Human trafficking common in Philadelphia, City Council told

Philadelphia police and those who try to combat human trafficking say it’s an all-too-real problem in the city.

Police have made arrests in human trafficking cases, including two recent cases, Capt. John Darby of the Police Special Victims Unit told Philadelphia City Council Tuesday.

“Two 20-year-olds, unrelated females, were lured via an online relationship to a North Philadelphia home of a husband his wife and an adult male friend,” Darby said. “There the victims were held with threats and violence for up to two years.

“In the second case, a juvenile escort service, a prostitution ring, was operating out of a Northeast Philadelphia hotel,” he said.

Hugh Organ, chair of the Philadelphia Anti-Trafficking coalition, says many prostitutes are being held against their will.

“While it may be easy to believe that this doesn’t happen in our city, the truth is, every day in Philadelphia, people, mostly women are being sold on street corners and the Internet,” he said. “In one day in Philadelphia, one Internet site had over 230 ads of women for sale across the city.”

One of the tasks before City Council is to clearly define trafficking to make it easier for people to understand — and for District Attorney Seth Williams to prosecute.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.