On December 10, 2012, ECPAT USA testified at the public hearing of the NY State Assembly convened by Amy Paulin, Member of Assembly and Chair of the Committee on Children and Families. In our testimony presented by ECPAT USA NY Policy and Program Development Director Camelia Tepelus, we asked NY legislators for:
- support for passing the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA, A.9804/S.7212), legislation that will address some of the current weaknesses of 2008 Safe Harbor, notably recognizing that buying children for sex is child abuse and creating the felony “aggravated patronizing a minor for prostitution”, aligning penalties for patronizing a minor with those for statutory rape;
- support correcting an important problem in Safe Harbor implementation: that the criminal justice system still treats 16- and 17- year old victims as criminal defendants, not as victims of trafficking;
- support to increase funding for available specialized services to commercially sexually exploited children, and in particular long-term safe housing options, and for expanding the group of people authorized to make referrals to social services to actually include the established service providers, who are often the first to interact with the victims and gain their trust.
ECPAT USA would like to thank Assembly Member Amy Paulin representing Assembly District 88, for her leadership on protecting children from sexual exploitation and for providing comprehensive services for victims of trafficking in New York State and for supporting innovative legislation including the TVPJA the forthcoming NY State legislative session.
The text of ECPAT USA testimony can be downloaded here Testimony to the NY State Assembly – Dec 10 2012