California Democrats legalize child
By TRAVIS ALLEN
Beginning on Jan. 1, prostitution by minors will be legal in California.
Yes, you read that right.
SB 1322 bars law enforcement from arresting sex workers who are
under the age of 18 for soliciting or engaging in prostitution, or
loitering with the intent to do so. So teenage girls (and boys) in
California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without
fear of arrest or prosecution.
This terribly destructive legislation was written and passed by the
progressive Democrats who control California's state government with
a two-thirds "supermajority." To their credit, they are sincere in their
belief that decriminalizing underage prostitution is good public policy
that will help victims of sex trafficking. Unfortunately, the reality is
that the legalization of underage prostitution suffers from the fatal
defect endemic to progressive-left policymaking: it ignores experience,
common sense and most of all human nature — especially its darker
The unintended but predictable consequence of how the real villains —
pimps and other traffickers in human misery — will respond to this
new law isn't difficult to foresee. Pimping and pandering will still be
against the law whether it involves running adult women or young
girls. But legalizing child prostitution will only incentivize the increased
exploitation of underage girls. Immunity from arrest means law
enforcement can't interfere with minors engaging in prostitution —
which translates into bigger and better cash flow for the pimps. Simply
put, more time on the street and less time in jail means more money
for pimps, and more victims for them to exploit.
As Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley, a national leader
on human trafficking issues, told the media, "It just opens up the door
for traffickers to use these kids to commit crimes and exploit them
even worse." Another prosecutor insightfully observed that if
traffickers wrote legislation to protect themselves, it would read like
Minors involved in prostitution are clearly victims, and allowing our
law enforcement officers to pick these minors up and get them away
from their pimps and into custody is a dramatically better solution
than making it legal for them to sell themselves for sex. That only
deepens their victimization and renders law enforcement powerless to
stop the cycle of abuse. SB 1322 is not simply misguided — its
consequences are immoral.
Unfortunately for Californians, SB 1322 isn't an outlier — it's only the
tip of the liberal iceberg. 2017 will see the Golden State subjected to
wave after wave of laws taking effect that are well-intentioned but
disastrous embodiments of progressive utopianism.
One such new Democratic-authored law throws open the door to even
greater government dependency on the part of the poor by rolling back
proven reforms. In 1996, welfare reform was one of the greatest social
legislation achievements of the last century, ending the lifetime welfare
system and putting millions of Americans on the road to self-reliance
and self-respect. In its wake, California lawmakers passed a law
barring increased payments to women who have more children while
still on welfare, in order to encourage women to achieve independence
before having more children.
It's a tough provision that works — which was apparently irrelevant to
Gov. Jerry Brown, who just signed a bill repealing that prohibition.
Henceforth, no matter how many children someone has while on
welfare, the state government will ratchet up payments with each
child, with no limit. Incredibly, the Democratic author of this bill
claims she wants to discourage women from having more children
while on welfare — but instead passed legislation replacing that
effective reform with a law that restarts the cycle of welfare
In similarly inverted fashion, state Democrats have taken action to
make California's youth unemployment rate — one of the nation's
highest — even worse by boosting the minimum wage. It is an
empirical fact that minimum-wage hikes increase unemployment
among those who are the least skilled and most in need of entry-level
jobs — our youth. Like other misguided liberal policies, this latest
minimum-wage legislation will only lead to fewer jobs for our youth.
And the list goes on. Thanks to other new Democratic-sponsored bills,
an estimated 50,000 felons will be voting in the next state election,
many from their jail cells; if you go hunting with a buddy and lend him
your shotgun, you'll be breaking the law; state employees will be
forbidden from traveling on business to states which prohibit
transgender bathrooms. The parade of inane and idiotic legislation in
California is virtually unending.
The common thread running through this avalanche of liberal-left
legislation is the total absence of common sense and a stubborn
insistence on ignoring human nature. On a certain level, we shouldn't
be surprised. After all, progressives still believe eliminating poverty is a
matter of spending enough money on enough government programs.
Despite spending $15 trillion on anti-poverty and welfare programs
since 1965, our national poverty rate is actually slightly higher today
than it was then.
California is loaded with natural resources and talented people who
want to work hard, be successful and enjoy the fruits of that success.
The tragedy is that California is in the grip of liberal politicians who
believe we can help underage prostitutes by making it legal for them to
be prostitutes; who believe we can reduce welfare dependence by
increasing opportunities to become dependent; and who think we can
increase employment by making it more expensive to hire people.
California is ruled by a political party that places a higher priority on
dictating to public schools their mascot choices than enabling parents
to send their kids to the school of their choice.
Do Brown and the Democrat politicians behind this wave of bad
legislation mean well? I believe they do, but unfortunately they're only
succeeding in proving that the road to hell is paved with good
intentions. It's the bad luck of Californians that they're dragging the
rest of our state down that road with them.
Travis Allen, a Republican, represents the 72nd Assembly District in
the California legislature.