Natalie Taken and Rescued
Natalie , the victim, a blonde haired, blue-eyed, 5' 8' American girl and college student, was abducted on the sidewalk in front of restaurants row following an evening out with friends. She was immediately shoved into a Jaguar, beaten, then gang raped and locked in a room in a house with little or no food for three weeks. This house was in a gated community.
Her captors then showed her photos of her little brother and her parents on their daily routines and threatened to kill them if she didn’t comply with their wishes and keep her mouth shut. She realized yelling and screaming for help would be to no avail. No one was coming to rescue her. Her captors now knew that she did not need to be locked up in the room nor chained. She had already been chained by ”FEAR” i.e. post traumatic syndrome. She was then forced to be an escort and/or provide sexual favors and was trafficked from state to state from event to event. Five hours with Natalie could be bought for $1,000 to $12,000. She could be sold three times a day and throughout the night. The captors kept a sales ledger of the names of all the “customers” that purchased her as a commodity.
“Natalie” was informed that she was going to be sold to a Japanese businessman in Tokyo, Japan for $ 2.2 million U.S dollars and that she would not be returning to the U.S. On the way to the airport, “Natalie”, another victim, and the captor –a woman—stopped at a diner for something to eat. “Natalie” knew this may be her last chance for survival and wrote on a napkin “Help! call Mom” with her cell-phone number. She carefully slipped it across the table without her controller knowing who was watching the 2 girls from another table; the waitress picked it up and called the number.
Within 20 minutes, the place was surrounded with police and federal law enforcement agents. “Natalie” and the other girl were rescued. After the girls informed the police where they were held, the agents rescued 22 American and foreign girls who were also held against their will. They were being forced into the sex trade or what we commonly know as “The Escort Service” for the profit of their captors (traffickers). Although this seems like one of the good stories, unfortunately, the trafficker (pimp) got away and is still at large today. After five years, this case is still open.
Susan was not so lucky
“Susan”, a young American girl, of South Korean descent, was taken at the age of 14 years from Washington DC and was trafficked to Chicago and New York. She is now 22 years old. She suffers not only from significant emotional scars, but also from the physical abuse. Her left arm has permanently lost its full range of motion so that she can only lift it up about 8 inches from her side. In her situation, the trafficker manipulated,and coerced her to believe she was his girlfriend. Gang rapes were frequent. Her “FEAR” became her other captor. She has been freed now for over 5 years and continues to be affected by her haunting memories. She still requires psychological and medical assistance including ongoing treatment for a broken hip due to multiple beatings, forced abortions, multiple gang rapes, prostitution, and contraction of sexually transmitted diseases. She was held captive right within the U. S. until she was 19 years old when law enforcement agents finally rescued her.
One of the most shocking and disturbing aspects about human/sex trafficking is that the abundance of users/buyers of the services are from all ages and socioeconomic levels, as evidenced by the ICE arrests described below.
Similar to drug cases, cracking down on the users/buyers brings awareness to the general public and at least creates a disincentive for the suppliers/sellers. Nevertheless, it is the suppliers who must be stopped from kidnapping and enslaving innocent women and children and putting the products and services on the street.
In March 2003, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was established as the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). I
In what is believed to be the largest Internet child pornography investigation to date and the first time the U.S. government has targeted the financial side of Internet child pornography, ICE agents arrested 237 individuals in the United States and provided information to foreign law enforcement that resulted in more than 1,000 arrests abroad. The arrests in Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are part of an ongoing probe into Repay, an Internet billing company in Minsk, Belarus. The following excerpt describes how the offenders are seemingly a regular part of society:
John W. Seljan, 85 / Philippines: In Oct. 2003, John W. Seljan, 85, was arrested in Los Angeles as he attempted to board a flight to the Philippines, where he allegedly intended to have sex with two Filipino girls ages 9 and 12. At the time of his arrest, Seljan was found to have pornographic materials, sexual aids, and nearly 100 pounds of chocolates in his luggage, as well as currency. The ICE probe began in Aug. 2003 after border inspectors intercepted correspondence to the Filipino girls indicating that he planned to have sex with the girls there. On March 28, 2005, John W. Seljan was sentenced to 20 years in prison for six counts related to child sex tourism. In addition, Seljan will be required to register as a sex offender and must remain under court supervision for the rest of his life.
Richard Arthur Schmidt, 61 / Philippines/Cambodia: on Feb. 20, 2004, Schmidt arrived at Dulles International Airport accompanied by ICE agents on a flight from Asia. He has been charged in a 10-count federal indictment in Baltimore with multiple violations of the PROTECT Act involving the molestation of minor boys in the Philippines and Cambodia. Schmidt had previously been convicted of child sex crimes in Maryland three times. In 2000, he was released on parole in Maryland after serving 13 years of an 18-year sentence. In Dec. 2003, ICE agents in Bangkok learned that Schmidt had been subsequently arrested in the Philippines and Cambodia for sexually molesting young boys. Schmidt had been released when first charged in Cambodia with molesting two boys, but was arrested again only days later after it was determined he had molested another Cambodian boy. Schmidt was expelled from Cambodia into U.S. custody. Schmidt pleaded guilty on July 8, 2004. On May 25, 2005, Schmidt was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by supervised release for life in connection with his guilty plea.
Gregory Kapordelis, 43 / Russia: In April 2004, ICE agents arrested Kapordelis at JFK Airport in New York upon his arrival from Russia. Kapordelis, the chief of Anesthesiology at a medical facility in Georgia and a physician at summer camps in the area, was arrested on a criminal complaint alleging that he traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, several times to engage in sex with several juveniles. Some of the juveniles were as young as 12. In some cases, Kapordelis is alleged to have drugged the children prior to sodomizing them. This was a joint investigation by ICE Attaché Moscow, ICE SAC New York, St. Petersburg, Russia police, and INTERPOL. Kapordelis has been on house arrest since June 2004, after violating bond.
Timothy Ronald Obert, 36 / Costa Rica: On June 23, 2004, ICE agents arrested Obert at his residence in Santa Cruz, CA. Obert is alleged to have engaged in sexual relations with a minor in Costa Rica while serving there as a Peace Corps volunteer and to have provided the minor with money, drugs, and alcohol in connection with the sex acts. Obert’s resume shows that he had repeatedly sought and obtained positions working with underprivileged children, having worked in Nicaragua and Honduras in addition to Costa Rica.
Sebastian Sarraute, 30 / U.S. & Mexico: On Sept. 22, 2005, ICE agents arrested Sarraute at the Tucson, AZ, airport as he arrived in the U.S. from France. The arrest is the culmination of a yearlong investigation by ICE. Agents say Sarraute, a French national, believed he was coming to Tucson to finalize plans to travel to Mexico to have sex with girls who ranged in age from 10 to 14 years old.
This is just a representative sample of those arrested through the Internet searches. There are all kinds of other users who visit brothels, hire escorts for parties and engage in other kinds of illegal activities.