Tuesday, November 9, 2010

All Sound And Fury, Signifying Nothing

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and its amnesty seeking leader John Morton are all buzz about ICE's arrest of 29 Somali white slavers:

The Somali gang members, with nicknames like "Fatboy," "Forehead" and "Pinky," passed the girls around like chattel for sex with other gang members or with paying customers. One girl they sold for liquor. Another they pimped for a blunt. Sometimes, they picked the girls up from school, to have sex in apartments or abandoned garages or even in a restroom stall in a suburban shopping mall.

Twenty-nine people, mostly from the Twin Cities, are accused of running an interstate human trafficking ring that sold Somali girls -- one as young as 12 -- into prostitution. In a federal indictment made public in Nashville on Monday, officials accused gang members of running a decade-long prostitution business that included credit card fraud and burglary totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their alleged crimes crossed state lines, as investigators say girls were driven from the Twin Cities to Nashville and Columbus, Ohio. Another victim was allegedly sexually assaulted in Seattle.

Local investigators say that several of those charged with trafficking are longtime leaders of the Somali Outlaws and Somali Mafia gangs; the Outlaws are considered the largest Somali street gang in the state. One source familiar with the investigation hinted that the human trafficking investigation is just the tip of a much deeper criminal enterprise that goes beyond the United States.

"Human traffickers abuse innocent people, undermine our public safety, and often use their illicit proceeds to fund sophisticated criminal organizations," said John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which participated in the arrests.

"ICE is committed to bringing these criminals to justice and rescuing their victims from a life in the shadows. We will continue to fight the battle to end human trafficking both here in the United States and around the globe."

Local sources say that although the gang members have been indicted on prostitution charges, the Outlaws and Mafia make the majority of their money through credit card and insurance fraud and burglary of telephone cards. They have been involved in violence, including the killing of a man in Hopkins, the sources say.

These Somali gangs are also different from typical gangs because they don't "own" a territory and are very mobile, the sources said. They float between Minneapolis, the suburbs, St. Cloud and Rochester. It's not surprising, the sources said, that the Outlaws and Mafia traveled to other cities to commit crimes, because they have relatives to live with and blend into the community.

The gangs are well-organized, but they are hard to track because they move frequently among law enforcement jurisdictions, and sharing information about them becomes more difficult for authorities, the sources said. They are also hard to document because members don't have gang tattoos or display signs or symbols, the sources said.

On Monday, investigators with ICE, the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service and several local police departments arrested at least 25 of the 29 people indicted. A dozen suspects from the Twin Cities made their first appearance in federal court Monday afternoon in Minneapolis. Another nine were arrested in Tennessee, officials said. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis said at least three suspects remain at large.
St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith credited Somali parents and elders with coming to police investigators in 2007 with concerns about young girls and gang activity.

Those concerns sparked an investigation by members of the Gerald Vick Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes officers from a number of local and federal agencies, including the St. Paul Police Department and ICE.

The case came to light about 18 months ago when one of the victims was found by police in the Nashville area. She is one of four sex trafficking victims whose situations were detailed in the indictment made public Monday. At the time the girls were first prostituted, one was 12 years old, one was 13 and two others were younger than 18.

The indictment provides little detail regarding how they were recruited or coerced, other than to say that one was "enticed" into having sex with gang members before she was turned over to paying customers.

Another, who had an argument with her mother and left home, approached one of the women who was indicted -- Hamdi Ali Osman, or "Big Hamdi" or "Boss Lady" -- for help. Osman allegedly told the girl that she would support her with housing and food in exchange for her having sex with customers.

Smith likened the victims' time with the gangs as "indentured servitude," and said fear, intimidation, threats and acts of violence against them and their families likely kept them from speaking out sooner.

Michael Feinberg, special agent in charge of ICE's local office, said the biggest obstacle to busting human trafficking is persuading victims to come forward. Many are convinced that they will be punished or deported, he said. "We are trying to take a victim-centered approach," he said. The sex trafficking offenses carry a penalty of not less than 15 years to life in prison.

But what John Morton did not tell you, nor did the intrepid reporters inquire about, is that none of these Somalis will ever be deported. No Somali has been deported to Somalia since a judge in 2003 ruled that such deportations cannot proceed.
The U.S. District Court ordered the Immigration and Naturalization Service yesterday to temporarily halt all deportations to Somalia until a local court case is resolved.

Attention stemming from a Seattle case involving five Somali men prompted their attorneys earlier this week to file an emergency motion in district court to halt deportations of all Somalis -- about 35 pending cases nationwide.

The attorneys argue the United States United States has no diplomatic relations with Somalia and therefore cannot meet federal deportation statutes.

"Somalia has no functioning government," said attorney Karol Brown, from the Perkins Coie Perkins law firm representing the Somalis. "According to INS has to get the acceptance of the government before deporting someone. There's no government to accept them."

Government attorneys had no comment on the case, but an INS Seattle district office spokesman said the INS doesn't have to seek permission to return the men because Somalia doesn't require travel documents for entry.
Furthermore Somalia is now on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and deportations there have been consequently prohibited by the Obama Regime.
The status requires that the individual already be in the United States, and the individual must apply for consideration under TPS. Currently, TPS is given to citizens of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, and Sudan.
So, there we have it, ICE acting as if it is enforcing the law, but the perpetrators will remain here for the forseeable future. Thank John Morton for nothing.

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