A recently passed piece of legislation in California will effectively prohibit law enforcement officials from arresting sex workers who are under the age of 18.
SB 1322 specifically allows minors to solicit or engage in prostitution, as well as loiter with the intent to do so, without fear of being arrested or going to jail, according to the Washington Examiner.
The bill was written and passed by Democrats who control the state’s government with a two-thirds “supermajority” in a misguided effort to reportedly help victims of sex trafficking.
These lawmakers believed — apparently sincerely — that by decriminalizing underage prostitution, the state would be shielding young trafficking victims from being further victimized by the criminal justice system. The major flaw in this reasoning, however, is that the law will undoubtedly encourage and even incentivize the exploitation of underage girls and boys.
Travis Allen, a Republican lawmaker representing the 72nd Assembly District in the California Legislature, called it “the unintended but predictable consequence of how the real villains — pimps and other traffickers in human misery — will respond to this new law.”
By being able to participate in these illegal activities with no consequences, not only will the pimps who control these minors be increasingly likely to find more underage employees to exploit, but they will see their cash flow dramatically improve.
And, while an adult soliciting sex from minors remains illegal in California, that does little to ease the concerns from prosecutors and members of the public about children forced to solicit sex from others.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, a national leader on human trafficking issues, warned that the law would make it easier to traffickers to “use these kids to commit crimes and exploit them even worse,” according to the Examiner.
Paul Durenberger, an assistant chief district attorney in Sacramento County who oversees human trafficking cases, told The Sacramento Bee that the legislation was similar to “bills that a trafficker would want to write to protect themselves.”
Protecting minors from human sex trafficking and rescuing those who have been exploited without punishing them for being victims is an important and needed goal in our state governments. However, legalizing child prostitution is not the appropriate manner of doing so.
In fact, by being arrested, trafficking victims could find their much-needed escape from their abuse, whereas, by giving them unlimited and unmonitored access to the illegal sex industry, many may never find their way out.
“Minors involved in prostitution are clearly victims, and allowing our law enforcement officers to pick these minors up and get them away from their pimps and into custody is a dramatically better solution than making it legal for them to sell themselves for sex,” Allen wrote in the Examiner. “That only deepens their victimization and renders law enforcement powerless to stop the cycle of abuse.
“SB 1322 is not simply misguided — its consequences are immoral,” he concluded.
Not to mention, as pointed out by Townhall, any levelheaded prosecutor would likely not charge an abused child with solicitation or prostitution in the first place, making the new legislation completely unnecessary to begin with.
As usual, Democrats trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist have actually made it worse with their meddling.
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