Senate Bill 6894 and Assembly Bill 9453 would amend the state’s sex trafficking law to include anyone who advances or profits from the prostitution of a minor, regardless of the means used. This piece of legislation is crucial for filling a critical gap in New York’s human trafficking law. New York is one of only four states that does not identify commercially sexually exploited children as sex trafficking victims without requiring proof of force, fraud, or coercion. In addition to the overwhelming majority of its sister states, New York’s current sex trafficking law is not aligned with the federal definition of sex trafficking, for the same reasons.
Recognizing that the buying and selling of children for sex constitutes child sex trafficking, regardless of what means are used, is a cornerstone element in preventing and identifying instances of sex trafficking and protecting minor victims. These bills would specifically criminalize the commercial sexual exploitation of children as sex trafficking without requiring proof of force, fraud or coercion. Sex trafficking laws should identify all minors sold for commercial sex as victims of sex trafficking, regardless of whether force, threats or impairment of judgement induced through administering drugs were used to gain or keep control of the minor. Unlike their adult counterparts, children are especially vulnerable to adults who prey on them for purposes of exploitation and abuse. Acknowledging that children are innately dependent on adults, and therefore, more trusting, children are likely to fall victim to commercial sexual exploitation without an adult necessarily employing force, fraud, or coercion over the child. Eliminating the force, fraud, or coercion requirement from New York’s human trafficking statute is an imperative step in recognizing all children engaged in commercial sex as victims of sex trafficking and, therefore, qualifying for necessary services and protection.
Please join us as we support the passage of SB 6894 and AB 9453 and ask New York legislators to prioritize the protection of all children engaged in commercial sex as sex trafficking victims!