February 11, 2015
In its first session of 2015, the New York State Senate again approved the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (the “TVPJA”), which would enhance protection for sex trafficking victims and toughen penalties against traffickers by providing trafficking victims with an affirmative defense to prostitution charges, strengthening penalties for traffickers, and classifying the act of trafficking as a violent felony (as noted in our June 30, 2014 post).
December 8, 2014
In a positive move last week, the Council of the District of Columbia unanimously passed anti-trafficking legislation that would provide immunity to children under the age of 18 from prostitution-related charges. The Sex Trafficking of Children Prevention Amendment Act of 2014 also provides a number of other important protections including mandatory training for police officers and certain social workers, special intake screenings to identify child victims, and mandatory reporting. Moreover, the new law requires the police department to refer children suspected of being trafficked to organizations that provide services to victims of sex trafficking.
September 23, 2014
Financial institutions need to take heed of specific red flags that are indicative of human smuggling and trafficking, warned the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) in an advisory issued on September 11, 2014, and report suspicious activity to FinCEN. “Financial institutions, large and small, can play a critical role in identifying and reporting transactions related to these unlawful activities based on their observations when interacting with customers and their monitoring processes,” said FinCEN.