Human trafficking—transporting of people against their will for sexual exploitation—is an evil being committed in our own backyards, as liana Kramer reported in “Modern-Day Sex Slaves,” Spring 2006. This August, in an upper-crust neighborhood in Washington, D.C., an Asian sex-slave ring was broken up. And in New York, the NYPD announced in August the arrest of 31 people in connection with an international prostitution ring. At the same time, ‘ the New York State legislature has been working form a different angle, trying to make trafficking a legal as well as a moral offence. Although there are laws on the books criminalizing prostitution, assault and coercion, there are no comprehensive statutes that tackle trafficking head on. Assemblyperson Jeffrey Dinowitz (D.) said that a proposed bill “will set severe penalties for those engaged in human trafficking, whether it’s sexual servitude or labor servitude.” In addition, the bill would help provide services to the victims.
Jewish community organizations are already involved in the battle, led primarily by the UJA – Federation of New York Family Violence Task Force, founded and led by Anita Altman. The task force has met with Dinowitz and with other organizations to ratchet up public awareness about these rights abuses.