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Mayor Bloomberg Signs Anti-Sex Trafficking Bill For Cabbies

Mayor Bloomberg Signs Anti-Sex Trafficking Bill For Cabbies

Is this a first for the New York City government?

Earlier today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a bill into law while he was being interviewed live on his weekly radio show.

The bill will impose a fine of up to $10,000 on drivers who are convicted of a felony related to sex trafficking. The cabbies would also lose their Taxi and Limousine Commission licenses. The measure targets drivers who assist sex traffickers by driving women to johns.

Bloomberg had been expected to sign the legislation on Wednesday, but that didn’t happen.

From The New York Times:

His hesitation, which followed several days of chatter about whether the bill might discourage cabbies from picking up women dressed in revealing outfits, prompted a furious reaction from Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, who issued a rebuke, saying it would be “unconscionable” if Mr. Bloomberg did not sign it.

(….)

“The more I read it and the more I talked about it, the better I thought your idea is,” Mr. Bloomberg said to the bill’s sponsor, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, who joined him on the show by telephone.

“I’m very happy this is finally happening today,” Ms. Ferreras said.

Proponents of the measure say some drivers play an active role in arranging assignations between prostitutes and their clients. In April of this year, a father/son team was arrested for allegedly operating a sex trafficking business in Manhattan, and six cab drivers were also arrested in connection with the business.

Of course, not everyone thinks this is such a good idea.

Some opponents of the bill had said they are worried it could make cabbies afraid to pick up passengers who are provocatively dressed.

Fernando Mateo, head of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, believes that the bill will endanger the lives of women and drivers. Here’s what he had to say:

From CBSNewYork:

“Women that leave a nightclub at four, five or six in the morning and are a little twisted, maybe have had a few drinks, are now going to be exposed to rape, to criminals targeting them because now they have to walk from point A to point B,” Mateo said. “It’s ludicrous.”

“It’s really a travesty, I think, that the mayor, in his heart wants to do the right thing, but here he made a huge mistake.” Mateo told WCBS 880. “This is going to provoke rapes [and] assaults on women that leave nightclubs late at night and that need a cab, need a ride, and the drivers are going to fear the fact that they may be a prostitute and not pick them up.”

The law also includes a requirement that all city-licensed cabdrivers and livery drivers attend a training course aimed at helping them identify the signs of a potential sex-trafficking operation so they can report any suspicions to the authorities.

In case you’re wondering how big this problem is, the statistics are frightening. Worldwide, an estimated 2.5 million people are in forced labor (including sexual exploitation) at any given time as a result of trafficking. Of these, approximately 270,000, or 10.8%, are in industrialized countries.

So what do you think? Is this new law a good idea?

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53 comments

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1:04PM PDT on Sep 7, 2012

As always, it's cabbies that are to blame for everything! Now they should also be cops and identify victims of trafficking. Plus, they should be forced to not making any money by refusing to drive women that might be prostitutes. Not only is cabbies thought of as less worth in society of today, but now even more pressure is to be put on an already marginalized group. And yes, I have facts to back this up with. Seven years as a cabbie, 2,5 years driving nights. And I've lost friends due to my "inferior" job. Well, good riddance of those, I don't need them. These days I drive trucks and buses. Not much more respect from that either. Stop harassing cabbies! And give some respect for those that have no other alternatives. Some day your life may depend on them!

6:15PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

thanks

6:11PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

thanks

5:35AM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

Thanks

3:15AM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

Elaine, it does nothing to protect women who are being trafficked for sexual purposes. This is a stupid idea. All it does is create more "Criminals" for the ever burgeoning prison industry. Decriminalizing prostitution would be a MUCH greater stride in bringing trafficking to a halt.

And where do you get your numbers of incidents of trafficking ? Im not saying it doesn't happen, but if your quoting law enforcement remember, they HAVE to inflate those numbers to get funded. Try checking with S.W.O.P. for more realistic figures on this topic.

3:18PM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

And the cabbies better not give them a 16+ ounce Coke or they'll get an even higher fine!
I'm glad I moved away from the New York area--it sounds like there's something in the water making the mayor a little looney.

10:50AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Continuation.......

Why does it only target WOMEN. Has Bloomberg never heard of MALE prostitutes or HOMOSEXUAL prostitutes. These male prostitutes (while certainly in smaller numbers than females) use taxis to visit their clients (Johns), just the same as the female hookers do. So not only is this BILL stupid and unenforceable, it is quite obviously Sexually Discriminatory against WOMEN.

Sorry Mr. Bloomberg, but your crazy scheme and training course will not and cannot work. Granted, most experienced taxi drivers will get some clues that they have picked up a sex worker, but that will be purely through their personal knowledge of the area and the times they regularly work and also their own observational abilities, which are not things that can ever be taught in the class room.

This hare-brained idea, is not going to make the city any safer or better for normal citizens, indeed (as others have mentioned already) it could and most likely will make it even more unpleasant or even dangerous for the people who pay Bloomberg's wages.

10:07AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Quote - "The law also includes a requirement that all city-licensed cabdrivers and livery drivers attend a training course aimed at helping them identify the signs of a potential sex-trafficking operation".

As a retired cab driver in a large UK city, I fail to see how a training course is going to help a cab driver to identify a hooker / prostitute / sex worker or what ever you like to call these ladies. Let us look at some options for the training course.

Will they teach the driver to identify the distinctive odour of post coital activity.
( No ... That will not do, as both prostitutes and other women smell the same after sex if they don't clean themselves properly and very few do, before getting in a taxi. )

How about make up and style of dress.
( No ... That won't do. The hookers generally tend to dress much the same as most other women do on a night out, clubbing, etc. In fact some normal younger club goers dress less modestly than many whores and don't know how to apply their make up. )

Maybe the training could include racial profiling.
( I somehow don't think that would work either. There seems to be just as many darker skinned prostitutes as there are lighter skinned ones. )

QUOTE - "The measure targets drivers who assist sex traffickers by driving women to johns."

Why does it only target WOMEN. Has Bloomberg never heard of MALE prostitutes or HOMOSEXUAL prostitutes. These male prostitutes (while certainly in smaller numbers than females) use taxi

8:29AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

So what if the cabby is a person who thinks women should be shrouded in a veil? Making laws that give power to subjective opinions is a very bad idea. How many women could be stranded or even assaulted because a cabby refused to pick them up?

8:25AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Isn't. The point to EDUCATE cab drivers so they might notice something and protect a person in a horrendous situation.
I imagine they present quite differently than "Eh hem" prostitutes.

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