Annually more than 1 000 children are arrested for prostitution in the USA.
Malika Saada Saar, the executive director of Rights4Girls, a human rights organisation working to eradicate child prostitution in the US, says what the authorities are failing to address properly “are the very people responsible for this heartache – the buyers. In any other context, what a ‘John’ does when he purchases a girl [for sex] would be construed as statutory rape or sexual assault of a minor. There should be no difference between raping a child and paying to rape a child”.
Saar says there is a “culture of impunity for raping children when someone pays for the act”, while men who pay for sex with underage girls are rarely arrested. And if they are it’s for the relatively minor offence of “misdemeanour solicitation”.
These men generally avoid the same kind of punishment – and disdain – reserved for adults who molest or rape children.
Saar’s organisation and others like it are campaigning to eradicate the idea of a “child prostitute,” pointing out that children who are raped, abused and exploited are not prostitutes – they are victims and survivors of rape. And they deserve the same legal protection, supports and services given to child victims of abuse.
SOURCES: EBONY.COM, PEOPLE.COM, DAILYMAIL.CO.UK, THECONVERSATION,PBS.ORG,SUPPORT2NDCHANCE.BLOGSPOT.COM, THEATLANTIC.COM, CNN