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L.A. must do all it can for sex-trafficking victims

To the editor: You suggest that a john-shaming campaign by L.A. County for those caught buying and raping girls is akin to the Scarlet letters, stocks and tarring and feathering of the past. Sadly, the men you don't wish to see humiliated use those practices on our girls today: branding them with tattoos, keeping them in cages and burning them alive, as was done to one girl who tried to escape this horrific life. ("L.A.'s plan to publicly shame johns is anachronistic and troubling," Editorial, Dec. 10)

While Los Angeles County has created programs to serve the victims, the core problem is that there are too few consequences for those who buy and sell children. A 2013 study by Demand Abolition in Boston asked men who were arrested, "What would have deterred you from buying sex?" Of their top five responses, three were related to public shaming, including appearing in a local newspaper, appearing on a billboard or poster or being on the Internet.

Grown men make a choice that results in the dignity, humanity and innocence being stolen from children. Other jurisdictions are exploring every option to protect these young victims. Why wouldn't we?

Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles

Don Knabe, Cerritos

The writers are members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

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