The New York State Assembly today unanimously passed legislation to save lives by preventing the exploitation of children and adults who are victims of human trafficking. The Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act will improve New York State’s response to human trafficking and increase the accountability of buyers and traffickers.
Under the leadership of Sanctuary for Families and working closely alongside members of The New York Anti-Trafficking Coalition , Graham Windham spent the past two years advocating for provisions of the measure including increasing the accountability of traffickers and buyers by raising the penalty for sex trafficking to a class B violent felony; creating the felony sex offense of “aggravated patronizing a minor”; and aligning the penalties for patronizing a minor with those of statutory rape.
While early experiences in our young people’s lives make them vulnerable to the horrors of human trafficking, they are exceedingly capable of leading healthy, productive lives when we protect them, invest in them, and surround them with positive, lasting relationships with peers and adults. The Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act is built on this belief in the capacity of young people and the importance of protecting and investing in their lives, and takes significant and important steps to act on it.
We applaud Speaker Carl Heastie and members of the New York State Assembly Majority for passing this historic legislation and call for continued investment in young people to make New York a model in the fight to end human trafficking.