Addressing the “demand” side of child sex trafficking

Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and me that called for tougher penalties for “Johns” convicted of soliciting sex from minors.

We have been focusing on the issue of child sex trafficking for almost two years now, and the concept that there are people out there who would buy a 10-year old girl for sex is still beyond me.

We have spent a great deal of time working on the services end of this issue, to do whatever we can to help these girls get their lives on the right track and to prevent others from being exploited.

We have a good opportunity now, as the new legislative season in Sacramento is gearing up, to continue to promote awareness of this horrific problem and develop effective legislation to help the victims and to go after the scumbags who purchase and sell girls for sex.

We must address the “demand” side of this crime and make the penalties severe enough so that these “Johns” don’t continue to be nameless and free of any criminal record, while the girls are criminalized.

Our work is far from done, but we are making progress.  Each step we take forward in supporting the victims of child sex trafficking brings us one day closer to protecting the real victims of this crime and preventing the exploitation of our most vulnerable young girls.