Sexually Exploited Children are Victims

Children sold for sex shouldn’t be treated as criminals. That’s the point of a congressional resolution that Senators Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Ron Wyden, D-Oregon are pushing as part of a concerted effort to reform welfare systems in America that some say malign victims of sexual exploitation instead of offering help.

The Our Daughters Are Not For Sale resolution calls for child-welfare systems to protect and aid kids who fell out of the safety net and were trafficked for sex. Some 293,000 American youths are at risk of becoming victims of sex trafficking and a majority of them are runaways or kids who left foster care, says the FBI, adding that average age a girl becomes involved in sexual exploitation is 12 to 14.

Beyond the resolution, which has no force of law, Hatch is sponsoring legislation that would require states to show that they have policies in place to identify youths who are believed to be at risk of being exploited.

Wyden said that because those who traffic youths for sex are often wealthy, he also introduced a measure on Tuesday that would impose huge fines on those caught in the child sex trade. The money would be used to help prop up support systems for victims of trafficking.

Learn more at Thomas Burr’s The Salt Lake Tribune article: Hatch: Children exploited for sex are victims, not criminals.

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