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TX: Texas to be first state to make buying sex a felony

Source: inforney.com 7/6/21

A new law that goes into effect Sept. 1 will make Texas the first state to punish sex buyers with a felony.

HB 1540 was filed by state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston. It passed both chambers of the state legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.

The new law creates a separate offense for buying sex and raises the penalty to a state felony subject to jail time. It expands first-degree felony human trafficking to include certain actions related to obtaining victims from shelters or certain residential facilities. It also requires the state to deny some alcoholic beverage licenses and permits if drink solicitation occurs. It also amends provisions governing common nuisance lawsuits relating to prostitution and illegal massage operations, and amends provisions on civil racketeering relating to human trafficking.

The bill also includes a trespassing offense for those who traffic through a residential treatment center. Traffickers are targeting these centers, the House Research Organization bill analysis states, in order to lure and recruit children. The bill gives law enforcement “another tool to combat this through the trespassing statute and by expanding child safety, drug-free, and gang-free zones,” it states.

“Texas is the first in the country to punish sex buyers with felonies, which is a substantial step towards curbing the demand for commercial sex,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “Human trafficking is modern day slavery – targeting vulnerable men, women and children in our communities. I commend our legislature for passing laws that fight this inexcusable offense.”

The bill is one of many that Thompson has introduced over the last 11 years to combat human trafficking. In 2010, she led the First Annual International Conference on Human Trafficking at the state Capitol to raise awareness about Texas being a major human trafficking hub.

In 2011, Thompson filed bills incorporating many of the recommendations given by the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force, formed by then Attorney General Greg Abbott. They included clarifying in the state’s human trafficking statute the definitions of sex and labor trafficking, extending the criminal statute of limitations for human trafficking crimes, requiring offenders who are convicted of sex trafficking to be registered as a sex offender, adding human trafficking offenses and compelling prostitution as a 3g offense within the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, and increasing the penalty for compelling prostitution of a child to a felony of the first degree.

In 2016, as one of his first major initiatives, Paxton formed the Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Section, tasked with combating human trafficking across Texas. It has helped train more than 25,000 people in person throughout Texas on human trafficking and has assisted in numerous prosecutions of human trafficking cases resulting in multiple felony convictions and 441 years of prison time for traffickers in Texas.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Texas has the second highest rate of human trafficking behind California among all 50 states. According to a 2016 Statewide Human Trafficking Mapping Project of Texas, there were more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking in Texas, including nearly 79,000 minors and youth victims of sex trafficking and nearly 234,000 adult victims of labor trafficking.

Minor and youth sex trafficking costs the state of Texas approximately $6.6 billion annually, and traffickers exploit approximately $600 million from victims of labor trafficking in Texas.

 

Related:

Not watching your state for bad bills? What you don’t know can hurt you. Check your state’s bills regularly and start writing and calling!

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What is the over/under on a the first elected official (political, legal, or judicial), LE, someone in a position of trust (e.g. the 95% we discuss here), or professional athlete being caught, prosecuted, and posted on the TX registry or will there be side deals to minimize it where it does not cross the threshold for such an action?

This law will put make most Texas politicians felons put them on the registry within 2 yrs.

Let’s hope so, then maybe something will get done about it.

This really doesn’t make sense.

How would the Law Enforcement (LE) know someone is buying sex? There are two options: 1) they know who the seller is and 2) LE set up a sting.

Setting up a sting to catch buyers is catching the tail end. Whether it’s sex or drugs, the buyer is at the end of the line. Why waste resources this way? To make the public feel better when there are really bad people kidnapping and forcing sex slave labor that LE cannot find?

Wouldn’t buying sex diminish if LE crackdown on the human traffickers than the buyers? Remove the supply and the demand drops as well. This is akin to drug dealers, let’s say Fentanyl. We’re chasing the twigs rather than focus on the root.

What if the seller is a single person operation? It appears that LE isn’t creative enough to find the sex traffickers or kidnappers.

Or maybe be like Nevada and have legal brothels? That’s probably the safest move for all parties that include being medically safer and the state generates revenue on the backs of others… literally.

You do realize that the old testament is mandatory reading for all Texans, don’t you? That state thinks the Spanish Inquisition didn’t go far enough.

Laws tend to only affect anyone who isn’t wealthy or well connected. The people that make the laws almost never suffer them.

This is just another law meant to increase profits for the criminal enforcement business.

This will Make Every other Politician in Texas a Felon 🙂 Great News !

Wouldn’t buying dinner, a movie, or anything else where someone pays and eventually there’s sex at the end of the night or weekend be considered “buying sex”?

Guess you have to make the other person pay half or else it’s a felony. heh

Charged for buying but not for selling I’m sure. It’s like I always say, charge that hooker a dollar for your love and cover yer own ass…..juss kidding…..I never say that.

Why not use resources for at risk youth and adults that are struggling with addiction or other circumstances? Why not use money to prevent things from happening and actually stop cycles of abuse? Would dating be considered a crime now if a couple engages in sex? Things are definitely wrong in Texas and hopefully the only lone star of this bull.

When was the last time someone didn’t pay for sex. You buy a dinner, provide a vacation, give a ride. Giving anything of value qualifies as paying in the law.
email I sent to the old bitty that initiated this.

