Thursday, 15 August 2013 00:00
The selfishness we’re witnessing in Albany right now has to stop.
You know I’ve written in this column many times that New York State has made real progress these last three years. Things are far better than they used to be simply because Republicans and Democrats alike are finally working together. Despite the accompanying noise, there’s really no magic formula. Legislators with common sense have finally realized that you can’t always get everything you want and that most times, the reasonable middle ground also happens to advance the people’s agenda very nicely.
But I’m not “feeling the love” lately.
In June, the New York State Senate passed an historic package of bills agreed to by Governor Cuomo that is of vital importance to women. Among these was a measure to strengthen laws against human-trafficking. Unfortunately, human-trafficking is a hidden scourge that most people don’t realize is happening every day in communities throughout New York, even here in our Long Island neighborhoods. I’m not pulling any punches about this because it cannot be ignored any longer. We have to try and wrap our minds around what’s happening: there are rapidly growing numbers of young women being held against their will, forced into labor and even sold into the sex trade right here on Long Island. And despite the heroic efforts of local law enforcement to free these women and the care nonprofits provide them afterwards, enough is not being done to stop it.
That’s just not acceptable because New York has always lead the nation yet we’re failing miserably here. Why? Well, despite their initial praise for this package of laws, the
Assembly has refused to pass it thus far. Despite the fact that just last week more than 159 people were arrested and 105 teenage girls were saved in nationwide, human-trafficking stings, despite the fact that New York ranks fourth in the nation for incidences of human trafficking, despite prosecutors who say we’re just scratching the surface
and that we need better laws – despite all this, the bill has not been taken up in the Assembly.
We’re better than this. There is clearly a need for the protections this law would provide and for the weapon it can become in the hands of law enforcement across New York.
With it they can better protect the disenfranchised and abused women and children of our society.
The bill is written and ready. The Senate passed it unanimously. The Governor has agreed to sign it once the Assembly passes it. The shame is that the Assembly didn’t take it up before the end of the legislative session and probably won’t before returning to Albany in January. Again, we’re better than this. As we have seen all too painfully on the faces of the women and children freed in the stings, yesterday is already too late.
•Is the person free to leave the work site?
•Is the person physically, sexually or psychologically abused?
•Does the person have a passport or valid I.D. card, and is he/she in possession of such documents? Is someone else holding them?
•Has the person or a family member been threatened?
•Does the person fear that something bad will happen to him or her,
or to a family member, if he/she leaves the job?
•Heavy security at the commercial establishment, including barred
windows, locked doors, and electronic surveillance.
•Women are never seen leaving the premises unless escorted.
•Victims are kept under surveillance when taken to a doctor, hospital or clinic for treatment. Trafficker may act as a translator.
•High foot traffic, especially for brothels, often by a stream of men arriving and leaving the premises.
Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888 to report a tip.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
Westbury High School students are teaching younger children from Park Avenue Elementary School valuable life lessons about money and business skills through the High School Heroes program.
In this program, high school students that are taking Renate Johnson’s Junior Achievement class will go into first grade classrooms to teach 45-minute lessons.
“It is a program that gives high school and younger students confidence and teaches them about business and financial literacy,” said Johnson.
Saturday, 08 March 2014 00:00
The Westbury Historical Society will host Dr. Natalie Naylor, professor emerita at Hofstra University and author of Women in Long Island’s Past: Eminent Ladies and Everyday Lives at their next meeting on March 9.
Naylor’s presentation will focus on the place of women in Long Island’s history, including several prominent women from Westbury’s past.
Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00
Albertson resident and Kellenberg sophomore Gabby Schreib qualified for the Millrose Games in New York City. Schreib qualified as a member of the Sprint Medley Relay along with Danielle Correia, Bridget McNierney, and Jazmine Fray.
The Kellenberg relay’s close second place finish in January’s Millrose Trials has moved them closer to defending the title they won in the same relay at last year’s Millrose Games. Schreib and her teammates time is currently second in the United States for girls track and field performances.
Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00
Congratulations to Westbury athletes Michael Esposito, Eileen Harris, Brett Harris, and Michael Going, each of whom won awards in Race # 1 of the Jonas Chiropractic Run Nassau Series co-hosted by Nassau County and the Greater Long Island Running Club.
Michael Esposito, age 15, took home the second place award in the 15-19 age group with a time of 23 minutes, 6 seconds. Eileen Harris, age 42, earned the first place award in the women’s 40-44 age group. She completed the race with her 45 year old husband, Brett Harris, who was the third place award winner in the men’s 45-49 age group. Michael Going, age 41, scored third place honors in the 40-44 age group with a time of 20 minutes, 51 seconds.