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
National

Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy - U.S.…

By Curtis Skinner(Reuters) - Dogs are a man's best friend, and research released on Wednesday says canines want to keep it that way.Dogs are capable…

Local

G train riders brace for five-week shutdown

G train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Queens between Friday, July 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 2.

International

Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…

Local

Family, supporters gather in Brooklyn for Eric Garner…

Family members gathered on Wednesday for the funeral of Eric Garner, who died shortly after police put him in a banned chokehold as they arrested him.

Going Out

Where to go drinking on National Tequila Day…

Thursday is just close enough to the end of the week to make you envision yourself already sunning on a beach towel or lounging by…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this week: July…

Performing arts A 70’s Summer Night Friday, 6:30 p.m. The Green Building 452 Union St., Gowanus $35, 347-529-6473 Party like it’s summer in the 1970s…

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shapiro's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

MLB

Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.

Sports

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

Food

Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…

Education

Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…

Career

How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…

Style

The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…