Tragedy x 2: Kids Exploited for Sex, Busted for Crime
Talk about adding insult to injury. Kids who’ve been kidnapped, coerced, or seduced into the child sex trade can be prosecuted for the crimes they commit in the process. It’s a matter of two wrongs don’t make a right, except the kids aren’t even to blame in the first place.
- Child sex trafficking harms 300,000 kids in US, over a million worldwide
- Few states have programs aimed at breaking the cycle of child sexual exploitation
- The Body Shop spearheads petition drive for nationwide laws protecting exploited children
The Body Shop Petition for Exploited Children’s Laws
Currently just four states have laws to divert minors who’ve been exploited for sex trafficking out of the criminal system. They also provide safe harbors for their protection and rehabilitation. The other states have no specific laws recognizing the special circumstances affecting minors caught in sex trafficking webs. It’s a strange situation. Minors generally can’t give lawful consent to anything, including sex. Yet minors are routinely arrested and prosecuted for prostitution.
If this seems senseless or outrageous to you, you’re not alone. The Body Shop has teamed with ECPAT/End Child Prostitution and the Somaly Mam Foundation to make official what we already know instinctively. Kids caught in sex trafficking are the victims, not the perpetrators, of sex crimes. These organizations are sponsoring a drive to enact state laws to prevent these victims from facing the added stigma of treatment as criminals.
The groups want you to sign their petition to change the laws that allow children to be arrested and prosecuted when they are victims of sex trafficking. The initiative seems to be gaining traction. Three states passed laws protecting exploited minors just this year. The Texas Supreme court recently ruled that children under 14 cannot be prosecuted for prostitution. LexisNexis and Lawyers.com support this initiative. If you do too, you can sign in person at The Body Shop. You also can save some time and do it right now, online with this handy widget.
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