Girls on the Rise works towards giving young women a voice in their community. The youth find issues they wish to tackle, and bring their knowledge and discoveries to their annual conferences, in order to educate others about them.
On October 24th 2015, my team and I attended a youth media conference in Los Angeles. While there, I was able to attend a workshop on how as a reporter I can address sensitive topics such as sex trafficking, domestic violence, and immigration. Although this workshop covered many topics, the main thing we discussed was the idea and term of a “child prostitute”. To say a child can be a prostitute implies that they can consent to sex; which as a minor they are unable to do, yet they are still arrested. Due to this contradiction a campaign has started called #nosuchthing.
Over the years, many organizations have been fighting to put the term out of use. One of the youth teams I met with out of Long Beach has been working closely with their local law enforcement to this end. Fortunately now in Long Beach the police department has agreed to no longer use this term and will no longer arrest minors for prostitution. Here in Sacramento we are still working to stop the arrest of child sex trafficking victims. While working on this we have organizations who try to aid these victims such as Courage Worldwide.
Although we did spend a nice chunk of time covering trafficking, we did also discuss the topics of domestic violence and immigration. Both of these issues are something that we in Sacramento face on a day-to day-basis. The leaders of the workshop gave us some helpful tips on how to approach these topics, which to some may be very close to home and sensitive. At the end of the workshop I was able to say I had learned many new things and now feel I am able to address these topics and more in a more knowledgeable and careful way.