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New city court to tackle human trafficking

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Buffalo City Court is adding another specialized court for human trafficking and prostitution cases as part of a statewide program.City court has specialized courts for veterans, drugs and mental health issues. The new state program sets up a court for human trafficking and prostitution cases in 11 courthouses across New York. Buffalo's court will cover the eight counties of Western New York. City Judge Amy Martoche will be in charge.

Chief Judge Thomas Amodeo says there are not many cases, about 180 right now, but they are very time consuming since one case may involve up to 25 court appearances. That's in a court with 30,000 cases this year.

"The end result in the recidivist rate is enormously great. We've helped more people and delivered more drug-free babies through our system that would cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars just in housing them in jail," Amodeo says.

These cases are separate from human trafficking cases which go through the federal courts. Judge Amodeo says these won't only be prostitution cases, although there will be some of those.

He says City Court is now handling an assault case which turned out to be an individual who attacked his employer who smuggled him into this country and was taking all of his pay.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.