Officials: Vulnerable teens from Cedar Knolls were victims in sex-trafficking ring

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MOUNT PLEASANT -

Officials say nine female victims wrapped up in a sex-trafficking ring that was busted this week came from Hawthorne Cedar Knolls, the residential treatment center for emotionally troubled teens.

Federal authorities announced Thursday that 19 people were charged with sex trafficking girls and young women.

At least eight of the 19 indicted suspects engaged in sex trafficking of minors from Cedar Knolls from 2010 to 2018.

Pound Ridge Police Chief and co-founder of the Westchester County Anti-Trafficking Task Force David Ryan said he wasn’t surprised by the indictments.

"It's not unique to any municipality. It's not unique to any age or socio-economic status. It's prevalent throughout the county,” he told News 12.

Police say traffickers know young people in facilities like Cedar Knolls are especially vulnerable.

Allison Boak founded the nonprofit organization International Organization for Adolescents, which advocates for vulnerable young people worldwide, including victims of sex trafficking.

"This is hundreds of billions of dollars that traffickers make off trafficking people, so this is not a game or hobby to them," she says.

Hawthorne Cedar Knolls is reportedly cooperating with federal investigators. The treatment facility announced earlier this year that it would be closing.

Officials at the Westchester County Anti-Trafficking Task Force say they recently received a $450,000 federal grant to help combat sex trafficking.

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