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Safe Harbor Act Would Help Exploited Children

By Dave Lucas

Albany, NY – By law, children in New York State under the age of 17 cannot consent to sex, however, 11 and 12 year olds are routinely charged with and incarcerated for prostitution. Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough wants to change that. He's sponsoring the Safe Harbor Act. The measure would change the way young people arrested for prostitution are treated under the law. Rather than being charged as juvenile delinquents in Family Court and subject to detention, they would be considered victims of sexual exploitation and provided with counseling, emergency shelter and other services. Scarborough says that by changing the law, we can begin to change the perception of these children and the perception of their situation. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.