SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Lawmakers aiming to help children escape prostitution are advancing a bill to decriminalize the act for minors.
Supporters of SB1322 argue children are not mature enough to voluntarily sell their bodies and it’s amoral for them to be charged with that crime.
The Assembly narrowly passed SB1322 to the Senate on a 41-29 vote Thursday.
It would decriminalize prostitution for people under the age of 18 and allow them to be taken into temporary custody.
Several lawmakers questioned how to keep kids away from pimps without involving police. Democratic Assemblyman Jim Cooper of Elk Grove said children are more likely to stay in shelters or use other emergency services if police detain them.
Democratic Assemblyman Mark Stone of Scotts Valley says refusing to try something new won’t help them.