Child Prostitutes: Criminals or Victims?

SB 304, the bill to treat child prostitutes as victims rather than criminals, may have failed in the last session, but supporters have vowed to revive it. The new campaign is apparently underway. 

The latest round comes from Jonathan Todres, a law professor at Georgia State and advisor to ECPAT-USA (End Chld Prostitution and Trafficking).  He writes about a ruling by the Texas Supreme Court, involving a 13 year old caught with her 32 year old boyfriend and arrested for prostitution. The court said a child under the age of consent cannot be criminally charged with prostitution. Professor Todres argues that child prostitutes should be treated as victims of exploitation not as criminals, and they need help. Read his new opinion in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There is no indication that conservative Christian groups have changed their position opposing this plan. As Dale Austin from Concerned Women for America of Georgia argued last Spring, they believe it would decriminalize prostitution, create a friendly environment for pimps and traffickers, and remove all discretion by juvenile court judges on how to handle child prostitutes.