Senator Brown To Introduce Bill Demanding Reduction Of Solicitation
Rising prostitution rates a result of the opioid epidemic
February 22, 2018
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Today, Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) announced that she and Senator Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) will introduce a bill focused on reducing solicitation of prostitution in Ohio by increasing penalties for “johns” seeking to exploit women. Recent reports have shown that there has been an increase of solicitation in Ohio communities largely related to Ohio’s opioid epidemic.

“Drug abuse consumes people’s lives, leaving them vulnerable and susceptible to fuel their addiction in any way they can,” said Senator Brown. “As a result, we’ve seen a rise in prostitution among women suffering from addiction in our communities. Unfortunately, ‘johns’ know this and—because they face little more than a slap on the wrist as punishment— don’t hesitate to take advantage of women at some of their lowest points. It’s not right.”

Various anti-human trafficking advocates and advocates working to get women out of prostitution have been vocal in saying that Ohio’s current penalties for soliciting prostitution are not effective deterrents. Currently, both prostitution and solicitation of a prostitute is a 3rd degree misdemeanor (M3). An M3 carries a penalty of up to sixty days in jail and a maximum fine of $500. 

Senators Brown and Kunze’s bill would increase penalties for solicitation to a 1st degree misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to 180 days in jail. The bill also raises the potential fine to up to $2,500. Up to $1,000 of that fine would be placed in the state’s Victims of Human Trafficking Fund.

“The opioid epidemic has caused a ripple effect across our state, devastating families and neighborhoods all over,” said Senator Brown. “We need to be focused on helping people get their lives back on track. And we need to step up and send a clear message that exploiting vulnerable women is truly unacceptable.”

Senators Brown and Kunze are circulating the bill to Senate members for co-sponsorship prior to its formal introduction.

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