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Logjam cleared, Assemblywoman expects vote on anti-human trafficking bill

ALBANY - The state Assembly is slated to pass an anti-human trafficking bill Monday, a key legislator said — signaling the break of a logjam that entangled a number of bills in a so-called “women’s agenda.”

The Democrat-led chamber, somewhat under the radar, advanced the anti-trafficking bill in committee on Wednesday. That sets up a vote for Monday, said the bill’s sponsor, Assemb. Amy Paulin (D-Westchester).

“The plan is to have it on the floor Monday,” Paulin said Thursday, “and we’re going to pass it.”

The bill, among other things, increases penalties for human trafficking and creates the new crimes of aggravated labor trafficking and “aggravated patronizing a minor for prostitution.”

“This will give law enforcement the tools it needs to hold pimps and other horrendous perpetrators accountable for exploiting young women and young men,” Paulin said.

Beyond that single bill, the action indicates the possible breakup of a 10-point “women’s equality agenda” that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo backed last year and used in the 2014 fall elections.

Nine of the 10 bills enjoy widespread support, including Paulin’s. But the 10th bill focused on codifying federal abortion rights under state law — which the Republican-controlled Senate opposed.

Paulin said last year that some of her fellow Democrats didn’t want to break up the 10-point agenda in order to use the abortion proposal as an election-year issue.

In January, the Senate sought to gain a tactical advantage by approving all but the abortion bill. It approved the human-trafficking bill unanimously.

Some of the other widely supported bills could be considered on their own this year, Paulin said.

“I think you’ll see other bills coming forward,” she said.

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