November 28, 2012: The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to launch a multi-agency task force to address and assist the ongoing issue of sex trafficking, specifically of minors who are wards of the county through the foster care system. The task force, which will include the LA Counth Probation Department and the county Department of Children & Family Services, as well as mental health and law enforcement professionals.
The impetus for the awareness is due to the overwhelming passage of Proposition 35 in the November elections; the new law will impose stricter penalties on pimps, particularly in regard to minors, and includes language that decriminalizes minors who are trafficked as sex workers.
According to Abby Sewell, reporting for the Los Angeles Times,a majority of juveniles arrested on prostitution charges in Los Angeles County come from the county's foster care system...
Of the 174 juveniles arrested on prostitution-related charges in Los Angeles County in 2010, 59% were in the foster care system, according to Probation Department statistics. The department has launched initiatives to address the issue of sex trafficking, including running prevention workshops in juvenile halls.
"They (the sex workers) should not be treated as the criminal. They are a victim. The pimps should be treated as the criminal and given long prison sentences," said county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, whoproposed the task force. Antonovich said during Tuesday's meeting that the trafficking issue came to the county board's attention early this year, when they learned that young girls were serving as prostitutes around Staples Center after Lakers games.
Written by: Taylor McCulloch