LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors were expected Tuesday to vote on a motion to increase penalties for adults convicted of soliciting sex from children.
The motion, which is co-sponsored by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Don Knabe, asks lawmakers to amend the state penal code to make paying for sex a felony – rather than a misdemeanor – if the victim is a minor.
The “unprecedented” motion (PDF) also requires the so-called “Johns” to register as sex offenders and increases the fine from $1,000 to $10,000.
Knabe said the increased penalties would force those who solicit sex from children to face more than a proverbial slap on the wrist.
“I am proud of the work Los Angeles County has done over the past 18 months to bring awareness to the horrific crime of child sex trafficking,” Knabe said in a statement. “However, in addition to doing all we can to protect the young victims, we must aggressively penalize those who solicit girls for sex and ensure they are the ones prosecuted, not the victims.”
In addition, the motion calls on the board to support federal legislation currently under consideration that would strengthen federal laws against child sex trafficking.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors was scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. at the Civic Center in downtown.