We’re glad to hear Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledge to back long-stalled efforts to toughen New York’s sex-trafficking laws — and look forward to his trademark all-hands push to make it happen.
This week’s horrifying Post exposés of underage trafficking flagged the embarrassing fact that New York is one of just three states that requires prosecutors to prove that a child has been coerced into prostitution — which means the victim must testify in court to convict the pimp or other procurer.
Since many refuse to testify — which, after all, entails the twin traumas of reliving the horror and facing your victimizer in open court — villains regularly escape with a far-lesser sentence than they should.
Now Cuomo is on board with the needed change, stating: “These reforms will close dangerous loopholes in the law that allow these human-misery agents to go free and will give law enforcement more tools to help protect victims and bring human traffickers to justice.”
He’s going to have to twist a lot of arms to deliver. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie claims that the law is already “strong,” and Cuomo’s reforms could hurt trafficking victims who reluctantly help recruit other kids.
Nonsense: Cuomo’s plan, like the bill proposed last year by state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-SI) and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Westchester), specifically exempts those minors.
For starters, Cuomo can ask Heastie to state publicly why he opposes punishing the sickos who pimp kids as young as 12.
Behind closed doors, he should get even tougher. The speaker may be a harder target than Mayor Bill de Blasio, but we’re confident Cuomo is tough enough to get the job done.