Hawaii becomes first state with protections for those convicted of prostitution

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Updated: Jul. 2, 2019 at 9:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s laws against sex trafficking victims eased slightly with the signing of SB1039 Tuesday.

The new law brings protections to victims of sex trafficking.

Under the law, the requirement that a person has to be a victim of sex trafficking in order to have a prostitution conviction erased is dropped.

Meaning, sex workers can erase their convictions, but only if they avoid additional convictions over the following three years.

Advocates for victims say those caught up in sex trafficking often can’t prove or reveal they are victims out of fear of retaliation from pimps or sex buyers.

Hawaii is the first state to drop the proof of victim requirement.

Voluntary prostitution is extremely rare, according to IMUAlliance, one of the state’s largest victim service providers. The group said they helped over 130 victims escape sex slavery over the past 10 years.

Advocates praise the new law because prostitution convictions can hurt victims in the long run when applying for jobs or reintegrating into society.

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