United States

Letter to the Editor: Prosecuting Sex Buyers (NY Times)

8/5/2013 -- New York Times -- "Prosecuting Sex Buyers" Equality Now New York Director Lauren Hersh speaks out on the need to address demand in the fight against sex trafficking.


To the Editor:

United States: Pass the Trafficking Victims Protection & Justice Act in New York

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Jun 10
Update Date: 
2013 Jun 25
Update: 

25 JUNE 2013 UPDATE - In a positive step for 16 and17 year-old sex trafficking victims, on 22 June, the New York State legislature passed a bill extending its Safe Harbor Law to cover all prostituted individuals under the age of eighteen (previously only victims aged 15 and under were covered). Now, 16 and 17 year-old victims who are arrested for prostitution will be classified as trafficking victims, thereby allowing them to access treatment services rather than jail time. Their criminal records will also be sealed so as not to penalize them further while they rebuild their lives. Equality Now congratulates Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Senator Andrew Lanza for their incredible work in ensuring passage of this bill during this legislative session.

Unfortunately, due to political grandstanding in Albany, the TVPJA was not passed. However, we are optimistic that the bill will ultimately pass during New York’s next legislative term as there was significant support for it in both the Senate and Assembly. Over the next few months, Equality Now and our partners will strategize on a plan to secure passage of the TVPJA during the next legislative session. Thank you to our thousands of supporters for petitioning the New York legislature in support of this campaign, and we hope we can count on your continued support in 2014.


 

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What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

The TVJPA will be up for vote this legislative session, which ends June 20. Please join our campaign today!

  • Write to the government officials below and urge them to pass the TVPJA during the June 2013 legislative session.
  • If you live in New York, ask your district’s legislators to pass the TVPJA. Click on the links to find your assemblyperson or senator.
  • Learn more about Ruth and other girls from Gateways program as part of Equality Now’s yearlong campaign, Survivor Stories, which showcases survivor leadership in the anti-trafficking movement - www.equalitynow.org/survivorstories

Letters should go to:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Email: gov.cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us
Social media links:
Twitter: @NYGovCuomo
Facebook: www.facebook.com/GovernorAndrewCuomo

Assemblyman Sheldon Silver
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Legislative Office Building, Room 932
Albany, NY 12247
Email: speaker@assembly.state.ny.us

Senator Dean G. Skelos
Temporary President and Majority Coalition Leader of the New York State Senate
Legislative Office Building, Room 909
Albany, NY 12247
Email: skelos@nysenate.gov
Social media links:
Twitter: @SenatorSkelos
Facebook: www.facebook.com/senatordeanskelos

Letters: 

Dear Governor Cuomo, Assemblyman Silver, Senator Dean G. Skelos:

I am writing to request your support of the New York Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA, Paulin/Lanza A.2240/S.2135) and urge its passage during the June 2013 session.

According to the New York Office of Child and Family Services, thousands of children are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in New York annually. Yet, the sellers and buyers of these children are rarely arrested.

New York must do better. Currently the violent crime of trafficking is a “non-violent” offense under state law. A person who buys a minor for sex receives a lower penalty than someone convicted of raping a minor of the same age. To compound this, someone who buys sex from a minor is afforded the defense that “he did not know the victim was a child”; no such defense exists for other forms of child abuse. Furthermore, New York continues to treat 16 and 17 year old trafficking victims who are arrested for prostitution as criminals instead of victims who require treatment and supportive services.

Please pass the TVPJA so that trafficking is made a violent felony and that penalties for buying sex from a minor are aligned with those for statutory rape; that New York’s anti-trafficking laws are brought in line with the federal anti-trafficking statute by removing the requirement that prosecutors prove that underage trafficking victims were coerced into sexual acts; and, that all prostituted individuals under the age of 18 are classified as trafficking victims, thereby eliminating the exception for 16 and 17 year olds, and ensuring that they receive support services instead of criminal records. The law would also give New York’s law enforcement better tools to target and arrest the pimps and buyers who are supporting this multi-billion dollar trafficking industry – not the victims.

