Part II of this Article provides an overview of the at-risk
population of young children and the domestic sex trafficking of
minors. Part III discusses federal legislation that protects minor sex
trafficking victims. Part IV identifies essential factors, set forth by
two non-profit organizations, Shared Hope International and the
Polaris Project, which are essential to comprehensive domestic minor
sex trafficking legislation. Lastly, Part V of this Article examines
New York’s current policies regarding the sex trafficking of children.
This Article specifically utilizes current federal and New York state
statutory frameworks as primary examples to achieve an all-encompassing approach. Additionally, this Article evaluates New
York’s current legal structure using the aforementioned factors, and
its successes and failings are highlighted. New York has been
instrumental in the formulation of progressive domestic minor sex
trafficking laws around the country.16 Notably, in 2008, New York
was the first state to pass a Safe Harbor law, protecting children from
criminal prosecution for prostitution related offenses and requiring
transfer of these cases to family court.17 New York is also labeled as
one of the main human trafficking hubs in the United States.18 The
high volume of human trafficking in New York signals the need for
strong domestic sex trafficking laws to protect minors.
There remains a gap in New York’s current statutory
framework. Thus, where New York’s law falls short, this Article
calls for the implementation of statutory provisions as provided by
Washington state. Washington state received the highest grade under
the 2012 Polaris Project’s rating methodology19 that rates states
16 See HUMAN TRAFFICKING LEGISLATIVE ISSUE BRIEF, supra note 14 (describing
New York’s 2008 Safe Harbor Act as a “watershed law [that] catalyzed passage of
similar ‘Safe Harbor’ bills in other states during the 2010 session, including laws in
Connecticut, Illinois and Washington”).
17 NY State Policy Project, ECPAT USA, http://ecpatusa.org/what-we-do/helping-children-in-america/ny-state-policy-project/ (last visited Mar. 30, 2013).
19 Majority of States Actively Passing Laws to Combat Human Trafficking,
POLARIS PROJECT (Aug. 7, 2012),