There is No Such Thing as a Child Prostitute

By Program Officer Marlie Hyde, LMSW and CEO Carolyn Potter

Thanks to our friends at REST in Seattle, Washington for their contribution to this information.

In the last few months, countless news articles have circulated regarding sexually exploitative acts allegedly made by prominent men like Jeffrey Epstein and R. Kelly. In those articles, the victims have mistakenly been referred to as “child prostitutes.”

Language matters! There is no such thing as a child prostitute. There are laws—nationwide and in Alabama—that decriminalize prostitution of a minor.

Instead, A minor is—without question—considered a human trafficking victim.


The law in Alabama goes a step further to protect child victims, defining the age of an adult human trafficking victim to be 19 years old! Therefore, by law, as well as by development, these underage victims cannot consent to sexual acts.

The alleged victims of Epstein and Kelly, and too many others to name, were young girls, minors, and children!

Regardless of the situation, the law states than any minor who exchanges anything of value for sex acts is legally a victim regardless of the circumstance, and if we want to begin to eradicate this egregious evil, we must view them as such. It is time that children were protected!

The façade of choice that appears in some instances is just that, it is a façade; it is quickly erased when one examines the dynamics of power between an adult and a child where manipulation and control are used.

Don’t be mistaken. There are parents out there (terrible parents) and traffickers of all sorts, that require a child to perform sexual acts with them or another person, in order to obtain food, shelter, and “care.”

These children have made their way to the WellHouse, as adults, and we’ve seen them time and time again. Close to 100% of these victims were first victimized sexually as children. This is where there horror story begins.

A child’s innocence should never be stolen from them. And we are doing everything we can to help restore the life that was once taken from these women.

Be aware of language, and understand how using the correct language can impact the narrative. If we embrace awareness, and if we are determined to protect our youth, these children will never need to come to a place like The WellHouse.

Until that time comes, The WellHouse remains determined to make sure that the lives once stolen are returned, and that each survivor has a chance to live fully, wholly, and healed in Jesus name!

Staff BlogCarolyn Potter