Monday, April 21, 2008

NY: State to Amp Up Sex Trade Fight

NEW YORK - A 15-year-old runaway from a juvenile facility is offered up on Craigslist for sex at a Rockland County motel. Immigrants working at a massage parlor at a local strip mall sell sexual services. A travel agency tailors trips abroad for men seeking sex with prostitutes and children.

These are some of the outlets for human trafficking locally and in cities and suburbs throughout the country. Trafficking involves victims who are forced, defrauded or coerced into labor, many of whom end up working in the sex trade.

Though the sex trade is a historic and pervasive problem, the tools for fighting it have become more modern and effective in New York state, said Ken Franzblau, a Rockland County resident who has been fighting human trafficking for the past 13 years. Now it's just a matter of getting law enforcement to use those tools, he said.

"Part of the whole national failure on human trafficking has been the historic approach to prostitution. Once you've arrested somebody for prostitution, too often that represents the end of the case as far as law enforcement is concerned," said Franzblau, who became the state's first director of human trafficking at the Division of Criminal Justice Services in September.

A few agencies are starting to take on trafficking and the sex trade more aggressively. Franzblau said the Spring Valley Police Department has been one of the most effective and comprehensive police forces in the state when it comes to handling prostitution cases. He also praised Clarkstown for passing a law requiring massage parlor employees to have professional licenses, which was intended to tackle prostitution...

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT LoHud.com

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