September 13, 2011 |
"Band of brothers," the U.S. Department of Justice calls them. But if you're thinking World War II, parachutes behind enemy lines, battlefield heroics - wrong band. These brothers number just five, hail from Ukraine, and stand charged with one of the most insidious crimes in the illegal immigrant underground: human trafficking. Omelyan Botsvynyuk, 52, and Stepan Botsvynyuk, 36, are set to go on trial Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. Two more are in Canada pending extradition.
April 21, 2004 |
Four years ago, when authorities in Philadelphia began looking into the sudden proliferation of Asian "massage parlors," they found more than the world's oldest profession. It was an equally ancient evil: slavery. What authorities discovered was that many of the women had paid tens of thousands of dollars to brokers to get into the United States - only to find they had to work off that debt as prostitutes. Federal authorities announced yesterday that Philadelphia had been selected as the first site for a program to combat the growing problem of "human trafficking" by working with social service groups to persuade victims to come forward and help prosecute the criminals who enslaved them.
June 23, 2015 |
Anne Marie Jones is bracing herself to tell a story of drug addiction, prostitution, and recovery to a city preparing for a pope. The 48-year-old mother of three clawed her way out of a life on the streets with the help of Dawn's Place, a residential treatment program for women involved in human trafficking. "Here, I found immediate peace and safety," said Jones, sitting at a table at the program's headquarters, where she is now a peer mentor. Jones is scheduled to share her story on Monday at a news conference to announce the formation of a charitable fund aimed at ensuring that the visit of Pope Francis, scheduled for Sept.
April 18, 2011
The Rev. Alyn Waller was 29 when Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church asked him in 1994 to lead the 364-member Germantown congregation. By 2003, it had 5,000 members and broke ground that year on a 94,000-square-foot church at 2800 Cheltenham Ave. Today, Enon counts 14,000 members - the largest congregation in the Philadelphia area. Waller spoke with Inquirer religion reporter David O'Reilly. Question: Did you expect to make Enon into a megachurch when you arrived?
January 30, 2014 |
On a warm November afternoon in northern Uganda, Aida Marcial heard that the serial rapist she had been investigating had been spotted downtown, and drove there with local police. She video-recorded the arrest and his subsequent confession to 10 counts of sexual assault; enough evidence, she said, to put him away for a long time even by Uganda's less stringent judicial standards. In talking about the case, the first image Marcial dug up during an interview this month is of one of the victims, age 9, smiling at the camera with her thin arms wrapped around Marcial.
August 16, 2013 |
New Jersey is one of the two best states in the country when it comes to laws fighting human trafficking, according to a new report from a national advocacy organization. Pennsylvania, while lagging, showed improvement, according to the Polaris Project's 2013 State Ratings on Human Trafficking Laws, released Wednesday during a conference call. New Jersey, along with Washington state, received perfect scores from the Washington-based anti-trafficking organization. "Over the past year, the momentum among advocates, legislators, and state officials to pass robust laws combating human trafficking has been inspiring," said Bradley Myles, the Polaris Project CEO. This is the fourth year that the group has rated all 50 states and the District of Columbia, using 10 categories of laws that it says are "critical to establishing a basic legal framework that combats human trafficking, punishes traffickers, and supports survivors.
February 23, 2014 |
NORRISTOWN The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office and two police departments are teaming to investigate sex trafficking and prostitution in hotels and motels in King of Prussia and Montgomeryville, authorities announced Friday. "Public safety and quality-of-life issues relating to the illegal commercial sex trade and human trafficking are of growing concern in Montgomery County," District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said in a statement. The concern over sex trafficking and prostitution rings is so great, Ferman said, that she, Upper Merion Police Chief Thomas Nolan, and Montgomery Township Chief Scott Bendig took the unusual step of publicizing the operation before it starts to educate the public and hotel workers about the damage to people and communities these activities cause, and to dissuade those who might use the hotels for illegal activities.
February 1, 2014 |
GLOUCESTER TWP. Invoking a new state law, Camden County officials have charged a man and a woman with human trafficking after they allegedly brought a woman from North Carolina to New Jersey to work as a prostitute. Van Howell, 41, of Sicklerville, and Krista Burton, 30, of Columbia, Pa., were arrested last Friday and charged with first-degree human trafficking, Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk said at a news conference Thursday at the Municipal Building in Gloucester Township. The two recruited a 26-year-old sex worker from Cherokee, N.C., Faulk said in a statement, paying for her bus ticket and promising her "more lucrative business," but then warning her of consequences if she did not meet their expectations.
July 17, 2012 |
A Ukrainian national was sentenced Monday to life in prison for leading a human-trafficking ring based in Philadelphia that lured its victims into forced labor, cleaning large chain stores such as Wal-Mart and Target. Omelyan Botsvynyuk, 52, was found guilty in October of conspiracy and extortion. Stepan Botsvynyuk, 38, his brother, was found guilty of conspiracy at the same trial and faces a possible 20 years in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for Tuesday. Two other brothers, Mykhaylo and Dmytro, also have been indicted in the case and are awaiting extradition from Canada.
February 6, 2012
SLAVERY IS alive and well. Not the old-time slavery - that is rare, although it exists in a few backwaters of the world. I'm talking about neo-slavery, which goes by the name of "human trafficking," and its reach is global. A lot of people throw the term around, but many don't understand it. Under federal law, at least one of three elements must exist to be considered "human trafficking": force, fraud, coercion. Without at least one of those, it may be exploitation or cruelty, but it is not "human trafficking" under U.S. law. These and other points were put on the table Saturday at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute during a film screening/panel hosted by state Sen. Daylin Leach, a Democrat representing parts of Montgomery and Delaware counties who is best known for having a sense of humor and a reliably liberal voting record.