ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester human trafficking court received over $700,000 in federal money to expand the services available through the court.
The court initially only took cases from Rochester. Now, towns and villages in Monroe County will be able to transfer their cases to the Rochester human trafficking court.
Judge Ellen Yacknin has presided over the court since 2013. At a press conference on Tuesday, Yacknin told the story of one woman who turned her life around after going through the court.
To protect her identity, the woman was called jane. After being kicked out of her home Jane was stuck in an abusive relationship, forced to prostitute and addicted to heroin.
After her arrest, Judge Yacknin says through the Rochester human trafficking court, Jane was able to turn her life around.
“As a result of all the word that she did, she was finally able to realize that she had other opportunities she had as a result of all the work of all these folks and our court,” said Judge Ellen Yacknin, Monroe County Judge.
The Rochester Human trafficking court was established based on the idea that most people arrested for prostitution crimes are victims themselves.
Judge Yacknin says a new grant of $728,318 from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance will help change lives.
“It will help the community of Rochester because the victims of abuse and trauma and cohesion will get the help that they need to begin to change their lives,” said Yacknin.
Local advocate groups were also in attendance on Tuesday.
Leaders with the center for youth already have a program, called Safe harbor, aimed to help those underage break the cycle of prostitution.
They say any resources towards solving the problem of victimization benefit everyone.
“We have to be diligent, we have to be viligent, and this program that we just hard about today, the expansion of Judge Yacknin’s Court is going to help us all. it’s going lift all boats,” said Elaine Spaual, executive director Center for Youth.