Teen Prostitution Finds Home Under L.A. Government's Watch - LA Weekly

Sex trafficking is a major scourge that has become a top issue for L.A. County leaders, who supported a state ballot initiative that will increase penalties for pimps and other miscreants who coerce people for the skin trade.

But it turns out that a key source of victims for sex traffickers is right in L.A. County government's own backyard:

The foster care system:

Yeah. For all the righteous, anti-sex-trafficking talk by some L.A. County supervisors, it's a little ironic to discover that, according to the office of Supervisor Mike Antonovich, …

… nearly two-thirds of the youth involved in sex trafficking have had prior involvement with our Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

His office says that represents the majority of the 174 minors arrested for prostitution in the county in 2010.

Turns out the county's foster care system is a hotbed for recruiters of potential victims, say Antovich's folks:

Credit: L.A. County

Credit: L.A. County

… Pimps are using child sex workers to recruit fellow foster care children at the DCFS Emergency Response Command Post and group homes across the County.

Noting that the passage of Proposition 35 will help decriminalize the victims and put more responsibility for sex trafficking on foster care, the supervisor proposed a task force to “to address the issue of sex trafficking of minors within the foster care system.”

Antonovich's proposal passed the Board of Supervisors yesterday, and the multiagency task force is on.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]