Stroll down Roosevelt Avenue from 69th to 112th streets and it is impossible not to notice the men distributing small cards with scantily clad and sometimes naked women on them with a phone number to call for “delivery.”
But state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and state Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) have teamed up to help police and the Queens district attorney’s office to prosecute the peddlers.
“What we see here is small, baseball-size cards, sex cards, chica chica cards,” Peralta said Sunday outside PS 19 in Corona, where he announced a bill that would fine the sex card distributors $1,000 and put them in jail for up to a year.
The cards are known as “chica chica cards” because the men who hand them out promise “chicas, chicas,” or “girls, girls.”
Peralta said the current law governing distribution of lewd materials is too vague to prosecute people who hand out the sex cards, but his legislation specifically adds the sex cards to the law so they can be arrested.
Peralta said the cards, handed out overnight, are picked up the next morning by children who go to school near Roosevelt Avenue.
“These cards are being picked up, they’re being traded like baseball cards,” the senator said.
Corona resident Duberki Bacheco, who spoke at the news conference and has a young daughter, called the cards “disgusting.”
“On [Sunday] morning I picked up three cards,” she said, including one of a nude woman.
Peralta said his bill, which is also sponsored by Moya in the Assembly, “will take criminals off the streets.”
He conceded the bill will not eradicate prostitution along the avenue, but eliminating the cards from the streets is “one of the many battles that we have to face on Roosevelt Avenue.”
“The idea here is to get the city and state government to get involved,” Peralta said.
He said the Guardian Angels will be patrolling Roosevelt Avenue in the next few weeks to help the NYPD in cracking down on the sex cards.
Moya, who picked up one of the cards in front of his house on the morning of the Sunday news conference, said the fact that children see the cards on their way to school is “simply unacceptable.”
“We want to keep our streets clear of pornography peddlers,” he said. “We need to make sure that we stop this problem.”
City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) said she used to attend PS 19 and never had to worry about stumbling upon the cards like kids today do.
“As a woman, as a resident of this community ... I say that it’s absolutely disgusting and unacceptable,” she said.
Ferreras said she would introduce a resolution in the Council to denounce the cards.
“It’s time that we take our Roosevelt Avenue back because it belongs to all of us and certainly not these people,” she said.
Besides going after the sex card peddlers, Ferreras said the legislation would also help the district attorney’s office find out “who’s behind this,” referring to prostitution.
Ferreras noted that most of the girls featured on the cards are immigrant women who most likely are abused and forced to sell their bodies.
“This is a whole conversation that’s very real in Corona and that conversation is sex trafficking,” she said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2011 Community News Group
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