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Senate Bill 5: Change Penalties for Promoting Prostitution

The state of Ohio banned prostitution or the exchange of sex for money. However, it is evident that these cases occur regardless, and thus, policymakers aim at improving the current laws to ensure that fewer cases of prostitution and human trafficking occur in the state. Additionally, the topic of prostitution and the benefits or adverse effects of making it legal or illegal undergoes debates, suggesting that new legislation can address the problem. This paper aims at analyzing Senate Bill 5 that will be enacted in Ohio and discuss its objectives, implications, and main concepts.

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Firstly, some background information about this bill should be presented. It was introduced by Stephanie Kunze and Matt Dolan in 2019 (“Senate Bill 5,” n.d.). The original version of this legislation was accepted, and Senate Bill 5 aims to “change penalties for promoting prostitution” (“Senate Bill 5,” para. 2). While the title and the general information about the regulation suggest that it targets the promotion of this illegal activity, the implications of this policy will affect human trafficking as well.

According to Addeo (2019), prostitution is found to have a direct link with human trafficking (para. 1). This correlation makes it essential to target people who promote prostitution to ensure that the number of such instances decreases. One can argue that the idea of this policy is to avoid punishing prostitutes and focus on the people who enable their work or even those who force individuals to work as prostitutes instead. Considering this, the bill introduces essential reforms to the existing legislation targeting prostitution in Ohio.

Next, it is necessary to discuss the existing legislation in the state of Ohio that addresses prostitution and human trafficking. This will help understand the changes that will be a result of Senate Bill 5 implementation. Currently, the state of Ohio considers prostitution as an illegal activity. The promotion of prostitution is viewed as a fourth-degree felony in accordance with the state’s laws (Addeo, 2019). The maximum punishment that an individual can receive is a prison sentencing for a maximum of eighteen months — additionally, the existing legislation targets both buyers and sellers (Pilcher, 2019). However, Bill 5 offers a necessary correction to these laws by intensifying the punishment for promoters and buyers, which should decrease the demand.

This Bill aims to enhance the penalties for the promotion of prostitution since the activity can be connected to human trafficking and other criminal offenses. According to Pilcher (2019), the new law targets people who promote prostitution and makes it easier to prosecute those who make money from prostitution. Battling prostitution is a complicated issue, and one approach is to target people willing to pay money for sex instead of prosecuting those selling it. This Bill is currently not enforced and will be effective on March 12th, 2020 (“Senate Bill 5,” para. 1). Thus, the proposed law affects individuals who buy and promote sex for money, making it easier to prosecute them.

Overall, Senate Bill 5 targets the prostitution laws in Ohio and aims to increase responsibility for the promotion and financial gain from prostitution. The main aim of this Bill is to ensure that people promoting prostitution and those who buy these services get a more severe punishment. The analysis of this legislation suggests that it is an effective policy for addressing human trafficking issues and prostitution in general.


Addeo, B. (2019). Law increases penalties for promoting prostitution. Web.

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Pilcher, J. (2019). Ohio could name ‘johns’ under proposed tougher anti-prostitution law. Web.

State Bill 5. (n.d.). Web.

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