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Bloomberg on Anti-Trafficking Bill: Spotting a Prostitute Isn't Easy

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he’d take offense at the City Council’s anti-sex trafficking bill passed earlier this week meant to stop cabbies from ferrying prostitutes to meet their clients.  

Speaking on his weekly WOR-AM radio show on Friday, the mayor said it’s not always easy or obvious to spot who is a prostitute.

“If I were a young lady and I dressed in a sport way … I would not want somebody thinking that I’m a prostitute,” Bloomberg said.

He said he has “no idea” whether he’s in favor, adding, “Whether it’s enforceable or a good idea, I don’t know.”

The new legislation requires drivers seeking new licenses or renewals to complete a program that educates them about sex trafficking violations.

Backers of the plan said drivers for hiring has become an increasing issue in the realm of sex trafficking, as WNYC previously reported:

"What they're doing is driving victims from customer to customer, directing victims what to do with each customer and at the end of the evening, confiscating half the victim's earnings," said Attorney Dorchen Leidholdt of Sanctuary for Families, a group that assists victims.

But director of Taxi Workers Alliance Bhairavi Desai said its the unauthorized cars — those not licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission — that are to blame.

"To scapegoat us not only maligns drivers but does a disservice to a serious issue," Desai said, adding that cabs are tracked by the TLC making it highly unlikely that drivers would be involved in the sex trade.

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Comments [1]

Brisbane from QLD

Whilst I agree that it is terrible that people are trafficked for prostitution, I don't agree that cabbies should be discriminating against ladies based on their assumption that they are a prostitute. That would open up a whole new can of worms and discrimination cases. Good decision by the mayor to oppose the bill.

Jan. 14 2013 02:57 AM

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