I’ve been seeing a lot of news reports criticizing states which have legalized child prostitution, and I can certainly understand why! It is a horrific idea that anyone would consider it acceptable to prostitute a child! Yet, this is a case of misunderstanding the law, I believe.
Let’s start by trying to understand child prostitution as a concept. Let’s consider the child prostitute – the 11-year-old girl who wakes up and decides to sell her body, to have violent sex every day with multiple older men who can pay her so she can earn money. Sounds ridiculous? Good. It is!
It’s ridiculous because that’s called statutory rape.
Child Prostitution is a Complete Misnomer
There is no such thing as a child prostitute. Child prostitution is a complete misnomer. It is child rape. However, pimps and traffickers can and do prostitute children. These children are not willing participants. They’re victims.
“So why make it legal?” you ask. Consider this all too common scenario.
Same 11-year-old girl being forced by her pimp to have sex with a few dozen men each day is caught, arrested as a prostitute and now has a felony on her record. She is released and sent back to the man or woman who enslaves her. Her master makes sure she fears the police because her job is illegal, after all. She can trust no one. One day she makes a run for it, but her felony record keeps her from finding reputable work. All she knows is prostitution, it’s the only work she can find because of this felony on her record. She is a slave for life.
Now consider if child prostitution is decriminalized, truly a better word for it. This child is caught but not arrested. She is seen as a victim and not a felon. She is helped.
The pimp, the John, the trafficker… now, they’re the felons. They are arrested for statutory rape, or for trafficking. The efforts of police can be focused on helping the child rather than criminalizing her, and on pursuing the real criminals.
The so-called legalization of child prostitution is the right move by states. At first glance it sounds crazy, unconscionable, but it’s the right move. It helps the child, because ultimately there is no such thing as a child prostitute.