NYPD adds 25 cops to fight sex trafficking
Twenty-five more NYPD detectives have been assigned to fight sex trafficking in New York, the city's police commissioner and first lady jointly announced Wednesday, unveiling new resources for victims.
"Make no mistake, this is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world," said Commissioner James O'Neill.
They were joined by one such victim, identified as Carmen, a woman kidnapped from Mexico when she was 14 and sold into sex slavery in the United States at 15. When she was 20, she finally saw her abductor sent to prison. She stressed the importance of victims seeking help.
"No matter where you're from, no matter what's your religion, what language you speak, you will get help," she said. "It's like being born again -- being free."
The detectives will be assigned to the vice unit for long-term investigations targeting pimps and sex-trafficking leaders who buy and sell victims.
The city also created a special hotline to help investigators, and patrol officers will receive training to identify potential sex trafficking victims during everyday interactions with the public.
Victims are urged to contact the hotline or uniformed officers. Officials say New York City remains a sanctuary city for victims of sex trafficking.
The Bronx District Attorney's Office says there are currently 34 open trafficking cases in the borough.