New York creates state-wide court system for helping prostitutes

The new court system will help get prostitutes off the streets in New York state. Credit: Getty Images
The new court system will help get prostitutes off the streets in New York state. Credit: Getty Images

New York is creating the nation’s first statewide system of courtrooms aimed at helping people escape lives of prostitution, which the law treats as a crime, but the state’s chief judge on Wednesday described as akin to “modern-day slavery.”

The effort, modeled on three pilot courts that have been in operation in Manhattan, Queens and Nassau County for several years, will reach nearly 95 percent of all defendants charged with prostitution and related offenses statewide, New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said.

It is part of an emerging consensus among criminal justice experts that prostitution is often a matter of coercion rather than choice, he said.

“It is in every sense a form of modern-day slavery,” Lippman said at a forum hosted by the Citizens Crime Commission in New York City. “We have come to recognize that the vast majority of children and adults charged with prostitution offenses are commercially exploited or at risk of exploitation.”

By the end of October, 11 human trafficking intervention courts will be operating throughout the state. Some 3,700 defendants were charged in New York State with prostitution and related crimes last year.

Every prostitution case not resolved at arraignment via a guilty plea or dismissal will be transferred to the special courts, where judges will determine with prosecutors and defense attorneys whether individual defendants are in need of services.

The courts will link defendants with shelters, healthcare and drug treatment services, job training, education and other resources, and charges will be dismissed or reduced based on compliance with court-directed programs.

In recent years, New York has passed a series of laws aimed at shifting the focus of prosecutions from sex workers to the pimps that employ them and the johns that hire them.

The state created the crime of sex trafficking in 2007, giving prosecutors a new tool to go after those who profit from prostitution. The legislature also passed a law allowing prostitution defendants under the age of 18 to enter into diversion programs and avoid jail time.

The average age that sex workers first enter the industry in the U.S. is 12 to 14, Lippman said.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.