Human Trafficking

New York State's human trafficking law is the most comprehensive of its kind in the country, providing law enforcement with new tools to fight what has been described as "modern-day slavery."

Sex trafficking can occur in brothels and massage parlors, and is promoted in advertisements in magazines, newspapers and on the Internet, while men and women who work as domestic help, in restaurants, factories and on farms can fall victim to labor trafficking.

Supply and Demand

The law is designed to attack the "supply" side of human trafficking by creating two new crimes – sex trafficking and labor trafficking. It gives prosecutors the ability to bring charges against purveyors of so-called "prostitution tourism."

New York's law also targets demand by eliminating the distinction between trafficking and prostitution. It increases the penalty for patronizing a prostitute from three months in jail to up to a year.

Difficult to Detect

Human trafficking is a difficult crime to detect, largely because victims are hidden from public view and the means used by traffickers are many times subtle. To ensure that law enforcement agencies and social service organizations are getting the training and education they need to facilitate coordinated implementation of the law, the state also has created the Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking.

The Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking is co-chaired by the Commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Commissioner of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Other state agencies on the Task Force are:

The Task Force's goals are to:

  • Recommend interagency protocols and best practices for training and outreach to the law enforcement community and to service providers.
  • Gather data on the number of victims and the effectiveness of the new law.
  • Evaluate approaches to increase public awareness about trafficking and make recommendations on those approaches.