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Cumberland County Creates North Carolina's First Human Trafficking Court

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The North Carolina county where the most human trafficking charges are filed is starting a specialized court to deal with the crimes.

The chairwoman of the N.C. Human Trafficking Commission tells the Fayetteville Observer that the court in Cumberland County is the first of its kind in the state. Chairwoman Libby Magee Coles says the commission provided a $241,000 grant to get the court started.
It will be called Worth Court. Worth stands for "We Overcome Recidivism Through Healing." It’s a court specializing in human trafficking cases for people who have been charged with crimes like prostitution.

If someone is arrested on a human trafficking charge, they can be sent to Worth Court. Then, depending on the crime, they'll have the change to participate in rehabilitation programs.

Data from the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts shows that county authorities filed more human trafficking charges in 2018 than any of North Carolina's 100 counties.

Officials say that's because local enforcement has made human trafficking a high priority crime.

Worth Court is set to start next month. District Court Judge Toni King will preside over the court.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Naomi P. Brown joined WUNC in January 2017.
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