The Republic of California’s leftist government is at it again. Dissatisfied with simply raising their state’s taxes, now they’re tackling prostitution among minors — but not in the way you might expect.
NEW YORK, Sept 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Children will no longer be classified as prostitutes in the U.S. state of California after a new law decriminalized prostitution for minors in a move praised by child rights campaigners.
Coming on the back of a public campaign coined “There is No Such Thing” as a child prostitute, crimes of solicitation and prostitution will no longer apply to anyone aged under 18.
Under-age victims of sex trafficking are to be referred to child welfare agencies.
The law was among several signed by Governor Jerry Brown this week to boost protections for children forced into sex trafficking.
“The passage of these critical laws marks a clear shift in the public perception of sexually exploited children as victims rather than criminals,” said Yasmin Vafa, executive director of Rights4Girls that launched the “No Such Thing” campaign.
“We are thrilled that media and lawmakers alike are beginning to understand that there is no such thing as a child prostitute,” she said in a statement.
Other new measures include allowing prior convictions by trafficking victims to be eliminated and the records sealed, and allowing children under age 16 to testify remotely by closed-circuit television rather than open court in some cases, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The laws come amid debate over redefining prostitution as sex trafficking, in which victims are coerced and exploited, do not choose sex work voluntarily and cannot leave.
Children in particular are too young to consent, advocates say.
Others argue prostitution is a matter of free choice and valid work that should be decriminalized so that sex workers are not punished.
In the United States, as many as 1,000 children are arrested each year on charges of prostitution, according to Rights4Girls.
Yes, in California it is now legal to be a prostitute — but only if you’re under the age of 18. It may be the only business in which the state government is making business easier.
Although done under the guise of helping victims of human trafficking, it applies to any minor who wishes to become a sex worker.