Prostitution rates drop sharply as NYPD sends ‘targeted’ messages to ‘customers’

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NEW YORK – Prostitution busts are not what they used to be.

In the first year of the pandemic, in 2020, 61.5% of those arrested in prostitution cases were “johns,” or sex buyers. Only 24% were sex workers.

It is the continuation of a shift in strategy initiated by the NYPD in 2017, when increased efforts were made to prosecute promoters of prostitution – many of whom are human traffickers – as well as customers who pay for it. the service.

But overall, arrests for prostitution have “dropped precipitously” since 2014, according to statistics provided to PIX11 News by the NYPD Office of Public Information.

In 2020, only 96 sex workers were arrested against 1,790 in 2014. During the same period, 246 prostitution bosses were arrested.

The NYPD Vice Squad uses undercover agents to post bogus ads on websites that advertise sex. When a potential customer responds to the ad, the cops send a “targeted communication deterrent message.”

As of 2018, “the NYPD has sent just under 19,000 such messages,” the department noted.

The NYPD told PIX11 News it was on a mission to fight human trafficking, working to secure emergency beds when it saved a forced sex worker from performing sex acts against her will.

The department said members of the Vice-Enforcement Unit have saved 150 people since 2017 from trafficking situations, working with advocacy groups and other agencies to provide assistance.

The Bureau of Public Information said some vice investigators were so moved by people they were rescuing that they often brought them clothes, shoes and toiletries.

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