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Action Needed TODAY - Contact DC Council to urge removal of lanaguge from bill

From: Ray L.
Sent on: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 1:27 PM

Hey Everyone,

Today, the DC Council will vote on a bill that increases the penalties for prostituted persons. ?As many of us know, prostituted persons are often victims of sex trafficking and levying criminal penalties against trafficking victims would only cause further victimization. ?If you have a minute today, we need your help in contacting the DC Council to urge them to remove the language from this bill that increases penalties for prostituted persons. ?Please see the below Polaris Alert for more info.

Thanks

Ray

Dear Anti-Trafficking Advocates:

The DC Council is poised to pass?Bill[masked]?- The Emergency Crime Bill of 2009.? This massive bill includes felony level penalties for prostituted persons - often victims of sex trafficking - that would cause further victimization for these individuals.

Polaris Project serves clients throughout the DC metro area, as well as in NJ, who have been forced or coerced into prostitution.? In many of these cases the victims, even at the age of just 18, will have a series of arrests or convictions for prostitution either within the same jurisdiction or in others.? This illustrates the transient nature of the pimps' operations.? Treating a prostituted person as a felon does not usually deter the trafficker/pimp, nor does it provide relief or rescue for the prostituted person.?? In fact, if enacted, this provision may further victimize the woman as she attempts to rebuild her shattered life with a felony conviction.

The DC Council is scheduled to vote on this bill on Tuesday, July 14, and only with your help can we?ensure that victims of sex trafficking are not further victimized?by the criminal justice system.? Please take a moment to?contact DC councilmembers?and urge them to remove the language from this bill that increases penalties for prostituted persons on the third offense, while retaining the language for purchasers of commercial sex.

Thank you for your help!

Andrea Austin
Program Manager
Public Outreach and Communications


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