Law enforcement efforts to eradicate prostitution have traditionally focused on the prostitutes, but recent media coverage and growing public concern about human trafficking has led to a proposed law that would focus on the people who run the sex trade, the Washington Post reports. The House unanimously passed the law Wednesday, with the Senate expected to follow.It would grant state and local law enforcement agencies funds to investigate and prosecute brothel owners, pimps and customers.
“The johns use and abuse these young women,” said Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio). “And pimps — you can call them slaveholders, the masters out in the field.” The attitudes of Pryce, who introduced the legislation in the House, reflect a shift in how the government and the public respond to the sex industry. Traditionally, women have been blamed as the source of the problem. But Pryce calls prostitution “modern-day slavery” in which teenage girls are exploited and men fuel the crime.