New York State's human trafficking law provides law enforcement with tools to investigate and prosecute human trafficking, which has been described as modern-day slavery, and offers individuals who are victims of this crime assistance and support through the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and a statewide network of human services providers and legal advocates.
Law enforcement agencies and established social services and legal services providers with information that an individual may be a victim of human trafficking should use this referral form to report the case to the state. Staff from the Division of Criminal Justice Services, in consultation with the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, review the referrals to determine whether an individual is eligible for assistance.
Supply and Demand
The law is designed to attack the "supply" side of human trafficking by creating two new crimes – sex trafficking and labor trafficking. It gives prosecutors the ability to bring charges against purveyors of so-called "prostitution tourism."
New York's law also targets demand by eliminating the distinction between trafficking and prostitution. It increases the penalty for patronizing a prostitute from three months in jail to up to a year.
Difficult to Detect
Human trafficking is a difficult crime to detect, largely because victims are hidden from public view and the means used by traffickers are many times subtle. To ensure that law enforcement agencies and social service organizations are getting the training and education they need to facilitate coordinated implementation of the law, the state also has created the Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking.
The Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking is co-chaired by the Commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Commissioner of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Other state agencies on the Task Force are:
- Department of Health
- Office of Mental Health
- Department of Labor
- Office of Children and Family Services
- Office of Addiction Services and Supports
- New York State Office of Victim Services
- Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
- State Police
The Task Force's goals are to:
- Recommend interagency protocols and best practices for training and outreach to the law enforcement community and to service providers.
- Gather data on the number of victims and the effectiveness of the new law.
- Evaluate approaches to increase public awareness about trafficking and make recommendations on those approaches.