Four reasons why we don’t support the JVTA and why you should call your Senator today
1) Funding is prioritized for law enforcement and prosecutors, not victims’ services
Looking to criminalize our way out of something hasn’t worked in any other issue and won’t work here. While good relationships with law enforcement can be critical in this work, they are a very small piece that contribute to only some survivors’ recovery.
2) Cooperation with law enforcement is strongly encouraged
For some victims this may be the answer, for others it may be damaging to their healing. Services shouldn’t have to push victims to cooperate with law enforcement in order to receive funding.
3) Courts can exercise extended supervision over youth considered ‘at risk’ for trafficking
We need to be removing children from the judicial system, not increasing their involvement. Extending probation for at risk youth, as determined by an officer of the court, is a move backwards in juvenile rights.
4) Buyers (‘johns’) would be charged as traffickers
While johns absolutely need to face penalties and consequences, being a trafficker is a specific crime and not just a catch-all for everyone who did something wrong to a child. Trafficking and buying have two very different motivations and should be addressed differently.
This bill buys into a sensationalized presentation of a complex issue, to which the criminal justice system is somehow the solution. It’s not. We need to focus on prevention and vulnerability, increasing and strengthening services for runaway and homeless youth and significantly reforming our child welfare systems. We need to ensure that young people over the age of 18 have access to affordable housing options, living wage employment and career opportunities, continuing education, affordable child care, and long term supports for their stability, leadership and growth. We need to support community-based, grassroots, survivor-led and survivor-informed programs that work with victims and survivors and that actually work. And most of all, we need recognize that adding more money to systems that already fail our youth isn’t the answer. We need real revolutionary radical change that takes into account the realities of our young people’s lives. The JVTA does not.
Contact your senator here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Wednesday, March 18th, 2015, 4:08 pm