Human Trafficking Continues to be a Problem11-Oct-2013
This summer, the FBI and federal, state, and local law enforcement agents in 76 cities across the United States conducted a nationwide sweep focused on rescuing underage victims from human sex trafficking. The three day sweep, dubbed Operation Cross Country 7, led to multiple arrests, and according to the FBI, the rescue of 105 child victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The youngest victims was only 9 years old, and another victim told police she had been engaging in prostitution since she was only 11 years old.
In Oklahoma City, three teens were rescued from human trafficking, including a 16 year old girl and two 17 year old girls. However, while nationwide law enforcement actions such as those set forth by the FBI's Innocence Lost National Initiative and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children only scratch the surface of the problem of trafficking in children and child sexual exploitation.
Only days after the announcement of the Operation Cross Country 7 arrests and rescues, an Oklahoma City couple was arrested on human trafficking complaints in Tulsa. Ronald Spivey, 47, and Kimberly Haven, 25, were arrested after responding to a Craigslist ad placed by an undercover police officer posing as a 17-year-old girl. The officer received a text message offering to take the "girl" to Florida or Las Vegas to "make some money." The officer arranged a meeting, and the pair was arrested. Haven allegedly admitted she was recruiting girls for prostitution.
Other recent human trafficking arrests in Oklahoma include the following:
- May 2013 - A 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl were arrested after allegedly facilitating prostitution when a 16-year-old girl offered to engage in sex with an undercover vice officer in Oklahoma City.
- July 2013 - An 18-year-old Oklahoma City woman was arrested for offering to engage in prostitution and human trafficking after allegedly setting up a meeting with an undercover officer who contacted the woman through a website known for facilitating prostitution. When the woman arrived at the meeting, she also brought with her a 16-year-old girl and told the officer he could have sex with the younger girl for $460.
- September 2013 - A prostitution sting conducted by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs netted 42 prostitution arrests in Tulsa, Rogers, Ottawa and Delaware counties. Among those taken into custody was a 15-year-old girl.
- October 2013 - A 17-year-old girl was arrested for engaging in prostitution after soliciting an undercover officer at an area motel, and 32-year-old Quwan Harrison was subsequently arrested on human trafficking complaints on suspicion of facilitating underage prostitution.
Although Oklahoma's age of consent--the age at which a person can legally consent to sexual activity--is 16, both state and federal law prohibit minors under the age of 18 from engaging in commercial sex acts, including prostitution, pornography, and exotic dancing. Any person under the age of 18 found to be engaging in prostitution is automatically considered to be a victim of human trafficking.
Click here to find out more about state and federal sex crimes or to find an Oklahoma defense attorney prepared to handle your case.
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