Wednesday, November 25, 2015         

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Hawaii attempts to toughen prostitution laws

By Vicki Viotti


Here are the bills passed by the 2011 Hawaii Legislature that relate to prostitution, especially as it relates to human trafficking. They are awaiting a final decision by the governor before they become law.

HB 240 — Promoting Prostitution; Witness Security and Protection

This measure attempts to crack down on the primary profiteers and those who solicit prostitutes (the "johns"). Offers priority access to witness protection to victims who testify against promoters of prostitution to bolster the chances of successful prosecution. Reclassifies promoting prostitution in the first and second degree to a class A and B felony, respectively. Expands the offenses of prostitution and solicitation of prostitution to cover patrons of prostitution. Adds "habitual solicitation of prostitution" as a class C felony to further discourage johns who are repeat offenders.

HB 141 — Hawaii Penal Code; Labor Trafficking

This bill more broadly covers labor trafficking. But to the extent that it applies to a case of sex trafficking — such as when a victim's documents are unlawfully withheld — it's being seen as another weapon to counter sex trafficking.

HB 44 — Prostitution; Solicitation.

This measure attempts to discourage prostitution in a broader area. It creates the offense of "solicitation of prostitution near schools or public parks" as a misdemeanor. The offender is a person who "offers or agrees to pay a fee to another person to engage in sexual conduct."

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