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On the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the expansion of the Office’s Human Trafficking Program into the Human Trafficking Response Unit (HTRU). Housed within the Office’s Special Victims Bureau in the Manhattan Family Justice Center, HTRU investigates and prosecutes sex and labor trafficking cases, and provides support for victims and their families in partnership with advocacy groups. The Unit also works to identify victims in cases that may involve elements of trafficking from hundreds of street arrests that are screened and prosecuted by other areas of the Office, such as the Domestic Violence Unit. 

Every time a new horror story about sex trafficking pops up on our radars, about women held for years against their will, or forced to be child brides, or ensnared in a prostitution ring, the same question also surfaces: why didn’t anyone notice anything? One of the reasons sex trafficking is frequently overlooked is that it’s hiding in plain sight. Victims are not always bundled across borders in cars vans with blacked out windows or transported in shipping containers.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and Department of Investigation (“DOI”) Commissioner Mark G. Peters today announced the indictment of RITA COPELAND, 65, for a fraudulent scheme that enabled the defendant to steal more than $50,000 from her tenant association through a City housing program. COPELAND is charged in a 29-count indictment in New York State Supreme Court with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, and Forgery in the Second Degree.

Three lawyers and a paralegal have been indicted for bribing a New York City Criminal Justice Agency employee to steer clients who could afford private counsel. The Manhattan District Attorney's Office on Monday announced the indictments of attorneys Jae Lee, Dwane Smith, Benjamin Yu and paralegal Jose Nuñez, claiming the defendants conspired to identify wealthy, low-level arrestees who could become clients, promising them shorter arraignment times.

Three criminal defense attorneys and a paralegal were arraigned Monday for allegedly conspiring to pay off Manhattan Criminal Court staff to get cases steered their way, the district attorney said.