Voices from the Edge on 03/31/11
How do we solve Oregon's sex-trafficking problem?
Portland holds the dubious distinction of being considered a regional and national sex-trafficking hub. Although Oregon does not track the number of youth involved in prostitution, law enforcement and social service agencies, as well as advocacy groups, say the evidence is there that and growing worse. National studies suggest that as many as 300,000 youth fall victim to sex-trafficking each year and that the trade has become the third most-profitable activity of organized crime.
Oregon lawmakers are currently considering several bills aimed at curbing sex-trafficking that range from stricter penalties for johns and pimps to detention of underage prostitutes. Senate Bill 427 would require publishing the name and photo of johns who fail to pay a fine or complete community service. Criticism of the proposed legislation crosses party and interest lines raising questions about any of the bills' viability. Join Jo Ann and Dave as they take a closer look at what it will take to solve Oregon's sex-trafficking problem.
Jo Ann Bowman is a former state legislator and long-time leader in the struggle for racial and economic justice. Dave Mazza is a Portland-based journalist and former editor of The Portland Alliance who has covered the civil rights, environmental, labor and social justice movements for the past 20 years.
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