Starting this week, men and women arrested for prostitution on the streets of Rochester will face a new kind of court hearing.
Rochester City Court has started a Human Trafficking Unit, where those facing prostitution charges will get treatment instead of punishment.
Jennifer Wolfley is executive director of the group Paper Bag Ladies of Rochester, which provides outreach services to women, and sometimes men, who have made their living on the streets. "My clients feel that this is a shorter yardstick to them getting the help that they need, because most of my clients need extreme comprehensive assessment and extreme comprehensive services."
She says the shame associated with the life of prostitution is often a barrier to seeking help. Wolfley says Human Trafficking Court may be the solution for many.
In most cases, the new court unit will dismiss or reduce prostitution charges for defendants who successfully complete the treatment program.