WBAI-FM Program Highlight


Thursday, October 2, 2014   6:00 AM - 8:00 AM

10/02/14 - New York City's Human Trafficking Intervention Courts

In fall 2013 the State of New York Unified Court System announced the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts, an initiative that according to a press release “seeks to promote a just and compassionate resolution to cases involving those charged with prostitution─treating these defendants as trafficking victims, likely to be in dire need of medical treatment and other critical services.”

Over the past year, members of the sex worker-led organization Red Umbrella Project have been observing and documenting the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts in Brooklyn and Queens to figure out what actually happens in the court rooms and how they handle prostitution related charges. The Human Trafficking Intervention Courts have the goal of reframing people as victims instead of criminals – but is that really what’s going on?

“Criminal, Victim, or Worker?” — a report out yesterday by Red Umbrella Project, highlights the problem with treating all sex workers as victims, and those victims as criminal defendants. “No other charge,” it notes, “calls for the person being exploited to be arrested.”

This morning we spoke with Audacia Ray, Executive Director of Red Umbrella Project, about this issue and what's at stake when we understand sex workers variously as criminals, victims, or workers.  

Click the play arrow to listen to audio (Flash required).

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