Lawmakers in Hawaii want to ban police from having sex with prostitutes

It seems like a no brainer: Police should not be allowed to have sex with prostitutes. But a law in Hawaii allows officers to do just that during undercover investigations. And it’s stirring up a major debate.

The Associated Press reports:

Authorities say they need the legal protection to catch lawbreakers in the act. Critics, including human trafficking experts and other police, say it's unnecessary and could further victimize sex workers, many of whom have been forced into the trade.

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The debate stems from a new bill in Hawaii aimed at cracking down on prositution, including stronger penalties for johns and pimps. The bill, HB 1926, originally excluded the sex exemption, but it was later restored after police lobbied to keep the exemption.

But police testimony for the exemption has sparked outrage and now lawmakers are moving to make the practice illegal.

"I will tell you that without question I can't imagine police officers being exempt from the law," [Senate Judicial Committee Chairman Clayton Hee] said Friday. "To condone police officers' sexual penetration in making arrests is simply nonsensical to me."