Assemblymember , (D-88th A.D.) Chair of the Committee on Children and Families, announced the introduction of the “Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act” (A.9804).
"Exploiting human beings for sex has to be one of the most heinous crimes in our modern day society," Paulin said. "My bill recognizes that buying children for sex is child abuse. It holds traffickers criminally responsible.It also increases penalties on the criminals – the traffickers supporting this trade – and gives law enforcement increased tools to put them in jail. By ensuring access to social services, it also helps the victims break the vicious cycle of dependency and humiliation."
In addition to protecting victims such as sexually exploited children, the bill seeks to correct inconsistencies in existing criminal justice law in cases involving victims and purveyors of sex trafficking. Specifically, the bill increases penalties for traffickers so that the penalties match the severity of the crimes.
Sex traffickers subject their victims to repeated rape. The bill raises both sex and labor trafficking violations to a class B felony, and aligns the penalties for patronizing a minor with those for statutory rape. The bill also updates current law to clarify that giving marijuana and ecstasy to a prostituted person in order to impair his or her judgment constitutes sex trafficking.
The use of the term “prostitute” is the only instance in New York penal law where a person is identified by the crime he or she has allegedly committed. The bill eliminates the stigmatizing use of that term and replaces it with “person for prostitution.”
The bill is supported by numerous law enforcement officials and human rights organizations. Dorchen Leidholdt, Director of the Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services for Sanctuary for Families, stated, "This legislation enhances protections for trafficking victims-some of New York's most vulnerable residents- and increases accountability for buyers and traffickers who fuel the growth of this massive underground industry."
-Contributed by the Office of Assemblywoman Paulin.