The Oregon Legislature is considering a bill that would toughen penalties for johns who solicit sex from underage prostitutes as part of a broader push to crack down on child sex trafficking in the state.
The bill’s provisions are still being hammered out, but the intent is to impose harsher punishments on people who seek sex with children.
A fierce disagreement has emerged, however, over just how harsh those punishments should be. Child safety advocates say johns should be charged with a felony on their first offense, but critics say that’s too harsh.
The bill could come up for a vote in the House next week.
Quashing demand for child prostitutes would make the sex trafficking industry less profitable for pimps, resulting in fewer victims being brought into the sex trade, said Portland Police Officer Mike Gallagher, who has a long history of fighting prostitution.
Source: The Republic