Two lawmakers from western Queens are turning rapper Ice Cube’s misogynistic line about how “pimpin’ ain’t easy but it’s necessary” on its head, declaring that when it comes to sex trafficking, what’s really necessary is more prison time for pimps.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) and Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) have introduced bills in their respective houses that would jack up the sentence for sex trafficking from three years to five and reclassify the crime as a violent felony.
The reclassification would not only impose a longer sentence on sex traffickers but would carry the threat of life in prison for multiple convictions under the state’s persistent violent offender law.
“Many women from around the world and across the country are brought to New York — to Jackson Heights and Corona — and enslaved, forced to have sex with strangers for the profit of human traffickers and pimps,” Peralta said in announcing the measure.“The objective of this bill is to make the punishment fit the crime.The goal is to force the traffickers and pimps out of business, to put them in jail, where they belong, and to make it unprofitable to brutally exploit women.”
More prostitution-related arrests are made in Queens than in any other borough, and the largest share are in the 115th Precinct, which covers Jackson Heights, according to a report last year by WNYC that cited state statistics.
Peralta and Moya have also tried to fight prostitution with a bill banning “chica chica” cards, business cards for hookers that are handed out to people on the street.
“We have to do what we can to keep the streets of our neighborhoods clean and safe for our families and for our kids,” Moya said in a prepared statement after that bill passed the Assembly last June. Gov. Cuomo signed it into law in July. It bans the distribution of obscene material to 10 or more people in a public place with the intent to profit from prostitution.
The two lawmakers also have written a bill to require education about the sex trade for livery cab drivers, but that one has been in committee since last summer.
Ice Cube rapped his lyrics promoting prostitution in the 1993 song “Down for Whatever,” which gained a wider audience through its inclusion in the popular 1999 comedy “Office Space.”