The New York State Senate today passed the “Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act” to further protect trafficked children and other victims, and punish the criminals who are responsible for sexual exploitation. The bill (S2511), sponsored by Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma), improves and expands the state’s ability to combat sex trafficking, punishes sex traffickers, and protects the rights of victims in the sex trafficking trade.
“Human trafficking, especially for the specific purpose of sexual prostitution, is becoming a global crisis, and one where New York State finds itself on the frontlines,” Senator Gallivan said. “Bondage or servitude of any kind have no place in our society. This legislation will give law enforcement new tools to punish traffickers and new protections to the women and children they victimize.”
The Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act would create a new crime of aggravated prostitution of a minor, recognizing the act of prostituting a child in the same fashion as the law currently recognizes the act of sexually assaulting or raping a child. The bill also increases a wide range of penalties on trafficking and soliciting sexual services, and classifies sex trafficking and compelling a prostitute as class B violent felonies. These measures increase the accountability of both the buyers and traffickers fueling the growth of this massive underground industry.
“Tragically, New York is not alone in facing human trafficking and sexual exploitation, but we must work to prevent it from continuing to destroy innocent lives,” Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said. “Senator Gallivan’s bill is an important step in preventing these horrendous crimes against women and children from continuing in our state.”
The bill has been sent to the Assembly.