Irving Police Arrest Pair For Alleged
IRVING, TX – The Irving Police Department is investigating a case of human trafficking that happened during the past few months. On Sunday, April 15, 2018, officers responded to a call where a victim reported escaping from a prostitution enterprise.
The victim, a young adult female, was kidnapped from California and brought to a home in the 200 block of Rolston Road against her will. While there, she was forced into prostitution by two suspects, America Anderson, 20, and Devanshu Gupta, 26.
They would advertise the services on a variety of websites, then take the victim to various local motels to meet with customers. Also at the home was a second victim, a juvenile female, who was also being held against her will and forced to participate in prostitution.
The responding officers and detectives quickly identified the suspects and took them into custody after seeing them leave the home with the juvenile victim. Both are currently being held in the Irving City Jail on charges of Trafficking of Persons, Trafficking of Child, Compelling Prostitution ($100,000 bond each charge) and Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution ($50,000 bond).
Report: Kentucky Child Abuse rate second
highest in the nation
Kentucky’s 2016 child abuse rate — more than double the national average — was the second highest rate in the nation.
Almost 20 of every 1,000 children in the state were abused, according to the “Child Maltreatment 2016” report released recently by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Children’s Bureau.
The reported didn’t come as a surprise to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Madison County executive director Victoria Benge, who said Kentucky always is at the top of the nation in child abuse rates.
Benge said child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level. In most cases, it isn’t one single circumstance that leads to abuse, she said.
Typically, it’s a combination of factors that cause high stress levels in the family, which could include a lack of education, money troubles, or a variety of other stressors. Drug abuse is a big determinant.
Family court judge for Madison and Clark counties Nora J. Shepherd said drugs are involved in almost every case she handles in family court.
The drug epidemic has drastically increased the case load in family court, Shepherd said.
Continual budget cuts have also put a strain on the system in place to protect children, she added.
Lack of support for social workers has resulted in lots of turnover and, now, state workers including child protection workers are looking at drastic changes to their pensions, leading some to leave.
Funding for Comprehensive Care, which provides counseling services, has been in decline for years, Shepherd said. People who need mental health services can’t get help.
When it comes to finding abuse and stopping it, everyone can play a role, Benge said.
In fact, anyone in Kentucky who suspects a child is being abused is required to report it by law.
In cases where people are suspicious but aren’t sure, they should make the call, she said.
“I think you can never be too cautious,” she said. “You’re better to be safe than sorry.”
“If you see something, you have to call,” she said. “You could be part of saving a child’s life.”
Learning the TEN-4 bruising rule can help people identify possible abuse, according to a press release from Norton’s Children’s Hospital. The rule says that children under 4 should not have bruising on their torso, ears or neck.
It’s also important for people to help stressed parents, maybe by offering to babysit for a while or offering to run an errand, the hospital release states. People can help prevent abuse also by simply de-stressing a situation with a statement such as “I remember when my child acted like that.”
Madison County has a number of organizations working on behalf of children, Benge said.
CASA uses community trained volunteers to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children within the family court system. The organization’s main goal, Benge said, is to break the cycle of abuse.
Too often, children in the court system have people coming in and out of their lives.
“It’s so important for these children to have a person who stays with them,” Benge said.
Another Madison County organization that is instrumental in the fight against child abuse and neglect is the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).
“They do fantastic work,” Benge said.
The social workers with CHFS investigate claims of abuse and neglect, and make referrals on the best course of action for the affected children.
The county attorney’s office prosecutes those accused of abuse or neglect, Shepherd said. Madison County assistant county attorney Jubal Miller has worked on family court cases for more than 20 years. Deputy circuit clerk Debbie Agee also has worked in the court for decades.
The HANDS program through the Madison County Health Department is another resource for families of young children. HANDS is a home visitation program that assists during their child’s first two years of life. A public health nurse and public health home visitors visit the home to introduce parenting skill development in areas such as recognizing babies’ needs and making the home safe.
Benge urges parents who feel overwhelmed to speak up.
“Just ask for help,” she said. “The state is very willing to help.”
According to Norton Children’s Hospital, parents on edge should realize it’s OK to step away for a moment and take a few deep breaths, or listen to a favorite song or call a friend. It’s important to keep a list of friends or family members to call for support.
Kentucky ranked far better in the report in the number of children (15) who died as a result of abuse in 2016; the state ranked 29th in the country. There were 1,750 deaths nationwide, according to the report.
The state saw a total of 102,990 referrals to child protective services in 2016, according to the report. About half (50.4 percent) resulted in reports.
In 2017, 509 children in Madison County were abused or neglected, according to CASA. A pinwheel for each was planted Friday outside the Madison County Courthouse as part of the annual child abuse awareness event put on by CASA and the Department for Community Based Services. The event is held each year in April, Child Abuse Awareness Month.
I CHECK FIRST with my parents, guardians, or other trusted adults before going anywhere, helping anyone, accepting anything, or getting into a car.
I TAKE A FRIEND with me when going places or playing outside.
I TELL people “NO” if they try to touch me or hurt me. It’s OK
for me to stand up for myself.
I TELL my trusted adult if anything makes me feel sad, scared,
Sometimes there are people who trick or hurt others. No one has the right to do that to you. So use these rules, and remember you are STRONG, are SMART, and have the right to be SAFE.
TAKE A FRIEND
TELL PEOPLE “NO” IF THEY TRY TO TOUCH YOU OR HURT YOU
TELL AN ADULT YOU TRUST IF ANYTHING HAPPENS
KidSmartz is a child safety program that educates families about preventing abduction and empowers kids in grades K-5 to practice safer behaviors. This program offers resources to help parents, caregivers, and teachers protect kids by teaching and practicing the 4 Rules of Personal Safety using tips, printable activities, quizzes, articles, music, videos, and more.
I have a really good feeling about our new strategy of attracting young parents to Our Circle, and Our Pages, and website. But as I read some of the posts, the thought hit me right between the eyes, as I stared at the letters A.E.D.; every single one of us knows that this is not simply about a sign with a big number, like a city limits sign.
Being so like-minded about Our Children, I believe that if we could hang a sign up that was RSS and would actually record when we helped a Child directly or indirectly; and then continue doing all we possibly can each day, and coming back here and realizing the sign wasn’t blank anymore….
That is the feeling I got as I read those letters, that this nice young couple, who struck me as very Good Parents, with a happy family atmosphere, would be another way to get that #1 on SOMEBODY’S SIGN!!!! I believe I will start a list that everyone can see, when they come by, and list it on G+ and Facebook also.