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Congresswoman Karen Bass

Representing the 37th District of California

Statement from Rep. Karen Bass supporting District Attorney Jackie Lacey's "First Step" Program to Help Young Victims of Sex Trafficking

February 12, 2014
Press Release

Los Angeles, CA – Representative Karen Bass (D-Calif.) released the following statement today after Los Angeles District Attorney Jack Lacey’s announcement of a new program that will provide minors in Los Angeles County who were victims of sex trafficking with real resources to get them off the streets and into care.

"I want to personally thank District Attorney Lacey for her important proposal. For far too long minors who were victims of sex trafficking were also victimized by the criminal justice system who treated them as criminals and not victims. These young people need help, not punishment, and the 'First Step' Program will provide them with real resources and guidance to enable them move to a better life.

 “Putting an end to sex trafficking should and is a non-partisan issue. Congress is poised to pass substantial legislation that will strengthen the child welfare response to child trafficking by providing child welfare employees with appropriate tools to identify, document, educate, and counsel child victims of trafficking and those at-risk as well as require states to report numbers of victims of trafficking as well as their current procedures & policies to combat trafficking to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

"I commend the District Attorney for her compassion and her vision for addressing crime in our communities. Instead of being thrown in jail, these young victims of sex trafficking will rightly receive counseling, treatment, and education. I also want to thank the community partners who have joined with the DA. It takes a village to help a young victim of sex trafficking, and the fact that so many people and organization have stepped up to help these young people's lives will lead to better lives for these victims and a better Los Angeles for all of us."