 countries have abolished the death penalty – and here’s why the rest should end it too

Bali Nine drug trafficking duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will face a firing squad. Photo: Getty Images

Marched in handcuffs across the tarmac by a group of heavily armed officers wearing balaclavas and thick helmets, the bare faces of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran appeared even more tragic.

The blurry images showing them being taken onto the plane headed for Nusakambangan Island Prison highlighted the inhumanity of the fate that Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo is adamant they will face.

After more than 10 years in prison, they are among the next group whom…

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New York Is Illegally Shackling Pregnant, Incarcerated Women

Featured photo - New York Is Illegally Shackling Pregnant, Incarcerated Women 

New York Is Illegally Shackling Pregnant, Incarcerated Women

The state of New York is illegally shackling incarcerated women during childbirth, according to a new report on reproductive justice from the Correctional Association of New York.

“Women continue to be shackled on the way to the hospital (even when they are in labor), during recovery (even within hours after giving birth and for long periods of time), and on the way back to the prison (even with waist chains just days after having a C-section),” the report said. New York passed an anti-shackling statute in 2009, but according to the Correctional Association, “23 of 27 women the CA surveyed who gave birth after the law went into effect said they were shackled at least once in violation of the statute.”

In many ways, the state of New York is abusing pregnant, incarcerated women all over again, given that 90% of all incarcerated women experienced sexual and physical abuse before heading to prison, according to the report.

Every year nearly 2,000 women give birth in America’s prisons and jails. Being jailed is a traumatic experience for women in and of itself, given the lack of training and concern for incarcerated women. But “this trauma is compounded by the lack of supportive services to help women grapple with the issues that led them to prison and the challenges they face once inside, including being separated from their families,” the Correctional Association said. Dani McCalin, writing at Truthout, reported that, “Women who are not pregnant use newspaper and magazines while on their periods because they are not provided an adequate number of pads.”

Now, couple pregnancy with incarceration and one can only imagine the horror that pregnant inmates face. In New York, pregnant women complained that prison officials did not provide them with enough food, adequate prenatal care, vitamins, heat, ventilation or privacy. The report highlighted how such an environment left many women “feeling depressed and ill-equipped to find stable homes for their babies.”

Clearly, the shackling of pregnant of women is an incredibly painful experience. “Shackling causes physical and psychological pain. It heightens the risk of blood clots and limits the mobility that someone needs for a safe pregnancy and safe delivery. It can cause fetal death”, the Correctional Association’s Tamar Kraft-Stolar said. 

Shackling can also cause pulled groin muscles and the separation of pubic bones. And because of the potential for injury, many states have restricted the practice. Yet some states, such as California, Texas, and New York, have struggled to fully ban such inhumane treatment, according to the New York Times. But the fact that many prison officials maintain the idea that it is okay to shackle pregnant women, speaks to a broader hatred and lack of compassion for women generally.

“We need to stop sending pregnant women to prison in the first place. It’s unacceptable that the law is being violated, but we need to stop locking up so many women, especially so many pregnant women”, said Kraft-Stolar.

Photo: Yanina Manolova/AP

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