Dottie Laster

Dottie Laster

Anti-Trafficking expert and activist Dottie Laster does it again.  Since July, 2010 when she was authorized to practice in immigration court, assisting victims of trafficking, she has caused four of her clients to be awarded T-Visas; visas granted to those who have been trafficked in the United States.  This may not sound like a lot, but in all of 2010 only 213 such visas were granted in the entire US….and Dottie’s only getting started.  She has 16 more active cases, and has gotten three victims released from jail, plus helped in at least three arrests of traffickers.  See video on this story on Brazilian TV.

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Shannan Gilbert

Shannan Gilbert

Since at least 2007, people have been disappearing from Long Island.  Among them, Amber Lynn Costello,

Maureen Brainard-Barnes

Maureen Brainard-Barnes

Melissa Barthelemy, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Megan Waterman and Shannan Gilbert were young, attractive, vivacious, and had occasionally advertized themselves on CraigsList as escorts.

In December, 2010, four bodies were discovered. When the area nearby was combed, six more were found.  Surprisingly, officials don’t believe that the second set of remains are the product of just one killer; they believe that there may be at least two at work in the same area.  What may be related to the first four are four more bodies found in Atlantic City in 2006, cases that also remain open.  Other nearby police

Megan Waterman

Megan Waterman

departments are now collaborating to determine if any of their cases may be related to those in other jurisdictions.

Earlier this year, police announced that they believe these disappearances are the work of a serial killer.  Although Suffolk and Nassau County police, along with the FBI, are still investigating, at least one of the families took their search for answers one step further.

With funding from the nonprofit human rights organization Avaaz, they started working with a team of private investigators.  FLIP member Dottie Laster, owner of Laster Global and Anti-Trafficking coordinator  for the Bernardo Kohler Center, along with a FLIP member from Investigative Services International who wishes to

Melissa Barthelemy

Melissa Barthelemy

remain anonymous are part of that team.  Beyond conducting a standard investigation into the disappearances, these FLIP members have been busy educating the authorities on human trafficking, changing the complexion of the case.  These cases are receiving attention worldwide, for example:  CNN, Spiegel TV

Stay tuned here for updates.

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Human trafficking, or modern slavery, is the fastest growing crime in the world.  This week FLIP members Dottie Laster and Jennifer Kieseling, FLIP founder Vicki Siedow, and Here Women Talk social interactive radio owner Kay Van Hoesen teamed up to save a victim of long term abuse.

A troubled young woman approached Laster with her story of sexual exploitation.  Laster immediately contacted the other women, and together they planned and executed the recovery of the young woman.  She is now safe and being well cared for, on the road to having her own life at long last.

The message is clear; if each of us does just a little, together we can accomplish anything.

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Dottie Laster

Dottie Laster

An excellent article written by FLIP member Dottie Laster and published in the Houston Chronicle! Click to view the full article  http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/6982671.html

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j0444273On the afternoon of January 26th FLIP and FLIP Justice  founder Vicki Siedow happened to see a Twitter tweet, not directed at her, but very much of interest.  Shaun King, a pastor from Atlanta, had received a tip that human traffickers were trying to buy a number of children out of a Haitian hospital.  Within moments FLIP became involved.  Siedow started getting the word out.  FLIP and FLIP Justice members Melinda Kidder, Dottie Laster & Jesse Watson were suddenly very busy.  They were among those who, using only their contacts over the telephone and social networking sites, went to work to stop  the traffickers.  More here.

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FLIP member Melinda Kidder once again in the news

By Alicia Stice

Published Nov. 10, 2009

Cheating spouses are one of many cases private investigators in Columbia are hired to watch; people who have skipped out on their debt are another.

Melinda Kidder, owner and lead investigator of Columbia Investigations, said her team’s specialty is surveillance and undercover work…..more here - “the maneater.”

Melinda Kidder

Melinda Kidder

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Vicki in monitorFLIP founder Vicki Siedow interviewed by Diane Mapes for her MSNBC technology section article on Intelius’ new smart phone application.  They say that it will instantly background check one’s date. Does it really work?  Is it a good idea?  Can it be misused?  Read here.

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Sheila Klopper

Sheila Klopper

Many congratulations to Private Investigator and FLIP member Sheila Klopper from San Jose, CA and of course to John Stoll who was just awarded a 5 million dollar settlement to be paid by Kern County, CA. Sheila won her well deserved CALI’s Investigator of the Year award for her excellent work in conjunction with the Northern CA Innocence Project on John’s case which resulted in his exoneration and release in 2004. No amount of money can make up for 20 years of wrongful incarceration, but perhaps John’s portion of the 5 million dollar settlement will at least make the rest of his days a little easier.

Stoll’s award was a result of his wrongful conviction in the 1980’s, part of a string of child molestation cases that sent 34 innocent Bakersville, California residents to prison.  Klopper located the former child witnesses, now grown, who originally testified against Stoll through the use of social security numbers, highlighting the legal and investigative community’s need for continued access.  These witnesses subsequently testified on behalf of his innocence.

Stoll was featured in the “must see” the Sean Penn documentary, Witch Hunt.

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NEWS FLASH:

<SHHH> FLIP Member, National Human Trafficking expert, President of Laster Global Consulting, and Executive Director Million Kids, Dottie Laster  is creating a TV project on human trafficking, any YOU just might be involved!

Catch Dottie on a 1 hour radio special on that topic TODAY at 9 pm Eastern Time, 6 pm Pacific, along with former ADA Sex crime Prosecutor, TV Crime Analyst and Author Robin Sax and international investigator Logan Clarke, who along with his team have investigated and solved some of the most noted cases in the United States, involving everything from high-profile homicides to airline disasters.

Listen live via podcast: Scared Monkey Radio;  Scared Monkey Blog, usually posted an hour or two before the show; or via Twitter.

See you there!

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FLIP member and Crestview Florida police officer Melissa Long was first on the scene of a reported robbery at Coastal Bank, this Monday, July 13, 2009.  The suspect remains at large.  More on the story, and Photos here.

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