WGVU Top Story
Rescue of trafficked teens highlights reality of growing problem
July 30, 2013 | WGVU "You know, you kind of get a sense that this is the tip of the iceberg. We're hoping these types of operations will be done on a more consistent basis on a more local level, looking online for exploitation, looking hotels, street level, where that's occurring."
with Wedgwood Christian Services’ Manasseh Project Shelter/Trauma Recovery
Center, commenting on the rescue that included 10 victims rescued in the metro
“One of the things that was frustrating for me in the news yesterday, was people talking about breaking up a prostitution ring. It's not a prostitution ring, it's a human trafficking ring, it's a crime against a person; a person not choosing to be involved in it.”
attitudes toward trafficking today to that of domestic violence 20-30 years ago
when the subject was barely acknowledged. Today, it’s a different story and while
Soper believes we’re still another 20 years away from viewing trafficking in the same light, attitudes
toward sex exploitation, in just one year, have changed.
"I do see progress. The state of Michigan is talking about Safe Harbor act to protect 16 and 17 year old boys and girls from being charged with prostitution so there is progress. What would be nice to have is legislation that's clear on what human trafficking is so there's no grey area,so we're going after pimps without having the victim relive everything they've gone through; building cases sensitive to the victim, putting the pimp away for a longer period of time."
Soper says a once-a-year headline-making operation is not
enough; more is needed on the local level. Conversations with law enforcement
agencies including FBI, Homeland Security, and local detectives, make prosecuting
“The effort for us is changing our lens so we can see victims appropriately, rather than looking past them."
prosecutors are savvy in the way they go after the perpetrators of sex
trafficking; the pimps.
“Prosecutors are very tenacious so they're not going to just go after the pimp for the one charge of human trafficking, they're going to go after them for a number of things.”
In certain cases,
if victims are afraid to testify,
prosecutors can charge the pimp with domestic violence with an intimate partner.
children are thought to be at risk of sexual exploitation in the US each year. In addition to the Manasseh Project Recovery Center, four additional shelters have opened
across the country.
Expert says Detroit bankruptcy plan feasible
Detroit MI October 22, 2014 | WGVU A financial expert appointed to advise Detroit's bankruptcy judge says the city's plan to return to solvency is feasible.
Government ups air bag warning to 7.8M vehicles
Detroit MI October 22, 2014 | WGVU The U.S. government is adding more than 3 million vehicles to a rare warning about faulty air bags that have the potential to kill or injure drivers or passengers in a crash.
Pure Michigan NASCAR race renewed for 3 years
Lansing MI October 22, 2014 | WGVU The Pure Michigan tourism campaign will sponsor a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race for three more years.
Snyder: Michigan hospitals ready for Ebola threat
Lansing MI October 22, 2014 | WGVU Gov. Rick Snyder says hospitals across Michigan say they're ready if needed to respond to patients with potential Ebola virus infection.
Program offers emergency preparedness education
LANSING, Mich. October 22, 2014 | AP Fifth-graders in Michigan are getting a chance to participate in a program designed to help them prepare for emergencies, including tornadoes, flooding and storms.
Michigan awards 2 projects with film incentives
LANSING, Mich. October 22, 2014 | AP The Michigan Film Office has approved a television series and digital media project to receive film incentives from the state.
Detroit barbecue joint to open in Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. October 22, 2014 | AP A popular Detroit barbecue restaurant has announced plans to open a location in Grand Rapids in the spring.
Attorney general announces propane suit settlement
LANSING, Mich. October 22, 2014 | AP Michigan's attorney general says his office has reached a more than $500,000 settlement with a propane supplier over high prices last winter.
Michigan warns of Serrano peppers with salmonella
LANSING, Mich. October 22, 2014 | AP Officials say some Serrano peppers distributed by Meijer stores in Michigan are potentially contaminated with salmonella.
Settlement to end odors from Detroit incinerator
Detroit MI October 21, 2014 | WGVU The state of Michigan says it's reached an agreement with two companies to end odors from a Detroit incinerator as part of a settlement that includes a $350,000 fine.
Wayne State law school plans to freeze tuition
Detroit MI October 21, 2014 | WGVU Wayne State University's Law School plans to freeze tuition next year and give a scholarship to every incoming student.
Central Michigan star back Rawls to be sentenced
Mount Pleasant, MI October 21, 2014 | WGVU One of college football's top running backs faces sentencing in a Michigan theft case.
