From the Times Ledger:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill introduced by state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) aimed at helping to curb the scourge of human trafficking in New York.
Queens has gained the dubious distinction of being recognized as a hub for the human trafficking industry, and law enforcement officials have brought down a number of human traffickers and sex trafficking rings in recent years.
The new law serves to coordinate such efforts by state and local law enforcement with the expertise and on-the-ground experience of nonprofits and other groups working to stop the illegal trade of humans for purposes of prostitution, forced labor and other forms of slavery.
It will compel the Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking, formed in 2007 as a temporary entity, to continue to work to stop human trafficking — a travesty that until 2007 was not even a specific crime, Meng said — inform the public and combine resources in that fight.
A recent report by the U.S. Department of State on efforts to combat human trafficking globally indicated that for the first time the United States has been included on the list of high-priority countries. The State Department said about 20,000 people are trafficked into the United States and that New York state has the fourth-most occurrences of human trafficking in the nation, following California, Florida and Texas.
Meng added that the education aspects of the law will also serve to help stop what she describes as the “modern-day slavery” called human trafficking.