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Santa Maria Sun / Commentary

The following article was posted on February 14th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 17, Issue 50 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 17, Issue 50

Treating child criminals as victims only

By ANDY CALDWELL

Human trafficking historically referred to people forced into slavery by way of force, fraud, or coercion who are used for manual labor, illegal acts such as mules for drug runners, and for purposes of sexual exploitation. The term is now routinely applied to underage prostitutes regardless of the circumstances. The rationale is that no underage child can consent to voluntary sex; ergo, any child who does so is a victim, not a criminal.

Accordingly, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1322, which decriminalized child prostitution. Law enforcement personnel can no longer cite or arrest minors for soliciting or engaging in prostitution or loitering with the intent to do so. The most that can happen is a reference to Social Services if the minor is in an unsafe situation.

The bill’s author, Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) took umbrage when a fellow legislator, Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), characterized the bill as legalizing childhood prostitution. She believes there is a difference between legalizing and decriminalizing commercial sex involving a minor. I agree with Assemblyman Allen that Sen. Mitchell is making a distinction without a difference.

Since the 1960s sexual revolution, to the chagrin of parents, progressives in our society have been giving a wink and a nod to young people, indicating that absolutely nothing is going to be done to any minor who consents to sexual intercourse unless the partner is an adult or they do it for money. Nevertheless, we are to believe that all the efforts we countenance, including in our schools, instructing children how to have safe sex, is being conducted in order to discourage illegal behavior? 

It is ludicrous, in this day and age of the crass over-sexualization of our young people, that the establishment would attempt to hold the moral high ground on this subject. They have done everything in their power to actively promote and condone sexual activity, including shielding minors who get sexually transmitted diseases or become pregnant, from parental notification.

Now, the john and any pimp involved in a commercial sexual enterprise involving a minor will still be held accountable by the law, but the minor will naively be considered only a victim, even though most minors know darn well what they are doing and why they are doing it. With no threat of punishment hanging over their head, I seriously doubt decriminalizing the behavior is going to accomplish anything meaningful, except as an inducement to become involved in the trade. The pimp and the john will be able to say that they are taking all the risk, while the minor gets the reward.

There are a host of criminal acts committed by minors—up to and including murder—that could be explained away by the fact that the perpetrator was abused and/or neglected by someone. Santa Maria just witnessed a 16-year-old mother who murdered her newborn. The girl was sentenced to a group home. The impetus of the sentence had to do with the fact that the young mother was herself a previous victim of abuse! The judge in the case felt she didn’t belong in juvenile prison with hardcore criminals lest something worse happen to her or become of her.

Funny, isn’t it, that I never once read any of the details as to who the father of the baby was? Was he a minor or an adult? Was he held accountable for having sex with a minor? Because the teenage mother was a victim of child abuse, does that mean she will never be held accountable for having murdered her baby?

In any case, I believe we should leave it to the courts to determine whether the minor, or any adult for that matter, was a victim of human trafficking, rather than allowing the legislature to give all minors a free pass. On the other hand, people, regardless of their age, who knowingly and freely commit crimes, should not be coddled as if they bear no responsibility for their actions and choices in life. 

There is one notable irony involving human trafficking in California and that involves girls who are smuggled across our border by the Mexican drug cartels, raped along the way, and sold into the sex trade. To the detriment of the trafficked victims, our useless and clueless state government is doing everything in their power to obfuscate Trump’s efforts to secure the border and deport felonious aliens, including presumably cartel rapists and pimps!

Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and the host of The Andy Caldwell Show, on weekdays from 3 to 5 p.m. on AM1440. Send your thoughts to letters@santamariasun.com.