There was a time at the beginning of the last decade where the term “compassionate conservative” had some promise. While it was completely bastardized as an excuse to offer bigger government, I think this bill by Rene Unterman embodies what it should have meant.
Unterman seeks to move those arrested for prostitution who are under the age of 16 into a counseling and treatment program instead of putting them into the criminal justice system. Though that may open her (and those who support this bill) to charges of being “soft on crime”, her logic appears sound.
This bill decreases the age of prostitution,” said Unterman. “Sixteen-years-old is the age of consent in Georgia and anyone who is less than 16 will not be charged with prostitution. We consider then a victim, not a prostitute. They need care and counseling.”
Unterman said her bill would help create a “system of care,” for the girls, “while educating the public and those who come in contact” with the young girls. It would impact girls getting pimped out on the streets, as well as girls working in massage parlors.
“We want to recognize what is wrong and get them into care,” Unterman said. “If you do it before hand, it is less costly.”
It does seem logical that if a person in georgia cannot legally consent to having sex before the age of 16, then they can’t commit a crime for agreeing to sell sex, either. More importantly, if these teenagers are moved into the criminal justice system at such a young age, the odds of them ever getting out of it are virtually nil.
Kudos to Senator Unterman for her continued efforts to help solve the often overlooked problem of child prostitution in Georgia.