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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

New CA Law Seeks to Right a Wrong for Young Victims of Sex Trafficking

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Monday, January 2, 2017   

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – This week, a new state law is in effect aimed at protecting children who are victims of sexual abuse.

Law enforcement officers in California no longer can arrest youth suspects for prostitution.

Maheen Kaleem, a staff attorney with Rights4Girls, which advocated for the law, says minors inherently don't have the same legal powers as adults, so they can't consent to prostitution, and that pimps use threats of arrest as a way to keep minors from breaking free.

"Incarceration of victims really gets in the way of getting these children on the path to healing that they need, because exploiters are telling children, 'If you go to law enforcement, if you seek help, all they will do is arrest you,'" Kaleem states.

Of just over 1,000 human trafficking cases reported in California this year, about 1 in 4 involved a child.

Kaleem says the new law shifts guilt away from these young people, and toward those who are traffickers or customers of the sex trade. Fifteen other states have also passed like-minded laws.

The problem involves many demographic pockets of children and is often connected to the international drug trade, Kaleem says.

She explains it isn't that agencies or law enforcement see these children as criminals, but that options have been limited when faced with these cases.

"A lot of it was that they didn't feel like they had an alternative,” Kaleem points out. “And if it's a choice between leaving that child on the street and arresting that child, they were going to arrest the child, because at least then, they knew where the child was. The family court could get involved.

“Now that this protocol, and protocols like it, exist in other counties, it was very clear that there was another alternative."

But that better alternative is not without complications. Kaleem says the majority of the cases she sees come from the child welfare system, where caseworkers are now being asked to learn these new protocols.






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