Female prostitution suspects in New York State will now be given the opportunity to have their cases dismissed and get out of the sex trade by taking part in a new intervention program aimed at helping “human-trafficking victims.”
“By viewing prostitutes as being recruited through fraud or by coercion, and/or financial pressure the court system wants to promote a more compassionate and just approach that will make health, immigration and education services available to them,” stated the State’s Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.
He also noted that while “trafficking is often portrayed as involving street and brothel prostitution, it can also involve domestic servitude, as well as factory and agricultural settings for many immigrants.”
“If they want to get out of the life, we are going to give them the means by which they can,” Lippman said.
Under the new program, prsecutors, judges and social service agencies will offer voluntary intervention programs for prostitutes in 11 of New York’s counties, based on models already in effect in three trafficking courts already operating in Manhattan, Nassau and Queens.
The latter, in operation since 2004, reported that it handed 879 cases last year in which 90% of the prostitutes opted to take part in the intervention program to avoid conviction in 2012. However, Queens Criminal Court Judge Toko Serita noted that she did not have any statistics on how many of the women who appeared before her were rearrested at later dates.