Dear friends and constituents,
People Are Not For Sale.
It sounds like a simple concept, doesn’t it? The buying and selling of people in this country has been outlawed for nearly 150 years yet slavery remains a horrible stain on society. While the slavery of which I am speaking is not as overt or oppressive as what took place during our country’s formative years it is no less disgusting and dehumanizing.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. The exploitation of young men and women, turning them into victims of sexual abuse remains a problem that is often relegated to the shadows and hushed conversations. While topics such as gun control and abortion remain hot-button legislative issues, the struggle to bring those who engage in human trafficking remains a struggle.
I, along with New York State Senator Andrew Lanza, am working to get the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act [TVPJA] passed and signed into law. Far too many young men and women disappear into this void each year while the people holding them captive go largely unpunished and rarely face a sentence befitting their crimes. For the people who are lucky and courageous enough to escape this life of servitude, there aren’t many programs in place that will counsel them and help them return to a normal existence.
This is a very complicated issue, so much so that explaining every last detail here would take far too much time. Rest assured, however, that I have made getting this legislation passed a top priority. We need to start spreading the word and making people more aware of the problem in an effort to get my fellow legislators on board.
There are several events over the next two months at which I will speak that will help with bringing this issue the attention it deserves. The New York State Public Affairs Committee of The Junior League will be holding its spring conference on April 15-16 in Albany. I will address the conference on the 15th and speak on several news shows thereafter about this issue.
The Junior Leagues of Westchester County will also be holding an informative discussion on May 24th at Greenburgh Town Hall. I will be part of a special guest panel along with Allison Boak, Co-Founder and President of International Organization for Adolescents, Dorchen Leidholt, Legal Director for Sanctuary for Families and the chair of the NYS Anti-Trafficking Coalition, David Ryan, the chief of the Pound Ridge police, Carol Smolenski, the Executive Director of End Child Prostitution and Trafficking, and Karen Cheeks-Lomax, the Executive Director of My Sisters’ Place.
This is such an important issue. So please, help us spread the word. You’ll find out People Are Not For Sale twibbon on this page. Copy it and put it on your Facebook page, tweet it out, send it to friends and family and ask them to do the same. Speak loudly and speak often for the victims whose voices cannot be heard.