A New York State prostitution court model of treating defendants as “trafficking victims” needing social services is gaining popularity, but sex workers claim the human trafficking narrative is based on an unreliably narrow view of the sex trade, which should be decriminalized altogether.
The New York state court system announced a “giant leap forward” in criminal justice last year when it rolled out 11 new prostitution courts, which are supposed to treat defendants as “trafficking victims” who are likely in need of medical and social services. More than 2,000 people have passed through these Human Trafficking Intervention Courts (HTICs) in New York City alone since last September, when programs at three pilot courts expanded into the nation’s first statewide system that could serve as a model for the rest of the country.
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