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Reports of Human Trafficking in Maryland on the Rise: Governor

The Governor's Conference on Human Trafficking brought modern-day slavery to the forefront.

Governor Martin O'Malley opened the 2014 Governor's Conference on Human Trafficking on May 19, 2014.(Credit: Elizabeth Janney)
Governor Martin O'Malley opened the 2014 Governor's Conference on Human Trafficking on May 19, 2014.(Credit: Elizabeth Janney)

Cases of reported human trafficking are on the increase in Maryland, where Gov. Martin O'Malley said hundreds are working tirelessly as "modern abolitionists" to free victims of sexual slavery.

From FBI agents to social service providers, nearly 500 people attended the Governor's Conference on Human Trafficking Monday at CCBC to collaborate in the battle against human trafficking—a crime involving force, fraud or coercion to get another person to perform commercial sex acts.

"Together, we fight to protect the human rights of those confined, oppressed and exploited," O'Malley said. "They've been victimized, they've been locked into a very narrow and cruel space, and our job as modern abolitionists is to free them from that slavery."

Agencies around the state have succeeded in that task by working together, he said, highlighting a recent case as an example.

Bennie Veasey, a 32-year-old from Cleveland, was convicted in fall 2013 of human trafficking in Baltimore County.

Police found Veasey after an April 2013 sting in a Towson hotel where a 19-year-old prostitute was picked up, according to WBAL.

Veasey forced the teen into prostitution so he could pay his legal fees for a rape charge in Ohio, Patch previously reported.

The Baltimore County state's attorney's office prosecuted the case, resulting in a 20-year sentence. Victim advocate agency TurnAround helped secure services for the 19-year-old as she returned home, O'Malley said.

Since the 2013 conference on human trafficking—this was the third year for the event—O'Malley said the local FBI child exploitation task force recovered 22 juvenile survivors of human trafficking and dismantled eight sex trafficking organizations.

Reports of trafficking in Maryland increased from previous years, O'Malley said.

In 2014 alone, Maryland State Police officers have identified more than 50 survivors of human trafficking, he said:
  • 27 in Anne Arundel County
  • 13 in Baltimore County
  • 10 in Howard County
  • 3 in Washington County
  • 1 in Frederick County
  • 1 in Prince George's County
Also in 2014, five traffickers were identified, four of whom were arrested, according to the governor. In addition, the Department of Juvenile Services identified 57 youth victims of human trafficking at two facilities, O'Malley reported.

In 2013, Maryland had the eighth highest number of calls about human trafficking to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, according to O'Malley.

The center received 707 calls, 31 online tips and 24 emails about trafficking in Maryland last year, according to O'Malley. One third of the phone calls were related to labor trafficking, an issue that he said the state will focus on in the coming months.

This is the first in a series of articles based on the Governor's Conference on Human Trafficking. Stay tuned for coverage on prevention, trends and recent trafficking cases in Maryland.
Walt May 21, 2014 at 07:00 AM
Legalize rape and rape will disappear overnight. Interesting, no stats for Baltimore City reported. And such a wonderful, crime free, place it has become. Lets just legalize everything and the world will be perfect.
Gwen Washington May 21, 2014 at 09:10 AM
Trafficking is a horrific crime against children. Some of these children will never be found. They are taken to other sates and prostituted at truck stops, strip clubs, etc. These are children and as far as I'm concerned, all involved are pedophiles!
You May 21, 2014 at 09:33 AM
In December, I twice saw the same M.O. in front of the Green Turtle at White Marsh Mall just prior to the mall closing.... As I was waiting for my wife in my car in the "waiting zone". I saw an 1990's mini van pull up with North Carolina tags (fully tinted windows). A guy in a very expensive, new Mercedes Benz with New Jersey tags was parked at the front of the "waiting zone"; a Middle Eastern looking guy got out of the mini van's passenger seat and quickly ran down to the Mercedes Benz and talked to the guy. The guy in the Mercedes got out (he was well dressed brown skinned man). They both walked up to the mini van and the side door was pulled open by the Middle Eastern guy. Two Asian girls (in their 20's) dressed with warm weather type clothes (in the middle of the winter) got out and put their heads down and were quickly led to the Mercedes Benz and got in the backseat. The Mercedes instantly pulled off and the mini van went the other way. I right off the bat thought this looked like trafficking and it probably was. Exactly a week after that, on another Friday night I was in the same spot waiting for my wife again... and the same exact M.O. happened again. This time it was a beat up mini van with Virginia tags with two Middle Eastern looking guys and they did exactly the same thing. This time it looked like two Hispanic girls. Two older, white guys took the girls into their really nice SUV and drove off fast.
MG42 May 21, 2014 at 11:51 AM
Legalize it, and there will be plenty of voluntary participants, so no one will need to kidnap anyone. It's not a difficult concept.
James Freeman May 21, 2014 at 11:44 PM
Pfui. I own my home without a mortgage. But my property taxes are sky high. I have no kids in public schools. I am 64. I drive less than 10,000 miles per year. I am being taxed out of my home. It seems to me that I am a slave of Gov MOM's government. Human trafficking? Martin is knee deep into it.

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