Peralta, Ban ‘Nasty’ Business Cards
Parents of youngsters in Corona and Jackson Heights last week rallied behind state Senator Jose Peralta in support of his measure that would make it illegal to hand out business cards for prostitutes who make house calls.
Speaking at a press conference at P.S. 19 in Corona, Peralta defended his bill that would mandate a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail for individuals who hand out the “Chica Chica” cards anywhere in New York state.
“Every morning schoolchildren pick up these cards from the streets,” Peralta said. “These cards are being traded by children like baseball cards,” he said.
The cards, handed out by two men and a woman at Roosevelt Avenue between 69th and 112th Streets, depict scantily-clad women next to slogans offering “Delivery In Queens”, and give the phone numbers for the men who can arrange the service.
The Queens lawmaker introduced a similar bill four years ago when he was serving in the state Assembly. The measure failed to pass when lawmakers disagreed with the amount of the fine and when questions were raised over possible First Amendment issues, Peralta said. “Roosevelt Avenue is plagued by problems like prostitution, handing out these cards and fake IDs,” Peralta said. “I want to transform Roosevelt Avenue, take it back piece by piece.”
Peralta said the amount of the fine should not be a factor in getting the bill passed. Questions remain, however, about how the bill will hold up against First Amendment issues such as freedom of speech, which Peralta expects will be a sticking point in passage of the bill.
Queens Assemblymember Francisco Moya introduced the bill to the state Assembly. Moya said parents should be outraged that sexually explicit material is being handed out, day and night, in an area common to young children.
Parents of youngsters at P.S. 307 in Corona joined Peralta at the rally, where they expressed concern over the impact the cards have on children.
“My seven-year-old daughter started picking them up off the sidewalk on her way to school”, one mother said. “She wanted to know what they were.” The mother told her daughter the cards are nasty, and that she should never pick them up. “You tell children not to do something because it’s bad for them”, the mother said. “But children are going to do what they do”, she added. “They’re like people in that way.”
The bill is currently under review by the state Senate and will face a vote by the panel in early June.