Lawmakers discuss bill that would decriminalize engaging in prostitution
AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - A proposed bill in Augusta would decriminalize engaging in prostitution.
The Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee held a public hearing on it Wednesday.
LD 1592 would do a number of things, including repealing the crimes of engaging in prostitution and engaging a prostitute.
Those would be replaced with the new crime of commercial sexual exploitation.
Lois Reckitt of South Portland is the bills’ sponsor.
She says the proposal keeps prostitution on the books, but creates defenses for the seller, while increasing penalties for the buyer.
”I’m asking you to penalize people who on average, spend $100 a pop to deal with a prostituted person. They have to pay a monetary fine for engaging in this act,” said Rep. Lois Reckitt of South Portland.
“Shouldn’t the point be for them to have services so that they don’t get involved in the criminal justice system, as opposed, to having the criminal justice system be the answer to the problem to provide services,” said Nathan Walsh, Androscoggin County Assistant District Attorney.
One victim of prostitution spoke out against the bill.
She believes the legalization of prostitution would not eliminate sex trafficking.
You can watch the full public hearing here.
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