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Legislation Creating Sexual Exploitation Database Passes House

May 28, 2020
Cindy Abrams News

COLUMBUS – State Reps. Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison) and Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Twp.) today announced the House passage of House Bill 431, legislation that directs the Attorney General’s office to develop and maintain a database of individuals who have been convicted of soliciting prostitution.

“While assigned to the Cincinnati Police Department’s Vice Unit, I saw first-hand how sexual activity for hire devastates the lives of many young women who have fallen victim to these johns,” said Abrams. “Under current law, it is not difficult for someone caught soliciting a prostitute to keep that information hidden from friends, family, and their employer.”

The Sexual Exploitation Database creates a registry of any individual who is convicted of or pleads guilty to a prostitution offense. The conviction record will include the offender’s full legal name, last known address, a color photograph if available, the offense, the date the offense was committed, and the location of where the offense was committed.  This information will be in the database for a period of five years, unless the offender’s conviction is overturned. 

“Ohioans need a tool to hold each other accountable for crimes committed largely against young women who are trapped in an inescapable chain of poverty, addiction, and violence,” said Carfagna. "Creating a publicly accessible registry will help deter johns from engaging in illegal, exploitative behavior.”

H.B. 431 was amended in House Criminal Justice Committee to include a provision that eliminates Ohio’s current two-tiered system in child sex trafficking laws. Under current law, prosecutors are required to demonstrate fraud, force or coercion for 16 or 17-year-old trafficking victims in order to qualify for protections available to other minors. The amendment eliminates this requirement and brings Ohio law into compliance with federal law.

The bill passed the House floor with a 92-1 vote. House Bill 431 also has the support of Attorney General Dave Yost.

“Basic economics works under the premise of supply and demand – and right now we have a demand problem in Ohio,” commented Yost. “Our goal is to reduce the demand and in return rescue victims from this modern-day slavery. Making that a reality starts by unmasking and penalizing those who buy sex or profit from human trafficking.”

The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.