New Ohio law mandates harsher penalties for promoting prostitution

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By Tyler Buchanan

Gov. Mike DeWine has signed into law stricter penalties in Ohio for those convicted of promoting prostitution.

Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Sens. Stephanie Kunze, R-Hilliard, and Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, passed both state legislative chambers unanimously. DeWine signed the bill into law on Dec. 12. 

Ohio now has tougher penalties related to the crime of promoting prostitution. Before, the charge was a third-degree felony only if the prostitute in question was a minor. SB 5 now additionally makes it a third-degree felony under two other conditions: if the offender has previously been convicted of promoting prositution (or a similar offense) in the past, or if the offender is also convicted of a drug trafficking offense. 

The bill also makes the crime a second-degree felony if the person has two or more prior convictions involving similar offenses.

DeWine said the bill is part of a broader effort to fight human trafficking in Ohio.  

Tyler Buchanan is an award-winning journalist who has covered Ohio politics and government for the past decade. A Bellevue native and graduate of Bowling Green State University, he most recently spent 6 1/2 years as a reporter and editor of The Athens Messenger and Vinton-Jackson Courier newspapers. He is a member of the BG News Alumni Society Board and was a 2019 fellow in the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism. Read more Ohio Capital Journal stories here.

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