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.
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?
July 22, 2015 |
A woman was forced to dance at a Philadelphia strip club and then held captive in a Voorhees apartment last week before she fled and sought refuge in a bank, authorities said Monday. Three Voorhees residents were charged in the incident involving the 20-year-old Texas woman, who was not identified. Michael D. "Daddy" Watts, 43, was charged with human trafficking and criminal sexual contact. Watts lured the woman to Philadelphia by promising her a modeling job, authorities said. Watts allegedly paid for airfare and picked her up from the airport on July 13. Watts then took the woman to his apartment and said she belonged to him, authorities said.
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 7, 2015 |
To hinder seedy activity at Philadelphia hotels, a city councilman has proposed banning establishments from renting rooms by the hour. Legislation introduced by Councilman Ed Neilson on Thursday would also require employees at all Philadelphia hotels to be trained to recognize signs of human trafficking. "You're looking to deter it. They'll always look for another route to go," Neilson said. "We want to make it as difficult as possible to allow this to go on. " Human trafficking is a growing problem worldwide, and Philadelphia is not immune, said Diana Marques, public policy and advocacy manager for Women's Way, a Philadelphia nonprofit that works to empower young women and girls.
January 3, 2016
A bill introduced in January by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson that would have provided a tax credit to low-income families with children enrolled in a qualified early- childhood education program. A bill introduced in October by Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. in response to the Market Street Salvation Army building collapse that would have compelled architects and others to report dangerous conditions on construction and demolition sites. A bill introduced in June by Councilman David Oh that would have required bicyclists to ride in designated bike lanes and increased penalties for vehicles blocking bike lanes.
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 21, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania lawmakers are trying to put more regulations on an industry that typically is in the business of taking it all off. Under a new bill that supporters say will aid in the prevention of sex trafficking, strip clubs and other adult-oriented establishments statewide would be required to register all employees. The proposed law also would bar liquor sales in the clubs and would prohibit employees from being nude within six feet of customers; they would be required to be on a stage at least two feet off the floor.
October 27, 2013 |
TRENTON When New Jersey hosts the Super Bowl in February, the football championship won't be so super for one group of people - victims of human trafficking. That's why about 200 people who work with victims gathered in Trenton on Friday to talk about how to prevent trafficking and identify and help victims. Human trafficking is gaining attention in Pennsylvania, as well. Also on Friday, U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D., Pa.), sent a letter to the chairman of a Senate committee that is considering a bill to assist the fight against human trafficking.