New Senate Bills Take Aim at Human Trafficking Industry

J.M. Lesinski
A shot of traffic along Hertel Avenue in Buffalo, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

The New York State Senate has passed a new legislative package aimed at addressing the now-estimated one hundred-fifty-billion-dollar human trafficking industry. The bills are primarily directed towards major transportation hubs, where trafficking is most likely occurring, while also focusing on providing more public education on the matter and more resources for victims.

“Although human trafficking often operates in the shadows of our society, many of the tell-tale signs are right in front of us,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins remarked of the legislation. “As thousands of people are coerced into this industry we must do more to act on their behalf, and shed further light on this pervasive atrocity. I am very proud of the proposed legislation, which advances common-sense measures and delivers high-impact results. I want to thank the bill sponsors for their attention to this issue, and for standing on the side of survivors.”

Passed bills include S7360 - “Spot and Stop Trafficking Training,” requiring human trafficking curriculum be included in alcohol training awareness programs, S8080 – “State Contractor Anti-Trafficking Accountability,” wherein state contractors must submit a written statement saying they will prevent and not enable human trafficking in their operations in bids to the state, and S3374B - “Act to Promote Trafficking Victim Resources,” which enables better education on the subject of human trafficking and better access to referral hotlines for current victims of sex trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a growing and pervasive problem that impacts all of our communities,” stated Senator Jamaal Bailey of his bill. “This package of legislation works to combat the scourge of human trafficking and strengthen protections for victims. My bill, S3374B, would mandate that any establishment with a liquor license and all adult entertainment venues prominently displays signage with contact information related to the human trafficking hotline. Victims of trafficking face extraordinary hurdles to seeking help. Mandating visible signage in these establishments where victims are at heightened risk will help them access potentially lifesaving assistance. These bills will increase awareness, promote resources for victims, and advance preventative measures to protect against and break the cycle of exploitation.”

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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