Warning to cruise passengers as sexual assaults reach new level in 2023: F.B.I

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the number of Reported rape cases Sexual assaults on cruises will reach a new high in 2023, according to statistics compiled by the FBI.

There were 131 incidents reported in 2023 compared to 87 incidents in 2022 and 101 incidents in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic crippled the industry for nearly two years.

But experts warn that the actual number of incidents is likely much higher. Nationally, two out of three Sexual assaults It goes unreported, according to the National Rape, Abuse, and Incest Network, and the Cruise Ship Safety and Security Act of 2010 does not protect non-U.S. citizens.

Earlier this month, MSC Cruises was sued over two alleged sex crimes on separate ships. One lawsuit alleged that a crew member raped a passenger, and the other accused a crew member of raping a passenger Cruise line Due to failure to protect a minor girl from harassment in the bathroom.

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The Statue of Liberty as the MSC Meraviglia cruise ship departs New York Harbor on December 9, 2023.

MSC Cruises said in an emailed statement that the company is “unable to comment on these specific ongoing legal issues.

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“However, we take any allegations of assault on board our ships very seriously.

“We report any allegation to the appropriate authority law enforcement Authorities, we fully assist in any investigation and ensure appropriate action is taken.”

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Jack Hickey, A Florida based Digital cruise companies generally do everything they can to hide crimes, especially sexual crimes, said the maritime lawyer who brought both legal actions.

“Cruise lines are concerned about their images. It’s supposed to be a vacation. It’s supposed to be a positive experience,” Hickey said. “They want a little about Sexual assaults To show up as much as possible.”

The magic of carnival is outside

The Carnival Magic cruise ship departs from Port Canaveral, Florida.

The Cruise Ship Safety and Security Act requires the Department of Transportation to publish reported crime statistics on its website.

Sex crimes far outnumber other reported crimes, which included 22 assaults with “grievous bodily harm,” two suspicious deaths, and 20 thefts of $10,000 or more in 2023.

Since 2010, about 500 cases of sexual assault and rape have been reported, according to statistics reviewed by Fox News Digital.

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This number is just a small fraction of the actual number, Hickey said.

The Cruise Ship Safety and Security Act does not require cruises to report crimes against non-U.S. citizens, and there is a narrow definition of rape used by cruise line management companies to “substantially” underreport incidents. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

There is no outside agency to verify what the cruise lines say.

“It’s like the fox guarding the hen house,” Hickey said.

Rape on a cruise exacerbates the trauma survivors suffer because they are trapped on a ship with the attacker until the next port, Hickey said.

Until then, survivors need the resources and means to get off the ship and go home, he said, and they don’t know where the attacker is, especially if the attacker is an employee.

“You feel like you’re in prison,” said Hickey, who filed two lawsuits in Florida court in January against MSC Cruises.

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A passenger on board the MSC Meraviglia was allegedly raped by a crew member on March 5, 2023.

The lawsuit says the survivor was “forcefully grabbed by the arms,” ​​and that the alleged attacker “licked her face” and “forcefully threw Jane Doe onto the bed” while she screamed.

She fled after a “physical struggle,” and a crew member allegedly chased her down a hallway, pushed her against a wall and “threatened that he would come back and find (Jane Doe) if she reported him.”

The other lawsuit accused the cruise company of failing to protect a 6-year-old girl while she was in the “mini club,” an area designated for children up to 17 years old.

According to the lawsuit, a man of “undetermined age,” who was also in the care of “Little Club” employees, followed the young girl into the bathroom and groped her.

“The inattentive and negligent employees allowed this passenger to enter the bathroom multiple times while AK was alone and vulnerable,” the suit says.

He allegedly took over her private area and left the bathroom, joining a group of laughing boys, according to the lawsuit.

Original article source:Warning to cruise passengers as sexual assaults reach new level in 2023: F.B.I

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