NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - Mayor Michael Bloomberg has signed a bill to strengthen penalties against cabbies who knowingly work with sex traffickers.
After considering arguments for and against the bill for two days, Bloomberg signed it Friday on his weekly radio show.
1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports
The bill imposes a $10,000 fine on drivers who are convicted of a felony related to sex trafficking. The cabbies would also lose their Taxi and Limousine Commission licenses. The measure targets drivers who assist sex traffickers by driving women to johns.
Bloomberg said, “As we are speaking, I am signing the bill.”
The bill’s sponsor, City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, said she is “very happy that this is finally happening.”
Some opponents of the bill had said they are worried it could make cabbies afraid to pick up passengers who are provocatively dressed.
Fernando Mateo, head of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, is fuming, warning that it will endanger the lives of women and drivers.
“Women that leave a nightclub at four, five or six in the morning and are a little twisted, maybe have had a few drinks, are now going to be exposed to rape, to criminals targeting them because now they have to walk from point A to point B,” Mateo said. “It’s ludicrous.”
“It’s really a travesty, I think, that the mayor, in his heart wants to do the right thing, but here he made a huge mistake.” Mateo told WCBS 880. “This is going to provoke rapes [and] assaults on women that leave nightclubs late at night and that need a cab, need a ride, and the drivers are going to fear the fact that they may be a prostitute and not pick them up.”
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