Over the years I've occasionally blogged, or talked about during interviews, the curious cases that have emerged from time to time about child sex rings and human trafficking- slavery - rings. we've seen a variety of seemingly disconnected stories in this regard, beginning with the infamous Franklin scandal from the late 1980s and early 1990s, how that scandal went all the way into the very highest echelons of politics, to the Saville scandal in the United Kingdom, a scandal implicating the government of the late Edward Heath, and more recently the Pennsylvania State scandal. Along the way, there were other lesser-known incidents, the Finders' group, researched by former and now late FBI special agent Ted Gunderson, and so on. And of course, percolating and swirling in the background were numerous stories about child sex abuse and pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church, and occasionally, other churches.
I've occasionally indicated that I believe these incidents are really the isolated tips of an iceberg that in fact is one connected entity beneath the surface, and that this activity is possibly connected to other types of equally execrable activities as well. But there so far seems to have been little in the public domain to confirm these suspicions.
But this story was sent by Mr. T.M., and I suspect it has some hidden implications, which we'll explore in a moment in our high octane speculation of the day. For the moment, however, here is the story:
One gets a measure of the extent of the organization behind such activity, and of the truly tragic and execrable treatment of the victims swept up into it, with these paragraphs from the beginning of the article:
About a dozen people were arrested in cities across the U.S. on Tuesday for running what authorities called a sophisticated sex trafficking operation in which hundreds of women were brought from Thailand to America under fraudulent visas and forced to work as prostitutes to pay off tens of thousands of dollars in bondage debts.
The women — including one who was forced to have sex with strangers for 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week— were not allowed to move about freely and were "effectively modern day sex slaves," according to a redacted indictment unsealed Tuesday.
The arrests, along with the recent arrest of the organization's boss in Belgium, will effectively dismantle the operation, said Alex Khu, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Minneapolis.
"We feel pretty confident that based on the number of important-position folks we are taking down, we'll really hurt this organization," he said in an interview with The Associated Press in advance of an official announcement about the arrests. "It will take down this ring."
Tuesday's indictment charges 17 people with various counts, including conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, conspiracy to commit forced labour , conspiracy to engage in money laundering and conspiracy to commit visa fraud. About a dozen people were arrested in the Minneapolis area, Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Khu said his office began investigating a sex trafficking case in the Twin Cities in January 2014 and discovered it was part of an international ring and "a very sophisticated, complex network operating throughout the United States ... where women are really placed on a circuit, travelling from one city to the next."
According to the indictment, since 2009, hundreds of women were brought from Bangkok, Thailand, to several U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Washington and Dallas. The women were from poor backgrounds, spoke little English and were lured with promises of a better life.
The operation's bosses or traffickers in Thailand entered the women into a bondage debt "contract" in exchange for a visa and travel to the U.S. As part of the contract, the women would owe a debt ranging from $40,000 to $60,000 and would be "owned" by the organization until that debt was repaid.
While the Department of Homeland Security is hardly one of my favorite departments of the government, one can only give them kuddos for putting an end to this horrendous organization. Hopefully, the unfortunate women who were so brutalized and victimized will be given some sort of medical review and assistance.
What I want to concentrate on here, however, are my usual high octane speculations, or perhaps in this case it is better to qualify them as horrifying speculations. There are a number of things to note from the Yahoo article:
(1) The organization was genuinely international in extent, from Belgium, to Thailand, and the USA, and the USA component was spread across the country;
(2) a number of people were in "important positions," and presumably this means in government, for in order to make such a scheme work, penetration into various government agencies would be essential;
(3) the organization obtained fraudulent visas, which again implies not only penetration into government agencies, but access to, or acquisition of, the proper forms and specialized paper on which such forms are printed, in other words, it implies a sophisticated ability to forge official documents;
(4) such "important positions" would also comprise compromised agents at ports of entry to the USA, where such individuals' visas would not be scrutinized too closely;
(5) the circuit method was used to keep these unfortunate victims traveling from city to city.
Notably, if one looks at this list of five points, and especially the last one, one discovers remarkable similarity of modi operandi that was seen in the Franklin scandal, where again, the victims of the sex ring were shuttled around the country to service the rich and powerful.
And that brings us to the sixth point:
(6) such activities can be used to ensnare the rich and powerful, or people in key positions, through the creation of control files (Catherine Fitt's term), via videotapes, pictures, audio recordings, and so on, of their activity and participation in such rings. This suggests deep connections to intelligence agencies. One must look here for the source of much of the seemingly irreversible corruption in government: people literally are being blackmailed to vote a certain way.
In other words, the ring grows and can be used as leverage to gain power and influence.
What I am suggesting is that, stunning as the Homeland Security's coup against this ring is, I strongly suspect it goes much deeper, spreads much wider, and reaches much higher, than one can imagine, and to that end, I would hope that the investigation will consider such connections, for the Franklin scandal, I am convinced, is a part of this whole story.
See you on the flip side...