Bill to save trafficking victims from testifying passes
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Legislation poised to pass in the New York state Legislature would preclude sex trafficking victims from having to testify in court about the abuse they suffered.
New York and Alabama are now the only states whose trafficking laws generally require victims to testify in court. In New York, that’s because law requires authorities to prove coercion, a high standard that usually relies on victim testimony.
Victim advocates and some former prosecutors say that can re-traumatize underage victims who live in fear of their abusers. They say it can also make it harder to prosecute traffickers because victims may refuse to testify.
The bill passed the Democrat-controlled state Assembly on Wednesday. The Republican-led state Senate has already passed similar legislation and is expected to support the Assembly’s bill as well.