Criminal Justice

Maryland Police Target Pimps, Treat Prostitutes as Victims

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In a cutting-edge approach to law enforcement that reflects growing concern about human trafficking in the U.S. and abroad, at least one American police force has radically changed the way it handles prostitution cases.

Pimps are the criminals and prostitutes are treated as victims by authorities in Montgomery County, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., reports USINFO, a U.S. State Department newsletter. That reflects reality, the article says, because many prostitutes are young and disadvantaged, runaway American teens or foreigners brought into the country under false pretenses, with no friends or family to turn to for help.

Pimps “are responsible for the actual trafficking aspect, getting the girls over here to the States, and they lure them in the usual ways, [promising] marriage or domestic work around here at a restaurant,” says Detective Leland Wiley, a Montgomery vice officer. Adds his partner, Detective Thomas Stack, “These girls, for the most part, they are the victims … because they are trafficked into this country and they are forced into prostitution.”

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