Human Trafficking – Has It Come To A Neighborhood Near You?

Freeport News Network — Human trafficking (or trafficking in persons) is the act of recruiting, harboring, moving or obtaining a person, by force, fraud or coercion, for the purposes of involuntary servitude, debt bondage or sexual exploitation (TVPA 2000).

Persons do not have to be transported internationally to be considered victims of human trafficking.

For instance, it is human trafficking when a person is moved by force or lured from one neighborhood to another or from one city to another for prostitution purposes.

Major forms of trafficking in persons are: sex trafficking; child sex trafficking; forced labor; forced child labor; bonded labor or debt bondage; domestic servitude; and unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Sex Trafficking

When an adult engages in a commercial sex act, such as prostitution, as the result of force, threats, fraud, coercion or any combination of such means, that person is a victim of sex trafficking.

Global estimates

Human trafficking affects every country in the world, as country of origin, transit or destination. Victims from at least 127 countries have been found to be exploited in 137 countries. The clandestine nature of human trafficking makes it very difficult to arrive at authentic numbers. The numbers provided for all groups of victims of trafficking tend to remain the same, and are based on guesstimates rather than empirical research.

These numbers enter official records and become facts which may be confidently quoted by anyone because they are the only figures available. The United Nations estimates the total market value of illicit human trafficking at 32 billion US dollars, which ranks it as the world’s third most profitable crime after illicit drug and arms trafficking.

The International Labour Organization estimates that 20.9 million people are victims of forced labor, of whom 14.3 million are victimized in economic activities such as agriculture, domestic servitude, construction, and manufacturing.

Of approximately 215 million children laboring full-time, about 50% are subjected to “the worst forms of child labor,” including slavery, forced labor, commercial sexual exploitation, drug trafficking, and armed conflict as child soldiers.

The current forms of trafficking are as follows;

  • Sex trafficking
  • Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), also referred to as child sex trafficking.
  • Forced labor, also referred to as labor trafficking
  • Bonded labor or debt bondage
  • Domestic servitude
  • Forced child labor
  • Unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers
  • Trafficking in human organs

Trafficking in human organs, including trafficking in persons for organ removal, has developed into a global problem. It involves the harvesting and sale of organs from unwilling donors or donors who sell their organs in ethically questionable circumstances.

In May 2014, NBC 5 INVESTIGATES found hundreds of people in Illinois who were willing to sell kidneys for thousands of dollars.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)

In 2014, an estimated 1 out of 6 endangered runaway children reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely sex trafficking victims.

A 2008 study, The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in New York City, estimated that approximately 50% of victims of CSEC in the U.S. are boys.

Scope of Human Trafficking In Illinois

¹ Among the Midwest ports of entry, Chicago experiences the highest volume of arriving immigrants and as such is more likely to be a point of entry for trafficking victims.

In 2005, the FBI designated Chicago as one of thirteen locations of “High Intensity Child Prostitution.

In a 2003 article, the New York Times labeled Chicago as a national hub for human trafficking.

From January 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015, 61 human trafficking cases in Illinois consisting of 215 identified victims were reported to the NHTRC out of 283 calls about trafficking.

From January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014, 140 human trafficking cases in Illinois consisting of 291 identified victims were reported to the NHTRC.

From December 7, 2007 to March 31, 2015, 682 human trafficking cases statewide consisting of 1,312 identified victims were reported to the NHTRC) out of 2,818 calls received.

In metropolitan Chicago, 16,000 to 25,000 women and girls are involved in the commercial sex trade annually, with one third of them first getting involved in prostitution by the age of 15 years, and 62% by the age of 18 years.

According to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 84 children below age 18, including 60 girls and 24 boys, have been missing from January 2010 to October 2015 in Illinois. It is very likely that most of these children have become victims of domestic human trafficking.

It is estimated that 175,000 different johns in Chicago buy sex from women and girls in prostitution every year. In addition, it is estimated that there are 4,400 street prostitutes active in Chicago in an average week.

In a book Published by LAW eCommons, 2013 it says, “Illinois is a source, transit, and destination state for transnational trafficking as well as the internal trafficking of U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. Chicago’s central geographic location, regionally divided and often insular ethnic communities, transportation infrastructure, and the O’Hare International Airport make the city an ideal location for traffickers to bring victims into Illinois and transport them to other cities and states.

