Youth Policy Recommendations

Working Draft

The document is only in progress. Please respond if you have any suggestions or additions.

VII. Youth Issues and Policy
Youth are involved in prostitution for a wide variety of reasons including minimum age employment regulations resulting in lack of alternative employment options, inability to survive on minimum wage and lack of affordable housing programs for young people. Recommendations below address stress, education, and empowerment of youth in general, as well as services and resources.

Youth Policy Recommendations
I. The Task Force recommends that the City prioritize prevention efforts directed at youth which include harm reduction, expanding job opportunities, community centers and housing for teenagers living on their own. Therefore, the Task Force recommends that the City:

-- Establish a mandate to preserve and expand youth job programs. Equal opportunity programs should also include youth.

-- Ensure that services available for adults are also available for youth, including rape crisis, sexual identity support groups, drug treatment and detox, methadone, harm reduction, needle exchange, self defense training, legal rights workshops and also housing (access to independent subsidized housing as emancipated minors, not necessarily only to youth shelters, health care including birth control and abortion.) Specialized services for youth should include: emancipation workshops.

-- End the gender disparity in social services for youth.

II. Youth who are convicted or accused of prostitution currently are sent to Juvenille Hall , facing the same or similar punishment as adults. [In progress-Youth involved in prostitution should not be faced with criminal penalties, but should be sent to a shelter.]

III. Youth with experience in prostitution or survival sex should work as peer educators, consultants and speakers within the schools.

IV. The City should establish a youth policy commission composed of a majority of youth, empowered to examine child labor laws, age of consent and emancipation. City department and agency employees should be educated to be responsive to recommendations of this board. Young persons with experience in survival sex or prostitution should be seated on this commission.