On November 1, 2019, The John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy provided written expert testimony to the Council of the District of Columbia in opposition to the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019 (Bill 23-0318). The Bill would fully decriminalize prostitution as well as the acts of pimping, purchasing sex, maintaining brothels, and sex tourism in Washington, D.C.
The testimony notes that “this Bill would bring about an unregulated social phenomenon resulting in an environment ripe for the most egregious forms of exploitation, sex trafficking, and other violations of human rights that will affect the most vulnerable in the community. Pertinent research shows that victims of both legal and illegal sex trade are often exposed to violence, enter the life as minors (de facto sex trafficking due to the person’s age) and have histories of sexual abuse, violence, and trauma.”
“This is not a choice. Persons at the fringes deserve better chances in life. We owe them respect and must safeguard their dignity,” concluded international expert and scholar Dr. Roza Pati, Director of the Human Trafficking Academy.
The Academy has implored the Council to reject the Bill and champion the necessary social services, education, and law enforcement training to appropriately address the needs of those in the community. Should the Council commit itself to fully, systemically, and effectively address the exploitation of the most vulnerable in the community, the Academy has offered its assistance to provide specialized education and training to law enforcement in the District – free of charge.
The full written testimony submitted by the Academy is available below:
The text of Bill 23-0318 as of November 1, 2019 is available here.
The 17-hour public hearing on Bill 23-0318 that took place on October 17, 2019 is available here.