PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s top prosecutor will no longer seek jail time before conviction for those charged with what he says are low-level offenses, including prostitution.
But advocates for victims who are sex-trafficked say those offenses should be looked at, carefully.
District Attorney Larry Krasner says prosecutors will not seek cash-bail for those charged with prostitution, either selling or buying sex.
“It is a violent and vicious industry,” said Shea Rhodes, Director of Villanova’s Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation.
Rhodes works to change laws to protect sex-trafficking victims lured into the trade.
“I would not consider it, just on its face, a non-violent offense,” she said.
Rhodes says she applauds the effort to keep prostitutes out of prison, but it is a slippery slope when it comes to johns.
“When we look at the spectrum of individuals who are sex buyers, our very own Kensington strangler was a sex buyer, there are very violent incidents involving sex buyers, that is not uncommon,” she said.
A spokesman for Krasner says they will examine cases individually and any charge involving minors is excluded from the new policy.