Hawaii Law Lets Police Have Sex With Prostitutes

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Honolulu police have urged state lawmakers to keep an exemption that allows undercover police officers to have sex with prostitutes as part of their investigations. This exemption is just another layer of protection police have to break the law in the name of protecting it.

There are many critics of the exemption. Sex trafficking experts and other police officers believe that this exemption will lead to the further victimization of sex workers.

One outspoken critic is Derek Marsh.

It doesn’t help your case, and at worst you further traumatize someone. And do you think he or she is going to trust a cop again?” Marsh, who trains California police in best practices on human trafficking cases, told The Associated Press.

Police are justifying this law as a need for legal protection to catch lawbreakers in the act. It’s not clear if police have used this provision in the past. During their plea, authorities said that they had internal policies in place to prevent officers from abusing the exemption. What those policies are remain unknown. It’s also not known if any officers have abused the exemption in the past.

The debate came up when a Hawaii bill cracking down on prostitution was written to do away with the sex exemption for officers on duty. The bill was amended to restore the protection after police testimony. The bill, including the sex exemption for officers, has passed the state’s House and will go before a Senate committee Friday.