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.”
In 2014 Red Umbrella Project staff and members conducted an observational study, documenting the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts in Brooklyn and Queens to figure out what happens in the court rooms and how they handle prostitution related charges. The HTICs have the goal of reframing people as victims instead of criminals.
RedUP released the first sex worker-led report on the HTICs on October 1, 2014 at an event at Long Island University. On September 18, 2015 we took it to City Hall, with a rally and member testimony during a City Council oversight hearing about the courts.
To join the conversation online – use the hashtag #NYHTIC and find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as @redupnyc
- How New York City’s Treatment of Sex Workers Continues to Harm Us – Jenna Torres (RedUP Community Organizer) on RH Reality Check, September 22, 2015
- Why Do Sex-Work Diversion Programs Fail? – The Nation, September 25, 2015
- Sex Trafficking Victims, Not ‘Prostitutes,’ Finally Getting Help (and a New Name) in Court – The Daily Beast, published January 12, 2015
- Special Prostitution Courts and the Myth of Rescuing Sex Workers – VICE, published January 5, 2015
- Want the Truth About New York’s Human Trafficking Courts? Ask a Sex Worker – TruthOut, published October 26, 2014
- Are New York’s Sex Workers Getting Their Fair Day in Court? – The Nation, published October 6, 2014
- Human Trafficking Courts Accused of Bias – Courthouse News Service, published October 3, 2014
- New York City’s Human Trafficking Intervention Courts – featured segment on WBAI’s Morning Show, aired on October 2, 2014
- Flawed justice for sex workers – NY Daily News, published October 1, 2014
- Black Women Profiled as Prostitutes in NYC – Reason, published October 1, 2014
- Why Are New York Courts Lumping in Sex Workers With the Victims of Human Trafficking? – Village Voice, published October 1, 2014
- Not Everyone Is Happy with the NY Courts Treating Sex Workers as Trafficking Victims – Vice News, published October 1, 2014
Authors: Audacia Ray and Emma Caterine
Court Observation Team Leader: Emma Caterine
Court Observers: Audacia Ray, Ariel Wolf, Emma Caterine, Karen Gardiner, Kate Zen, Lindsay Roth, Olivia, rosza daniel lang/levitsky, Sarah Elspeth Patterson, Sur Madam, Tammy S. Baiko, Theener Nix
Community Organizers: Ariel Wolf and Balder Rosado
Research Support/Allies: Martin Elio Covarrubias, Samira Ali, Savitri Horrigan
Statistical Analysis: Sarah Elspeth Patterson of Persist Health Project
Graphic Designer: Shawn Tamaribuchi
Copy Editor: Rachel Aimee
Download the report as a PDF
You can download the two page executive summary here.
You can download the full color PDF report here.