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Working Together to Stop the Prostitution of Children Videoconference

NCJ Number
203280
Date Published
Publication Series
Annotation
This national video teleconference profiles programs in three cities (New York, Atlanta, and San Francisco) designed to counter child prostitution, interspersed with viewer questions to a panel of experts who have been involved in such efforts.
Abstract
The moderator of the panel first provides information on the prevalence of child prostitution in American cities. She reports that in a survey of 292 criminal justice professionals throughout the country, 83 percent indicated that child prostitution was a problem in their communities; and 91 percent of the respondents stated that more needed to be done to address this problem. In the descriptions of each of the three programs that have targeted child prostitution, the video portrays the operations of the program combined with comments from participants about the objectives and experiences of the program. In New York City, the program consists of a partnership between a police specialized juvenile crime unit and a victim-services program tailored to the needs of juveniles involved in prostitution. Police view the juvenile prostitutes as victims rather than offenders, since most are runaways who have been forced into prostitution by pimps and the juveniles' own survival needs. The Atlanta program has focused on the offenders who recruit and control the child prostitutes in the city. The prosecution of these offenders has been upgraded to encompass violation of the Federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) act, as pimps are prosecuted as members of criminal organizations. Georgia State law has followed suit and made pimping a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Also, since most pimps have had sex with their under-age prostitutes, they are prosecuted for statutory rape. In San Francisco, a program called SAGE, which was founded by a survivor of child abuse and sexual exploitation, provides services designed to make it easier for juveniles to escape the sex trade. The program works in cooperation with the police and district attorney. The panel members note that virtually all programs for juvenile prostitutes lack the resources to provide safe shelters for juvenile prostitutes who are in transition to a new life outside of prostitution. Also lacking is funding for specialized services that can meet the multiple psychological, educational, and economic needs of juveniles victimized by abuse and the lack of educational and vocational training. Included in the panel discussion are comments by the director of the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (sponsor of the video conference) regarding the Federal technical assistance resources that are available to jurisdictions that are committed to addressing child prostitution.
Date Created: August 11, 2014