Thursday, April 27, 2006

Oakland Addresses Teen Prostitute Trend

The city of Oakland, California hosted a 2-day conference beginning yesterday to address the growing problem of teen prostitution in Alameda County.

From an article in Inside Bay Area News:
In a sting operation last week, Oakland police arrested more than a dozen prostitutes, including one who was just 15. In similar enforcement efforts, those arrested have been even younger.

In what has become a disturbing trend in Alameda County and other areas, the number of underage prostitutes--or sexually exploited minors, as law enforcement officials call them--is growing, while the girls themselves are getting younger, authorities say.
The conference will discuss local and regional trends in exploitation and trafficking. Another topic that should generate high attendance is "Youth Culture and Trends," in which panelists will discuss sexual exploitation and what to do about it. Other workshops are titled "Pimp vs. boyfriend" and "How do you know when you're being recruited."

A main conference organizer is Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Sharmin Eshraghi Bock, who coordinates the office's response to human trafficking; she says of teen prostitutes in the county:
"They don't know what love looks like, what it feels like or what it means to be loved...when the pimp gives them some pretty clothes, a hot meal, a cell phone and some attention, they think that's love."

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