Prostitution Law in Rhode Island

Summary

The Rhode Island legislature introduced a bill, HB5044A, to recriminalize indoor prostitution. The main justification offered for the bill was that it was absolutely necessary to prevent and address trafficking into prostitution. SWP's experience has been that arrests for prostitution related offenses are more likely to hurt rather than help victims of trafficking, and rarely lead to identification and assistance of victims.

Despite opposition from SWP and other groups, this bill passed and became law.


Links

Text of Senate Bill 0596
Full text of the bill, titled 'Relating To Criminal Offenses - Prostitution And Lewdness'.

SWP Talking Points
Reasons why the bill will not help trafficking victims.

RI Senate Judiciary Committee
Contact details for members of the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee.


Related Documents

Criminalizing Sex Work to Combat Trafficking
Andrea Ritchie
09/02/2009
Article written for RH Reality Check on Rhode Island's proposed bill to criminalize indoor prostitution.

Letter from Penelope Saunders to RI Senate Judiciary Committee
Penelope Saunders
06/25/2009
PDF - 760K
Letter from Penelope Saunders to the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary committee, supporting the Memorandum in Opposition to HB5044 submitted by the Sex Workers Project.

SWP Press Release on Rhode Island HB5044A
Sex Workers Project
06/18/2009
PDF - 320K
Text of the press release issued by the Sex Workers project about the proposed bill to criminalize prostitution in Rhode Island

SWP Statement to RI Senate Judiciary Committee
Sex Workers Project
06/18/2009
PDF - 452K
SWP statement to the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee on the proposed bill S.B. 0584 to define and criminalize prostitution in Rhode Island.

HB5044A Memorandum in Opposition
Sex Workers Project
06/08/2009
PDF - 360K
A memorandum from SWP in opposition to the 'Criminalization of Prostitution' bill before the Rhode Island Senate.

Letter from Ann Jordan to RI Senate Judiciary Committee
Ann Jordan
06/05/2009
PDF - 3.51MB
Letter from Ann Jordan to the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary committee, opposing HB5044A on the criminalization of prostitution.


Press and Media

Groups oppose bill to criminalize prostitution in R.I.
The Providence Journal -- 27.06.2009

Lawmakers urged to block prostitution bill
The Providence Journal -- 27.06.2009

Advocates slam anti-prostitution bill
WPRI -- 27.06.2009

RI tries again to outlaw indoor prostitution
Seattle Post-Intelligencer -- 27.06.2009