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D.C. LAWMAKER TAKES SHOT AT DECRIMINALIZING PROSTITUTION

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D.C. lawmaker David Grosso (I-At-Large) is trying to legalize prostitution in the nation’s capital. He introduced the Reducing Criminalization to Improve Community Health and Safety Amendment Act of 2017 last week (co-introduced by Councilmember Robert White (D-At-Large)), which David developed after working with the Sex Worker Advocates Coalition. “I believe that we as a society are coming to realize that excessive criminalization is causing more harm than good, from school discipline to drug laws to homelessness,” said David. “It is time for D.C. to reconsider the framework in which we handle commercial sex and move from one of criminalization to a focus on human rights, health and safety.” David said his bill would repeal laws that currently make it illegal to engage or solicit prostitution along with eliminating criminal penalties for engaging in sex work in the city. “By removing criminal penalties for those in the sex trade, we can bring people out of the shadows, help them live safer and healthier lives, and more easily tackle the complaints we hear from communities about trash or noise,” David said. He added, “The bill does not change any of our laws regarding coercion or exploitation, which will continue to be prohibited. Nor does it change how minors involved in sex trade are considered.” Legal prostitution in D.C. We have no doubt a lot of congressmen are waiting in anticipation to see how this develops. Maybe one day D.C. will be like Amsterdam, with its own capital red light district. We can only hope and pray.

sAMD1

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WILL HAWAII LEGALIZE PROSTITUTION? PROBABLY NOT, BUT THEY’RE THINKING ABOUT IT

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The Hawaii state legislature is considering a bill that would decriminalize prostitution and pimping. It was introduced by the speaker of the Hhouse Joseph Souki, who told the Associated Press that he takes no position on the bill, and introduced it as a favor to ransgender activist Tracy Ryan. Tracey is advocating the bill because transgender women are overrepresented in the sex trade and disproportionately affected by laws against prostitution. “I don’t like seeing people sent to jail that don’t belong there,” Tracy said. Michael Golojuch Jr., chairman of the LGBT caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said transgender women are overrepresented because of the discrimination they face, which leads some to feel that prostitution is the only available work opportunity. Michael supports the idea of decriminalization, but neither he nor the caucus has taken an official position on the bill. “My dream job would be union organizer for consensual sex workers,” he said. “It would be great for people who want to do that work to unionize them and empower them so that they are taken care of.” But not everyone in Hawaii supports decriminalization. “By normalizing sexual exploitation and recasting it as a career choice that has no harms attached, we’re creating a setting and a system where we are OK with objectifying women, where we’re OK with buying other human beings’ bodies, and that has effects that are far-reaching in terms of how women are treated,” said Khara Jabola, chapter coordinator of Af3irm Hawaii, a feminist group. It is up to the Hawaii legislature now.

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REVENGE PORN BILL HITS THE FLOOR OF CONGRESS

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There is no doubt that revenge porn is a problem. How to address it without wide ranging and unforeseen consequences that hurt people beyond revenge posters is an even bigger problem. Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), however, believes she has the solution. Jackie proposed a revenge porn bill that would make it a crime to distribute a “visual depiction of a person who is identifiable from the image itself or information displayed in connection with the image and who is engaging in sexually explicit conduct, or of the naked genitals or post-pubescent female nipple of a person, with reckless disregard for the person’s lack of consent to the distribution.” There are exceptions. The bill allows for distribution of some specific types of naked photos without consent, including in cases of public interest, or if the images are taken voluntarily in public or a commercial setting. “It’s a complex issue and we wanted to get it right,” Jackie said. “There were plenty of laws passed in states around the country that were problematic in nature. We wanted it to pass constitutional muster.” She added, “The bill recognizes that the distribution of nonconsensual pornography is a privacy violation, as nonconsensual pornography is not always about revenge or harassment,” a press release states. The easy part is preventing scorned lover’s from distributing pictures online, but exactly what liability this bill places on unsuspecting third parties down stream from the original publication is unclear and what is potentially unnerving. But it ain’t passed yet.

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