Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and New York State Senator Cordell Cleare are calling on the New York State Legislature to eliminate the five-year criminal statute of limitations for sex trafficking and extending the window for survivors to file lawsuits.
In a City & State op-ed, the authors write, “Trauma, fear, and cultural stigma are just some of the immense hurdles that force survivors into silence. Statutes of limitation often make it impossible for criminal or civil cases to go forward when a survivor is finally able to bravely come forward. But a period of silence shouldn’t prevent survivors from securing the accountability and justice they deserve.”
They note, “In recent years, New York has enacted an impressive range of similar laws to protect survivors. We eliminated the statute of limitations for B-felony sexual offenses, including Rape in the First Degree. We passed the Child Victims Act and Adult Survivors Act, which extend the windows for victims of sexual violence to commence a civil suit.
“Yet none of these apply to sex trafficking. It’s past time to correct this injustice by passing state Sen. Cordell Cleare’s commonsense bill, S.8722, which underscores that survivors of trafficking are survivors of sexual violence. Moreover, they deserve the same protections under New York state law.”
They conclude, “Sex trafficking is among the most horrific crimes we encounter. Severe violence, coercion, manipulation, and control, all in the name of greed. Targeted crimes, preying on young people, people with no resources, those with substance use disorders.
“It is no wonder that it can take more than five years for these survivors to report. It is long past time to change our laws to reflect that reality. New York should enact these simple yet effective changes, protect our most vulnerable neighbors, and help us hold traffickers accountable.”