California's new underage prostitute law.

It is illegal to drink if you are under 21, but legal above. Similarly with driving, becoming president. Age is a factor in a lot of government decisions,

I can’t see this as encouraging child prostitution at all. Soliciting prostitution is still criminalized. It’s not like they will be leaving child prostitutes on the streets, they will just send the picked up ones to therapy and rehab instead of jail.

What Taber said at 2:22. In post #21.

Really? if it’s not illegal, how are you going to compel a child to go to therapy and rehab? How would you pick them up in the first place? It needs to remain illegal for this reason.

I think this law will actually make it more dangerous to solicit (or pimp) underage prostitutes. I’m sure the threat of being arrested for prostitution prevents some of them from reporting those who are abusing them, now they don’t have to worry about it. Might also lead to some bonus bucks being made by the underage prostitutes from blackmailing their clients.

:dubious: Not impressed, nor planning a California vacation, quite yet. I see nothing in there about decriminalizing the activities of the Johns.

We’re talking about underage kids. The johns are child molesters. Paying for it doesn’t change that.

“Decriminalize” is not a synonym for “make legal.”

From wikipedia:
“Decriminalization is the reduction or abolition of criminal penalties in relation to certain acts, but regulated permits or fines might still apply”.
“Legalization is the process of removing a legal prohibition against something which is currently not legal”.
Those are, I think, pretty close.

It is not legal to exceed the speed limit. But neither is it criminal. This is a very common distinction in US law, so much so that it is weird to have to point it out.

That was my point. Call this a free country . . . muttermutterrackarackinrassafrass . . .

If a john is seeking out underage prostitutes, then he’s a molestor.

If he’s simply seeking out a prostitute, then, while he’s having sex with an underage prostitute, it wasn’t by design.

I think those two situations deserve to be distinguished.

This is very true. It certainly affects the type of crime for which a john will be prosecuted, but in the context of the discussion that led to having to clarify that point, I am not sure that it makes a lot of difference.
The law is not being repealed for prostitutes who are minors, it is (according to the OP) being decriminalized.* I would guess that there is a section of the same law that makes it a crime to seek the services of a prostitute, so even if it were not child molestation (or statutory rape or any other offense we decide to investigate), the charge against seeking those services would remain in effect.

  • Interestingly, in the several stories I have found (so far), there is actually no mention at all of decriminalizing prostitution, by age category or anything else. The stories (that all look like they were based on the same press release, even when they throw in local details) all talk about sending the kids to counseling and rehab, but make no mention of any change to the laws regarding prostitution.

Is there a separate story (perhaps linked to the actual legislative acts) that discusses that point?

I see the distinction but can you compel a prostitute to seek help if it is decriminalized?

Not compel, perhaps, but the Netherlands has had considerable success treating drug addiction as a health problem rather than a crime problem, and maybe the same would apply here.

It is not at present a felony or misdemeanor anywhere for a child to play hookey. However, we somehow manage to ensure that kids attend school.

While it’s technically a form of trespass for a kid to run across someone’s lawn, I’ve never heard of a prosecution. Nonetheless, kids are effectively stopped from running across lawns of old curmurgeons. There are probably dozens of examples of things involving kids dealt with by police/truant officers and family court without invoking the criminal law.

Yes, a child found to be at risk through his/her own actions or the situation in which he/she finds him/herself where they are compelled to go for help.

I’m curious why we’re focusing on the girls. I’m under the impression that there are also a lot of underage male prostitutes, and that most of them ended up in that situation to escape abusive or otherwise intolerable situations at home – if not thrown out and unwilling to trust the foster care/group home system.

What about curfew regulations? Don’t they carry the weight of law?
And yes, I was concerned about underaged male prostitutes from the onset of this discussion. Their plight may carry an extra burden.

I see the logic of it I’m just questioning the ability to compel someone to participate. If I don’t go to a mandated traffic school I could lose my license. A person who sees prostitution as a quick buck has crossed many lines of social sructure. I’m whole heartedly in favor of the effort and doubly so for children.

Do you have any real-life examples of a criminalisation scheme that has actually helped prostitutes? All the evidence I’ve seen indicates that it just drives them further underground and puts them into a vicious cycle where they have to go back on the streets because they can’t get a proper job with their criminal records, they have to pay off the fines they’ve incurred etc.

I’ve watched PBS type programs on the subject. I was under the impression that support groups worked with the court systems to provide the guidance needed to break the cycle. Without a forced (detained) environment there is nothing stopping a drug addicted prostitute from returning to the street.

Here’s a link to the actual bill, as enchaptered following signature by the Governator: AB499 - Assembly Bill.

I’m not familiar with California law, but it doesn’t look as if it’s no longer a crime for a young person to engage in prostitution. Rather, it authorises the D.A. in Alameda County to develop diversionary programs for young people arrested for prostitution offences:

I am familiar with diversion projects here in Canada. The idea is that in some cases, with young people in particular, the most effective way to deal with the problem is to divert a young person who is charged with an offence from the criminal courts and into some sort of treatment. It looks as if this bill is to set up a pilot project for young people who are picked up for prostitution offences and who may be the victims of “commercial sexual exploitation” - i.e. - they’re being pimped out by someone.