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May 16, 2014

New York State Bill Creates Stiffer Penalties for Traffickers

By Jill Savitt

On Tuesday, victims of sex trafficking gathered in Albany to urge New York State lawmakers to pass a new bill that would create stronger criminal penalties for traffickers who force people into sexual slavery.  The measure, which failed when it was introduced last year due to controversial provisions in the bill, is now being introduced as a stand-alone measure. 

The focus of the bill reflects a growing concern in the effort to combat human trafficking:  despite great successes in securing anti-trafficking laws and policies -- especially those focused on protecting and supporting victims -- the overall incidence of human trafficking remains unchanged. While victim-focused work is essential and must continue, there must be a focus on changing the calculus for exploiters if we are ever to end or reduce the instances of human trafficking––increasing the risks, penalties, and punishments for those who enslave other human beings.   

According to the bill's sponsor, Assemblywoman Amy Paulson, going after the exploiters is the next frontier in combatting trafficking. "This bill builds on our collective efforts to end human trafficking," she said, "by increasing accountability of the real criminals, the buyers and traffickers who continue to fuel the growth of this massive, disgusting industry."