Nashville becomes just the fifth city in the country to create a specific court process for victims of human trafficking. It puts less emphasis on criminal punishment and more on treatment.
Police and prosecutors will work harder to identify trafficking and offer victims up to a year of counseling, housing, or drug treatment. If they complete the program, known as “Cherished H.E.A.R.T.S.,” their charges will be dismissed. This is similar to a drug abuse court.
Many participants will likely be found through prostitution arrests. Those cases often reveal that victims were coerced, or trafficked. That’s the difference. Anyone forced into sex will be treated as a victim — if they agree to get help, says prosecutor Tammy Meade.