According to this opinion piece by Johnathan McGinty in the Athens Banner-Herald, Georgia State Sen. Renee Unterman, (R-Buford) wants to introduce a bill that would prevent Georgia from treating children picked up for prostitution like criminals and instead provide some kind of treatment.
Imagine your 12-year-old daughter has been kidnapped and, when she’s finally found, she’s been forced into a child prostitution ring. Imagine that she’s kept in a drug-induced haze and raped repeatedly. Imagine the horror, grief and shock that would overwhelm you and your family as you dealt with that situation, and the work you’d be eager to do to heal your daughter.
And now, in the middle of that trying and sensitive situation, imagine that the state of Georgia is labeling her a criminal.
So, the implication is that kids are being kidnapped, forced into prostitution, and when they are discovered, the state further victimizes them by prosecuting them. Presumably this happens quite regularly since, according to McGinty, there are more than 400 child prostitutes in Atlanta alone, although the only case mentioned is from 2002.
McGinty describes why some oppose the legislation:
The current system, and the logic employed by those who so strenuously defend it, is seriously flawed. Rather than pursue justice against those who actually exploit young boys and girls, detractors of the proposed legislation would rather throw the victims in jail.
Yeah, I can see it now. A child prostitution ring is uncovered and an angry mob storms the courthouse demanding the prosecution of the children and the immediate release of the pimps.
Mr McGinty needs to re-evaluate his strategy for conveying credibility. This story doesn’t pass the smell test.
You have to love how both sides invoke the mantra “for the children”, though. Of course, it’s not “exploitation” when politicians leverage off of children to advance their own personal careers.
Looks like a solution in search of a problem. At the very least, Mr McGinty is probably leaving out some rather key facts. I seriously doubt Georgia is prosecuting children who have been kidnapped and forced into prostitution.
And if Senator Unterman really wants to help children, she should consider legalizing prostitution, removing it from the shadowy criminal underground out into the light of day, giving those in the business an incentive to stay on the right side of the law. When government outlaws consensual human behavior, they surrender all control over and visibility into that behavior. It amounts to nothing more than a worthless jobs program for cops while creating a fertile environment for corruption. And because it makes one group of people miserable at the behest of another group of people, it’s the definition of persecution.