The Montgomery County Council introduced a bill Tuesday to create civil penalties for individuals who purchase prostitution in the county.
The bill sponsored by council members Tom Hucker and Craig Rice would enable police to issue civil citations of $500 for a first violation or $750 for subsequent violations. Under state law, police are also able to issue criminal citations to johns, which could result in a fine up to $1,000 or six months in jail.
“The goal of this bill is to simply give police another tool in their toolbox to create a financial disincentive to deter this behavior,” Hucker said.
He also said the county has become a “thriving location for human trafficking,” but it’s hard to notice because many of the illicit activities are arranged through websites and occur at area hotels.
“Human trafficking continues to victimize women and some young boys and people need to understand that we are trying to do everything we can to address this issue,” Rice said.
He added that the bill, which does not include civil punishments for prostitutes, would give police a “leverage tool.”
A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 20.