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The Manhattan district attorney will stop prosecuting prostitution and unlicensed massage cases — and is tossing thousands of warrants dating as far back as 1975.
DA Cyrus Vance Jr. appeared virtually Wednesday in Manhattan Criminal Court to ask Judge Charlotte Davidson to vacate 5,994 bench warrants and dismiss the underlying charges of prostitution, unlicensed massage and loitering for the purpose of prostitution.
The motion was granted and the cases dating back to 1975 were dropped.
For years, the Manhattan DA has offered people facing these charges services and programs.
“Now, we will decline to prosecute these arrests outright, providing services and support solely on a voluntary basis,” said Vance, who added that his office is the first in the state to take this step.
Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez’s office also declines to prosecute prostitution cases but only after services have been offered to defendants, a spokesman said.
“This announcement shows that the Manhattan DA is committed to changing its approach to the sex trade by decriminalizing people who are in prostitution and supporting those most at risk of exploitation,” said the Rev. Dr. Que English of the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition.
Cecilia Gentili, founder of Transgender Equity Consulting, lauded the new policy.
“This resolute action to actively decriminalize sex workers is the kind of change our community has been hoping for, advocating for, for decades,” she said.
The bulk of the Manhattan dismissals related to loitering for the purpose of prostitution cases — dubbed the Walking While Trans law — which advocates have long said unfairly targets minorities.
Earlier this year, the state legislature struck the controversial statute from its books.
In response, the Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx DAs moved to vacate bench warrants stemming from this charge and dismiss all open cases.
Most of the city’s DAs had stopped prosecuting the crime years before it was repealed.
A spokesman for Richmond County DA Michael McMahon previously told The Post his office would follow suit.
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