Manhattan Prosecutors Focus on Pimps Instead of Prostitutes
It was not exactly a run-of-the-mill prostitution case: the men accused as ringleaders were a father and his son, a pimp team coercing women to push their trade like traveling sex saleswomen, handing out business cards at hotels and strip clubs.
The women were branded, tattooed with the pimps’ monikers, Mr. Vee for the father and King Koby for the son, Manhattan prosecutors said. One woman was even tattooed with a bar code.
But what makes the case noteworthy is not how the operation was run, but how the men are being prosecuted. The Manhattan district attorney’s office is employing a sex trafficking charge, added to the New York State penal code five years ago, that is helping to redefine how law enforcement agencies approach organized prostitution.
In a stark departure from decades of such prosecutions, the women who were working as prostitutes are not facing criminal charges but are instead being treated as their pimps’ victims, and offered services to help them build new lives.