State Senator Jose R. Peralta’s bill targeting the distribution of pimps’ business cards along a stretch of more than 40 blocks of Roosevelt Avenue was passed by the Senate this afternoon. Senator Peralta introduced the bill in response to parental outrage and community frustration with the thriving local sex trade. The cards, featuring pictures of naked and minimally clad women and phone numbers to call for “free delivery” littered sidewalks on Roosevelt Avenue and adjacent streets. If the bill is approved by the Assembly either today or Monday, as expected, it will move to Governor Andrew Cuomo's desk to be signed into law.
“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,” Senator Peralta said. “To reclaim the area, we need a level of commitment from city and state government, especially law enforcement, as strong and as determined as what we saw invested in the rejuvenation of Times Square.” Shortly after Senator Peralta introduced the bill, it attracted some media attention.
The coverage had an impact: Cards advertising "free delivery" of women for sex 24 hours a day, seven days a week, once routinely encountered by children on their way to and from school—much to the chagrin of parents—became an increasingly rare site. Many of the cards that now turn up still advertise “free delivery 24/7”—but of flowers, fruits and vegetables.While the lewd cards are still around, images of apples, grapes and strawberries have largely replaced those of naked and nearly-naked women.
On the Senate floor this afternoon, Senator Peralta said that the cards, “however many of them turn up, or what they look like, insult the dignity of the families, residents and honest businesses that call Roosevelt Avenue and the adjacent streets home.” He added that prostitution is not a victimless crime, noting that “many women from around the world and across the country are enslaved and brought to New York— to my district—and forced to have sex with strangers for the profit of human traffickers and pimps.“If this bill were to fail,” Senator Peralta added, “it would say to the traffickers and pimps that they can infect our communities with impunity; that they can literally trash our streets, in total disregard of children and families, without consequence.”