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January 16, 2011

Notable new paper on the prosecution and sentencing of children for prostitution

Tamar Birckhead has this notable new paper, titled "The 'Youngest Profession': Consent, Autonomy, and Prostituted Children," posted on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Although reliable estimates do not exist, the data suggests that the number of children believed to be at risk for commercial sexual exploitation in the United States is between 200000 and 300000 and that the average age of entry is between eleven and fourteen, with some as young as nine. The number of prostituted children who are criminally prosecuted for these acts is equally difficult to estimate.  In 2008 -- the most recent year for which data is available -- approximately 206 males and 643 females under age eighteen were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as having been arrested within United States borders for prostitution and commercialized sex.  Anecdotal evidence suggests, however, that these numbers reflect only a small fraction of the children who face criminal charges as a result of their prostituted status.  Research also reveals that because most states have laws that hold children criminally liable for 'selling' sex, law enforcement and the courts readily pathologize these youth, a significant percentage of whom are runaways, drug addicted or from low-income homes in which they were neglected and abused.  Statistics additionally suggest that the number of American girls who are sexually exploited is increasing, particularly for those between the ages of thirteen and seventeen.  Likewise, it is estimated that eighty percent of prostituted women began this activity when they, themselves, were younger than eighteen.  Yet, nearly all states can criminally prosecute children for prostitution even when they are too young to legally consent to sex with adults, and very few communities have developed effective programs designed to prevent or intervene in the sexual exploitation of youth.

This Article critically examines the prevalence of laws allowing for the criminal prosecution of minors for prostitution.  It argues that rather than maintain a legal scheme that characterizes and treats such juveniles as willing participants who, if harmed, are merely getting what they deserve, a more nuanced approach must be developed in which -- at a minimum -- criminal liability should be consistent with age of consent and statutory rape laws.  It analyzes the range of ways in which states have addressed the problem of prostituted children, and it highlights those few that have successfully utilized strategies of intervention and rehabilitation rather than prosecution and incarceration.  It contrasts the impact of state versus federal legislation as well as domestic versus international policy in this area and the ways in which these differences serve to perpetuate pernicious stereotypes vis-à-vis youth and crime.  The Article addresses the historical treatment of prostituted children as criminals rather than victims by both American law and society, and critiques contemporary rationales for continuing a punitive approach toward these youth.  The Article explores the conflicting statutory, common law, and colloquial meanings of the terms 'prostitution,' 'consent,' and 'bodily autonomy' as they relate to children and sexuality.  It also considers the extent to which the criminal offenses of prostitution and statutory rape address different sets of harms and explores how gender and sexual orientation are implicated in the discussion.  The Article concludes by highlighting model programs directed at prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation as well as proposing strategies for reform, such as decriminalization and diversion.

January 16, 2011 at 06:05 PM | Permalink


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Until union rent seeking put them into that worthless babysitting service, high school, 100 years ago, these ladies would be viewed as adults. They may have even been middle aged when the average lifespan was 30 years of age.

This is Ivy indoctrinated, vile feminist lawyer propaganda making more victims out of people choosing the Roman Orgy lifestyle, the BMW over the beat Chevy Nova, and the $2000 job at age 16 over the $20 job babysitting for the neighbors. What is clear is that her little darlings are victims of the male, rather than rich exploiters and purveyors of personal assets.

Her clients cannot be told what to do. They are actually doing as they please over all out pressures by family, legal authorities and school. They are making more money than Prof. Berman, and at an age when they still can feel a little. And every day is a blast, instead of the boring life of the mind of the author. What a biased, blind, dried up person the author seems to be, either naive or lying.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 16, 2011 8:27:13 PM

It seems obvious, at least to me, that S.C. has no idea of prostitution especially child prostitution. Originally I was going to explain and explicate the reality...however: "You may try to teach a pig to sing but you will only waste your time and annoy the pig."

