New trafficking laws require signs and training to help victims

New Yorkers will soon start seeing more signs in public spaces with information on how to report human trafficking after a series of new bills were recently signed into law to help combat sex trafficking. and the work.

Governor Kathy Hochul signed a package of eight bills in late July requiring that information about human trafficking and ways to help victims be prominently displayed in the form of information cards and signs at places where the victims are most often taken away. These include airports, bus stations, hotels and truck stops. The new legislation will also increase human trafficking awareness training for employees in these industries.

The information will help give victims a discreet way to find the resources available to help them, as well as employees and the public on what to look for.

“We need to alert women, mostly very young, that they have somewhere they can go where they can escape,” said MP Amy Paulin, a Democrat from Scarsdale who sponsored the legislative package at the lower house.

As part of the eight-bill package, Hochul has also signed laws to require hotel employees to undergo human trafficking awareness training, and for human trafficking training awareness programs. alcohol certified by the State Liquor Authority include a human trafficking component.

The laws will come into force at the end of September.

Victims, including minors, women and transgender people, are often taken to hotels and bars to solicit and purchase sexual services.

Paulin said the laws will create new ways for frightened victims to find resources, organizations and services to help them get the treatment and services they need to start healing for the next chapter in their lives.

“We continue to think of ways to find the victims and let them know that there are services to get them out of this horrible situation,” Paulin said.

The US State Department estimates that 25 million people were trafficked worldwide in 2021, with hundreds reported to New York each year.

Here’s a seven-year snapshot of confirmed victims of trafficking in the state, as compiled by the Office of Temporary Disability and State Assistance, broken down by reports from the five-borough New York area. York and the rest of the state:

Source: State Bureau of Temporary Aid and Disability Assistance

Victims of human and sex trafficking often pass through airports, bars and other transportation hubs, and are frequently taken to hotels.

Human trafficking is a $150 billion a year global industry. New York is often used as an entry point for victims imported from other countries at airports or at the Canadian border.

“There really isn’t a corner, a neighborhood, a city, anywhere in New York and across this country where human trafficking doesn’t take place,” said Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women of New York.

Ossorio also says the trafficking of men into forced labor in the construction and labor industries is more common upstate.

“There have been cases where you will have people who could be families where the men are trafficked into construction jobs or work on farms across New York, and the women are trafficked into the domestic servitude to clean people’s homes,” she explained. “It’s all in the arena of labor trafficking, and it exists right here.”

New laws require maps and information signs in public restrooms at all New York airports, including John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia airports, and transportation terminals overseen by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Signs and cards should include the national human trafficking hotline number and details of victim support services.

An identical bill was proposed in the New Jersey Legislature in May and is awaiting passage by lawmakers to successfully implement changes to Port Authority-controlled transportation hubs.

New York is the fourth most active state in terms of reported cases of human trafficking – behind California, Texas and Florida, according to data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Calls from victims and survivors of trafficking have continued to increase in recent years, but reports have declined during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PDF below shows sex trafficking and labor charge decisions by year for the 10-year period from 2012 to 2021, showing a significant decline during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Source: State Criminal Justice Services Division

Joshua B. Speller