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In February of 2009, staff of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless began a dialogue with the Honorable Paul P. Biebel, Presiding Judge of Cook County Criminal Courts, regarding the possibility of a new problem-solving court specializing in prostitution offenses. For our own edification, we searched for other court models around the country with this same focus. We found several; however, there was no centralized source of information. There was also a lack of shared information among those responsible for coordinating these court projects. In fact, few of these court teams were aware of the other courts in operation. We found more and more court models randomly via keyword searches on the Internet or word of mouth. Those that we contacted regarding their court models were eager and enthusiastic about their models, willing to openly share any information requested, and excited about the prospect of new models and connecting with other existing courts and their associated programs.As we moved further into developing and preparing for the WINGS Project, the newly formed felony prostitution court in Cook County, Illinois, we felt that it would be highly beneficial to begin sharing the knowledge, best practices, and contact information among the courts throughout the country. We wanted to create a tool that facilitated communication and learning between all of the court teams. The information regarding these courts was invaluable in the creation of the WINGS Project, and we hope it can be as useful for other specialty courts for prostitution offenses around the country.The authors of this report have not physically observed any of the court or diversion projects described in this report other than the WINGS Project/Feathers and the Maywood court calls. The information presented about each project is based on countless hours of phone interviews and email communication, as well as any online articles or reports; therefore, the information presented is not completely neutral, and any subjective information or views expressed within those sections do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors.The court and diversion projects in this report are by no means meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather only what we have been able to find through extensive research to date. This report is, and may always be, a work in progress. Our hope is that this report will also help us gain awareness of other projects and even spur other communities to develop similar projects. The sharing of this tool should lead to even greater sharing, ever-improving models, and a much more comprehensive base of knowledge on the subject of effective criminal justice-based models that divert individuals with prostitution offenses away from prison and into desperately needed community-based services.
A CCH policy brief that examines various local and internation strategies to curb the deman for prostitution.
On April 23, 2004 staff of the CCH and 42 volunteers conducted one-on-one interviews with 159 men in nine popular Chicago bars, on the streets of high volume 'bar-areas' in scattered neighborhoods throughout the city, and at Chicago's Union Station. The Prostitution Alternatives Round Table (PART), a project of the CCH decided to make contact with some men who may pay for sexual services in Chicago to determine their characteristics, the frequency with which they paid for sex acts, their interactions with law enforcement, their knowledge of the plight of women and girls involved, and their attitudes about the sex trade industry. Why interview customers? Strategies to combat both legal and illegal aspects of the sex trade seldom focus on the demand that fuels this industry. Research in Chicago indicates that many women and girls in the sex trade experience homelessness and are victims of violence, abuse and exploitation, and that some male customers are violent and exploitative. Yet, there is little research on the customers of women in the sex trade industry. Only two researchers, Martin Monto and John Lowman, have done research with men in North America who buy sex. The reasons are obvious: It is difficult to determine and construct a representative sample of sex trade customers due to the clandestine nature of the industry. It is also likely that many male customers will be reluctant to admit that they pay for sex for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it is against the law.
This policy paper summarizes findings on the connections between homelessness and prostitution.
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