New York City targets sex-trafficking cabbies

NEW YORK, June 13 Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:01pm EDT

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NEW YORK, June 13 (Reuters) - New York cab drivers convicted of felony sex trafficking for ferrying prostitutes to illicit liaisons would lose their licenses under new legislation passed on Wednesday by the New York City Council.

The council measure follows the high-profile arrests in April of a half dozen New York livery cab drivers charged with promoting prostitution. Prosecutors said the drivers got a fee to help find customers for a ring of prostitutes.

In December, a sex-trafficking victim testified before the City Council that she had worked with about 70 drivers who ferried her to 5,000 clients.

"We are recognizing ... the unconscionable and cruel role that taxi drivers and livery drivers are playing in this brutal attack, that keeps people trapped (and) takes their lives away from them," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said at a news conference.

Under the legislation, city taxi and livery drivers would face up to a $10,000 fine and lose their New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission licenses if convicted of a felony related to sex trafficking.

The legislation goes to Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his signature. Bloomberg's office had no immediate comment on the bill. (Reporting By Chris Francescani; Editing by Eric Beech)

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