2005-06-03 / Community

Assemblywoman Pheffer: Stop Human Trafficking

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer announced has that she has sponsored legislation aimed at combating human trafficking and ending a heinous crime that has become more prevalent in our society due to its lucrative nature.

The proposed comprehensive legislation (A.1898A/S.3914A) creates crimes specifically related to human trafficking. It increases penalties to protect minors and provides necessary assistance to victims. The legislation also assists law enforcement’s ability to prosecute traffickers, unifying the definitions and concepts related to this outrageous crime and bundling them into one statute classified as human trafficking.

“With the beaching of the Golden Venture, we as a community have experienced first hand the effects of human trafficking. This unthinkable and heinous crime can be seen as modern day slavery and it is important that this comprehensive legislation is enacted so that we can begin to end this scandalous practice,” said Pheffer.

Lawmakers joined in a bipartisan effort to agree on legislation that addresses the growing problem. Recently, in a high profile case in April involving a sex-trafficking ring, three defendants pled guilty to 27 charges connected with operation of a human-trafficking ring from 1991 to 2004. They admitted to forcing young Mexican women into prostitution in brothels throughout the New York City area. The defendants recruited young, poor women in Mexico offering them better opportunities in the United States, then smuggled them to New York and forced them into prostitution.

Unfortunately, indentured servitude isn’t only in the illegal business of prostitution. In 2002, for example, 40 farm laborers were forced into labor servitude in Albion, New York.

“This important first step in addressing this issue will not only allow law enforcement the expanded ability to address these crimes, but also provide these vulnerable victims with the services and support that they so desperately need after such a horrendous ordeal,” said Pheffer.

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