The Times Union is reporting that, while it is of course in general a crime to buy or sell children, it isn’t specifically dealt with in New York state penal law.
Enter William Scarborough, a Democrat in Queens, who has introduced a bill in the Assembly which “prohibits the sale or purchase of minor children.”
The opening statement in the bill’s justification section reads: “At present, it is not illegal in New York State (to) sell a child outside the provisions specified in sub-division six, of section three hundred seventy-four of the social services law.”
The entire justification text cites specific examples where people who attempted to buy or sell children got off relatively unscathed. It reads:
JUSTIFICATION: At present, it is not illegal in New York State of
sell a child outside the provisions specified in sub-division six, of
section three hundred seventy-four of the social services law. We have
passed landmark Human Trafficking laws that increase penalties for
trafficking for domestic servitude or sexual exploitation, but the law
does not specifically address the sale outside of those areas. In
August 2013, a Staten Island man sought to sell his girlfriend’s baby
on Craigslist because he was angry at the girlfriend. One person
answered the ad, and called the girlfriend offering to purchase her
baby. The boyfriend was charged with three misdemeanors, and the
would-be purchaser apparently got off with no consequences. In
Oklahoma a woman tried to sell her two kids for $4,000 in order to pay
for her boyfriend’s bail. A Virginia couple got a slap on the wrist
for attempting to sell their three-month old daughter for adoption and
nine years later were arrested for pimping out their 13 and 14 year
old daughters to adult males.
Under the Optional Protocol on the Rights of The Child, which has been
signed by 173 countries, the signatories specifically agreed to ban
the sale of children, among other things. New York State should do no
less than civilized societies around the world.
I know what you’re thinking. How could this not be a law on the books already?
Bear in mind that up until last year, it was technically legal to view child pornography online, so long as the material was not printed or saved on a computer.