One bit of news flowed across the digital space last night and some headlines screamed that California had just legalised child prostitution.
After you stop choking on your drink, let's just analyse two things: One, is it true; and two, why on earth was it done.
First, the news is true in the extremely loosest sense of the word. According to the law SB1322 law enforcement officials in the state of California are no longer allowed to arrest sex workers under the age of 18 for solicitation or loitering with intent.
The Washington Examiner, for instance, went with the assumption then that "teenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution".
Hardly. Just because you can't don't have the death penalty doesn't mean you're condoning crime. This does not mean that California has legalised child prostitution, rather, in an attempt to stamp out child trafficking, they have decriminalised the children, not the traffickers and pimps.
In a way, it's the same method being used to tackle drug trafficking. The law also means that while those who solicit sex from minors and traffic minors for prostitution will still be arrested, child prostitutes will now be considered victims rather than perpetrators of a crime.
The US Department of Justice goes to great lengths to explain that children who are in the sex trade are often physically, mentally and verbally abused into doing so from pimps and traffickers. Some are even plied with drugs and alcohol to control them.
Minors arrested for solicitation earlier would have the charge on a criminal record, which often ruled them out of many jobs later on in their life. With the law change, however, this will not happen, which means they will be treated as they should be, victims of a heinous crime, and not like the criminals that forced them to do it.