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New California legislation decriminalizes juvenile prostitution

New legislation was signed on Sunday in California by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that essentially decriminalized child prostitution.

According to Fox News, “Currently, if a minor is picked up for prostitution, she is charged as a criminal and sent to juvenile. But this law would change that and connect young girls with counselors and services they need. The law would also help girls who want to bring charges against a pimp.�

The legislation will put greater pressure on pimps and protect the minors from punishment for sexual exploitation.

The San Francisco Chronicle explained the reasoning behind the legislation more specifically, discussing how in Oakland, “juveniles made up most of the 27 human trafficking prostitution cases investigated there in 2006 and 2007.�

The Chronicle article specified that there were two bills being signed into law. The first “creates the pilot counseling and treatment program in Oakland and the rest of Alameda County. A second bill lets victims of human trafficking keep their names out of the public record and requires law enforcement to diligently investigate trafficking cases regardless of citizenship status.�
Though both the San Francisco Chronicle and Fox News had thorough articles, the Chronicle was more comprehensive in its coverage of the legislation.

This is not the only case in California in which prostitution is becoming a visible issue in legislation. Voters will also have the chance to vote in November for the decriminalization of prostitution in San Francisco.