What You Need to Know:
A street in Queens has become a hotspot for prostitution, with nearly a dozen brothels emerging along Roosevelt Avenue, drawing considerable attention and concern from residents and local government.
Simultaneously, amidst the concerns surrounding the illegal sex trade, the New York Department of Health has allocated $1 million for a pilot program aimed at providing “sex worker health” services, raising discussions about the decriminalization of prostitution in the state.
According to reporting by the New York Post, nearly a dozen brothels have cropped up along Roosevelt Avenue, in Queens.
Throughout the day and night, women reportedly stand in front of various suspected brothels.
The involvement of human traffickers from Mexico and Central America has escalated the issue. Despite efforts by the NYPD to adapt its approach to vice enforcement, there have been no prostitution convictions in Queens since 2020.
In response to the growing concerns, City Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Corona) expressed distress over the matter and sought assistance from Mayor Adams.
In an interview, City Councilman Francisco Moya pointed to a video put on Youtube recently by vloggers. In the video, the vloggers go about heading to the area where the brothels are. They also explain and show how negotiations for sex occur.
City Councilman Francisco Moya commented on the video by saying, “This is put on Facebook, YouTube and saying, ‘Here’s a destination for you to come to, you know, learn how to negotiate with prostitutes.’ And they are literally telling you the price for whatever a sexual act that they’re willing to perform. It’s just unheard of. It’s in plain sight.”
Meanwhile, the Queens District Attorney, Melinda Katz, established a Human Trafficking Bureau to prosecute traffickers more aggressively and focus on treating enslaved sex workers as victims rather than offenders.
The Bureau has achieved significant success, securing 22 felony pleas for sex trafficking and rape charges, including cases involving underage victims between 13 and 17 years old.
Amidst the backdrop of the ongoing challenges and concerns regarding the illegal sex trade, the New York Department of Health has taken a step to address the well-being of sex workers in the city. They have allocated $1 million in public funds over a two-year period for a pilot program aimed at providing “sex worker health” services. The plan intends to offer comprehensive sexual and behavioral health care, primary care, and dental care to sex workers in New York City.
However, it’s important to note that the program has not yet received legislative approval and has sparked opposition from some Republican representatives. State Representative Sam Pirozzolo, representing Staten Island, voiced strong disagreement with the initiative, fearing that it might lead to the decriminalization of prostitution and disrupt societal norms.
On the other hand, the New York Department of Health reiterated its commitment to providing inclusive and quality services to all residents, without stigma or discrimination. They emphasized that comprehensive sexual health services aim to improve the overall quality of life for everyone, including sex workers.