By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Recent cases of human trafficking in the Philadelphia area have targeted women and children, even the disabled — all vulnerable victims used for sex and profit.
And recently, experts have expressed fear that Philadelphia’s location and accessible transporation systems could make it a hub for this illegal activity.
Human trafficking is vicious business.
“They employed all different kinds of tactics: violence, drugs, anything they could think of to keep these women held captive,” notes prosecutor Joseph McGlynn in one case.
And McGlynn says cases prosecuted here recently have revealed that violence, against both adults and children, knows no bounds.
“They tortured one of the victims in a basement, and they beat her with a tire iron, set her on fire,” he tells KYW Newsradio.
In another federal case, evidence detailed how Omelyan Botsvynyuk trafficked in men and women from his native Ukraine. Victims were raped and robbed. He told the jury he didn’t do it, but his sworn testimony was rejected by the jury.
In addition to aggressively prosecuting such cases, local, state, and federal authorities, who have now formed a working group of human trafficking, are trying to raise awareness — to shine light on this dark world.