Today, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg and Senator Cordell Cleare announced the intro of Bills #S8722 and #S8723 in the NY State Senate. They are intended to prosecute against sex trafficking children and mentally disabled victims. They eliminate the statute of limitations on this B-Felony crime, extend the statute of limitations for civil cases, and add mentally disabled folks to the coverage for children.
Bravo, on one hand, with a capital “B” for “But” on the other!
These bills show exactly why our justice system is broken. #S8723 clearly states the intent is to: “increase penalties in a very narrow scope of crimes.”
Why deliberately keep protection narrow?
This language reflects the systemic mindset of our legal establishment and legislators to cow tow to pressures about “allocations” when addressing crimes. This knee-jerk reaction against expanding penal code reflects that they claim costs could sky-rocket out of control….. “How can our budgets handle the influx of these cases?”
“Allocations” is not only a nonsensical and totally unproven objection, if it actually were true, it would flatly demonstrate the need for change. The very concept that prosecutors consider it may be true, is positive proof of the awful fact that finances outweigh public safety in their minds, and the minds of the legislators we empower to protect us.
Instead of providing commonsense protections to ALL victims of sex trafficking, they confine improvements to the few.
What about the cost to victims?
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center estimates the costs of rape (and sex trafficking is yet another form of rape) at 3.1 trillion dollars.
Yes, of course we should protect children and our most vulnerable population. That’s a slam dunk! But what about the huge volume of sex trafficked individuals who do not fall within these stated categories. Ignoring their needs is a glaring omission.
#S8722 and #S8723 are low-hanging fruit bills that recognize the crime, but turn their back on the vast majority of victims. Whatever happened to the 14th amendment that granted EQUAL PROTECTION for ALL!!
And where is consent?
The following is a portion of DA Bragg’s statement regarding the bills:
Expanding Statutes of LimitationsTruly, “trauma, fear, and cultural stigmas” impede a victim’s interest in reporting a crime. But this insight fails to recognize the greatest deterrent of all…. these cases re-traumatize the victim because our penal laws fail to define consent. Instead, they base whether or not the victim consented on their words and conduct instead of recognizing that no matter what they said or did, if the accused maliciously influenced them to say or do those things, they did not consent.
Trauma, fear, and cultural stigmas frequently lead survivors to delay reporting to law enforcement. New York has recognized this issue by eliminating the statutes of limitation for B-felony sexual offenses, including first-degree rape and incest, as well as aggravated sexual abuse, and course of sexual conduct against a child. Similarly, in 2019 New York extended the period in which survivors of child sexual violence can commence a civil suit.
Victims don’t come forward in a broken justice system that rips them to shreds instead of focusing on the influence of the accused. Only by correctly defining consent as “freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement” in our penal code, can victims rely on the justice system to do its job. We must make this transformational change.
Providing survivors with a pathway to court, without the court having the tools to hold their offender accountable, is like handing a homeless person an empty refrigerator.
You can help!
Call DA Bragg at 212-335-9000, and NY State Senator Cordell Cleare at 212-222-7315, and say- “Regarding #S8722 /23; Please don’t leave adult victims behind!”
Then call your state and federal legislators. Demand change! Demand that they #CodifyConsent today! And if you want change in YOUR state, and you’re willing to roll up your sleeves to get it done, contact us at info@ConsentAwareness.net.