Queens, NY – The New York State Assembly joined together earlier this week to pass a comprehensive package of legislation to combat human trafficking, including the unanimous passage of two bills (A.551 & A.2636-A) authored by Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi.
According to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, 80 percent of trafficking victims are recognized as female and over 50 percent are children. Further, an estimated 100,000-300,000 children in the United States are currently involved in sex trafficking.
Assemblymember Hevesi’s legislation would increase the state’s resources in an effort to target and eradicate this heinous crime. A.2636-A would authorize the Attorney General to create a 24-hour hotline to encourage the reporting of information related to crimes involving human trafficking. Anyone may call without having to compromise their identity, and know that the information they deliver will be sent to the appropriate district attorney for investigation and potential prosecution. A.551 strengthens the Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking by appointing seven new members to the task force. Hevesi’s bill ensures that all who have a role in fighting human trafficking (law enforcement, the legislature, the executive, nonprofit orgs, etc.) have up-to-date information, particularly regarding the efficacy of their policies.
The Assembly bill package seeks to improve and expand upon the 2007 milestone statute that created new offenses and increased penalties for sex and labor trafficking. The legislation must now be ratified by the New York State Senate and signed by Governor Cuomo before it can become law.
Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi, chair of the Assembly Social Services Committee, said, “We must constantly evaluate the available services in order to ensure that we are addressing the needs of victims and doing all we can to help prevent further victimization and exploitation. Combating human trafficking in New York and across the globe is a daunting task and we must remain vigilant in our efforts to eradicate it.”