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Finally, there is no such thing as a child prostitute in the state of California.
I am thrilled to hear that Governor Jerry Brown declared enough is enough and decriminalized prostitution and loitering with intent to commit prostitution for minors by signing Senate Bill 1322 into law.
SB 1322 was authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), and made the crimes of solicitation and loitering with intent to commit prostitution misdemeanors inapplicable to children younger than 18. It will also allow law enforcement to take sexually exploited children into temporary custody if leaving them unattended would pose an immediate threat to their health or safety.
This is truly a momentous time for the victims and survivors of this horrific crime, who fall prey to manipulative monsters who sell them for sex night after night.
Instead of arresting and stigmatizing young child sex trafficking victims, law enforcement will now play a critical role in helping these boys and girls get the support and treatment they need to escape life on the streets.
Children don’t need to be arrested in order for us to provide them with the services they need to heal. Our approach in Los Angeles County is working. In the past two years, we have rescued 131 girls; most of whom have been placed in group homes, foster care or back with their families.
Thanks to the efforts of Governor Brown, Senator Holly Mitchell, law enforcement, our advocacy groups and local community organizations, we can now offer compassion, help and support to our most vulnerable children, and refocus our efforts to bring justice to those who buy, sell and exploit them.
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