A plan to publicly shame those who solicit sex with minors moved forward Tuesday, with a draft ordinance covering Los Angeles County expected next week.
Supervisor Don Knabe has been pushing for a “shame campaign” since late last year.
“They can say what they want, but it’s really child rape,” Knabe said of perpetrators.
Interim County Counsel Mary Wickham told the board the way was clear to draft an ordinance that would provide for the publication of names and booking photos of those convicted of soliciting prostitution or loitering with intent to solicit prostitution. The emphasis of the ordinance will be on minors.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl reminded Wickham that the county has formally agreed not to refer to the victims of child sex trafficking as prostitutes and asked that the language be carefully drafted.
Kuehl also questioned the practice of arresting people for loitering with intent, saying she thought the allegation amounted to “mind reading.”
That raised the possibility that the final ordinance as drafted may not include those convicted of the loitering charge.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office already publishes the names of perpetrators on a website titled “Sex Purchasers.”
Critics have questioned whether the practice is an effective deterrent. The Los Angeles Times editorial board, when Knabe first made his proposal, called the plan “anachronistic” and said it amounted to “sensationalism.”
Knabe was undeterred, predicting the ordinance is “going to have a dramatic impact.”
— Wire reports
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