Advocates Discuss Efforts To Protect Trafficked Youth

Posted: May 9th, 2013 | by Yuval Sheer

On April 30th, New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Judge Corriero and Dorchen Leidholdt, Director of the Sanctuary for Families Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services, discussed the effort to protect young victims of sex trafficking during an interview on the program Capital Tonight.

New York was the first state in the nation to pass Safe Harbor legislation aimed at protecting minors who are subject to commercial sexual exploitation. Pursuant to this legislation, exploited youth are not prosecuted as juvenile delinquents in the Family Court. Rather, in such cases, the Family Court connects such children with child welfare services and protections.

However, it must be recognized that, since New York is one of only two states in the nation to set the age of criminal responsibility as low as 16, 16- and 17-year-old prostituted children arrested in New York are tried in the adult court system, and not in the Family Court. As a result, such children do not receive the protections of the Safe Harbor Act. In light of our state’s current statute, these exploited youth remain exposed to criminalization and adult incarceration, and have no access to services that are available under the Family Court Act.

To view the full interview, please click the image below


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