A tropical wave is moving from the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico. The circulation is over land right now, but it is worth watching as it pushes west. It is not likely anything will develop untilmore>>
Dolly has developed in the southern Gulf of Mexico, but not a threat to the northern Gulf coast.more>>
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Event planners seem to no longer be wary of booking in New Orleans during the height of hurricane season. The traditionally slow months are transforming with the return of some big-name conventions. more>>
Labor Day is the official end of the summer season, and it's been known as the last day to wear white.more>>
Labor Day is the official end of the summer season, and it's been known as a stopping point for wearing white.more>>
New Orleans, La. — Walk or drive along Bourbon Street and scantily clad women are easy to find. But what federal agents have uncovered in the French Quarter this Super Bowl week goes far beyond that.
"Two days ago we made eight arrests and rescued five women involved, so sadly that kind of misbehavior continues. But we're looking for it," said John Morton, director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The behavior he was speaking of is human sex trafficking. It is a problem wherever the Super Bowl is held.
At a news conference with NFL representatives Thursday, Morton said a task force of federal agents, NOPD officers and others is "hitting the streets, trying to target human trafficking and abusive prostitution."
In this case, the alleged victims thought they were coming to town to work as "female escorts" during the Super Bowl, according to a federal law enforcement official.
"Listen, any time you have a major event and a lot of people coming to town, you worry about people getting exploited," said Ray Parmer, the local special agent-in-charge with ICE.
Often the activity is well orchestrated in a Super Bowl city, occurring clandestinely. "It's always a problem and often it goes undetected, because these are victims and they're coerced into the positions that they're in to perform whatever function that the traffickers want them to do," said Parmer.
The feds said sometimes it's tips, other times it's their own undercover work that lead to these types of arrests. They said they are not after the women or even their customers, who end up being forced to engage in trafficking without realizing it.
"We treat these people as victims. They are not arrested, they are not removed from the United States, we treat them as victims," said Parmer.
He said having the Super Bowl wedged into the Carnival season will keep them busy. "There's an increased threat for traffickers to be brought into the area because of the crowds, the potential for them to either perform services that might be illegal," he said.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:07 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:07:52 GMT
Labor Day weekend has a special significance for alligator hunters in Mississippi. A few days into the start of this year's hunting season, a record-setting 756-pound gator was caught by Robert Mahaffeymore>>
Labor Day weekend has a special significance for alligator hunters in Mississippi. A few days into the start of this year's hunting season, a record-setting 756-pound gator was caught by Robert Mahaffey of Brandon in the first weekend of the season.more>>
For some, it may be hard to believe that nine years have passed since Hurricane Katrina made landfall and left major devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi. Most people will never forget where theymore>>
Friday marks nine years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall, causing major devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi.more>>
Sunday, August 31 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:28:29 GMT
Disturbing pictures of an injured kindergartner from Pascagoula have made a mother's call for action go viral online.more>>
Disturbing pictures of an injured kindergartner from Pascagoula have made a mother's call for action go viral online. Friends and family of a Pascagoula kindergarten student have created a Facebook page and GoFundMe.com account claiming the girl was attacked on the playground this week by another student.more>>