Crime fighting itself has evolved: While prostitution is still illegal in New York, prostitutes are now viewed, at least in part, as victims by law enforcement, said Mr. Communiello, the assistant district attorney. Law enforcement now puts a deeper focus on finding the industry’s puppet masters.
The Venezuelan woman who was trafficked on Roosevelt traveled with others to Albany in 2007 to lobby lawmakers to crack down on the ringleaders by holding traffickers accountable. Later that same year, the state passed legislation that made coercing a person into prostitution — sex trafficking — a felony. “My life has changed,” she said. “I’m happy.”