Posted by: Tim Rudisill | Jan 17, 2011 9:40:12 AM

Tim: One may always find a horror story about pet ownership, one of abuse, neglect and cruelty. Without a valid survey, basing pet ownership regulation on such cases is invalid scientifically. For example, banning pet ownership after finding a house of horrors, with 100 animals in bad shape, is wrong and statute drafting malpractice, when 99% of pet ownerships go well, mostly to the advantage of the pet. The author admits having no facts about the total practice. We do know that 16 year olds are not children, but adults, at least for 10,000 years prior to the false regulations promulgated by unions seeking to lower market competition for labor 100 years ago. One may always pick out an anecdote to serve a partisan, political point, especially if coming from a hate philosophy such as feminism. Fact free, anti-male, hate speech is no more acceptable than anti-Semitic or anti-Black hate speech. Zero tolerance applies to this scurrilous feminist propaganda, and the Ivy indoctrinated author needs to apologize. Imagine an university or law school with a KKK research department, putting out papers, "The Jews did that. The Blacks did this." Not acceptable. Imagine nearly 90% KKK acceptance by all government officials, including the left, 100 years ago. Still, not acceptable. How do feminists differ from the KKK? Both are lawyer founded and run hate enterprises. Both are fact free. Both carried a business plan, to transfer money from the productive to parasitic. Both are terrorist organs of the Democratic Party. Both were prevalent on campus. Both had total legal immunity for public lynchings because of prosecutor and judge support.

You do not appear be a lawyer, so we have no dispute. Advocacy tip. Calling the debate adversary a name is like knocking over your King in a chess match, a sign of intellectual surrender. In a trial, it would prompt a judge's rejoinder. That would signal to the jury which way the case should be decided, and end their puzzlement by complicated technical issues. The experienced advocate knows of this effect, and seeks to create it.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 17, 2011 11:05:20 AM

Child prostitutes are generally speaking victims, and should be treated as such. Those who pimp child prostitutes should face exceedingly stiff penalties, even death.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 17, 2011 11:20:42 AM

Side note. Any article where the footnotes take up twice the volume as the text? Possibly written when author manic or high.

Fed: This view is based on anecdotal cases, and people over 14 are not "children" biologically speaking. Without making the prostitute a child victim, such a punitive view is not justified.

A house of horrors with neglected animals does not represent pet ownership. The author of the article: "...reliable data do not exist," and "... 80% of prostitutes began the activity before age eighteen..."

Why can't the child victims run up to a police officer in the street and say, "Help me escape. I am being held prisoner."? These street wise folks find the business to serve a self-interest. But officious intermeddler feminist lawyers know better what their self-interest is. That also happens to generate lots of government make work sinecures, to house, feed, supervise, advise, treat, and prevent the leaving of 17 year old "children" making their 6 figures in a business.

One has to note arguments against prostitution not being made, the ones that justified its criminalization in the first place. It has an anti-family formation effect. It spreads sexual diseases. It lowers property values, being undesirable neighbor to average home owners. It is not a long term career, and burdens society later with unemployment. Those effects are verifiable, factual, but not hate driven. So there is no room for them in feminist propaganda.

This is a crime with 100's of cases a year, the author stated. Meanwhile, rape, murder, armed robberies number in the millions a year. It is a crime with a made up victim, the criminal herself. Meanwhile, violent crime devastates millions of people and causes $trillions in losses to our economy. Why try to persuade people that the criminal is the victim? Because the criminal generates lawyer jobs. The crime victim does not.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 17, 2011 12:21:37 PM

Just how empty does one's soul have to be to file charges against a child for prostitution?

Posted by: anonymous | Jan 17, 2011 9:53:44 PM

I do agree with your view that it has to consider and treat as legal scheme that characterizes and treats such juveniles

Posted by: Alex | Jan 18, 2011 5:22:05 AM

My dear S.C., I am so very sorry you took the named animal of the proverb to be a case of "name calling". It was not so intended. Rather it was recognition, on my part, that there was no point in even attempting a discussions of this matter with you.
Horror stories weren't what I had in mind...just facts. Perhaps on another subject you and I might be able to debate and discuss. Perhaps.
Just a point for you, my friend: Never assume in another behaviors common in yourself.
In parting: No, I am not a lawyer - good of you to realize this.

