Conservative pundits are outraged that California has passed a bill protecting underage sex trafficking victims from legal prosecution.
The bill, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed last September, bans the police from charging minors under the age of 18 with prostitution. The Sacramento Bee reports:
[Gov. Brown] also signed bills allowing people to defend themselves against additional criminal charges or records if they were coerced to commit an offense as a human trafficking victim.
Others will raise the age from 13 to 15 that kids can testify outside a courtroom in human trafficking cases, protect victims’ names from disclosure and mandate they have access to county services.
Underage prostitutes are not criminals; they are victims of sexual abuse. They should be protected, not punished. Prosecuting underage sex workers actually helps pimps and pedophiles—it prevents victims from going to the police for help.
Hopefully, the new law will empower child sex trafficking victims to fight their abusers without fear of legal retaliation.
Weirdly, Republican pundits are furious. “CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATS LEGALIZE CHILD PROSTITUTION,” the Washington Examiner shrieked. And right-wing rag Downtrend.com falsely claimed that “California just legalized child prostitution.”
It’s all lies. Child prostitution is still illegal. The only difference is that now the police will arrest statutory rapists instead of statutory rape victims.
We have to wonder why these Conservatives are so angry. Why do they want to punish abused children? Do they want to keep sex trafficking victims quiet?
(Featured image via PublicDomainPictures.net)