Last week, federal authorities in partnership with local law enforcement conducted a nationwide anti-child sex trafficking crackdown. In 135 cities stretching from Atlanta to Seattle, officials conducted stings in places frequented by the men who buy and sell young girls for profit, ultimately rescuing 149 children and arresting 150 pimps and traffickers.
Here in Los Angeles County, the taskforce, working in collaboration with the Sheriff’s Department, Long Beach Police Department, County Probation, Children and Family Services, and nonprofits, rescued three juvenile victims and arrested three pimps. Thanks to the work of our law enforcement heroes, three children who were brutally manipulated into a life of exploitation and abuse are now on the path to a better life, and three scumbags are off the streets and sitting in jail.
A few years ago, those three girls would have been arrested and charged with prostitution and treated like criminals. Now, as our understanding of this horrific crime has evolved, we are treating them as victims and providing them with the services they need to escape their life on the streets. There’s simply no such thing as a child prostitute!
This week, the No Such Thing campaign is coming to Los Angeles County. I’ll be joining Rights 4 Girls, the California Endowment, L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell and other local leaders at the Hall of Justice as we take a united stand against stigmatizing victims of child abuse and rape as prostitutes. We stand for the 149 children who were rescued this week by the FBI and for all the victims of this horrific crime in Los Angeles County. Their lives depend on it.