The resolution would be for the Rockland County Legislature to call upon the State Legislature to consider and act on recommendations made by the New York Bar Association's Special Committee on Human Trafficking, including the following measures:
- Reclassifying sex trafficking as a Class B felony
- Immunity for whistle blowers
- Monetary reward when prosecution results
- Make suspicion of child trafficking a reporter requirement
- Amend child protective provisions to include child victims of trafficking
- Expand surveillance authority
- Expand victim referral services
- Allow victims to bring cases to civil courts
“Human trafficking is a depraved, unconscionable act which enslaves and exploits children and adults for illicit monetary gain,” Cornell said. “Our laws must be improved to deter this criminal activity by strengthening prosecution and allowing measures that threaten the profitability of traffickers. The state should establish a civil private right of action to allow victims to bring cases to civil court, undercutting the profit motive of traffickers. We must also ensure that the victims receive appropriate care in the aftermath of their individual circumstance.”
According to the New York State Bar Association report, there were nearly 12,000 cases of human trafficking in New York between 2000 and 2010. State officials have confirmed 224 incidents since 2007.Rockland County officials, including Cornell, have put a greater focus on the issue with Super Bowl XLVIII coming to MetLife Stadium nearby East Rutherford, NJ Feb. 2.
“Because this year’s Super Bowl will be held in New Jersey, much attention is presently focused on the probability of increased activity. New York’s anti-trafficking laws still fall short,” stated Cornell. “I support the NYS Bar Association recommendations which focus on child trafficking, sex trafficking and labor trafficking. This is Modern-day slavery and it occurs on our doorstep. Efforts to prosecute and curb this inhuman activity should be a part of our consciousness, year round. I urge the State Legislature to enact into law these comprehensive recommendations.”Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe joined Cornell and Carolyn Fish, executive director of the Center For Safety & Change at a press conference to talk about measures being taken to address concerns that large-scale events such as the Super Bowl can be a draw for sex trafficking in October. Read more about that here.