Last year, the NYPD rescued one person a week from sex slavery. (Getty Images)

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New York Struggles to End Sex Trafficking Epidemic

A commander of the NYPD’s Vice Enforcement Unit likens it to “modern-day slavery.”

Last year, the NYPD rescued one person a week from sex slavery, reports New York Post. They also busted 228 pimps while working 265 sex trafficking cases. This is more than double the number in 2016. However, officials still believe they are just scraping the surface. Jim Klein, commander of the NYPD’s Vice Enforcement Unit and a 36-year department veteran, told New York Post that trafficking is a bigger problem than numbers show. “I have 200-and-however-many pimps I’ve locked up. On average, a pimp is going to have at least four or five women, girls, that he’s going to be working. [And] I haven’t locked up every pimp. It’s modern-day slavery.”

The average victim of sex trafficking is a girl from a troubled home who has already been sexually abused and is first sold for sex as young as 12-years-old, reports New York Post. They are manipulated into trafficking by a man who promises them a better life. Many women who are trafficked in New York come from upstate or nearby states like Pennsylvania and Connecticut, or they are sent from overseas.

Sex trafficking is so difficult to stop in New York because it is so widespread, the New York Post writes. Sometimes victims are kept locked up, but other times, it is happening right under New Yorkers’ noses. State laws don’t recognize underage prostitutes as victims of trafficking unless there is clear force or coercion, so they must be convinced to cooperate. However, there are limited resources for survivors and cops are not trained to deal with them.

Read the full story at New York Post