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NCJ Number: 95338 Find in a Library
Title: Children of the Night - The Adequacy of Statutory Treatment of Juvenile Prostiution
Journal: American Journal of Criminal Law  Volume:12  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1984)  Pages:1-67
Author(s): D K Weisberg
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 67
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Federal and State laws on juvenile prostitution reflect little awareness of the nature and incidence of male juvenile prostitution; they emphasize punishment rather than prevention and treatment.
Abstract: Research shows that juvenile prostitutes range in age from 12 to 18, with the mean being 16 for both sexes. While these youths come from all socioeconomic and ethnic groups, most come from broken homes, fail to complete high school, and often have been physically and sexually abused. Pimps play a central role in initiating female juveniles into prostitution, but they do not influence male juveniles. Most juvenile females find sexual relations with a customer the most unattractive aspect of prostitution, whereas males indicate that sexual gratification is a primary reason for their prostitution. Violence characterizes the lives of both male and female prostitutes. Federal laws which address juvenile prostitution are the Protection of Children Against Sexual Exploitation Act, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Adoption Reform Act, the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, and the Missing Children Act. Since the 1977 congressional hearings on protection of children from sexual exploitation, numerous States have enacted new criminal legislation or revised existing laws to address juvenile prostitution. Two themes emerge from recent Federal and State laws: severe penalties for adults who engage in sexual exploitation of minors and protection of the victim, the juvenile prostitute. One problem in this approach is that underlying assumptions on the best ways to handle juvenile prostitution are based on knowledge about female prostitution and the erroneous belief that juvenile male and female prostitution are identical. For example, the Mann's Act revisions directed at interstate travel by pimps will not help male prostitutes since they typically do not work for pimps. Federal laws addressing physical abuse and funding shelters for runaways are important weapons in preventing juvenile prostitution of both sexes. Some State statutes penalized customers of juvenile prostitutes, but in reality prosecutions are almost nonexistent. Application of the laws to juveniles must be gender-neutral and not ignore boys. State laws should address the underlying causes of juvenile prostitution, the underlying causes of juvenile prostitution, penalize parental rejection which causes many youths to leave home as throwaways, improve cooperation in locating runaways, and fund runaway programs in their jurisdictions. The article includes 378 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Federal juvenile programs; Juvenile prostitution; Runaways; Sexually abused adolescents; State laws
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=95338

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