Court Permits Trafficking Victims Protection Act Claim to be Added to Complaint Against Photographer Bruce Weber

In Boyce v. Weber, No. 160630/2017, 2019 WL 1470219, 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 30864(U), 6 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Apr. 03, 2019), the court allowed plaintiff – a male model – the opportunity to amend his complaint against photographer Bruce Weber to add a claim (to his existing claims alleging sexual harassment and discrimination under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws) under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), 18 USC § 1591.

This statute, according to the court,

provides a private right of action for victims of sex trafficking (18 USC § 1595). To state a claim under 18 USC § 1591 as relevant here, plaintiff must plead facts showing that Weber “knowingly and in interstate or foreign commerce: (1) recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, or maintained by any means a person; (2) ‘knowing, or in reckless disregard of the fact, that means of force, threats of force, fraud … or any combination of such means will be used’; (3) ‘to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act’ ”

In reaching its decision, the court noted, inter alia, that the statute does not require “actual causation”, but only “that the means of fraud and force were designed to bring about the sex act,” and furthermore that “there is no requirement thaat a commercial sex act actually occur.”

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