Assemblywoman Amy Paulin’s Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act Signed into Law

SCARSDALE— Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88) is proud to announce that her Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (A.506) was signed into law by Governor Cuomo on Wednesday.

The Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act is a comprehensive bill that improves upon the current law by increasing criminal penalties for sex and labor trafficking, compelling and promoting prostitution, patronizing a minor for prostitution and patronizing in a school zone. The TVPJA creates new crimes of aggravated patronizing a minor for prostitution, aligns the penalties for patronizing a minor with those of statutory rape and eliminates the term “prostitute” in the Penal Law. This law gives law enforcement the tools they need to convict the criminals and addresses the financial and emotional needs of the young victims.

Paulin and her supporters have been lobbying to get this bill passed for several years.

“I can’t begin to say how thrilled I am that the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act has finally been signed,” Paulin said. “Human trafficking is a heinous crime in which pimps take advantage of some of the most vulnerable in our society. It’s a $32 billion industry and of the approximately 27 million people who are trafficked each year, the majority of which are girls and young women.

“New York is a leading entry, transit and destination point for trafficking victims with young women being sexually exploited in all regions of the state, urban, suburban and rural It is about time that we are holding the traffickers and buyers accountable, clamping down on a practice that harms so many people, contributes to the death of many and strips away a person’s basic human dignity.”

The bill also represents a victory for Paulin as she pushed to get it voted on as a stand-alone rather than keeping it as part of the Governor’s 10-point Women’s Equality Agenda. The NYS Assembly would not vote on the bill as a stand-alone in each of the last two years because it wanted to pass the 10-point agenda as a whole rather than vote on pieces of it. The Assembly, however, passed the measure in March, setting the stage for the Governor to sign the bill on Wednesday.

“That my colleagues were willing to get over partisan politics and vote on this bill as a stand-alone is significant,” Paulin said. “In doing so, they did the right thing and decided that helping the victims of these crimes was far more important than waging a political battle.”