A state group that raises awareness of human trafficking recently awarded U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D−Astoria) as 2008’s congressional member who has taken the most steps to prevent trafficking through legislation, a spokeswoman for the group said.
The New York State Anti−Trafficking Coalition, made up of a group of 58 organizations that pressure members of Congress to enact new laws and improve law enforcement responses to human trafficking, honored Maloney at a Jan. 2 ceremony in Manhattan.
Feminist Gloria Steinem presented the congresswoman with a certificate of honor from the group for pushing for tougher laws against trafficking, a coalition spokeswoman said.
“Maloney’s visionary leadership has been premised on the sound understanding that preventing trafficking requires both strong measures to curtail the demand for prostitution that makes sex trafficking immensely profitable and well−crafted criminal provisions that enable prosecutors to put traffickers permanently out of business,” said Dorchen Leidholdt, co−founder of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, one of the coalition’s groups.
Maloney said human trafficking was a $10 billion worldwide problem.
“Trafficking is not just a problem in other countries, it is happening in communities across the country,” she said.
The group cited Maloney’s advocacy for provisions in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, passed by Congress in 2000, which included increased protection for trafficking victims, tougher penalties for traffickers and expanding anti−trafficking efforts around the world.
“Carolyn Maloney has been our greatest advocate in Congress, leading the way towards more effective legislation to combat human trafficking,” said Jessica Neuwirth, president of Equality Now, another coalition member.
The U.S. State Department estimates that 14,000 to 17,000 human trafficking victims are brought into the country each year.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@time
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