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.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .