California has not legalized child prostitution

I knew a child prostitute once. She was 14 or 15 years old, and hung out near a bus stop in Seattle — I used to work late at the university while I was an undergraduate, and it would often happen that I’d have to wait a half hour or so at the stop before transferring, and I kept bumping into this scantily dressed girl shivering on the street. I bought her donuts. We’d talk, briefly. She was miserable and hungry, and there wasn’t much I could do other than a cruller and a little distracting conversation while she was warming up in the donut shop.

I guess I was handling the situation all wrong. I should have had her arrested.

The Tea Party is outraged because California legalized child prostitution…only they didn’t. California passed a law that changes the status of children in the sex trade from criminals to victims.

Does SB 1129 actually legalize child prostitution? No. No, it does not, and that’s an incredibly unfair reading of the law. What the law does is to actually transform a child prostitute — who is not legally capable of providing consent — from a criminal into a victim. The law is designed to aid child prostitutes pimped into the system by sex traffickers.

Sex traffickers and pimps will still be prosecuted. Men and women who sleep with child prostitutes will still be prosecuted. However, rather than arrest child prostitutes and put them in the juvenile detention system, the law provides money to pay for social services so that these children are protected. Police will continue to temporarily detain underage prostitutes, but rather than lock them up in jail, they are diverted into the dependency system, which centers on caring for abused and neglected children.

But you should see the online shrieking of the Trumpkins. All they see is that the damned liberals are trying to sell children into sex slavery, which is exactly the opposite of what’s going on. They are unable to see a young girl in a desperate situation as someone who needs help, rather than further abuse and shaming.

I sometimes wonder what happened to that kid at the bus stop. I graduated and left Seattle; I heard later that the donut shop got closed down because the owner was arrested for being the local fence. That area around 3rd & Pike (I think it was) wasn’t exactly a safe place back in the 1970s.


  1. says


    They are unable to see a young girl in a desperate situation as someone who needs help, rather than further abuse and shaming.

    Boys too. This is legislation that has been way too late in being realized, but at least it has been done now. These kids have already had lives shattering beyond measure, how does locking them up in cage help? As usual, the conservative outrage is on every wrong side.

    I could ask why they are never focused on those who use the “services” of these children, but I already know the answer. It’s an ugly one.

  2. jamesramsey says

    There’s a book about 20th century slavery called “Disposable People”.

    Child prostitutes are definitely part of this and this book is good background.

  3. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I cant even
    girls forced to have sex for money need to be thrown in jail to keep men from “renting” their services? *puke*
    (like forcing women to wear burkas to keep men from raping them, and jailing women who refuse and not prosecuting rapist)
    Don’t ever consider the harm the women experience from being used?
    to treat them as victims instead of criminals is then assumed to legalize the crime? eg: Housing someone whose house got arsoned legalizes arson? me not understand how these peeple thinkz.
    They think prostitutes are like drug dealers who can just hand out sex to whoever gives them cash and then over to the next customer? That sex is an illicit drug and not a personal act? I see objectification here.
    They see sex as just an object that can be declared illegal, both buyers and sellers of IT need to spend time in prison. So sex is the illegal thing, using it the illegal act. Like getting thrown in jail for taking a toke as the joint is passed around, regardless of ownership of the joint.
    changing subject after retching a bit.
    another word that needs to stop, (like “controversy” in the other thread) is Conservative.
    People who call themselves conservative are actually quite radical. Advocating imposition of their extreme attitudes on everyone who disagrees. Conservative was once “status quo” advocates; resistant to change without strong reasons. Now, conservative is more ‘eliminate the present and restore the past’.
    They claim to be opposite “progressives” so why don’t they own it with the actual opposite of “progressive”, which is “regressive”. The Regressive Party is more accurate name for the Conservatives.

  4. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    PZ, thanks for your story, and your actions way-back-when.

    I’ve never known (while they were still a child) someone prostituted as a child. I don’t know how I’d handle it as an individual. But I know a fuck of a lot about how I would like the public policy to be handled and arresting the child sure as hell isn’t any part of a reasonable response.

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Although California has clearly already done the right thing, this tells me something about the state of law in an area I haven’t read. Time for some research into the criminal codes of 49 states and Puerto Rico.

  5. says

    slithey tove @ 3:

    girls forced to have sex for money

    And boys.

    Boys are every bit as abused in the sex trade and trafficking as girls, and it gets tiresome to have to always emphasise that fact.

