Forty Honduran women and girls, lured by the promise of jobs as maids and waitresses, trekked for days from Choluteca, Honduras to Fort Worth, Texas only to be tricked and forced into a Texas couple’s sex trafficking ring. In testimony delivered last Friday, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Special Agent George Ramirez described the sex trafficking operation run by Antonio Molina, 32, and Guadalupe Molina, 27, as an extensive network beginning with relatives recruiting Choluteca women aged 19 to 23 years old and girls aged 14 to 16 years old, followed by the transport and subsequent housing of victims under constant surveillance in Fort Worth homes and apartments maintained by the Molinas. According to Ramirez, one woman was repeatedly raped during the journey and immediately following arrival, all of the victims were forced to work at bars, promoting beer sales and providing prostitution services.
The May 16 raid of the “Molina organization” resulted in 88 arrests. US Magistrate Judge Charles Bleil charged the couple with conspiracy to harbor undocumented immigrants, and the couple was jailed without bail. As one local Honduran following the story commented, “It’s horrible. People are looking for the American dream to build a better life, but nobody knows the risk along the way.”
According to officials at the Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in December 2001, sex trafficking is the third most lucrative criminal activity in the world after smuggling arms and narcotics. According to the 2000 Annual Trafficking in Persons Report issued by the US State Department, between 45,000 and 50,000 people—mostly women and children—are trafficked to the United States and forced to work in sweatshop like conditions or in the sex industries as prostitutes. The United Nations, however, estimates that between 244,000 and 325,000 women and children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation in the United States.
Media Resources: Fort Worth Star-Telegram 5/31/02; Feminist Majority Foundation 5/29/02
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .