CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County officials have launched a new alternative program for men and women charged with prostitution, or who might be victims of human trafficking.
With the stroke of a pen, Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans set June 1 as the start of the new Prostitution and Trafficking Intervention Court.
Evans said state law already treats prostitution as a misdemeanor, and not a felony. The new intervention court takes that approach a step further.
“This approach is to treat people who have in the past been treated like criminals, instead to treat them like human beings,” he said.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said the new court would help connect the women – and sometimes men – connect with social services so they can turn away from prostitution.
“We want to offer those individuals facing misdemeanor prostitution charges with the tools and resources necessary to leave the life of prostitution, and turn their lives around,” she said.