Human Trafficking

Dr. Larry Kincheloe speaks at the EXPLORE: Oklahoma Healthcare Summit in Norman on August 13, 2015.
Jim Johnson / KGOU


Oklahoma City’s location as a crossroads positions the metro  as a hotbed for human trafficking activity.

According to a Department of Justice reports from 2003, Oklahoma ranked fourth in the nation for the largest number of trafficking survivors in the United States. The top states were California, New York and Texas.

The intersection of major interstate highways like I-35, I-40 and I-44 means human traffickers move sex slaves and others involved in forced labor through Oklahoma City.

Two Moldovan women apply makeup before going out with friends.
Mimi Chakarova

The liberalization of the global economy has made it much easier to move goods and people from one location to another. But it also makes it much easier to engage in criminal practices as more and more substances and enterprises are banned.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise spent the week working in Rio de Janeiro, and review their impressions of a dynamic and vibrant Brazil.

Later, Rebecca talks with Harvard University political scientist Beth Simmons. She studies transnational crime, and they'll discuss her work framing the debate on human rights.

Syria Comment blogger Joshua Landis provides analysis of President Bashar Assad’s interview this week with the BBC, and Rebecca Cruise discusses German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit with President Obama, and what they’re trying to accomplish regarding Ukraine. 

Then Rebecca talks with Kathryn Bolkovac, who sued her employers for unfair dismissal after she lost her job for trying to expose sex trafficking in Bosnia. Her story was dramatized in the 2010 film The Whistleblower.

Former UN International Police Task Force investigator Kathryn Bolkovac, who altered officials to sex trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovinia during the 1990s and early 2000s.

In 2001, Kathryn Bolkovac was fired from her position as a human rights investigator for the U.N. International Police Task Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bolkovac says her termination came after she “continued to make waves” about the involvement of other members of the U.N. forces in human trafficking, prostitution, and exploitation of women in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Joshua Landis, Rebecca Cruise, and Suzette Grillot  discuss the release of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA's detention and interrogation practices.

Then Rebecca talks with photojournalist and filmmaker Mimi Chakarova, whose film The Price of Sex personalizes East European human trafficking.

Two Moldovan women await their ride in front of the shelter for trafficked girls in 2004.
Mimi Chakarova

Over the 25 years since photographer and filmmaker Mimi Chakarova moved with her family from Bulgaria to Baltimore in 1989, she never lost touch with her East European roots. She’s spent the past decade chronicling stories of women from her native region sold into the sex trade in the Middle East and Western Europe.

"...a thoroughly modern sculpture by the Scandinavian artist Clara Sörnäs.   It shows five slave figures, slightly larger than life, chained together in a pit.
missy & the universe / Flickr

For most Americans, the word "slavery" conjures up images of the distant past - a land of cotton, plantations, and blue and grey coats. It seems like a relic from a different time and a different world, but in reality, more people are enslaved today than at any point in human history.

Imagens Evangelicas /

Wilmington police have arrested two men and charged them with human trafficking and kidnapping in connection with the reported abduction of two North Dakota sisters.

Police department spokeswoman Linda Rawley said 22-year-old Jeremy Dean Moots of Edmond, Oklahoma, and 28-year-old Justin Angermeier of Cameron, Missouri, are each charged with human trafficking, involuntary servitude, second-degree kidnapping and contributing to the delinquency and neglect of a juvenile.

Imagens Evangélicas / Flickr Creative Commons

Three bills intended to toughen Oklahoma's human trafficking laws have been approved by the state House.

House members voted without opposition for a bill by Republican Rep. Pam Peterson of Tulsa that ensures provisions of the Sex Offender Registration Act apply to people convicted of human trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Another bill by Peterson adds human trafficking to the list of crimes requiring those convicted to serve 85 percent of their time before being eligible for parole.