“This is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard from an elected official, and you people are the pinnacle of stupid ideas. 
You have opened the pandora’s box of lawsuits by every person that gets rejected by someone. 
At what point does government finally say, “ We are going to control every aspect of morality ( as we see it ) and make everyone the utopian citizen. 
First of all, how many politicians and public servants ( law enforcement ) will get special treatment and avoid prosecution. Because as we all know and have seen on countless occasions, rules are different for you people. 
Secondly, you are doing nothing more than creating one more absurd offense to be added to the cruel joke that is the sex offense registry, which is no longer of any use since even pissing on a tree or streaking a football game gets your life ruined with this label. 
How about you put effort into actual problems, like homelessness, hunger, gun violence and drug abuse. 
In closing, may I say I am glad NOT to be represented by a person with such a myopic view of public service. “

This is insane. Consenting adults is now a felony. They should be working to legalize prostitution. They could raise lots of taxes with licenses and tests. Sex is not a bad thing, sex is a good thing. But so many are getting in trouble from it because it is viewed as such a taboo thing.

I think many of my issues were form being raised in a family that never discussed sex or dating or relationships and the hidden message was that those were unspoken topics because they were bad, yet I was an adolescent with an incredible attraction to the opposite sex so I was very confused and had no relationship skills. I didn’t even have a girlfriend until I was 19 and was so insecure I didn’t know how to act, meanwhile I had friends that were getting married. This negative view of the natural sex drive creates a neurotic society.

Well, we live in a country where people want government to control everyone’s lives. We should get hundreds of millions of people to decide to change that.

To me, this “law”, drug laws, registries, it’s all the same nonsense. Government harassing people.

I wouldn’t say “legalize prostitution” though. In an free country, there would no such talk. Things just wouldn’t be illegal. No “legalize” to it. I would never suggest government involvement in prostitution in any way either. They think it is immoral (maybe it is, but that’s not relevant), so they don’t need to be raising any money from it. They don’t need to be involved.

We all must vote for people who believe in limited government. Not these big government loving harassers.

The more dirty they make sex sound , the more obsessed people become , including our youngsters , this insane focus on sex and sex laws is just going to create more criminals out of people “innocent people” / consenting adults , just like the lame war on drugs that translates to the war on people, remember when the alphabet agencies went down to Mexico doing fast and furious and sold all those guns / and those same guns came back and people were murdered with those guns , for the children ? and when these respected agents were there , they were doing dope and using up under age prostitute’s , So what children/people are they protecting ? oh well I am sure the registry/prison will fix it all , look have much it has helped so far , yep its really curbing crime ,

Such a law, in the context of existing within a human capitalist society, is unconstitutional. Did the prohibition era teach us nothing?. Pimps in TX are rejoicing as the price of pussy just went up.

An adult woman’s body is hers to do whatever she wants as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. If she wants to trade sex for money, I think that should be her business.
If you want to get technical, a guy pays for sex no matter what. You take a girl out on a date, spend money on some flowers or other gift, spend money on a nice dinner, spend money at a movie theater or other place. Think about it…you’re spending all that money on her hoping you might get lucky. So what’s the big difference in just handing her some cash if she’s an escort?
What about the Bunny Ranch in Las Vegas? Prostitution is legal there. You can even go to the Netherlands where its perfectly legal and the crime rate and drug problem that sometimes accompany prostitution and STDs is almost zero.
If a pretty gal came to me and offered to have sex with me for money, how is that hurting anyone else?
I say make it legal and regulate it and watch the economy skyrocket while any crimes that sometimes accompany it plummet.

It should not be illegal or regulated. Let’s stop having huge governments and have them involved in every aspect of life. Let’s shrink them to about 100th of their current size. Let’s get rid of every government job feasible, ASAP, yesterday.

Also, “a guys pays for sex no matter what”!!? Come on, it’s 2021. That “paying for sex” ended decades ago. Successful women are everywhere. Don’t settle! Be successful and only hang out with people who are just as successful or more so. And to keep anyone from jumping to conclusions, my definition of “successful” doesn’t include being wealthy. But being a good, successful person often brings wealth.

I’d like to put a little possible context here on this: think about the border and those crossing illegally being caught up in this. I believe this could be possibly rooted in the border issue, among other issues, and those who are illegal who need to pay back their way across it. This is Texas which has a major border issue currently (staying away from politics here for greater context).

While a person has the right to their body, as we’ve learned, their are those who may not have that same say when it comes to other actions which their body is the way they pay back their debts. Just something to keep in mind when considering thoughts in this thread.

Oh Texas, where sex is illegal, but everyone can conceal carry a guns. Is that a gun in your pocket or are you entertaining a criminal sexual intent? 🙄

I’ve read through the bill, and the problem with the way it’s being presented is like the average John will be arrested for a felony for trying to “pick up a hooker” in general. But the reality is that virtually every action that is mentioned is ALREADY a felony, or very serious sexual crime, in which kids and vulnerable adults are essentially “pimped” out by traffickers, along with a slew of other crimes that can be thrown at the problem like trespassing.

But I did not see an actual crime about the conventional adult-to-adult inquisition, which has nothing to do with trafficking in general. Now, if the if the potential customer KNOWS that the victim is being trafficked, or knows he/she is underaged, then of course the customer could be liable for the felony charge, if it can be proven as such.

But the way the article is headlined implies that, yes, ANY act of prostitution is “human trafficking,” and deserves to be punished as such. No deal.

This guy is the worst! He has been under indictment for the last 5 years for inappropriation of campaign funds! Why is this jerk even still in office???

So is this going to make doing porn illegal? Is this going to make buying porn illegal? Think about it…2 consenting adults are being PAID to make a porn movie, so technically, the producer of the film is buying sex. And if the film goes on a pay per view website, anyone entering their credit card information has just bought sex.

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