A Change.org petition, signed by more than 150,000 people and written by Survivor Advocate Withelmina “T” Ortiz Walker Pettigrew, has resulted in a revision by the Associated Press to its AP Stylebook instructing writers to avoid using the word “prostitute” when referring to a child.
Rights4Girls launched the “No Such Thing” campaign in 2015 to lead to elimination of the term “child prostitute” in language and law. According to Yasmin Vafa, R4G’s executive director, there have been more than 5,000 references in media outlets in the past few years to “child sex workers” or “child prostitutes” regarding news on minors trafficked for sexual abuse. R4G hopes efforts like the one aimed at the Associated Press will help change attitudes about girls who are victims of human sex trafficking. The organization is working with state and local governments to end the arrests of children for sex trafficking and to help educate governmental organizations, lawmakers, and the public that children who are trafficked are victims, not criminals. (Huffington Post, 4/6)