Grand Rapids Community College plans buyouts
Grand Rapids MI October 21, 2014 | WGVU Grand Rapids Community College plans to offer buyouts to some faculty and staff as part of an effort that could save $5 million over the next decade.
Great Lakes water levels rise to above average
Port Huron, MI October 21, 2014 | WGVU The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit says water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron are above average this season for the first time since 1998.
Apple Pay option for West Michigan consumers
October 21, 2014 | WGVU This week's launch of Apple Pay gives consumers another way to pay. Will it change the way we shop?
Upper Midwest wolf population rises despite hunts
VIRGINA, Minn. October 21, 2014 | AP The gray wolf population has increased slightly in the Western Great Lakes District, which includes Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Michigan doctor sentenced in sexual assault
PETOSKEY, Mich. October 21, 2014 | AP A northern Michigan family care doctor who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a patient under the pretense of therapy has been sentenced to 38 months to 10 years in prison.
Health groups plan Michigan insurance events
EAST LANSING, Mich. October 21, 2014 | AP Health advocacy groups are partnering in Michigan to help uninsured residents sign up for health coverage.
Democrats slam Snyder over health care contract
LANSING, Mich. October 21, 2014 | AP The Michigan Democratic Party is accusing Gov. Rick Snyder's administration of extending a state contract without competitive bidding and increasing its worth a day after the company's executives held a fundraiser for his campaign.
Spectrum Health, Pennock enter merger talks
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. October 21, 2014 | AP Spectrum Health and Pennock Hospital in Barry County are entering into merger talks.
Michigan donors to super PAC include Land's dad
LANSING, Mich. October 21, 2014 | AP Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land's father was among Michigan residents who gave heavily last month to a conservative group that has spent at least $4 million on TV ads against Democrat Gary Peters.
Gov. Snyder signs law to ban Tesla direct sales
LANSING, Mich. October 21, 2014 | AP Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law tighter restrictions to prohibit electric car maker Tesla Motors from selling vehicles in Michigan.
Program pairs online and local shopping
October 20, 2014 | WGVU In Muskegon, the concept of ‘buy local’ is now online.
Invasive insect annoys some Michigan homeowners
St. Joseph, MI October 20, 2014 | WGVU An invasive insect capable of stripping fields and orchards is annoying homeowners in southwestern Michigan as well.
New sentence next for man in forced labor case
Detroit MI October 20, 2014 | WGVU A former tennis pro from Africa is returning to Detroit federal court after an appeals court threw out his conviction for forcing children into hard labor.
Detroit crews pour concrete for light rail
Detroit MI October 20, 2014 | WGVU Crews have started pouring concrete for Detroit's long-awaited commuter light rail project.
Chamber plans petition drive on Michigan roads
Lansing MI October 20, 2014 | WGVU The Michigan Chamber of Commerce plans to spearhead a petition drive to force lawmakers to pass a road funding plan or place the issue on the ballot for voters to decide.
Panel sheds light on Nixon pardon
October 20, 2014 | WGVU Forty years after Gerald R. Ford took his Presidential oath, a Grand Rapids panel discusses the pardon of Richard Nixon. That includes some lesser-known parts of the story.
US agency warns car owners to get air bags fixed
DETROIT October 20, 2014 | AP U.S. safety regulators are warning owners of more than 4.7 million vehicles that have been recalled for air bag problems to get them repaired immediately.
State aims to curb misuse of prescription drugs
LANSING, Mich. October 20, 2014 | AP The Michigan Department of Community Health has developed a website to increase public awareness of the risks and potential harm associated with misuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs
Man enters plea in shooting of hospital guard
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. October 20, 2014 | AP A man who authorities say shot and wounded a hospital security guard during a confrontation in a Grand Rapids parking structure has pleaded no contest to attempted murder and other charges.
Chamber plans petition drive on Michigan roads
LANSING, Mich. October 20, 2014 | AP The Michigan Chamber of Commerce plans a petition drive to force lawmakers to pass a road funding plan or place the issue on the ballot for voters to decide.
Petition drive to limit hospital charges gets OK
LANSING, Mich. October 20, 2014 | AP Michigan has given the go-ahead for a petition drive that would limit how much hospitals can charge uninsured and underinsured patients and auto accident victims.
Report: Lack of autism specialists creating long wait times for children
October 20, 2014 | MPRN A new report says Michigan needs more autism specialists to help diagnose and treat children with the disorder. Advocates say some kids are waiting up to two years to get help.
