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Sex Trafficking in Queens

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The Queens district attorney said a suspect was extradited from Virginia last week on charges that he held a 13-year-old girl as a sex slave in his Jamaica home. District Attorney Richard Brown claims that Anthony Vargas, 21, locked the 13-year-old in his apartment for weeks while he pimped her out.

The suspect reportedly befriended the young runaway, taking her to live in his apartment where he did not even have running water. First he had sex with her and then he put her to work, the DA alleges.

Under legislation passed in 2007, sex trafficking is now a felony with harsh penalties. When they get out of prison, sex traffickers must register as sex offenders. Also, the government now has services to offer victims.

If convicted, Vargas could be sentenced to as much as 25 years to life.

Hopefully, the investigation will not stop here. Everyone who paid to have sex with this girl is a rapist and should be facing time in prison. And what about Vargas’ neighbors? Did no one notice he had an underage girl in his apartment?

We hope her family and counselors can help this girl regain her life.

‘Let Them Eat Cake’

For weeks the nation’s unemployed were used as a political football by the newly empowered Republicans who were exerting their influence in Washington, D.C., before becoming the majority in the House in January.

The GOP used the unemployment benefits that expired Nov. 30 as a bargaining chip to preserve the across-the-board tax cuts created by the Bush administration. Thanks to a last-minute compromise with the White House, it appears out-of-work Americans will continue receiving benefits.

Republicans threw their weight around at a time when unemployment has reached 9.8 percent, while real unemployment counting part-time jobs and the underemployed stands at 17 percent.

Conservative leaders opposed extending benefits. They believe people are not looking for work because they prefer the entitlement.

Nonsense. The unemployment benefits top out at $405 a week. For a Queens family, that is barely enough to survive.

If the GOP in Congress want stomping on the nation’s jobless to be their legacy, they should be prepared to become unemployed in two years.

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