New York Sex Trafficking Attorneys: Fighting for Justice
What is Sex Trafficking?
Sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. It involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to compel someone into commercial sex acts. This includes prostitution, pornography, exotic dancing, massage work, etc.
Traffickers specifically target vulnerable populations like immigrants, runaway youth, those facing homelessness, or people with substance abuse issues. Traffickers use psychological manipulation, threats, debt bondage, isolation and other tactics to maintain control over their victims.
While some mistakenly view sex trafficking as a choice, it is absolutely not. Trafficking victims face unimaginable abuse and have no way out. Many develop trauma bonds with their traffickers, making it extremely difficult to leave.
New York Sex Trafficking Laws
New York has strong laws in place to combat sex trafficking and help survivors rebuild their lives. Here are some key statutes:
- Sex trafficking – It is illegal to profit from or advance prostitution by means of force, fraud, or coercion. This includes recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining a person for sex work. Penalties range from 3-25 years in prison.
- Patronizing a victim of sexual servitude – It is illegal to engage in sexual conduct with someone you know is a trafficking victim. This crime carries a penalty of 1-7 years in prison.
- Promoting prostitution – Knowingly advancing or profiting from prostitution is illegal, even if force, fraud or coercion are not present. This includes pimping, running a brothel, or allowing use of your premises for prostitution. Penalties range from 2-7 years in prison.
New York also has strong victim protection laws. Minors under 18 cannot be charged with prostitution – they are treated as trafficking victims. Trafficking survivors can also vacate prior prostitution convictions and clear their records.
Sex Trafficking Defenses
The complexity of sex trafficking cases means skilled legal advocacy is crucial. An experienced attorney can protect your rights and help you avoid devastating consequences.
Here are some potential defenses in New York sex trafficking cases:
- Duress – If you engaged in illegal acts because you feared immediate harm to yourself or others, this may provide a defense. Your attorney can argue you lacked criminal intent.
- Entrapment – If police induced you to commit crimes you otherwise wouldn’t have, this may invalidate charges. Your attorney can show you were not predisposed to trafficking absent police misconduct.
- Misidentification – Eyewitness misidentification is a common cause of wrongful convictions. Your attorney can challenge questionable ID procedures and cast doubt on witness testimony.
- Unlawful search – Illegally obtained evidence can be suppressed on 4th Amendment grounds. This removes tainted evidence from your case.
A skilled lawyer will thoroughly investigate your case, identify defenses and hold the state accountable. Do not hesitate to exercise your rights.
How Lawyers Help Trafficking Survivors Rebuild Their Lives
Beyond criminal defense, attorneys play a vital role in helping survivors access social services, recover damages and move forward:
- Connect with benefits – Lawyers assist trafficking victims in accessing medical care, housing, job training, immigration relief and other critical services.
- File civil suits – Attorneys help survivors file lawsuits against traffickers, hotels, websites and others who enabled exploitation. This allows survivors to recover financial damages.
- Clear criminal records – Lawyers help trafficking victims vacate prostitution and other convictions, wipe clean their records and restore their futures.
- Win immigration relief – Attorneys help foreign-born survivors obtain T and U visas, protecting victims from deportation.
- Advocate for laws and policies – Lawyers work with lawmakers to implement policies that prevent trafficking and support survivors.
Survivors face immense challenges rebuilding their lives. Compassionate legal advocacy provides critical support.
How New Yorkers Can Help End Sex Trafficking
The good news is everyday New Yorkers have power to create change. Here are some ways you can help:
- Learn the indicators – Know how to spot trafficking and report concerns to the National Hotline (1-888-373-7888). Signs include a controlling companion, lack of ID, and signs of abuse.
- Support survivors – Donate to anti-trafficking organizations and volunteer at shelters. Survivor-led groups like GEMS and Sanctuary for Families offer direct services.
- Hold businesses accountable – Advocate for hotels, truck stops, massage parlors and other businesses to train staff in spotting trafficking.
- Change cultural attitudes – Challenge norms that devalue women and youth. Promote healthy views on gender, sex and consent in your community.
- Vote informed – Support lawmakers who prioritize anti-trafficking policies. Elect officials committed to prosecuting traffickers and funding survivor services.
The fight against sex trafficking requires all of us working together. By learning the facts, advocating for survivors and promoting justice, we can end this exploitation.
Sex trafficking causes unthinkable harm, but there is hope. Thanks to the tireless work of survivors, advocates and attorneys, real progress is being made.
My hope is that this article empowers you to join the fight. Please reach out if you or a loved one needs legal help related to trafficking. With compassion and determination, we can build a New York free from exploitation.