Labor and sex trafficking cases have also been reported in suburban communities and rural areas throughout Illinois. Due to the covert nature of the crime and high levels of under-reporting, the total number of trafficking victims in Illinois is difficult to determine.”

Human Trafficking In The News

April 12, 2017 – Rockford Police arrest 12 people following complaints of human trafficking in the area of Seventh Street and Broadway as well as local hotels.

October 6, 2016 –  17 arrested in sex trafficking ring targeting Thai women.

Seventeen alleged members of a global trafficking ring have been charged with transporting hundreds of women from Thailand to the United States for commercial sex purposes.

December 30, 2016 – Sex trafficking in the Sauk Valley?

Illinois is rated fifth in the nation for incidents of human trafficking, of which sex trafficking by far is the largest component, along with labor trafficking.

Chicago and Rockford are the two largest sex trafficking hubs. Interstates 39, 80, 88 and 90, which crisscross Ogle, Lee, Bureau and Whiteside counties and run on into Iowa, are major thoroughfares over which the practice is spread.

October 24, 2016 – 10 Arrested in Rockford Area Prostitution Sting

An F.B.I. operation in Rockford and Winnebago County designed to find underage victims of prostitution and human trafficking ends in 10 arrests, but interestingly, none of those arrested were underage.

January 4, 2017 – Illinois Near Top In Nation For Human Trafficking Cases

Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services says it investigated 143 reports of trafficking last year, many of which were child victims.

Trafficking can happen with labor, but sex trafficking is a large component; Rockford is one of the state’s largest hubs for sex trafficking.

June 19, 2017 – Loves Park, Illinois Emily Anne Anderson Missing.

Emily was last seen in the early hours of Monday, June 19, 2017. After she finished her shift at Shooters, Emily stopped by Neighbors Bar & Grill. And she stopped by Steak & Shake. This missing woman was last seen at 2:30 A.M. She was shopping in the Walmart on Northridge Drive. This is in Rockford, Illinois. Never did she arrive at her home in Loves Park.

Emily’s vehicle is said to have been found in Freeport, Illinois.

UPDATE: We had heard from a Rockford news source that reports were made of Emily’s vehicle being spotted in Freeport. We had also heard from a source of ours on a separate occasion that where Emily’s vehicle was said to have been spotted, was actually at a different location. We had received two reports of the vehicle being found. However, we did speak with the Chief of Police of the Freeport Police department today who informed us that Emily’s vehicle was NOT discovered in Freeport and that authorities have NOT found the vehicle.

Mystery of Missing Chinese Scholar Shakes up Illinois School

Authorities are searching for a young Chinese scholar who vanished from the University of Illinois three weeks ago as she headed out to sign an apartment lease.

108 arrested in Illinois in sex sting; 752 arrested across US

More than 100 people were arrested in Cook County, Lake County and northwest suburban Arlington Heights in recent weeks as part of a national sex trafficking sting operation.

The National Johns Suppression Initiative ran from Jan. 18 through Feb. 5 and led to the arrests of 29 sex traffickers and of 723 people who tried to purchase sex, the Cook County sheriff’s office said. It included nearly 30 law enforcement agencies across 15 states.

Human trafficking is a reality in the suburbs

“Every year, 15,000 to 24,000 people in Chicagoland become victims of human trafficking,” said Wolski. “Of these, 35-40 percent are under age 18. Most are trafficked for sex or pornography. The average age of entry into this form of slavery is 12-14.”

Billboards aim to reduce human trafficking in Illinois
Illinois Lieutenant Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti helped unveil the campaign Monday. It will include 20 digital billboards across Chicago and at O’Hare International Airport that provide information about what advocates say is a form of “modern-day slavery.”

Attempted Abductions

³ The following analyses were conducted on a decade of incidents committed by individuals unknown to the children (Jan. 1, 2005-Dec. 31, 2014).

Overall, the findings were based on 9,872 children and 9,027 offenders involved in 8,015 unique incidents, most of which lasted minutes or, at most, a few hours. Among these incidents, important patterns emerged regarding the event types, incident timing and location, offenders’ methods and how children got away.

