QUEENS — Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights is “a mecca of human trafficking” where women from countries including Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela are being sexually exploited, elected officials said Thursday.
And Queens is the center of the city's trafficking problem, with nearly 60 percent of the city's victims who come forward looking for help.
Roosevelt Avenue has a number of brothels, state Sen. Jose Peralta, who represents Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, said at a press conference where he discussed an initiative to provide foreign-born victims of sex trafficking with free legal representation on immigration issues.
“Roosevelt Avenue is a mecca of human trafficking in Queens and throughout the five boroughs,” Peralta said.
En queens, un proyecto contra el trafico humano, trata de proteger a inmigrantes, para que no caigan en las redes del trafico sexual. Funcionarios, activistas y sobrevivientes lo presentaron frente a la corte criminal de queens. Yaima crespo nos trae los detalles.
Las victimas de trafico humano en la ciudad de nueva york, en su mayoria mujeres hispanas que se convierten en esclavas sexuales, ahora tendran acceso a representacion legal gratis de reconocidas firmas de abogados y ademas recibiran asesoria para legalizar su estatus migratorio. "Ellos me ayudaron con mi caso de inmigracion, me hicieron mi estatus legal en este pais, que yo estaba en deportacion , y a recuperar la a mis hijas."
Thirty-five employers conducted more than 800 interviews, hired 16 applicants on the spot and scheduled close to another 200 meetings with candidates they met at a job fair July 10 in Elmhurst sponsored by state Senator Jose Peralta in conjunction with Queens Center.
“We were able to help some people still struggling to make ends meet on the heels of the Great Recession,” said Peralta. “From past experience, I expect that a number of others will also end up getting offers in the near future as a result of the interviews they scheduled and contacts they made at the job fair.”
Kathy Hochul is not backing down from her position that immigrants who are here illegally should be prevented from obtaining driver's licenses. She opposed the plan in 2007, citing national security concerns, and reiterated the point in an interview on Inside City Hall Thursday.
"I'm not sure what's changed in that dynamic," Hochul said.
That's a tall order for some Latino officials, who were told Hochul's views would evolve much like they have on gun control. Once a strong Second Amendment supporter, Hochul now says she favors tougher gun laws.
If signed by Gov. Cuomo, the legislation will extend to school crossing guards the same on-the-job protection that’s already extended to paramedics, sanitation workers, emergency room personnel, nurses and paramedics, as well as well as police officers and firefighters.
School crossing guards are essential to the kind of comprehensive street safety plan our children need and deserve.
By showing them the respect their job warrants and demonstrating that we have their backs, I am hopeful that we will be able to recruit enough crossing guards to fill existing vacancies and address emerging needs.
Inside City Hall hosted a debate on the merits of the state Dream Act, a bill that would give college financial aid to undocumented immigrants with State Senator Jose Peralta, a Democrat from Queens and a leading opponent, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican whose Assembly district covers parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn.
It took me just an hour and a half to get a fake ID in New York City’s ground zero for the fraudulent document business — Roosevelt Ave. in Queens.
The Jackson Heights neighborhood is the epicenter of fake paper mills — rackets that fuel teenage drinking and identity theft and also create fake green cards and passports that can pose a serious security threat.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens), whose district includes the Roosevelt Ave. area, is reintroducing legislation to crack down on the flourishing illegal industry.
With so many businesses moving toward paperless operation nowadays, it would seem to be only a matter of time before the world’s oldest profession followed suit.
But in Corona, Queens, around 4:30 p.m. on May 21, there stood a throwback to the old days, in front of a travel agency on 104th Street near busy Roosevelt Avenue.
He was holding “chica cards.” On each card was a picture of a nearly naked woman, and a telephone number.
Three years ago, on Roosevelt Avenue, the cards seemed to be everywhere.
“The kids were picking them up and trading them like baseball cards,” said State Senator José R. Peralta, whose district includes that neighborhood and who introduced the bill in 2011. “The parents came to me complaining about this issue. They brought to the office dozens and dozens of cards.” The pictures required little imagination.
Nearly one-third of New York City’s homeless population are victims of domestic violence who have made the difficult decision to walk away from a bad situation. But when they turn to the city for help, some say they’re facing risky, sometimes life-threatening red tape. Government Affairs Reporter Melissa Russo reports.
Nueva York – Cuando parecía olvidada, la propuesta de ley para que inmigrantes indocumentados soliciten licencias de conducir sumó el respaldo de la organización Transportation Alternatives, que promueve el uso del transporte público, y The Worker's Justice Center of NY, entidad pro trabajadores agrícolas del norte del estado.
El apoyo de esta última es clave por el área donde opera ya que puede sumar el respaldo de residentes y legisladores de Albany, Kingston y Rochester.
El senador José Peralta (D-Queens) argumenta que su propuesta de licencia para indocumentados aborda dos asuntos críticos, "oportunidad económica y seguridad en las calles, y por eso el apoyo a esta legislación seguirá creciendo".
Sin embargo, hasta ahora ese no ha sido el caso. Las dos principales legislaciones migratorias presentadas, el Dream Act y las licencias para indocumentados, se han estancado en la legislatura a pesar que Nueva York es un estado demócrata y progresista.
Ambas propuestas han sido introducidas más de una vez pero según expertos, ni los políticos ni los activistas han sabido articular su importancia económica.
