Teen prostitutes hard to save, cop tells City Council
New York City police say they are trying to rescue teens forced intoprostitution, only to find that the girls often don’t want their help.
New York City police say they are trying to rescue teens forced into prostitution, only to find that the girls often don’t want their help.
A state law enacted last year considers prostitutes under the age of 18 victims, not criminals, and police are encouraged not to charge them with a crime.
But according to Inspector James Capaldo, head of the NYPD’s new anti-sex trafficking division, their efforts to help girls forced into prostitution are often spurned, he told the City Council at a hearing on sex trafficking yesterday.
The teens are often terrified of being punished by their pimp, or they’re brainwashed into thinking he is a boyfriend, said Capaldo. They also often lie and say they are 19.
“Sometimes they refuse to talk,” he said. “If it takes a man six weeks to put this woman in a situation, how do we undo that in 46 hours?”
The teen prostitutes often advertise their illegal services on Backpage.com, according to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.
Earlier this year, in Brooklyn, a tip led police to “Jennifer,” 18, who refused to testify against her pimp. Instead, prosecutors found him through a prostitution website. He was charged with sex trafficking.
Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.