GIRLS FOR SALE: Sexual Servitude, NY Hammers Sex Trafficking by Adeyemi Oshunrinade


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Likely you have heard the words “pimps,” “slave owner” and “sex trafficking;” if not, I encourage you to see the article titled “Modern Day Slavery” available on this blog, for insight on the horror of sexual servitude and its impacts on vulnerable girls and boys who are exploited and marketed as sex slaves, by greedy individuals dealing in such trade in exchange for money.

In New York, it is possible for a trafficker to request via the internet for vulnerable girls mostly minors, to be sent from Cambodia, Vietnam or from within NY City, to be used in the service of brothel, strip clubs, massage parlors and lap dance bars. The trafficker gets money in return by giving the victim to pedophiles who exploit such victims mostly children for sex. As long as the money continues to flow, the trafficker cares less about any moral or sense of social responsibility.

Outrageous is the role that NY livery and Taxi drivers play in promoting prostitution and sexual slavery. It is not uncommon for a trafficker to ask a NY taxi driver to pick-up a victim from a designated location; the driver then drives the victim within a 24 hours period to different places around NY, where she is used for sex and in return, the driver gets paid by the trafficker for his service. Recently, about half-dozen NY cab drivers were charged with promoting prostitution and getting a fee to help find customers for prostitutes.

In December 2011, a sex trafficking victim testified anonymously at City Council meeting where she indicated she had worked with about 70 Taxi and livery cab drivers, who transported her to about 5,000 clients where she was, used for sex and in return, her clients paid the traffickers for her services. While some cab drivers are striving to make ends meet, some engage in the illegal and unconscionable act of ferrying vulnerable minors around NY City to be used for sex.

The City Council has now recognized that Taxis and Limousine Commission, is not doing enough to combat illegal trafficking of girls in NY City. In response to the illegal trade in girls around the State, NY City Council in June passed the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act, a law targeted to combat sex trafficking and exploitation of victims in and around NY. Under the new law, NY Taxi drivers caught and convicted of felony sex trafficking for ferrying prostitutes to illicit clients would lose their licenses; there is also a $10,000 fine, vehicle forfeiture and a possible two months jail sentence. Also, the defense of age will no longer be available for those caught in the act. In the past, those arrested have claimed they have no knowledge the victim was under the legal age or that she lied about her age in order to engage in prostitution; lawmakers have now decided to strip perpetrators of the defense, to better prosecute offenders.

Based on the new law, all limousine and cab drivers must carry a TLC license to operate as a Taxi driver in NY City; they must be registered and have vehicle insurance or else face the wrath of the law. Some of those caught in the act of trafficking; operate vehicles without proper registration, insurance and driver’s license to operate a vehicle. Since the only way to trace drivers who collaborate with traffickers is through motor vehicle registration, the City has decided to introduce a verification regime to crack down on illegal drivers.

Taxis and Limousine Commission has agreed to train drivers on how to identify victims of trafficking and report such cases to the police. Also, the City is forming a partnership with some major airlines including; Delta, American Airline and JetBlue to train flight attendants, on how to recognize trafficking victims when they are transported from a foreign country to NY or from one location to another. It is estimated about 4,000 minors a year are transported to NY to be used for sex, making NY a destination for the illegal trade.

Traffickers engage in their criminal acts not only by selling young girls for money, but also boys; they target minors age 12 through 17 and sometimes prepubescent children are sold for sex. The passage of the law in NY is an indication the City has finally recognized the “unconscionable and cruel role that Taxi drivers and livery drivers are playing in this brutal attack, that keeps people trapped and takes their lives away from them,” according to Council Speaker Christine Quinn. It is high time the people of NY work together with the lawmakers and law enforcement to help end the scourge of modern-day slavery and sexual servitude.

Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is an expert in general law, foreign relations and the United Nations; follow on Twitter @san0670.

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Categories: Child Abuse and Pedophilia, General misconduct, Modern Day Slavery, Sex Trafficking, Sexual Servitude

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