CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cohen & Gruber on Governance Feminism and Human Trafficking Intervention Courts

Amy J. Cohen and Aya Gruber (Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law and University of Colorado Law School) have posted Governance Feminism in New York's Alternative 'Human Trafficking Intervention Courts' (GOVERNANCE FEMINISM: A HANDBOOK (eds. Janet Halley, Prabha Kotiswaran, Rachel Rebouché & Hila Shamir (University of Minnesota Press) (with Aya Gruber), Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In New York’s new Human Trafficking Intervention Courts (HTICs), mostly female defendants are prosecuted for prostitution-related offenses and then offered social services in lieu of more traditional criminal justice sentences. These alternative problem-solving courts represent a reconceptualization of the status of prostitution defendants in the New York criminal court system: formerly regarded as low priority, quality-of-life offenders, they are perceived by the HTICs as presumptive victims of gender-based violence. This chapter explores the role that feminists, holding a range of views on commercial sex, played in the creation of these new courts even as it argues that virtually no feminist position — liberal, abolitionist, sex worker — should condone the arrest of women for selling sex. It explores how some feminists embraced the courts as depoliticized providers of services while others made strategic decisions to work with the new courts despite clear ideological misgivings. As such, the chapter argues, the HTICs raise questions endemic to all governance feminism projects: when and why is it worth it to compromise feminist aims?

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