State Representative Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison) and Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Twp) today announced the introduction of House Bill 431, which will create the Sexual Exploitation Database. This bill, supported by Attorney General Dave Yost, will direct the Attorney General’s office to develop and maintain a database of individuals who have been convicted of solicitation or promoting prostitution.

“This important legislation would mandate that when johns, pimps, and traffickers are convicted of their crimes, their names, addresses, photographs and offenses would be added to the Sexual Exploitation Database,” Rep. Abrams said. “I came face to face with this crime as a former law enforcement officer. Prostitution on the street fuels drug addiction, sex trafficking and the spread of disease. This is a devastating cycle that needs to be broken. If we can shine a light on this crime, especially those enabling it and supplying the demand for it, I believe we can effect real change.”

Upon the introduction of House Bill 431, Rep. Carfagna remarked, “I am proud to stand with Attorney General Yost in his efforts to end human trafficking. Through the creation of this public database, we hope to make johns, pimps and traffickers think twice before engaging in their illegal, exploitative behavior.”

Ohio is currently the fourth worst state for human trafficking in the nation, fueled by a significant demand for sexual activity for hire. Under current law, it is not difficult for someone caught soliciting a prostitute to keep that information hidden from friends, family, and their employer. No one accidentally engages in sexual activity for hire. These offenders are aware their conduct is illegal and choose to engage anyway.

Under House Bill 431, after an individual is convicted of solicitation or promoting prostitution, the offender’s information will be added to the Sexual Exploitation Database for a period of five years, unless the offender successfully petitions to be removed earlier under certain circumstances, such as an overturned conviction.

Attorney General Yost also praised the introduced legislation, stating, “Basic economics works under the premise of supply and demand – and right now we have a demand problem in Ohio. Our goal is to reduce the demand and in return rescue victims from this modern-day slavery. Making that a reality starts by unmasking and penalizing those who buy sex or profit from human trafficking.”

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