Village Voice Media Asks for Your Support of Senate Bill 596

If there is not a tsunami of underage prostitutes in America, that is not to say that there are no children trapped in this world. Of course, there are.

Yet, as we have pointed out in numerous stories, few resources have been devoted to sheltering the victims.

If you want to help children trapped in underage prostitution, there is something you can do.

U.S. Senate Bill 596 deserves your attention and your support. This legislation would, for the first time, provide federal funding for beds and assistance to underage victims of prostitution.

Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced SB 596 on March 16. The key component is six one-year grants of $2 million to $2.5 million for shelter and counseling.

As you can imagine, a child engaged in prostitution brings a difficult mix of issues to the table, including, but not limited to, drug addiction, sexual abuse, and homelessness. These are problems that need sustained attention.

And funding.

In an article published in June ("Real Men Get Their Facts Straight"), we cited The Bridge program in Seattle, which is one of the few efforts in the entire country devoted to housing underage prostitutes. (The Bridge is financed locally.)

"These children, as victims, need more trauma-recovery services," director Melinda Giovengo told us. "There is evidence that a dedicated residential recovery program, with wraparound mental healthcare, chemical dependence, and educational and vocational services, provided by well-trained specialists, both on-site and in the community, can help young victims of commercial sexual exploitation in breaking free of the track."

There are fewer than 100 beds scattered across the nation dedicated to these children.

The $15 million proposal from Cornyn and Wyden is a cold, hard number. A fact.

Facts are important if you want to address underage prostitution.

Since 1997, the federal government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars for religious groups, prohibitionists, and reformers all over the world to end human trafficking. Yet the proposed funds in SB 596 are the first dollars earmarked to put a roof over the head of victims in America.

By painting the sex-trafficking problem in this country as overwhelming, advocates may actually be hurting the children who truly need help.

Instead of helping victims, states are now passing legislation aimed at suppressing cabaret dancers. Instead of helping victims, prohibitionists are attacking pornography.

Facts are important because facts, not emotion, keep you focused.

How to reach Senators Cornyn and Wyden:

The Honorable John Cornyn

United States Senate

517 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510-4303

Phone: 202-224-2934

E-mail: Senator Cornyn doesn't have a direct e-mail address, but you can send him an e-mail if you fill out a contact form with name, address, etc.:


The Honorable Ron Wyden

United States Senator

223 Dirksen State Office Building

Washington, DC 20510-3703

Phone: 202-224-5244

Contact form (e-mail):


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Barbara Passarge
Barbara Passarge

Child prostitution begins with a family member making them a sex slave. Until the real issue of sex slavery of children is published by the media, politicians, etc. that it begins in the home of that child and not in the untrue stories that we have all heard from the media.


I am willing to provide housing and food for underage prostitutes, provided they are white, under the age of 15 and take it in the pooper....

howard h
howard h

what is the real issue here?


i have been trying to get you to look into cps for years and you have ingore me part of the program is cps dont care about kids when they runaway from group homes or froster homes i was a foster parent a t one time and work at a group home for teenage boys that my father inlaw owned what these kids go thourgh is hell nobody really cares about them they only pertend to we had one kid shot at and died in south mountan yours ago we tried to fine him he called us before he was killed please give me a call at 623-939-1334 we need to help these kids because cps wont thank you


if it is a fed program only a few people who need it will ever see the cash the rest will end up being spent on infrastructure to run the program,it happens every fed program ever works right

F9F Panther
F9F Panther

nomore- Your comment was right on the mark. The justification for setting up a huge program may be righteous but the end result will be just another boondoggle that gobbles up tax dollars without doing any good at all except lining the pockets of a few. Every time the Federal Government becomes involved in social issues it becomes bastardized. In these difficult economic times it makes no sense.

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

Why not do this for the homeless people? Underage prostitutes will not flock to enter these shelters. If they're underage they probably have a pimp who enslaves them to the profession. He's not going to allow it. If they don't have pimps, they aren't going to re enter society though the door of a shelter that will tell them what to do and when to do it. It's a reactionary bandaid and it does nothing for the reasons they are prostitutes. Stupid politicians make me sick and spew vomit on the tops of their pointy heads. Some people will say "well at least they're trying". Politicians never do anything for the people without some hidden agenda behind it.

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