United States: New York Establishes Statewide Court System for Trafficking
Thursday, September 26, 2013 10:50 AM

New York is establishing a statewide system of Human Trafficking Intervention Courts. It is the first such statewide system in the country. The courts will deal with prostitution cases and provide services to sex-trafficking victims, helping them to escape the cycle of exploitation and arrest. The initiative is based on other specialized courts, such as those for domestic violence and low level drug crimes. The aim is to stop treating people charged with prostitution offenses as defendants and instead provide them with services to keep them from returning to the sex trade.
The first trafficking courts will start functioning by the end of October 2103 in the five boroughs of New York City and six other locations throughout the state. Judges, defense lawyers and prosecutors will evaluate cases involving prostitution-related offenses. Courts will refer defendants to services such as drug treatment, shelter, immigration assistance, health care and job training.
Similar specialized trafficking courts exist in other parts of the country including Baltimore; Phoenix; Columbus, Ohio; West Palm Beach, Florida; Texas and Connecticut.
Compiled from: William K. Rashbaum, With Special Courts, State Aims to Steer Women Away from Sex Trade, The New York Times (September 25, 2013).