Rhode Island to close loophole which allows indoor prostitution
Several state lawmakers met with about 30 prostitutes over the weekend to explain likely changes in the state law that will close a loophole that has made Rhode Island the only state where prostitution is legal as long as it occurs indoors, The Providence Journal reports.
Most of the prostitutes were Koreans who work at a local spa, the paper says. They were there to tell lawmakers that they work as prostitutes voluntarily and also to explore chances for a compromise that would keep them from going to jail.
But Democratic state Sen. Rhoda Perry explained that prostitution will be criminalized “and there will be fines for this behavior … and potential prison time. This needs to be known.”
The meeting was hosted by the advocacy group Direct Action for Rights and Equality.
The new law would target the men who pay for sex, landlords who “knowingly” allow prostitution, and the prostitutes.
One woman, Sunyo Williams, 53, told lawmakers that she is a single mother who uses money from prostitution to pay her daughter’s college education, The Journal reports.
“I do not want anything to happen until she finishes school,” Williams said of her 20-year-old daughter, a junior at the University of Rhode Island, The Journal reports. “If I get arrested, my children get hurt.”
The paper notes that prostitution is also legal in some counties in Nevada.