LA County’s “Shining Star” in Fight Against Sex Trafficking
On the eighth floor of the Compton Courthouse, Los Angeles County Judge Catherine Pratt bangs her gavel and gets to work. Teenaged girls, some even as young as 10 years old, are brought before her, charged with prostitution, as their lives hang in the balance. In the past, these girls would have been dragged into the courtroom in handcuffs and treated like criminals. Now, as our understanding of the true nature of this crime has evolved, we are treating them as the victims of a manipulative and heinous act. Leading our efforts is Judge Pratt, the shining star of the County’s STAR (Succeeding Through Achievement and Resilience) Court, a uniquely dedicated courtroom that works exclusively with victims of child sex trafficking.
In big cities and little towns across the country, young girls are forced by pimps and traffickers to sell their bodies for sex—often multiple times a night. Kids are brutally manipulated, both emotionally and physically, into a hellish life of exploitation.