Trafficking Arrests Double; The Legal Aid Society Helps Trafficking Victims Get A Second Chance
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2012

While arrests for trafficking have doubled in the last year, The Legal Aid Society has identified more than 60 victims after they were arrested and prosecuted for prostitution. Kate Mogulescu, a staff attorney in the Manhattan Office of the Criminal Practice at The Legal Aid society, works with the women who are victims of human trafficking to help them get a second chance and change their lives by working to vacate their convictions so they can find jobs.




The New York Daily News
ICE agent cites 'disturbing and subhuman' methods used to trick young women into sex slavery Trafficking arrests more than doubled in 2011 but still just scratch the surface
By Erica Pearson
February 12, 2012

G-men and cops are busting twice as many human traffickers, but advocates say a sickening number of immigrants are being forced into prostitution in the city.

Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement racked up 172 arrests for trafficking in the metropolitan area, up from 75 the previous year.

Most of the cases involved sexual slavery, though some of the victims worked as maids or in nightclubs for little or no pay.

The NYPD is cracking down, too, statistics show.

It busted 50 people last year for violating a state sex trafficking law, up from 19 in 2010 — though those cases also involve U.S. citizens, usually underage girls.

The immigrant trafficking rings prey on victims as young as 10, usually from impoverished areas of Southeast Asia and Latin America, ICE Special Agent in Charge James T. Hayes Jr. said.

“It can be pretty heartbreaking,” said Hayes. “The methods can be pretty disturbing and subhuman.”

Mexican family-run rings from Tenancingo, Tlaxcala, have cornered part of the illicit market.

Advocates say pimps from Tenancingo have coerced hundreds, if not thousands, of women to sell sex in the city.

Young Tenancingo men troll rural villages, promising women love and a bright future in America — delivering them into the hands of relatives who run hooker rings here.

The town of 10,000 is the acknowledged center of the country’s forced prostitution trade — famous for elaborate, luxury homes paid for by earnings abroad.

 

Residents call the palaces “calcuilchil” or “Houses of Ass” in their indigenous language.

Lori Cohen, a lawyer with non-profit Sanctuary for Familes who works primarily with victims of Tenancingo traffickers, said her group helped about 100 international survivors last year.

Most of her clients escaped from “delivery” prostitution — women riding around in livery cabs, servicing as many as 35 johns a day, she said.

“The pattern of trafficking among Mexican women is really horrific,” Cohen said. “We don’t talk about our clients as sex workers because they don’t experience it as work, they experience it as rape.”

A Hofstra University and LifeWay Network study determined that service providers in the New York area interacted with more than 11,200 human trafficking survivors — both immigrants and American-born — from 2000 to 2010.

Hayes said his agency often finds traffickers after NYPD tips, although local cops don’t always realize trafficking is behind a domestic violence incident.

Advocates also say police too often raid brothels and round up the women without digging into their back story.

Since last March, the Legal Aid Society has identified more than 60 trafficking victims — immigrants and U.S.-born — after they were arrested and prosecuted for prostitution, lawyer Kate Mogulescu said.

“We’re making dents and we’re making progress, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” Hayes said. “Quite frankly, it’s very difficult for us to break through to the average American, the average New Yorker and let them know that people in 2011 and 2012 are actually held against their will.”