Address the Root Causes of Commercial Sexual Exploitation Rather Than Punishing Vulnerable Populations

Policy Background

Without the demand for purchased sex there would be no prostitution – and, in turn, no sex trafficking. To take steps to reduce prostitution and trafficking, we must deter the purchase of sexual services. Although some measures are currently in place to criminalize prostitution, there are glaring disparities in policing and criminal justice responses to buyers and sellers. Specifying that the offense of purchasing sex is a form of exploitation can be effective in reducing its demand.

Proposed Solution

(1) Redefine prostitution for “buyers” as an offense of “Commercial Sexual Exploitation.” (2) Raise fees levied against “buyers” and use those funds to provide pre- and post-arrest services for victims of commercial sexual exploitation – including housing, case management, wrap-around supports, vocational training, and substance use treatment. (3) Remove the felony enhancement for multiple offenses of prostitution, which will provide commercially exploited individuals with more opportunities for probation supervision, treatment programs, and other services that can help them build healthy life skills.

Relevant Bill

Other Bills Related to Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking

  • Bill Number: HB 15 [Senfronia Thompson, Krause, Collier, White, Yvonne Davis]
    Bill Caption: Relating to the prevention of, prosecution of, penalties for, and other consequences of prostitution, trafficking of persons, and related criminal offenses and to orders of nondisclosure for persons who committed certain of those offenses; regulating occupations and property to prevent and respond to those criminal offenses, including requiring a student occupational permit for those purposes; authorizing fees; increasing criminal penalties; creating criminal offenses.
    House Hearing Notice: Criminal Jurisprudence, April 1, 2019
    TCJC House Action: Neutral testimony
    House Hearing Video: Criminal Jurisprudence, 4/1/19

Other Materials