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Prince George’s Council Votes to Establish Prostitution-Free Zones

Residents say it's gotten so bad schoolchildren were witnessing prostitution activity on their way to school.

The Prince George’s County Council voted this week to empower police to crack down on a growing prostitution problem along the Washington, D.C., border and other areas.

Residents said peak hours for prostitution are 3-9 a.m. Children who are on their way to school between those hours often see prostitutes and sexual activity, said Andina Keith, Fairmount Heights resident and founder of Citizens Against Prostitution.

“This bill will go a long way,” she told the council. “The safety of our children was being compromised.”

Council members Tuesday passed legislation that would make it unlawful for two or more people to gather in a public space or property with the intent of engaging in prostitution.

The county’s chief of police would be allowed to create such zones in areas with high numbers of arrests or calls related to prostitution or prostitution-related offenses. Zones will only exist for up to 48 hours, and violators of the law could be fined up to $1,000 and face up to six months in jail.

Prostitution has become a major quality of life issue in areas of District 5 said Councilwoman Andrea Harrison (D-Dist. 5), who sponsored the bill. The district includes the town of Fairmont Heights, which borders Washington, D.C., along Eastern Avenue.

Officials from the town said prostitutes are pushed out of D.C. into the town during police sweeps in the city. Current laws don’t go far enough to punish crimes connection to prostitution, officials said.

“For too long we’ve been plagued by crime that [follows] prostitution,” said Mayor Lillie Thompson-Martin.  “There are no teeth in the laws of both jurisdictions.”

During the summer, Harrison had complained to county police that current laws were too loose and did not go far enough to penalize prostituted related offenses. This week, she said that D.C. was also working on toughening laws against prostitution.

“We’re working together,” she said.

Kennis Termini November 18, 2011 at 12:29 PM
Those arrested should be named in the local newspapers.for all to see, just like any other criminal. Imagine if your the wife or husband ...... wouldn't you want to know? or the pregnant wife of one of the "Johns" or the unassuming spouse of a metro sexual.........
Brenda November 18, 2011 at 01:15 PM
The government is wasting money and resources with this false show. Prostitution is already illegal everywhere in the county. Have the police make arrests and stop the courts from being a revolving door for these criminals. Publicize and prosecute the pimps, prostitutes, and their customers to the fullest extent of the law. Law makers and enforcers do your jobs for the sakes of innocent children and decent people. I am fed up with paying the salaries of government officials just so they can have meaningless meetings where nothing actually improves. for the people they pretend to serve.
Colleen November 18, 2011 at 05:19 PM
huh. and here i thought prostitution was already illegal everywhere. and more to the point, if the new law prohibits two or more from congregating, then is it still legal for just one prostitute to stand on her corner? you really think a prostitute is going to worry whether there is 1 or 10 other prostitutes around? its illegal no matter which way you look at it. why do we need another law to state the obvious?
AndThenAgain November 20, 2011 at 07:53 PM
Maybe because law in PG County is about empty symbolism? Seriously, sting some Johns and put the names on a web site for a year. That plus mandatory STD tests and STD classes ought to cut down on the problem!
dave johnson February 14, 2012 at 05:49 PM
harrison please leave things the way they are

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