Is Child Prostitution Really Decriminalized in the State of California?
Has California decriminalized child prostitution? Senate Bill No. 1322, which has recently become a law, forbids arresting minors that have engaged in providing sex services for money. What the legislators had in mind when passing this bill was to protect children that were victimized by sex traffickers and not to turn them into criminals.
This bill is guided by good intentions. It does not make sense to take helpless victims and stain their lives with a criminal record after putting them in jail. But the question we must ask ourselves is whether this law going to improve matters or make them worse.
Children engaged in prostitution, if not arrested and sent to a juvenile detention center (where they can take part in rehabilitation programs), would be sent home. And who waits for them at home? Usually those who trafficked them to begin with.
What is more, if the child is not criminally charged, there is no way the authorities can force him or her to testify against the pimp. Therefore, an opportunity to file charges against the real criminal is missed, and as a result other children who have been trafficked by that pimp will keep on suffering.
In theory, the victimized child is supposed to be put under the care of the Department of Child Protection. But in practice, it does not always happen. Thus, we are facing a ridiculous situation:child prostitutes are returned to the street to keep on doing what they were doing before being picked by the police.
Trafficked children in the sex industry – grim statistics
It is estimated that around 100,000 children are forced into prostitution in the United States every year. The revenues from the sex trafficking industry (adult and children) sum up to more than $10 billion annually. The average age of children in the sex industry ranges from 12 to 14, but there are cases in which even younger children are involved.