Suffolk County Police

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

Suffolk County Sets Up Bureau To Fight Sex Trafficking

July 30, 2018 - 3:45 pm

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- Suffolk County has set up the first of its kind bureau on Long Island to fight the human trafficking problem.

“This will not be tolerated, accepted in any way in Suffolk County,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone as he announced the formation of the Human Trafficking Investigation Unit.

Bellone said many people think human trafficking is a problem somewhere else, but he said it is, in fact, happening right on Long Island.

The new bureau not only targets those who are luring women into prostitution, but the women are treated like victims – and if they enter programs and get a job, any charges against them are dropped, said Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini.

“The victims in these cases often need help in a variety of ways, and these are complex problems – very complex – and one of the issues, of course, is substance use disorder, but also mental health,” Sini said.

Sini said normally, the victims are 16 and 17 years old and area addicted to drugs. They are told they must pay off drug debts by becoming prostitutes, Sini said.