- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2014

Police officers in Honolulu have taken their lobby mantra to lawmakers, insisting that the ability to have sex with prostitutes in undercover operations is a necessary evil that lets them do their jobs.

Their arguments come as Hawaiian legislators are mulling whether or not to drop an exemption for police from state prostitution laws, The Associated Press reported. But police say don’t: We have to be able to catch lawbreakers in the actual act.

Critics of the exemption say it leads to further victimization of those in the sex trade, some of whom are only there because they’ve been forced. And among those critics is Derek Marsh, an official who trains police in California on human trafficking issues — and who finds it most curious that Hawaiian cops insist they need the provision but won’t say how many times they use it.

“It doesn’t help your case, and at worst, you further traumatize someone,” Mr. Marsh said in the AP report. “Do you think he or she is going to trust a cop again?”

Police in Hawaii say they have provisions in place to ensure that officers only turn to the exemption in last-ditch cases.

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