  6. Kreator says

    Real Trumpling reactions, even after understanding what the law is about: “what about willing child prostitutes?” / “the children should be prosecuted so that they ‘don’t do it again’.”

    How? How the hell does someone reach such negative levels of empathy? That’s a rhetorical question of course, I know where that comes from, but I still find it almost impossible to wrap my head around this kind of mindset. My brain’s immune system rejects it like the virus that it is.

  7. leerudolph says

    I think that the phrase “prostituted child” would be very much preferable to “child prostitute”.

  8. The Mellow Monkey says

    slithey tove

    girlschildren forced to have sex for money need to be thrown in jail to keep menadults from “renting” their services? *puke*

    Children of all genders can be abused, and adults of all genders can be abusers.

    I recently moved to California and I’m rather proud of my adopted state for taking this compassionate position. (No one should be arrested for sex work itself, but especially not people who are legally incapable of consenting, fucking hell.)

  9. says

    The CA law is a great start but penalties for forced prositution should be doubled for the clients and traffickers while consensual prositution between adults should immediately be decriminalized and legalized. It’s not the state’s fucking business how private adults order their sex lives.

    The rentboy raid happened under Obama…

  10. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I stand corrected. was typing too quickly. shit. The OP was discussing women, so I simply followed; my reactions overwhelmed my thought process. crap, my mistake thanks for your kind correction of my error.

  11. unclefrogy says

    trying to use reason to understand the behavior and attitudes of reactionaries is very difficult
    a rational discussion with people who hold such attitudes is next to impossible for me.
    another reason I am glad to live in California
    uncle frogy

  12. magistramarla says

    California seems to be the source of most of the sensible laws I’ve read about lately. Man, I want to move back there!

  13. wsierichs says

    Hooray for California for both common sense and decency.
    Prostitution itself should be legal for two reasons:
    1) The laws have never stopped prostitution. Just like the drug laws, they throw people into prison for something that does not, at a most basic level, harm other people. The only reason for prostitution laws is that some people have a pathological need to control other people’s sex lives. While I would never hire a prostitute, I don’t have the right to tell other people not to be or not to hire a prostitute.
    2) The primary effect of prostitution laws is to make it impossible for women (men also, but women are the more common victims here) to organize to protect themselves from violence, rape, theft and other hazards. Also, organized, legally-regulated agencies (brothels, bordellos) would protect customers, who are at risk of STDs, violence and theft as well.
    The legal system could then put more resources into protecting children from forced prostitution and make it easier to target the people who sell or buy them. If you’re a legal prostitute, you’d be part of an organization of some type that would ensure your protection. If you’re not, you’re probably being coerced. I would note that even adults can be coerced by someone into prostitution against their will, another reason to legalize and regulate it.
    On a side note, I agree with Slithey Tove about conservatives, with one qualifier. I think there are still real conservatives out there, but they’ve been drowned out by the raging extremists whom I prefer to call right-wingers. Conservatives at least agree with liberals on some basic principles that support democracy, human rights, etc. I’m no fan of Barry Goldwater, but he came out in opposition to “don’t ask, don’t tell” because it violated what he considered his conservative, American principles.
    The right-wingers have no principles beyond raging bigotry, xenophobia, authoritarianism and, for most, theocracy. I consider them fascists for all practical purposes, but that’s a word that starts unnecessary quibbling over labels, so I just say right-wingers and make it clear they are anti-American extremists.

  14. says

    The CA law is a great start but penalties for forced prositution should be doubled for the clients and traffickers while consensual prositution between adults should immediately be decriminalized and legalized. It’s not the state’s fucking business how private adults order their sex lives.

    Hmm. Yes, and.. maybe no. Why? Because what we have been getting, in almost every state, is this:

    1. Redefinition of selling sex as not criminal.
    2. Declaration of everything from buying sex, to even renting someone a room, if they might be using it for sex work, as “trafficking”.
    3. Continued harassment of sex workers, despite it no longer being, from their side, criminal.
    4. Pushing “rescued” people towards overburdened (and no one is adding funds to correct this) aid agencies, or even any of the volunteer, or overtly religious ones.
    5. In the case of kids – shoving them right back into the often abusive families, or foster homes, they escaped in the first place.
    6. undermining and destroying lines of communications, like websites, which allow them to become informed about which clients are low risk.
    7. Driving the actual practice, for the street workers, into more dangerous places, since its high risk to the buyers to do seek out sex in lower risk areas, like before.

    Oh, and.. if you so much as reported, in the past, about an underage prostitute it could get you in trouble. Now… knowing about, never mind aiding one (or, as in one case, even sharing an apartment with one that lied about their age with the fake ID), will get you arrested as a trafficker, if you are actually stupid enough to report one.

    But, mostly.. there are three major problems here – 1. The system is so overburdened, and I do mean even the private, often religious, shelters and the like, that no one can “escape” that way, 2. Often these teens escaped bad situations, at home, for all too often “from” the foster care systems itself, one or both of which they tend to be sent right back to, instead of being truly helped, and 3. in almost every single case, redefinition of sex workers, no matter their age, as “victims” is, rather than something intended to help them, a) meaningless, since the cops don’t change their behavior towards them, b) won’t result in anyone being really helped, and c) tends to be, especially when they start redefining “adults” as victims, the first step into implementing some very of decriminalization which “ramps up” the criminalization of buying it. This being a means to use the threat of violence, from more dangerous clients, the threat of disease, from riskier clients, acts, the threat of bankruptcy, do to having fewer clients, etc. to try to get people to stop on their own. Funny how “anti-trafficking” laws, like the so called Nordic Model, which starts out redefining all workers, no matter their consent, as “victims” uses the very tools of trafficking to try to end trafficking. And.. it doesn’t work because a) sex pays more than the alternative jobs do, in almost all cases, and b) as one person recently posted, in commenting on what Trumps push for more of the same BS “tough on crime” stance will mean in the future for her, “…I know that I would put my financial security over my physical, mental, and emotional health if necessary.”

    Then again, that is always par for the course with “moral issues” for these people – if you die moral, its a win, if you live, as best you can, in a way they define as immoral, and their own policies make it impossible to do otherwise, financially, never mind physically, or mentally, its all your fault for just not dying (or, if its some plutocrat version of libertarian, “you didn’t try hard enough to do the impossible.”)

    What ever the case, going back to the original issue.. What will defining under age sex workers as victims actually accomplish exactly? Will they pump money into agencies to help them? Are they going to fix those systems, starting with actually **listening** to the kid? Or, will it be more of the same old, “We don’t care what you think about your situation, you are going back to your parent/legal guardian. Maybe in a few months we will do a shitty job of checking on the things you claim led you to run away.”, and/or, “In the mean time, their is a shelter with no beds down on such and such a corner, or two others, one of which will mentally abuse you even more, you can try to get to, assuming they are not also full. Here is your stuff. Good luck. Now get out, but make sure we know where to find you, when its time to haul you back to what you ran away from.”

    Yeah.. Really not getting warm fuzzies over them, basically, telling cops, “Treat these poor kids nicer than you would the adults, but otherwise.. we don’t plan to do a damn thing to help them, really.” Other then the fact that many cops, sadly, won’t give a damn, or change their attitudes… what does it change in reality?

    Its not even a band-aid – its someone changing the law to say, “I would recommend you keep that clean, and maybe put a band-aid on it, if you can actually find one.”

  15. auraboy says

    I went to school with three girls who were sex workers as under 16s. It’s an incredibly sad situation – in my naivety I think I believed it almost impressive. The confusion with money, self esteem and burgeoning sexuality still leaves me reeling many years later. But mostly saddened. Years later my partner worked for the UN human anti trafficking project and I began to see statistics about child prostitution that made me despair to the point that I could barely even sleep. When I recently got bombarded by the Trumpkins on about this change in California – I nearly exploded. Basic human empathy – don’t make criminals out of victims. It’s not complex, it’s not a grey moral area. Opposing the protection of children (or any sex worker) is a hateful act.

  16. anbheal says

    @14 Kagehi — that’s an insightful and detailed counterpoint.

    One aspect worth considering re the benefits of changing the sex worker’s status is NOT getting a criminal record, with the crime on that record being “prostitution”. I worked with DSS agencies in Boston whose goal was to get people job skills and then get them hired, and a criminal record is a non-starter for a great many employers. Quite honestly, KFC and Burger King and McDonald’s were among the very best in terms of accepting applicants with criminal records and failed drug tests. They create their own form of indenture, of course, but they were willing to work with troubled and non-English-speaking applicants. But it’s a cold hard fact of such employment options that: “nobody over age thirty is willing to wear a name tag and a stupid hat.” Additionally, where some employers might smile at a misdemeanor possession charge with pot, or drunk & disorderly one Saturday night when you were 19, but prostitution will immediately discourage a great many employers. It may not be fair, but it’s so.

    So if these children can avoid getting a mug sheet, their employment opportunities really do expand considerably.

  17. gijoel says

    I suggest that those that live in California ring Travis Allen (916) 319-2072, Huntington Beach office (714) 843-4966, or write a letter to him17011 Beach Blvd, Suite 1120 Huntington Beach, CA 92647, asking him why he thinks it’s appropriate to penalize children who have been coerced into becoming prostitutes. Also ask him if he thinks that someone who has been coerced into committing a crime should be prosecuted as criminals as well.

  18. emergence says

    The whole reason why child sex trafficking and child molestation in general is so horrible is that a child is being sexually abused by an adult. The victim status of the child is why the act is wrong. How in the flying fuck does it make sense to punish a child for being the victim of a crime? I didn’t even know that this attitude was even a thing until now, and the new law should have blatantly obviously been the case the whole time. At this point, teabaggers and trumpophiles are just looking for any way they can distort current events to make progressives look bad, even if it ends up hurting innocent people. They’ll oppose any sort of legislation that democrats propose regardless of its merit simply out of spite.

  19. rietpluim says

    Something similar happened a few years ago with sexting. Young people were arrested and charged with… producing child porn.

  20. says

    They are unable to see a young girl in a desperate situation as someone who needs help, rather than further abuse and shaming.

    Well, if you give those children help and don’t make them vulnerable to blackmailing by pimps and rapists (they’re not clients), where are conservatives going to get their sweet juvenile bodies to abuse?

  21. hotspurphd says

    #9 @mike smith
    “The CA law is a great start but penalties for forced prositution should be doubled for the clients and traffickers while consensual prositution between adults should immediately be decriminalized and legalized. It’s not the state’s fucking business how private adults order their sex lives.”

    That seems right but there seem to be good arguments and data against legalizing prostitution. As well as for it. See article below for pros and cons.

  22. sharkjack says

    @22 hotspurphd:
    Wow that article is a hot mess. I was hoping to see legalization discussed in contrast to decriminalization, which is not the same thing, as this article seems to imply. Instead the cons side is talking about a class of women who are bought and sold, when that is not what sex work is. And the implication that it is, is harmful to sex workers ability to set the terms under which they work.

    For anyone who wants to know, here is the UN’s position on the the need for sex work decriminalization.

    A lot of the things that hurt sex workers are caused by prostitution specific legislation surrounding trafficking. Not being able to work together for mutual protection, not being able to drive someone across the border, sex workers not being able to support loved ones because taking money from one is defined as trafficking.

    That’ s the kind of stuff that drives sex work into unsafer spaces and on worse terms.
    When we also take into account that sex work is one of the few sources of income for the most vulnerable people amongst us, the people our systems already mistreat, we really should be very careful when handing that state more power to harass them, to steal money from them in the form of police raids and to threaten those who would support them.

    There are many ways to improve conditions for people who are currently sex workers, criminalization of any side of the transaction has clearly been shown to not be one of them.

  23. stripeycat says

    Wow. I thought Newquay, Cornwall was bad. There was a report this week of women being trafficked into temporary brothels, and the council made a statement: we don’t want that, we’re a family resort. At least they weren’t calling for the *victims of crime* to be prosecuted, just calling them bad PR.

  24. says

    But it’s a cold hard fact of such employment options that: “nobody over age thirty is willing to wear a name tag and a stupid hat.”

    Given the number of companies that keep reclassifying the lowest paid jobs (and fast food is often one of these) as some sort of imaginary “entry level and/or for teens” jobs. Kind of wonder where they are finding all the teens that can work day shifts… Well, wtf would anyone want a job which has no advancement, no hours, and no pay, and which someone is, like with McDonald’s, already looking to find a way to get rid of more staff in? If there was any choice at all, no sane person “under” 30 would take one of those jobs either.


    Years later my partner worked for the UN human anti trafficking project and I began to see statistics about child prostitution that made me despair to the point that I could barely even sleep.

    One hopes that the UN data is better than the US data. One of the things with the US data is.. it doesn’t match up. There are a lot of people running around talking about how many underage kids are being exploited, yet. after a ramp up of trafficking legislation, special cops trained, more busts, etc. you still get a) the same percentage of adults vs. kids being picked up, which is almost none of the latter, b) a lot of those kids being dropped right back into the same place they where that they ran from, and/or c) being dropped right out on the street, according to some of the people who work in the industry, without any help, or being turned over to any agency, overburdened or otherwise.

