U.S. attorney honors investigators in Maine child pornography, drug trafficking cases

PORTLAND, Maine – Some of Maine’s highest-profile cases of trafficking in drugs and child pornography were recalled Tuesday in Portland, where the local, state and federal law enforcement officers involved were awarded for their work. In a late morning ceremony, U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty also handed out awards to five others, largely for ongoing advocacy … Read more

Human trafficking response involves legislators, shelters

PORTLAND, Maine -Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine program manager Katie Kondrat helps victims of human trafficking at Preble Street in Portland and says it has a broader definition than most people realize. Many who have worked as prostitutes are homeless and are addicted to drugs. She said others know their abusers, who use … Read more

Three Gorham residents charged with sex trafficking

Daniella Cameron, manager of the Preble Street Anti-Trafficking Coalition, said in a prepared statement that the group is “seeing increasing numbers of people being trafficked” and is working with law enforcement agencies to protect the victims, most of them young women. “Sex trafficking can happen anywhere there are vulnerable victims and people willing to exploit … Read more

Three arrested on sex trafficking charges

GORHAM, Maine -The Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office says three people from Gorham have been arrested on sex trafficking charges. Klein Fernandes, 27, Tamika Dias, 34, and Jeremy Seeley, 32, are accused of exploiting a 19-year-old woman and requiring her to engage in commercial sex acts. The District Attorney’s Office said the victim was posted … Read more

Officials bust Maine sex trafficking operation

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Officials have arrested three Gorham residents on sex trafficking charges, said Cumberland County Deputy District Attorney Tuesday. With the help of Preble Street Teen Center, police became aware late last week of a 19-year-old girl that Klein Fernandes, Tamika Dias and Jeremy Seeley exploited and required to engage in commercial … Read more

Data on Maine sex trafficking elusive as officials try to gauge its extent

“Sex trafficking? We’re in Maine,” Cumberland County Deputy District Attorney Megan Elam said, describing the sentiment among local law enforcement just a few years ago. “There’s a little shame going around among prosecutors and police officers about how naive we were.” Sex trafficking has been a little-understood crime in Maine, for a variety of reasons. … Read more

New grant helps fight sex trafficking in Maine

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Preble Street is putting together a major initiative to fight human trafficking in Southern Maine — thanks to a $400,000 grant from the federal government. The 2-year grant was announced at a news conference Monday morning. Preble Street reports its informal survey of clients at the Preble Street Teen Center … Read more

Maine efforts to combat human trafficking get federal funding

Advocates for homeless teenagers and young people with disabilities in southern Maine say a $400,000 federal grant will help dedicate resources for young people who have been coerced into trading sex for money or a place to sleep. The two-year grant from the Department of Justice to Preble Street allocates funds directly to help victims … Read more

Shifting perceptions of prostitution

Victims of sex trafficking in Maine might call themselves prostitutes. Their pimps and those buying their sex might call them prostitutes. But if they are not prostituting themselves by choice, they are victims. Their pimps, who control their behavior, often with violence, threats and drugs, are the criminals. On Thursday, Gov. Paul LePage held a … Read more

Surviving sex trafficking as a child, finding a voice

As a girl and a survivor of sex trafficking, dee Clarke didn’t have the words to explain what had happened to her. All she knew was “prostitute.” But that wasn’t right. It was years before she said: kidnapped, raped, tortured, trafficked. Now 55 and living in Portland, she has found the language to explain the … Read more