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The Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act must be passed before Assembly session ends
New York, NY - As the 2013 Legislative session is set to conclude in Albany at the end of this week, proposed legislation that will significantly strengthen New York’s response to human trafficking is in jeopardy. Equality Now, the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition – representing over 100 organizations statewide – and the Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA) are calling for the Senate and Assembly to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act in its entirety, as a stand-alone bill, this week.
“Passing this bill would be a monumental victory, showing that New York is taking a stand to protect some of its most marginalized residents. The legislature must set aside politics and pass a bill that recognizes the violence of trafficking and ensures teen victims receive services instead of jail,” stated Lauren Hersh, New York Director of Equality Now.
Sponsored by Assembly member Amy Paulin and Senator Andrew Lanza, the TVPJA package, [S.5879 & A.8071A] would improve deficiencies by:
- Making sex trafficking with force a violent felony
- Ensuring that teen trafficking victims receive support services and not prison sentences
- Aligning the penalties for buying sex from a child with those for statutory rape
- Providing law enforcement with better tools to target pimps and buyers who are supporting this multi-billion dollar trafficking industry
Thousands of women and children are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in New York State annually, and the State must do better to protect them. As Richard Altman, CEO, JCCA stated, “Jewish Child Care Association is committed to giving the victims of sex trafficking the resources, support and protection they need to live independent and productive lives. It is time the New York State Legislature did the same by passing the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act. If they don’t the real losers will be these vulnerable young women.”
We urge Speaker Sheldon Silver and the NYS Assembly to pass this bill without delay.
About Equality Now:
Founded in 1992, Equality Now is an international human rights organization that works to protect and promote the rights of women and girls around the world through the areas of Discrimination in Law, Sexual Violence, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Trafficking. By combining grassroots activism with international, regional and national legal advocacy, Equality Now works to ensure that governments enact and enforce laws and policies that uphold the rights of women and girls. www.equalitynow.org