NPR’s Arun Rath speaks to Amy Farrell, an expert who studies sex trafficking laws, about how some states in America have stopped prosecuting prostituted children, but instead have created safe harbor laws. This is an excerpt from a recent NPR article. The source of the article is:
“We’ve all seen them: the public service announcements about sex trafficking in America. They’re plastered on buses and billboards; images of young women exploited for their bodies, with hotlines to call for help.
The numbers are staggering. The Justice Department estimates that each year at least 200,000 children are trafficked for sex in the U.S., and it is said to generate upward of $32 billion a year.
Across the country, teens are being picked up on prostitution charges. It’s a stunning contradiction in the law: Girls who are too young to legally consent to sex are being prosecuted for selling it.
Amy Farrell is an expert who studies sex trafficking laws. She tells NPR’s Arun Rath some states are trying to fix the problem through what are called safe harbor laws.
Twelve states have passed safe harbor legislation for child victims of sex trafficking, according to Farrell. She says the basic premise of these laws is to give law enforcement and prosecutors a way to divert children who have been prostituted from a juvenile delinquent proceeding and instead put them into what’s called a “child in need” proceeding.
In some states without safe harbor laws, there are efforts to set up special courts specifically to deal with these cases.
‘This has basically been a whole series of individual judges seeing these cases coming through their courts and becoming passionate and involved in the issue and being willing to work with prosecutors, the defense bar and service providers to establish these problem-solving courts,’ she says.”
This is a significantly shortened excerpt. To read the full article, please visit the NPR website. http://www.npr.org/2014/03/01/284487140/courts-take-a-kinder-look-at-victims-of-child-sex-trafficking