    When you start looking at the rest of the world.. things, I imagine, get.. more complicated, and less controlled. So, sure, I expect the projections are “better”, but.. how trustworthy are they, or are they just, “We pulled numbers out of our ass, like we do in the US, when asked about this?” Because, you have vastly different ideas of age of consent, vastly different definitions of “age at which one is an adult”, and you even have absurd situations like with the garment industry in some countries. The way it works there is… if you are a girl, you work in a sweet shop, since clothing making is one of the few things you “can” learn and work in, except, that doesn’t pay enough, so you become a prostitute, in some brothel. Only, you then get “rescued” from that, and sent to an anti-trafficking organization, which… drops you right back into making garments for the company that funds the NGO – often at a pay rate which is the “median” income for someone working in a sweet shop, which.. again, wasn’t enough to live on in the first place. How many of these women are “teens”, one has to wonder? And, is the best solution to “rescue” them, when they often, ironically, make more money in the brothel?

    Well, yes and no. Yes, they shouldn’t have to pick that profession to stay out of poverty, but.. what the F good does handing them over to some clowns that think, in a few years of making shoes, and going to be able to use money they don’t have to set up a shop, using the only skills anyone is willing to teach them, in a country which is probably already importing, and reselling, millions of the very garments being made for some other country, which didn’t sell last year in, say, Forever 21, or some other chain store? (Yeah, what doesn’t sell in the US ends up being resold, for less, to poorer people, to recoop some of the losses, in other countries, though usually not the ones they where made in in the first place, to keep the people there from catching on to the scam.) So much for “rescuing” anyone, or teaching them useful skills, after doing so…

    @22 From the article you linked:

    In the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia, legalization has failed to protect the women in prostitution, control the enormous expansion of the sex industry, decrease child prostitution and trafficking from other countries, and prevent HIV/AIDS — all arguments used for legalization. And it has transformed these countries into brothels.

    There has been discussion on what goes wrong in these cases among people actually involved in the industry. The top issues tend to be, 1) failure of police to change their behaviors, or lend actual support/protection to the now legal workers, 2) failure to regulate the industry, instead of just making it legal, 3) inability/refusal to follow through on shutting down the existing brothels, etc., which are already abusing workers… Basically, the same thing ends up happening in most of these places where legalization happens as when they play games with the illegality of it every place else – the only people not being listened to are the people doing the job, and who are, thus, the ones most likely to know a) why its not working or b) what might be done to fix the problems.

    Invariably, when you make something legal, which wasn’t, one of two things are going to happen – 1) sensible people step up, and start legit businesses, or 2) you get the same situation Los Vegas had, for decades, and still does, to some extent -> the criminals end up still running things, and running them dirtier. The only reason legalization, ironically, worked in Nevada is likely because the state itself stepped in and imposed the rules, taking the existing criminal elements out of the equation. Now you have things divided up into three groups there – 1) independent/semi-independent escorts, 2) very well regulated brothels, and 3) not actually all that legal street walkers. Guess which one has the highest incidents of a) violence, b) diseases, and c) criminal activity.

    In the places the article names as, “having tried to legalize”, no attempt, of any kind, seemed to be made to either curtail harassment by police of the workers, despite it being legal, based on past illegality, nor where any sorts of regulations imposed (or, when they where, they proved unenforceable, since there was no agency, or the like, dedicated to making sure the rules where properly followed). In short, they took the half assed approach that, if they merely make it legal, the problems will sort themselves out. And, sure.. if they had given it 5-6 decades (or 10-12, or???), maybe it mostly would have… But they never got rid of, or had a way to deal with, the original criminal elements, who already where abusing their workers.

    I think, the US might have a different situation, maybe. If they took two steps – 1) all existing brothels would need to be ended, unless they met criteria like Nevada’s. 2) all pimping had to just.. stop, period. 3) New business establishments could be formed, even as cooperatives, or individuals could attain private licenses, for themselves, as long as those groups followed a solid set of sensible guide lines and rules. Most of the independents would sail through this will not problem. Whole groups would likely form coops and ditch what ever current “boss” they had too. And, new venues, which started out following rules, and being in known locations, with actual business licenses, could be checked on, and dealt with like any other similar business. But.. it would *all* hedge of burying the existing pimps and illegal brothels, or at least making it far easier, and more profitable, to follow the rules, rather than risk getting nailed to the wall even harder than they already can be. And, one of the biggest problems for them would be competition, from people running clean, from the start, establishments, with full legal protection, while they have no protection at all, and are not trustworthy.

