Over the past year, Covenant House has provided comprehensive services and care to 90 human trafficking victims – a number that has only continued to grow. Youth who come to us as sex trafficking victims need immediate safety and security. Many victims of trafficking and sexual labor are struggling with mental health issues, addictions, and severe trauma from violent experiences.
We are thankful for recent media coverage by NOLA.com, WWL, and others on sex trafficking in New Orleans, and pray that it can help strengthen the support for victims and the consequences for traffickers. Please read the articles below, which focus on sex trafficking in New Orleans and on Bourbon St.
“The world of sex trafficking is one of physical beatings and sexual assaults,” writes Sheri Lochridge, Human Trafficking Case Manager, Covenant House.
“Three club owners or managers in the French Quarter said that Bourbon Street has contributed to a disturbing and dangerous atmosphere, and that it is a constant struggle to keep pimps looking to recruit dancers out of the clubs…with relatively little enforcement, the result is what you have now on Bourbon Street: a bull market for sex traffickers.”
“‘What pimps like Lucci do, he sells a dream. He is a snake oil salesman,’ Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordan Ginsberg told jurors, according to a transcript from the trial. ‘What did he look for? He looked for vulnerable, beaten down, desperate, confused children to treat as chattel. Slaves, modern day slaves under his control.’“
“Palazzolo, the manager for several strip clubs in the French Quarter, said that he believes the pimp and prostitution problem on Bourbon Street is the worst he’s seen in the 20 years since he’s worked there. The street started going downhill after Hurricane Katrina, he said.”
“One victim, a runaway who was trafficked as a 17-year-old, described her experience in federal court last year. She said she spent several weeks being forced to walk Bourbon Street, meet strange men and talk them into taking her to nearby hotels for sex. ‘All I ever known is hustling, no stability in school or work. I’m terrified that I’ll never get this concept of life out of my head that sex sells and it’s normal for women to barter sex to men.’“ (editorial board)
“New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has hired an attorney known for his work strengthening laws and enforcement involving strip clubs as the city seeks to curb crime around Bourbon Street.
“The New Orleans City Council has directed the City Planning Commission to hold a public hearing on a proposed limit on the number of strip clubs in the French Quarter.”
“The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office has launched an internal investigation after an undercover state agent documented a sheriff’s deputy apparently working a paid detail at the strip club Passions in New Orleans East.
‘Clearly some clubs in this city feel they can break the law without fear of recourse,’ [Stacy] Head said in a statement. ‘It is the job of city and state law enforcement to find the bad actors and either fine and suspend them to the point where they comply or shut them down. Until that happens, bad situations like these will continue and vulnerable young women will continue to be at risk.’”
“The entertainment and hospitality industries have come under fire recently for sexual harassment and abuse of women. Why not the sex trafficking business on Bourbon Street?
‘I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be outraged about what’s happened to women in the restaurant business or the entertainment industry, but shouldn’t the outrage be just as great when it comes to the sex industry and the human beings who are being trafficked?’ Kelly said.”