Utah Makes It Illegal To Act Like A Hooker

A strange new Utah law would make it a crime not just to explicitly offer sex for money, but also to "indicate, through lewd acts," that you're willing to do so. In addition to scaring ladies into hiking down their skirts, the legislation could allow cops to target legal businesses, like strip clubs.

According to the AP, the law, passed this month, would expand the definition of solicitation "to include any person who indicates through lewd acts, such as exposing or touching themselves, that they intend to exchange sex for money." Police say the new legislation will put a stop to a tactic prostitutes are allegedly using against undercover police: asking them to touch themselves to prove they're not cops. Under the law, even such a request now constitutes solicitation. The bill's sponsor, Utah State Representative Jennifer Seelig, also says it will help target underage trafficking victims who are "trained to evade arrest," and that arresting them would be the first step towards helping them.

Others, however, fear the bill will have unintended consequences. Two escort services are suing to block the law, arguing that it could allow police to arrest escorts or strippers, even though they have no intention of engaging in prostitution. Says Andrew McCullough, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, "Most girls who touch their breasts are not telling you they're open for sex." This is a good point — although police claim they won't "target anyone who is not a prostitute," the new law does seem to give them a lot of leeway to arrest women simply for moving suggestively. And the very basis of the law seems flawed — is throwing trafficked children in jail really the best way to help them? Utah police may not get to find out — a nearly identical law was apparently declared unconstitutional in 1988.

Escorts: Utah Law Makes Acting Sexy Illegal [AP, via Time]

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