AB 3042 (Yee)
Child Protection –
Enhancement Penalties For Child Prostitution
200,000 to 300,000
children are exploited through prostitution in the
Most studies show that children are victims of prostitution as early as
the age of 13. In keeping with
the international figures, the prostituted children in the U.S. face an
increased risk of sexual and physical assault, suicide, pregnancy,
abortions, and sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS,
post-traumatic stress disorder and death. Seventy-five to
ninety-five (75-95%) of all 13-18 year old girls in our justice systems
have been victims of abuse. Many of these girls have been
exploited for pornography or have suffered or witnessed physical and
What we call
“child prostitution” needs to be clearly and strongly defined as sexual
In the Lancet
Medical Journal, of May 2002, Dr. Barry Levy of
School of medicine in Boston states “The prostitution of children and
related health consequences has been accepted for too long. The
time has come to make them unacceptable.” An estimated 10 million
children worldwide are already involved in the $20 billion-a-year sex
industry, and this number is increasing by about one million each year.
Richard J. Estes, a University of Pennsylvania professor of social work
and the author of The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in
Canada and Mexico
(2001) says “Child sexual exploitation is the most hidden form of child
abuse in the U.S. and North America today. It is the nation’s
least recognized epidemic.” According to his report, there are
between 200,000 and 300,000 US children involved in the sex trade and/or
trafficked into prostitution. Prostituted children faced an
increased risk of AIDS, sexual and physical assault,
pregnancy, STD’s, post-traumatic stress disorder and death.
The problem with current law
is that it does not focus on the sexual abusers of the children—the
solicitors of prostituted children. By enhancing penalties
for crimes, we will send the message that there are severe consequences
to sexually abusing children through prostitution.
The abuse of children through prostitution
is an immense and devastating problem. Although some children are
prostituted by and/or specifically for pedophiles and preferential
abusers, the majority of the men who exploit prostitutes under the
age of 18 are first and foremost prostitute users who become child
sexual abusers through their prostitute use, rather than the other way
Many of these children have been entrapped, coerced, and beaten into
prostitution. Their childhood is stolen, yet the law does little or
nothing to protect them. It is time this changed. Enhancing the
penalty for someone convicted of having sex with a minor is a start.
proscribes the offenses of rape, unlawful sexual intercourse with a
person under 18, sodomy, lewd and lascivious acts, continuous sexual
abuse of a child, forcible acts of sexual penetration, and oral
provides that a person convicted for any of those offenses, where the
offense was committed with a minor for money or other consideration,
shall be punished with an additional enhancement of 2 years imprisonment
in state prison, or where the offense was committed while voluntarily
acting in concert with another, shall be punished by an additional term
of 3 years imprisonment in the state prison.
Children who are abused
through commercial sexual exploitation need to be protected--not further
This sexual abuse of prostituted children is made
possible by a society that has created, sanctioned and institutionalized
numbers of children for whom routine abuse, torture, rape, and
kidnapping is considered acceptable. The legal, mental and medical
health, and human rights consequences of this abuse remains with the
child as he or she is arrested, prosecuted, jailed, placed on probation
and forced into treatment.
In essence, what we, the adults, are saying and
enforcing through laws and inappropriate interventions is that children
and youth are consenting to their own sexual abuse, and by consenting to
this abuse they are a danger to society.
By punishing sexual activity with a child more
severely if done so for money or other consideration, AB 3042 is one
step toward ending child prostitution by recognizing it as an aggravated
form of child abuse.
Question & Answer
Q: How are
children impacted from being prostituted?
A: Physical impact
– serial beatings, rape, AIDS, STD’s, pregnancy; Psychological impact –
low self esteem, self destruction or mutilation, suicidal tendencies,
severe depression, PTSD; Sociological impact – inability to enter
mainstream society, school failure, ostracism and criminalization of a
estimated 200,000 to 300,000 prostituted children on the streets in
nearly every city and county in the United States, many are only 11 or
12 years old, some as young as 9.
prostituted American children previously suffered incest, rape or abuse
More than 90%
of those prostituted lost their virginity through sexual assault.
prostituted adults believed that being sexually abused as children
influenced their becoming prostituted as adults.
disease and suicide attempts are the two greatest health risks for
prostituted children. 75% of prostituted women and girls attempted
trafficking, pimping and commercial sexual exploitation of children
involves power structures which actively recruit vulnerable children and
youth. Children used in sex rings are often subjected to terribly
cruel and sadistic physical abuse in addition to sexual abuse.
The impact of
the abuse can be life-long, often resulting in emotional and physical
problems as well as contributing to crime and homelessness.
San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (sponsor)
Standing Against Global Exploitation (SAGE)
Public Safety 6-0