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Council to Hold Virtual Hearing on Proposed Amendments to the Solicitation Code Focused on Reducing Demand

Councilmember Mitchell J. Brown

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Live on Facebook
Access code: 160 243 0470


Councilmember Mitchell J. Brown, Chair of the Public Safety Committee will conduct a hearing to discuss amendments to the Solicitation Section of the Columbus City Code designed to reduce demand in the Columbus sex industry.

Human Trafficking is a significant concern in Columbus. The impact on exploited victims and Columbus neighborhoods cannot be overstated. Historically, law enforcement has focused on addressing the supply side of this issue with sting operations and arrests. As our community thinks differently about how we support victims of human trafficking, treating them with compassion and respect, it is vital that the focus be shifted to those who exploit victims by purchasing sex in our community.

“I have heard from community members for many years asking for us to do something about human trafficking in their neighbors,” said Councilmember Brown, “I believe it is time for us to rethink how we address this issue in our community. Focusing on reducing demand and treating victims with compassion and respect.”

The public hearing will focus on increased penalties for individuals that purchase sex in Columbus, as well as, the development of educational and therapeutic diversion programs. This comprehensive strategy was developed with the goal to reduce recidivism and make it clear that this activity is not acceptable in our neighborhoods.

“The City and the Division of Police strive to create a city free of human trafficking," said Columbus Division of Police Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight. "That goal requires a resource based approach to rescuing victims, but also necessitates a comprehensive plan for demand reduction. Buyers are the fuel that feeds all sex trafficking and prostitution. To properly address demand, we must ensure we have reasonable penalties for buyers and a mechanism to provide intervention that will identify and address root causes of this behavior.”

Any resident seeking to submit written testimony should submit their testimony to the office of Councilmember Brown. Written testimony must be received by 2pm on the day of the meeting and should be emailed to Grant Ames at [email protected].

Any resident wishing to appear via WebEx to provide testimony during the virtual hearing should email Grant Ames at [email protected] by noon on the day of the hearing to request a WebEx speaker link. Each speaker will be limited to remarks lasting no longer than three minutes.

The hearing will be live-streamed on the City’s YouTube channel and Facebook.