By Emma Whitford
February 2, 2017
Speaking at One Police Plaza on Wednesday, First Lady Chirlane McCray urged victims of sex trafficking in New York City to trust the police to investigate, prosecute, and punish pimps and johns. Acknowledging President Trump’s recent executive orders, which could give federal immigration officials greater leverage to deport non-citizens, she made a special overture to immigrant victims, urging them to come forward with tips.
New York has passed legislation in recent years to protect adults and minors accused of prostitution. The state’s safe harbor law protects children 17 and under from being charged with prostitution. And in 2009 the state passed legislation that can help human trafficking victims erase prostitution and related convictions from their criminal records. Over the next three years, Safe Horizon will place two advocates in each police precinct across the city.
“New York is still a sanctuary city, and it does mean that no law enforcement agency will pass on [immigration] information if someone is seeking help,” said attorney Shani Adess, head of the Immigration Law Project at Safe Horizon. “The more you have these specially-trained police officers… the absolute better.”