U.S. Federal prosecutors released a 52-count indictment yesterday, charging 16 members of a prostitution ring run by a family that is based in Veracruz, Mexico. Allegations include the forced prostitution of 20 women, some as young as 14-years-old, alleged beatings, rapes and forced abortions. U.S. Justice Department Civil Rights Chief Bill Lann Lee said the charges were “shocking and unconscionable.”
The women paid as much as $2,400 to the family to be smuggled across the Mexican border into the United States. The women, many of whom thought they would find work in restaurants or hotels, were moved from a “safe house” in Houston to one of twelve brothels in Florida or South Carolina. The women were not allowed to leave until they had paid back their smuggling fee.
The women have spoken of rapes, beatings, being prostituted within weeks of a forced abortion, and forced to have sex up to 20 times a day. Eleven of the women and three girls are aiding U.S. investigators and are allowed to remain in the U.S. for one year.
Eight members of the prostitution-ring were taken into custody by U.S. officials.
U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno announced the creation Thursday of a task force that will work to combat worker-exploitation in the U.S.
4/15/2014 Virginia Bishops Advocate More Abortion Restrictions for Poor Women - Using the Medicaid expansion debate as a platform, the Virginia Catholic Conference issued a statement Friday calling for the repeal of a Virginia law that allows state funding of abortion care for Medicaid recipients in situations where the fetus exhibits a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity" or a "gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency."
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington authored the statement which urges Virginia lawmakers to act to expand Medicaid to cover more of Virginia's poor. . . .
4/14/2014 Kathleen Sebelius Resigns as Secretary of Health & Human Services - President Barack Obama last week announced the resignation of Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius.
Noting that she will "go down in history" for "serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services when the United States of America finally declared that quality, affordable health care is not a privilege, but it is a right for every single citizen of these United States of America," President Obama praised Secretary Sebelius for guiding the implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA).
At least 7.5 million Americans have now signed up for health coverage through health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. . . .