Hawaii police officers want amnesty from paying for and sleeping with prostitutes. The exception would be in place for undercover police to be able to have sex on the job in order to maintain their cover and uncover more information. Officers claim that the legal protection will allow them to catch criminals in the act.
The debate in Honolulu, Hawaii is not about including the immunity in the prostitution bill HB 1926, but whether or not to maintain the protection in the bill. The exemption of police officers from being able to use sex workers on the job with no legal repercussion has been heavily criticized on all sides.
Human rights advocates assert the law is open season for malpractice. Many of the workers have been forced into the practice and will be further traumatized by the act. There is also the question of a sex worker losing all trust in Hawaii police and become much less cooperative in the situation that police need to be involved. Police can do their job just fine without this legal protection as seen in every other state where police are penalized for using prostitutes.
The bill is considered “antiquated” and needs to be revised to remove police protection. Hawaii police however see the benefit of being able to use prostitutes as a needed element in investigations. Strict rules maintain the Hawaii police professionalism when using sex workers according to their representative in Honolulu. Going so deep undercover to catch high ranking sex traffickers is deemed worth the possible trauma for the worker who game the information. The unpredicted degree of law breaking by an officer will put the prostitute at ease, they claim, and not see through the cover of the officer.
The police’s point has not been accepted because sex on the part of an officer is always voluntary. Undercover drug investigations, for example, can force an officer to do a drug to prove they belong with the organization. However, a sex ring would not have one of its members to have sex with one of their sex slaves. Many cases of police misconduct against citizens should be enough to prove the need to remove the provision from the bill.
Police have also been recorded in sexual assault cases against prostitutes outside of Hawaii including three current cases that are awaiting final court proceedings to finish their arrest. A police officer from Massachusetts pleaded guilty last year to extortion against sex workers. An officer waits sentencing in California after being proven guilty of rape against different prostitutes while on patrol. Hawaii authorities continue to claim that any cases of misconduct are treated appropriately within the police internal system.
Hawaii cops asking for the benefit of prostitutes is completely out of the ordinary when comparing to the rest of the states in the nation. Prostitution is not a regional problem but a global one. Allowing the practice to continue according to critics is barbaric and unnecessary. Even vice officers have voiced they are unconvinced that Hawaii officers should be protected under law to use sex workers.
Police have so many loopholes in their policing due to a brotherhood of sorts being formed between officers. Many officers feel they are above the law and have no fear of negative repercussion when abusing their power. It is no different in Los Angeles, California or Honolulu, Hawaii, power corrupts and without a governing body controlling the actions of police, the abuses will continue. At the very least the police in Honolulu are confident in what they are asking for and are willing to go through the law to do as they please. Prostitution is not the worst thing officers partake in as recorded daily on CopBlock.org; a group dedicated to exposing police abuses of power. In the case of hawaii police wanting a benefit of prostitutes should not be granted as long as the general public is unable to also partake in the action. Legal prostitution would greatly curb the illegal market and cause an increase in revenue for the local government.
Opinion By Andy Diaz