NY Legislative Spotlight On Human Trafficking

Jun 18, 2013

Over 27 million people are slaves today: more than during all 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade.
Credit globalhopenetwork.org

As the close of New York's legislative session draws near, advocates are pressing for passage of more effective anti-human trafficking legislation.  If you search "New York Sex Trafficking" on Google news, you'll find more than 12,000 recent articles. Awareness of the problem has resulted in the growth of public concern.

In March, the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act passed in the state Senate. It focuses on the buying and selling of children and gives prosecutors more tools toward achieving justice. The measure holds those who buy children, sell children and have sex with children criminally responsible. Lauren Hersch, the New York Director of Equality Now, says current state law needs toughening.

Last month, Newsday reported the breakup of a trafficking ring in which victims were brought from Mexcio, to work as prostitutes in New York City through a ring that extended north up the Hudson Valley.

New York State Democratic Assembly member Amy Paulin, who represents part of Westchester County, and Republican State Senator Andrew Lanza, from Staten Island, are sponsoring the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act. Paulin expects the bill to become law. 

Emily Amick, staff attorney at Sanctuary for Families, would rather see the full Women's Equality package favored by Governor Andrew Cuomo pass.  Today, there are more slaves than at any time in world history – the United Nations says human trafficking ranks among the fastest-growing criminal activities globally, with nearly 21 million people  trafficked for sex each year, the majority of whom are women. Every hour, 34 people are forced into prostitution in America. In the United States, the average age of a child entering into prostitution is 13.