Multnomah County Commissioner, Susheela Jayapal; Claire Barrera Program Manager at El Programa Hispano’s UNICA and Joyclyn Bell a survivor and activist join me for this important conversation about Oregon Senate Bill 274.
Introduction: Charging children with prostitution is counter to our values as a community. Given that children cannot, by law, consent to sex, it is inherently contradictory to criminalize them for prostitution. They are experiencing a crime, and should not be treated as committing one. Experiencing arrest, prosecution, and/or custody by law enforcement is deeply traumatizing, especially for sex trafficking survivors of color who have already faced trauma, systemic racism, and trafficking.
SB 274 Priorities: prevention, decriminalization, reducing barriers.
SB 274 focuses on decriminalizing prostitution for minors -- including removing the ability to arrest and/or charge minors who are experiencing sex trafficking with prostitution. Sex trafficking disportionality impacts Black and Brown minors, so making this adjustment would directly support reducing the unnecessary criminalization of these populations.
Senate Bill 274 would reduce further systemic trauma and protect minor sex trafficking survivors from incurring legal consequences and penalties for being trafficked. It would also address reports of child abuse involving survivors of sex trafficking.