City Targeting Cab Drivers Involved in Sex Trafficking

The involvement of cab drivers in sex trafficking has been questioned by authorities and advocates for several years now. Now New York City is taking active steps to discourage this involvement.

New York’s City Council will be raising the fines for any cab driver who knowingly shuttles trafficking victims (New York Times, June 2012).

Cab drivers involved in sex trafficking can participate in several ways from arranging prostitutes’ schedules, finding clients for pimps, and even taking some of the proceeds. With an estimated 4,000 minors trafficked through New York City every year (though the number is most likely higher), cab drivers stand to make quite a profit from assisting pimps and traffickers with their criminal activity.

According to victims’ stories, the role of cab drivers has been increasing over the past few years. One sex trafficking victim stated in December 2011 that she worked with 70 cab drivers who had brought her 5,000 clients (New York Times, June 2012). In April this year, New York prosecution broke up one of the first sex trafficking rings run primarily by drivers. Six drivers were indicted on charges of trafficking prostitutes between Pennsylvania and Manhattan.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed a bill Friday to fine cabbies who take part in sex trafficking. New York Times.

With cab drivers become more involved in the sex trafficking industry, the increased punishment will hopefully detour drivers from continuing their participation.

If a driver is convicted of a sex trafficking related felony, they would be given a $10,000 fine and loss of their license. In addition to raising the fines for cab drivers involved with transporting sex trafficking victims, New York City is also announcing a partnership with Delta Air Lines and American Airlines to track sex trafficking on airplanes and in airports.

The action City Council is proposing will this bill will also include an education program for cab drivers regarding the laws and penalties for trafficking. Drivers would also receive training to spot trafficking victims and this training would be required for all drivers applying for or renewing a taxi or livery license.

 

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