Target: New York lawmakers
Goal: Protect minors who are victims of human trafficking from being prosecuted
New York lawmakers are voting on a bill that would include raising the age of prosecution for someone who was coerced into prostitution to 18. This would be a large step in ensuring that the rights of minors involved in prostitution are given the respect, resources, and help that they need rather than being punished.
While the age of consent for sexual activities is 18, it doesn’t make sense to prosecute minors for prostitution. If minors are not considered mature enough to consent to sex, they should be regarded as victims in cases of prostitution. Stella Marr, a former victim of trafficking described the necessity of help rather than prosecution in the case of minors involved in trafficking. She explains that, “Traffickers are violent, they threaten you, they threaten your family. I was manipulated, threatened, and I felt I had no other choice.”
If the bill passes, New York will become only the fifth state to protect minors against being prosecuted for prostitution. The incredibly small number of states that provide protection for minors who are victims of trafficking indicates the necessity of this bill and others like it being passed. The hopelessness that comes with being trapped in a situation like many of these minors are in can be significantly helped if they know that they have law officials protecting them rather than prosecuting them as criminals.
Source: Force Change