Statement by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., on Passage of Child Sex Trafficking Act

June 13, 2018

“Today, New York joined 48 states to put children’s interests ahead of traffickers’. Under New York’s antiquated sex trafficking laws, a child who is otherwise too young to consent to sex is presumed to have consented to being prostituted. For decades, this unjust and illogical requirement has imposed an extraordinarily high burden for prosecutors, and has resulted in young survivors having to testify in court – sitting feet away from their traffickers – just to prove that they were forced into prostitution.

“Today, that changed. Led by Assemblymember Amy Paulin and Senator Andrew Lanza, our legislators declared with one voice that a child sold for sex is a victim of sex trafficking, plain and simple. This legislative fix will have a monumental impact on my Office’s prosecutions, and on the young survivors that we see every day.

“I am deeply thankful to the advocates who have fought long and hard to see this legislative fix become reality, to Assemblymember Paulin and Senator Lanza for their unwavering commitment to survivors of trafficking, and to Speaker Heastie for his strong leadership. I urge Governor Cuomo to sign this bill into law as soon as possible.”