Saying it would increase traffic safety, a leading anti-car organization has thrown its support behind a bill to allow illegal immigrants in New York to get driver's licenses.
"Non-citizen drivers with verifiable, reliable forms of identification could then by tested on New York’s rules of the road, and be required to obtain auto insurance coverage, have their car inspected and maintain their vehicle’s registration," the non-profit advocacy group Transportation Alternatives wrote in memo in support of the bill.
Transportation Alternatives estimates that "tens of thousands" of illegal immigrants are driving without licenses on the streets of New York.
"Because these drivers are not subject to the same training and accountability standards as other drivers, they pose a significant public safety threat," the memo says. "Unlicensed drives are dangerous."
The memo cites a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Study that found unlicensed drives five times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes and more likely to flee the scene of an accident.
Eleven states in the U.S., including California, Washington, Colorado, Connecticut and Maryland, allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers licenses.
Peralta called the support from Transportation Alternatives and the Worker Justice Center For New York "significant."
It took more than a year and a half and dozens of letters and phone calls, but state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) will finally get a crossing guard replaced near PS 206 in Rego Park.
The NYPD Transportation Unit announced last Friday the 112th Precinct had finally assigned a crossing guard to the dangerous intersection of Junction Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway, just south of the Long Island Expressway.
“There’s simply no substitute for the direct, hands-on traffic control and help that a crossing guard provides,” Peralta said. “There’s no question that there are a number of dangerous intersections in the area, with the LIE, Queens Boulevard, Junction Boulevard and the Horace Harding Expressway all intersecting or running parallel to each other in close proximity.”
Peralta explained that hundreds of children and parents navigate the dangerous crossways, making their way from LeFrak City to PS 206, at 61-02 98th St. The intersection saw 24 pedestrianinjuries between August 2011 and February 2014, according to Juan Martinez, of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.
“It’s very heartening to see the city respond with a crossing guard there,” Martinez said. “The mayor’s Vision Zero plan should lead us to expect immediate action at these problematic intersections.”
The new crossing guard will be hired in early June, according to a Peralta spokesman.
Rego Park can cross this safety measure off its list.
The NYPD will finally reinstate a crossing guard at an unsafe Rego Park intersection near an elementary school as part of its “Vision Zero” plan, The News has learned.
“There’s simply no substitute for the direct, hands-on traffic control and help that a crossing guard provides,” said state Sen. Jose Peralta, who has been lobbying for help at Horace Harding Expressway and Junction Blvd. since 2012.
The intersection — the closest major crossway near Public School 206 — drew the ire of the school’s principal, who penned a letter in February seeking a review of the site.
The intersection saw 24 injuries between August 2011 and February 2014, according to Transportation Alternatives.
A spokesman from Peralta’s office said the new crossing guard would be hired by early June.
State Senator Jose Peralta hosted a forum for restaurateurs and small business owners to learn about proposed changes to the restaurant letter-grade and fine system, the new paid sick leave law and securing access to capital.
Few politicians aspire to bring the ambiance of Times Square to their districts, but state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) said a stretch of Roosevelt Avenue that has grown saturated with prostitution could use some of the sterilization that transformed Times Square in the 1980s.
While speaking at Queensborough Community College April 3, Peralta described various legislative endeavors to crack down on sex traffickers and prostitution businesses and fund organizations that provide pathways out of the industry for victims.
The senator said afterward he believed recruiting Disney to open a store in Times Square anchored commercial development and ushered in an era of strict policing.
“We don’t need to bring in the big, big box store on Roosevelt Avenue — a mid-size box store,” Peralta said, noting he wanted to “keep the flavor of the mom-and-pop shops” nearby.
But the senator emphasized that wooing Disney took assistance from federal, state and local officials, and he is hoping Mayor Bill de Blasio would join him and U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) in scouting for a Roosevelt Avenue anchor.
As Times Square spurned prostitution, the industry migrated along the No. 7 train line, and Peralta said businesses began offering free car service to patrons from midtown to Corona and Jackson Heights.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) addressed an audience of over 200 students and faculty at Queensborough Community College in Bayside last Thursday on “Human Trafficking in Our Own Backyard,” drawing a near-capacity crowd.
The talk was the culminating event of a three-week-long ongoing series of related activities, all part of the college’s Common Read Initiative, inspired this year by the featured text, “The Road to Lost Innocence,” the true story of a Cambodian woman who overcame great obstacles and used her experiences to help others stand up for human rights.
The book, written by Somaly Mam based on her own life of abuse in Cambodian brothels, had become a shared reading experience by some 1,300 students and over 35 faculty members from across academic disciplines.
The senator focused on problems relating to human trafficking which, he indicated, runs rampant along Roosevelt Avenue, particularly between 69th and 112th streets.
So-called chica cards, featuring what Peralta described as “degrading pictures of women,” are commonly distributed in the area, so commonplace that “children trade them like baseball cards.”
Peralta indicated that “many women from around the world are brought to Queens and enslaved. The victims are very afraid,” and sometimes seen by the law as criminals. He pointed out that some members of the taxi industry are known to have been “involved in moving these women along. There are those bad apples that perpetuate this crime.”
He said that often these women who come to this country to live the American dream instead “live that American nightmare.” There is a need, he said, to “toughen laws.”