Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking (Trafficking in Persons)

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State lawmakers on Wednesday finally passed a bill to toughen New York’s notoriously weak child sex trafficking laws.

The revised rules will punish anyone over the age of 21 who intentionally promotes or profits from the prostitution of minors with a felony sex trafficking charge, facing up to 25 years behind bars.

Currently, prosecutors have to prove minors were forced or coerced into the sex trade to secure a trafficking conviction — so pimps who sell kids for sex can get off with a slap on the wrist if their young victims can’t or won’t testify.

But the legislation had been languishing in an Assembly committee for years over concerns that tougher rules could end up punishing victims who help recruit more girls for their pimps — or innocent parties like landlords who inadvertently rent to traffickers.

After a Post exposé in April on how these lax laws have allowed creeps to walk free, Gov. Andrew Cuomo came out in favor of reform — and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie agreed to sit down with the bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Westchester), to hash out a compromise.

Both lawmakers celebrated the passage of the bill Wednesday.

“Human trafficking is a scourge that continues to plague our communities. Today’s legislation will help make sure that those who exploit children in this heinous way are brought to justice,” Heastie said in a statement.

Added Paulin: “With these bills, we’ll take the final step to help these young girls and boys escape their lives of abuse and exploitation at the hands of their predatory traffickers.”

The state Senate, which has passed earlier versions of the bill in the past, approved the legislation shortly after.

The bill now moves to Cuomo’s desk. The governor had introduced his own program bill that is extremely close to the language and content in the bill — but a spokesman held off on rubber stamping the legislation Wednesday.

“We support new protections that will bring human traffickers to justice and protect victims and will be reviewing this bill,” said Rich Azzopardi.

The Assembly also passed several other related bills Wednesday — including one that would require hotels and motels to provide victims with information about services for human trafficking, another requiring public transit workers who might meet victims to complete “human trafficking recognition” training, and one to create dedicated safe houses for trafficking victims.

Article from: https://nypost.com/2018/06/13/state-assembly-finally-passes-sex-trafficking-bill/