Tuesday, October 27, 2009


What's hardest to read in this New York Times article on teenage runaways who end up working as prostitutes is that many of them seem genuinely to view selling sex under the aegis of abusive and controlling pimps as a step up from their previous living situation. Why is this not the real scandal - the terrible lack of options faced by children in abusive or dysfunctional families, such that their only choices are hellish group homes or employment in the black market?

This bit was pretty disgusting too:

Previously, said Sgt. Byron A. Fassett, who leads the department’s effort, girls working as prostitutes were handled as perpetrators rather than sexual assault victims. If a 45-year-old man had sex with a 14-year-old girl and no money changed hands, she was likely to get counseling and he was likely to get jail time for statutory rape, Sergeant Fassett said. If the same man left $80 on the table after having sex with her, she would probably be locked up for prostitution and he would probably go home with a fine as a john.

Ironic that opponents of legalization point to underage trafficking as an argument in favor of the current regime, when in fact it was de facto decriminalization that allowed the Dallas task force profiled to actually help girls and arrest pimps.

Not that I think legalization would actually solve all, or even many, of the problems these girls are facing, but it would at least make their least bad option slightly less bad.

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