New prostitution law targets patrons

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Patrons of prostitutes, if caught, will be committing a new offense known as "habitual solicitation of prostitution."

It comes after House Bill 3002/Act192 was signed into law Thursday by Governor Linda Lingle. Referred as the "Eliot Spitzer" bill, named after the former New York governor who resigned in March 2008 after being exposed as a patron of prostitution, the law is now in action.

Representative Karl Rhoads, a twelve-year resident of Chinatown, introduced the anti- prostitution bill after witnessing first hand the negative impact prostitution has on the community.

"For the prostitutes themselves, the law remains the same. For their customers, the penalty for a third and subsequent conviction will be twelve times greater than it is now," said Rhodes.

He hopes the new law will make those who seek prostitutes think twice about what they are doing.

"Prostitution has been a plague on the Downtown and Chinatown area for years. The drug use and violence that goes along with prostitution has endangered all area residents," he said.

Those caught soliciting a prostitute now could find themselves in the arms of a crime known as a misdemeanor.