By Charles J. Hynes
Brooklyn District Attorney
I recently read that pimps are using the web to advertise prostitution rather than having the girls on the street. The article that I read explained that the average age where a girl is forced into prostitution is 12 to 14. Is this a concern in our community?
Sadly, sex trafficking can happen anywhere including right here in our own borough. This crime involves forcing women and children into the sex trade through psychological and physical coercion, including beatings, starvation, confinement and forced drug use.
My office is unique in that it has a specialized prosecutorial bureau to deal with crimes of this nature. This Unit works closely with the police and other groups to prosecute sex traffickers. We have indicted several sex traffickers this year that are being vigorously prosecuted.
Additionally, my specialized group of prosecutors have worked tirelessly to raise awareness about sex trafficking and its potential signs, and also provides comprehensive services to victims. We continue to promote our campaign against sex trafficking with posters, flyers, and PSA’s featuring actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Sabourney Gidibe.
Also, several months ago my Sex Trafficking Unit kicked off Brooklyn GIVE (Girls Initiative for Victim Empowerment), an ongoing donation drive which supplies clothing and toiletries to girls and young women trying to escape a life of forced prostitution. Businesses that have donated to the program include Tommy Hilfiger, Fashion Delivers, The Body Shop, Park Slope Parents, and Whole Foods.
We must put an end to this horrific crime. Educating the public and warning parents about potential predators is an important step in this direction. For further information please visit www.brooklynda.org, or contact the 24-hour Sex Trafficking Unit Hotline (718) 250-2770.