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Harmful Terminology 'Sanitizing' Exploitation Of Sex Trafficking Victims, Advocates Say

KCBS_740 OAKLAND (KCBS) -- Now that the Oakland police sex scandal is making national headlines, a Washington DC based anti-trafficking group is pressing the media to stop using what it considers harmful terminology to describe the 18 year old at the center of the controversy.

"Many, if not most of them come directly from our foster care system, are kids that have been abused or neglected as children, and so they're really lured and manipulated by traffickers, and then repeatedly raped for profit," Yasmin Vafa, Executive Director of Rights4Girls told KCBS.

READ MORE: Underage Sex Scandal Rocks Oakland Police Department

Advocates say the term "teen prostitute" sanitizes the exploitation victims face.

"Using terms like child prostitute, or teen sex worker, or underage sex worker, it really seems to sanitize the exploitation that's really characterizing these kids' lives," Vafa said.

Earlier this year, the Associated Press revised its guidebook to discontinue use of the term child prostitute.

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