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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor
NEWS ADVISORY

SUBJECT: Calling sex buying what it is: sexual exploitation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
1/12/2015  3:00:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Kimberly Mills  (206) 684-8602


“Words matter,” City Attorney Pete Holmes said Monday in explaining why his office asked the City Council to change the name of the simple misdemeanor, Patronizing a Prostitute, to Sexual Exploitation. “Using prostitute as a noun is demeaning and this change also reflects our more modern understanding that prostitution has lots of unwilling participants.”

The Council agreed on a unanimous vote.

The change in nomenclature is one more step in the City’s efforts to rewrite the prostitution narrative to target sex buyers more and prostituted persons less.

“All we can do right now is go after the terminology and await legislative permission to increase the penalty as well,” Holmes said, noting the state Legislature must act first to upgrade the sentence for buying sex to a gross misdemeanor. Currently both acts are simple misdemeanors, punishable by 90 days in jail.

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