Authorities say the opioid epidemic has created a new problem on Long Island. The drug crisis makes it easy for gangs and drug dealers to make money from sex trafficking.
Law enforcement officials say sex traffickers lure women into prostitution by getting them addicted to drugs they supply. They say gangs and drug dealers view sex work as a low-risk, profitable way to stay under the radar from law enforcement.
Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. said they want to find ways to help these women.
“So what we're doing here is really analyzing because as I said earlier, sometimes a woman is arrested and the police department doesn’t realize that they’ve been victims of human trafficking because the women don’t even realize it.”
Authorities say Long Island’s diverse population and access to railroads and airports make it a desirable location for human traffickers in the New York metro area to target and transport women.