HONOLULU (AP) – Hawaii lawmakers are considering decriminalizing prostitution in the Aloha State after House Speaker Joseph Souki introduced a bill.
The proposal also would end a state law that says police officers can’t have sex with prostitutes in the course of investigations.
Transgender activist Tracy Ryan says she’s pushing the bill because transgender women in the sex trade are disproportionately impacted by criminalization laws.
But long-time anti-sex trafficking advocate Kathryn Xian says making selling, promoting or buying sex legal would make it harder to prove violence and abuse in the industry.
Souki says he takes no position on the bill, but he introduced it as a favor to Ryan.
House Majority Leader Scott Saiki says this and a bill to decriminalize marijuana may be part of a push to reduce the prison population.