Last Tuesday we hosted a panel, Child Sex Trafficking: Who is for sale and at what cost? at the Oakland Impact Hub. We were privileged to hear from a phenomenal group of women who spoke powerfully about the ways racism and misogyny drive child sex trafficking in the United States. Thank you, Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie, Minh Dang, Holly Joshi, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, and Malika Saada Saar.
Stacey Katz said, “The sexual exploitation of kids happens because we let it happen — conversely then, we can stop it. But meaningful social change—a true culture shift—takes more than what any one of us can do. It takes a critical mass including you, who are a part of our WestCoast community.”
We are grateful to the more than 250 people– survivors, community members, advocates, and providers who joined us last week.
Toward our goal of raising awareness and inspiring action, click here to hear the opening remarks, and have a conversation you wouldn’t otherwise have had. Please consider making a donation to support our continued work and direct services.
Much gratitude from all of us at WestCoast Children’s Clinic.
Visit www.westcoastcc.org/whoisforsale for resources, including articles written by panelists.
Dear WestCoast Community,
We are proud to announce that yesterday, Governor Brown signed SB 1322 (Mitchell), which precludes commercially sexually exploited children from being arrested and charged with prostitution. By doing so, California affirms that there is no such thing as a child prostitute.
This would not have been possible without your calls, letters, tweets, and amazing advocacy. Your support made a huge difference, and we can’t thank you enough!
We would also like to thank Senator Holly J. Mitchell, survivor advocates, and our coalition partners for undertaking this important work with us. WestCoast worked closely with National Center for Youth Law, California Welfare Directors’ Association, the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, Children Now, and Children’s Law Center of California to meet with legislative staff and testify at hearings. Many other organizations submitted letters of support, made calls, and participated in the social media campaign.
Policy & Communications Director
On August 4th, Adela Rodarte, assistant director of WestCoast’s Transition Age Youth Services Program was a guest on KQED’s Forum: OPD Sex Scandal Puts Spotlight on Bay Area Sex Trafficking. In the wake of extensive media coverage about police abuse of an 18-year-old, Forum host Dave Iverson turned our attention to “the children who were exploited the day before that story broke, the day after, and who continue to be exploited today.”
Drawing from eleven years of experience working with exploited youth, Adela spoke to the risk factors that make children vulnerable to trafficking and why we must respond to exploited youth as victims of abuse rather than punishing them.
To listen to the full episode, click here.
Other guest panelists included:
- Nancy O’Malley, district attorney, Alameda County
- Kate Walker Brown, attorney, National Center for Youth Law
- La Toya Gix, human trafficking survivor; advocate, Alameda County’s District Attorney office
- Police Abuse of Trafficking Victims Weakens Fragile Help System (San Francisco Chronicle)
- Bill would end criminalizing children for prostitution (San Francisco Chronicle)
This coming Monday, August 8th, California lawmakers will vote on legislation that stops authorities from treating victims of child sex trafficking like criminals. We need your help to get this off the Assembly Floor and to the Governor’s desk.
SB 1322 (Mitchell) precludes victims of childhood commercial sexual exploitation from being arrested and charged with prostitution and related loitering. This bill is consistent with federal law and reflects a recognition of the harmful effects of arresting victims of child sex trafficking, including further trauma, disconnection from community and school, and burdensome criminal records. (Click here to learn more.)
Why is it so hard for me to make friends?
Rachel Moran in the New York Times’ Opinion Page: Buying Sex Should Not Be Legal.