You can’t consent, but you can sure get arrested.

So… did anyone know that in New York, 14-year-old girls can be arrested for prostitution?

From the New York Times:

Miranda’s story is typical, and yet not.

It’s typical of many girls who run away from home, only to land in the arms of older men whom they mistake for protectors. Most adults would recognize these men for what they are. They’re pimps.

She was all of 14 when she fled her mother’s house in Brooklyn and found herself “in the life” — the world of the street hustler. “I didn’t really know what I was getting into,” said Miranda, who, for reasons that should be obvious, avoided giving a last name or even a true first name.

Before long, she was arrested for prostitution. It would not be her last run-in with the law.

In a letter to the editor, Karenna Gore Schiff points out that since the legal age of consent is 17, if no money had been exchanged, Miranda – and all the other trafficked girls in New York – would be a statutory rape survivor. Instead she’s a criminal.

Good news, though – the state legislator just passed the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Act, which allows girls fifteen and under to be viewed as victims the first time they’re trafficked. Am I reading that right? Does that mean that if a girl is sixteen, or if she lets herself get trafficked again, she faces criminal charges? When she’s not considered old enough to consent?

And it gets better – Governer Paterson may veto the bill, partly because of costs and partly because there’s strong sentiment that keeping trafficked girls “firmly in the court system” is preferable to treating them as victims.

The article doesn’t mention race, but I strongly suspect that not many of these girls are white.

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