Tag Archives: sexual exploitation

Jury convicts Indiana gospel singer on child porn, exploitation charges

A jury has convicted a Muncie, Indiana, man of 19 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of distribution of child pornography.

Shawn Shannon, 44, a traveling gospel singer, was convicted in July after a three-day trial, said Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis of the Central District of Illinois said the government presented evidence that Shannon lured a 13-year-old boy to a hotel in Decatur, Illinois, and directed him to pose for a series of sexually explicit photos.

Shannon also engaged in sexual contact with another minor boy and took similar photos, according to trial evidence.

He was arrested on April 15, 2015, and was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial.

Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 9, 2017, before U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce of the Central District of Illinois.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Decatur Police Department investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Maureen C. Cain and Elly M. Peirson of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.

Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

On the Web

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Survey: 35.8 million enslaved around the world

An estimated 35.8 million people are trapped in modern slavery through human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage or commercial sexual exploitation.

The number is 20 percent higher than previously estimated, according to the Global Slavery Index recently published by the Walk Free Foundation, a global human rights group dedicated to ending modern slavery.

“There is an assumption that slavery is an issue from a bygone era,” said Andrew Forrest, chairman and founder of Walk Free Foundation. “Or that it only exists in countries ravaged by war and poverty. These findings show that modern slavery exists in every country.”

The index shows that Mauritania has the highest proportion of its population in modern slavery, at 4 percent, followed by Uzbekistan at 3.97 percent, Haiti at 2.3 percent, Qatar at 1.36 percent and India at 1.14 percent.

In terms of absolute numbers, India has the highest number of enslaved people — an estimated 14.29 million, followed by China (3.24 million), Pakistan (2.06 million), Uzbekistan (1.2 million) and Russia (1.05 million).

Together these nations account for 61 percent of the world’s modern slavery, or nearly 22 million people.

Forrest said, “The first step in eradicating slavery is to measure it. And with that critical information, we must all come together — governments, businesses and civil society — to finally bring an end to the most severe form of exploitation.”