News Round-up April15th, 2015

New Rules in New York City Day-cares:

  • The Board of Health for the City of New York has issued stricter rules on the amount of juice children can drink at licensed daycare facilities. For children over two years old, juice will be limited to 4 ounces per day, and only 100% juice is allowed. Children under the age of two are not allowed to drink juice.
  • Under the new rules, children are also limited to 30 minutes of screen time per day, which is down from 60 minutes. Screen time allows children to watch movies or shows on televisions or iPads. The rules for “sedentary time” do not apply to when children are napping or during reading time or arts and crafts time.
  • The new rules are aimed at preventing childhood obesity by allowing for children to be more active during the day and to avoid sugary drinks. Some critics of the rules believe that this is just another way for the city to control its constituents and reminds them of former Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt at soda restrictions.

Department of Consumer Affairs Must Provide Young Adults With Outreach and Education Regarding Consumer Protection Issues:

  • On March 30, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law Intro. 458-A.
  • This law requires the Department of Consumer Affairs to provide young adults, ages 16-24, with information that would increase their financial literacy.
  • The agency is to provide outreach and education measures, which will target consumer issues that would typically affect young adults in the 16-24 year old age range, such as: credit card debt, student loans, and leasing or purchasing a motor vehicle.
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News Round-up March 20th, 2015

Mayor Proposes Changes at Rikers Island:

  • Mayor de Blasio has introduced proposals to help reduce violence and eliminate smuggling at Rikers Island. Some of the proposals include: improving the security cameras, a computerized screening system, creating an inmate education program, and changing the policies for visitors. The proposal also includes plans to create a new inmate classification system and separate warring inmates and gang members.
  • Under the new visitor policy, visitor-inmate physical contact would be limited to a hug at the beginning and end of the visit. There will also be plexiglass partitions installed to separate inmates and visitors. The goal of this is to avoid the smuggling of contraband, which can lead to a reduction in violence because disputes among inmates often stem from the possession of contraband.
  • Critics of the Mayor’s proposal, including the Prisoners’ Rights Project at the Legal Aid Society, say that visitation is one of the only outlets inmates have to keep them sane in jails. Visitation during incarceration can often play a part in whether or not the inmate ends up back in jail after release.
  • The proposals will be presented to the Board of Correction in May and, if approved, will take effect in August.

 

Legislators Propose Common Core Test Opt-Out:

  • Legislators are proposing a bill that will allow parents to opt-out of common core curriculum tests. The bill, named the Common Core Parental Refusal Act, would require schools to inform parents of students in grades three through eight by mail, email or a letter sent home with the child that the child may refuse to take any of the standardized tests administered under the Common Core standards.
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Innovations in the Fight Against Human Trafficking: Perspectives and Proposals Open Source Innovation Development Session 3

Innovations in the Fight Against Human Trafficking: Perspectives and Proposals

Open Source Innovation Development Session

By: Rachel Searle

 

This breakout session involved discussion among some audience members about how immigration reform can help combat human trafficking. Immigration reform could be both beneficial and detrimental to trafficking in the United States. Some immigration visas are geared towards people who have learned skills and can work for high-paying companies. This makes it difficult for many people to immigrate into the US, especially with caps that have limited how many people can obtain certain work visas. Additionally, many companies have a limited time frame in when they can harvest and process produce for their products. In this time frame, it is difficult to find enough people so they hire outside the regulations of the Department of Labor. This hiring generally includes undocumented citizens and trafficked people.

Reforms, such as implementing a guest worker program, can sometimes make these issues worse. It could create an attitude of “come pick our fruit and leave.” Additionally, it could increase the number of people who are lured into trafficking situations. With the passing of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), it can be argued that the number of coyotes and the people falling prey to them have increased. With these points in mind, it could be argued that some reform could lead to increased issues in trafficking.

On the other hand, properly instituted immigration reform could help solve some issues in trafficking. If there is a better pathway to citizenship, it could lead to a better chance of other workers obtaining green cards.… <Read More>


News Round-up March 6th, 2015

 

New York’s Campus Sexual Assault Hotline:

  • In keeping with Governor Cuomo’s initiative to stop sexual assaults on college campuses, the New York State Police have created a 24 hour hotline to take reports of sexual assaults on college campuses. The hotline covers SUNY’s 64 campuses across New York State and the investigations will be handled by the State Police. In May 2015, the SUNY Implementation Task Force will have completed its new on-campus police training effort aimed at educating students, staff and faculty in sexual assault prevention and awareness.
  • The hotline is one aspect of Governor Cuomo’s “Enough is Enough” campaign. The other initiatives under this campaign include: adopting an affirmative standard of consent, amnesty for victims of sexual assault from being punished for alcohol or drug abuse, and the Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights, which included a list of resources to help victims. Currently this only applies to SUNY schools; however, Governor Cuomo has discussed introducing legislation to make this all apply to private institutions as well.

The number is (844) 845-7269.

 

Suicide Prevention for Veterans Law:

  • Last month, President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act into law. Clay Hunt, the law’s namesake, was a Marine Corps veteran who killed himself in 2011 after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Hunt served in Iraq and Afghanistan and volunteered in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. While he tried to work through his struggles, he did not have access to adequate resources; the waiting list to see a psychiatrist was months long.
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Innovations In The Fight Against Human Trafficking: Considering Sex and Labor Trafficking Together– Open Source Innovation Development Session

By: Hayley Pine

During the Open Source Innovation Development portion of the Innovations in the Fight Against Human Trafficking symposium, a number of attendees spoke about ending the bifurcation between sex and labor trafficking. This idea is based on the concept that sex and labor trafficking are intertwined. Sex work should be viewed as labor. Part of the horror of sex labor trafficking is that it involves sexual exploitation as a means of maintaining control. Also, many trafficking experiences involve multiple forms of labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Therefore, the distinction between the two should be eliminated.

Society responds to labor trafficking and sex trafficking differently, so it may seem logical to separate them. However, one of the major differences between the two, which helps create this dichotomy, is the criminalization of sex work. Criminalizing sex work also creates other issues. Many of the problems associated with sex trafficking remain in the shadows because individuals involved in it are afraid to come forward for fear of criminalization.

In contrast to sex trafficking victims, labor trafficking victims have some level of recourse, because if they come forward with the work that they have been doing they will not be penalized. Women engaged in sex work also have little resources available to them because of the criminalization of sex work. There are resources that are available to victims of trafficking, but who falls into that category is often narrowly defined. Many women, unfortunately, are not included in that category, because they either: engaged in sex work voluntarily after being trafficked, or they entered into sex work voluntarily and were then trafficked.… <Read More>