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California Democrats Decriminalize Child Prostitution 

Thanks to SB 1322, child prostitution will no longer carry penalties for minors in the state of California after January 1.

This ill-conceived legislation means that teenage boys and girls in California will soon be able to engage in sexual relations in exchange for money without “fear of arrest or prosecution,” states the Washington Examiner. As one of the hundreds of new laws that take effect in 2017, SB 1322 bars law enforcement from arresting sex workers who are minors soliciting or engaging in prostitution.

Right now, California Democrats contain a super majority in the state government. These progressives initiated this terrible legislation out of their belief that it is somehow a matter of good policy to remove penalties for those who commit acts of underage prostitution. The authors of SB 1322 claim it will be beneficial to victims of sex trafficking. The Washington Examiner reports:

The unintended but predictable consequence of how the real villains — pimps and other traffickers in human misery — will respond to this new law isn’t difficult to foresee. Pimping and pandering will still be against the law whether it involves running adult women or young girls. But legalizing child prostitution will only incentivize the increased exploitation of underage girls. Immunity from arrest means law enforcement can’t interfere with minors engaging in prostitution — which translates into bigger and better cash flow for the pimps. Simply put, more time on the street and less time in jail means more money for pimps, and more victims for them to exploit.

As Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, a national leader on human trafficking issues, told the media, “It just opens up the door for traffickers to use these kids to commit crimes and exploit them even worse.” Another prosecutor insightfully observed that if traffickers wrote legislation to protect themselves, it would read like SB 1322.

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. 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.

For California Democrats to begin 2017 with this progressive utopianism illustrates that this is only the tip of the liberal iceberg. However, this legislation isn’t just another law that conservatives can turn their heads and look away from.

Children who engage in the commercial sex trade are being exploited. The average age of initiation to the life is very young – often before the child has reached their teens – and thus is very hard to break out of. These children are forced to commit sex acts and are often raped, beaten, and held captive in seclusion by those who exploit them. Adults who purchase or sell children for sex are child rapists, and perpetuate the sexual abuse of minors and other crimes such as child pornography.

Our society can’t afford to choose to ignore or pretend not to realize the disastrous affects this will have on children and teens. It’s consequences will be far more disastrous for teens and minors in the Golden State than something like raising the minimum wage for restaurant chain workers. This legislation should be dramatically opposed in a bipartisan effort.

[Editor’s Note]: Report suspected sex trafficking by calling 911. For non-emergencies, call the H.E.A.T Watch Tipline at 510-208-4959 or tipline@heat-watch.org. To help a child who you think might be a victim of sex trafficking call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-3737-888 or text BeFree. Visit ProtectCAkids.org for more info. 

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