- FOX 29
- 6abc WPVI-TV/DT
Philadelphia News Agencies: Change Terminology and Bring Awareness to Lack of Human Trafficking Laws.
Underage victims of human trafficking are being arrested and stigmatized because Pennsylvania still has no law that makes child sex slavery a crime, or that prohibits the sale or promotion of travel for the purpose of purchasing sex with a child, otherwise known as child sex tourism. We ask responsible news agencies to change their terminology from "prostitute", to "human trafficking victim" and to bring attention to the fact that Pennsylvania needs to amend the prostitution law so minors can not be charged with the crime of prostitution, which stigmatizes them and directs them in a path of criminal justice instead of victim services.
- FOX 29
- 6abc WPVI-TV/DT
Thank you for covering the story and bringing light to a situation many are concerned about. You recently wrote about a Hotel Bust in Philadelphia in which a 15 year old girl (among other over-18-year-old women) were arrested and charged for the crime of prostitution. Although you did not mention human trafficking, also commonly referred to as modern-day slavery, this particular situation is definitely human trafficking. Under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (2000), human trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to induce/compel/subject an individual to provide labor, services, or commercial sex against their will. Any minor under the age of 18 involved in commercial sex acts is automatically deemed a victim of human trafficking.
While most would agree that slavery itself is a terrible crime to have to endure, it’s even more terrible to imagine being arrested and treated like a criminal for acts you were forced to commit through one of the above forms of torture and manipulation. Because of this, I ask you to change your terminology from "prostitute", to "human trafficking victim" and to use your powers of public media to question and bring awareness to the fact that, although Federal law clearly defines human trafficking in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the state of Pennsylvania still:
1. has no laws that make child sex slavery a crime,
2. has no laws that prohibit the sale or promotion of travel for the purpose of purchasing sex with a child, otherwise known as child sex tourism,
3. should amend the prostitution law so minors can not be charged with the crime of prostitution, which stigmatizes them and directs them in a path of criminal justice instead of victim services.
To learn more about trafficking you can always get more information about the issue at www.PolarisProject.org or www.TraffickingResourceCenter.org. You will also easily find a link to Pennsylvania’s issues directly at www.raiseyourgrade.org, where you can also send or promote the sending of letters to the Governor.
Thank you for caring about the reputation of Pennsylvania and for the well-being of the children who are being secretly exploited in our own backyard. Media is powerful and I strongly encourage you to use it for the benefit of all of the above.
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