NEW YORK (PIX11) — The New York State Senate voted Wednesday to end the statute of limitations for reporting sex trafficking crimes. State Sen. Cordell Cleare is optimistic legislation to end the statute of limitations will pass in the State Assembly as well.
Cleare said she was able to secure broad support from fellow lawmakers. “Once people understood this issue, they said this makes sense,” Cleare said.
Right now, in most cases, sex trafficking survivors are only able to report the crimes against them and seek prosecution within five years in New York state.
“For survivors of sex trafficking, it can take years to overcome the trauma, physical and psychological, as well as that added factor of their personal safety when they’ve been controlled by either organized crime syndicate or individual traffickers and pimps,” explained Sonia Ossorio, the executive director of the National Organization for Women of New York City.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told PIX11 News the issue of sex trafficking is of particular importance in Manhattan. “We’ve got Penn Station, we’ve got Port Authority, we’re the heartbeat of tourism for the state,” Bragg said.
Bragg believes his office would be able to prosecute more people accused of sex trafficking with an end to the statute of limitations. “It’s heartbreaking. There are some cases that we just simply cannot bring,” Bragg said.