HONOLULU — The Free Speech Coalition has given its support behind a bill in Hawaii that, if passed, would repeal penalties for consensual adult prostitution and promotion of prostitution.
The FSC in a letter signed last week by Eric Paul Leue, the group’s executive director, and Siouxsie Q, its policy director, has asked for state lawmakers to hold a hearing on the bill in the House’s Judiciary Committee with sex workers at the table to offer their takes on the pertinent issues.
“So much is possible when workers are given the power to speak for themselves,” the FSC wrote in its letter to Rep. Scott Nishimoto, the state of Hawaii’s Judiciary Committee chair. “We urge you to give workers a seat at the table during this legislative process.”
The FSC said that HB 133 is a “meaningful step towards protecting some of the most marginalized workers in our society while maintaining Hawaii’s current sex-trafficking laws that protect victims and ensuring that non-consensual acts that are engaged in by managers remain serious criminal offenses.”
“This bill, if passed, would save lives by empowering a class of workers who have been historically disenfranchised and underserved,” the FSC said.
HB 1533 was introduced earlier this year by House Speaker Joseph Souki at the request of a constituent. In addition to decriminalizing prostitution, the bill also would vacate convictions for prostitution when defendants have no criminal convictions in the preceding three years.