STATEMENT – New Texas Law Makes Sex Buying a Felony on First Offense

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Texas Joins Maine in Precedent-Setting Efforts to Tackle Demand, Sex Buying, for Prostituted Persons

Washington, DC (June 17, 2021) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) applauds the Texas Legislature for passing its precedent-setting bill (HB 1540) that makes purchasing sex a felony for a first offense, which was signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday. 

“Texas’ new law is a prime way to deter people from engaging in the sex trade and will decrease the demand for prostituted persons, ultimately shrinking the exploitation industry. We are grateful to Texas for implementing a strong solution to combat the demand and to hold men accountable,” said Dawn Hawkins, CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

Also on Wednesday, the Maine Legislature also passed an innovative bill (LD 1592) that reframes prostitution as a problem of demand and classifies sex buying as a crime of commercial sexual exploitation – with stringent fines that can be used to help provide services to victims of prostitution/sex trafficking. The bill goes to the ME Governor for signature.
“Both Texas and Maine – two very different states, one led by Democrats at all levels with hundreds of victims and the other led by Republicans at all levels with thousands of victims – agree that sex buying is the problem that creates the demand for prostituted persons and the only way to solve this problem is by male accountability,” Hawkins said.
“Despite claims that prostitution is a job like any other, the truth is that there is lifelong physical, emotional, and mental trauma, from prostitution. This is why it is imperative to shrink the commercial sex trade, and the most efficient way to do that, which would solve sex trafficking and so many other ills, is to go after the people driving the demand for exploited persons.”

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



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