New York City is expanding its resources, including a hotline for victims or those who suspect a loved one is a victim, to combat sex trafficking, first lady Chirlane McCray and NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill announced on Tuesday.
“New Yorkers care for their neighbors. We do not stand by in silence when we see people are hurting,” McCray said. “That is why we are introducing a new hotline today and increasing the number of specially trained officers to address trafficking."
In addition to the dedicated hotline overseen by NYPD, the Vice Unit has been restructured and 25 more detectives have been added.
Some of the warning signs the NYPD says to watch for include:
- Signs of physical and/or sexual abuse
- Lack of memory of recent events
- Limited freedom of movement
- Being unpaid or paid very little
- Having limited access to medical care
- Seeming to be in debt to someone
- Working excessively long or unusual hours
- Having high security measures in the work and/or living locations
- Showing signs of fear, anxiety, depression, tension, or paranoia
- Avoiding eye contact
- Having a strong fear of authorities
- Appearing malnourished or showing signs of repeated chemical exposure
- Having numerous inconsistencies in his/her story.
“Victims in my community, who frequently are undocumented women and/or transgender individuals, are being abused for someone else’s profit," Chair of the Finance Committee Julissa Ferreras Copeland said. "We must protect them from violent and cruel treatment. By adding this hotline and deploying specially-trained officers to combat sex trafficking, we are taking a crucial step towards ending this shameful practice."
These efforts are part of a targeted campaign to combat sex trafficking in the city, according to the NYPD.
The NYPD urges New Yorkers who suspect human trafficking to call the NYPD Trafficking Hotline at 646-610-7272.