Gov. Cuomo on Thursday announced plans to fix the state’s weak sex trafficking laws — after a Post exposé revealed how they’re allowing sick pimps who sell kids for sex to walk free.
His proposed reforms would bring New York into line with federal laws, which recognize that anyone who prostitutes out minors is a sex trafficker, a felony charge with mandatory prison time.
The state’s current laws require prosecutors to prove an underage victim was forced, coerced or defrauded into the trade — even though they can’t legally consent to sex with an adult — which means pimps can get away with a slap on the wrist if their victim can’t or won’t testify.
“This is nothing short of a modern day slave trade that preys on children and the most vulnerable among us and it must be shut down once and for all in New York and beyond,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“These reforms will close dangerous loopholes in the law that allow these human misery agents go free and will give law enforcement more tools to help protect victims and bring human traffickers to justice.”
Some Albany lawmakers have been fighting to change the laws for years, but the proposals keep dying in the Assembly’s notoriously progressive Codes Committee, where critics claim tougher laws could punish trafficking victims who help recruit other minors.
A version of the bill proposed last year by state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Westchester) specifically prohibited that unintended consequence — but still didn’t clear the committee.
Cuomo’s reforms will still have to pass the legislature, but the governor’s clout can help grease the wheels of the legislative process.
As The Post reported, thousands of victims — some as young as 12 — are being pimped out by ruthless traffickers across the city every day.
But prosecutors say the state’s antiquated laws often get in the way of locking these dirtbags up, as their victims are too traumatized to take the stand or are brainwashed into believing they’re in love with their pimp.
For example, a 27-year-old named Isaiah Barnes was busted selling a 16-year-old girl for sex in Queens in 2016 — but got off on probation because the girl, a runaway from Connecticut, wouldn’t cooperate with prosecutors.