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NCJ Number: 196222 Find in a Library
Title: When Protection is Punishment: Neo-liberalism and Secure Care Approaches to Youth Prostitution
Journal: Canadian Journal of Criminology  Volume:44  Issue:3  Dated:July 2002  Pages:317-350
Author(s): Steven Bittle
Date Published: July 2002
Page Count: 34
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This article presents the changes in approach to the issue of youth prostitution in Canada.
Abstract: During the last 15 years of the 20th century there has been a growing recognition that young prostitutes should be treated as victims in need of protection, not deviants requiring punishment. The introduction of secure care legislation in the province of Alberta is the most recent policy response to this victimization framework. In British Columbia and Ontario, there is a possibility of introducing similar legislation. The Protection of Children Involved in Prostitution Act defines children involved in prostitution as “victims of sexual abuse,” who require victim support and services. It empowers police and child welfare officials to detain children whose safety is at risk. Young prostitutes are detained in protective confinement for a 5-day assessment and receive emergency care and treatment. The Act also permits authorities to apply for a maximum of two additional detainment periods to allow childcare workers to spend more time helping the youth. Critics of the Act maintain that it represents an unduly harsh government measure that will only serve to control where and how business is conducted and drive young prostitutes away from real help. The author argues that the secure care movement represents neo-liberal responses to the re-conceptualization of youth prostitution as a form of sexual abuse and exploitation. Secure care advances neo-liberal forms of governance by supporting “responsibilization” strategies. The youth prostitution problem is governed at a distance and the onus is placed upon the individual prostitute, community, and family. The meaning of success in dealing with the youth prostitution problem is redefined. Relations of power that give rise to the youth sex trade remain unchallenged. The author recommends that innovative ways of addressing youth prostitution should be explored by giving youth a meaningful voice in the process. Government and nongovernmental organizations must build meaningful partnerships. There must be a commitment to addressing the social conditions that make prostitution a viable means of subsistence for some young people. 10 notes, 52 references
Main Term(s): Canada; Juvenile prostitution
Index Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse; Female juvenile delinquents; Foreign laws; Laws and Statutes; Prostitution; Sexually abused adolescents
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