Albany – Human rights advocates will be in Albany on June 17 to promote A2240/S5879, the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA). This legislation would toughen penalties in New York against those who buy and sell young women, men and children to fuel the massive $32 billion sex trafficking industry.
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88) and Senator Andrew Lanza (R-24), the bill’s authors, as well as other Democratic Assembly Members, NYC NOW, Sanctuary For Families, The New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition, The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, A Better Balance and the New York State Junior Leagues will be addressing the media at 2 p.m. on The Million-Dollar Staircase. Reverend Que English, the co-founder of the New York City Clergy Roundtable and the Chair of the NYC faith-based Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence, and Evon Idahosa, the founder and executive director of PathFinders Justice Initiative, Inc., are also slated to speak.
Transportation will be provided for hundreds of advocates from across the state. Buses will leave New York City from the corner of 31st Street and Seventh Avenue at 9 a.m. and 9:15. Buses will leave from the Lord & Taylor shopping center at 740 White Plains Road in Scarsdale at 9:30 a.m., allowing advocates enough time to arrive in Albany and reach out personally to legislators in an effort to help get the legislation passed.
“I believe it is imperative that we put politics aside so that we can help our most vulnerable,” Paulin said. “Politics cannot drown out the voices of the courageous young women who have risked their lives to get free of their horrific servitude, or blur the faces of those who have come before us with such grace and humility asking us to help them and the thousands like them being bought and sold, raped and tortured on a daily basis, in our own neighborhoods.”
The Assemblywoman has been aggressively urging her colleagues, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, to allow a vote on the TVPJA as a stand-alone bill rather than as part of Governor Cuomo’s omnibus Women’s Equality Act.
The State Senate passed the TVPJA as a stand-alone last week but will not pass the entire 10-point agenda as a whole. In addition the Senate passed a stand-alone bill to prevent pregnancy discrimination.
“Trafficking victims are being viciously exploited on our streets every day,” said Lauren Hersh, the director of Anti-Trafficking Policy and Advocacy for Sanctuary For Families. “And yet, sex trafficking in New York is still considered a non-violent felony. Lawmakers must set aside politics and protect people.”