Mayor Bloomberg refuses to sign anti sex trafficking law

Published On: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 10:05 AM
By: John Roberts
Mayor Blomberg
Mayor Michael Bloomberg refused to sign new laws against sex trafficking after listening to critics who oppose legislation to strengthen penalties against drivers who knowingly work with sex traffickers.

After opponents condemned the law at a public hearing, Bloomberg said he would take more time to consider and decide.

The bill, already approved by the City Council, would impose a $10,000 fine on drivers who are convicted of a crime related to sex trafficking. Taxi drivers will also lose their taxi and limousine licenses from the Commission. The measure is aimed at drivers who hold women captive in their cars and profits from prostitution.

However, some opponents are concerned that the bill could make the taxi drivers afraid to pick up passengers who dressed provocatively late at night - leaving them with no choice but to walk alone in the deserted streets.

Hajismaiel Iman, CEO of Club Phuket, in Upper Manhattan, said that many women come to his club to dance and have fun, but should not be placed in danger, no matter what they choose to wear.

"That's their style. Who are we to judge? And who is the driver to judge, at 5 am, if this woman is a prostitute or not?" he said.

However, City Council President James Vacca of the Transportation Commission, said the bill - which will require all taxi drivers to see a training video to help them identify and help victims –and prohibits discriminating against passengers based on their appearance.