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Crime of buying sex may carry new name and bigger penalty

Posted by John M. Tymczyszyn | Jan 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

The City of Seattle is considering changing the current law and renaming the simple misdemeanor crime of "Patronizing a Prostitute" to "sexual exploitation." Additionally, the City of Seattle is considering changing the penalty from 90 days in jail to 1 year in jail.

"The idea to is attack the demand-side of prostitution" said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, who supports the new law. Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes believes that there is a connection between prostitution and human trafficking.

Holmes has said "I think words matter, We patronize a Starbucks......You engage in a crime of sexual exploitation."

At last count the Seattle Times article had a total of 401 comments, which you can see HERE:

Additionally, you can read the full Seattle Times article HERE

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes is also well known for supporting the decriminalization of marijuana. Many people in the comments section of the article seemed to be confused as to why Mr. Holmes would work hard to decriminalize marijuana and also work to increase penalties associated with prostitution in Seattle and Prostitution in Washington State. Additionally, the City of Seattle has conducted stings on backpage.com to entire potential buyers into entering into a transaction with undercover police officers.

Mr. Holmes seems to make the leap from prostitution to human trafficking. Not everybody agrees with Mr. Holmes on this point. The Seattle chapter of a group called the Sex Worker Outreach Project held a symposium last month to make the opposite argument.

“As somebody very leery of using the criminal-justice system to curb human behavior when it comes to sex, I find this very disconcerting that we want to punish men for having sex, especially when the women are consenting and wanting money,” Melinda Chateauvert, the author of “Sex Workers Unite!,” said at the time.

The changes to the Seattle City Code seem to be led by politicians and activists, additionally some assert there is little linking prostitution to human trafficking. But Seattle City prosecution statistics illustrate the story. In 2011 City of Seattle prosecutors filed 98 patronizing a prostitute cases and 199 prostitution cases. From 2012 - September of 2014 they filed 188 patronizing a prostitute cases and 34 prostitution cases. It is obvious that the Seattle Police Department has shifted its focus.

There are serious implications for this new law. A conviction for "sexual exploitation" can be perceived as something much more sinister than it may be. If you have been charged with patronizing a prostitute in Seattle or other parts of Washington State then you should consult with an attorney who is familiar with the charge of patronizing a prostitute and how sex related crimes can effect your employability and personal life.

You can learn more about this topic by visiting our PATRONIZING A PROSTITUTE webpage or by calling John T Law at (425) 830-7520.

About the Author

John M. Tymczyszyn

Attorney John T. is a third generation Washingtonian, Navy Veteran and criminal defense attorney.

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