WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Sex trafficking survivors and anti-trafficking advocates are joining Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and State Sen. Andrew Lanza to urge the state legislature to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act.
The TVPJA would "strengthen existing anti-trafficking laws and address the impunity of those who prey on them – the pimps, traffickers, and buyers," according to a press release. Paulin and Lanza joined members of the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition, a statewide coalition representing over 140 organizations during a press conference, according to the release.
Speakers at the press conference included Hon. Judy Harris Kluger, Executive Director, Sanctuary for Families; Lauren Hersh, Director, Anti Trafficking Policy & Advocacy, Sanctuary for Families; Sonia Ossorio, President, NOW NYC; Taina Bien-Aimé, Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women; Lisa Hofflich, co-chair, New York State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior League; and Janmarie Brown, Director of Gateways, a program of Jewish Child Care Association.
"Also speaking were teen survivors of sex trafficking, some of whom had been trafficked as young as nine," representatives said in the release. "These teen survivors were joined by advocates from Generation Free, a teen anti-trafficking movement working to end exploitation."
Following the press conference, teen advocates performed excerpts from "A Day in the Life," a play created and performed by the Arts Effect that explores how the commercial sex trade impacts girls, according to the release.
“The effort to bring those who engage in human trafficking to justice and raise public awareness of this heinous exploitation of vulnerable children and adults has been a long journey,” said Paulin. “Slowly, we are bringing out of the shadows the commercial sexual exploitation of young men, women and children.
"By listening to these courageous survivors we begin to understand the depth and complexity of the circumstances that led to their victimization so that we can implement effective means not only to prevent human trafficking but also to eradicate it altogether, and provide victims with the critical services they need to escape from their traffickers and rebuild their lives.”