Press Release - Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz
District Office

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Brooklyn, NY 11220
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The Assembly

Room 542
Legislative Office Bldg.
Albany, NY 12248
(518) 455-3821

February 14, 2005

Ortiz Introduces Bill to Protect Children

Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (D-51st) is introducing legislation, which will require New York State to divest its retirement investments and financial holdings from corporations that conduct business in countries that allow the exploitation of children for sexual purposes. Many countries located in Southeast Asia have been overrun with child prostitution rings, catering to men throughout the world. These countries include the Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand, as well as, others in the area. There are several American corporations doing business in these nations. They include companies such as Nike, Wal-Mart, Warner Brothers, Adidas, Reebok, K-mart to name but a few.

"This revolting industry, which caters to foreign tourists, commits unspeakable crimes against children. The world community can no longer tolerate this criminal activity." stated Ortiz.

Over two million children around the world have been forced into the sex-trade industry, and more than 900,000 children and adults are trafficked each year for the purposes of prostitution and forced labor. Ortiz’ legislation will pressure American corporations that financially support these nations to take a moral stance against these atrocities. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, New York State enacted a similar policy of divestment and joined, what was then, a multi-nation war against apartheid in South Africa. Now is the time to marshal this same level of worldwide solidarity and pressure corporations not to do business with countries that exploit the world’s most vulnerable citizens, – our children.

"Our nation and its corporations must not financially aid and abet countries that turn a blind eye to these horrendous acts of degradation. We have a moral responsibility to combat such crimes against humanity," continued Ortiz.