EDI Works to Eliminate Felony Prostitution in Illinois
In our legislative effort to transform Illinois’ response to the sex trade, End Demand Illinois has filed legislation and lobbied to end the felony sentence for prostitution in Illinois.
UPDATE: On August 23, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed SB1872 into law. It went into effect immediately.
Read the fact sheet for Senate Bill 1872, “Support Elimination of Felony Enhancement for Prostitution.”
Please note that this fact sheet is updated regularly, so check back for updates before sharing.
People who buy sex create the demand for the commercial sex trade, but they are rarely arrested. This chart shows the arrests of prostituted people and customers when law enforcement charged the crimes under Illinois’ criminal code. Data collected by Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, 2012. Download the data fact sheet here.
Currently, the felony sentence creates significant barriers to survivors of the sex trade who are trying to find employment and become productive members of the community. Many people in prostitution report being controlled by pimps, who force them into dangerous situations and abuse them. These felony charges are punishing the very people who are most in need of supportive services, and the charges do nothing to deter crime.
We believe that the arrest and re-arrest of people in prostitution is a violation of human rights and an ineffective response. End Demand Illinois is proposing to end the felony updgrade for prostitution with our latest legislative initiative, Illinois Senate Bill 1872.
EDI has created a fact sheet to appeal to lawmakers and opinion-shapers about why this law is not an effective use of state resources. Some highlights from the sheet include:
- Felony prostitution unfairly targets women for harsher punishments. The “solicitation” offense for customers does not have a felony upgrade for subsequent offenses.
- Felony prostitution sentencing is rare in the United States. Only eight other states have this sentencing option.
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