Position Statement -2018
Establishes the Crime of Sex Trafficking of a Child as a Class B Felony
A.6823B (Paulin)/S.5988A (Lanza)
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (“WBASNY”) strongly supports this bill which amends the penal law by adding a new section 230.34-a to provide that a person is guilty of sex trafficking of a child when he or she intentionally advances or profits from prostitution of another person and such other person is a child less than eighteen years old. There is no knowledge element of this crime and as such there is no defense to a prosecution that the defendant did not know the age of the child or believed such age to be the same as or greater than that specified in this section. This bill would further provide that in any prosecution under 230.34-a in which the defendant is less than nineteen years old, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant’s participation in the offense was the result of having been a trafficking victim under applicable New York statute or under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Sex trafficking of a child is a class B felony.
The following is an illustrative case:
Fourteen year old J. was lured into prostitution by her 40 year old boyfriend Mac. For months, J was sold online for sex and was required to make a quota set by Mac. Although Mac deceived J repeatedly and at times used force to ensure J’s obedience, J believed that Mac loved her and refused to testify against him. This refusal to testify is common in the trafficker-victim relationship as the victims are traumatically bonded to their trafficker, who alternates caring and violent gestures to manipulate their victims.
By amending the Penal Law to create the offense of sex trafficking of a child, the need to prove force, fraud, or coercion is eliminated and will align the New York penal law with the Family Court Act, which creates a presumption that a minor charged with prostitution is a sex trafficking victim. This bill will also nearly mirror the federal TVPA, which states that all prostituted children are trafficking victims, and will enable prosecutors to hold accountable those individuals who enslave children for commercial sex while assisting children escape their traffickers without criminal charges.
As an organization comprised of attorneys and judges across the state in private practice, government, academia and the courts dedicated to the advancement of women in law and society WBASNY supports this bill.