Tracking the sex trade: Sex for sale

A woman is arrested for alleged prostitution at a Long Island hotel.

A woman is arrested for alleged prostitution at a Long Island hotel. (4/17/13)

WOODBURY - Police say prostitution may be more active on Long Island than many people realize.

The Nassau County Vice Squad is in charge of finding and arresting prostitutes. Authorities say websites like backpage.com make the crime easier to pull off.

"In a way, the Internet has become the new street corner," Deputy Inspector Kevin Smith says.

In three months, Smith says he and his team have more than tripled the number of prostitution arrests that they made all of last year.

Smith's team took News 12 Long Island's Erin Colton along on an undercover sting. They made arrests at Hicksville and Westbury hotels after setting up meetings through backpage.com.

Police say prostitution will continue to be around for decades to come. But through arrests, authorities say they hope to help both the people of Nassau County and the alleged offenders.

"If we can save some other woman from being robbed or raped, that’s what it's all about," Detective Sgt. Brian Sweeney says.

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