Highlighted Trends

Regardless of children’s age, attempted abductions were the most common event type. However, the older the children, the more likely they were to experience events with a sexual component. (See pg 3)

Attempted abductions happen more often when a child is going to and from school or school-related activities. Risk was greatest for school-age children on school days before (7-9am) and after school (3-4pm) and again after dinner time (6-7pm). (See pg 3)

Incidents most frequently occurred on the street while children were playing, riding a bike/scooter or walking. While the youngest children were more likely to be playing or walking with a parent/adult, school-age children were more likely to be walking alone or with peers to/from school, their bus stop or residence on school days and to a variety of other places on non-school days. (See pg 4)

Overall, hands-on force was the most common specific method that offenders used against children. However, offenders primarily used forceful methods against the youngest and oldest children while verbal ploys were the primary approach used against elementary and middle school-age children. (See pg 5)

Children got away from offenders in a variety of ways, including ignoring or refusing them, using their cell phones to threaten intervention, fighting, screaming/making noise, child or adult intervention and, ultimately, by the offender or child leaving the area or the child being voluntarily released. Of these ways, screaming/making noise was the only child behavior that increased the likelihood of an offender’s arrest because it specifically increased the chances of adult intervention. (See pg 6)

Of the 9,872 children:

67 percent were female and 21 percent were male (for 12 percent of children, gender was unknown).

Overall, children had an average age of 11 yrs old, although male children had a significantly younger average age (10yrs) compared to female children (12yrs).

The vast majority of children were of school-age (70 percent) – either elementary (6-10yrs) middle (11-13yrs) or high school-age (14-18yrs). Only six percent of children were before school age (0-5yrs) (For 24 percent of children, age was unknown

missing children illinois offenders

More than any other aspect of children’s lives, “school” emerged as one of the most influential factors in the timing of these incidents, with the vast majority occurring on school days (70 percent) compared to non-school days, such as weekends or summer break. Not only were there significant changes as younger children transitioned into attending school, which involved increased independence and a more predictable schedule throughout the year, there were also important differences between school days and non-school days for children already attending school.

Offenders’ Methods

Offenders used a variety of methods against children, ranging from manipulative verbal ploys, such as requests, offers, questions or demands, to the use of overt forceful approaches, such as the use of force, weapons, breaking and entering and threats of violence. They also used these methods in a variety of ways, either alone or in combination.

While 49 percent of children had one method used against them, 33 percent had multiple methods used against them; some with as many as 5+ methods used against them in one incident (For 18 percent of children, either no methods were used or it could not be determined). Whether alone or in combination, there appears to be an important differentiation between hands-on versus hands-off methods, given that it was more common for offenders to strictly use verbal ploys only (25 percent) or forceful methods only (25 percent) against a given child than it was for offenders to use a combination of both (16 percent).

While the majority of these verbal and forceful methods were used to some degree across child age, important patterns emerged in the likelihood of certain methods or the ways in which they were used against younger and older children. Across child age, force was the top method used against children (34 percent). However, it was most commonly used against the youngest children that were before school age (and nearby parents/adults) (57 percent) and the oldest children that were in high school (50 percent).

In contrast, there was an important shift that occurred between the youngest and oldest children, when manipulative verbal methods became the predominant approach against elementary and middle school-age children. By middle school, however, there was some indication of the increasing use of forceful methods that were primarily used against high school-age children.

How Children Got Away

Overall, children got away from offenders in a variety of ways, directly dependent upon the methods offenders used against them and the victimization offenders were trying to accomplish. Generally, when only verbal methods were used, as was common in hands-off offenses such as suspicious incidents, indecent exposures and some attempted abductions, children were most likely to get away by ignoring or refusing the offender, using their cell phones to threaten possible adult intervention and/or by actual adult intervention.

Ultimately, offenders either left the area or children left the area.

However, when forceful methods were used against children, as was common in hands-on incidents such as short-term abductions, sexual assaults and some attempted abductions, children most commonly got away from offenders by fighting, screaming/making noise and/or by adult intervention.

Ultimately, either offenders or children left the area or offenders voluntarily released the children; any of which could have occurred during or after the completion of the victimization.

³ We’ve recently completed an analysis of 12,900+ incidents known to NCMEC and confirmed with law enforcement spanning a period from January 1, 2005 – December 31, 2016, that indicates attempted abductions happen more often when a child is going to and from school or school-related activities, more often involve children between the ages of 10 to 14, happen to more female children than male, and involve a suspect using a vehicle.

A common pattern with the children who escaped their would-be abductors is that the child did something proactive (screaming/yelling to draw attention; running/physically pulling away) as opposed to being passive or polite.

