Nine Guatemalans were indicted for allegedly sex trafficking young women and girls from Guatemala into the US, the US Department of Justice announced Thursday. The case against the defendants concerns 12 women and girls -- some as young as 13 years old -- who were lured to the US with promises of legitimate and high-paying jobs. Upon arrival in the US, however, they were forced to work as prostitutes in order to repay exorbitant debts. Authorities say the victims were threatened with violence and harm to their families in Guatemala, the Associated Press reports. The Guatemalan defendants, who pleaded not guilty, face charges of sex trafficking of minors; sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion; violating federal laws prohibiting interstate or foreign transport of minors for prostitution; and importing and harboring undocumented immigrants and harboring them for prostitution, reports the AP.
Thousands of desperate women and children from countries including El Salvador, Korea, Mexico, and China are trafficked into the US annually, according to a Ms. investigation conducted earlier this year. Lured to the US with the promise of a good job and security, many are instead forced into prostitution and subjected to psychological abuse.
The US Department of Justice says that human trafficking is one of its top priorities, though the federal response to the sex and labor trafficking crisis in the US over the last seven years has been inadequate, according to Ms. Despite the trafficking of thousands of women into the US each year, the Department of Justice has only prosecuted 360 traffickers since 2000.
1/23/2015 #HeForShe Campaign Launches Pilot Effort Aimed at Institutional Equality - The United Nations' gender equality campaign #HeForShe has launched a new program called IMPACT 10X10X10.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, together with UN Women Executive DirectorPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, introduced the one-year pilot effort aimed at encouraging corporations, universities, and governments to play an active role in enhancing women's empowerment and equality in Davos, Switzerland today at the World Economic Forum.
"Women need to be equal participants in our homes, societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," Watson said.
First introduced in September, HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to confront gender inequalities that face women and girls globally. . . .
1/22/2015 BREAKING: House to Vote on Abortion Coverage Ban - After they were forced to scrap plans for a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders decided late last night to instead ram through a vote today on a different extreme anti-abortion bill.
House Republicans are now pushing HR 7, a bill promoted as a ban on federal funding of abortion that would actually prevent women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care. . . .
1/22/2015 House Cancels Abortion Ban After GOP Congresswomen Drop Support - House Republicans cancelled plans to vote on a 20-week ban on abortion after Republican Congresswomen removed their names publicly as co-sponsors of the bill.
The vote on the unconstitutional 20-week ban had originally been scheduled for today, the anniversary of Roe v. . . .