Assemblywoman Amy Paulin’s Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act Passed by NYS Assembly

Albany – Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88) is pleased to announce that her Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (A.506) was passed by the NYS Assembly on Monday and will now be sent to Governor Cuomo to be signed into law. Also passed was A.2469, which waives the DNA databank fee ($50) for victims of human trafficking.


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.

Busloads of supporters were in Albany on Monday to push for the bill’s passage and were on-hand to celebrate when the Assembly vote was counted.

“I can’t begin to say how thrilled I am that the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act has finally passed,” 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 twenty-seven million people who are trafficked each year, the majority 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.”

In addition to making sex trafficking a Class B violent felony, A506 creates three aggravated patronizing offenses when the person being patronized is a minor. Previously, an individual convicted of patronizing a minor for the services of prostitution would receive a lesser penalty than one who rapes a minor of the same age. This distinction undercut “safe harbor laws” in place and common understanding that minors in prostitution are sexually exploited children. Imposing a lesser penalty for individuals who pay to abuse suggests that the exchange of money minimizes the magnitude of the offense. Also, the bill improves the school-zone prostitution law by making the offense of patronizing a person for prostitution within the vicinity of a school a Class E felony.

The passing of this bill in the Assembly also represents a victory for Paulin in that she was able to get it voted on as a stand-alone rather than keeping it as part of the Governor’s 10-point Women’s Agenda. The 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.

“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.”

The New York State Senate passed the TVJPA earlier this year.