New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) has pointed to migrants as a contributing factor to the growth of illegal activities in Queens’ red-light districts. Speaking on Tuesday, the Democrat stated that this is an example of how the nation’s migrant crisis is negatively affecting the city.
Corona, Queens, has seen a boom in prostitution, with many Venezuelan migrants struggling to find work turning to the trafficking trade as a means of survival. The area has become a bustling market for such activities, with women seen loitering in front of various businesses and even recruiting neighborhood children to distribute their business cards.
“We don’t want to have to walk around our streets walking through trash,” Frias added. “We want to walk like New Yorkers, with our heads held high.”
Migrants are behind boom in Queens red-light district, Adams says https://t.co/vi3Ia27H3L
— Michael R. Caputo (@MichaelRCaputo) November 1, 2023
Social media posts and videos on YouTube have also highlighted the issue, showing firsthand the extent of the problem in what was once a family-friendly area. The NYPD has shifted its focus from arresting prostitutes to targeting those who solicit illegal trafficking, but local residents and officials argue that this has not been enough to curb the problem.
The influx of migrants, mainly from Central and South America, has created a pool of vulnerable individuals who are at risk of being exploited. Many are unable to find legal work and may not speak English, making them prime targets for traffickers and others who seek to take advantage of their situation.
Adams stressed the need for a partnership between city officials, law enforcement, and community members to address the issue. He also called for assistance to be provided to prostitutes to ensure they are not being forced into the trade and are abiding by the law.
“We are going to create generational problems based on the failure of the national government, and this is one example of that,” Adams said.
This issue is not unique to Queens. Another red-light district has emerged in East New York, Brooklyn, where prostitution is overt during the day. Mayor Adams says this is where idealism collides with realism, as some officials argue that women are merely trying to work and should not be harmed. However, Adams contends that the seriousness of the situation cannot be understated, as it impacts the safety and well-being of the community.
Under New York law, prostitution is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $500. Patronizing a prostitute is a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a potential sentence of up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
While the law has not deterred these Venezuelan migrants from soliciting men on Roosevelt Avenue in Corona, local officials and community members continue to advocate for more vigorous enforcement and support for those caught in the cycle of illegal prostitution.