Tue., February 1, 2011 1:21pm (EST)

Child Prostitution Advocates Rally
By Melissa Stiers
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Senator Renee Unterman speaks against childhood prostitution with other lawmakers (Photo by: Melissa Stiers)
Senator Renee Unterman speaks against childhood prostitution with other lawmakers (Photo by: Melissa Stiers)
More than 7,000 Georgians will pay for sex with a child this month--that’s the message hundreds of people brought to the state capitol today. They urged lawmakers to do something about it.

Right now when a girl is picked up for prostitution, she’s criminalized says Republican Senator Renee Unterman, and not given much help.

"They’re given three days and then put back on the street with no services, no opportunity that may be the only food they get with three meals a day and I don’t think that’s the way children should be treated in Georgia," says Unterman.

Unterman says these girls are desperate and has tried to pass laws that would treat them as victims and provide rehabilitation services. But she’s faced opposition.

"Well we ran into the issue of whether a child is a victim or if a child is a criminal," says Unterman. "And I assume that the age of consent in Georgia is 16 years old and if you’re less than 16 then you should be treated as a juvenile and I believe you’re a victim not a criminal."

Statistics show more than 300 children are exploited for 8,000 sex acts each month in Georgia. Most of the transactions happen on-line.