May 3, 2021

STATEMENT – Louisiana Bill Would Decriminalize Exploiters and Fuel Exploitation, Sex Trafficking

WASHINGTON, DC (May 3, 2021) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) warned that Louisiana House Bill 67 would decriminalize exploiters—sex buyers, pimps/traffickers, and brothel owners—and thereby fuel exploitation and sex trafficking of vulnerable populations. The bill will be discussed at a hearing on Tuesday, May 4.

“Louisiana must protect survivors, not exploiters. If Louisiana wants to protect those in the sex trade, the solution is not to allow sex buyers, pimps/traffickers, and brothel owners to operate without fear of legal repercussions. Legalizing the commercial sex industry only creates more demand for prostituted persons, many of whom are the most marginalized or vulnerable. If the bill is passed, Louisiana will certainly face an increase of sex trafficking victims, because when the commercial sex industry grows, so does sex trafficking. Quite simply, this bill will increase sexual exploitation in Louisiana,” said Dawn Hawkins, CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“Fully decriminalizing prostitution expanded commercial sex markets in Australia, and in the U.S., in Nevada and Rhode Island. An analysis comparing the legal frameworks of Sweden and two other countries that permit legal prostitution (Australia and The Netherlands) concluded that legalization was the least effective in reducing illegal street prostitution and human trafficking.

“Instead, the law should penalize those who pay to use the bodies of other people for sex and those who seek to traffic or pimp them, rather than targeting prostituted victims. This decriminalizes victimization while retaining prohibitions on purchasing sex or facilitating prostitution.

“Louisiana can never make prostitution ‘safer,’ as it inherently leads to physical, emotional, and psychological trauma. Elected leaders should focus on creating off-ramps to prostitution, not building on-ramps that only lead to increased exploitation. The Louisiana Legislature should cease any consideration of House Bill 67,” Hawkins added.

Patrina Mosley, deputy director of legislative policy for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, will testify before the Louisiana Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice about House Bill 67 on Tuesday, May 4.

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.

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