NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City dismissed thousands of prostitution cases Wednesday and will no longer prosecute them.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office wanted the cases dropped, saying the accused were exploited sex workers and unfairly targeted.READ MORE: NYPD: 4 Suspects In Custody After 3 Subway Riders Slashed Within Minutes In Lower Manhattan
Many of the dismissed cases involved the former crime of loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. Earlier this year, the state Legislature repealed a 1970s anti-loitering law that opponents decried as a “walking while trans” ban.
Crimes associated with prostitution, including patronizing sex workers and sex trafficking, will still be prosecuted.READ MORE: Long Island Hispanic Bar Association Organizes Free Prom Dress Boutique For Freeport High School Students
The decision was applauded by activists, defense lawyers and lawmakers who have lobbied for changes in the law.
“However, this policy should not supplant the need to pass legislation that would fully decriminalize sex work and provide for criminal record relief for people convicted of prostitution offense,” Abigail Swenstein, a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society, said in a statement.
Some other prosecutors in the region have taken similar steps. The top prosecutors in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx have all dismissed hundreds of prostitution cases in recent months.MORE NEWS: Crucifix Toppled, American Flag Destroyed At Brooklyn Church
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