Human Trafficking in Broome County

By Leigh Dana

February 9, 2011 Updated Feb 9, 2011 at 7:51 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) The arrest of several illegal immigrants last month involved in a prostitution sting led us to take a closer look at the problem of human trafficking.

A modern day form a slavery, women are promised prosperity but find themselves sold into prostitution.

"What happens a lot with immigration of all nationalities, is that they hook up with people who promise them the world," explained Broome County Undersheriff, Alex Minor. "They make it sound very peachy keen, very realistic. When they get here, then they are forced to basically human traffic."

In Broome County, human trafficking cases are sporadic. About 25 to 30 pop up a year. In 2009, there were 19 related prostitution arrests made by the Sheriff's office. Back in 2000, there were none.

"These types of investigations are fairly rare. We may do a couple a year. And it varies on the number of people," said Minor.

Last month, 5 people were arrested for their involvement in a prostitution sting across the county.

Prostitution arrests were made at Oriental Body Works on George F. Highway in the Town of Union and Sakura Spa on Main Street in Endwell. legal Alien arrests were also made at the Rainbow Spa on Upper Front Street.

"The climate in this area is more conducive to the Asian population," said Minor. "We have a lot of Chinese restaurants in the area. Not a lot of massage parlors, but occasionally they pop up."

Human traffickers may move operations from larger cities to places like Binghamton where it may be a bit easier to control their victims.

The American Civic Association is one place in the county that can help victims get help.

"We can get them in touch with the attorneys, we can get them in touch with immigration. And we are the reconnect so we can break that cycle of human trafficking," said Executive Director Andrew Baranoski.

Nearly 20,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year.

Countless women are promised jobs, but then sold for anywhere from $10 to $300,000 a year.