The Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said minors engaging in sex for pay will be viewed as victims, not criminals, under the “First Step” diversion program. “These are victims that have been robbed of hope at a very early age,” Lacey told a news conference. “We want to show them there is a way out if they take the first step.”
A coalition of community groups will offer young arrestees a one-year program of crisis intervention services including shelter, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and education. If they successfully complete the program, their arrest will be cleared. Partners in the program include the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles, Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking, Saving Innocence and the Valley Trauma Center of Van Nuys. Police, sheriff’s deputies and probation departments will be involved as well as the Department of Children and Family Services.
Learn more at Linda Deutsch’s Contra Costa Times article: Official unveils sex-trafficking diversion effort.