Daily Archives: January 5, 2015

Special Prostitution Courts and the Myth of ‘Rescuing’ Sex Workers

New York State’s Human Trafficking Intervention Courts (HTICs) are the first of their kind in the nation. Launched with great fanfare in September 2013, these courts redefined prostitutes as trafficking victims rather than criminals.

“Human trafficking is… a form of modern-day slavery that we simply cannot tolerate in a civilized society,” Judge Jonathan Lippman, the court’s creator, said at a press conference announcing the formation of the special courts. “We now recognize that the vast majority of individuals charged with prostitution offenses are commercially exploited or at risk of exploitation. By offering vital services instead of punishment to these defendants, the Human Trafficking Intervention Initiative will act to transform and save lives—and, in turn, enable law enforcement to identify, investigate, and punish the traffickers.”

Despite the claims of reformers like Judge Lippman, HTICs are as controlling as any other court. Prostitutes might be called victims, but they’re still arrested, still handcuffed, and still held in cages. The only difference is that they’re now in a system that doesn’t distinguish between workers and trafficked people. To the courts, anyone who’s been arrested for sex work is raw material, incapable of making his or her own choices. Those like Love, who did sex work out of financial necessity, before leaving of her own volition, might as well not exist.

“Special Prostitution Courts and the Myth of ‘Rescuing’ Sex Workers,” Molly Crabapple for VICE

Freedom Flicks: CCR Presents Waiting for Fahd

The Bertha Justice Institute at the Center for Constitutional Rights is proud to present a special Freedom Flicks program on Wednesday, January 14th in partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library using art and film to bring you rarely told, human stories of Guantánamo prison.

The night will begin with a private reception/gallery exhibit featuring artworks by artist and writer Molly Crabapple, photographer Debi Cornwall and former Guantánamo detainee and CCR client Djamel Ameziane. Following the exhibit we will screen the original short film “Waiting for Fahd”, which tells the heartrending story of CCR client Fahd Ghazy, a Yemeni national unlawfully detained at 17. Now 30, Fahd continues to languish in Guantánamo without charge or trial.

After the screening, CCR Staff Attorney Omar Farah will be joined by Molly Crabapple and Debi Cornwall to discuss the role of art, law, and storytelling in challenging dominant narratives of Guantánamo and surfacing the human impact of indefinite detention.

Seating is limited. Register here to reserve your free ticket.

Wednesday, January 14th
6:30pm – 8:45pm
Brooklyn Public Library
10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn, NY

Doors open at 6:30pm for the private reception/gallery exhibit. Light refreshments will be provided. Screening starts at 7:15pm sharp.