Judge Gives $600,000 in Traffickers’ Assets to Victims

La Costenita

Last week, U.S. district judge Lynn Hughes set an important legal precedent in the fight against human trafficking in the U.S. He ruled that five teenaged survivors of sex slavery in Houston will receive the entire proceeds from the sale of their traffickers’ property. As U.S. prosecutors have until now been mostly unsuccessful in getting traffickers’ assets seized, this […]

The Hunger Games, Hollywood and Fighting Fuck Toys

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The Hunger Games should serve as a wake-up call to Hollywood that women action-hero movies can be successful if the protagonist is portrayed as a complex subject–instead of a hyper-sexualized fighting fuck toy (FFT). In its first weekend, The Hunger Games grossed $155 million, making it the third highest opener of all time (behind the last Harry Potter film and The Dark […]

A Mixed Victory in the Texas Cheerleader Rape Case

Texas Cheerleader

The Texas cheerleader who sued her high school for forcing her to cheer for her rapist will not have to pay the school’s entire $35,000 in legal fees, according to a decision yesterday from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  This decision overturns a lower court ruling that deemed the case “frivolous” and required […]

A Recession for White Americans, A Depression for Black and Latino Americans

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A new study from the Pew Research Center reports staggering gaps in median wealth–a person’s accumulated assets minus her debt–between whites ($113,149), blacks ($5,677) and Latinos ($6,325). That’s a 20-to-1 white-to-black ratio of wealth and a 18-to-1 white-to-Latino ratio. Essentially, all of the economic gains made by people of color since the Civil Rights Movement […]

Anti-Trafficking Enforcement in U.S. is an Abysmal Failure

Slavery World Map (Courtesy of CNN)

It’s been over a decade since the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) was passed into law, and a new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveals that astonishingly little has been done since. The TVPA defines a human trafficking victim as A person induced to perform labor or a commercial […]

A Cheerleader’s Rape in Silsbee, Texas: The Victim on Trial

Hillaire in the Bayou

I traveled to Silsbee, Texas five times in the past six months, with conservative blogger Brandon Darby, to investigate why, despite the volume of evidence, a grand jury did not indict two football players accused of raping a high school cheerleader (who was later kicked off the squad for refusing to cheer for one of […]

A Cheerleader’s Rape in a Small Texas Town

Hillaire with Flower

Maybe it’s the cheer that makes this one rape among hundreds of thousands that occur in the U.S. each year so resonant. As Rakheem Bolton came to the free throw line during a February 2009 basketball game, the Silsbee High cheerleading squad had a rhyme at the ready: two, four, six, eight, ten, come on Rakheem, put it in. Four months earlier, cheerleader Hillaire S. had alleged that Bolton had raped her at a house party. And now she was being asked to gleefully urge him to “put it in.”

Newsflash: Cheerleader Denied Justice (Again)

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In a Texas case I wrote about on the Ms. Blog in October, Hillaire S. was 16-years-old in October 2008 when she was taken into a dark room at a house party by four high school athletes, one of whom raped her while another held her down. When three students in the hall heard Hillaire’s […]

When the Missing are Prostitutes, Police Let Trails Go Cold

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“In my experience working with trafficking victims for the past eight years, the fact that these women are prostitutes has everything to do with the delayed response and their ability to even get help.”

Long Island Murders: Sex Trafficking Ring Involved?

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