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.
Survivors of sex trafficking are usually treated as criminals rather than victims. But some courts have begun to recognize that those arrested on prostitution charges are often victims of coercion, violence, and trauma. Our video, From Defendant to Survivor, profiles the innovative approaches being taken by courts in Los Angeles, New York City, and Columbus, Ohio.
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.
Citing our 2016 national study finding that more than a third of young people involved in the U.S. sex trade were boys and young men, this article details the challenges presented with supporting those victimized in ways the public often assumes applies mostly to women and girls. For many men and boys, incidents are not reported, their stories stifled by stigma and shame, keeping these victims unseen and without access to help they need.