A bill to combat human trafficking by implementing civil fines for buyers of sex became law in Montgomery County this week. Bill 39-15 was introduced by Montgomery County Councilmembers Tom Hucker and Craig Rice and was unanimously approved by the council.
In a nationwide effort to combat human trafficking, Montgomery County is joining other jurisdictions with similar legislation, including Boston, Cook County (Il.), Norfolk (Va.), San Francisco and Seattle.
The new county law makes the act of soliciting sex or agreeing to purchase sex a Class A violation under the County Code. While there is already a state law criminalizing the solicitation of prostitution, Bill 39-15 aims to further deter this behavior by giving County Police the authority to issue civil or criminal citations to sex buyers.
Bill 39-15 received support from local law enforcement and organizations including the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Montgomery County Commission for Women, the Justice and Advocacy Council for Catholic Charities, the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Polaris Project and Safe Silver Spring.