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Correction: Prostitution-Criminal Records story

November 8, 2018

HONOLULU (AP) — In a story Nov. 2 about a Hawaii State Supreme Court ruling about prostitution and solicitation, The Associated Press, relying on information from Hawaii News Now, reported erroneously that the Hawaii Legislature changed a law in 2016 to make the punishment equal for prostitutes and their customers. In 2016, the Legislature clarified the existing law allowing for different penalties for prostitutes and their customers.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Court ruling allows some solicitation cases to be cleared

A Hawaii Supreme Court ruling will allow people convicted of soliciting prostitutes during a three-year period to try to clear their records

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii Supreme Court ruling will allow people convicted of soliciting prostitutes during a three-year period to try to clear their records.

From 2013 to 2016, state law allowed different penalties to be issued for those caught receiving money for sex and those who paid for it, Hawaii News Now reported this week. Prostitutes were allowed to try to get the charge cleared from their records while people who solicited them could not seek a deferred sentence.

In 2016, the Legislature clarified the existing law allowing for different penalties for prostitutes and their customers. The state Supreme Court this week found that the earlier law was unfair.

Advocates for sex trafficking victims had supported the law allowing for different penalties.

Kathryn Xian, executive director for the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, said prostitutes are victims and those paying for sex deserve harsher penalties.

“The Hawaii Supreme Court exercised erroneous justice here, in favor of the driving force behind the market of selling women and girls for sex,” Xian said.

Defense attorney Victor Bakke said the matter is complicated, but the penalties were issued unequally.

“The problem was they split it, they said the prostitution can get a deferral, but the john can’t,” Bakke said, referring to someone who solicits a prostitute.

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