Posted by: Tim Rudisill | Jan 21, 2011 11:00:05 AM

Sex laws are the biggest waste of our best resources. Look at the Guyana group of Republican/Democrate backing of the projects like Planned Perenthood and the government funding request of 61 billion dollars going after sex laws too justify their existance, yet everything the compond of Jim Jones was demonized for is every day occurences in our own prisions. This is a recipe for right wingnut too use what they say but not do, expecting me and you to follow their party's around the world that dance for the camera and go on using ataquated ideas and their new world Apolilpitic purity pulpet of ingnorance to point a way of life lies saying do as I say, Dude: its just another barn burner and when the Barns gone the ground is not blessed. It's for the silver colected by the theives purse to force what is the stupid idea that touching someone causes ireversable damage when the perpeitrators of that crime keeps reminding us pre~existing condition is in fact the thought crimes inflicted by their thinking alone. Sex Laws have a one sided relivence unsupported by failure through history and this lets try it this way rotine that is the crime of our century without justification by it's own results which is slavery to man by missunderstanding and projection of extreameist ideas that are crimanal too make political prisoners and slave work crews over sex which is a contact sport requiering a pitcher and a catcher and now we have what refferees installing cameras in the bed for their intertainment? End sex laws now.Now since I know what you do and who you do it too I can understand why you don't post my comments BUtt: that proves your not a lawfull bunch and the predjust displayed in an inability too desplay a counter argument is because your wrong and refuse to acknowlage it.


Let me tell you about my families setting me up for an exorcism and
her need for money through political, and religious pandering
concerning sex.

I remember living behind a church were Brian Lamb, and a bunch of
these Cspan guys used too have a wood shop. At that place of residence
my mom thought I needed an exorcist, after playing in the mud the way
very young children will sometimes with my uncle who mixed a glass of
this red clay in water and told me it was chocolate milk.

After drinking it as he would force me to do thing all the time like
the time he made me cut off the limb I was sitting on and the device
came out of my shoulder being more powerful and in control I broke out
with ring worm all over my body and my mom told me it was writing that
could not be understood so she had priests come in from the church.

I guess my Dad did not know that one of the people at the church was
in line for being my new dad but that was not in the cards because I
guess he felt I was in need of discipline after an accident in the
wood shop. I had been check out on the band saw by my grandfather who
was a millwright in Arkansas and to do some jobs the blade shield had
to be removed. Some kids came in and wanted to use the saw, then got
mad that I wanted to warn them to put the guard on and they told me
they owned it all and I was not to tell them anything, and after this
head strong kid cut his thumb off the other kids said they would tell
their fathers it was all my fault, but it was not.

I had a fever of well over a hundred and I was a bloody mess with the
infection. The priests came in with outer guys and one had a camera.
The priests would throw me across the room well the other snapped a
picture. I would fall on furniture and the floor and they would tell
me get on the bed, don't get off the bed very loud and when I would
crawl back on the bed they would pick me up and throw me over and over
again well the other priest would snap another picture and this went
on till one guy said we have enough picture and they left me in the
blood, mud, and bedding, then my aunt came in with some save that was
for ring worm.

She spread the save and kidded me about dying when the rings got to my
heart. After getting well I went back to the wood shop and the guys
had made me a special shield and gave me my sword which were both made
of wood and I had to fight one of the guys in my shorts because I did
not want to remove them and the other guy was naked (he know who he
is). I was still not up too speed and lost the battle. They then
called me the bad guy and this group was supposed to be my gate keeper
or something like that appointed by the priests. My Dad did not like
them much also but that did not matter much because someone at the
church was going to be my new dad till he said no, my mom cried allot,
my dad was gone, I healed up, but I still have a case.

Please know that there is nothing any of you can do to make what you
and the rest of the ones involved can do to make this my fault. See at
the time I was about seven years old. Since then the church has made
an effort to kill me, to the extent of trying to pass laws to kill sex

Come on, keep it up, keep pushing laws that you as a group of very
said individuals know have no value. Take me too court so I can own a
network. I have met with your staff members in private since along
with military personal and others.

Now lets note when this happened I was only a small child being thrown
around a room like a rag doll by people that started all this clear
back in the late fifty's and the steering by very bad people that
think abusing kids to make laws to stop abuse, Ha! these laws are
bogus and the fact that they can not kill gays anymore does not
justify the use of laws too kill someone set up by them to create some
worthless set of laws by a fusion of church and state is wrong and
realty designed by them to harm us all.

Posted by: Keith Richard Radford Jr | Apr 1, 2011 8:29:07 AM

So what that boils down too is conspeiricy too commit murder by the action of the church

Posted by: Keith Richard Radford Jr | Apr 1, 2011 8:30:45 AM

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