NEW YORK (CBSNewYork / AP) New York City dismissed thousands of prostitution on Wednesday and will no longer prosecute them.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office wanted the cases to be reduced, saying that the defendants were sex workers who were exploited and unfairly targeted.
Many of the rejected cases have been related to previous charges of straying for the purpose of prostitution. Earlier this year, the state legislature abolished the 1970s anti-hike law which opponents criticized was a ban “walking while transgender”.
Prostitution-related crimes, including prostitution and sex trafficking, will still be prosecuted.
The decision was applauded by activists, defense lawyers and lawmakers who have campaigned for changes in the law.
“However, this policy should not replace the need to pass laws that completely ban prostitution and reduce criminal records for people convicted of prostitution,” said Abigail Swenstein, a staff attorney for Hiep. Legal Aid Society, said in a statement.
Several other prosecutors in the region have taken similar steps. Top prosecutors in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx have all dismissed hundreds of prostitution cases in recent months.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)