  • 70 percent of attempted abductions involved the suspect driving a vehicle.
  • 34 percent occurred between 2:00-7:00 pm; the time frame when children are out of school and are least likely to be supervised.
  • APPROXIMATELY 32 percent of attempted abductions happened when the child was going to and from school or school related activity.
  • 20 percent of confirmed incidents involved a sex crime of either sexual assault or indecent exposure.
  • 65 percent of attempted abductions involve a female child.
  • 37 percent of the children are between the age of 10-14 years old.

Of the attempted abductions that had a known outcome of how the child escaped the suspect:

  • 51 percent of the children walked or ran away from the suspect (no physical contact).
  • 30 percent of the children reported some type of reaction (yelling, kicking, pulling away, or attracting attention).
  • 19 percent of the incidents involved either a Good Samaritan or a parent becoming involved in rescuing the child.

For incidents in which a perpetrator was identified or arrested:

  • 13 percent of perpetrators were registered sex offenders at the time of the incident.

For the incidents in which the suspect used a known lure (There were over 100 different lures used in the over 12,900 Attempted Abduction reports analyzed since 2005), the five most utilized lures were:

  • 28 percent offered the child a ride.
  • 11 percent offered the child candy or sweets.
  • 18 percent asked the child questions.
  • 8 percent offered the child money.
  • 7 percent used an animal (offering, looking for or showing).
How many children are abducted each year?
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (citing U.S. Department of Justice reports), nearly 800,000 children are reported missing each year. That’s more than 2,000 a day. The NCMEC says 203,000 children are kidnapped each year by family members.
It’s also worth noting that “About 99 percent were found within hours or days by usual law enforcement response.” and “More than 7,000 children nationwide were missing for prolonged periods.” – source – That means something like 20 US kids are kidnapped per day for prolonged periods.
What percentage of missing children are found?
The findings were that among abducted children who were murdered, “in 74 percent of the cases the victims were dead within three hours after abduction.”

99.8% of the children who go missing do come home.

  • Nearly 90% of missing children have simply misunderstood directions or miscommunicated their plans, are lost, or have run away.
  • 9% are kidnapped by a family member in a custody dispute.
  • 3% are abducted by non-family members, usually during the commission of a crime such as robbery or sexual assault. The kidnapper is often someone the child knows.
  • Only about 100 children (a fraction of 1%) are kidnapped each year in the stereotypical stranger abductions you hear about in the news.
  • About half of these 100 children come home.

National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Throwaway Children — 2003

Every ten years or so the US Department of Justice conducts a study of missing child cases in the United States. The most recent, NISMART II, was published in October 2003.

This study is in PDF format. You may need to download the free Adobe Reader to view them.

Kidnapped Child Homicide Statistics

The other study that is often quoted by media and by professionals in the missing child field was conducted by the Attorney General of Washington State in 1997.

The findings were that among abducted children who were murdered, “in 74 percent of the cases the victims were dead within three hours after abduction.” What is not generally reported is the fact that this statistic refers to a very small group of children abducted by violent or predatory kidnappers (approximately 1 in every 10,000 reports of a missing child).

So yes, it is important to find the child quickly, in case the kidnapping is one of that small group. But it is incorrect to assume that 74% of kidnapped children are at risk of being killed if not found within 3 hours.

You can download the Executive Summary of that report here in PDF format. You can also obtain more information about the study by visiting the Attorney General’s website.

Additional child kidnapping information:

What to do if your child is missing

  1. Immediately call your local law enforcement agency.
  2. After you have reported your child missing to law enforcement, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST(1-800-843-5678).
  3. If your child is missing from home, search through:
    • Closets.
    • Piles of laundry.
    • In and under beds.
    • Inside large appliances.
    • Vehicles – including trunks.
    • Anywhere else that a child may crawl or hide.
  4. Notify the store manager or security office if your child cannot be found when in a store. Then immediately call your local law enforcement agency. Many stores have a Code Adam plan of action in place.

When you call law enforcement:

  • Provide law enforcement with your child’s name, date of birth, height, weight and descriptions of any other unique identifiers such as eyeglasses and braces. Tell them when you noticed your child was missing and what clothing he or she was wearing.
  • Request law enforcement authorities immediately enter your child’s name and identifying information into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center Missing Person File.






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