Open house seeks Grand Rapids feedback
October 17, 2014 | WGVU The city of Grand Rapids wants to know what “downtown” means to you.
Michigan officials hosting summit about heroin
East Lansing MI October 17, 2014 | WGVU Michigan officials are hosting a gathering next week aimed at helping stem the use of heroin and other illegal drugs in the state.
Logos stolen off Consumers Energy truck in Flint
Flint MI October 17, 2014 | WGVU A Michigan utility is reminding people to ask for a company-issued photo ID from workers after logos were stolen off a vehicle in Flint.
More small businesses eligible for flooding help
Detroit MI October 17, 2014 | WGVU Small businesses in more Michigan counties are eligible for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration following flooding in August.
Muskegon County opens juvenile transition center
Muskegon MI October 17, 2014 | WGVU Muskegon County has opened a $6 million juvenile transition center for housing and treating young offenders.
Michigan funeral home provides drive-thru option
Saginaw MI October 17, 2014 | WGVU Only a couple of families have taken advantage of a new service available at a Saginaw funeral home.
Habitat project benefits local veterans
October 17, 2014 | WGVU Volunteers across Kent County helped repair, renovate - and in one case build - six homes belonging to local veterans and their families.
Michigan teen sues after Amtrak bars travel
CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. October 17, 2014 | AP A Grand Rapids-area teenager with a nut allergy is suing Amtrak, saying his rights were violated when he was barred from riding the train without an adult.
Strong harvest brings in 60M pounds of potatoes
ALBA, Mich. October 17, 2014 | AP A strong harvest has been reported by a top Michigan potato grower.
Snyder approves “right-to-try” law
October 17, 2014 | MPRN Governor Rick Snyder has signed a bill to allow terminally patients to try experimental therapies when other options have failed.
'BRA Day' encourages mastectomy knowledge
October 16, 2014 | WGVU A newer initiative promoting mastectomy awareness is among October breast cancer advocacy efforts.
5,700 sturgeon released into Michigan waterways
Lansing MI October 16, 2014 | WGVU State biologists and private groups released more than 5,700 lake sturgeon into public waters across Michigan this summer and fall.
Government distributes millions in flooding aid
Detroit MI October 16, 2014 | WGVU The federal government says more than $63 million already is in the hands of southeastern Michigan residents for repairs following August flooding.
Officials encourage flu vaccinations in Michigan
Okemos, MI October 16, 2014 | WGVU Health officials are encouraging Michigan residents to get flu vaccinations.
Grand Valley State facing Title IX investigation
ALLENDALE, Mich. October 16, 2014 | WGVU The U.S. Department of Education says Grand Valley State University is being investigated for its handling of sexual abuse complaints.
Wyoming GM added to 'landfill-free' list
October 16, 2014 | WGVU General Motors added 11 sites to its list of 122 that operate as “landfill-free” facilities. That list includes GM’s Wyoming plant.
U.S. Rep. Upton recommends U.S. travel ban limiting spread of Ebola
October 16, 2014 | WGVU The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing Thursday focusing on preventing the spread of Ebola in the United States. U.S. Representative Fred Upton from Saint Joseph chairs the committee. WGVU spoke with the Congressman about what he believes the nation needs to do to stop the Ebola outbreak.
Hillary Clinton to aid Dems in key Michigan county
LANSING, Mich. October 16, 2014 | AP Michigan Democrats hope to make the most of Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit by dispatching her to a bellwether county to keep an open Senate seat and upend the state's Republican governor.
Gov. Snyder signs anti-human trafficking laws
TROY, Mich. October 16, 2014 | AP Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation aiming to crack down on human trafficking and help its victims.
Ex-lawmaker plans petition to limit hospital bills
LANSING, Mich. October 16, 2014 | AP A former Michigan lawmaker is spearheading a petition drive to limit how much hospitals can charge uninsured and underinsured patients and those injured in car accidents.
Woman charged in death of daughter's dad
MUSKEGON, Mich. October 16, 2014 | AP A woman is accused of killing a man in Muskegon in western Michigan, the third fatal stabbing in the area this week.
Man charged in death of West Michigan motorcyclist
ALLEGAN, Mich. October 16, 2014 | AP A man has been charged with causing the death of a western Michigan motorcyclist who was struck and killed on an Allegan County roadway.