Making Californian Kids Criminals Again
February 27, 2017 (Fault Lines) — In California, they passed a law to protect child victims of prostitution. The main effect of the law is to make it so any kid under 18 caught engaging in prostitution is to be considered a victim and not subject to prosecution.
Some people cried foul and adopted the opinion that this was basically a way to legalize prostitution, and the kids were getting off scot-free. This in turn benefits pimps and other ancillary actors in the prostitution underworld.
One of these individuals is Travis Allen, a Republican Assemblyman who introduced AB 1402, which essentially returns the law to its previous state wherein minors can be charged for being victims of trafficking. As a person prone to fact-deficient hyperbole, he turned to a trusted publisher of right-wing leanings to make his case.
In his article, Allen claimed California had just legalized child prostitution. While the article was more of a vehicle to attack Democrats and their policies, he did touch on the issue somewhat:
Unfortunately, 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.
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.
Allen doesn’t offer any examples of the common sense or darker side of human nature he relies on to make his point, nor does he appear to have any practical experience whatsoever with any child victims, or even pimps for that matter.
When traffickers get ahold of kids they isolate them, break them down and make them dependent on the trafficker. Most of these kids have already come from a bad environment already: sexually, mentally or physically abused by family members or a step-parent.
Some are seduced away from a good home, and there are even those who hit the streets because they thought they were ready to go out and pay their own way while they still knew everything.
The trafficker creates a new home for these kids. It involves a thorough brain-washing. Outsiders like police, social workers and the child’s family are the enemy. When the law says that a kid being manipulated and forced to have sex with an adult is a criminal, this is what ‘translates into bigger and better cash flow for the pimps.’
Allen’s claim that the law prevents law enforcement officers from interfering if they see a girl on the street is a complete fallacy. Law enforcement officers all over the country interfere all the time. As an investigator, I have read many police reports where the arresting officer saw a young girl who looked out of place and went over to ask her some questions, often resulting in the arrest of a pimp and some form of social services for the underage girl.
In California, the law does allow police to take the child into custody and refer her to a social services agency if they determine she’s in danger, at risk, or has no place to go.
Arresting them only serves the traffickers’ “us versus them” narrative and provides a young person with a criminal record that will follow them for life. Presiding Judge Maria D. Hernandez and Judge Douglas Hatchimonji of the Orange County Juvenile Court put it very well:
When a child is sexually molested by her father, uncle, brother or mom’s boyfriend, we have no difficulty seeing her as a sexual assault victim, and when the high school teacher has sex with his 15 year-old student we have no difficulty seeing her as a victim. But when that same teacher has sex with a 15 year-old that he finds on Backpage and other social media commonly used by exploiters, or on Harbor Boulevard, why do some advocate for treating her as a criminal?
“The truth is no child who is sold is doing so voluntarily or consensually or with a grasp of the consequences,” they wrote. “This is why we say that no child can be a prostitute.”
This bill probably won’t go anywhere. There is a segment in the political realm that seems to want to criminalize everything unless it’s possible they themselves could be caught at it. Travis Allen is one of those politicians. He doesn’t understand that kids have a tough enough time of it navigating the complex world we live in.
He doesn’t understand how tough it is if you don’t have proper parenting, and you are then cut loose in the world and come under the influence of bad people. He can’t see the difference between a victim and a criminal, or maybe he can because it’s hard to imagine someone being that dumb. The bottom line for California’s at-risk youth is that Assemblyman Allen is just another predator.