By: Staff Blogger
In a move that is surprising many, the highest ranking judicial official in the state of New York is creating a program that will help alleged prost!tutes receive social services, advance their education, and explore job training, instead of facing criminal prosecution.
Judge John Lippman made the announcement this past week. Traditionally, prost!tutes are criminalized, instead of rehabilitated. His decision is based upon his belief that some people are coaxed into the industry at the hands of those who are dangerous and who threaten bodily harm if the victims do not comply.
“It is in every sense a form of modern-day slavery,” he asserted.
The courts will create special hearings to address the cases of those who could benefit the most. As a result, prost!tution cases will be referred to a special court where, collectively, the judge, the prosecutor and the defense attorney will decide what the best plan of action should be.
For women who are deemed victims, they will have opportunities to regroup and get help.
“While these prostitution cases are criminal in every sense,” Lippman conceded; he also recognized that “there will be no further victimization of these defendants by a society that can be divorced from the realities of this modern-day form of servitude.”
The good news is that tax payers will not have to fit the bill for these services. Instead, human services, religious and other community organizations will seek external funding to ensure the sustainability of the program.
Community advocates have long argued that many young girls, in particular, who are run-aways get involved with the wrong crowd. One poor decision leads to another and before they know it, they find themselves engaged in illegal behavior.
Advocates for this change believe that helping young girls will break the cycle and give them a future filled with opportunities that do not involve their own objectification.