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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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WGVU Top Story

Rescue of trafficked teens highlights reality of growing problem


Caroline MacGregor
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."

Andy Soper with Wedgwood Christian Services’ Manasseh Project Shelter/Trauma Recovery Center, commenting on the rescue that included 10 victims rescued in the metro Detroit area.

“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.”

He compares 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 pimps easier.

“The effort for us is changing our lens so we can see victims appropriately, rather than looking past them."

Soper says 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.

About 240-thousand 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.

More WGVU News
Today
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Ypsilanti MI  January 28, 2015  |  WGVU  The men's basketball team at Eastern Michigan University has honored two students who were killed in a car accident over the weekend.    
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Community meetings to give updates on Detroit rail project
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GRPD now accepting applications for Explorer Program
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RV maker, automaker plan expansion projects in Michigan
LANSING, Mich.   January 28, 2015  |  AP  Officials say recreational vehicle maker Forest River Manufacturing and automaker Toyota are planning Michigan expansions.   
Report shows House committees were top direct donors in 2014
LANSING, Mich.  January 28, 2015  |  AP  A new analysis says campaign committees for Democrats and Republicans in the Michigan House of Representatives were the biggest direct donors in state-level elections in 2014.   

Yesterday
Eastern Michigan teams plan tributes to basketball player
Ypsilanti MI  January 27, 2015  |  WGVU  The athletic department at Eastern Michigan University has planned tributes for a women's basketball player killed in a car crash over the weekend.    
Ex-Detroit emergency manager Orr to speak at econ club event
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Michigan township officials gather for annual conference
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Police increase patrols at Kalamazoo College after robberies
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Michigan State Police seek OK to use aerial drone statewide
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Grand Rapids among top global growth economies
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70th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation remembered by child survivor
  January 27, 2015  |  WGVU  Tuesday marks the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. It was January 27, 1945 when Russian troops entered the Nazi death camp. Tova Friedman, one of the few Auschwitz child survivors was there. Earlier this month she visited Grand Rapids and spoke with WGVU.   
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GRPD body cams to start in March
  January 27, 2015  |  WGVU  A pilot program for Grand Rapids Police Department body cameras is in the works.   
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Education bills a top early focus for Senate Republicans
LANSING, Mich.   January 27, 2015  |  AP  Republicans who control Michigan's Senate plan to make education legislation a top priority early this year.   
Michigan Democrats say they're holding off on Iran sanctions
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Monday
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Campground fees rise this year at Michigan state parks
Lansing MI  January 26, 2015  |  WGVU  Fees at state-operated campgrounds in Michigan are going up this year to cover higher costs and pay for maintenance projects.    
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Muskegon Heights MI  January 26, 2015  |  WGVU  The Michigan Department of Corrections says two inmates were stabbed on the same day in what appear to be unrelated attacks.    
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Dearborn, MI  January 26, 2015  |  WGVU  AAA Michigan reports statewide gas prices have increased by about 3 cents a gallon within the past week.    
Grand Rapids Cancels Flights To East Coast
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'Beer City' brews malt house start-up
  January 26, 2015  |  WGVU  If you live or play near Beer City, you probably know where to find your favorite pint. The question of how it gets there led to a business model for one local entrepreneur.   
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Michigan, China to work together on fisheries, aquaculture
LANSING, Mich.  January 26, 2015  |  AP  Officials from Michigan and China plan to work together on developing advancements in fisheries and aquaculture.   
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State Senate panel to take up animal abuse bills Tuesday
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Snyder lays out civil rights plans at commission meeting (
  January 26, 2015  |  MPRN  Governor Rick Snyder addressed the Michigan Civil Rights Commission today    
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Friday
Kalamazoo students defend district amid textbook criticism
Kalamazoo MI  January 23, 2015  |  WGVU  Several Kalamazoo students turned out at a school board meeting to dispute allegations by a man who held a hunger strike to highlight what he believes is a problem with the district's textbook policies.    
3 contestants win annual Pure Michigan Hunt contest
Lansing MI  January 23, 2015  |  WGVU  Three contestants have been named winners of the sixth annual Pure Michigan Hunt and will receive a number of licenses and more than $4,000 worth of gear.    
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Detroit, MI  January 23, 2015  |  WGVU  Police in Windsor, Ontario, say two Michigan men accused of bringing illegal weapons into Canada from Detroit didn't pose a national security threat.    
Boy who brought loaded gun to Michigan school gets probation
Traverse City MI  January 23, 2015  |  WGVU  An 11-year-old boy who brought a loaded gun to his northern Michigan school has been placed on probation for two years.    
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625-pound man sentenced to prison in fake bomb threat case
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Health officials confirm first Michigan measles case in 2015
LANSING, Mich.  January 23, 2015  |  AP  State health officials have confirmed the first reported case of measles in Michigan this year and say it may be associated with a recent outbreak at California's Disneyland theme park.   
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Thursday
Gov. Rick Snyder issues flag order to honor former lawmaker
Lansing MI  January 22, 2015  |  WGVU   Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has ordered U.S. flags displayed at all state buildings to be lowered to half-staff in honor of a former lawmaker who recently died.    
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Bloomfield Twp., MI  January 22, 2015  |  WGVU  A lawyer known for personal-injury lawsuits is taking on a utility over the destruction of trees in Oakland County.    
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Detroit, MI  January 22, 2015  |  WGVU  Authorities in Windsor, Ontario, have charged a Michigan man and a teenager with possessing illegal weapons in an incident that closed a busy tunnel between Detroit and Canada for three hours.    
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Covert Twp MI  January 22, 2015  |  WGVU  Federal regulators say the work environment has improved at Palisades Nuclear Plant in southwestern Michigan following concerns that drew attention last year.    
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  January 22, 2015  |  WGVU  A national pest control company says West Michigan saw a comparative double-digit jump in bedbug infestations last year.   
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Dems react as Dillon not named to key committee
  January 22, 2015  |  AP  State Democrats react after Republican leadership neglects to name the West Michigan lawmaker of their choice to a key state committee.    
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Religious freedom bill introduced again in new Legislature
  January 22, 2015  |  MPRN  Republican state lawmakers have reintroduced a bill to protect religious practices from government interference.    
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