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Chirlane McCray and NYPD Commissioner O’Neill announce expanded resources to combat sex trafficking

NYPD dedicating 25 new detectives to focus on investigating sex trafficking

February 3, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Chirlane McCray. Photo courtesy of the Mayor's Office
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First Lady Chirlane McCray and Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill announced on Wednesday that the city would be expanding its resources to combat sex trafficking in New York City, including the creation of a dedicated hotline that will allow victims and those who suspect a friend or loved one is being trafficked to call and report the crime.

McCray said, “New Yorkers care for their neighbors. We do not stand by in silence when we see people are hurting. That is why we are introducing a new hotline today and increasing the number of specially trained officers to address trafficking. This strategic capability along with the expanded number of professionals will help get resources to young girls and other victims.”

O’Neil added, “Assigning additional detectives, creating a dedicated tip line, and providing additional training for police officers in patrol will help the Department combat human trafficking in and around New York City.”

The new hotline will be overseen by the NYPD and will connect callers with experts who have been specially trained to investigate these cases. In the coming months, the city will run a targeted campaign to raise awareness about the problem of sex trafficking, educate the public on possible warning signs, highlight the new hotline number and provide additional connections to resources and services.

As part of its efforts to reduce sex trafficking, the Vice Unit has been restructured, including the addition of 25 more detectives who will work on sex trafficking in New York City. The NYPD is also placing a greater emphasis on pimps and johns to develop more long-term cases against those who buy and sell people for sex.

Human trafficking occurs when one person is exploited for the personal or financial gain of another. Though there is no single factor that defines victims, traffickers often target people living in poverty or who otherwise lack adequate support systems. Gender-based discrimination, including gender-based violence and disparities in access to education and employment, place women, girls, and gender non-conforming people at heightened vulnerability to trafficking.

“I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray and NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill for their commitment to combat sex trafficking and their dedication to helping those exploited by this horrible crime,” state Sen. Marty Golden said.

“Many come here for the promise of a brighter future, however too many are victimized and abused by sex traffickers.  In the past years, New York City has enacted many effective programs and laws, however these new measures will go further to encourage people to report suspected abuses, lift barriers to access important services and provide free legal help to sex trafficking victims.”

“Human exploitation transcends race, gender, age and borders,” said Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues and co-chair of the Women’s Caucus. “Every year, thousands of people are trafficked locally or globally. Through increased NYPD personnel, streamlined access to services and a public awareness campaign, we will bolster our city’s efforts to pull victims out of the shadows and put an end to human trafficking in our backyard.”

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