As understanding of the cruel dynamics of sex-trafficking has grown in recent years, a consensus has emerged among criminal justice professionals that it makes more sense to treat people charged with prostitution as the exploited and abused victims a vast majority are, rather than as criminals. An important new initiative by New York State’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, aims to put that humane insight into practice.
A handful of cities across the country, including Baltimore and Phoenix, have specialized courts that deal with sex-trafficking offenses. On Wednesday, Judge Lippman announced the creation of the nation’s first statewide system of specialized criminal courts to handle prostitution-related offenses and make services available to help sex-trafficking victims escape their abusive situations and forge new lives.
“This new initiative will stop the pattern of shuffling trafficking victims through our criminal courtrooms without addressing the underlying reasons they are there in the first place,” Judge Lippman said. Read more on NYTimes.com.