by WorldTribune Staff, December 30, 2016
A law decriminalizing child prostitution in California will take effect on Jan. 1. The action was immediately slammed by critics as a reward to the “darker side” of human nature.
According to Senate Bill 1322, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, police officers in the state will be banned from arresting any person under the age of 18 for soliciting or loitering with intent.
“[T]eenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution,” Travis Allen, a Republican lawmaker representing the 72nd Assembly District in the California legislature, wrote in a column published by the Washington Examiner.
Allen warned of the fallout from what he called “terribly destructive legislation [that] was written and passed by the progressive Democrats who control California’s state government. The reality is that the legalization of underage prostitution suffers from the fatal defect endemic to progressive-left policymaking: it ignores experience, common sense and most of all human nature — especially its darker side,” Allen wrote.
“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.”
Advocates of the law say it will help child victims of sex trafficking get treatment rather than sending them to juvenile hall.
State Sen. Holly J. Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, who introduced the bill, said: “The law is supposed to protect vulnerable children from adult abuse, yet we brand kids enmeshed in sex-for-play with a scarlet ‘P’ and leave them subject to shame and prosecution. This is our opportunity to do what we say is right in cases of sex trafficking: stop the exploiters and help the exploited.”
Other analysts agreed with Allen’s assessment.
Paul Durenberger, an assistant chief district attorney in Sacramento County who oversees human trafficking cases, said the legislation is similar to “bills that a trafficker would want to write to protect themselves.”
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said the law “just opens up the door for traffickers to use these kids to commit crimes and exploit them even worse.”
Allen added that when police officers take child prostitutes into custody, it helps young sex-trafficking victims escape their abusers.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”