Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill into law earlier today that increases penalties for people who are convicted of purchasing sex from minors. The crime, which has been a misdemeanor, will now become a felony. But the bill increases protections for victims of trafficking, especially those under 18.
Democratic State Representative Teresa Fedor, widely credited for championing the bill, says this new law is a victory for all women.
"This is revolutionary. This is as revolutionary as our right to vote. Because the whole way we think about women, we can have dignity again. We are not objectified. We are not criminalized. We are given services and support and a loving, open heart from our state and that’s why I’m so proud."
The new law also bans advertisement of sex for sale if materials depict a minor, severs parental rights for people found guilty of trafficking their children or others, and limits suggestive advertising for “massages” and related services.
The new law passed the Ohio legislature with bipartisan support.
Story by OPR's Jo Ingles.