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