    Again, as I understand it, most places that have attempted legalization “failed” to address the existing problem of illegal/exploitative businesses. They just assumed that, somehow, once they where legal, and without any agency, or other method of proper oversight of them, they would just stop being crooks. And, what oversight they did try was.. shoddy, sporadic, and quickly overwhelmed. Why, in such cases, would anyone expect success?

    Of course, the very next thing that most of the named countries tried was to attack the buyers, in order to starve out the sellers (which won’t work either, any more than doing this “fixed” the problem of alcohol in the US, and instead generated a vast network of secret speakeasies.) Again, hardly a surprise that people who don’t have other work options, and/or the people running exploitative businesses will just go further underground, either from lack of choice, or the simple fact that, with no one to compete with, they have as captive audience.

    Point, in all the cases, is – you have to bloody understand the problem, to fix it. And, is damned hard to understand a problem when you refuse to talk, or especially, listen to anyone that is actually having the problems. And, one theme that runs through “all” of this, from the perspective of the people in the industry seems to be, “No one is asking us what is going on, or bothers to listen, when we tell them what the problems are, and how they should be fixed.” This seems to include the naive versions of “legalization” that governments keep trying, where the workers say, “Its not going to bloody work, because you also need to…”, and the people making policy reply with, “La, la, la, la la…”

  25. says

    @17 It almost doesn’t matter, at all, if you get a bad mark on some record, for “prostitution”. One of the things mentioned in an article on the Tits and Sass website, which has posts from all sort of people in all parts of the industry, was a comment by someone on how they, some twenty years earlier, spent all of 30 seconds on film, or the equivalent of about an hour filming, for some so vastly obscure no one by any right should have ever heard of it, porn, and lost a job, because someone on the hiring comity deemed them, “Unacceptable, for having once appeared in one.” The theme is the same – once you are in the industry.. its nearly impossible to get a job, in many cases, if you where in porn. And, even without any convictions, or legal cases, or sign, of any kind, that you where once in prostitution… if there is *any* chance, at all, that anyone might figure out that you once did such a thing… you are SOL *period*. Having it on an official arrest record just makes it impossible to hide, but… in the end, if someone figured it out, the overall message seems to be, “Unless you get lucky and the boss/company doesn’t care, you are screwed, even more than if it was merely porn.”

    They are pretty much the only profession(s) that will hose your future, whether you web cammed, did traditional porn, or actual full blown prostitution. The only question is “how screwed”. Or, as one person said, “You would have more luck getting a job as a convicted murderer, than an non-convicted prostitute, with no record, should they somehow find out.”, or.. something more or less to that effect.

  26. says

    @20 Thankfully there was some sensible people too. Some laws where passed after, that clarified that a teen couldn’t be charged for taking, and sending, to their own boyfriend/girlfriend, such pics, unless the purpose was malicious, but that all bets where off, for the adult, should one get involved in propagating it. Funny enough, just got done reading the book, “Kids Gone Wild”, which dwelved into Rainbow Parties, Sex Bracelets and Sextings. It made a really convincing case for the former being legends (i.e., its impossible to tell if a) they are true, b) anyone was actually doing them, or c) who started the trends, but d) they where blown so far out of all sane proportion that it was just nuts, until pretty much everyone in the media figured out that they had jack actual evidence, or facts, to present, beyond the scare factor. Sexting was different, in that it was actually being done, and in some very extreme, outlying cases, things went very bad. Only, those where the “rare” cases. Most where mild, or almost non-existent problems, and it seemed that almost everyone doing it at all was doing so with people they where in relationships with. I.e., virtually none of it involved third parties, or the photos ending up some place they shouldn’t. Again – despite being real, the only people doing it where those “already” in relationships, usually the same ones already having sex, which was like 6% of kids, under 17, and barely 3 times that over that age, with nearly *all* sexting being done by people in their early 20s. Basically… it was barely even a blip, never mind a problem, among teens, but the panic over it led to some bloody stupid decisions (including one case where three girls involved went to court, to fight, and the judge eventually agreed that they couldn’t be changed with making child pornography for sharing their pics with other teens). Basically.. it was moral panic over effectively nothing, but the initial reaction, by some law enforcement, was over the top, and just plain nuts.