Rethinking youth prostitution:national provision at the margins of child protection and youth justice
Phoenix, J., 2003. Rethinking youth prostitution:national provision at the margins of child protection and youth justice. Youth Justice, 3 (3), 152 - 168.
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In March 2000, the Department of Health and the Home Office issued guidance fundamentally altering policy and practice with regard to young people in prostitution. 1 Instead of being arrested and punished for prostitution-related offences, those under 18 years old were to be thought of as children ‘in need’ and offered welfare-based interventions. The practice that has developed in the last three years has offered interventions that are located within both child protection and youth justice work. This article examines these changes in order to generate insights about the changing nature of youth justice. In particular, it is argued that the drive to manage the risks posed by young people in prostitution to specific organisations, takes precedence over either the desire to care for, or the demand to punish them. Through an analysis of how practitioners and policy makers responsible for implementing this new approach to youth prostitution talk about ‘risk’ and ‘responsibility’, ‘liability’, ‘protection’ and ‘punishment’, the article argues that the contradiction between care and control has been re-interpreted, such that there is noticeable blurring of the boundaries between welfare and punishment at the margins of youth justice work.
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