Thursday, September 17, 2009

Concerned Women for America supports Rhode Island House bill H5044A

HT: Donna Hughes from the University of Rhode Island:

Concerned Women for America supports Rhode Island House bill H5044A and urges lawmakers to pass it in order to close the loophole that allows indoor prostitution in Rhode Island. Prostitution, whether it occurs indoors or outdoors, is devastating to those exploited by it, the community exposed to it and the culture that glamorizes it.

The House bill leaves in place the existing laws against pandering and the recruitment and transportation of people for prostitution while defining prostitution to include indoor venues.  It goes a step further by adding an affirmative defense for a prostituted person who was forced to commit a commercial sex act.  The House bill will enable the police to investigate possible crimes because the offenses are misdemeanors. 

The Senate bill makes the first offenses for prostitutes and johns a violation.  According to the Rhode Island Office of the Public Defender’s website,  “There are several types of offenses, some of which are relatively trivial. First, there are offenses called VIOLATIONS which are not considered ‘crimes’ in the ordinary use of the word.”  Some of the examples they cite as violations are parking tickets, broken headlights and illegal shell fishing.  The website says, ‘MISDEMEANOR offenses are more serious than violations.’  The examples of misdemeanors given are driving while intoxicated, stealing property worth less than $500, and simple assault.

The House bill recognizes the buying and selling of sex as a crime worthy of police attention and investigation and that the prostituted are frequently victims of those who pimp them and purchase them.  The Senate bill deems buying and selling access to orifices for periods of time as no worse than parking at an expired meter. 

Prostitution crimes are not found in a vacuum.  Where there is prostitution there are other crimes, the worst of which are child sexual exploitation and sexual trafficking.  Please support H5044A to give the victims of the commercial sex industry a fighting chance to be rescued and have their dignity restored and law enforcement the ability to investigate these crimes.

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