Target: Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York State
Goal: Prosecute sex traffickers as violent criminals and offer support to underage sex workers instead of arresting them
Currently, New York law categorizes sex trafficking as a “nonviolent” crime. Routinely, 16- and 17-year-old sex trafficking victims are arrested as criminals, and prosecutors of those who buy sex from a minor are required to prove the buyer knew the victim was underage. The penalty for buying sex from a minor is lower than for the crime of raping a minor of the same age. The New York Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA) would ensure that sex trafficking is treated like a violent crime, eliminate the ignorance of age defense and provide support services to underage prostitutes instead of arresting them. Urge New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to support and help pass the TVPJA.
In New York state, thousands of children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation, according to the New York Office of Child and Family Services. However, the perpetrators of sex trafficking, including pimps and buyers of underage sex, are arrested less often than the victims themselves: according to advocacy group Equality Now, “three times as many women and girls were arrested for prostitution than pimps and buyers in New York” in 2011. Even if buyers of underage sex are caught, prosecutors must prove that the buyer was aware that the prostitute was underage, so buyers can get away with a less harsh punishment just by saying they did not know how the age of the person they bought sex from.
The TVPJA would change New York law and treat sex trafficking as the violent crime it is. It would eliminate the ignorance of age defense for people who buy sex from minors, and it would make the penalty for buying sex from a minor the same as for statutory rape. Authorities would not waste their resources prosecuting 16- and 17-year-old sex trafficking victims; the TVPJA would allow these victims to receive the support and services they need instead of arrests.
Sign the petition below to tell New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to support the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act, and help fight the human trafficking industry.
Dear Governor Andrew M. Cuomo,
I urge you to support and pass the New York Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA). This would offer protections to victims of sex trafficking and allocate resources toward prosecuting pimps and buyers of underage sex, rather than arresting 16- and 17-year-old sex trafficking victims. Passage of the TVPJA would ensure that underage victims of sex trafficking receive services that would help them get out of the industry, rather than giving them criminal records.
Sex trafficking is multi-billion dollar industry worldwide. Please help bring down pimps and buyers by supporting and passing the New York Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Alyssa L. Miller via Flickr