Rhode Island lawmakers hear from critics of criminal prostitution

Published: May. 1, 2019 at 1:35 PM EDT
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Critics of criminal prostitution laws are urging Rhode Island lawmakers to support a legislative study on decriminalizing sex work.

The resolution, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Anastasia Williams of Providence, would create a House study commission on changing the state's prostitution laws.

Current and former sex workers, academics and defense attorneys told lawmakers Tuesday that prostitution laws don't curtail the trade and hurt sex workers.

The Providence Journal reports that advocates hope Rhode Island becomes a test case for changing prostitution laws because of its small size, Democratic Party dominance and because selling sex indoors was legal in the state between 2002 and 2009.

New Hampshire is also considering a legislative study commission on decriminalization, and Hawaii has proposed bills to amend their prostitution laws, but nothing has passed yet.

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