Senate Bill 1322 paves the way for the compassionate treatment of children forced into prostitution.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law last week.
Children under the age of 18 won’t be prosecuted and may be taken into protective custody if there life is at risk.
Karen ,Villegas, the community education coordinator at the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center said, “We are very happy that this is finally being recognized through legislation, that there is no such thing as child prostitution and we’ve known and for a long time, we have been advocating that anyone under 18 cannot give consent and therefore there is no chance of them willfully entering into prostitution.”
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley supports the governor’s action.
“It is clear his intention was to support sexual assault victims in their search for justice, ” said Dudley.
The Rape Crisis Center has a hotline to help victims of sex crimes at (805)564-3696.