Welcome back as we kick off 2013.
We bring you another exclusive look into the the despicable practice of human trafficking. Guest journalist, Ann Washburn returns with an extensive report that will shake you to the very core. Brace yourself for this one! Go To Places Monthly dares to go where no publication has gone before so you know the truth about the ongoing sex trade on the Gulf Coast. Biloxi police officer, Sgt. Aldon Helmert, is our Mover and Shaker figure for the month of January. He is an exemplary leader in the the fight against the human trafficking of minors.
This edition of GTP is bursting with important and timely information about what affects us all under the new Obama administration, as well as ways to live “greener” this year.
Then come with us to the wonderful little hometown bar in downtown Gulfport, Kilted Kelly’s! It is one more jewel in the crown of restaurant properties owned and operated by Executive Chef and television personality, Rob Stinson.
All This…And So Much More!
Next year, Sgt. Helmert will celebrate twenty years in law enforcement. It is a job he loves but it is fraught with constant challenges and heartache. He routinely sees the horrors of criminal behavior and bears witness to the kind of deviant activities that we thankfully only see glimpses of on television dramas and at the movie theater. This, however is real life. Day after day, Sgt. Helmert maintains a cool head and calm demeanor as he encounters the unimaginable. He and his fellow officers do their utmost to keep the good citizens of Biloxi safe. (more…)
“If you don’t know Kelly’s, you don’t know Jack!” is the buzz line for Kilted Kelly’s Sports Pub in downtown Gulfport. The vision of Jack Krongard, the developer of the building that houses the bar /restaurant, and his wife, Kelly, Kilted Kelly’s is a sports bar like no other on the Coast. The building, adjacent to Lookout Steak & Seafood, is rife with history and Jack made sure to keep the over 100 year old buildings charm intact when he renovated. Jack worked closely with Chef Rob Stinson, Denis Trochesset, Cory Fazzio and Chad Henson to create a sports experience and not just another boring bar. (more…)
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. What better time to report on our local efforts over the past year to end slavery in our state. Human trafficking is the modern term for enslavement. Victims of every age are recruited into slavery every day through the use of force, fraud and/or coercion. There are two basic types of slaves: Labor and sex workers. Labor slaves are often tricked into slavery through fraudulent claims of high-paying jobs that too often turn out to be nothing like what was originally offered. In our economic situation, people are desperate for work that will feed their families and keep the lights on. Job seekers turn to staffing agencies that charge very high recruitment fees. They are then sent to a worksite and told that the job they applied for is no longer available, but there are still other jobs to do with lower pay. Their paychecks are split between paying off the recruitment fee and lodging on the worksite. There is very little left to send home, and eventually, the worker comes to the realization that he or she can never get ahead at that pace. If they decide to leave, they are often threatened with lawsuits or even harm to their families. In the case of a foreign worker who arrived with a worker’s visa, their passports may be confiscated if they try to leave. Such is the recent case that was brought to light after the Black Elk oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in November.
The massive explosion aboard the West Delta Block 32 platform started when Filipino workers tried to repair a pipe. Three workers died in the explosion and several more were severely burned, and one was never found. In the days that followed, attention was brought to the fact that this platform had a long history of safety violations and accidents. Looking for some answers, it was discovered that the Filipino workers were labor slaves who had been forced to work 10 to 16 hour days at the rate of $5.50 per hour, seven days a week. They were only paid for 40 regular hours per week, and were not permitted breaks, and were underfed. They were each charged more than $3,000 a month for lodging that consisted of a 10 foot by ten foot room they had to share with four to six other men. When on shore, they were not permitted to leave the fenced in shipyard grounds, except on rare occasions when they were escorted on a one-hour trip to a local discount store to purchase personal items. Additionally, the traffickers confiscated their tax refunds for five years in a row. (more…)
On February 3rd, New Orleans will be filled with thousands of visitors for the XLVII Super Bowl. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is always excited about the overflow to local hotels, casinos and nightlife. So, while families and fans are shopping for tailgate party barbecues, other sports enthusiasts are shopping for sexual encounters with people forced into prostitution. Super Bowl week is the biggest money-making week of the year for sex traffickers, who will bring in hundreds of men, women and children to provide sex for money to New Orleans and neighboring areas. There are many things business owners and hospitality workers can do to prevent the exploitation of trafficking victims. (more…)