The Center for Court Innovation helps to plan and create off-ramps for justice-involved victims of human trafficking.
A pioneer in the creation of Human Trafficking Intervention Courts in New York State, the Center is at the forefront of the justice system’s increasing recognition that prostitution is often a form of human trafficking. As a result, rather than fines and jail time, new approaches are addressing the problems—such as trauma, abuse, and drug addiction—that force many adults and children to engage in prostitution.
Through our work implementing intervention courts and diversion options, we have taken these lessons to scale and offer a range of customized training and technical assistance plans, publications, and planning materials for jurisdictions interested in addressing the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adults.
With funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Center for Court Innovation conducted a multi-site study designed to increase scientific knowledge concerning youth involvement in the sex trade. Nearly 1,000 youth, ages 13-24, were interviewed across six sites on subjects including entry into the sex trade, earning a living, finding customers, involvement of pimps and market facilitators, health issues and service needs, interactions with law enforcement, and outlook for the future.
In this New Thinking podcast, Ann Johnson, an assistant district attorney and the human trafficking section chief with the Harris County District Attorney's Office, discusses her office's strategies for combating human trafficking, including increased enforcement against traffickers and buyers, and diversion from prosecution for victims. One of the office's diversion program, SAFE Court, gives those ages 17 to 25 who are charged with prostitution the opportunity to clear the charge from their criminal records by completing a yearlong program of monitoring and social services.