Scarborough senator's bill would redefine prostitution

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SCARBOROUGH — State Sen. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, has proposed a bill that would forbid the state from charging people under 18 with prostitution.

Volk said in a news release that minors who engage in prostitution are victims.

“Modern slavery, known as human trafficking, is a fast-growing criminal activity, even in Maine,” Volk said in a statement. “When anyone, particularly a minor, is coerced to engage in commercial sex, they are no longer acting of their own will. Our current legal system does not charge minors with prostitution, so it is time our statute reflects the acknowledgment that these children are victims in need of social services.”

The Legislature’s Criminal Justice Committee will hold hearings on the bill.

“We should concern ourselves with prosecuting the pimps and johns, not teenagers who have been trapped in this lifestyle,” Volk said.