The sexual exploitation of children in America is a violation of several of the sexual rights listed by the WAS declaration of sexual rights. When a child enters the sex trade in the service of any other person, a pimp, a boyfriend, or any other adult, it is automatically a severe form of trafficking in persons. Unfortunately, these victims of trafficking are rarely treated as victims, Instead, they are treated as criminals many states have safe harbor laws that aim to decriminalize prostitution by minors and provide needed services to help them remain free from exploitation.
The remaining states have no laws protecting minors from prosecution and punishment, the problem is very damaging to the victims.
Most people agree that children should not be exploited by the sex industry, but there is much debate about the best way to fix the situation. Many believe in decriminalizing prostitution in the cases of minor victims of human trafficking, and some believe that adults should also be treated as victims.
The ULC (Uniform Law Commission) released the Uniform Act on Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking, which encourages universal laws that promote decriminalization and services for the victims, and harsh penalties for those that knowingly pay for the services of the victims and the traffickers that offer them for sale.
Others believe that decriminalization would make it more difficult to save minors, and may actually make the problem worse: pimps or traffickers may believe it is safer to use minors since no charges are filed if they are caught.
I have been amazed throughout my life at the negative view our society seems to have towards prostitutes. Even knowing that most are drawn into prostitution at a very young age through coercion or force does not seem to change the fact that many people consider them to be less worthy of help or attention. I believe that one key to ending the abusive trafficking of our young people is to change the way our society views prostitutes. When society as a whole starts to see prostitutes as people worth helping, perhaps fewer “Johns” would feel comfortable paying to have sex with a child.