Adios, “chica chica” cards.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law last week banning the distribution of cards depicting naked or scantily clad women used to promote prostitution. The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and state Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) in response to the proliferation of such cards along Roosevelt Avenue.
“This is an important first step in what needs to become an all-out offensive against the prostitution problem and other quality-of-life issues that have long plagued Roosevelt Avenue,” Peralta said in a statement.
Peralta and Moya announced the creation of the bill in March, saying men passing out cards promoting women available for “delivery” were rampant along Roosevelt Avenue between 69th and 112th streets.
The cards are known as “chica chica” cards, which means “girl girl” in Spanish. The cards were a concern not only because they promoted prostitution, but because the cards were often left as litter on the street — readily available for children to pick up. There are six public schools a mere block or two from Roosevelt Avenue.
“We have to do what we can to keep the streets of our neighborhoods clean and safe for our families and for our kids,” Moya said in a statement after the bill passed in the Assembly in June.
The new law bans the distribution of obscene material “to 10 or more people in a public place” with the intent to profit from prostitution. It passed unanimously in the Senate and 140-1 in the Assembly, with five members not voting. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) was the only “nay” vote.
“This is the first step toward cleaning up Roosevelt Avenue and towards stopping the cycle of exploitation in the sex trade industry that is spilling into the streets of Queens,” the law stated.
While the law does not go into effect until next month, Peralta said since it was introduced the cards have been a less frequent sight on Roosevelt Avenue. Nevertheless, he said the cards are still in distribution and remain a problem.
“However many of them turn up, or what they look like, [the cards] insult the dignity of the families, residents and honest businesses that call Roosevelt Avenue and the adjacent streets home,” Peralta said.
Peralta also introduced a bill in the Senate in May that would create an education program for cab drivers on how to prevent sex trafficking during their runs. Much of the “delivery” of women advertised on “chica chica” cards is carried out by taxi or livery drivers.