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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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Elizabeth Dilts

is currently pursuing a masters at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Dilts came to New York City from Shanghai, China, where she worked as an editor with the English-language City Weekend magazine. Prior to that, Dilts spent a year in Nanjing, China, with a bilingual, Mandarin-English magazine and a stint in Tianjin, China, with a business publication. Looking to use her Mandarin back in the United States, Dilts is covering Flushing, Queens, one of New York’s four Chinatowns. A native of Gary, Indiana., Dilts received her bachelor’s degree in journalism at Indiana University. While in China, she reported on Internet usage among young adults and the education issues faced by multi-ethnic children raised in China.