San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution
Final Report 1996

VII. Youth Issues and Policy

Youth are involved in prostitution for a wide variety of reasons, similar to adults. These reasons are compounded because of legal restrictions based on age, especially in employment and housing. Because of labor laws, established to "protect" those under the age of eighteen, most youth are not legally able to work more than part time. For young people who are living on their own and can legally work only part time at a job that pays minimum wage and offers little in terms of skill development and advancement, there are few opportunities for survival other than working in the underground economy, which includes sex work.

Many young people are forced to survive on their own to escape violent and abusive family situations. The dangers they face on the streets may be less than the dangers they face at home. While on their own, there is a total lack of affordable housing options for those under the age of eighteen, unless they are emancipated. In order to become emancipated, however, it is necessary to prove a legal means of supporting oneself. Recommendations below emphasize strategies to reduce the harm done by legal restrictions and an arcane system of "child care." 75 ( See Appendix D: Testimony: Youth Policy Statement.)

While we realize that our society has a long way to go to adequately address civil and human rights for young people, and young women in particular because of the disparity in social services for youth, 76 and that limited financial resources compete for the most effective interventions, the Task Force submits the following recommendations:

The Task Force recommends that the City focus on independent housing, job development and specific shelter alternatives for incarcerated young women. 77 Provision of services, not detention, should be the first priority for youth. Therefore, the Task Force recommends that the City:
  • Continue...
  • Table of Contents

    651 have visited this site since June 9, 1996.

    have used this site since we moved on April 7, 1997.