“Bill would target demand side of child sex trafficking” by Don Knabe and Daphne Phung

This is an excerpt from a recent Daily News article authored by Don Knabe and Daphne Phung. The source of this excerpt is http://www.dailynews.com/opinion/20140402/bill-would-target-demand-side-of-child-sex-trafficking-guest-commentary

A recent study issued by the Urban Institute on the illegal sex trade in eight U.S. cities, confirmed what many law enforcement and anti-sex-trafficking activists have known for some time: sex traffickers are making obscene amounts of money with little legal or criminal ramifications.

image retrieved from http://www.thedailybeast.com

image retrieved from http://www.thedailybeast.com

According to the study, the average sex trafficker or pimp in San Diego rakes in more than $11,000 per week. Pimps in Atlanta have the highest mean gross incomes of the eight cities studied, earning nearly $33,000 per week — just shy of the annual per capita income in the city.

What is the source of all the money they receive? Traffickers and pimps are filling their wallets from the demand of sex buyers. Until we shut off the money supply at its source, this illicit sex trade will continue to grow.

In areas like Los Angeles County, the average age of entry into commercial sex is 12 to 14 years old. As one vice detective said, when we encounter a 21-year-old on the street, it’s because we have failed to rescue her as a teen. Regardless of their intention, individuals who purchase children or adult trafficking victims for sex are committing rape.


A new bill launched in the state Legislature and authored by Sens. Ted Lieu, Jerry Hill and Holly Mitchell aims to curb this unchecked demand for commercial sex. Senate Bill 1388 will establish minimum fines and penalties to the buyer, distinguish the buyers from the sellers, require offenders to participate in a sex buyer program and direct fines to fund exit programs for the exploited.

This is a significantly shortened excerpt. To read the full article, please visit the Daily News website http://www.dailynews.com/opinion/20140402/bill-would-target-demand-side-of-child-sex-trafficking-guest-commentary

Don Knabe is chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and represents the 4th District. Daphne Phung is founder of California Against Slavery.