WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale) announced that legislation she authored to waive the mandatory surcharge and crime victim assistance fee in cases where the defendant who pleads guilty to prostitution is found to be a sex trafficking victim was one of three of her bills signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, Sept. 23.
Before the bill was passed, if a victim pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct to get released he or she had to pay a surcharge and a crime victim assistance fee of $120.
New York is a leader in passing laws that help sex trafficking victims. However, until this bill was signed, the state prevented sex trafficking victims from escaping their lives of exploitation by imposing these charges on them. “This bill is very important for the simple fact that when these victims were charged these fees, many had no choice but to return to their traffickers to pay them,” Paulin said. “As a result, they could not break the cycle of violence and abuse. Now, because they will not have to pay these fees, victims can turn to a service provider that will give them critical services they need to return to as normal a life as possible without ever having to be subject to exploitation by their traffickers again. We have to remember that these individuals are victims and shouldn’t even be charged with a crime.” Paulin's bills A8661/S06595 and A9570/S07227 also were signed into law. A8661 increases the efficiency of the public bidding process and reduces costs for schools and local governments by expanding the number of bidders on contracts that require a bidding process.
A9570 requires disclosure of conflicts of interest by any member of the board of education, officer or employee of a board of cooperative educational services when leasing of real property by boards of cooperative educational services is being considered.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.