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CATCH Court

Changing Actions to Change Habits. A certified specialized docket of the Franklin County Municipal Court.

 

CATCH is a program for victims of human trafficking, prostitution, and sexual exploitation.


What we do

Rather than viewing a woman convicted of solicitation as a result of sex-trafficking as a criminal, we view her as a victim who needs acceptance, a commitment to a structured program, and the unwavering belief in her ability to transform her life from one of dependency to one of freedom.

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1. acceptAnce

We believe in the power of supporting a woman in her most difficult moments, and accepting her into a family who truly cares.

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2. Structure

We believe in being committed to a structured program for every participant and following through with unwavering support, dedication, and commitment.

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3. transformAtion

We believe in the power of helping a woman transform her life from one of exploitation to one of personal freedom. 

Our Mission

The model of the future

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Our Beginning

Judge Paul Herbert started CATCH Court in 2009. One day he saw a woman come in with bruises and thought it was a domestic violence victim. He looked down at the file and saw she was a defendant — the charge: "prostitution". It hit him that with similar bruises and hollow eyes, it was hard to tell the difference between a victim of domestic violence and a defendant charged with prostitution. He began to research human trafficking, prostitution, and sexual exploitation. What he discovered astounded him. Human trafficking was thriving in Columbus, Ohio, and there were limited means of escaping the cycle of exploitation and abuse. He created CATCH Court to provide a path of rehabilitation, recovery, and support.

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Our purpose

CATCH Court exists to break the cycle of abuse for victims of human trafficking, prostitution, and sexual exploitation by providing resources, community, and accountability.

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Our future

Our hope is to provide a model for municipal leaders throughout Ohio and the United States for how to establish their own CATCH Court and begin viewing people differently as a way to effectively Change Actions that Change Habits.


Part of my mission is to change the culture.
— Judge Paul Herbert
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“No little girl ever dreamed of growing up to become a prostitute.” 

-CATCH Court Participant

 

The Challenge

THe realities of sex-trafficking

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In Franklin County, Ohio alone, approximately 1,200 women are arrested each year for solicitation.

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Over 92% are identified as victims of human sex trafficking — first trafficked for sex at a young age.


Something happened to them. Something that was not their fault. They are a victim. And yet, they are strong, so they must survive. Survive at all costs.
— Judge Paul Herbert
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"I am clean and sober. A survivor. I am blessed to be in the CATCH family because I deserve more and to give myself and my children a different life. I love my life today."

- CATCH Court participant

 

Our Approach

From acceptance to transformation

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our legal approach

The CATCH program provides a non-adversarial approach to defendants who have pled guilty to loitering, solicitation, prostitution, and other crimes where the defendant has been the victim of human trafficking.

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our participant structure

The defendant agrees to 2 years of probation and to adhere to the treatment plan that was designed uniquely for the individual including: residential treatment, counseling, random drug screens, and a weekly CATCH status review hearing. We currently serve over 50 survivors.


CATCH Court saved my life. It took that lightbulb moment for me to realize that my life was worth saving. I was dying in my addiction. Dying being out there on the streets. Tomorrow, I will have 20 months clean and I never imagined that my life could ever be this good. The hard work pays off. I can’t even imagine going back to the old me. I am a completely different person. I deserve this. - I am worthy of this.
— CATCH Court Participant
When I first started CATCH Court I had no idea that I was a victim of human trafficking. I thought it was normal to have lived the hell I went through during the time of me in my active addiction, being coerced, forced to do non-consensual sex acts. Judge Herbert opened my eyes when he held a conference about human trafficking. It hit me that I was, in fact, a victim of human trafficking and I wanted to heal right away.
— CATCH Court Participant

Contact Us

For more information on CATCH Court, or, to take the first steps in creating your own CATCH Court, please contact Keturah DeChristopher - CATCH Coordinator.
Phone: 614-645-7098
Email: dechristopherk@fcmcclerk.com