Turn To Tara: Assemblywoman discusses sex trafficking law

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YONKERS -

The long-awaited Child Sex Trafficking Act is now law, and a local lawmaker who was the driving force behind the bill sat down with News 12’s Tara Rosenblum.

Turn To Tara's recent Slavery In Suburbia series explored the bill. News 12 featured Melanie, a young sex-trafficking victim, and provided viewers with a dark tour of the underbelly of Westchester’s hospitality scene.

Four months after the investigation, state Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, of Scarsdale, stood behind Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday as he signed a bill into law mandating sweeping change in the way New York handles sex trafficking.

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Paulin returned home from Albany Thursday and visited News 12’s Yonkers studio to explain the three-pronged approach, starting with the reassignment of prostitution cases from criminal courts to more specialized sex-trafficking courts. There is also a new mandate for hotels and motel owners to train their staff and post signs with hotline numbers throughout their properties.

“They would be posted in public restrooms, guest rooms and near public entrances and be very, very discreet,” says Paulin.

The new law also eliminates the legal requirement for prosecutors to prove a young victim was forced into prostitution, which had often led to them having to testify in court.

The legal change will ensure longer sentences for violent pimps like the man who kidnapped, raped and sold Melanie through the Hudson Valley when she was 12.

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