After an FBI bust of a child-prostitution ring that netted 150 arrests nationwide, Senate Republicans are pointing fingers at the state Assembly over the legislative stalemate on a legislative agenda that included tougher human-trafficking laws.
Federal investigators announced the arrests Monday, along with the recovery of 105 children between the ages of 13 and 17.
Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a 10-point “Women’s Equality Act,” which included a measure to boost the state’s penalties for human trafficking. But the state Senate broke the bill apart and approved nine of the 10 measures because Republicans opposed a piece related to New York’s abortion laws, while Assembly Democrats declined to vote on a bill without all 10 points.
In a statement Monday, Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, said the FBI bust is a reminder of “the price of (the Assembly’s) inaction.”
“The New York State Assembly can no longer ignore this critical issue,” Skelos said. “It’s time for the Speaker to bring his members back to Albany and join us in passing a women’s equality agenda for New York, and to protect the innocent victims of sex trafficking.”
In June, just before lawmakers left town, the Assembly Democrats’ women’s caucus met with Cuomo, informing him they wouldn’t separate out the abortion provision, which would have strengthened New York’s law to officially recognize the federal Roe v. Wade decision.
“It’s unimaginable that anyone could betray the women of this state by not demanding full equality and all 10 points of the Women’s Equality Act,” the female Assembly Democrats wrote in a joint statement at the time.
Here’s Skelos’ full statement:
“In June, the New York State Senate passed an historic package of bills agreed to by Governor Cuomo that was important to women, including a measure to strengthen laws against human trafficking. Shamefully, the Assembly refused to act.
“Today, we have been reminded of the price of their inaction.
“News reports indicate more than 150 people have been arrested in a nationwide sex-trafficking scheme, a problem that has plagued women and children here in New York. One victim was as young as 9 years old.
“The New York State Assembly can no longer ignore this critical issue. It’s time for the Speaker to bring his members back to Albany and join us in passing a women’s equality agenda for New York, and to protect the
innocent victims of sex trafficking.
“No more politics, no more stalling. The New York Democratic Party needs to wake up and help us achieve a positive resolution now.”
(AP file photo)