NY- Amny.com writes that police have been investigating “Snow,” or the “Snow Gang,” a criminal organization that is involved with “shootings, murders, drug dealing, credit card fraud and, more recently, a burgeoning trade in humans.”
The most recent probe into the group led to several arrests of some of the groups’ members, including 25-year-old David “Haze” Hightower who reportedly a leader in the group. Hightower was sent to prison for human trafficking. Police believe the group has worked to coerce teenage girls to become prostitutes.
The Snow Gang investigation is one part of an ongoing police effort to curb human trafficking, a practice that ensnares many into sex work, domestic work and restaurant work. Human trafficking became a crime in New York in 2007, but it has been a federal crime since 2000. Some have called the modern practice of slavery. While some cases have highlighted the deplorable way domestic workers have been held and subjected to horrendous living conditions, the bulk of the work focuses on teen girls being trafficked for sex work.
Police say many people do not realize how common the practice is in the United States. Officers say they have found 12-year-old girls working as prostitutes. One woman was kept by a pimp in a dog cage. Some of the girls are reported to have had to have sex up to 30 times a day.
In the past, many of the victims were from foreign countries, but officers now find that many of the girls are from New York City. The children are often recruited over the internet.
Police find it is often difficult to make these cases as vulnerable victims struggle with cooperating with law enforcement.
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