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Prostitute Gets Record Cleared

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A former Bronx prostitute became the first American citizen to have her prostitution convictions thrown out under New York's sex-trafficking law.

Leni Johnson, 22, had her convictions dismissed Wednesday after Bronx prosecutors agreed she was forced into the sex trade at age 13. The new state law recognizes child hookers as victims of sex trafficking rather than criminals - and allows their convictions for prostitution to be vacated.

In an unprecedented move for a Bronx prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Cassandra Abodeely told a judge on Wednesday of Johnson's eight years of suffering at the hands of pimps.

The three tossed convictions were the result of a pilot program launched by the Legal Aid Society, aimed at helping victims of human trafficking. Legal Aid lawyer Kate Mogulescu, who heads the project in the Bronx, used the year-old state law to clear Johnson's name.

Two foreign-born prostitutes also have had their convictions tossed.

 

 

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Kiran Alvi

is working towards her M.S. degree at Columbia’s Journalism School with a specialization in digital media, covering the neighborhood of East Tremont. Kiran has previously worked for Nile TV in Cairo, Patch.com in West Hollywood and Redondo Beach, and Annenberg TV News and NeonTommy.org in Los Angeles. She graduated with honors from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in 2011 with a degree in broadcast journalism and Middle East studies.