NYATN Statement on 2015 Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act: Calling on the NYS Senate to Pass Additional Anti-Trafficking Legislation
The NY Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) is the first network of anti-trafficking service providers, policy advocates, and activists in New York State. NYATN has provided direct legal and social services to several thousand survivors of human trafficking since 2002. NYATN is dedicated to ending human trafficking and to providing qualified and appropriate services that give survivors the help they want and need in reclaiming their lives.
NYATN roots our advocacy work in basic human rights principles. We are dedicated to a nuanced approach to anti-trafficking efforts that reduces reliance on the criminal justice system and instead values economic opportunity, immigration policy change, and gender equality. We stand firm in promoting dignity, self-determination, and opportunity for people of all genders and experiences.
Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (A.506/S.007)
NYATN welcomes efforts to improve New York’s current anti-trafficking law—already one of the strongest and most comprehensive in the country—particularly those efforts aimed at meeting the needs of trafficking survivors. We are extremely pleased that the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA) includes a private right of action for survivors of trafficking to seek compensation and economic justice, as well as an affirmative defense for people trafficked into prostitution. We appreciate that the TVPJA streamlines access to services for survivors.
While passage of the TVPJA is an important step forward in providing for the needs of trafficking survivors, its primary focus appears to be on enhanced criminal penalties that neither prevent trafficking, nor protect victims and survivors of trafficking. In fact, some of these provisions—such as the increase in penalties for crimes involving vehicles—actually harm victims of trafficking, as it is often a driver who facilitates escape from a trafficking situation. The provisions focused on prostitution in a school zone do not address trafficking at all. In addition, the provisions adding new offenses to the sex offender registry are not designed to identify traffickers or survivors of trafficking, and they do not prevent trafficking. In fact, they cause greater harm to young people and others at risk of being trafficked. Finally, the TVPJA does not equalize treatment of trafficking into all labor sectors.
NYATN is concerned and disappointed these unnecessary and potentially harmful provisions on criminal offenses have been included in the final TVPJA. We continue to call for responses to trafficking in persons rooted in human rights and dignity for all people at risk of being trafficked.
We applaud Assemblyman Joseph Lentol for recognizing several service-related elements were missing from the TVPJA and addressing this in a separate bill, A.2953. The Assembly has wisely passed the Lentol bill, and we now call on the Senate to take action this coming session. We ask for immediate action on this important additional component of New York’s anti-trafficking response and urge both houses to also pass the End Criminalization of Condoms Act, which would protect those most vulnerable to trafficking into prostitution. NYATN understands that enactment of the TVPJA does not signify that we have met all of New York’s anti-trafficking legislative priorities and recognizes there is more that can be accomplished toward this goal. We look forward to working with the Assembly and Senate to continue to improve New York State’s response to this crucial human rights issue.
The New York City Bar has released its memorandum on the New York Women’s Equality Act (A.8070), including its analysis of “Part H – Strengthening Sex Trafficking Laws.” The City Bar’s Committee on Sex and Law supports the greater emphasis on services for trafficked persons, the creation of an affirmative defense where the defendant’s participation was a result of having been a victim of sex trafficking, and the raising of the penalty for labor trafficking to a B felony. The Committee also noted that Assembly Member Joseph Lentol’s bill, A.7474, creates a private right of action for trafficked persons to seek compensation as well as a right to counsel for trafficked persons seeking to vacate convictions from their criminal records. Read more.
Read more about NYATN’s memorandum in support of A.M. Lentol’s bill, A.7474. Please consider signing on.
NYATN is Pleased to Support New York Bill A.7474 (Lentol), Which Prioritizes the Needs of Human Trafficking Victims and Survivors
Update: As of June 20, 2013, we have the following organizational sign-ons: Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, International Institute of Buffalo, Safe Horizon, Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights (formerly Rabbis for Human Rights – North America), University of Buffalo Women, Children, and Social Justice Law Clinic, Volunteer Lawyers Project, Worker Justice Center of New York, and YWCA of Niagara County.
NYATN presents its Memorandum in Support of A.7474, a bill introduced by New York State Assembly Members Joseph Lentol (D-50), Andrew Hevesi (D-28), and Daniel O’Donnell (D-69) on May 21, 2013. This bill is critical to facilitating the identification of trafficked persons, improving their access to much needed services, and enabling them to more safely aid in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers.
NYATN is pleased to support this legislation, which clearly addresses the circumstances faced by victims of human trafficking and prioritizes their needs. For more details, please review our memorandum in support of this important legislation.
We hope you sign on and share our support!
Updated: Photos of our successful event: Sienna Baskin, Trafficker Place of Origin, Experiences of Poverty, and Oscar Montiel Torres & Research in Mexico! More photos, courtesy of Yangbo Du: Policy Recommendations for Mexico, Policy Recommendations for the United States, Recommendations for NGOs, Trauma after Trafficking, Escape from Trafficking, Personal Connection, Experiences of Poverty, Main Findings, and Survivor Place of Origin.
NYATN presents “The Road North,” recent research on trafficking from Mexico to New York City.
For generations, women have been trafficked from the Tlaxcala region in Mexico to New York City. The Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center will share their new report on this phenomenon, and researchers from Mexico will discuss new research and ideas for prevention.
- Avaloy Lanning, Director of Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program
- Sienna Baskin, Co-Director of Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center
- Oscar Montiel Torres, Observatorio Contra La Trata De Personas Con Fines De Exploitacion Sexual, Mexico
This event takes place on February 28 at 10 am. Breakfast will be served! Please RSVP.
In light of the Secret Service Scandal, NYATN Member Sienna Baskin Stresses the Plight of Sex Workers
NYATN Member Sex Workers Project Co-Director Sienna Baskin stresses the plight of sex workers in light of the prostitution scandal that has rocked the Secret Service on ABC News. In support of New York’s A1008/S323, which would prohibit police and prosecutors from citing possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution, she states, “We’ve found in New York that when sex workers are criminalized, they are afraid to go to police when they are victims of crime, including theft, rape and human trafficking.” Show your support for A1008/S323. Read more….
The San Francisco Chronicle covered NYATN member Sex Workers Project’s advocacy efforts in support of a bill that would ban law enforcement from using condoms as a reason to arrest sex workers in Albany, NY yesterday. An excerpt from the article:
“‘We have heard from clients so often that they’re afraid to carry condoms because of police harassment that we know it’s having a public health impact,’ Sienna Baskin, co-director of the Sex Workers Project, said in a telephone interview yesterday. ‘This would be New York taking a leadership role and addressing an issue other states haven’t yet addressed.'”
In recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the New York Asian Women’s Center and John Jay College of Criminal Justice will host a forum on “Dynamics of Human Trafficking in New York City” on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 6 pm. Speakers include NYATN member Ivy Suriyopas, staff attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Deanna Croce, Training and Outreach Manager in the Anti-Trafficking Program at Safe Horizon. RSVP at johnjay.jjay.cuny.edu/gradorientation/event.aspx.