New York has consistently been at the forefront of anti-trafficking efforts. It was one of the first states in the country to pass anti-trafficking legislation. I encourage you to keep up this incredible effort by working to pass the TVPJA. Thank you in advance for taking all legislative and policy measures to ensure that New York’s girls and women are protected from trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.

Sincerely,

United States: Address role of U.S. military in fueling global sex trafficking

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Mar 4

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What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

  • Please call on the U.S. government to enforce Article 134 of the UCMJ on “pandering” and “patronizing a prostitute” and affirm its commitment to combating the demand for commercial sex that fuels sex trafficking. Doing so would help ensure that the United States lives up to its national and international commitments to prevent the sex trafficking and exploitation of women and girls around the world, and its zero tolerance policy on human trafficking.
  • Read Alma’s story as part of Equality Now’s yearlong campaign, Survivor Stories, which showcases survivor leadership in the anti-trafficking movement: www.equalitynow.org/survivorstories

Letters should be addressed to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
United States of America
Fax: + 1 202-456-2461
E-mail: president@whitehouse.gov
www.whitehouse.gov/contact

The Hon. Chuck Hagel
Secretary of Defense
Office of the Sec. of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301
Tel: +1(703) 571-3343
Fax: +1(703) 571-8951
E-mail: chuck.hagel@osd.mil

Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca
U.S. Department of State
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
1800 G Street NW,
Washington D.C., 20520
Tel: +1(202) 312-9639
Fax:  +1(202) 312-9637

Letters: 

Dear President/Secretary/Ambassador,

I am concerned about the U.S. military’s role in fueling sex trafficking and exploitation in the commercial sex industry around the world. The U.S. government has officially recognized the link between the demand for commercial sex and the sex trafficking industry, and took action in 2005 to ban U.S. service members from purchasing sex. However, I am troubled that this provision against purchasing sex is not being adequately enforced. Recent news articles and reports indicate that women and girls continue to be trafficked to and exploited in brothels around U.S. military bases overseas despite the U.S. government’s zero tolerance policy on sex trafficking and the demand that fuels it.

Sex trafficking is a criminal industry that operates on the market principles of supply and demand. The demand is created by men who pay for commercial sex, ensuring that sex trafficking continues to exist. Traffickers, pimps and facilitators profit from this demand by supplying the millions of women and girls who are exploited on a daily basis around the world. The U.S. government is bound by international and national anti-trafficking laws and policies to reduce this demand. Lack of enforcement of the military provision banning the purchase of sex undermines the U.S. government’s commitment to combating sex trafficking, and perpetuates the abuse of women and girls around the world.

I respectfully urge the U.S. government to enforce the provision banning U.S. service members from purchasing sex and affirm its commitment to combating the demand  that fuels sex trafficking. Doing so would help ensure the United States lives up to its national and international commitments to prevent the sex trafficking and exploitation of women and girls around the world, and its zero tolerance policy on human trafficking. Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Global Sex Trafficking & the Guy Next Door - The Need To End Demand (HuffPo)

1/11/2013 -- Huffington Post -- "Global Sex Trafficking & the Guy Next Door" On Human Trafficking Awareness Day, New York Office Director Lauren Hersh discusses the need to address the role of demand in the fight against sex trafficking.

The War on Trafficking: Proposition 35 (In These Times)

12/24/2012 -- In These Times -- "The War on Trafficking: Will California’s crackdown do more harm than good?"; Kenneth Franzblau, anti-trafficking consultant for Equality Now, debates a new controversial anti-trafficking law in California.

How Much Must Women Sacrifice to Serve? (HuffPo)

11/12/2012 -- Huffington Post -- "How Much Must Women Sacrifice to Serve?" New York Office Director Lauren Hersh on sexual assault in the military.

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